New Mexico Ranch Owners, State Settle Lawsuit After Raid, Border Crossings Dropping

New Mexico Ranch Owners, State Settle Lawsuit After Raid Headlight, Associated Press 

The state of New Mexico has settled a case with the owner of a ranch for troubled youth six years after the ranch was raided in 2013.

The Deming Headlight reports the state Department of Public Safety settled this month the lawsuit filed by Scott and Collette Chandler, owners of the Tierra Blanca Ranch High Country Youth Program.

The couple and a former Tierra Blanca participant allege that state police used deceit and intimidation to access the ranch. The Chandlers say their reputation and business suffered.

The ranch had been the focus of national media reports in 2013 following allegations of abuse and neglect at the ranch.

Terms of the settlement were not disclosed.

Tierra Blanca is nearly 47 square miles (over 121 square kilometers) of working cattle operation in New Mexico’s Black Range.

Top Immigration Official: Border Crossings Dropping Associated Press

The acting secretary of Homeland Security said he expected 25% fewer migrants to cross the border this month, as officials in Yuma unveiled their latest outdoor facility meant to detain children and families.

Kevin McAleenan said at a brief news conference in Washington that the numbers would still be too high, but it was a start. Typically fewer people cross the border during hot summer months, but there still have been tens of thousands of families and children arriving. Facilities are vastly overcrowded and advocates have decried conditions inside.

Congress sent President Donald Trump a $4.6 billion package on Thursday that bolsters care for those taken into custody. McAleenan praised the move, but also cautioned there was much more work to do.

Ex-Roswell Officer Sentenced To 6 Years For Armed Robbery Alamogordo Daily News, Associated Press 

A former Roswell police officer has been sentenced to prison for her role in a 2016 armed robbery in the city she once patrolled.

The Alamogordo Daily News reports Valerie Palombi recently was sentenced to six years in prison in connection with the robbery of a Subway Restaurant in Roswell.

The 27-year-old Palombi was found guilty of armed robbery, conspiracy to commit armed robbery and two counts of resisting an officer following a three-day jury trial held in February.

Authorities say Palombi and a man robbed $600 from the restaurant.

Palombi will be required to serve at least 85% of her six-year sentence.

She also will be required to serve five years of supervised probation.

Search For Missing Navajo Woman Nears One-Month Mark -Associated Press

A missing Navajo woman’s relatives are nearing the one-month mark in their search for the grandmother and military veteran who police say was last seen at her home in New Mexico.

Police say 59-year-old Cecelia Finona disappeared from her home in Farmington after the evening of May 30. Her daughter said Friday the family has logged searches in Farmington and the nearby Navajo Nation.

Finona’s boyfriend, Jerry Jay, has been accused of using her ATM card in New Mexico, Arizona and Nevada after her disappearance. He is being held in Nevada on a count of unlawful withdrawal from a financial institution.

Farmington Police Chief Steve Hebbe says he believes Jay could provide crucial information for officers.

A defense attorney did not respond to a request for comment.

Roswell Firefighter Being Released From Hospital -Associated Press

Authorities say a New Mexico firefighter who was seriously injured earlier this month in a fireworks explosion is heading home from the hospital.

Robert “Hoby” Bonham of the Roswell Fire Department was hospitalized in Texas after a June 5 fireworks explosion. Bonham is expected Saturday back in Roswell, where the public plans to line the street to welcome him back home.

The exact time of Bonham’s arrival is uncertain. He has worked for the department 18 years.

Bonham was critically injured while moving fireworks material at a New Mexico storage area for a planned show. Twelve firefighters in all were hurt, but most sustained minor injuries.

A department spokesman says firefighter Jeff Stroble remains hospitalized.

New Mexico Governor Seeks Ideas For Recreational Pot Law -Associated Press

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham is launching a new effort to craft legislation that could legalize recreational marijuana sales next year.

The first-year Democratic governor announced Friday her recruitment of health, legal and fiscal policy experts to serve in a new discussion group that provides recommendations on state legalization.

Members of the group include Democratic and Republican legislators who sponsored unsuccessful legislation this year to authorize and tax recreational marijuana sales at state run stores. That proposal passed a House vote but stalled in the state Senate.

Albuquerque City Councilor Pat Davis is leading the so-called cannabis legalization task force.

Other participants represent a labor union, sheriff’s department, health care business, Native American tribe, medical cannabis business, county government association, commercial bank and hospital company.

New Mexico Vacates Last Remaining Death Sentences -Associated Press

The New Mexico Supreme Court has set aside the death penalty for last 2 inmates awaiting execution after the state’s 2009 repeal of capital punishment.

In a divided opinion on Friday, the state’s highest court concluded that sentences against Timothy Allen and Robert Fry were disproportionate in comparison with comparable murder cases.

New Mexico repealed the death penalty in 2009. Allen and Fry remained on death row because of prior convictions.

Congresswoman Concerned With High Costs Of Diabetes Meds -Associated Press

A congressional report on the costs of diabetes medications suggests high prices are burdening taxpayers and patients, including the uninsured and those with Medicare prescription benefits.

U.S. Rep. Deb Haaland released the report Friday while at the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center.

In her district — the most populous area of the state — there are an estimated 17,000 seniors and disabled Medicare beneficiaries who have been diagnosed with diabetes.

The report found the top 50 diabetes medications cost the Medicare program and beneficiaries in the district more than $16 million in 2016. That’s multiple times more than in other countries.

The Albuquerque Democrat says drug makers have raised their prices over the years, but certain federal programs lack the authority to negotiate directly with the manufacturers.

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