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Election 2014
10:56 am
Thu October 30, 2014

Public Regulation Commissioner Told Campaign Work Payments Not OK

Credit http://www.nmprc.state.nm.us/commissioners/benhall/index.html

A state official who has acknowledged paying himself with public campaign financing for time he spent campaigning for his re-election is being told he can't do that.

The Secretary of State's Office told Public Regulation Commissioner Ben Hall in a letter that allowed uses of public campaign financing don't include candidates paying themselves for time spent campaigning.

Hall had previously told the Albuquerque Journal that he had used nearly $7,000 of his public campaign financing to pay himself and his fiancee for time they spent on campaign work.

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Regional
10:47 am
Thu October 30, 2014

Judge Won't Toss Most Charges In Homeless Killing

A judge has refused to throw out most of the charges against three New Mexico teenagers accused of beating two homeless men to death with cinderblocks and other objects.

KOV-TV reports that a state District Court judge on Wednesday denied a motion to dismiss 24 of the 27 charges. The teens are charged with first-degree murder and other crimes.

In July, Albuquerque police arrested 18-year-old Alex Rios, a 16-year-old and a 15-year-old in the killings of 44-year-old Allison Gorman and 46-year-old Kee Thompson. Their bodies were discovered in a vacant lot.

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Election 2014
10:44 am
Thu October 30, 2014

N.M. Land Commissioner Contest Remains Tight Race

New Mexico Land Commissioner Ray Powell is locked in a tight race with Republican challenger Aubrey Dunn.

So far, it's been a contest that has centered on Powell's management of the state's public lands.

Powell says in the last three years the office has generated a record $2.3 billion for the state accounts that fund various projects. The Democrat says he has helped transform a "badly compromised and dysfunctional office."

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Regional
8:48 am
Thu October 30, 2014

New Mexico Supreme Court Denies Request In Water Fight

The New Mexico Supreme Court has cleared the way for the state's top water manager to continue considering an application by a commercial venture that calls for piping drinking water from western New Mexico to more populated areas.

The court this week denied a motion filed by a ranching family that sought to toss the latest application filed with the state engineer's office by Augustin Plains Ranch.

It will be up to the state engineer whether to grant a public hearing on the application.

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Election 2014
8:46 am
Thu October 30, 2014

New Mexico Candidates To Disclose Fundraising

Candidates are to make a disclosure of their campaign spending during the final stretch leading to next week's election.

Campaign finance reports must be filed Thursday by candidates for governor and other state offices and by political committees trying to influence the outcome of races in New Mexico.

The reports will show contributions and spending during the past three weeks. The next complete campaign finance disclosure isn't due until December.

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Regional
6:00 am
Thu October 30, 2014

Alamogordo City Commission Works To Create Government Accountability

    

Government accountability in local politics is usually an elected official holding themselves accountable for their actions. The Alamogordo city commission is trying by allowing commissioners impose a civil fine if anyone on the commission breaks the code of conduct.

But is the new ordinance targeting anyone in particular?

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Regional
10:03 pm
Wed October 29, 2014

Bodies Found In Mexico Where Americans Went Missing

A Mexico state official says four bodies have been found east of the border city of Matamaros, which is the area where three young Americans have been missing more than two weeks.

Tamaulipas state investigator Raul Galindo Vira will say only that the four bodies were found Wednesday morning.

A second state official says investigators are trying to determine if the dead include three siblings from Progreso, Texas, who went missing with a fourth person Oct. 13. The official insisted on speaking anonymously because he was not authorized to speak to the press.

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Regional
10:01 pm
Wed October 29, 2014

Deputy Accused Of Murdering Partner Pleads Not Guilty

A New Mexico sheriff's deputy accused of fatally shooting a fellow deputy following an argument at a hotel has pleaded not guilty.

Tai Chan entered his plea to the murder charge at his first court appearance in Las Cruces on Wednesday.

Police say Chan shot Deputy Jeremy Martin at the Hotel Encanto after the two drank at a nightspot and got into a heated argument. They were staying there after dropping off a prisoner in Arizona.

It's not clear why the two men were arguing.

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Regional
9:59 pm
Wed October 29, 2014

Texas Doctor Gets Seven Years In "Pill Mill" Case

A North Texas doctor already in federal prison for health care fraud has been given an additional seven years for running a clinic that authorities have called a "pill mill."

Nicholas Padron was sentenced Wednesday after admitting to one count of conspiracy to unlawfully distribute a Schedule III controlled substance.

Prosecutors say Padron and a co-defendant ran a "cash-only clinic" that sold drugs like hydrocodone.

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Regional
3:08 pm
Wed October 29, 2014

Weaving Demonstration and Auction Raises Money For Branigan Cultural Center

Navajo weaving is an art form passed on for generations. Branigan Cultural center recently brought in the spider rock girls for a demonstration, while holding an auction to raise money for the center. Sonner attended the demonstration and has more. 

Larissa Blake has been weaving since she was a little girl. A tradition passed down in her family for generations. 

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Regional
9:11 am
Wed October 29, 2014

New Mexico Councilor: City Ruined Political Career

A southwestern New Mexico councilor accused of attacking a neighbor for sleeping on his couch says he will sue the city.

The Silver City Sun-News reports Bayard City Councilor Armando Arzola said this week the city's police treated him unfairly and ruined his political career over his arrest. Arzola says he had hoped to eventually run for New Mexico governor or U.S. Senate.

According to New Mexico State Police report, Arzola struck the neighbor's cheek with a baton during a September fight.

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Regional
8:50 am
Wed October 29, 2014

Ex-Parole Officer Appointed Magistrate Judge By Gov. Martinez

Credit Office of the Governor

A former parole officer from southern New Mexico has been appointed a magistrate judge in Lincoln County by Gov. Susana Martinez.

Katie Lund of Ruidoso fills a magistrate court vacancy created by the resignation of Lorena LaMay, who was named to the court in 2009 by then Gov. Bill Richardson.

Martinez said Tuesday that Lund previously worked for the Corrections Department as a probation and parole officer and has served as a juvenile probation and parole officer with the Children, Youth and Families Department.

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Regional
8:47 am
Wed October 29, 2014

Another New Mexico District Eyes Teacher Degree Changes

Another school district in eastern New Mexico is considering changes in requiring teachers to earn master's degrees within a set time.

The Clovis News Journal reports Clovis Municipal Schools board members are looking at a change in a six-year old policy that puts a five-year deadline on new teachers.

Under current district policy, a teacher who joins the district must earn a master's degree in that time, or a contract is not offered for a sixth year.

Officials say a change was needed due to turnover and morale issues.

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Regional
8:44 am
Wed October 29, 2014

Update: Deputy Accused In Fatal Shooting Talked To Girlfriend Before Murder

Court documents say a Santa Fe County sheriff's deputy accused of killing a fellow deputy was on the phone with his girlfriend moments before shots were fired.  Documents released Wednesday said the girlfriend of Deputy Tai Chan heard someone say "Please don't, please don't." She told investigators she then heard the gunshots.

Chan is making his first court appearance via video Wednesday. He's facing an open count of murder in the shooting death of his partner, Jeremy Martin, and is being held without bond at the Dona Ana County Detention Center in Las Cruces.

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Regional
9:17 pm
Tue October 28, 2014

NMSU Narrows Athletic Director Search To 11 Candidates

There are now 11 candidates for New Mexico State University’s next athletics director. Larry Lujan, who chairs the NMSU search committee, announcedTuesday the list of candidates had been narrowed from the original 48 applicants to 11. 

“I think the number of applications we’ve received and the qualifications we’ve seen in these individuals shows that this is a very desirable position, and it has attracted top-quality talent from across the nation,” Lujan said. 

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Regional
5:12 pm
Tue October 28, 2014

Las Cruces Man Arrested In Stabbing Death

               

A Las Cruces man has been arrested and charged with second-degree murder following a Doña Ana County Sheriff’s investigation into the stabbing death of 17-year-old David Escamilla.

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Regional
4:14 pm
Tue October 28, 2014

Martinez Announces 300 New Valencia County Jobs Within Three Years

Credit Office of the Governor

  Belen - Today, Governor Susana Martinez announced that Global Fashion Technologies, a manufacturer of recycled fibers, will locate its headquarters and manufacturing facility in Belen. This move is expected to create 300 new jobs within three years and potentially more in the future. Global Fashion Technologies is a publicly-traded company that is commercializing new, patented technology to process and develop these recycled materials. 

 

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Regional
3:46 pm
Tue October 28, 2014

Officers Arrest Cocaine Smuggler At El Paso Port Of Entry

  U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office of Field Operations officers working at the El Paso port of entry made a 12.4 pound cocaine seizureMonday. The drugs have an approximate street value of $396,800.

 

“This interdiction removes a sizeable amount of cocaine from the streets of our communities and the reach of our youth,” said Acting CBP El Paso Port Director Francis Brown. “This noteworthy seizure highlights CBP’s determination to serve the American people.”

 

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Local Viewpoints
3:34 pm
Tue October 28, 2014

CAFe: We Will "Remain Vigilant" To Preserve The Las Cruces Minimum Wage Law

  LAS CRUCES, N.M. – At yesterday’s work session, the Las Cruces City Council decided to enact the new $10.10 law they voted for on September 8th.  In its first phase, the new law will improve regular wages to $8.40/hour and gives tipped wage earners a raise to $3.36/hour effective January 1, 2015.

 

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Regional
1:03 pm
Tue October 28, 2014

More About The Top Ten Donors

Santa Fe-based writer Sallie Bingham comes in at No. 9 on the Power Players list, having given $168,485 to Democratic candidates and causes since 2011. (Courtesy photo / Sallie Bingham)

  Here’s a brief rundown of the top 10 Power Players - the top 10 individual donors from New Mexico between 2011 and 2014, according to data compiled and analyzed by the Investigative News Network (INN) and New Mexico In Depth. Data was provided by the National Institute for Money in State Politics and the Center for Responsive Politics, as well as the New Mexico Secretary of State’s office.

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Regional
12:52 pm
Tue October 28, 2014

Las Cruces Plans Public Meetings For Klein Park Master Plan

Klein Park, located in the Mesquite Historic District, is an important park to the neighborhood and community as a whole. The park is in need of repairs and renovations, which will increase its usefulness and relevance to the neighborhood.

Two public meetings have been conducted as part of a master planning process, and a final public input meeting is scheduled for 4 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 5, at City Hall, 700 N. Main St., room 2007-B.

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Local Viewpoints
10:30 am
Tue October 28, 2014

NFIB: Improvement Needed As New Mexico Is Ranked 35th For Tax Climate

  The nonpartisan Tax Foundation today released its 2015 State Business Tax Climate Index, and the annual report ranked New Mexico just 35th best in the nation. But the state director for New Mexico’s largest small-business association said neighboring states are pointing the way up.

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Regional
9:48 am
Tue October 28, 2014

Officers Find Drugs Strapped To Paraplegic Man

  PRESIDIO, Texas -- U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office of Field Operations officers working at the Presidio port of entry seized 1.3 pounds of crystal methamphetamine last week. The drugs were taped to the legs of a paraplegic man.

 

“Smugglers have no scruples when it comes to getting narcotics across the border,” said John Deputy, CBP Presidio Port Director. “It is unfortunate, but even individuals with disabilities can serve as an avenue to smuggle drugs.”

 

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Local Viewpoints
9:29 am
Tue October 28, 2014

The Definition Of Insanity-New Mexico Edition

Credit Paul Gessing, President-Rio Grande Foundation

  They say that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. This link is to a spreadsheet illustrating political control of New Mexico's Legislature over the past 80+ years (since 1931). In summary, Democrats have controlled the House and Senate for a combined total of 160 years between the two bodies with Republicans having controlled one body or the other for a total of 6 years.

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Regional
9:21 am
Tue October 28, 2014

UPDATE: Charges Pending Against Sheriff's Deputy Who Killed Fellow Deputy

Santa Fe Deputy Jeremy Martin, who was killed in Las Cruces by a fellow deputy.

A Santa Fe County sheriff’s deputy is dead and another in custody following an early-morning shooting at Hotel Encanto in Las Cruces.  One of the deputies, a 27-year-old man, is being interviewed by Las Cruces Police detectives. Charges are pending.  The Associated Press quotes attorney John Day as saying his client, Deputy Ty Chan, is the man in custody.  Deputy Jeremy Martin, 29, was pronounced dead at MountainView Regional Medical Center.

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Regional
8:08 am
Tue October 28, 2014

Trial Delay For Consultant Linked To Stolen Email

A Democratic political consultant's trial on child pornography charges has been postponed until December.

The FBI found pornographic images of children on Jason Loera's computer equipment in 2012 while investigating the hijacking of Republican Gov. Susana Martinez's campaign email system.

Loera's trial was to start Wednesday, but U.S. District Judge James Browning rescheduled it for Dec. 8 at Loera's request.

Loera has pleaded not guilty.

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Election 2014
8:07 am
Tue October 28, 2014

Voter ID Debate The Focus Of Secretary Of State Race

Republican Secretary of State Dianna Duran is fighting to keep her job in a race that has her pitted against Democrat Maggie Toulouse Oliver.

A major focus has been voter ID.

Duran is seeking to become the first Republican re-elected to the seat in decades. Citing fraud concerns, she wants to push for new voter ID measures.

Oliver, Bernalillo County's clerk, says fraud is rare and requiring voters to have identification would just prevent certain residents from casting ballots.

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Regional
8:04 am
Tue October 28, 2014

Firm To Review Zoo's Security After Animal's Death

Credit cabq.gov

A detective agency has been hired to make recommendations for improving security at the Albuquerque zoo following the killing of a rare Tasmanian devil on loan from Australia.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that private agency will make recommendations about internal policies and procedures of the Albuquerque BioPark Zoo, while city police continue their criminal investigation of the killing.

The animal named Jasper was found dead in his enclosure on Oct. 15, and zoo officials have since said they were adding more guards and surveillance cameras.

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Regional
7:56 am
Tue October 28, 2014

Hobbs Schools Suspend Master's Requirement

A school district in southeastern New Mexico struggling to recruit and keep teachers has reduced its advance degree requirements.

The Hobbs News-Sun reports that the Hobbs Municipal School Board voted last week to suspend the district's master's requirement policy.

Under that policy, new teachers must earn a master's degree within six years of their hiring.

Superintendent T.J. Parks says he supported the policy but the current status of hiring new teachers was dismal.

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Regional
7:55 am
Tue October 28, 2014

Work To Begin In Catwalk Reconstruction Next Year

Credit https://twitter.com/GilaNForest/status/526826124358078464/photo/1

Officials with the Gila National Forest say reconstruction of the Catwalk National Recreation Trail in southern New Mexico is expected to be done by the end of 2015.

Contractors toured the trail with forest officials earlier this month. They will have until late November to submit their proposals.

Forest officials say the reconstruction contract will likely be awarded in February and work on the trail and parking area could be done by December 2015.

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