Regional

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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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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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
12:01 pm
Tue March 31, 2015

Balderas To Ask for Arrest Of Fraudulent Auto Shop Owner

Credit Hector Balderas

  Albuquerque, NM – Today, Attorney General Hector Balderas released an update in the Office of the Attorney General’s lawsuit against A Reliable Engine Rebuilder. Earlier this month, Second Judicial District Judge Nan Nash ordered the business closed after the owner, Robert “Bobby” Mitchell, failed to appear at a hearing where he was set to explain how he would comply with a 2013 court order requiring Mr.

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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
11:56 am
Tue March 31, 2015

Santa Fe Man Arrested After Throwing Banana Peel At Comedian Dave Chappelle On Stage

Santa Fe police say a man tossed a banana peel at Dave Chappelle during a show, hitting in the comedian in the leg.

Police Lt. Andrea Dobyns says 30-year-old Christian Englander of Santa Fe was arrested on suspicion of misdemeanor disorderly conduct and battery after the fruit throw Monday night at the Lensic Performing Arts Center in the northern New Mexico city.

Dobyns says Englander acknowledged throwing a peel from a banana he had eaten earlier because he took offense to jokes Chappelle made about his companion.

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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
11:52 am
Tue March 31, 2015

Groups Oppose Higher PNM Electric Rates

Credit pnm.com

A proposal by New Mexico's largest electric provider to raise its rates is running into opposition.

The water utility that serves Albuquerque and parts of Bernalillo County and an environmental group say Public Service Co. of New Mexico's application for a rate increase is incomplete and should be rejected by state regulators.

In filings this month with the Public Regulation Commission, the groups say PNM fails to offer any explanation for some of the expenses the utility is expecting in future years.

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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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Regional
8:10 am
Tue March 31, 2015

New Mexico State University On-Campus Post Office May Close

New Mexico State University and U.S. Postal Service officials say the on-campus post office may close, with retail services being shifted to another facility 1.6 miles away.

The Las Cruces Sun-News says the Postal Service is considering whether to move retail services now provided in the campus post office in Corbett Center to an existing Idaho Avenue post office.

The Idaho Avenue post office now houses mailboxes but offers no retail services.

The Postal Service says a final decision hasn't been made yet.

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Regional
8:06 am
Tue March 31, 2015

Work On Catwalk Recreation Area To Pick Up Again

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

Reconstruction of the Catwalk National Recreation Trail and its parking area is expected to get a boost now that federal funding has been approved.

Officials with the Gila National Forest say a change in the process to approve and disburse emergency funds from the Federal Highway Administration to another division initially resulted in a delay.

District Ranger Debbie Cress says designs are now being finalized so contractors can bid on the project. The next step would be reviewing the proposals and picking a contractor.

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Regional
8:04 am
Tue March 31, 2015

New Mexico Supreme Court Rejects Fort Sill Petition

New Mexico's highest court has turned down a request by an Oklahoma-based American Indian tribe that sought to force Governor Susana Martinez to sign a gambling compact with them.

The state Supreme Court issued its denial of the Fort Sill Apache's petition on Monday. The justices offered no explanation for their decision.

The tribe filed its request earlier this year, saying Martinez ignored requests by its chairman to sign on to existing compacts.

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Regional
9:58 pm
Mon March 30, 2015

Rep. Bill McCamley

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
3:30 pm
Mon March 30, 2015

NMSU And Las Cruces Public Schools Team Up To Provide More Clinical Services

  New Mexico State University is taking the wraps off a new project that will benefit the community and students.

On Wednesday, April 8, NMSU will host a ribbon-cutting ceremony to open the new College of Education Community Clinics. The ceremony will take place at the Arrowhead Medical Park Academy, located at 3600 Arrowhead Dr., Building 08, on the NMSU campus. The event starts at 4 p.m.

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Regional
3:28 pm
Mon March 30, 2015

"Shave The Beard" Fundraiser Will Benefit The Aggie Cupboard

NMSU President Garrey Carruthers will take part in a beard shaving fundraiser to benefit NMSU’s Aggie Cupboard. (NMSU photo by Justin Bannister)

  New Mexico State University President Garrey Carruthers is willing to pay money to get rid of his newly grown beard – it is just up to the community to determine exactly how much shaving the beard is going to cost. It’s all part of a fundraising event now underway to benefit Aggie Cupboard, a food pantry for students, staff and faculty in need of assistance.

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Regional
3:26 pm
Mon March 30, 2015

Las Cruces DWI Patrols Set For April

  The Las Cruces Police Department will conduct at least two sobriety checkpoints and four saturation patrols within city limits during the month of April.

Sobriety checkpoints and saturation patrols are intended to reduce and eliminate the number of motorists who drive while intoxicated.

Police also plan additional traffic safety activities in April including special operations in support of the city’s cell phone ordinance and the Operation Buckle Down seatbelt enforcement.

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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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Regional
7:13 am
Mon March 30, 2015

Hispanic Activists Pushing For 'Glorieta Pass' Recognition

Hispanic activists in New Mexico are pushing for state schools to teach students about an important Civil War battle involving Latino and Native American Union soldiers.

KOB-TV in Albuquerque reports the League of United Latin American Citizens and the Hispano Round Table of New Mexico announced last week a new effort at trying to get the Battle of Glorieta Pass in classrooms.

During that battle, New Mexico's Volunteer Union Soldiers defeated two Confederate armies after three days of fighting.

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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
7:06 am
Mon March 30, 2015

Texas Lawmakers Delay Debate On In-State Tuition Law Repeal

A Senate subcommittee has pushed back for a week debate on scrapping a law that grants in-state public university tuition to the children of some people in the United States illegally.

Texas Democrats and Hispanic advocacy groups champion the law, while top Republicans have pledged to repeal it.

The two sides were to begin their clash Monday, but a border security hearing was delayed until April 7.

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Regional
7:04 am
Mon March 30, 2015

New Mexico Nuclear Enrichment Plant OK'd For Expansion

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has given its approval for URENCO USA to expand it nuclear enrichment facility east of Eunice in southeastern New Mexico.

The Hobbs News-Sun reports that the panel gave the OK last week on URENCO's most recent license amendment application.

That means URENCO can double its capacity over the course of two more phases beyond the current three-phase $4 billion facility.

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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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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
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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