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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.

nmlegis.gov

Governor Susana Martinez has made violent crimes a priority this legislative session, but not all legislators are happy with the push.

Representative Bill McCamley wants to see bills for more reforms in New Mexico, not just crime reforms. He says economic development bills could also help with violent crime.

  Albuquerque, NM – BeWellNM, New Mexico’s Health Insurance Exchange, is pleased to announce that 54,865 New Mexicans selected a plan or were automatically re-enrolled through beWellnm as of Jan. 31, 2016.

“While we are excited to see that many more New Mexicans will have health insurance for themselves and their families, we realize that our team still has a lot of work to do,” said Amy Dowd, NMHIX CEO. “We want to make sure New Mexicans who missed the Open Enrollment deadline know they may still be able to get coverage through a qualifying life event.”

  David Anaya Garcia, 32, of Las Cruces, N.M., pleaded guilty today in federal court to a federal child pornography charge.  At the time he committed the crime, Garcia was employed as a janitor in a Las Cruces elementary school.

  University of New Mexico Hospital is among the top hospitals in the nation when it comes to high quality clinical care, according to a new report by the Denver-based company Healthgrades.

UNM Hospital was one of 260 hospitals nationwide and one of just two in New Mexico to receive the group’s 2016 Distinguished Hospital Award for Clinical Excellence.

  Arrowhead Center at New Mexico State University was awarded a three-year, $300,000 grant last week for the Innovation Corps (I-Corps) Sites program. I-Corps is a National Science Foundation (NSF) initiative to leverage university research to create new innovative businesses and increase the economic impact of inventions created at research institutions around the country. 

Free Dental Clinic Coming To Las Cruces

13 hours ago

  Las Cruces -- There will be free dental care for underserved children in the community. Services will be provided by the DACC Dental Program faculty and students, as well as the NMSU Pre-dental Society, local dentists and hygienists.

Free dental exams, radiographs, dental cleanings, sealants, fluoride treatments, and oral health education will be provided in the dental clinic on the Central Campus adjacent to NMSU at 3400 South Espina, Building DAMA, room 80. The clinic will take place next Saturday February 13th, from 9 am - 3 pm.

Poets Mark Wunderlich and Naima Woods to Read at NMSU

13 hours ago

Mark Wunderlich is an award-winning poet, and Naima Woods is an up-and-coming poet who attends NMSU. Together, these captivating authors will read from their work at 7:30 p.m. on Friday Feb. 5th on the NMSU campus, in the Health and Social Services Building auditorium, Rm. 101.

 

  Srikanta Mishra, an assistant professor in the New Mexico State University College of Education’s Department of Special Education and Communication Disorders, recently received a prestigious research grant to study hearing mechanisms in children.

The R03 grant from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders of the National Institutes of Health is the college’s first NIH grant, which is known to be highly competitive and supports outstanding research. It provides a total amount of $438,000 for three years.

NMSU talk explores ‘Punk Prayer’ protest, Russian politics and art

13 hours ago

  Moscow is the next stop for New Mexico State University’s “Global Connections” series.

Brian Rourke, English associate professor in the College of Arts and Sciences, will present “The ‘Punk Prayer’ performance in retrospect: Radical protest and authoritarian politics in Putin’s Russia,” from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 10, at the College of Health and Social Services Annex Auditorium, Room 101A.

Las Cruces Seeks Public Input On Downtown Master Plan

13 hours ago

  The public is invited to participate in the City of Las Cruces’ Community Development department’s Downtown Master Plan Charrette February 16-19.

The purpose of the charrette is to gather public and stakeholder input in order to update the downtown master plan. The current plan has been used since 2004 to guide all of the downtown activities and projects to date. The new plan will set a “road map” for the next ten years. More information available at the project website, lascrucesdowntownplan.org.

Official Details Storm's Lasting Effects On Dairy Industry

14 hours ago
nmda.nmsu.edu

The head of the New Mexico Department of Agriculture is warning lawmakers that it could take months to tally the true costs of a winter storm that killed an untold number of livestock and derailed the dairy industry.

Agriculture Secretary Jeff Witte testified Monday before the House agriculture committee.

He said producers have been working with the Farm Service Agency to tally losses as the state builds its case for a federal disaster declaration.

Nation's Only Unsalaried Legislature Is Well Compensated

16 hours ago

New Mexico legislators received more than $20,000 in compensation on average in 2015 even though they are not paid a salary.

More than $2.3 million was paid out to state lawmakers to offset personal expenses and travel, according to information from the Department of Finance and Administration obtained by The Associated Press through a public records request.

House and Senate members collect a daily expense payment that covers work during legislative sessions and committee meetings year-round.

Bill Ending Social Promotion Stalls In New Mexico Senate

16 hours ago

A bill that calls for New Mexico third graders who don't show proficiency in reading to be held back has stalled in a Democratic-controlled Senate committee.

The Senate Education Committee voted Monday to table a proposal that would have had students not reading at grade level repeat the third grade and be given intensive remediation. The move likely kills the bill this session.

AG: No Pattern Of Fraud Found With 10 Nonprofit Providers

16 hours ago
New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas

The New Mexico Attorney General's Office says there doesn't appear to be any pattern of fraud by 10 nonprofits that provided behavioral health services to needy New Mexicans.

Attorney Hector Balderas announced the findings in a letter delivered Monday to state lawmakers.

Balderas said some regulatory violations were uncovered. Those are being forwarded to the Human Services Department for possible administrative action.

Balderas' office is continuing to review two remaining providers. His office previously found no fraud but overpayment issues with three others.

Department Of Health Taking Steps To Educate About Zika Virus

16 hours ago
New Mexico Department of Health

Commentary: Zika virus disease has been in the news for several weeks now and has many individuals concerned. Zika virus is transmitted to people primarily through the bite of an infected mosquito, though there also have been reports of transmission through sexual contact. The disease can cause fever, rash, muscle aches, joint pain and red eyes. Zika virus disease has also been linked to birth defects, including microcephaly and other poor birth outcomes in some women infected during their pregnancy. There have been no known cases in New Mexico to date.

Report: Expand Mental Health Capacity In Southern New Mexico

16 hours ago

A new report recommends adding 30 new hospital beds in southern New Mexico for adults with severe mental illness.

The Las Cruces Sun-News reports the study recommends partnering with a provider to take such patients while a new $15.5 million public facility is built Dona Ana County.

Currently, when district judges order involuntary psychiatric hospitalizations, patients are sent to a state-run hospital four hours away. The report says that puts a burden on local agencies responsible for transporting the patients and isn't ideal for patients or their families.

Monday Business Watch

Feb 8, 2016

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.  This week, Jason discusses  two broadband tax breaks pending in NM Leg stand to benefit rural, metro economies by drawing more companies to the state.

The New Mexico State University Black Student Association has a full schedule of events for Black History Month.

The Black Student Association at NMSU held a living Wax Museum, students and faculty dressed up like historical figures and provided information about why they were influential. Vice President Meligha Garfield says it was a fun way to bring the historical figures to life.

“Viva La Cultura!” Coming To Las Cruces

Feb 7, 2016

  The Doña Ana Arts Council and Santa Fe’s Spanish Colonial Arts Society, organizers of the second annual Las Cruces Spanish Market, present “Viva La Cultura!” an evening of traditional New Mexican and Latin American music with “La Rondalla de Albuquerque” at 7:30 p.m. Friday, February 19, on stage at the historic Rio Grande Theatre in Downtown Las Cruces.

Former UNM regent blames hospital delay on political interference

Feb 7, 2016

  A former University of New Mexico regent publicly accused Gov. Susana Martinez's administration Friday of politically interfering to block the development of a new facility to replace the university’s ’outmoded’ hospital.

Mel Eaves leveled his accusations during apublic meeting of the Health Sciences Center Board of Directors  in which staff ticked off the challenges to working in an older facility, some portions of which were built in the 1950s.

Sunland Park Gets Interim City Manager

Feb 7, 2016

A former New Mexico Oil and Gas Association president has been named interim city manager of a troubled New Mexico border city.

KVIA-TV in El Paso reports (http://goo.gl/TwEiiR) that Sunland Park city council voted 4-3 during a heated meeting to hire former New Mexico State University regent Bob Gallagher to a $56,000 six-month contract. Under the terms of the deal, Gallagher will work two weeks per month.

The vote comes as two Sunland City councilors face legal problems stemming from separate arrests.

Bill Proposes Adding Qualifications For New Mexico Sheriffs

Feb 7, 2016

A proposal has been approved by the state Senate's Public Affairs Committee that would increase the necessary qualifications needed to for sheriff in any New Mexico county.

Senate Democrats say there are currently no minimum qualifications outlined in state law for holding a sheriff's office.

The bill sponsored by Sen. Michael Padilla and approved in committee Saturday would include requiring candidates for sheriff to be at least 21 years old and have at least seven years of professional law enforcement experience, plus a certification of basic law enforcement training.

Texas Teen Kills Mother, Two Neighbors, And Himself

Feb 7, 2016

Authorities say a Texas teenager killed his mother and two neighbors before killing himself.

Uvalde County Sheriff Charlie Mendeke said Sunday that 19-year-old Dylan Westerburg gunned down his mother Friday in their home near Uvalde, about 85 miles west of San Antonio. He then went and killed two brothers who lived next door.

Mendeke says a witness saw Westerburg kill one of the brothers and called for help. When officers arrived they heard a final gunshot that investigators believe was Westerburg shooting himself inside the neighbors' home.

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.

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