Albuquerque Journal: Full story podcast

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This podcast includes most local stories from the Albuquerque Journal. You can listen to the entire story. Check our other podcast for a daily quick headline report.

State, labs seek zero-carbon hydrogen economy
Today at 7:00 AM

By Andy Stiny / Journal Staff Writer   SANTA FE – Several state agencies have agreed in a memo of understanding with New Mexico’s national labs to pursue a zero-carbon hydrogen economy to “reach net zero emissions by 2050 economy wide, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.” The goal is to reduce emissions at least 45% below 2005 levels by 2030 as outlined in an executive order from Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, according to a joint news release from the New Mexico departments of Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources, as well as Economic Development and Environment. Los Alamos and Sandia National...


Ransomware attack on APS is now resolved
Today at 7:00 AM

By Rick Nathanson / Journal Staff Writer   The cyberattack that forced a two-day cancellation of classes last week at Albuquerque Public Schools was in fact a ransomware event in which there was some type of extortion demand. But APS officials are not saying what was demanded. During a virtual news conference late Tuesday, APS Superintendent Scott Elder confirmed the ransomware attack but said the district has been advised by the FBI and cyber security experts not to provide specific details while the investigation continues, including the possible source of the attack. He did say that “it is not uncommon...


Man accused of stealing van full of toys arrested in Albuquerque
Today at 7:00 AM

By Joshua Kellogg / Farmington Daily Times   FARMINGTON – The man accused of stealing a Salvation Army van full of toy donations was arrested in Albuquerque earlier this month and is being held at the San Juan County Adult Detention Center while awaiting a hearing on his alleged probation violations. Anthony Crespin, 37, was charged Dec. 18 with a fourth-degree felony count of unlawful taking of a motor vehicle, according to court documents. On Dec. 14, Crespin allegedly stole a Toyota minivan that belonged to the Salvation Army from the parking lot of a Farmington Walmart, according to The...


Gallup librarian adds award to her catalog
Today at 7:00 AM

By Journal Staff Report   As one patron put it: Tammi Moe “has dissolved the walls of the library.” Moe, the director of libraries and museums for the city of Gallup, is among the 10 winners of the I Love My Librarian Award for her work increasing community engagement at the Octavia Fellin Public Library. The award winners were selected for the American Library Association recognition out of more than 1,300 nominations submitted by library users nationwide. “Tammi’s leadership is kind, supportive, engaged, and thoughtful,” said one of her nominators as cited in an association news release announcing the winners...


Salary hikes proposed for governor, top officials
Today at 6:00 AM

By Dan Boyd / Journal Capitol Bureau Chief   SANTA FE – New Mexico’s governor, attorney general, secretary of state and other statewide elected officials could get a large pay bump in 2023 under a plan endorsed in the run-up to this year’s 30-day session by a key legislative panel. Recent proposed salary increases for elected officials have stalled at the Roundhouse, but backers of this year’s proposal say it’s time to bring state pay levels for such officials more in line with salary rates in other states. Under the bill endorsed this week by the Legislative Finance Committee, the...


Neurophysiologist hops to new career leading New Mexico Brewers Guild
Today at 4:00 AM

By Elaine D. Briseño / Journal Staff Writer   The New Mexico Brewers Guild board has chosen native New Mexican and neurophysiologist Tess Vidalis to head its organization. She’s the second woman to hold the position and succeeds Leah Black, who stepped down at the end of 2021 to focus on her consulting business. The executive director has a hefty role whose responsibilities include organizing events, running social media channels, fundraising, networking, financial oversight, updating the website and lobbying for policies and legislation that benefit the brewing industry. Vidalis said working in the high-pressure environment of an operating room, where...


Man charged in 2021 ABQ homicide
Today at 3:00 AM

By Matthew Reisen / Journal Staff Writer   A man is charged with shooting two men, one fatally, during a fight late last year in an East Central neighborhood. Juan “Triste” Pacheco, 37, is charged with an open count of murder, tampering with evidence, felon in possession of a firearm and aggravated battery with a deadly weapon in the Nov. 13 death of 19-year-old Joseph Morales. Pacheco was arrested by Albuquerque police Tuesday evening and booked into the Metropolitan Detention Center. According to a criminal complaint filed in Metropolitan Court: Police responded around 4:50 a.m. to the shooting near Dallas...


International District ‘warming station’ provides shelter, other assistance
Today at 2:00 AM

By Jessica Dyer / Journal Staff Writer   Pastor Joanne Landry spent years working to open a new day shelter — a dream she finally realized last summer when the Compassion Services Center launched in an old portable classroom across the street from her church. But the center had been operating only a few months when Landry decided she had to do more than provide her unhoused clients with meals, outdoor camping showers and a few hours’ respite from the streets. A longtime pastor at the Interfaith Bible Center in the International District, Landry saw too many people spending their...


Masks trigger tension on Senate’s opening day
Today at 2:00 AM

By Dan McKay / Journal Staff Writer   SANTA FE — The bang of the gavel usually opens a day of ceremony and introductions at the Capitol. But tension erupted almost immediately Tuesday in the state Senate — where members clashed over requiring masks in the chamber and then whether to remove Sen. Jacob Candelaria from the powerful Senate Finance Committee. Neither dispute was settled. At one point, Candelaria stopped by the desk of Sen. Michael Padilla — his proposed replacement on Senate Finance — for an exchange that wasn’t picked up by the microphone. Padilla put up his hands...


Judge orders APS to release requested records, pay damages
Today at 1:00 AM

By Olivier Uyttebrouck / Journal Staff Writer   A judge has ordered Albuquerque Public Schools to turn over information requested under the state’s public records law or appear in court Feb. 2 to contest the order. District Judge Lisa Chavez Ortega also ordered APS to pay up to 0 in damages for each day the district failed to respond. Michelle Jenson of Rio Rancho filed a petition earlier this month in 2nd Judicial District Court alleging that she received no responses from APS to three requests she made under the state’s Inspection of Public Records Act, or IPRA. The law...


Police ID 3 slain in recent homicides
Today at 1:00 AM

By Matthew Reisen / Journal Staff Writer   Detectives released the names of two men and a woman killed in separate incidents across Albuquerque. Gilbert Gallegos, an Albuquerque police spokesman, said the deaths of Levi Ashford, 30, Angel Gonzales, 22, and Brenda Allen, 52, are being investigated as homicides. No arrests have been made. The first two deaths happened within hours of each other. On Jan. 12, just before midnight, police responding to an alert from a gunshot detection device found Ashford shot to death outside the Albuquerque Inn near Central and Pennsylvania. Hours later, officers responding to reports of...


Rain, snow possible for NM this week
Today at 1:00 AM

By Theresa Davis / Journal Staff Writer   Light rain and snow is possible across much of New Mexico this week, and the precipitation could make road travel difficult as temperatures fluctuate. Clay Anderson, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in Albuquerque, said the state’s northeast corner will likely see the coldest temperatures. “There’s potential for slick roads with a little bit of snow, or perhaps a little bit of ice, across the higher terrain in the north and across lower elevations of northeast New Mexico,” Anderson said. Wednesday is expected to reach 50 degrees in Albuquerque, and...


Colonel at Kirtland tapped for Pentagon position
Yesterday at 10:00 PM

By Ryan Boetel / Journal Staff Writer   A high-ranking Space Force Guardian overseeing a directorate at Kirtland Air Force Base has been tapped for a major Space Force position at the Pentagon. Col. Eric Felt, the director of the Air Force Research Laboratory Space Vehicles Directorate, will be the next U.S. Space Force deputy executive director for the Space Architecture, Science and Technology Directorate. His assignment starts in July. Felt has been leading the directorate at Kirtland since July 2018, where he oversees a team of more than 1,000 military, civilian and on-site contractors who research military space science...


AFR IDs man found dead in West Central fire
Yesterday at 10:00 PM

By Matthew Reisen / Journal Staff Writer   Albuquerque Fire Rescue identified the man found dead inside a torched office building early Monday morning after he allegedly set the fire on West Central. AFR spokesman Lt. Tom Ruiz said the body of 57-year-old Patrick Linton was found after firefighters extinguished a blaze at an office building near Central and the river. “It is believed that the fire was intentionally set by Mr. Linton however (it) is not being classified as arson,” he said. Ruiz said the Office of the Medical Investigator will determine how Linton died. Court records over the...


State announces at-home testing program
Yesterday at 9:00 PM

By Ryan Boetel / Journal Staff Writer   New Mexico state officials announced this week a new state-run, at-home COVID-19 testing program would be rolling out soon, though details of how the program will work weren’t immediately clear. On Monday, the state announced that it was expecting to receive 1 million rapid antigen tests soon that will distributed to individuals free of charge. A California company, iHealth, makes the tests the state will be using, according to a Department of Health spokeswoman. About 400,000 have already been secured and the rest are scheduled to arrive next week, according to a...


APS institutes more COVID restrictions amid omicron surge
Yesterday at 8:00 PM

By Rick Nathanson / Journal Staff Writer   In response to the surging number of COVID omicron cases, the Albuquerque Public Schools has instituted a number of enhanced restrictions, including the wearing of masks outdoors as well as indoors, having students face one direction in classrooms and in cafeterias, limiting use of drinking fountains to filling water bottles and prohibiting spectators at school events, including athletics. The restrictions go into effect Wednesday and will remain in place for two weeks, said APS Chief Operating Officer Gabriella Blakey. “It’s a plan that we’ve had in place since October that if a...


Watch live: Governor delivers State of the State address
Yesterday at 8:00 PM

By Dan Boyd / Journal Capitol Bureau Chief   Video courtesy of NMPBS SANTA FE — As protesters for several different causes rallied outside, New Mexico lawmakers kicked off a 30-day legislative session Tuesday under the shadow of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has prepared an ambitious agenda for the session and is expected to deliver her State of the State address this afternoon, after a newly-appointed House member is sworn into office and other legislative housekeeping. The Democratic governor is expected to focus on crime, voting rights and early childhood eduction in her speech, which will...


Stakes high for those held prior to trial
Yesterday at 6:00 AM

By Elise Kaplan / Journal Staff Writer   In January 2020, a dramatic scene unfolded at the intersection of Coors and Bluewater NW. Witnesses told Albuquerque police the occupants of two trucks were firing at each other and then one crashed into a bystander’s red SUV. The other driver fled the scene and was not found. Darin Gonzales, then 19, was taken into custody and charged with shooting at or from a motor vehicle, receiving stolen property and tampering with evidence. Prosecutors asked for him to be held pending trial, saying his “conduct is dangerous because the defendant was allegedly...


Former school employee convicted in sale of 3,000 stolen iPods
Yesterday at 6:00 AM

By Joshua Kellogg / Farmington Daily Times   FARMINGTON – A former Central Consolidated School District employee was sentenced to federal prison for her involvement in a multimillion-dollar scheme that involved stealing and then reselling Apple iPods on eBay that were meant for Native American students in the district. Kristy Stock, 46, of Waterflow will serve a year and six months and pay restitution of at least 0,000 following a Jan. 11 sentencing hearing in a Baltimore, Maryland, federal court, according to a U.S. Department of Justice news release and court documents. Stock was convicted of federal charges of interstate...


APD arrests third suspect in July homicide Downtown
Yesterday at 6:00 AM

By Elise Kaplan / Journal Staff Writer   Albuquerque Police Department detectives have arrested the third suspect in the fatal shooting of a 19-year-old Downtown last summer. Darryus Chavez, 22, is charged with murder, conspiracy, and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Asad Moody, 20, and Jonathan Martinez, 21, face the same charges and Isney Lafirme, 21, is charged with conspiracy. Martinez is the only one still on the loose. Police say on July 9 the suspects had gone Downtown, armed with an AK-47, looking for the men who had beaten up Moody six days earlier. They apparently mistakenly believed Trevonte...


Man sentenced in fatal armed robbery
Yesterday at 5:00 AM

By Olivier Uyttebrouck / Journal Staff Writer   A judge sentenced Omar Cordero to two years of supervised probation for his role in a 2018 robbery that led to the shooting death of 20-year-old Clifford Patterson. Cordero, 20, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit armed robbery, 2nd Judicial District Court Judge Bruce Fox said before sentencing Thursday. Police said Cordero was one of five high school students who planned to rob Patterson during a drug deal on April 20, 2018, in Southwest Albuquerque. Criminal cases are pending against three of Cordero’s alleged co-conspirators. Patterson was in the driver’s seat of...


Rule change doubles number of cannabis plants for growers
Yesterday at 5:00 AM

By Stephen Hamway / Journal Staff Writer   An emergency state-level rule change doubled the number of cannabis plants that licensed growers can cultivate at one time, but some in the industry are concerned that the change is too little, too late to meet demand for the start of recreational sales in April. “Building the infrastructure to double plant count could take months to years for most operators, and plants put in the ground today won’t be ready in April,” said Ben Lewinger, executive director of the New Mexico Cannabis Chamber of Commerce, in a prepared statement. The emergency rule...


Lawmakers scrutinize explosive growth of early childhood trust fund
Yesterday at 1:00 AM

By Dan Boyd / Journal Capitol Bureau Chief   SANTA FE — New Mexico’s revenue bonanza is leading to some unintended windfalls. Take, for instance, a state early childhood trust fund that was created in 2020 and is now projected to balloon to more than billion by 2025 due to robust tax collections on oil and natural gas production. That’s prompted lawmakers to consider passing legislation during the 30-day session that begins Tuesday to increase next year’s distribution from the trust fund and make it easier to use the fund for other child-related programs. “No one ever imagined the...


APS students return to classrooms Tuesday
Yesterday at 1:00 AM

By Rick Nathanson / Journal Staff Writer   After a two-day cancellation of classes due to a cyberattack, the 75,000 students enrolled in the Albuquerque Public Schools will return on Tuesday, the district announced. “While we are still dealing with the cyberattack that forced schools to close last week, we have found ways to work around the issues so that students can return to learning,” APS officials said in a notice posted Monday afternoon on the district’s website. “We will be able to take attendance, contact parents in emergencies, and assure that students are picked up from school by authorized...


Screening awaits NM Capitol visitors
Yesterday at 1:00 AM

By Dan McKay / Journal Staff Writer   SANTA FE — Visitors to the Roundhouse for opening day will face metal detectors and health screening as lawmakers begin their first regular session since the building reopened last year to the public. Firearms and deadly weapons are prohibited, though small pocket knives are fine. Masks are required, and visitors should be prepared to show identification and up-to-date COVID-19 vaccinations, unless they have an approved exemption and a negative PCR test within the last 48 hours. A booster dose is necessary for those who are eligible. Legislative leaders went over the rules...


UNM tapped for Air Force space program
Yesterday at 12:00 AM

By Ryan Boetel / Journal Staff Writer   Space University Lobos? The University of New Mexico was one of a handful of universities tapped to be part of a new Air Force effort to increase academic perspectives in the development of technology for space. The Air Force Research Laboratory last month announced the winning teams for the Space University Research Initiative, or SURI program. UNM will have a presence on a team formed to tackle space logistics and mobility issues. Howard Choset, of Carnegie Mellon University, was the principal investigator on the three- to five-year research project, along with partners...


City, county of Santa Fe seek resolution of annexation issues
Last Monday at 11:00 PM

By Andy Stiny / Journal Staff Writer   SANTA FE — Unresolved annexation issues from 2008 between the city and county of Santa Fe that have left confusion for some residents are on track to be negotiated and resolved following a joint resolution approved last week by the Santa Fe City Council. Last Wednesday’s action appointed City Councilors Signe Lindell and Jamie Cassutt to work with County Commissioners Anna Hansen and Hank Hughes to negotiate a non-binding agreement on annexations to be presented to the council and commission by April 13. Even after a court-ordered Settlement Annexation Agreement in 2008...


Body found in rubble of charred building
Last Monday at 9:00 PM

By Rick Nathanson / Journal Staff Writer   Investigators looking through the rubble of a West Central Avenue office building fire Monday morning discovered a body. Albuquerque Fire Rescue crews were dispatched to the fire about 1 a.m. at 2626 Central SW, where they found smoke and flames coming from the building. Just as they were about to make entry, heavy flames broke through the roof in multiple places, said AFR spokesman Lt. Tom Ruiz. Hours later, with the fire extinguished, AFR investigators entered the building where the body was found in the charred rubble, Ruiz said. No other information...


Vintage meets sustainable at new Albuquerque boutique
Last Monday at 8:00 AM

By Pilar Martinez / Journal Staff Writer   Prev 1of5 Next With retro floral wallpaper and racks of vintage clothing and home goods, Albuquerque’s newest vintage store offers consumers a chance to buy eclectic items sustainably. Located just next to the El Vado Motel, Swan Song, at 2500 Central SW, opened in late November. Owner Vanessa Dagavarian said she started thrifting vintage clothing as a teenager, but the idea to open her own vintage store didn’t come to her until last fall — and just three months later, Swan Song opened its doors. Dagavarian said she sourced her inventory by...


New Mexico front and center in nationwide debate over hydrogen
Last Monday at 8:00 AM

By Kevin Robinson-Avila / Journal Staff Writer   When this year’s legislative session begins tomorrow, the New Mexico Roundhouse will become ground zero for a roaring local and national debate about whether hydrogen can, or should, play a role in today’s efforts to combat climate change. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham is promoting a newly drafted Hydrogen Hub Act as “signature” legislation in the 30-day session, proposing a slate of tax breaks to help build out an entirely new hydrogen industry in New Mexico from the ground up. The bill would elevate the production and use of “clean hydrogen” as a...


Are 4-day work weeks feasible? Business leaders weigh in
Last Monday at 8:00 AM

By Matt Hollinshead / Rio Rancho Observer   The concept and feasibility of four-day work weeks has been discussed in recent weeks, but it’s far from being a new idea. “They used to use it, particularly in the (1960s) and early ’70s. From what I read about it, the concept was certain employees would be off on Friday to go play golf or whatever, and they used to bring in what they used to call a ‘Girl Friday’ that would handle their desk,” said Rio Rancho Regional Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Jerry Schalow. “Before, it was very unique...


IRS needs auditing power to close the ‘tax gap’
Last Monday at 8:00 AM

By James Hamill / For the Journal   As the father of four adult daughters, I know as well as anyone that women are capable of accomplishing anything. I try to remind them that men, on occasion, can also achieve success. Former Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was married to Marty Ginsburg. Justice Ginsburg was well-known. Marty Ginsburg was a well-known tax attorney. Janet Yellen is the 78th treasury secretary of the United States. This is an important position. Alexander Hamilton, the first treasury secretary, has his own musical. Secretary Yellen’s husband is a well-known economist. He even won...


Natural resource agencies request funding boosts
Last Monday at 6:00 AM

By Theresa Davis / Journal Staff Writer   As New Mexico legislators prepare to convene a 30-day session largely devoted to budgeting, natural resource agencies are asking the state to fund executive budget recommendations over more conservative proposals from a key legislative panel. Brittany Fallon, policy director for New Mexico Wild, said conservation groups were “thrilled” when lawmakers directed .5 million in federal pandemic funds in December to state parks, watershed projects, outdoor recreation and abandoned well cleanup. “But without staff funding, the agencies are not going to be able to spend that money in a timely way, because they’re...


At 470 killed, traffic deaths return to the bad old days
Last Monday at 6:00 AM

By D'Val Westphal / Journal Road Warrior   A DEATH-PLUS EVERY DAY: Well the final 2021 traffic fatality numbers are in, and they are enough to make you seriously consider hunkering down and never leaving home again. Not only did 470 people die on New Mexico roads last year – more than one every day of the year – but we shattered the pedestrian death tally with 99 killed. For a little perspective, according to the data compiled by the state Department of Transportation and University of New Mexico, annual traffic deaths have not surpassed the low 400s since 2007....


Drawing history
Last Monday at 5:00 AM

By Andy Stiny / Journal Staff Writer   SANTA FE – He uses a cane and moves slowly but the mordant wit guiding the pen that launched thousands of political cartoons skewering the powerful and despotic is still evident. He’s taken on Putin, Nixon, the Clintons, Kim Jong-un and countless other politicians and dictators. The unique character of his cartoons, that at one time were syndicated in an estimated 500 newspapers worldwide, is unmistakable. Pat Oliphant, 86, sips coffee in his Santa Fe home studio as he tells a reporter he has not drawn for several years after his eyesight...


University of Va. holds largest collection of cartoonist’s art
Last Monday at 5:00 AM

By Andy Stiny / Journal Staff Writer   SANTA FE – After several years of negotiations, the University of Virginia in Charlottesville was gifted about 7,000 political cartoons and other art by Pulitzer Prize-winning political cartoonist and Santa Fe resident Pat Oliphant in 2018. “It really amounted to kind of a time capsule of Pat’s work from the … late ’60s until the last drawing he did in 2014,” said university professor Elizabeth Hutton Turner, in a recent telephone interview. That makes the university the largest repository of his work and his professional papers “and all the elements relating to...


Former lobbyist finds new calling in cannabis
Last Monday at 5:00 AM

By Stephen Hamway / Journal Staff Writer   Matt Muñoz is so passionate about his alma mater, University of New Mexico, that he stuck around well after graduation. Starting as a student intern, Muñoz worked on UNM’s government relations team for about a decade. The job meant long days in Santa Fe when the state Legislature was in session, holding long meetings with a variety of constituents to help fund massive capital projects at the state’s largest four-year university. “Every time I would try to leave, it seemed like UNM kept dragging me back,” he said. Muñoz lobbied f...


Justice, sort of, is coming after deadly crash
Last Monday at 5:00 AM

By Joline Gutierrez Krueger / Journal Staff Writer     It has taken more than five years and five months, but the day of judicial reckoning is almost here for a Peña Blanca motorist accused of slamming into a group of motorcyclists, causing losses of life and limb, and fueling anger and despair over how long this case has languished. More anger and despair – and perhaps relief – may come Tuesday when Maryann O’Quinn is expected to accept a plea agreement that essentially lets her walk away from the carnage and death wrought that day with little more than...


$600M project puts NM town at center of hydrogen debate
Last Monday at 5:00 AM

By Kevin Robinson-Avila / Journal Staff Writer   A parade of state officials, including Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, have toured the coal-fired Escalante Generating Station near Grants since last summer to learn first-hand about industry plans to convert the facility into a hydrogen-based power plant. The 0 million effort could make Escalante the nation’s first successful coal-to-hydrogen conversion project, elevating New Mexico – and the tiny town of Prewitt where the plant is located – into a leadership role in hydrogen development in the U.S. and beyond. Texas-based Newpoint Gas LLC and natural gas pipeline operator Tallgrass Energy plan to...


18-year arrested in uncle’s death
Last Monday at 4:00 AM

By Ryan Boetel / Journal Staff Writer   Albuquerque police detectives arrested Domenic Mora, 18, on suspicion of shooting and killing his relative during a family argument over internet service last week, police announced Sunday. A Crime Stoppers tip led to the arrest of Mora, who last week was charged with an open count of murder in the death of Daniel Trujillo, who was shot and killed at a family home in Southwest Albuquerque on Wednesday. Police had been called to the home near Unser and Arenal that night by a woman who said her grandson had shot and killed...