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Last updated 9:38AM ET
August 16, 2018
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First News: Local PNM crews will arrive in Maryland ahead of schedule to assist with storm outage repairs. (listen)
(KSFR) - A crew of PNM workers is expected to arrive in Baltimore ahead of schedule to help with the the storm cleanup. PNM says they skipped one overnight stay on Tuesday to drive a straight 900 miles out of the 2,000-mile trip. When they arrive, they'll help remove downed trees and repair lines to get power back to Maryland households.

Help is also on the way from the New Mexico Red Cross. Rahim Balsara says they include trained rescue workers. *** Balsara says instead of canned goods, donors should consider sending money directly to the national organization where it can be more quickly used to buy supplies needed locally.

State employees might be banned from using cell phones while driving under new rules being considered at the Roundhouse. That would include the use of hands-free devices. The Albuquerque Journal says the recommendation is among a number of rules changes being discussed by the state's General Services Department. They say there's evidence that elimination of hands-on or hands-free use of cell phones could cut down on traffic accidents involving state employees. But several agencies say the complete ban could also cut down on worker productivity.

As the new month begins, the New Mexico Economic Development Department plans informational tours throughout New Mexico for some $8.5 million in federal financing still available for small business assistance. The monies come from a 2011 $13 million grant from the U.S. Department of Treasury. Through the Collateral Support Participation Program, the EDD and the NM Finance Authority partners with banks to provide capital to credit-worthy businesses seeking to expand, create or retain jobs. A Santa Fe event at the Convention Center is set for November 13th.

New details have emerged in the murder of George Ortiz, a Santa Fe senior citizen whose badly burned body was found Tuesday at his Luisa Street home. Charged with open counts of murder are the dead man's stepdaughter and her boyfriend. 30 year old Jeannie Sandoval told police she argued with Ortiz who struck her in the throat. Her boyfriend intervened and was also battered. Anthony Yepez then choked Ortiz to death, setting the body on fire with cooking oil with the assistance of Sandoval. The pair are being held on a $1 million bond at the Santa Fe County Jail.
An autopsy is to be performed for definitive identification of the deceased.

Actor and local resident Gene Hackman had previously assisted a homeless man who accosted him and his wife in downtown Santa Fe Tuesday. When 63 year old Bruce Becker didn't get the handout he was seeking, he made derogatory remarks about the Hackmans and aggressively moved to the couple. Hackman defensively slapped him in the face and Becker summoned police. No charges were filed. Hackman told police he knew Becker for years and had given him both money and clothing in the past.

The Santa Fe National Forest has completed its 1400 acre Chaparral prescribed burn near Jemez Springs. Still, they advise that residual smoke will be visible for the next several days over much of the local area.

Weather for Santa Fe - Sunny and dry today and throughout the forecast period. Highs today near 70 will gradually cool to the mid 60s tomorrow and low 60s by Saturday. Overnight lows in the low 30s.
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