Anti-Israel protest at Kirtland forces closure of school, disrupts businesses

Early Thursday morning, activists converged on the streets leading to Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque, causing significant disruptions as they fruitlessly protested the U.S. Government’s support for Israel. The protest, which started around 6:30 a.m., blocked the main entrance at Louisiana and Gibson, leading to considerable traffic backups and compelling the Albuquerque Police Department to shut down traffic in the vicinity.

A protester at the scene shared their motivations with the media, stating, “I think it’s complicated to say that this is a frontline, but, for me, it’s… it’s impossible to sit by and to be inactive, and to live a comfortable life as if I don’t know what’s happening.” The extremists remained until approximately 1:30 p.m. before dispersing voluntarily.

The protest’s location is strategic, given Kirtland Air Force Base’s significance in military and federal operations. The base, one of the largest employers in Albuquerque, houses several defense and research facilities. Although the temporary closure of the Louisiana gate did not affect base operations, it highlighted the potential future impact such annoyances can have on national security.

The blockade’s effects extended beyond the base. Wherry Elementary School, located nearby, was forced to switch to online learning for the day. A teacher from the school expressed concerns to KRQE News 13, noting that the protest had not only disrupted educational activities but had also hindered food access for students and interrupted some testing processes.

Local businesses also felt the impact of the protest. An employee from Family Appliances, located in the vicinity, described the challenges faced due to the disruption. They told KRQE News 13, “It really slowed us down, it’s just due to the fact that our techs weren’t even able to come in, so they weren’t even to fix, like, to do like, repairs on our appliances, it was like, it was pretty bad.” The employee chose to remain anonymous for privacy reasons.

Democrat state senator makes shock retirement announcement

State Sen. Siah Correa Hemphill of Silver City has decided not to pursue re-election, opening up a potential opportunity for a shift in party control of her legislative seat. 

Correa Hemphill, a far-left Democrat, announced her decision not to seek a second term in a news release, expressing a desire to explore new career opportunities.

Correa Hemphill noted her significant legislative contributions since her election in 2021, stating, “…after careful consideration and a lot of deliberation I have decided not to run in the general election so I can explore new career opportunities.” Although she will remain on the ballot for the upcoming Democrat primary on June 4, she plans to withdraw before the general election on November 5, where all seats in the statehouse will be contested.

State Sen. Siah Correah Hemphill (D-Silver City)

Reflecting on her time in office, she added, “I look forward to continuing our work together to support the needs of our community and state, [which] I love so dearly and has been home to my family for hundreds of years.”

Representing Senate District 28, which includes all of Hidalgo County and parts of Grant and Luna counties, Correa Hemphill initially won the seat in a surprising victory over then-incumbent Gabriel Ramos, who was a moderate Democrat at the time. 

Ramos lost in the Democratic primaries as part of a broader wave of defeats for less progressive incumbents in 2020, driven mostly by the radical far-left Democrat Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and her so-called “progressive” ally organizations.

Ramos left the Democrat Party and is running again for the state Senate seat.

New Mexico once again tops national rankings, this time for drugs

As National Prevention Week approaches, the personal finance website WalletHub has released a comprehensive report identifying the states with the most severe drug problems. This timely study aims to spotlight the regions most impacted by drug addiction, leveraging data from all 50 states plus the District of Columbia, analyzed across 20 critical metrics.

The metrics include a range of indicators from arrest and overdose rates to opioid prescriptions and the prevalence of employee drug testing laws. New Mexico emerged as a focal point in this study, ranking as the state with the largest drug-related challenges.

Here are some notable findings from the report regarding New Mexico:

  • New Mexico ranks first in the percentage of teenagers who reported using illicit drugs in the past month.
  • It comes in third for the percentage of adults who admitted to using illicit drugs over the same period.
  • The state is ranked seventh in drug overdose deaths per capita.
  • New Mexico is second in terms of adults who were unable to access treatment for illicit drug use in the past year.
  • It holds the eighth position for the number of substance abuse treatment facilities per 100,000 people aged 12 and older who use illicit drugs.

“New Mexico has the biggest drug problem in the U.S., especially when it comes to teenagers. The state has the highest percentage of teens using illicit drugs, and the highest share of teenagers who report having tried marijuana before age 13,” said WalletHub Analyst Cassandra Happe. 

“New Mexico has the third-highest share of adults who use illicit drugs, as well. In addition, New Mexico has a large number of drug overdose deaths per capita, and that rate is growing faster than in most other states.”

As a border state, the border crisis and the massive flow of fentanyl have no doubt contributed to the exacerbated issue that is plaguing communities across all 33 counties.

The full report, which provides a deeper dive into these issues, is available on WalletHub’s website

16 arrested after barricades, graffiti, and NMSP intervention at UNM protest

Across the country, university campuses have become epicenters for anti-Israel demonstrations, with activists calling for institutions to sever all affiliations with companies and organizations that back the Israeli government amid its ongoing conflicts. These demonstrations have led to blockades and occupations of university buildings, prompting some schools to transition to online classes and even cancel graduation ceremonies.

On April 29, 2024, the University of New Mexico (UNM) experienced significant disruptions when over 100 anti-Israel activists gathered. They conducted workshops on protest tactics at the university’s Duck Pond and raised funds via social media to support their day-long occupation of the campus. The activists later occupied the Student Union Building (SUB), where they set up tents and chanted, clearly intending to stay for an extended period.

A poignant moment captured on social media depicted a student, surrounded by protesters in the SUB, desperately pleading for quiet to study, his words drowned out by the chants. This scene, amidst the chaos, resonates with the struggle of maintaining academic focus in such disruptive circumstances. Interestingly, the equipment used by the protesters was sourced from companies with pro-Israel affiliations, a stark irony given the protesters’ cause, as these companies are the primary manufacturers of such materials, with no comparable pro-Palestine firms found.

Following the occupation, UNM issued a LoboAlert advising the community to avoid the SUB area and announced its closure. As protesters built barricades inside the SUB, the UNM Regents requested assistance from the New Mexico State Police to clear the building. The confrontation concluded in the early hours of April 30, 2024, with state police arresting 16 people after a brief skirmish.

Cinnamon Blair, UNM’s Chief Marketing and Communications Officer, remarked on the university’s planned response, “We’ll follow our normal processes regarding violations of the student code of conduct, which are handled by the Dean of Students. This includes investigating allegations and any discipline.” The arrested protesters were charged with criminal trespass and wrongful use of public property, both misdemeanor offenses. A legal fund to assist the protesters has been established.

Those arrested include Emery Schmidt, 33, of Albuquerque; Stephanie Mendoza, 32, of Brush Prairie, Washington; Sophia Ellis-Young, 23, of Albuquerque; Alexander Schlesinger, 27, of Albuquerque; Hope Alvarado, 28, of Albuquerque; Naomi Meiseles, 22, a UNM undergraduate student; Athenx Lindlan, 39, of Albuquerque; Isabel Spafford, 25, of Albuquerque; Devin Ray, 22, of Albuquerque; Abbey Myrick, 36, a UNM graduate student from Placitas; Abigail Merhege, 19, a Regent’s Scholar at the UNM Honors College and UNMH Department of Pathology employee; Nicholas Martin, 21, a UNM undergraduate from Los Alamos; Anton Oliver Becker-Stumpf, 21, of Albuquerque; Samantha Hughes-Hobbs, 35, of Albuquerque; Cassidy Boe, 28, a graduate assistant at UNM, of Albuquerque; and Dakota Steele, 22, of Albuquerque.

No charges have been filed regarding the SUB’s vandalism, including graffiti and furniture damage, although assessments suggest that the damages may exceed felony levels. With the SUB closed indefinitely during a critical period like Finals Week, the impact on student activities is considerable.

Lujan Grisham’s PED proposes burdensome school lunch changes

The New Mexico Public Education Department (PED) is seeking public feedback on a newly proposed regulation overhauling the state’s school lunch program. This initiative comes amid concerns about the quality and consumption of the meals provided under the existing program, which has been promoted as providing free lunches to students, though funded by taxpayers.

The proposed changes, open for comment until May 29, 2024, include ambitious requirements for school districts categorized under “level 1” and “level 2”. For “level 1” districts, the proposal mandates that half of all meals must be freshly prepared in an onsite kitchen. Additionally, schools are expected to offer at least three items weekly from local farms, ranches, or food businesses. 

A significant shift toward local sourcing includes directives for no less than fifty percent of schools within a school food authority to either grow food on campus or provide educational resources promoting locally sourced nutrition.

The proposal also highlights a focus on sustainability, requiring at least fifty percent of schools in a school food authority to implement composting programs. This aspect of the proposal aims to address waste management but raises concerns about practical challenges, such as space constraints in urban settings and the inherent risks of composting in arid regions like New Mexico.

Critics of the proposal argue that while some components are beneficial, the overall regulation could impose undue burdens on school districts, potentially leading to massive costs and logistical challenges. Questions are being raised about the feasibility of schools growing their own food, the adequacy of safety measures for food preparation, and the management of composting programs.

Feedback on the proposed changes can be sent to the New Mexico PED via email at Rule.Feedback@ped.nm.gov or through mail to the Policy and Legislative Affairs Division at the specified address in Santa Fe.

This proposal comes at a time when New Mexico schools face broader educational challenges, being ranked 52nd nationally on the NAEP assessments. The debate over these proposed changes highlights the balance policymakers must achieve between innovative nutrition education and the practicalities of implementation in diverse school settings. Find out more about the proposed rule here.

Heinrich slapped with ethics watchdog request over campaign methods

The Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT), an ethics watchdog group, has requested that the Senate Select Committee on Ethics investigate New Mexico U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich. FACT’s concerns center around allegations that Heinrich intertwined official legislative actions with campaign fundraising efforts.

In a detailed letter, FACT’s Executive Director, Kendra Arnold, pointed out to the committee chairs, Senators Chris Coons and James Lankford, that Heinrich’s campaign emails may have violated Senate ethics rules. These emails reportedly invited recipients to “co-sponsor” legislation by making donations to his campaign, suggesting donation amounts ranging from $10 to $1,000.

Arnold expressed concern over this practice, stating, “Federal law and Senate ethics rules do not allow senators to fundraise based upon their official duties, in part because it would lead to the public rightfully question whether the senator’s primary concern was their political campaign.” She highlighted the potential conflict this creates, as it may give the impression that legislative actions can be influenced by campaign contributions.

One specific email cited by FACT was sent on behalf of Heinrich’s principal campaign committee on March 18, promoting the First-Time Homebuyer Tax Credit Act. The email asked recipients to sign a petition supporting the legislation, which led to a page soliciting campaign donations. Similarly, another campaign email dated April 10 discussed the Infant Formula Made in America Act, also directing supporters to a donation page after prompting them to endorse the legislation.

These instances, Arnold argues, blur the lines between official duties and campaign activities, which could undermine public trust and violate ethical standards designed to maintain a clear separation between the two.

As of now, the Senate Ethics Committee has not publicly responded to FACT’s request for investigation. Heinrich, who has held his Senate seat since 2013 and is up for reelection in a district considered solidly Democratic, has also not commented on the allegations. His office and campaign were reached out to for responses by The Washington Times.

MLG leaves state for lavish DC media parties

On Saturday, far-left Democrat Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham boasted on X about her excursion to Washington, D.C., to attend swanky parties.

She wrote, “So much fun meeting @RealLyndaCarter and showing her my #WonderWoman ring [at] @haddadmedia’s fabulous garden party today!” The party, hosted by Tammy Haddad, a former NBC News producer, owner of Haddad Media, and founder of Washington AI Network, apparently featured other prominent leftists. 

The party was reportedly a “garden brunch” featuring other leftist media personalities from CNN and MSNBC, among others. 

Lujan Grisham added to the post, “Next — off to the White House Correspondent’s Dinner with @POTUS tonight!”

Later, during the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, she wrote on X, “Watch the White House Correspondent’s Dinner on C-SPAN. Proud to be here supporting freedom of the press with [Joe] Biden.”

The news of Lujan Grisham’s D.C. adventures comes days after her office admitted the authenticity of a leaked recording of the governor’s call with DHS Sec. Alejandro Mayorkas’ chief of staff, Jonathan Davidso, that she “held off the press” on a story about the Biden administration refusing to “look the other way” on marijuana shipped out of the state.

Lujan Grisham’s D.C. wanderings also come as New Mexicans continue to struggle to afford basic needs, such as food. According to analyses of Bureau of Labor Statistics data, the state is the sixth most expensive nation for groceries. New Mexico also remains the poorest state in the union. 

It is likely, but immediately unclear if the taxpayers are forced to foot the bill for the governor’s extravagant trip.

MLG chides DHS in leaked audio as ‘feckless’ accusations fly amid inaction

A new audio recording posted on X by the account “Chaos Coordinator” shows New Mexico Democrat Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham talking with U.S. Department of Homeland Security Sec. Alejandro Mayorkas’ chief of staff, Jonathan Davidson, regarding the border.

“I’m going to put extra border patrol and uh for the love of God, put them at the border in Sunland Park, where I don’t have a single border patrol agent, not one, and people pour over. And so, I’m cranky with the Secretary,” the recording begins. 

“He knew that was coming, [and] did not say a word to me. Politico wants to write an article. Every single major press group in the state is asking repeatedly, basically accusing me of being feckless. Huffington Post, I mean, they’re all going to run with it.”

“They’re saying that they’re worried about fentanyl, so they’re taking all of our cannabis. And they tried to, and they’re detaining people. Never have done that. We just use discretion. Looked the other way,” referring to DHS enforcing federal laws that ban the transport of contraband (marijuana), which federally is a Schedule 1 substance.

“But the press also knows that Border Patrol is taking a hard stance, and the only way … is either we have to adjust it, or I have to send you a letter saying you’re persecuting the state, you are not using your discretion, you’re not working with me on immigration. And I don’t want to send out a letter, but I’m, I’m boxed in.”

“And here’s what also the Secretary (Mayorkas) said to me, just so you know: ‘Well, who cares? They make a lot of money.’ Well, first of all, it’s patience,” the governor said in an annoyed tone.

“So, I was really offended by it. Shame on them. And then, secondly, we’re the only state that lets baby producers in. If they lose a load, their business goes belly-up.” It is unclear what the governor is referring to as “baby producers,” but losing a load of diapers or formula surely wouldn’t bankrupt the company.

“Yeah, I thought that was really inappropriate. I mean, whatever you want to do with that, but it was really inappropriate. Yeah, if you can, I mean, I’ve held off the press, and so that’s, uh, uh, I’ll send it to you. You know, I got a nasty ‘The governor’s feckless and is gonna let Biden walk all over.’ I can’t have that,” she concluded in the leaked call with Davidson. 

So far, Lujan Grisham is the only border-state governor to have done literally nothing to aid Border Patrol with the border crisis. Even far-left Democrat Govs. Gavin Newsom of California and Katie Hobbs of Arizona are doing something to address the crisis. Hobbs sent the National Guard to aid border communities, while Newsom’s California National Guard’s Counterdrug Task Force, used to help alleviate the crossing of deadly drugs, helped seize over 1.1 million fentanyl pills last week. Lujan Grisham pulled all National Guard personnel from the border as one of her first acts as governor and has refused any help to the federal government to deal with mass illegal immigration.

APS ousts principal after drag queen stripper fiasco

Fury erupted from concerned citizens and parents after a video was posted showing a drag queen stripper “entertaining” minors at Atrisco Heritage Academy’s prom in Albuquerque. The shockwaves immediately began, with many contacting the school’s principal, Irene Cisneros, with rage.

In response to the uproar following the video, Albuquerque Public Schools issued a statement on Wednesday, informing parents that an investigation into the incident is underway to determine how it was allowed to happen and the impact on students. The statement clarified that this issue is considered a personnel matter, and no further details were available at the time.

Now, according to a social media-shared email, Cisneros is no longer the principal. Albuquerque’s Chief of Schools, Channell Segura, wrote, “I want to inform you that Anthony Lovato has been appointed as the acting principal of Atrisco Heritage Academy.”

The email further read, “Please join us in welcoming Mr. Lovato to the Atrisco Heritage Academy Community.”

One X commenter wrote, “That was surprisingly fast. Good!”

“Nice! I’m shocked it happened, much less so quickly,” added another.

Other videos shared on social media reveal that the male stripper in drag not only danced but told the kids, “We’re grown,” while touching the kids, shaking his fake breasts, then pulling out the breast pads to wipe his face. 

More videos reportedly are circulating, as the Piñon Post has learned. It is still unclear who the people responsible for the drag show performance are, however, with the school’s principal no longer in that role, the school’s chief could be implicated. 

ABQ school hosts ‘drag queen stripper’ performance at prom

A video circulating across the internet shows a drag queen stripper performing a sexually lude dance at Atrisco Heritage Academy’s prom last Saturday at the Kiva Auditorium Convention Center.

Concerned parents expressed shock and dismay upon discovering that a provocatively dressed dancer was part of the evening’s entertainment, sparking a widespread backlash as footage of the event circulated online.

Speaking to KRQE News 13, one mother described the performance as highly inappropriate, noting the dancer’s revealing attire and suggestive dance moves. “You can see the video of the inappropriate dance moves and how this exotic dancer performed in front of hundreds of kids,” she said, adding that the incident was shocking and distasteful.

Parents criticized the school’s decision to include such an act in a school-related function, questioning the judgment of those who approved the performance. Many felt that more oversight was necessary, as school staff and chaperones present at the event did not intervene. The lack of prior warning to parents about the nature of the entertainment also came under fire. “Why were the parents not warned that this was going to be happening at a school function? It’s still a school function, parents should still be made aware of the situation whether it’s a dance at school, sports, parents should be made aware of what is happening,” said Morgan, another concerned parent.

Conservative activist Elisa Martinez wrote on X, “Lovely. Instead of allowing students to enjoy prom,… Atrisco Heritage Academy had a drag queen stripper perform. AT PROM. WHY? Imagine if this was an adult female stripper performing for kids at prom.” She then urged concerned citizens to contact the school’s principal, Irene Cisneros.  

The controversy has left many parents feeling let down by the school, with Morgan articulating a broader sentiment of disappointment: “I’ve had multiple kids at this school, and I’ve never had to deal with this issue until this year. And this year it just seems like they’re failing, they’re failing the students, they’re failing the parents, to me it’s a fail all around.”

In response to the uproar, Albuquerque Public Schools issued a statement on Wednesday, informing parents that an investigation into the incident is underway to determine how it was allowed to happen and the impact on students. The statement clarified that this issue is considered a personnel matter, and no further details were available at the time.

Amid calls for accountability and transparency, one parent has even requested a refund for her child’s prom ticket, highlighting the depth of frustration and dissatisfaction within the parent community over this incident.

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