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News Briefs

Journal Staff Reports
   
Edgewood Judge
    Against Drug Test

    Edgewood Municipal Judge Bill White, retired from the Air National Guard, said he has spent most of his career submitting to drug testing in order to provide a living for his family.
    He said he won't do it to hang on to his judge's position.
    "I will resign first," White said.
    Statewide talk of possible drug testing legislation arose after the May 29 arrest of Albuquerque's chief district judge, W. John Brennan, on charges of cocaine possession.
    White said he believes drug testing violates principles that should not fall because a few bad apples break the law.
    "I think it's an intrusion on our civil liberties," he said.
   
Vets Memorial In
    City Burglarized

    There are no suspects in a burglary Wednesday at the New Mexico Veterans Memorial, Albuquerque police spokesman Jeff Arbogast said.
    Televisions, VCRs, clocks, a vacuum cleaner, cleaning supplies, office supplies and food were taken, said Sara Gist-Bernasconi, board chairman of the memorial. Security equipment worth about $5,000 was also stolen.
    A visitor center is under construction at the memorial, 1100 Louisiana SE, she said. Phone lines at the monument were down because of the project, she said, thus disabling the security system.
    Anyone who wants to help the monument should call 256-2042 or 292-2082.
   
Judge: Clarify
    ABQPAC Decision

    More than a year after the city ethics board ruled against Mayor Martin Chávez in the ABQPAC case, a district court judge is asking the board to clarify its decision.
    Judge Robert Thompson asked the Board of Ethics and Campaign Practices to provide a written statement of the facts that led to its decision to reprimand Chávez for his former relationship with ABQPAC, a political action committee.
    Andres Valdez of New Mexico Vecinos United has been pursuing a case in District Court appealing the ethics board decision. He says Chávez should have been punished more harshly. As part of that ongoing case, the judge called for the additional information from the ethics board.
    A meeting of the ethics board is scheduled for July 13 to deal with the order.
   
U.S. Attorney's
    Aide Recognized

    Rumaldo Armijo, executive assistant to the U.S. Attorney in New Mexico, has won a national award for his leadership of a federal task force aimed at reducing gun crime.
    Armijo was recognized by the U.S. Department of Justice for his contribution as coordinator of Project Safe Neighborhoods, which was launched in the state in July 2001.
    Under Armijo's direction, the multi-agency task force has increased gun crime prosecutions, networking and formed community outreach programs.
    "Rumaldo is what I would call a benevolent bulldog," U.S. Attorney David Iglesias said. "He's great at connecting people and motivating them to achieve a common goal."
    Since the program started, the U.S. Attorney's Office has prosecuted more than 350 firearms cases and sentenced 277 criminals to time in federal prison in New Mexico.
   
Vigil in Support Of
    Ex-St. Pius Teacher

    A group of concerned Roman Catholics is sponsoring a candlelight vigil at 8:30 p.m. Sunday to support a former St. Pius X High School teacher.
    Voices of St. Pius, a group that includes parents, students, alumni and friends of Michael Fitzgerald and other faculty, will gather at Redlands Park, east of Coors on Sequoia NW. Fitzgerald taught theology at the school for 33 years but did not receive a contract renewal.
    The group's release said it is concerned about this year's unusually high attrition rate of faculty. It listed 15 names.
    Colorful hang gliders soared silently off Sandia Crest this week as the Sandia Solstice Soar'n got under way on Saturday.
    Hosted by the Sandia Soaring Association, the weeklong festival of flying includes a long-distance gliding competition and mass launches.
    Launches will continue from the Crest through Sunday. The first wave usually takes off between noon and 2 p.m., with the second wave between 5 and 6 p.m. Most land at the Big Sky Hang Gliding Park in Albuquerque, near Paseo del Norte and Eubank.
    Those who want to see the gliders from the Crest should remember that the area is under fire restrictions. The actual launch site is also in a restricted area by the antenna towers, but spectators can readily see the gliders from the Crest House moments after launch.