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.

New Mexico Has Some 5,000 Untested Rape Kits

6 hours ago

   New Mexico state officials say some 5,000 untested rape kits are in state warehouses and crime labs, and it could take roughly five years to work through the backlog.

New Mexico Public Safety Secretary Gregory Fouratt told lawmakers Monday that about 75 percent of the kits that haven't been tested stem from cases under the jurisdictions of the Bernalillo County sheriff and Albuquerque police.

Las Cruces Man Charged With Beating Girlfriend

9 hours ago

  The subject of Saturday’s hours-long SWAT callout on Rio Arriza Loop was taken into custody later that evening at a different location, and not before he resisted lawful commands from officers.

Joe Villalba, 46, is charged with one count of aggravated battery against a household member that caused great bodily harm and one count of resisting an officer. The aggravated battery charged, a third-degree felony, is for the domestic incident that preceded Saturday’s SWAT callout.

Newsmakers 729, 11/19/15

9 hours ago

  The Internal Revenue Service today reminded individuals and businesses making year-end gifts to charity that several important tax law provisions have taken effect in recent years.

Some of the changes taxpayers should keep in mind include:

Rules for Charitable Contributions of Clothing and Household Items

Las Cruces Regional Aquatic Center New Winter Hours Start In January

9 hours ago

  The City of Las Cruces Parks and Recreation Department will set new hours at the Regional Aquatic Center, 1401 E. Hadley Ave., beginning January 2, 2016.

The new hours of operation for Monday through Friday will be: Fitness session from 6 - 9:30 a.m., group session from 10 a.m. – 1:30 p.m., open swim session from 2 - 6 p.m. and Parks & Recreation programs from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.

New Saturday hours will be are: Fitness session from 8 -11 a.m. and open swim sessions from noon - 3:30 p.m. and 4 - 7:30 p.m. The center will be closed on Sunday.

Bond Set For Accused Drunk Driver In Deadly New Mexico Crash

10 hours ago

A $150,000 cash-only bond has been set for suspected drunk driver accused in an Albuquerque crash that killed three people.

Jacob Jaramillo's bond was set during a court appearance Monday. It's unclear if he has a lawyer yet.

Albuquerque police say the 23-year-old Jaramillo was driving on Interstate 25 early Sunday and his vehicle collided with a car at the Interstate 40 frontage road.

Police say the other car was carrying three people. Two died at the scene and a third died at a hospital.

  More than 7,100 luminarias will illuminate the campus of New Mexico State University from 6 to 9 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 6, during the 31st annual “Noche de Luminarias.” 

One of the largest luminaria displays in New Mexico, the candle-lit paper bags will begin at the Educational Services Building, follow along the International Mall, surround Corbett Center Student Union, extend down to Barnes and Noble and continue to the University Museum. The event is free and open to the public.

In honor of International Human Rights Day, the New Mexico State University Department of Interdisciplinary Studies in the College of Arts and Sciences will host a free screening of “The Trials of Spring” from 6-8 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 10, in Domenici Hall Room 109. 

The film will conclude with a moderated discussion by Hend Nafea, the subject of the film; Gini Reticker, the film’s director; and Manal Hamzeh, associate professor of interdisciplinary studies in the Women’s Studies Program.

Las Cruces Brothers Charged With Sexually Assaulting Young Boy

13 hours ago
Uriostigue, Francisco

  Las Cruces Police have arrested a pair of brothers suspected of sexually assaulting an 8-year-old boy.

Jorge “George” Uriostigue, 38, and Francisco “Frank” Uriostigue, 41, are both charged with one count of criminal sexual penetration of a child under 13, criminal sexual contact of a minor, aggravated indecent exposure of a minor, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, assault on a peace officer, and resisting or obstructing an officer.

Farmington-Area Oil And Gas Tax Revenue Still Dropping

13 hours ago

As tax revenue from the Farmington area's oil and gas sector continues its downward trend, the city is relying more heavily on retail and San Juan County is considering budget cuts.

The Farmington Daily Times reports that retail taxes are increasing thanks to Farmington's growing role as a shopping hub. But San Juan County CEO Kim Carpenter says the county has collected only about half of what it did last year in revenue from oil and gas production.

Halliburton, Baker Hughes, ConocoPhillips and other large companies operating in the county laid off local workers this year.

A New Law To Foster Innovation, Increase Competitiveness Of U.S. Space Industry

13 hours ago

U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich praised passage of the U.S. Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act to modernize commercial space regulations and encourage competitiveness in the industry. Udall and Heinrich are longtime champions of modernizing U.S. policies governing commercial spaceflight. The bill, which President Obama signed last week, provides an essential legal framework that will enable New Mexico’s commercial spaceflight industry to grow in the years ahead.

Bureau of Land Management

  Las Cruces, NM – The Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Las Cruces District Resource Advisory Council (RAC) will meet in Las Cruces on Tuesday, December 8, 2015.  The half-day meeting will begin at 8:30 a.m. at the BLM office located at 1800 Marquess Street, Las Cruces, New Mexico, 88005.

SANTA FE, NM--This Friday and Saturday, Somos Un Pueblo Unido will present the last of a series of events marking its 20 years of advancing civil and worker's rights in New Mexico. Newly appointed U.S. Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera will be the keynote speaker at Somos' 20th Anniversary Gala & Awards Ceremony on Friday, December 4th.  He will then participate in a reading and conversation moderated by former Santa Fe Poet Laureate Valerie Martínez on Saturday, December 5th at the Lensic Performing Arts Center.

UNM Announces Major Marketing Campaign Aimed At New Students

17 hours ago

The University of New Mexico is launching a major marketing campaign in hopes of attracting more students.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that the university hired marketing company 160over90 in September to launch a four-year, $1.98 million makeover. An original $500,000 was set aside for the project in May and university officials have voted to designate $1 million of the Regents Endowment Fund for the final three years of the plan.

High Court Rejects Fee Dispute In Texas Redistricting Case

17 hours ago

The Supreme Court won't hear an appeal from lawyers for former Texas Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis and others seeking $360,000 in legal fees after challenging state redistricting plans.

The justices on Monday let stand a federal appeals court ruling that said the lawyers were not entitled to fees.

New Mexico Lawmakers To Discuss Campaign Finance Reform

18 hours ago

New Mexico Sen. Peter Wirth is going to try again to close loopholes within the state's campaign finance system.

The Santa Fe Democrat on Monday will present draft legislation during a meeting of the Courts, Corrections and Justice Committee in Santa Fe. House Democrats also have floated suggestions.

It'll be up to Gov. Susana Martinez whether to include any resulting legislation on the agenda for the upcoming 30-day session.

Monday Business Watch

19 hours ago

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 an NMSU project which will use brine from desalinization to create thermal insulation products which has won local startup fair.

I-10 Lane Closures This Week In El Paso

19 hours ago

  The following closures are necessary while crews erect high mast poles.

Overnight from 9 p.m. Monday, Nov. 30, to 5 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 1

·       One eastbound, right outside lane will be closed on I-10 between the Buena Vista bridge and Executive Center Boulevard.  

·       Executive Center Boulevard eastbound exit ramp will also be closed.

Daytime from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 1 

·       One eastbound, right outside lane will be closed on I-10 between the Buena Vista bridge and Executive Center Boulevard. 

Felon Slips Out Of Handcuffs And Takes Off With Albuquerque Poilce Car

Nov 29, 2015

A woman who slipped out of her handcuffs and took off in an Albuquerque police vehicle, leaving a trail of damage, is in jail.

Albuquerque police say the incident began when Melissa Dominguez tried to cash fraudulent checks at a bank Saturday around 1:20 p.m. and a bank employee notified authorities.

According to a criminal complaint, an officer arrested Dominguez and recovered a stolen handgun in a purse.

Investigating officers then saw the police vehicle with Dominguez drive off.

Police pursuing her say Dominguez crashed it twice before fleeing on foot.

  In an ongoing effort to find new and innovative ways to package and distribute short films, Borderlands Media is in pre-production on a new series of anthology movies, to begin shooting in early 2016. Tentatively titled “Night Shades,” the series will follow a formula that has been around since the early days of cinema (and was turned into an art form by the late, great Rod Serling): The introduction of each film, by a recognizable host, as part of a greater themed whole.

New Mexico Health Exchange Opens Center In Santa Fe

Nov 29, 2015

  The state health insurance exchange is opening a new health center in Santa Fe in an effort to reach more people.

The walk-in center is set to open its doors Monday.

Officials with the exchange say they are trying to get to meet more requests from consumers with questions about premiums for individual plans, physician networks and plan choices.

New Mexicans have until the end of January to sign up for coverage during an open enrollment period.

The exchange has already boosted outreach efforts in other areas such as Spanish-language ads.

Ethics Commission Studies Donors Financing Texas AG's Defense

Nov 29, 2015
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton

The Texas Ethics Commission is circulating a draft opinion saying Attorney General Ken Paxton could use out-of-state donors to finance his defense in a felony securities fraud case.

The Houston Chronicle reports the draft opinion was disclosed ahead of a Monday commission meeting. It says a state employee could accept a donor's help "if the donor's only connection with the jurisdiction of the public servant ... is the act of giving the benefit."

Aggies Fall To Arkansas State At Home, 52-28

Nov 28, 2015

Fredi Knighten threw two touchdown passes, ran for another, and Arkansas State beat New Mexico State 52-28 on Saturday.

Knighten finished 23 of 42 for 367 as the Red Wolves ran up 605 yards of offense.

New Mexico State (3-8, 3-4 Sun Belt) started the scoring, taking the opening possession 75 yards on seven plays, the final 46 of which came on Andrew Allen's touchdown pass to Jordan Bergstrom. It was all Arkansas State (8-3, 7-0) from there.

UPDATE: El Paso Man Free On Bond After Fight At Walmart Over TV

Nov 28, 2015

A 23-year-old El Paso man is free on bond after he was arrested during a melee at a department store over television sets.

Veterans Memorial Park, Las Cruces

Las Cruces officials say a new memorial planned for the southern New Mexico city will be the first in the state to honor female military veterans.

The city is awaiting a blueprint of the monument. Once it's reviewed by officials, preparation of the site at the Veterans Memorial Park would follow.

Construction could take several months to complete. Supporters are hopeful a dedication ceremony could happen in March 2017.

A state appropriation of more than $406,000 will pay for the design and construction of the memorial.

Police: Body Of Dead Man Is Found In Alley In Albuquerque

Nov 27, 2015

Police in Albuquerque say they are investigating a suspicious death of a man whose body has been found in an alley.

They say the body was found about 7:30 a.m. Friday north of Hazeldine between 3rd and 4th Streets SW.

Police say a full violent crimes callout was initiated and the death is being investigated as suspicious.

The name of the dead man isn't being released because police say his relatives have yet to be notified.

Albuquerque's Popular Luminaria Tour Sells Out In Hours

Nov 27, 2015

Tickets for Albuquerque's annual luminaria tour have sold out in record time.

The city's transit system, ABQ RIDE, says the 3,600 tickets that were available for the Christmas Eve event were gone in about four hours. It took 12 hours to sell out last year.

ABQ Ride has been helping with the tour for more than 50 years.

Six separate tours will leave from the Albuquerque Convention Center on Christmas Eve, the first at 5:30 p.m. and the last at 7:25 p.m. Each will last about 45 minutes.

"Around the World, Around Other Cultures" Opens Friday In Las Cruces

Nov 27, 2015

  The Branigan Cultural Center presents Around the World, Around Other Cultures, by Alejandra Gamez.  The exhibit opens Friday, December 4, and will be on display through Saturday, December 26.  A reception with the artist will be held from 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm on Friday, December 4. 

"Remembering The Mays" Opens Friday In Las Cruces

Nov 27, 2015

  The Branigan Cultural Center presents Remembering the Mays, an exhibit celebrating local history and one of Las Cruces’ pioneering families.  The exhibit opens Friday, December 4, and will be on display through Saturday, January 23, 2016.  An opening reception will to be held from 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm on Friday, December 4, with decedents of the May family present. 

Recreation Will Soon Be Off Limits At Jemez Dam Overlook

Nov 27, 2015

Recreation will soon be off limits at the Jemez Canyon Dam overlook.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says it's temporarily closing the day-use area so the agency can assess the long-term viability for recreation while maintaining the area's cultural resources and infrastructure.

The closure begins Nov. 30. It could be next fall before the situation is re-evaluated.

The overlook includes a picnic area with views of the Jemez Mountains. The access road also is popular among cyclists and motorcyclists.