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9:56 am
Wed April 1, 2015

New Mexico Senate Democrats Want Special Session If Capital Outlay Agreement Is Possible

Credit Senate Majority Leader Michael S. Sanchez (D-29- Bernalillo & Valencia).

  Santa Fe, NM – Senate Majority Leader Michael S. Sanchez (D-29-Bernalillo and Valencia) today said he and Senate Democrats may be willing to support calling a special session of the Legislature following Governor Susana Martinez’s reported comments this week. Sen. Sanchez has sent out the following statement:

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Regional
7:49 am
Wed April 1, 2015

Forecasters Say Weather Creates Conditions For Wildfires

Forecasters are warning that low humidity and strong winds are creating critical conditions for wildfires in much of New Mexico.

The National Weather Service says a red flag warning is in effect into late Wednesday in west-central New Mexico and along and east of the central mountain chain.

The service also issued a fire weather watch for Thursday afternoon and evening for much of northern and central New Mexico due to strong winds and low humidity.

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Regional
7:45 am
Wed April 1, 2015

Prosecutor Says About Protracted Investigations By Police

The top prosecutor for Bernalillo County wants to know why Albuquerque Police Department investigations of multiple shootings by law enforcement officers have yet to be completed and submitted to her office.

District Attorney Kari Brandenburg on Tuesday sent Police Chief Gordon a letter inquiring about protracted investigations into numerous law enforcement shooting cases and in-custody deaths.

The Police Department responded in social media postings in which it said it investigates all cases thoroughly and that "detailed accuracy and transparency" are priorities.

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Regional
6:24 am
Wed April 1, 2015

Graduation Implications Of PARCC Testing In New Mexico

There has been a lot of debate over PARCC testing and its implications, specifically on how the test could affect a student’s ability to graduate with a diploma.

Leighann Lenti, Deputy Secretary of the New Mexico Public Education Department, says passing a test in order to show competency is part of New Mexico State Law.

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Regional
3:33 pm
Tue March 31, 2015

Former Corrections Officer Pleads Guilty To Conspiring To Distribute Narcotics

  Francisco Balderrama, 27, of El Paso, Texas, pleaded guilty today in federal court in Las Cruces, N.M., to conspiracy to distribute heroin, methamphetamine and cocaine within the Doña Ana County Detention Center (DACDC).  At the time he committed the offense, Balderrama was employed as a corrections officer at the DACDC.

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Regional
3:31 pm
Tue March 31, 2015

New NMSU Student Regent On The Job

  Amanda Lopez Askin, a New Mexico State University doctoral student who already holds multiple NMSU degrees, has been confirmed as the university’s newest student regent. 

“First and foremost, I am honored to be appointed by Gov. Susana Martinez as the NMSU student regent,” Lopez Askin said. “As a graduate student in the College of Education, I am excited to bring this unique perspective to the board. Moreover, as a native Las Crucen, I am proud to be able to be part of this historically significant board, which includes four women.”

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Regional
3:11 pm
Tue March 31, 2015

Martinez On Cruz: I Don't Know Him...I Don't Follow Him

Credit Senator Ted Cruz (R) Texas

The nation's only Latina governor says she knows next to nothing about GOP presidential candidate and Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas.

New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez told The Associated Press on Tuesday that she had no opinion on Cruz's recent announcement at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, that he would seek the Republican presidential nomination.

Martinez says she doesn't personally know Cruz nor does she "follow him."

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Online EXTRA
2:47 pm
Tue March 31, 2015

First Lady Teams Up With PBS On Recipe Challenge

  Washington, D.C. – First Lady Michelle Obama is teaming up with PBS flagship station WGBH Boston, the U.S. Department of Education, and the U.S.

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Regional
2:45 pm
Tue March 31, 2015

Audit: Weakness In Hatch Financial Controls

Credit New Mexico State Auditor Timothy Keller (D)

  SANTA FE – State Auditor Tim Keller released a forensic audit of the Village of Hatch. The audit examined the finances of the Village during fiscal years 2012 and 2013 to determine if public funds were properly handled. The report identifies weaknesses in financial controls in the Village of Hatch during past years and offers recommendations to protect taxpayers moving forward. 

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Online EXTRA
2:43 pm
Tue March 31, 2015

Feds Grant Five-Year "No Child Left Behind" Waiver To New Mexico

  Santa Fe — Today, the U.S. Department of Education approved a four-year extension to New Mexico’s “No Child Left Behind” waiver, allowing the state to continue implementing reforms to help struggling schools and students. New Mexico is just one of five states to receive the extension, which recognizes the state’s success in implementing strong education reform and accountability efforts.

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Regional
1:37 pm
Tue March 31, 2015

UPDATE: All Clear At NMSU Residence Hall After Reports Of Smoke

UPDATE:  There is an all clear for the smoke investigation at Rhodes Garrett Hamiel Hall and the building is open at this time. 

Earlier post:

  There is a report of smoke at Rhodes Garrett Hamiel, a residence hall on the New Mexico State University Campus. 

Fire Department is on scene and is investigating.  Please avoid the area until the scene is safe and fire department has cleared the scene.

As information becomes available, more details will be posted.

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Regional
11:58 am
Tue March 31, 2015

Free Speech Lawsuit: Farmington Man Arrested For Using Offensive Word

A New Mexico man is suing Farmington police after he says officers arrested him for using an offensive word at an IHOP.

Lawyers for Tye Trujillo filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Albuquerque last month and say the June 2013 arrest violated the 32-year-old's free speech rights.

According to lawsuit, Trujillo was having lunch with three men near a table of three officers. Court documents say when the officers heard the men repeatedly use an expletive, an officer went over to the table and warned them not to use it again.

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Regional
11:53 am
Tue March 31, 2015

What?! Texan Impersonated Police Officer To Cut In The Drive-Thru Line

A West Texas man has been charged with impersonating an officer by using sirens and flashing lights to skip to the head of the drive-thru line at a fast-food restaurant.

Odessa police say Michael Chico was arrested after an off-duty officer spotted the suspect's truck outfitted with law-enforcement trappings.

Cpl. Steve LeSueur (luh-SWEER') says Chico's vehicle looked like an unmarked police unit.

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Regional
11:50 am
Tue March 31, 2015

Grand Jury: UT Regent Wallace Hall Used His Power "To The Point Of Abuse"

Credit utsystem.edu

A grand jury has declined to indict a University of Texas regent for releasing confidential student information, instead issuing a blistering report decrying his "unaccountable and abusive behavior."

Prosecutors in Travis County, which includes Austin, asked grand jurors to consider whether Wallace Hall disseminated confidential student information during his relentless pursuit of Austin campus records.

State lawmakers already have censured Hall over his actions during a years-long personal investigation of the campus administration, including President Bill Powers.

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Local Viewpoints
11:38 am
Tue March 31, 2015

Martinez Signs Legislation Aimed At Protecting Families

Credit Office of the Governor

  Today, Governor Susana Martinez signed a series of bills to help protect New Mexico’s families. Among other things, the legislation cracks down on child prostitution, provides additional funding to help victims of violent crimes, and requires all cell phone and pager companies to issue Amber Alerts via text to their customers.

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Local Viewpoints
8:29 am
Tue March 31, 2015

Las Cruces Green Chamber Launches "No More Walmarts" Campaign

  LAS CRUCES---The Las Cruces Green Chamber of Commerce (LCGCC) Board of Directors announced this week they are launching a "No More Walmarts" campaign   in response to the recent approval in February by the Las Cruces Planning and Zoning Commission for the rezoning of 7.31 acres of land at the corner of Tashiro Drive and Valley Road. The Planning and Zoning Commission approved an application for the construction of a grocery store, drive-through pharmacy, and a 12 bay self-serve gas station.   

 

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Regional
9:23 pm
Mon March 30, 2015

Las Cruces City Council Approves $5.4 Million Civic Plaza

  The Las Cruces City Council Monday approved a $5.4 million dollar downtown civic plaza.  It will be built between Griggs Avenue and the Bank of the West building.

The plaza design includes a splash pad and a stage for performances.

The council approved the plaza 4 to 1.

Mayor Pro Tem Greg Smith was the lone vote against the plaza, saying more input was needed on its design.  

Councilors Ceil Levatino and Olga Pedroza did not attend the meeting.

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Regional
9:15 pm
Mon March 30, 2015

U.S. Appeals Judge's Hold On Immigration Relief

The Justice Department has urged a federal appeals court to lift a temporary hold a judge placed on President Barack Obama's immigration executive action.

The 69-page brief was filed Monday with the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ahead of arguments scheduled for next month.

Lawyers for the federal government are challenging a preliminary injunction issued in February by a federal judge in Texas. That decision placed on hold an executive action that could spare from deportation as many as 5 million people who are in the U.S. illegally.

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Regional
3:22 pm
Mon March 30, 2015

New Safety Rules For BNSF Crude Oil Trains

BNSF railroad has started taking additional safety measures for crude oil shipments because of four recent high-profile derailments in the U.S. and Canada.

The railroad said Monday that is slowing down crude oil trains to 35 mph in cities with more than 100,000 people and increasing track inspections near waterways.

The Fort Worth, Texas, based railroad also is stepping up efforts to find and repair defective wheels before they can cause derailments.

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Regional
12:57 pm
Mon March 30, 2015

Road Rage Attack In Santa Fe

Santa Fe police say a motorist was attacked by a man and then a woman in an apparent road-rage incident.

According to police, the Saturday incident started when the man pulled up to the motorist's car and accused the motorist of cutting him off. The man then followed the motorist and attacked his vehicle with a metal bar before the two men began struggling in the street.

Police said the motorist grabbed the bar, but then he was struck and pinned against the male attacker's car by the minivan of a woman who'd just driven up after apparently following the man.

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Local Viewpoints
10:31 am
Mon March 30, 2015

What Really Happened To Capital Outlay During New Mexico's 2015 Legislative Session?

Credit Senate Majority Leader Michael S. Sanchez (D-29- Bernalillo & Valencia).

  Santa Fe, NM – Following the Governor’s press conference at the end of the 2015 Legislative Session, residents of New Mexico may be excused for being confused about what actually happened to spending on infrastructure projects across the state.  Governor Susana Martinez did not help matters when she levelled false accusations against Senate Democrats.

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Regional
7:10 am
Mon March 30, 2015

UPDATE: New Mexico AG Unveils Changes On Hiring Private Lawyers

Credit Hector Balderas

New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas has announced new reforms on hiring private lawyers to file lawsuits on behalf of the attorney general's office.

Balderas on Monday unveiled new policy changes on the practice and promises to make all documents from a bidding process available to the public.

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Regional
6:00 am
Mon March 30, 2015

Senator Heinrich Fights For More Opportunities For New Mexico's Military Community

Credit US Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM)

U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich lobbied for a new active duty mission at White Sands Missile Range (WSMR) during a Senate Committee on Armed Services hearing this month. He argued that placing active duty at the range would make the best use of its facilities and lower costs over time.

Heinrich then spoke about the effects of sequestration and the empty facilities that could be used by active duty military at WSMR.

During the hearing…the New Mexico Democrat also expressed his support for housing F-35 fighter planes at Holloman Air Force Base (HAFB).

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Regional
6:00 am
Mon March 30, 2015

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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Local Viewpoints
1:05 pm
Sun March 29, 2015

Goodman: Enjoying The Theater In Las Cruces

  May I take a break from drought and recall and be playful?

Last Saturday evening we saw “Recreational Living” at the Las Cruces Community Theater.

David Spence's play won a contest among former students of Mark Medoff. The prize was this production at LCCT directed by Mark.

I expected a good evening, because I know and respect Mark; but the performance was more fun that we'd anticipated.

Let's admit first that I'm an old curmudgeon who often leaves the theater growling.

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Regional
11:10 am
Sun March 29, 2015

Budget Battle, In-State Tuition Fight In Texas

Get ready for budget battle week.

The House on Tuesday is scheduled to debate its version of the proposed state budget. That will likely mean slogging through numerous proposed amendments, and possibly fighting off Democratic- or tea party-led procedural challenges meant to stall the process.

The Senate is also expected to take up its budget plan this week, though the amendment fight shouldn't be as raucous as in the lower chamber.

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Regional
11:08 am
Sun March 29, 2015

Texas Spent $30 Million On Tuition Program With Lax Rules

Texas agencies have spent millions on tuition payment programs for state workers in a program with lax rules and oversight.

The state has spent at least $30 million during the past two decades for employee tuition. The Texas Department of Transportation has paid out at least $13 million since 1993, the most of any state agency.

TxDOT makes all of its tuition payments before classes begin.

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Regional
11:07 am
Sun March 29, 2015

Drownings Spike Along Rio Grande

More immigrants have been drowning in the Rio Grande over the last six months.

Authorities say that's because immigrants are choosing more dangerous crossings into South Texas to avoid detection. Many of the bodies have been found in the weed-choked irrigation canals that feed into the Rio Grande.

The Border Patrol has responded by expanding its search-and-rescue teams to monitor the area.

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Regional
12:13 pm
Sat March 28, 2015

High Hopes For Garnet Mining In Otero County

A historic southern New Mexico mining town that once shined with the gold rush could sparkle again with some garnet.

Otero County commissioners approved financial assistance Tuesday for a proposed garnet mining operation in Orogrande.

Commissioners and the Alamogordo Chamber of Commerce have been in talks with former Rosemont Realty CEO Dan Burrell about the $20 million project.

Burrell discovered one of the largest freestanding deposits of garnet in the U.S. in the Jarilla Mountains Mineral District.

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Regional
12:02 pm
Sat March 28, 2015

Albuquerque Becomes State's First "Purple Heart City"

Credit Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry

There will soon be new signs popping up around Albuquerque to reflect its designation as a "Purple Heart City."

Mayor Richard Berry unveiled the signs during a news conference Friday.

The first of 36 signs that will be installed around the city will be located at the intersection of Eubank and Southern, adjacent to the Nuclear Museum.

The effort is part of a national campaign by the Military Order of the Purple Heart of the USA to recognize those who have received the prestigious military decoration.

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