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Local News

  • Market turbulence hits state investments

    By Morgan Lee
    The Associated Press

    SANTA FE — Managers of New Mexico retirement and permanent investment funds say balances are recovering somewhat this month after a punishing start of the year.

    Balances at funds overseen by the Public Employees Retirement Association and Educational Retirement Board fell by roughly $750 million in January, making it increasingly unlikely the funds will meet annual growth targets of more than 7 percent.

  • Colorado man dies in car crash

    The Associated Press

    Authorities say a Colorado man has died after his car went off an interstate in northern New Mexico.

    The New Mexico State Police identified 69-year-old Fidel Puentes-Duenas, of Denver, on Sunday as the lone victim in the single-vehicle crash.

    According to state police, Puentes-Duenas’ Ford pickup was traveling southbound Saturday morning on Interstate 25 in Mora County near Las Vegas.

    Investigators say the pickup started to skid on a patch of ice.

    The car then struck a guardrail and rolled.

  • Wildfire closes schools in Ruidoso

    The Associated Press

    RUIDOSO — Public schools in the village of Ruidoso remained closed on Tuesday after firefighters stopped the advance of a wildfire in the southern New Mexico mountains.

    Ruidoso’s high school and nearby middle school were evacuated Monday due to the approaching fire. Fire crews used the high school parking lot as a staging area, village spokeswoman Kerry Gladden said. The two schools, each with about 600 students, were closed on Tuesday along with two elementary schools also served by a road being used by firefighting equipment.

  • In Brief Mar. 30, 2016

    The Associated Press

    OptumHealth named in suits

    SANTA FE — A health care company that tried to root out fraud in New Mexico’s Medicaid program now faces three lawsuits claiming that it was committing Medicaid fraud itself.

    The New Mexican reports that the lawsuits filed against OptumHealth Inc. say the company mishandled Medicaid payments to mental health providers.

    In one lawsuit, a former OptumHealth employee claims she was fired for reporting concerns about possible Medicaid fraud.

  • AG’s office looking into West matter

    The state Attorney General’s Office has launched an investigation into allegations that West Las Vegas School Board member Anthony “Leroy” Benavidez isn’t qualified to hold elective office because of a felony conviction.

    The AG’s office is looking into the matter at the request of the state Public Education Department, which sent an email to Attorney General Hector Balderas Tuesday afternoon.

  • Woman, unborn child killed in accident
  • Senior Profile - Fleeing to save their lives

    By Beth Urech
    For the Optic

    If you’re looking for Phil Marquez, you’ll probably find him in the pool or next to it at Highlands Natatorium. In the last three years, he’s missed only three days of work. Some folks might get water-logged, but Phil thrives in his aquatic environment.

    When he was a child, Marquez’ parents took him and his four siblings to the pool at the senior center on the west side to learn to swim. That’s Gene, Barbara, Joann, Phil and Anthony.

  • State marks 36-year low in DWI deaths

    By Mary Hudetz
    The Associated Press

    The number of people killed in drunken driving crashes last year decreased by 28 percent in New Mexico, and marked a 36-year low for such deaths in a state that has long struggled with high DWI rates, the governor said Wednesday.

  • Jail Log Mar. 25, 2016

    The following individuals were booked into the San Miguel County Detention Center between March 16 and March 23:

    Ruben Cerda De La Torre, 20, seven-day commitment
    Benjamin Baca, 75, criminal sexual penetration, criminal sexual contact (two counts), kidnapping
    Delilah Gonzales, 33, criminal distribution of dangerous drugs, bench warrant, State of Montana
    Dorian Esquibel, 40, probation violation: failure to report

  • AG seeks judge to try former senator

    By Morgan Lee
    The Associated Press

    SANTA FE — The New Mexico attorney general’s office is pushing for an initial court hearing to present fraud charges against a former state senator after several judges recused themselves from the case.

    A hearing request and revised charges against former Sen. Phil Griego were filed Tuesday in state court in Santa Fe.

    ourt records indicate four judges have bowed out of the case since a criminal complaint was filed in late February against the influential Democrat from San Jose.