Saturday, January 29, 2011
Around New Mexico
Gov. Rescinds Regent Process
Gov. Susana Martinez says she won't abide by a "convoluted" university regent selection process mandated by Bill Richardson during his final days as governor.
Richardson's executive order would have required new regents to be chosen by the governor only after consultation with a committee of university faculty and community members.
Martinez said Friday she rescinded the order because it would add unnecessary bureaucracy to a selection process that works.
Currently, the governor makes recommendations to the Legislature without an advisory committee.
Richardson ordered the new system after faculty Senates at the University of New Mexico, New Mexico State University and New Mexico Tech endorsed it last year.
Cibola Sheriff Probes Death
Detectives from the Cibola County Sheriff's Office are trying to piece together why a young family spent the night in an SUV that eventually caught fire, possibly killing the mother.
Deputies responded to an emergency call shortly before 8 a.m. Friday on N.M. 53 near Ramah, Detective Tony Mace said.
They found a 10-year-old girl and two boys, ages 11 and 13, who had suffered minor burns and smoke inhalation. Also outside the torched, newer-model Chevy Trailblazer was the children's mother, a woman in her mid-40s.
Authorities have not released her name, but said the sheriff's office investigated the family about two years ago.
Details of that investigation were also not released.
Now, detectives are trying to figure out why the family was in the car all night and what killed the mother.
Police Cite School Bus Driver
Rio Rancho police have cited a school bus driver for careless driving in connection with a Jan. 5 incident where the bus she was driving struck a 9-year-old boy and injured him.
Nubia Stewart, 54, has been placed on administrative leave by Rio Rancho Public Schools, and an investigation by the district is ongoing, according to district spokeswoman Kim Vesely.
The boy told police he began to cross in front of the bus when he saw it roll forward. The bus hit his chest causing him to fall on his back and roll under the bus, a Rio Rancho police report states.
The boy said he asked Stewart to call 911, but she instead loaded him back on the bus and continued to other stops.
Stewart later told police that she was distracted by two girls on the bus and released the emergency brake so that the girls would feel the bus moving and sit down. She checked to see if they sat down and when she looked forward she saw the boy go under the bus.
Martinez Taps Arizona Teacher
An Arizona schoolteacher and former health worker is Gov. Susana Martinez's choice to head the Department of Aging and Long-Term Services.
Retta Ward, 57, teaches biology and chairs the science department at Cactus Shadows High School in Cave Creek, Ariz.
She has been at the school since 2000; before that she briefly managed the arthritis program at the Arizona Department of Health Services.
Ward got her bachelor's degree from the University of New Mexico and was with Albuquerque Public Schools from 1986-95. She got her master's degree in public health from the University of Arizona in 1999.
Martinez said Ward's diverse record of service "has given her the right tools to take on this challenge."
Pork N' Brew Moved to July
If you're licking your chops in anticipation of Rio Rancho's annual March barbecue extravaganza, you'll have to wait until summer.
City councilors voted Wednesday to shift the Pork N' Brew event from its traditional spring date, expand it from two to three days, and combine it with other city-supported July 4 weekend celebrations.
Pork N' Brew is a Kansas City Barbecue Society-sanctioned event where dozens of barbecue chefs from around the country compete for prizes.
The event typically includes kids games and live entertainment.
This will be the ninth time the event has been in Rio Rancho.
Last year, the event drew 27,000 people from several states.