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Local news and weather for Las Cruces, El Paso, Alamogordo, Silver City, Ruidoso, Anthony, Cloudcroft, Deming, Truth or Consequences, Elephant Butte, and all of Southern New Mexico and Far West Texas.

JONATHAN THOMPSON HIGH COUNTRY NEWS

The Environmental Protection Agency says millions of gallons of wastewater that gushed from a Colorado gold mine last year may have sent more than 880,000 pounds of metals into a river.

A preliminary report released Friday says the spill flowed into the Animas River and most of the metals settled into the riverbed. It says some of them reached the San Juan River, which the Animas joins in New Mexico.

Utah officials have said some contaminants reached their state, but the report doesn't address that.

New Mexico Couple: Woman Posed As Humane Society Worker And Stole Dog

Feb 6, 2016

A New Mexico couple says a woman posing as an Animal Humane employee threatened them with jail and stole one of their dogs.

KRQE-TV in Albuquerque (http://goo.gl/f605Kx) reports Leandra and Angelo Quevedo of Rio Communities, New Mexico, said Thursday the woman originally responded to a Criaglist ad about buying a dog.

After purchasing a dog, she returned and claimed she was with the Humane Society of the United States.

Group Questions Closed-Door Meeting By New Mexico Lawmakers

Feb 6, 2016

The New Mexico Foundation for Open Government says a House appropriations committee locked out the public from a meeting on the state budget.

Foundation Executive Director Susan Boe wrote to the House speaker and Senate president Friday to urge that all legislative committee meetings be held in public.

Boe says the House Appropriations and Finance Committee locked the doors to its committee room and barred the public while discussing a state budget bill on Monday. The committee presented a detailed $6.3 billion budget plan in public the next day.

Bataan 2016, Who Will You March For?

Feb 5, 2016
flickr/wsmr

  The 27th annual Bataan Memorial Death March is gearing up to step into another record-breaking year March 20 at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico. The event is an active history lesson and a true test of endurance.

Considered one of the hardest marathon-length routes in the U.S., participants come from all over the world to honor the Bataan fallen and World War II survivors.

This Week In The Las Cruces Bulletin

Feb 5, 2016

  Every Saturday at 5:30pm on Images, Fred Martino speaks with Las Cruces Bulletin Managing Editor Brook Stockberger about the week's top stories and much more in the Bulletin.  

Apollo 14 Astronaut Edgar Mitchell Passes Away at 85

Feb 5, 2016

  The last surviving member of the Apollo 14 crew, Astronaut Edgar Dean Mitchell, passed away February 4, at 9:30 pm, in West Palm Beach from a sudden illness.

Although Mitchell was born in Hereford, Texas, he always considered Artesia, New Mexico, his home because he spent most of his childhood there. A 1948 graduate of Artesia High School, the Navy veteran also held degrees in Industrial Management, Aeronautical Engineering, and Aeronautics and Astronautics. He held an honorary doctorate from New Mexico State University and several other universities.

Suspect Sought In Fatal Stabbing Surrenders

Feb 5, 2016

  A suspect wanted by Doña Ana County Sheriff’s detectives in the fatal stabbing of David Escamilla, 17, surrendered to law enforcement late Thursday afternoon.

   Lawrence J. Lucero, 19, turned himself in just after 5 p.m. at the sheriff’s main headquarters in Las Cruces. He was accompanied by his attorney and a few family members.

   Detectives had obtained a warrant for Lucero’s arrest on Thursday morning, identifying him as a suspect in the fatal stabbing investigation that began on Oct. 19, 2014.

A second Senate committee has passed a bipartisan proposal aimed at making New Mexico compliant under the federal REAL ID Act.

The Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously approved Friday a measure that would create "driver's authorization card" following emotional pleas some senators.

Under the proposal, immigrants living in the country illegally would be allowed to apply for that card but could no longer get a New Mexico driver's license.

Family Blames Deputies For Death Of Great-Grandfather

Feb 5, 2016
bernco.gov

A New Mexico family says excessive force on the part of sheriff deputies is to blame for the death of an 88-year-old great-grandfather who was distraught following the death of his wife.

The family of Fidencio Duran is suing Bernalillo County in state district court.

Their complaint outlines a standoff last September that ended with deputies shooting Duran with pepper balls before unleashing a police dog. Duran died a month later, and medical investigators classified his death as homicide.

Officials: Burglar Takes Chocolate From New Mexico School

Feb 5, 2016

Authorities say a thief broke into an Albuquerque elementary school and stole more than a dozen boxes of Student Council chocolate.

KOAT-TV in Albuquerque reports the bandit broke into Ernie Pyle Middle School last week and also ran out with $120 in Student Council cash, a laptop, a wheel barrow and a garbage can.

Officials say the cash and chocolate belonged to the Student Council, which was fundraising for various school projects.

Parent Cassandra Lucero says the break-in was "heartbreaking" for students.

Man Gets Maximum For Transients' Beating Deaths

Feb 5, 2016

The latest on the sentencing of a man convicted of beating two homeless men to death (all times local):

3:10 p.m.

An Albuquerque man convicted of beating two homeless men to death with cinder blocks and other objects has been sentenced to 67 ½ years in prison, the maximum allowed.

A jury found 20-year-old Alex Rios guilty last year of more than a dozen felony counts in the 2014 killings of Alison Gorman and Kee Thompson.

New Mexico Senate Passes Version Of A 'Kendra's Law'

Feb 5, 2016

The New Mexico Senate has passed a proposal that would require some New Mexico residents with severe mental illness to receive court-ordered outpatient treatment.

The Democratic-led Senate voted 29-9 to approve a bill that orders some patients to participate in assisted outpatient treatment if the court finds that the patients are a danger to themselves and others.

Senate President Pro Tem Mary Kay Papen, who is co-sponsoring the bill, says it's "like a modified version" of the New York's Kendra's law.

Las Cruces Mother Indicted for Leaving Kids in Car

Feb 5, 2016

  LAS CRUCES, N.M. – Today, District Attorney Mark D’Antonio announced that a grand jury has indicted a Las Cruces woman accused of leaving her kids in a car during the summer.  

Authorities said Gretta Jimenez, 35, left her 8-year-old son and 6-year-old daughter in a locked car outside a grocery store in Las Cruces for 30 minutes. The incident happened last September when the temperature was 91 degrees outside.

D'Antonio said “Protecting the children of Doña Ana County needs to be everyone’s top priority. We are very fortunate the officer arrived when he did.”

  PBS and WETA Washington, D.C., the flagship public television station in the nation’s capital, has announced that PBS NewsHour will produce the first Democratic presidential candidates debate following the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary on Thursday, February 11, 2016 at 7 PM MT. NewsHour co-anchors and managing editors Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff will moderate the PBS NewsHour Democratic Primary Debate, to be broadcast on KRWG-TV and KRWG-FM and nationwide on PBS/NPR stations.

Las Cruces Arts Fair Planned For March

Feb 5, 2016

  The Las Cruces Arts Fair opens on Friday, March 18 at 5:00 PM at the Las Cruces Convention Center. In its 6th year, the Arts Fair features original work by fine artists from throughout the United States and Mexico. This year, much to the delight of all, the Arts Fair fills the entire Convention Center, utilizing both ball rooms. It is a showcase of incredible work from one hundred and one artists who were selected by a jury of local arts professionals. There are many returning artists, even more new artists, and emerging student artists.

Territorial Charter Event Planned For Silver City

Feb 5, 2016
original charter for silver city

  On Saturday, February 13 from 1 to 2 p.m., guests, friends, and family are invited to come to the museum for Valentine’s Day refreshments and to view an exhibit honoring the February 15, 1878, signing of the Territorial Charter of the Town of Silver City.

Koch brothers, defense attorneys: What’s on New Mexicans’ minds matters

Feb 5, 2016
jeff proctor-new mexico in depth / Race car legend and New Mexico icon Bobby Unser, left, tells the Charles Koch Institute’s Vikrant Reddy the story of his tangle with the federal government in 1996 during an event in Albuquerque last week.

  A politically disparate, influential group of thought-heavyweights has its eye on New Mexico for a clampdown on government prosecutions of people for crimes they didn’t know they’d committed.

Last week, the Charles Koch Institute and the Rio Grande Foundation, New Mexico’s libertarian think tank, co-sponsored a discussion in Albuquerque about what they call “over-criminalization.” At their side was the executive director of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL).

Mescalero Man Pleads Guilty To Meth Distribution Charge

Feb 5, 2016

Wallace Rice, 23, an enrolled member of the Mescalero Apache Nation who resides in Mescalero, N.M., pleaded guilty this morning in federal court in Las Cruces, N.M., to a methamphetamine distribution charge under a plea agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

http://www.agavearts.com/?page_id=146

Glenn Schwaiger, an artist and associate professor at New Mexico State University and Dona Ana Community College, will present highlights of his latest trip to Jingdezhen, China, during a presentation later this month.

Schwaiger’s presentation, “Handcrafted Porcelain in China: Collaborative Processes and Methods,” will be from 6 to 7:30 p.m.Feb. 23 in the NMSU Health and Social Services Building Auditorium, Room 101. The presentation is free and open to the public, and is sponsored by the NMSU Confucius Institute and the NMSU Department of Art.

Time Running Out For Capital Outlay Overhaul

Feb 5, 2016

New Mexico lawmakers say a proposal to change the way funding for dams, roadways and other infrastructure projects is allocated may not be approved because of lack of time.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that the measure, filed earlier this week, would have to make its way through both legislative chambers in just two weeks to make it to Gov. Susana Martinez's desk before the 30-day legislative session ends.

Albuquerque Police: Fatal Crash Kills Three

Feb 5, 2016

Albuquerque police say a speeding car failed to stop at a T intersection, went over a ditch and landed on a golf course, killing three of the five people inside.

Officer Fred Duran says the other two people who were in the vehicle when it crashed early Friday morning were injured but expected to survive. Identities weren't released.

Duran says speed was "a major factor in the crash" but it wasn't immediately known whether alcohol was involved.

Study: Wet Weather Systems Increasingly More Rare In Southwest

Feb 5, 2016
https://www.facebook.com/US.NSF/

A new study of global weather patterns over the past 35 years supports earlier scientific predictions the southwestern United States will become drier as atmospheric conditions that typically bring the most rain and snow to the region continue to become more rare.

The research supported by the National Science Foundation concludes that what's now considered a normal year of precipitation in the Southwest is drier than it used to be.

The scientists emphasize the new data doesn't prove climate change is responsible for increasing frequency and duration of drought.

New Mexico House Passes Measures To Crack Down On Drunken Driving

Feb 5, 2016

The full House has approved a pair of measures meant to crack down on New Mexico's drunken drivers.

One of the bills that passed Thursday allows judges to impose stricter penalties for repeat offenders.

A DWI offense can be deemed a felony after the fourth conviction. The legislation would make individuals convicted of a DWI felony eligible for sentencing under the state's habitual offender law.

The other measure would make it a fourth-degree felony to be charged with DWI while driving on a suspended or revoked license for a prior DWI offense.

Immigrant Advocates Backing Revamped New Mexico REAL ID Bill

Feb 5, 2016

Advocates say they will give up the right for immigrants living in the country illegally to obtain New Mexico driver's licenses to achieve a REAL ID compromise.

Immigrant rights groups say they can live with a bipartisan proposal that instead would allow those immigrants and other residents to get "driver's authorization card." Marcela Diaz, executive director of Santa Fe-based advocacy group Somos Un Pueblo Unido, says she doesn't believe that bill singles out or discriminates against immigrants.

KRWG

For more than 30 years Jim Patterson has been working on developing products and designs for horns. Jim and his wife Cora, both horn players, own and operate Patterson Hornworks, which repairs, designs, and handcrafts French horns in Las Cruces.

Jim Patterson says he handcrafts his horns in a "old school" way.

Downsized New Mexico Budget Ready For House Vote

Feb 4, 2016

A $6.3 billion state budget with spending increases dominated by Medicaid, public schools and the state prison system is moving to the full House of Representatives for deliberations.

The downsized spending bill was approved by the House Appropriations and Finance Committee on Thursday in a 12-5 vote with full Republican support and Democrat lawmakers divided.

The state last week slashed its forecast for revenues next year by $200 million.

Uber, Lyft Bill Fixing New Mexico Impasse OK'd In Committee

Feb 4, 2016
uber.com

A key House panel has approved a bill aimed at welcoming and regulating ride-booking companies like Uber and Lyft.

The House Judiciary Committee passed the proposal unanimously Thursday.

Rep. Monica Youngblood, an Albuquerque Republican, sponsored the bill to allow the companies to operate legally in New Mexico.

The legal status of the companies has been in limbo in the state since they began offering services in 2014. The companies say the state's Motor Carrier Act doesn't apply to them because they don't operate as commercial taxi businesses.

New Mexico Lawmakers Look To Curb Opioid Addiction

Feb 4, 2016

With one of the highest drug overdose death rates in the nation, New Mexico has been working for years to curb what has now been identified by the highest levels of government as a national epidemic.

The state was the first to require all licensed clinicians to undergo extra training for prescribing painkillers, but now lawmakers are looking for new ways to quell the growing addiction to opioids and not everyone is onboard.

Educators Honored by New Mexico Legislature

Feb 4, 2016

  New Mexico Museum of Space History Educator Michael Shinabery and New Mexico School for the Blind and Visually Impaired science teacher Jeffrey Killebrew were honored with a special proclamation of congratulations by the New Mexico House of Representatives on February 1, 2016, in recognition of their work with NASA’s SOFIA program.

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