May 30 Morning Rush: Extortion charges filed in Albuquerque apartment fire case

Mornings

1. Albuquerque Police are looking for a woman they say tried to extort money from a fire victim and threatened to blame her for starting the deadly fire. Police say Natasha Rodgers even threatened the lives of the victim’s family if her demands were not met. At the center of this, the deadly fire at the Sierra Meadows Apartments near Eubank and Montgomery last month when 10-year-old Ja’Zay Simpson died. Police say the same day the fire broke out, Rodgers began sending threatening messages to a victim over Facebook, first asking for left-over McDonald’s food, then demanding money, or she would blame the fire on the victim. Authorities say there is no evidence the victim started the fire.

Full Story: First charges filed in fatal apartment fire are unrelated to actual blaze


2. Half of the State Police Officers brought into Albuquerque to help fight crime, will return to their original areas. The Officers were brought in earlier this month in response to the murder of UNM baseball player Jackson Weller. Since the surge began about three weeks ago, NMSP says its officers have made more than 400 arrests, 100 of those were felonies.NMSP says scaling back from 50 to 25 officers was a move that it made because the Albuquerque assignment was never intended to be permanent.

Full Story: State Police plans to scale back officers assigned to Metro Surge Operation


3. The combination of daytime heating and a quick-hitting disturbance will interact with moisture already in place allowing spotty to scattered storms to fire off Thursday afternoon. Isolated to spotty storms are possible within western NM… but stronger storms and better coverage of these storms will be found east of the Central Mountains.

Full Story: Kristen’s Thursday Morning Forecast


4. Albuquerque residents could be forced to foot the bill if they cause a big crash, this after a controversial bill was approved by the City Council. The Albuquerque Journal reports the Council approved the proposed cost recovery ordinance. It would allow Albuquerque Fire Rescue to bill people for the use of hazardous waste material only when work totals more than $1,500.

Full Story: City Council approves AFR ‘cost recovery’ bill


5. A local man is putting a hot new spin on a New Mexican kitchen staple. Gilbert Romero’s business, “Not Your Mamas Comal”, customizes heat pans to create unique designs on tortillas. Romero says it has become such a hit, that his pans are even being used in local restaurants.

Full Story: Local craftsman adding a unique touch to New Mexican classic


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