Thursday’s Top Stories

Thursday’s Five Facts

[1] Simona Fire in Jarales burns 165 acres, 0% contained – Firefighters are battling another blaze in the Bosque. The Simona Fire started burning Wednesday south of Belen in Jarales. As of Thursday Morning the fire is 0% contained. The fire is the second major fire in the area in recent days. While structures are no longer threatened, officials say the fire is threatening a large natural gas pipeline and a cell phone and internet line. Crews are working to protect both. Officials are asking people to stay away from the area. The Belen Rec Center is open for people who choose to voluntarily evacuate.

[2] Hobbs teacher arrested for allegedly touching students inappropriately – A New Mexico teacher is in jail after multiple students came forward about alleged inappropriate touching. Wednesday, Daniel Decker, who was a teacher and coach at Highland Middle School in Hobbs, was arrested and charged with inappropriately touching a teen multiple times between September and March. In a release sent out by the school district, they say at least four other students have come forward with similar claims. Hobbs Municipal Schools say Decker was placed on administrative leave on March 11, after the first allegation. He resigned a short time later.

[3] Quieter winds, before big wind storm Friday – Thursday morning is quiet and cool across the state. Temperatures are in the 30s and 40s in northern New Mexico, and 40s and 50s in central and southern NM. Winds are mostly light. Thursday will be breezy in eastern New Mexico, with wind gusts from the southwest at 35-40 mph. The breezy winds and low relative humidity is prompting red flag warnings for the east slopes of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, and all of eastern New Mexico. Fire danger is still elevated across all of the state, but winds will be a bit quieter for areas west of the central mountain chain.

[4] Albuquerque-Bernalillo County Water Authority considering 5% rate increase – Albuquerque residents could soon be seeing higher water and sewer bills. During Wednesday nights board meeting, water officials proposed increasing water and sewer rates by five percent. The hike, which would go into effect in August, is estimated to raise the typical residential bill by about $2.50 The water authority says even with the hike Albuquerque customers would still be paying some of the lowest water rates in the Southwest.

[5] UNM helping Albuquerque compete in City Nature Challenge – A popular app is helping people better understand our environment. The city nature challenge is where cities compete to observe and identify wild plants and animals in urban areas. The University of New Mexico’s geography and biology departments are competing. They say it’s simple, take a photo and upload it to an app that will automatically identify the plant or animal. Albuquerque is competing against Phoenix, El Paso, and Tucson. You can join one of the UNM teams and take photos from April 29 to May 2.