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Around New Mexico


Journal and Wire Reports
         
APS Associate Head Put on Paid Leave
        An Albuquerque Public Schools associate superintendent has been placed on paid administrative leave, but APS officials aren't saying why.
        Ruby Etheridge, associate superintendent of middle schools, was placed on leave Friday, Albuquerque Public Schools spokesman Rigo Chavez confirmed.
        Chavez, however, wouldn't say why Etheridge was placed on leave.
       
House GOP Keeps Taylor as Top Leader
        House Republicans are sticking with their leadership team headed by Rep. Tom Taylor of Farmington.
        Taylor was re-elected as GOP leader Saturday during a caucus meeting in Albuquerque. He defeated challenger Larry Larranaga of Albuquerque.
        Rep. Keith Gardner of Roswell was re-elected as GOP whip and Rep. Anna Crook of Clovis was retained as caucus chairwoman.
        Republicans picked up eight seats in the general election, which means Democrats will have a narrow 37-33 majority when the Legislature convenes on Jan. 18.
        Gardner said there was discussion during the meeting about the possibility of Republicans forming a coalition with some Democrats to elect a speaker at the start of the legislative session. However, he said no decisions were made.
        Democrats select their leadership next weekend.
       
Las Vegas Official Guilty of Assault
        LAS VEGAS, N.M. — The city utility director in Las Vegas has pleaded guilty to a felony assault charge for an incident in a local bar when he struck another man with a beer bottle and then hit him repeatedly with his fists.
        Ken Garcia, 45, pleaded guilty to aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, a fourth-degree felony. He was placed on 18 months supervised probation, ordered to pay the victim's costs and write an apology letter.
        He will not be jailed if he completes the probation without incident.
        Garcia remains on the job overseeing the city's natural gas, water, wastewater and solid waste departments.
        Testimony showed that Garcia apparently became angry when the victim stared at a woman he was with.
       
Businessman Seeks Bingaman's Seat
        ALAMOGORDO — An Alamogordo businessman is seeking the Republican nomination to run against incumbent Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., in 2012.
        Bill English has spent most of his career in radio, including jobs at Alamogordo stations KINN and KPSA, before co-founding an Internet service provider in Otero County.
        In 2002, he joined a crowded GOP field of candidates seeking to succeed retiring Rep. Joe Skeen, R-N.M., but withdrew before the primary because of health issues.
        English said he comes from a long line of Republicans and is the son of former Arizona state Rep. William Joseph English. He said he's forming an exploratory committee while building a volunteer base and talking to people about the future.
       
Ex-Legislator Heads Gov.-Elect's Search
        Gov.-elect Susana Martinez has named a former state legislator to lead a search committee for top officials to run the General Services and Information Technology departments.
        Former Sen. Leonard Lee Rawson of Las Cruces is the committee chairman.
        Other members include former General Services Secretary Steve Beffort, who held the post during former Gov. Gary Johnson's administration; and James Hall, who served as Johnson's chief information officer handling computer and technology issues.
        Albuquerque architect Dale Dekker is on the committee along with Clovis City Commissioner Randy Crowder, Darryl Ackley of New Mexico Tech, Albuquerque architect and builder Kevin Reid, and Albuquerque contractors Jim Giannelli and Denise Baker.
        The General Services Department manages state buildings, contracts for goods and services and administers insurance programs.
       
Cancer Center Gets Nearly $4 Million
        The National Cancer Institute has awarded nearly $4 million for a partnership between to the University of New Mexico Cancer Center and Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque.
        The funds come in two separate five-year awards.
        A $1.95 million grant will fund the establishment of a joint Cancer Nanotechnology Platform Partnership. The second grant, for $1.8 million, will pay for a new Cancer Nanotechnology Training Center to train multidisciplinary scientists.
        The state of New Mexico is providing an additional $2 million to build a lab that will support nano-biomaterials and nanomedicine research.
       





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