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8:18 am
Mon September 1, 2014

Famous Faces To Fete NMSU Professor, Playwright

Tony-Winning Playwright Mark Medoff
Credit cmi.nmsu.edu

New Mexico State University is using star wattage to raise funds for a new lecture series named after longtime professor and Tony-winning playwright Mark Medoff.

NMSU is hosting "Mark Medoff: Far From Finished," a fundraising dinner Saturday at the campus Center For The Arts in Las Cruces.

Organizers say several actors who previously worked with Medoff are scheduled to attend including Richard Dreyfuss, Jeffrey Tambor and Linda Hamilton.

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Regional
8:11 am
Mon September 1, 2014

VA To Hold Town Halls To Discuss Health Care

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
Credit albuquerque.va.gov

Officials with the Veterans Affairs health care system in New Mexico are planning two town halls to discuss health care and disability claims with veterans and their families.

The back-to-back town halls will be Sept. 10 at the New Mexico Veterans' Memorial in Albuquerque.

Following whistleblower complaints, investigators earlier this year uncovered large-scale improprieties in the way VA hospitals and clinics around the country scheduled veterans for appointments. Thousands of patients were forced to wait months for appointments.

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Regional
8:07 am
Mon September 1, 2014

NM Utility Works On 3 New Solar Power Centers

Credit pnm.com

Dirt is being leveled in three New Mexico counties as the state's largest electric provider prepares to install thousands of solar panels.

PNM says its planned solar power centers in Valencia, Cibola and Sandoval counties will be capable of producing enough electricity to meet the needs of 8,900 average residential customers.

The solar centers will cost about $48 million to construct. The largest one, the Meadowlake energy center east of Los Lunas, will be made up of more than 122,000 solar panels.

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Regional
8:04 am
Mon September 1, 2014

Monday Business Watch

Every Monday at 7:51am on Morning Edition, Edmundo Resendez covers the week's top local business stories with Las Cruces Sun News Business Editor Jason Gibbs.

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Regional
10:02 pm
Sun August 31, 2014

Perry: Those Naughty Tweets From My Account Weren't Authorized

Credit Texas Governor Rick Perry (R)

  Republican Texas Gov. Rick Perry says a disparaging tweet from his personal account about the Democratic district attorney he's charged with unlawfully trying to oust was unauthorized.

A tweet from Perry's account Sunday, after the other post was deleted, said he does "not condone the tweet." The tweets were sent from Perry's verified account, but it was unclear who does the actual posting for the feed. Perry aides did not immediately return messages.

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Regional
11:18 am
Sun August 31, 2014

Man Injured In Jail Beating Files Federal Lawsuit

  A man who alleges he was beaten by a corrections officer while at the San Juan County Adult Detention Center has filed a federal lawsuit, saying his civil rights were violated.

31-year-old Crandell Martin says his right to due process was violated while and he was subjected to cruel and unusual punishment.

Surveillance video shows then-Officer John Robins slamming Martin's head into a brick wall July 2 while booking him into the detention center for a probation violation.

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Regional
11:15 am
Sun August 31, 2014

Navajo Supreme Court Dismisses Speaker's Appeal

  The Navajo Nation Supreme Court has dismissed a tribal leader's appeal of a lower court decision that allowed his colleagues to put him on administrative leave.

The court dismissed the appeal of Navajo Nation Council Speaker Johnny Naize on Aug. 22 because he did not file required paperwork in time.

According to the two-page ruling, the lower court record and transcripts of the proceedings were never submitted before the Aug. 18 deadline.

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Regional
11:14 am
Sun August 31, 2014

Tesla Dealing As States Play "Factory Poker"

Credit facebook.com/tesla

   It's the corporate equivalent of high-stakes poker.

Tesla Motors has five states bidding to attract a $5 billion factory that will make batteries for a new generation of electric cars. The winner is expected to offer publicly financed incentives exceeding a half-billion dollars.

And the package could be far more, because the states don't know what their competitors are offering.

So far, Tesla has done initial work on a potential site in Nevada. But the company will prepare at least one other before making a final decision by year's end.

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Regional
4:21 pm
Sat August 30, 2014

Texas To Appeal Ruling Against New Abortion Law

Tough new Texas abortion restrictions are on hold after a judge found Republican-led efforts to hold abortion clinics to hospital-level operating standards unconstitutional.

The state has vowed to appeal. U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel ruled Friday that Texas has reached a "tipping point" with new laws that he called state-imposed obstacles to a woman's constitutional right to an abortion.

His decision throws out requirements that threatened to effectively close more than a dozen clinics.

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Regional
4:21 pm
Sat August 30, 2014

Texas Voter ID Trial Set To Begin

  A major election year in Texas has overshadowed an upcoming trial on the fate of the state's tough new voter ID law.

A trial begins Tuesday in Corpus Christi over one of the most stringent voter ID measures in the nation. U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos will decide whether the Texas law is a legal safeguard or a discriminatory mandate that suppresses minority turnout.

Her ruling is unlikely to come before Election Day. That means 13.6 million registered voters will still be required to show a photo ID.

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Regional
6:00 am
Sat August 30, 2014

VA To Hold Town Halls In Albuquerque

  ALBUQUERQUE – All veterans are invited to attend two Town Halls on Sept. 10 in southeast Albuquerque.  The purpose of the meetings will be to offer veterans and their family members an opportunity to discuss VA health care services and veterans’ disability claims.

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PUENTES
5:11 pm
Fri August 29, 2014

Creating Healthy Food Zones

Healthy Food Choices

  August 29, 2014 – Las Cruces, NM - On this edition of PUENTES, Emily Guerra bridges the community with New Mexico State University Cooperative Extension Service Coordinator for ICAN (Ideas for Cooking and Nutrition), Kari Bachman, to tell us about an effort to explore Healthy Food Zones around schools or other locations likely to be frequented by children, such as parks, playgrounds, or youth centers; and an also an effort to provide healthy food trucks.

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Regional
4:29 pm
Fri August 29, 2014

Texas Firm And Indiana Doctor To Pay $2.6 Million Settlement

A Texas company and an Elkhart spinal surgeon accused by the U.S. Justice Department of being involved in a kickback scheme have agreed to pay a $2.6 million settlement.

The settlement announced Friday involves payments that Omni Surgical, doing business as Spine 360, made between 2007 and 2009 to an entity controlled by Dr. Jamie Gottlieb. Although the payments were purportedly involved of intellectual property agreements, the Justice Department contended the agreements were shams, and the payments were intended to pay Gottlieb for using the company's products.

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Regional
4:27 pm
Fri August 29, 2014

Abbott Says Plastic Bag Bans Are Illegal

Credit Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott (R)

  Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott says municipal bans on single-use plastic bags are illegal.

In a five-page attorney general's opinion Friday, the Republican gubernatorial nominee said a state law prohibits local governments from prohibiting, restricting or charging a fee, for solid waste management purposes, for "the use of a container or package in a manner not authorized by state law."

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Regional
4:14 pm
Fri August 29, 2014

"Cowboys For Cancer" Golf Tournament In Las Cruces

  Local residents and cancer research supporters took part in the Cowboys for Cancer Research and NMSU Aggies Tough Enough to Wear Pink Golf Tournament fundraising event Friday.

The event began with an official opening ceremony with special performances from the Bel Air High School Bagpipes, the Oñate High School Band, and the Las Cruces High School color guard.  

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Regional
4:04 pm
Fri August 29, 2014

Two Guard Troops On Texas-Mexico Border Request Financial Help

The Texas National Guard says at least two of its troops have requested financial assistance after deployment to the Texas-Mexico border in response to a surge of children pouring illegally into the United States.

Spokeswoman Lt. Col. Joanne MacGregor says the National Guard had initially identified 50 soldiers who might need financial help, but only two asked for help. These soldiers are part of the 1,000 troops ordered to the border in July by Gov. Rick Perry.

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Regional
3:54 pm
Fri August 29, 2014

Costs Of NM Coal Power Plant Proposal Challenged By Santa Fe-Based Group

Credit https://www.facebook.com/NewEnergyEconomy

Renewable energy advocates say the state's largest electric utility is underestimating the costs that will be passed on to customers under a proposal to shut down part of an aging coal-fired power plant in northwestern New Mexico.

The Santa Fe-based group New Energy Economy in a filing with the Public Regulation Commission on Friday accused the utility of withholding from regulators key information about the plan's price tag.

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Regional
3:45 pm
Fri August 29, 2014

West Texas Man Convicted For Rape Gets Life In Prison

An El Paso man convicted of rape has been sentenced to life in prison.

The El Paso Time reports that jurors on Thursday sentenced 26-year-old Arturo Valtierra-Payan to four life sentences after he was convicted Tuesday of three counts of aggravated sexual assault and one count of aggravated robbery. He also was sentenced to 99 years for burglary of a habitation.

The convictions are the result of a June 26, 2013, case in which prosecutors say Valtierra-Payan broke into a woman's home and then threatened her with a knife and demanded money and jewelry after raping her.

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Regional
3:36 pm
Fri August 29, 2014

Family: Man Shot By Bloomfield Police Unarmed

Credit https://www.facebook.com/pages/City-of-Bloomfield-NM/160827133956526

The family a Bloomfield man fatally shot by police says he was unarmed.

The Daily Times reports the son of Jonathan Rogers said Thursday his father did not have a firearm in his hand when he was killed.

Authorities say Bloomfield police fatally shot the 61-year-old Rogers following a report of a domestic dispute.

New Mexico State Police say two Bloomfield police officers responded to a domestic and were confronted with a suspect with a deadly weapon.

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Regional
3:34 pm
Fri August 29, 2014

Albuquerque Mayor Vetoes Bill To Decriminalize Pot

Credit http://www.cabq.gov/mayor

Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry has vetoed a measure that would have allowed voters to decide if small amounts of marijuana would be decriminalized in New Mexico's largest city.

Berry said in a video message Friday that the proposal would contradict state and federal laws, and he couldn't "in good conscience" support the bill.

A divided Albuquerque City Council voted to put the measure on the November ballot after activists failed to collect enough signatures.

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Regional
11:45 am
Fri August 29, 2014

New Mexico Public School Students Feeling The Pressure Of Standardized Testing

Mayfield High School Senior Jacqueline Sanchez prepares for state mandated math test.
Credit Simon Thompson

State standards have dramatically increased the number of standardized tests in public schools and some educators say it’s causing undue pressure on students and damaging their education.

Jacqueline Sanchez, daughter of National Education Association President Patrick Sanchez is a senior at Mayfield High School in Las Cruces and she says all the tests they are taking have become a source of despair among her classmates.

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Regional
11:45 am
Fri August 29, 2014

New Mexico Students Feeling Pressure Of Standardized Testings

Mayfield High School Senior Jacqueline Sanchez prepares for state mandated math test.
Credit Simon Thompson

State standards have dramatically increased the number of standardized tests in public schools and some educators say it’s causing undue pressure on students and damaging their education.

Jacqueline Sanchez, daughter of National Education Association President Patrick Sanchez is a senior at Mayfield High School in Las Cruces and she says all the tests they are taking have become a source of despair among her classmates.

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Regional
9:55 am
Fri August 29, 2014

Complaint: Three Sierra County Dentention Guards Had Sex With Inmates

Credit http://www.sierracountynm.gov/department/138755-detention-facility

Three Sierra County Detention Center jail guards are facing charges they harassed and threatened female inmates into having sex with them.

KOB-TV reports a criminal complaints filed Thursday says 38-year-old Virgil Eaton, 22-year-old Miguel Herrera and 23-year-old Joshua Corley had sex with inmates and harassed them in spots hidden from security cameras at the Truth or Consequences jail.

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Regional
8:07 am
Fri August 29, 2014

FBI Offering Reward In Attack On Iraqi Woman

The FBI is offering a reward in a case involving a man who assaulted and robbed an Iraqi Catholic refugee in Albuquerque and yelled obscenities about Muslims.

The agency announced Thursday it will offer a $2,000 reward for the capture of a suspect who stole $20,000 in gold during the violent home invasion in June.

Authorities say the assailant forced his way into the home of Seham Jaber, shouting nasty remarks about Muslims and punched her in the head and stomach. Investigators say the intruder then tore up her family's citizenship papers.

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Regional
8:05 am
Fri August 29, 2014

Carlsbad Caverns National Park Bans Drones

Credit facebook.com/nationalparkservice

Carlsbad Caverns National Park has adopted the ban on drones.

Officials say anyone caught using model airplanes, quadcopters or other types of drones within the park's boundaries could face fines and possible jail time.

National Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis directed all parks in June to take steps to prohibit the use of the increasingly popular aircraft that are often used to take photos and videos.

Southwest national parks like Canyonlands, Arches, Grand Canyon and Zion have recently put bans in place.

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Regional
8:01 am
Fri August 29, 2014

Albuquerque Mayor Appoints Chair To Native American Homelessness Task Force

Credit cabq.gov

Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry has appointed Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly's former chief of staff to chair the city's new Native American Homelessness Task Force.

Berry says Sherrick Roanhorse joins the task force with extensive knowledge of Native American affairs. In addition to his role with Shelly, Roanhorse has worked as a policy analyst for the New Mexico Indian Affairs Department and as and a government and legislative affairs specialist with the Navajo Nation in Washington, D.C. He currently works in the state government affairs office of PNM.

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Regional
8:00 am
Fri August 29, 2014

Bernalillo County Changes Policy On Immigration Checks

Credit bernco.gov

New Mexico's most populous county no longer will keep inmates in jail while their immigration status is being checked if there's no order to keep them in custody once they've posted bail.

Bernalillo County officials say the new policy means the county won't keep inmates confined at the Metropolitan Detention Center merely on the basis of a request from immigration authorities.

According to the Albuquerque Journal, County Attorney Randy Autio said the policy change is a result of court cases around the country.

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Regional
7:10 am
Fri August 29, 2014

N.M. Democratic, Republican Party Chairs Discuss Opening Primary Elections To Independents

Low turnout in New Mexico Primary Elections and a lawsuit have people talking about opening up the state’s primaries to independent voters. 

New Mexico’s Democratic Chair supports the change….but the Republican chair is opposed.

With only 20 percent of voters turning out in the last primary election, there are calls for opening up the state’s closed primary to include independent voters.

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Regional
6:00 am
Fri August 29, 2014

Major Honors For NMSU Media Productions Team

Students work together in the Learning Games Lab. (photo by Darren Phillips)

  The New Mexico State University Media Productions team, responsible for projects with more than 40 universities, agencies and nonprofit groups nationwide, has recently received multiple awards for interactive media programs.

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Local Viewpoints
6:00 am
Fri August 29, 2014

New Mexico Voices For Children Joins Fight Against New Mexico Food Stamp Changes

  ALBUQUERQUE—Veronica C. García, Ed.D., executive director of New Mexico Voices for Children, will submit the following statement to Secretary Squier regarding the proposed work requirement change for recipients of SNAP (food stamp) benefits at the hearing on Friday, August 29:

Dear Secretary Squier:

I am writing to urge you to stop plans to reinstate work requirements for recipients of SNAP benefits. There are several reasons I believe this plan would be detrimental to New Mexico:

·         New Mexico has the highest rate of child hunger in the nation.

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