All posts by Associated Press

Police: Suspect arrested in fatal shooting of Artesia man

ARTESIA, N.M. (AP) — Authorities in Artesia say a suspect has been arrested in the fatal shooting of a man following an argument over alleged stolen property. Artesia police say 25-year-old Ruben Lopez was arrested Tuesday without incident. They say 34-year-old Ronald McLean was shot once in the head around 9 p.m. Monday. Police say they are continuing to obtain testimony from witnesses of the shooting. It was unclear Tuesday if Lopez has a lawyer yet. The Artesia Daily Press reports that Lopez was previously arrested in February 2015 on charges of aggravated battery with a firearm. Lopez was released on probation from the Eddy County Detention Center in October 2016.
Filed under: Crime, Home, New Mexico, News

New Mexico elections agency defends campaign restrictions

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico campaign finance regulators are sticking to conclusions that drastically limit Republican Congressman Steve Pearce’s access to federal campaign funds as he runs for governor. Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver filed a response Tuesday to a lawsuit by Pearce that seeks access to $1 million in campaign contributions held in a federally registered account. The Secretary of State’s Office reiterates that only $11,000 can be transferred by Pearce to his campaign for governor, based on a New Mexico law that limits campaign contributions to $5,500 for the primary and general election cycles. Attorneys for Pearce say he followed federal limits on individual contributions that are more stringent than state restrictions. Agency spokesman Joey Keefe says Pearce has failed to prove allegations that his campaign has been irreparably harmed.
Filed under: Elections, Home, New Mexico, News, Politics & Government

Power is back on in Florida, but utilities still under fire

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — After a massive restoration effort, most of Florida has power 10 days after Hurricane Irma knocked out electricity to nearly two-thirds of the state, mostly because of improvements made to the power grid since Hurricane Wilma 12 years ago. But that may do little to stem a growing backlash over the widespread outages that caused misery across the state and sparked sharp criticism from residents and elected officials. One top utility official apologized this week for how long it took to bring back electricity. Adding to the furor: Nine people who were in a Florida nursing home died amid sweltering heat after the home lost power for its air conditioner. In the immediate aftermath of Irma’s fury, some 6.7 million homes and businesses were without power. By Wednesday, that number had dropped to more than 75,000. The pace of restoring power, however, did little to comfort those without it. Chris Galardi, who lives in a beachside town a few miles north of Daytona Beach, said he hasn’t noticed any visible signs of improvement in Florida’s electrical grid, and it doesn’t seem to work any better than it used to. Galardi, a software support technician who normally works from home, hasn’t seen any new utility equipment go up in his area since crews replaced poles knocked down by Hurricane Matthew in 2016. Galardi said the results have been the same from Matthew and Irma: Five days without power. “The proof is in the pudding,” he said. “It went down pretty quickly.” Despite the frustrations, people are waiting less time after improvements since Wilma and Hurricane Charley in 2004. Utilities spent billions of dollars “hardening” the Florida power grid by replacing wooden poles for power lines with concrete or steel poles, elevating substations and taking other steps to prepare for hurricane-level winds and flooding. Those changes helped Florida’s power grid withstand the destructive power of Hurricane Irma, utility experts said. “Without the storm hardening, we would have seen much more prevalent structural damage,” said Eric Silagy, the CEO of Florida Power & Light, the state’s largest utility. Wilma walloped the state’s power resources and splintered thousands of utility poles, keeping the lights off for weeks in some parts of the state. Only 25 percent of Florida Power & Light’s customers had their power restored within two days of that storm. Company officials said they restored power to more than 50 percent of their customers in the 48 hours following Irma. The city of Coral Gables in Miami-Dade County sent a letter to Florida Power & Light last Friday, saying the utility was “inadequately prepared” to respond to the storm even though the utility said it brought in more than 22,000 utility workers from around the county. State legislators in central Florida took aim at Duke Energy, saying that customers in Seminole County were losing their patience with the company. The South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported Sunday that some retirees resorted to hanging a sign outside their complex that read: “Help Still No Power.” “It’s horrible, horrible,” Barbara Blumlo-Driham, 68, told the newspaper. “A nightmare.” Harry Sideris, Duke Energy Florida president, earlier this week apologized for “not meeting our customers’ expectations.” The company came under fire for not meeting its initial restoration predictions. “They expect and deserve better from us,” Sideris said. “Our customers are angry and frustrated that we could not provide them better information.” Florida power companies may be victim of their own success in preparing for and responding to hurricanes, argued energy analyst Christi Tezak. “Folks in Florida don’t have a full understanding of how badly they’ve been clocked. Everybody thinks their power should come on as soon the wind stops. It doesn’t work that way,” said Tezak, managing director of ClearView Energy Partners, a Washington-based research firm. “You’re hot, you’re grouchy — no sleep — you want your air conditioning back,” Tezak added. “The truth is (power) came online much faster in this storm than in Wilma.”
Filed under: Home, National, World, News

Police: Man steals green chile burger after slapping victim

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) – A New Mexico man is facing charges after police say he randomly slapped a customer then stole the man’s green chile cheeseburger before dashing away. Santa Fe police arrested 25-year-old Anthony Frazier on Sunday near the Shake Foundation where authorities say the bizarre attack occurred. According to a criminal complaint, the victim says Frazier walked up to him to dance then slapped him across his face. The victim says Frazier then stole his green chile cheeseburger and ran from the scene. Witnesses say Frazier also had a belt around his neck. Police later caught up with Frazier and arrested him for robbery after the victim identified him as the alleged burger thief. It was not known if he had an attorney.
Filed under: Home, New Mexico, News

Powerful earthquake jolts Mexico, sways buildings in capital

MEXICO CITY (AP) — A powerful earthquake jolted central Mexico on Tuesday, cracking building facades and scattering rubble on streets in the capital on the anniversary of a devastating 1985 quake. The quake caused buildings to sway sickeningly in Mexico City and sent panicked office workers streaming into the streets, but the full extent of the damage was not yet clear. The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake had a magnitude of 7.1 and was centered near the Puebla state town of Raboso, about 76 miles (123 kilometers) southeast of Mexico City. Puebla Gov. Tony Galil tweeted that there had been damaged buildings in the city of Cholula including collapsed church steeples. In Mexico City, thousands of people fled office buildings and hugged to calm each other along the central Reforma Avenue as alarms blared, and traffic stopped around the Angel of Independence monument. In the Roma neighborhood, which was struck hard by the 1985 quake, piles of stucco and brick fallen from building facades littered the streets. Two men calmed a woman seated on a stool in the street, blood trickling form a small wound on her knee. At a nearby market, a worker in a hardhat walked around the outside warning people not to smoke as a smell of gas filled the air. Market stall vendor Edith Lopez, 25, said she was in a taxi a few blocks away when the quake struck. She said she saw glass bursting out of the windows of some buildings. She was anxiously trying to locate her children, whom she had left in the care of her disabled mother. Pictures fell from office building walls, objects were shaken off of flat surfaces and computer monitors toppled over. Some people dove for cover under desks. Local media broadcast video of whitecap waves churning the city’s normally placid canals of Xochimilco as boats bobbed up and down. Earlier in the day workplaces across the city held preparation drills on the anniversary of the 1985 quake, a magnitude 8.1 shake, which killed thousands of people and devastated large parts of Mexico City. Much of Mexico City is built on former lakebed, and the soil is known to amplify the effects of earthquakes even hundreds of miles away.
Filed under: Home, National, World, News, Photo Galleries Tagged: App Alert

Kohl’s to start accepting Amazon returns at some stores

MENOMONEE FALLS, Wis. (AP) — Kohl’s, which is opening some in-store Amazon shops, will start accepting returns for the online retailer at some of its stores in Los Angeles and Chicago starting next month. Kohl’s Corp. said Tuesday it will pack and ship eligible Amazon return items for free at the 82 stores offering the service. There will be designated parking spots near the Kohl’s store entrances for those doing Amazon returns. While the service will allow Kohl’s customers to skip their local post office for Amazon returns, it also gets them into Kohl’s stores — where they might then shop. The department store had previously announced plans to open 1,000-square-foot Amazon areas in 10 of its stores in Chicago and Los Angeles that will sell Amazon Echos, Fire tablets and other gadgets. Shoppers can also have an Amazon employee come to their home and install a device or suggest smart home products to buy. Best Buy recently launched a similar program, which sends its employees to customer’s homes to recommend electronics. Department stores have struggled as more people shop online or at discount stores. But despite the growth of online shopping, most retail transactions still take place in physical stores. Analysts have said that being partners with Amazon will give Kohl’s a way to differentiate itself from other department stores and lure in shoppers looking to buy electronics. For Amazon, it gets its devices in front of more people to try them. Earlier this year, the owner of Sears and Kmart said it would sell its Kenmore-branded appliances on Amazon.com for the first time.
Filed under: Home, National, World, News

Albuquerque police: Man accused of arson, criminal damage

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Police in Albuquerque say they’ve arrested a man on suspicion of arson and criminal damage to property. They say 32-year-old Joseph Grubb was taken into custody Monday morning outside the Cesar Chavez Community Center. A woman called 911 to say boyfriend was inside her vehicle and threatening to harm himself. Police say when they arrived at the scene, Grubb lit his shirt on fire and ignited the interior of the car before exiting the vehicle and jumping onto the roof of the community center. He was later arrested without incident. Police say last October, Grubb climbed onto the roof of an Albuquerque building and threw large pieces of the air conditioning units into traffic and at officers. That resulted in a nearly 12-hour SWAT situation.
Filed under: Albuquerque - Metro, Home, News

Beer flowing in Munich: Thousands head to Oktoberfest

MUNICH (AP) — The beer is flowing again at Munich’s fabled Oktoberfest.

Mayor Dieter Reiter inserted the tap into the first keg Saturday with two blows of his hammer and the cry of “O’zapft is” — “It’s tapped.”

About 6 million visitors are expected to come to Munich for the 184th Oktoberfest, which runs through Oct. 3.

The prices for a big mug of beer have gone up again and visitors have to pay 10.95 euros (about $13) per glass — 25 cents more than last year.

Revelers also face increased security precautions because of possible attacks. Huge flower pots block the entrances to the fest’s lawn, more video cameras are installed and a new loudspeaker system has been activated to guide visitors off the festival’s grounds if necessary.

Filed under: Home, National, World, News

Senate GOP musters final push to erase Obama health care law

WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Republicans revved up a final push Monday to scuttle President Barack Obama’s health care law, an effort that faces low odds of success and just a two-week window to pass. Adding more risk, senators would be in the dark about the bill’s impact on Americans, since the Congressional Budget Office says crucial estimates won’t be ready in time for a vote. Democrats backed by doctors, hospitals, and patients’ groups mustered an all-out effort to finally smother the GOP drive, warning of millions losing coverage and others facing skimpier policies. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer went further, saying the partisan measure threatened the spirit of cooperation between President Donald Trump and Democratic leaders embodied in a recent budget deal and progress on immigration. “After two weeks of thinking bipartisanship, that flickering candle, might gain some new light, this is the last thing we need,” Schumer, D-N.Y., said on the Senate floor. Two months after one of the GOP’s top priorities crashed on the Senate floor, the revived attempt to uproot Obama’s law is being led by GOP Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Louisiana’s Bill Cassidy. Their 140-page bill would replace much of that statute with block grants to states and give them wide leeway on spending the money. It would let states ease coverage requirements under that 2010 law, end Obama’s mandates that most Americans buy insurance and that companies offer coverage to workers, and cut and reshape Medicaid. A victory would let Trump and Republican leaders claim redemption on their “repeal and replace” effort. While the House approved its version of the bill in May, the drive collapsed when the GOP-led Senate defeated three proposals for scrapping Obama’s 2010 overhaul in July. “This bill would keep our promise to the American people, and finally give us the health care we all deserve,” Cassidy told supporters Monday in an email. Senate leaders have no desire to lose yet another health care vote. After July’s embarrassing Senate setback, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said he’d not revisit it unless he was assured he had the votes to succeed, and many Republicans began refocusing on another big GOP priority, a tax overhaul. Now, Graham and Cassidy say they believe they have close to 50 votes for the plan, prompting GOP leaders to check if they can finally succeed. The sponsors say their proposal would let states decide what health care programs work best for their residents. Opponents say patients would suffer. The GOP proposal “would weaken access to the care Americans need and deserve,” said a statement from 16 patients groups including the American Heart Association and the March of Dimes. The American College of Physicians and the Children’s Hospital Association also oppose it. In a tweet, the Congressional Budget Office said it would have preliminary estimates of the bill’s fiscal impact next week. But it said it would be unable to provide projections of the measure’s effect on coverage, premiums and overall federal deficits “for at least several weeks.” That timing is crucial because Republicans controlling the Senate 52-48 have only Sept. 30 to succeed with just 50 votes. Vice President Mike Pence would cast the tie-breaking vote, and White House officials say Trump would sign it. Special procedures preventing Democrats from using a filibuster to kill the measure expire after that date, and Republicans would then need 60 votes to win. They can’t reach that number because Democrats unanimously oppose the GOP effort. Conservative Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., has already said he’ll oppose the measure because it doesn’t do enough to erase Obama’s law. That means the measure would lose with just two other GOP opponents. The budget agency’s evaluations of past GOP repeal plans concluded they would have caused millions of Americans to lose insurance coverage. Some Republican senators are nervous about the measure’s impact on their own states, and the lack of CBO projections won’t help allay their concerns. Voting without the budget office analysis of its impact would be “legislative malpractice at the highest,” Schumer said. Republicans who’ve not yet lined up behind the bill include Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski, Susan Collins of Maine, Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, John McCain of Arizona and Ohio’s Rob Portman. Collins, Murkowski and McCain provided the decisive votes against the final measure Republicans tried pushing through the Senate in July, which failed 51-49. “It’s better but it’s not what the Senate is supposed to be doing,” McCain told reporters about the new package. Murkowski said she is trying to determine the bill’s impact on Alaska. Murkowski and Collins have been Planned Parenthood supporters. The bill would temporarily block federal payments to the group. The revived drive also comes as Sens. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and Patty Murray, D-Wash., work toward a bipartisan deal to continue federal subsidies to insurers easing some costs for lower-earning customers that Trump has threatened to block. Murray spokeswoman Helen Hare said Murray is “hopeful and optimistic” a deal could be announced soon — a statement that came as Democrats tried peeling away GOP support from the Graham-Cassidy bill.
Filed under: Home, National, World, News