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June 24 First News: New Mexico Non-Profit Sues A-G Over Alleged Antics of "Mr. Smooth" (Listen)

A lawsuit says a New Mexico Attorney General staffer bullied nonprofit employees and harassed a female worker on social media while using the name "Mr. Smooth." Court papers filed Monday in Santa Fe District Court claim Assistant Attorney General Kenneth Casares Owens tried to control the day-to-day operations of the United South Broadway Corp. and prevented staff from doing outreach on foreclosure prevention. The lawsuit also says Owens invited a female employee for drinks and tried to "friend" her on Facebook while other staffers felt intimidated. Owens heads an initiative on homeowner consumer protection following a national settlement on mortgage loans. Attorney General Hector Balderas says the lawsuit is based on frivolous allegations against his predecessor. The lawsuit comes as Balderas is seeking to audit the nonprofit, which receives public funds.

Santa Fe Police Department is seeking the public’s help in finding 55-year old Michael Halverson, who was last seen May 31. A news release said police believe Halverson might be traveling to North Dakota in a 1997 blue Dodge Caravan. The van has with North Dakota license plates. Santa Fe Police spokeswoman Lieutenant Andrea Dobyns says family are concerned that Halverson could harm himself. He is described as being 5-foot-11, weighing about 200 pounds, with brown hair and blue eyes. If you have information on Halvorson’s whereabouts, Dobyns says call the Santa Fe Police.

Former New Jersey and Pittsburgh police officials are part of a court-appointed independent monitor team overseeing Albuquerque police reform. Independent monitor James Ginger introduced the team Tuesday, which also includes a community activist from Washington, D.C. In January, federal officials and the city selected Ginger to lead a team to monitor a settlement agreement to overhaul the Albuquerque Police Department. Ginger and his team will be responsible for independently assessing progress on the agreement and will report on changes to a federal judge. They will have access to documents, personnel, facilities and other information related to the settlement and will engage with officers and community members. The police department, serving a city of 560-thousand people, has faced scrutiny for more than 40 police shootings since 2010.

A former Belen police detective has been sentenced to five years of probation and must forfeit his law enforcement certification for using excessive force during a 2012 arrest. Prosecutors say 42-year-old John Lytle is precluded from working or seeking future employment as a law enforcement officer in any capacity as part of his plea agreement Tuesday. Lytle was accused of violating a man's civil rights by assaulting him in March 2012. Lytle admitted that he repeatedly struck the victim, who was handcuffed and compliant during the entire course of the investigative stop. One point during the stop, Lytle pulled the handcuffed victim from the back of a police squad car, threw him to the ground and struck him again. The man suffered injuries to his face and torso.

New Mexico health officials say they have identified about 100 people in Curry County who may have been exposed to a man who tested positive for infectious tuberculosis. The state health department made the announcement late Monday. The agency will be offering free screenings Tuesday and Wednesday to those who were potentially exposed. Health Secretary Retta Ward says her department has contacted people with the most significant exposure to the patient. She says it typically takes hours of sharing the same airspace with an infected person to become infected. Tuberculosis is an airborne disease caused by germs spread through the air when an infectious person coughs, talks, laughs or sings. Symptoms include a persistent cough, night sweats, fever and unexplained weight loss.

In Albuquerque, it’s a case of “not MY dog”….A woman whose three dogs attacked and killed a neighbor's Maltese has testified that she doesn't believe her dogs are a danger to the community. The Albuquerque Journal reports Maria Escamilla testified at a city hearing this week that her three dogs, two pit bulls and a boxer, who all still live at home are happy, playful and haven't gotten loose in the Ventana Ranch neighborhood. In April, the owner of the Maltese, Jack Cash, had been walking his dog near Escamilla's house when the three dogs came up and attacked it. Cash says that Escamilla never apologized or offered compensation for the attack. Now, officer Willard Davis Jr. will determine in 10 days whether to declare the dogs as dangerous, which will put restrictions on Escamilla and her dogs.

A change in the weather is on its way. National Weather Service Meteorologist Brian Guyer says showers and thunderstorms will increase over the next couple of days, with a significant dose of moisture on its way along with a front coming on Friday. Being that we’re in late June and Santa Fe and most of New Mexico recently endured a heat wave with many locations in the triple-digits the last few days, I asked Guyer if the coming moisture represents the beginning of the summer monsoon pattern. *****062415-Guyer-2 :31***** But Guyer adds this isn’t your typical New Mexico monsoon pattern, at least not yet. *****062415-Guyer-3 :17*****

Santa Fe Weather forecast: Mostly sunny today with a 20-percent chance for showers and thunderstorms after noon. Today’s high, 83. Tonight: Mostly cloudy with the overnight low down to 60. Tomorrow: Partly sunny and a high temp of 84, with the chance for showers and thunderstorms after noon rising to 40-percent.