August 20 First News: New Mexico Unveils New Certification Program To Protect Chile Crop (Listen)

Aug 20, 2014

New Mexico has unveiled a new certification program to protect the reputation of its signature crop: chile. Governor Susana Martinez and other officials launched the program Tuesday at The Range Cafe in Bernalillo, which is the first restaurant to sign up. Martinez telling KSFR the chile industry is “enormously important” to New Mexico. *****082014-Martinez-5 :27***** Martinez says people shouldn't have to ask whether it's really New Mexico-grown chile. The program builds upon on existing law that makes it illegal to advertise any product as New Mexico chile unless it's actually grown in the state. New Mexico Certified Chile joins other well-known trademarked products such as Vidalia Onions and Idaho Potatoes.

On another topic, Governor Martinez says immigrants at a temporary detention center in the state have been given full due process. Martinez said Tuesday that immigrant women and children held at an Artesia center have been allowed a fair chance to argue their case in court. But the Republican blasted the federal government for failing to tackle immigration reform and said people are confused over immigration laws. She made her remark after federal immigration authorities announced this week that they had resumed deporting immigrants housed at the temporary center in Artesia. A quarantine stemming from a few cases of chickenpox recently was lifted. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said in a statement late Monday that the agency resumed removal flights back to Central America from New Mexico on August seventh

A northern New Mexico sheriff indicted for conspiring to violate a motorist's civil rights and falsifying arrest documents is back on the job. Rio Arriba County Manager Tomas Campos said Monday the county's sheriff, Thomas Rodella, is refusing to step down despite the federal indictment and his arrest by FBI agents. And Rodella's lawyer, Robert Gorence, says the sheriff doesn't plan to resign because it would give the impression he did something wrong. Rodella and his son, Thomas, Jr., were arrested in their Espanola homes early Friday for their role in a March traffic stop that injured a motorist. The indictment says the men engaged "in a high-speed pursuit and unreasonable seizure" of a driver identified only as M.T. Both have pleaded not guilty.

The New Mexico Lottery generated nearly 41-million dollars for college scholarships in the most recent fiscal year. However, the lottery said that's down about six-percent from a record-setting 44-million dollars a year earlier. Net lottery ticket sales were 136 million in the 2014 fiscal year ending June 30, compared with 142- million in 2013. The lottery said sales exceeded the agency's budget projections by $4.6 million, despite being lower than the previous year. Lottery officials attributed the revenue decline to smaller Powerball jackpots, which didn't drive ticket sales as high as a year earlier. Lottery sales have declined seven out of the last 10 years. State law requires at least 30 percent of lottery proceeds go to the scholarship program, which helps pay tuition for New Mexico college students.

An alleged million dollar scam could put a Velarde accountant in prison for more than 20 years.  KSFR's Dave Marash has the story.  *****:40*****

TEXT:  Accountant Jasonn Gonzales of Velarde pleaded guilty in federal court in Albuquerque to conspiracy, mail fraud and aggravated identity theft.  A federal indictment accused him and a co-defendant of registering fraudulent companies and of fraudulently filing $1.3 million of fraudulent unemployment claims in the names of real people without their knowledge.  The ABQ Journal reports Gonzales could be sentenced to up to 20 years in prison on the conspiracy charge and each of several mail fraud counts.  For KSFR News, I'm Dave Marash.

New Mexico women's soccer game against Texas Tech has been canceled due to an investigation into possible hazing. University of New Mexico Vice President of Athletics Paul Krebs announced Tuesday that the team's opening game in Lubbock, Texas, scheduled Friday was canceled. He says the alleged hazing took place Sunday night. Officials say neither Texas Tech nor New Mexico will have its season record affected. Krebs says officials are still interviewing student-athletes and gathering details. The Lobos now will open their season on Sept. 5 against Marquette in the Colorado College Invitational in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Santa Fe Weather: Mostly cloudy, with a high near 79 and a 30-percent chance for scattered showers and thunderstorms, mainly after noon. Tonight: Mostly cloudy with a low down to 52 and a 20-percent chance for showers and thunderstorms. Tomorrow: Partly sunny, with a high near 83, with a 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms.