Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Police closer to solving cold case - KRQE

Updated: Wednesday, 19 Sep 2012, 8:52 AM MDT
Published : Wednesday, 19 Sep 2012, 8:52 AM MDT

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - More than 30 years after a young Albuquerque man simply vanished, investigators have finally solved half the mystery.

They know where his life likely came to an end, near the Santa Fe Ski Basin. Now they want to know how he died.

August 17, 1981, Ernest Salazar's boss reported the Albuquerque man was missing. A month later, a sheriff's deputy found his motorcycle at the Santa Fe ski basin. Then Salazar's trail went cold. There were no clues to what happened to him until 2007.

A group of hikers in Hyde Park just down from the ski basin, came across something no one expected.

"Hikers were up there hiking on the trail and came across some bones that kinda looked like human bones. They contacted law enforcement," said State Police Lt. Robert McDonald.

State Police searched the area and took pictures of the bones along with anything else unusual. They found the bones, a torn up sleeping bag and a marble slab with writing on it.

The FBI took the bones to a lab to determine how old they were. At that time, they still did not know who they belonged to. Police searched old cases, looking for anyone who may have been missing in the area.

They came across the Salazar case. Officers took DNA from his parents. Then, this July police say there was a match. Thirty one years after he disappeared, police now know they have identified his remains. Now they want to figure out how died.

Next week, APD Missing Person/Cold Case detectives and the FBI will search the area for more clues.

The Salazar family told KRQE News 13 they did not want to talk about the case. 

UNM Professor: Deadly Embassy Attack Terrorism - ABQ Journal

Americans should not confuse the outcry over a satirical video on Islam with the attack on the U.S. embassy in Libya that resulted in the death of American Ambassador Christopher Stevens last week, says a retired CIA officer who now teaches at the University of New Mexico.

“That act was a terrorist attack. That was pre-planned,” said Emile Nakhleh, who spends his retirement flying from Albuquerque to Washington, D.C., where he advises policymakers to just be patient with fledgling Middle East democracies.

Nakhleh is an expert on political Islam, particularly in Syria, Egypt and Bahrain, and is a senior adviser and research professor at UNM’s National Security Studies Program.

Since the Arab Spring, he’s gone to Washington, D.C., several times to give talks and consult policymakers about the new governments, uprisings and the recent flurry of demonstrations throughout the Middle East.

“I see signs that this democratic transition is beginning to take root,” Nakhleh said in a phone interview from Washington, D.C. “… There are signs that people have accepted the new political order.”

Nakhleh said the democratic movements have empowered people to take to the streets, since protesters couldn’t demonstrate with such ease for four decades.

“This new found sense of empowerment that emerged from the Arab Spring is really a new thing for them,” he said.

Though they’ve been empowered by the Arab Spring, the reasons behind the ongoing protests are more nuanced, Nakhleh said.

The inflammatory trailer for “Innocence of Muslims” that aired on an Egyptian TV provided the initial spark for the demonstrations, and pervading anti-America sentiments and influences from radical “salafi” factions have contributed to the ongoing unrest, Nakhleh said.

” ‘Salafi’ factions are out to destroy the democratic experiment that their fellow Muslims helped support,” he said.

Despite the unrest, Nakhleh said the demonstrations will die down, democracies will become better established, and there’s reason to be optimistic about the new governments in the Middle East, including in Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain and Yemen.

“We tend to be impatient because the (Arab Spring) happened so quickly,” he said. “… We are learning that democracies are messy.”

That means that while new democracies bring an expansion of human rights to people in the Middle East, democratic regimes are having conversations about their own national interests, and those interests might sometimes not align with those of the United States. Nakhleh calls this “autocracy addiction.”

“Democracies can be our friends, but they are not going to be as pliable, as ready as dictatorships to do our bidding,” Nakhleh said.

For example, Nakhleh said, Egyptian President Mohammad Morsi recently traveled to Iran and met with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, which was not looked upon favorably by America and the West. However, in the conference in Iran, as the Iran administration sat at his side, Morsi denounced violence against Syrian rebels by president Bashar al-Assad and said he should step down, a position contrary to Iran’s but aligned with the West’s.

“Now we have more democracies. People who are now presidents, prime ministers are responsible to the their governments, their people,” Nakhleh said. “(Morsi) wanted to pursue his country’s national interest.”
â€" This article appeared on page A7 of the Albuquerque Journal

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Breech of security at Albuquerque Sunport -

Posted at: 09/18/2012 6:44 PM | Updated at: 09/18/2012 6:47 PM
By: Jill Galus, KOB Eyewitness News 4

A breech of security at the Albuquerque Sunport; agents caught the Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security trying to bring a loaded gun through the security checkpoint last Friday.

According to the police report, TSA agents spotted the gun as Anita Tallarico's purse passed through the scanner.

The report explains, Tallarico told TSA officials she simply forgot to leave her gun at home, adding she was distraught because she was on her way to a funeral. 

She was cited for unlawful carrying of a deadly weapon.

Sunport Chief of Police Marshall Katz said he is not sure how a slip-up could happen with the second in command of the state's homeland security, but that people trying to get weapons or any other restricted items through security is not all that uncommon.

"That is an opinion I probably cannot address, what I can say, however, episodes like this happen on a regular basis nationwide, not just in Albuquerque," Katz said. "Should they happen, no, but they do."

According to the report, Tallarico asked security officers if she could take the gun out to her car. Instead, it was turned over to the Albuquerque Police Department as evidence.

KOB Eyewitness News 4 has posted the complete police report below.

> Tallarico police report (PDF)


Sentence for Vaughan's bookkeeper sealed -

Posted at: 09/18/2012 10:12 AM
By: The Associated Press

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - The woman who kept the books for admitted Albuquerque Ponzi schemer Doug Vaughan has apparently been sentenced, but her fate is being kept secret.

The Albuquerque Journal reports the sentencing agreement for Martha Runkle was finalized last week. But the terms have been sealed.

Prosecutors declined comment.

Runkle, who kept the books for Vaughan from 1994 to 2010 and was the point of contact for many of the 600 investors he swindled out of $75 million, had agreed to plead guilty to one count of aiding and abetting wire fraud.

She was set to testify against her former boss, but he pleaded guilty and is now serving a 12-year prison term. Runkle also has agreed to pay $50,000 restitution to one investor and nearly $50,000 to settle a clawback action for money she made on investments through Vaughan.

 (Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


Virtual School Questioned - ABQ Journal

Most of the students enrolled in Farmington’s newest charter school don’t live in Farmington.

Last month, the New Mexico Virtual Academy began offering online classes to 500 students in grades six through 12, most of whom live in Bernalillo County. The school was approved last year by the Farmington school board, but has raised eyebrows because its curriculum was purchased from K-12 Inc., a for-profit company based in Virginia.

K-12 Inc. is under investigation in Florida, based on allegations its online courses were taught by teachers who weren’t qualified to teach those classes. Spokesman Jeff Kwitowski said a company internal investigation found no evidence to support the allegations. K-12 Inc. schools also have come under fire in some states for low test scores.

But even before news broke of the Florida investigation, the Farmington charter was regarded with suspicion by public education advocates, who say tax dollars are leaving the state and going into the hands of private companies.

Robert Baade, who founded Robert F. Kennedy charter high in Albuquerque, is an advocate of public school choice, but he is concerned about Virtual Academy and others like it. An application for a similar virtual school is now before the Public Education Commission. He said such schools are “Trojan horses.”

“You wheel it in and say ‘This is a charter.’ You open it up and it’s a charter management organization giving iPads to students to work from home, and then charging that charter school per class, and then taking that money out of state. That’s an issue for me,” he said.

Baade is involved with Albuquerque Interfaith, a nonprofit that advocates for public education, among other issues. The group has spoken against new charters, citing concerns about privatization and education funding being unduly strained by new charters.

Kwitowski contended private companies have been serving public education for decades, in the form of textbooks and other contract services.

Lawrence Palmer, Virtual Academy board president,said he is aware of the Florida investigation. He said he has seen documentation showing all teachers live in New Mexico, are New Mexico certified and are qualified for their classes.

Palmer said K-12 Inc. is providing an important and necessary service.

“Are we paying K-12 Inc. more than we would to buy textbooks? Absolutely. Because we are paying them to manage a virtual school,” Palmer said. “It is highly complex, and we needed to have someone with expertise in this area.”

It is unclear how much of Virtual Academy’s budget will be paid to K-12 Inc. because the contract does not specify dollar amounts. A contract between the charter governing board and K-12 Inc. specifies the company will get certain percentages of the school’s budget, after teacher salaries and other expenses have been covered.
â€" This article appeared on page C2 of the Albuquerque Journal

Monday, September 17, 2012

Unique charm for service members created in NM - KRQE

Updated: Monday, 17 Sep 2012, 5:56 PM MDT
Published : Monday, 17 Sep 2012, 5:56 PM MDT

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - A father and son, both veterans have created a unique military momento called Service Tabs. They are hoping they bring joy to service members and their families and help propel their jewelry business to the next level.

Dave and his son David Howard sell service tabs out of  My Jeweler in the Hoffmantown shopping center in Albuquerque. They are comprised of keychains, pins and charms that represent the different branches of the military, the different jobs and the many different family members.

The senior Howard got the idea when his son was graduating from Ranger school. He created a keychain for him as a graduation present.

Soon other soldiers in his company were asking for one of their own. It gave the pair the idea to turn it into a business.

Each charm is hand made by the Howard's in their Albuquerque Jewelry store.

The pair takes great pride in their product and those who service the military. David Howard served in the army when he was young and his son Dave just retired recently after serving 10 years.

Service Tabs are also available online at

City bus crash caught on tape - KRQE

Updated: Monday, 17 Sep 2012, 6:25 PM MDT
Published : Monday, 17 Sep 2012, 6:25 PM MDT

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) - A city bus carrying a full load of people, plowed into a pick up truck on San Mateo during the weekend, and passengers say the dramatic crash was definitely the truck driver's fault.

Three people ended up in the hospital and cameras caught the crash from every angle.

In the video passengers appear very shaken as they hold children in their laps, but they say the crash was obviously the pick-up's driver is at fault.

The crash happened Sunday afternoon on San Mateo near Lomas.

"It was a huge impact," said witness Aarron Rogers. "The red truck was going to make a U-turn and went out way too wide. He kind of got pinned and went to reverse and the bus just hit him."

The video shows the red truck turning onto San Mateo in the direct path of the bus. The city employee can't do anything, but warn his passengers and brace for impact.

"The bus driver did everything he should and could have done in this case," said ABQ Ride Director Bruce Rizzieri.

Three passengers were taken to the hospital and treated for bumps and bruises.

Police are still working on a crash report but say it's likely the truck driver will be cited.

Because the report is not complete, the driver's name has not been released. He was not hurt.

The bus will be out of commission for a couple of days after sustaining a broken windshield and fender damage.

Officials say the truck driver could be liable for the damages.