Monday’s Top Stories
- New ad campaign hopes to attract more Rail Runner passengers
- Alamogordo man escapes traffic stop after allegedly punching officer in head
- Final application round open for local business grants
- 75 spots up for grabs for local artist residency
Monday’s Five Facts
 Stage set for Ghislaine Maxwell’s sex trafficking trial Opening statements are set to begin in the trial of a woman accused of recruiting and grooming girls for the late, disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein and a New Mexico ranch will take center stage. Ghislaine Maxwell, the former girlfriend of billionaire sex offender Epstein, is standing trial in New York City. One victim, who was 16 at the time, told prosecutors that Maxwell had tricked her into visiting Epstein’s New Mexico ranch under the guise of attending a bogus event for college-bound students. Maxwell pleaded not guilty to all charges, including accusations she herself took part in the abuse.
 Officials: Man dies in apparent Sipapu snowboarding crash A trip to Sipapu Ski and Summer Resort turned deadly as a 28-year-old snowboarder died over the weekend. The Taos County Sheriff says it appears that Jario Hernandez hit a tree while going down the mountain at the resort though the investigation is ongoing. The resort is about 45 minutes south of Taos and just opened for the season about a week ago.
 Near-record warmth leading into December It is a chilly Monday morning but temperatures will soar this afternoon. Highs will warm into the 60s and 70s for most of the state thanks to a strong high-pressure ridge overhead, and light, west winds over the state. Downslope warming over the central mountains will heat the east plains up the most, with highs in the upper 70s, and near-record daily high temperatures.
 Balloon Museum hosts 7th annual holiday market This year, Albuquerque’s art vendors are encouraging people to shop local for holiday gifts. The International Balloon Museum held its annual holiday market on Sunday for people to get some of their shopping done early. One art studio owner says that keeping money local is the best way to support the arts in the area. This is the seventh year the Balloon Museum has held its holiday market.
 River of Lights kicks off with successful opening weekend The opening weekend at the River of Lights at the ABQ Botanic Garden was a huge success. Saturday’s kick-off was a sold-out event with a record-breaking 6,400 people. Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller and Santa Claus helped flip the switch, turning on more than 600 twinkling light displays. In addition to some new displays this year, you will also find new treats such as chocolate waffle sandwiches and giant pretzels. The event runs through December 30.