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.

Guard Shortage Taking A Toll On New Mexico Prison Staff

2 hours ago

New Mexico officials say challenges in recruiting and maintaining corrections officers is causing large staffing shortages across state prisons.  Five of the six state-run prison facilities have vacancy rates of 20 percent or more.

The shortage has led to corrections officers complaining about mandatory overtime for not that much pay.

Deputy Corrections Secretary Mark Myers says the department cannot keep "running officers into the ground."

Myers says the state's salary for guards is among the lowest nationally, even with a 2014 pay raise.

In Depth: A Call For Capital Outlay Reform In New Mexico

5 hours ago

  A leading non-partisan think tank wants state lawmakers to reform how New Mexico pays for brick-and-mortar projects.

And it wants lawmakers to do it during the 2016 legislative session, which starts in January.

Officials in Luna County are considering a proposal allowing authorities to fine homeowners who permit underage drinking on their property.

The Luna County Board of Commissioners will hold a forum Wednesday to discuss a social host ordinance.

Under the proposed law, police an issue a citation to homeowners or property owners who knowingly allowed minors to consume alcohol.

The commissioners are considering giving out a warning citation before a fine.

Massive Hailstorm Hits Las Cruces

Oct 3, 2015

  For about 20 minutes on Saturday afternoon, it sounded like the end of the world in Las Cruces.  A massive hailstorm pounded roofs and cars on the East Mesa and in other parts of Las Cruces.  The National Weather Service reported hail of about 1.25 inches.  

But some areas of Las Cruces reported golf ball-sized hail.  And the resulting damage was devastating:  some homes reported every skylight broken; cars were dented; even car windshields were shattered.  Many life-long residents of the city said it was the worst hailstorm they had ever witnessed.

Army and Air Force ROTC To Send Off Local Honor Flight

Oct 3, 2015

More than 40 World War II, Korean and Vietnam War veterans from southern New Mexico and El Paso will travel to Washington, D.C., after the New Mexico State University Army and Air Force ROTC ceremoniously sends them off at 6 a.m. Monday, Oct. 5, from the north side of the Pan American Center.

“This small service we provide to them is the least we can do for the service and sacrifices they made for us,” said Lt. Col. Jeremiah Klomp, NMSU Air Force ROTC commander and professor of aerospace studies in the College of Arts and Sciences. 

NMSU Fire Chief Gives Safety Tips Ahead of Fire Prevention Week

Oct 3, 2015

  Smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are lifesavers and should be installed in every home, said New Mexico State University Fire Chief Johnny Carrillo.

The NMSU Fire Department is one of several throughout the nation commemorating Fire Prevention Week Oct. 4-10. This year’s theme is, “Hear the Beep Where You Sleep.”

NMSU To Host Extension Disaster Education Network Meeting

Oct 3, 2015

  About 70 representatives from the national Extension Disaster Education Network will meet in Las Cruces next week for their annual meeting Oct. 6-9 at Hotel Encanto de Las Cruces. The gathering will feature a tour of the New Mexico Border Authority Port in Santa Teresa.

  The Las Cruces Fire Department and the Veterans Advisory Board will commemorate National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Weekend with a flag-raising and bell ceremony at precisely 8 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 4, at Veterans Memorial Park, 2651 Roadrunner Parkway.


The ceremony will honor the 87 firefighters throughout the country who died last year in the line of duty and is open to the public.


New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas

Embattled New Mexico Secretary of State Dianna Duran could face stiffer fines if convicted in a campaign finance fraud case.

The state attorney general's office filed a motion in district court late Friday seeking a penalty enhancement since Duran is a public official and the allegations are related to her duties as New Mexico's top elections official.

If Duran were to be convicted and a judge were to approve the motion, her sentence could be increased by an additional fine amounting to pay and fringe benefits she has since 2010, or close to $500,000.

Education Across the Border - Grecia Rivas

Oct 2, 2015

New Mexico In Depth: More Questions About Campaign Accounts

Oct 2, 2015

  The Secretary of State’s office said this week it would look closer at a former lawmaker’s decision to contribute money from his campaign fund to a family member running for office last year.

Roswell School Official Supports State Teacher Evaluations

Oct 2, 2015

The superintendent of a southern New Mexico school district said he supports the state's controversial teacher evaluation system, but has also gone against the state's policy by renewing the license of a teacher who received low ratings.

The testimony from Superintendent Tom Burris of the Roswell Independent School District came Tuesday, the third day of hearings in Santa Fe on a lawsuit filed by teachers and Democratic lawmakers.

The suit calls for a temporary injunction to stop evaluations based on testing.

More Accusations Leveled Against New Mexico Secretary Of State

Oct 2, 2015
NM Sec. of State Dianna Duran / Official photo

A high-ranking New Mexico official charged with dozens of counts related to alleged campaign finance fraud is now facing allegations of identity theft.

The state attorney general's office filed a criminal complaint Friday afternoon in state district court accusing Secretary of State Dianna Duran of listing a former state lawmaker as treasurer of her campaign without his knowledge.

Las Cruces Man Wanted after Toddler Shot in Eye with BB Gun

Oct 2, 2015

  A warrant has been issued for the arrest of a Las Cruces man suspected of discharging a BB gun that struck his girlfriend’s 16-month-old child’s eye, most likely causing permanent loss of sight.

Lorenzo Ordaz, 30, of 2230 Dona Ana Road, is charged with one count of negligent child abuse resulting in great bodily harm. The charge is a first-degree felony count.

  ALBUQUERQUE – Theresa Romero, 34, of Albuquerque, N.M., was sentenced this morning in federal court to three years of probation for her conviction on a theft of government property charge.  Romero also was ordered to pay $32,542.37 in restitution to the National Nuclear Security Administration, an agency of the U.S. Department of Energy that was the victim of Romero’s criminal conduct.

Native American poet Simon Ortiz and Dallas Morning News Mexico City bureau chief Alfredo Corchado are set to headline a gathering of Southwest writers in New Mexico.

The three-day "Southwest Festival of the Written Word" begins Friday at a number of venues in Silver City. The event brings readers and writers together every two years.

First held in 2013, the festival invited writers from Arizona, New Mexico and Texas.

Ortiz, who is an Acoma Pueblo, is the author of 1992's "Woven Stone" — a book that blends poetry and prose.

Udall, Other Senators Announce Movement On Chemical Safety Reform Bill

Oct 2, 2015
Senator Tom Udall (D-NM)

Today, as the full Senate prepares to begin debate on a historic bill to overhaul the broken Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976, U.S. Senators Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Edward Markey (D-Mass.), and Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) announced they have agreed on new improvements to the bill. With the changes, Markey and Durbin have agreed to support the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, which Udall wrote with U.S. Sen. David Vitter (R-La.). Their cosponsorship brings the total number of cosponsors for the bipartisan bill to 60 senators representing 38 states.

Hearing Set In Texas Over Kids' Birth Certificates

Oct 2, 2015

Lawyers for immigrant families denied birth certificates for their U.S.-born children by Texas health officials who refuse to recognize as valid certain forms of identification will argue for a federal judge to intervene against the state.

A federal judge in Austin will hear their case Friday as they seek an emergency injunction. The lawyers say harm is being done to the families and their children who need birth certificates to enroll in school and ensure parental rights.


   A unique event at the Southern New Mexico State Fair will help reduce hunger.   

The first Annual Las Cruces Canstruction® competition will be held at the New Mexico State Fairgrounds and Rodeo Friday through Sunday. Teams are made up of alumni from Leadership Las Cruces, a program through the Greater Las Cruces Chamber of Commerce.

Five teams are each creating a sculpture made entirely of canned foods.  The exhibit of can structures will be on display in the Special Events Building at the fairgrounds. 

  American Graduate Day 2015 returns this fall for its fourth consecutive year. Soledad O’Brien will host the all-day broadcast which premieres Saturday, October 3 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Broadcast and streamed live from the Tisch WNET Studios at Lincoln Center in New York City, the annual multi-platform event is part of the public media initiative, American Graduate: Let’s Make It Happen, helping communities bolster graduation rates through the power and reach of local public media stations.

State Treasurer Accused Of Sexist, Racial Comments

Oct 1, 2015

Gov. Susana Martinez's administration is terminating a deal it made with state Treasurer Tim Eichenberg's office, claiming that Eichenberg has made inappropriate comments to and about state employees.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that State Personnel Office Director Justin Najaka in a September letter to Eichenberg, said the agreement to provide human services assistance to the treasurer's office will end Oct. 15.

New Mexico Secretary Of State Eyes Tossing AG In Fraud Case

Oct 1, 2015
NM Sec. of State Dianna Duran / Official photo

An attorney for New Mexico Secretary of State Dianna Duran is asking a judge to disqualify the state's Attorney General's Office from Duran's pending fraud case.

Duran's lawyer Erlinda Ocampo Johnson filed late Wednesday a motion, arguing Attorney General Hector Balderas has a conflict of interest since he and Duran have sparred in the past. Johnson wrote it seems Balderas has a "vendetta" against Duran.

Texas Plans To Ease Medicaid Cuts Affecting Disabled Children

Oct 1, 2015

Health officials plan to ease steep Medicaid cuts slated for therapy programs for disabled children amid a legal challenge and increasing pressure from state lawmakers.

Texas Health and Human Services Commission chief Chris Traylor said in a Thursday letter that the agency would work to "preserve access to care" even if "full" funding reductions approved by the Legislature "cannot be achieved."

  The U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico has ruled that an Otero County resolution permitting the removal of trees from the Lincoln National Forest is unconstitutional because it violates the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution.  The court’s order also invalidated the New Mexico state statute upon which the Otero County resolution relied because it too violated the Supremacy Clause.

Albuquerque Police Make Arrest In Fatal Shooting

Oct 1, 2015

Authorities have arrested a man suspected of fatally shooting another man outside an Albuquerque convenience store.

Albuquerque police say 26-year-old Dashae Darnell Hampton was booked Thursday on several counts including murder.

Police spokesman Tanner Tixier says Hampton also faces one count each of armed robbery and tampering with evidence in the death of 30-year-old David G. Atencio.

Officers responded Tuesday evening to reports of a shooting at a 7-Eleven at Central and Western Skies.

Pearce Says Bill Puts American Troops And Their Families First

Oct 1, 2015
Rep. Steve Pearce (R-NM 2)

After weeks of working with the Senate to find common ground, the House today passed H.R. 1735 -- the bipartisan National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for FY2016 -- to put our troops and their families first.  U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce released this statement following his vote to approve the Conference Report to accompany H.R. 1735.


15-Year-Old To Stand Trial As Adult In Fatal Shooting

Oct 1, 2015

A 15-year-old youth is accused of fatally shooting a 30-year-old man in Truth or Consequences.

District Attorney Clint Wellborn said a judge ruled during a preliminary hearing Thursday that the youth must stand trial as an adult on an open count of murder and a tampering with evidence charge.

State police said the youth surrendered soon after the Sept. 20 shooting death of Jonathan Regalado and that Regalado and the youth had an "on-going disagreement."

The Associated Press is not identifying the youth because of his age.

McKinley County Allocates Liquor Tax Funds For Detox Center

Oct 1, 2015

McKinley County commissioners have allocated liquor excise tax funds for a detox center in Gallup.

The Gallup Independent reports that the resolution approved by the board Tuesday comes after the Navajo Nation Department of Behavioral Health announced that it would no longer operate the Gallup Detox Center.

Gallup officials approved a temporary agreement last month putting Na'nizhoozhi Center Inc. in charge of operations at the facility for five months starting in October.

FBI Statistics Show Violent Crime Down In New Mexico

Oct 1, 2015

FBI statistics show the violent crime rate in New Mexico improved slightly in 2014 but remained significantly higher than the national rate.

The figures released this week also identify Espanola as the New Mexico city with the highest violent crime rate, due to a relatively high number of aggravated assault arrests in the small northern New Mexico city. All but 42 of the city's 265 violent crimes were classified as aggravated assault, while there were no new murder or non-negligent manslaughter cases in the community.

Opening Statements Scheduled In Wildfire Liability Lawsuit

Oct 1, 2015
<p><a href="">Image: luigi diamanti /</a></p>

Investigators determined a rotting tree that fell onto a power line sparked what would quickly become one of the largest fires in New Mexico's recorded history.

Attorneys are scheduled to make opening statements Thursday in state district court in a case that will answer whether two electric utility companies should be held liable.

The trial is expected to last six weeks.