Regional

Regional
5:53 am
Wed July 1, 2015

NMSU To Lead Research That Has Drones Inspecting Dams

Federal water managers plan to use a drone to inspect Elephant Butte Dam.

The Bureau of Reclamation has selected New Mexico State University to lead a research project on the feasibility of using unmanned aircraft systems to inspect dams.

The project marks a first for the agency and researchers will be looking at whether light detection, infrared and high-definition video can be used as tools for infrastructure inspection.

New Mexico State has been awarded $35,000 to help with the project.

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Regional
5:47 am
Wed July 1, 2015

New Mexico Aims To Make Clearinghouse For Farmers Markets

Credit https://www.facebook.com/LasCrucesMarket

New Mexico agriculture officials are asking for help in creating a clearinghouse for the price of goods found at farmers' markets.

The state agriculture department is looking for people across New Mexico who can take a few notes about the prices of fruits and vegetables, eggs and specialty items such as honey and mushrooms that are being sold at their local markets.

Officials say the goal is to help New Mexico growers — and customers — know the price range of produce at local markets.

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Regional
5:37 am
Wed July 1, 2015

Gov. Martinez Names Otero County Attorney To Open Judge Seat

Credit Office of the Governor

New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez has appointed an Otero County attorney to an open judge seat in the 12th Judicial District Division III in Carrizozo.

The Alamogordo Daily News reports that Daniel Bryant was appointed last week and will fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Chief Judge Karen Parsons.

The 12th Judicial District Division III in Carrizozo covers Lincoln County but is part of the 12th Judicial District Court which encompasses both Lincoln and Otero counties.

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Regional
8:54 pm
Tue June 30, 2015

New Mexico Restaurant Owners Sentenced For Wage Violations

Two brothers who own Chinese restaurants in New Mexico have been sentenced to two years' probation for violating the federal minimum and overtime wage laws.

Prosecutors say 30-year-old Wen Ping Chen of Rio Rancho and 31-year-old Wen Qiu Chen of Santa Fe also were sentenced Tuesday for harboring immigrants who were in the U.S. illegally.

The amount of restitution to be paid by the brothers will be determined at a later date, but the court noted that it'll be at least $120,000.

Ping Chen and Qiu Chen were arrested in August 2013 following an investigation.

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Regional
8:52 pm
Tue June 30, 2015

Pojoaque Pueblo's Gambling Compact With State To Expire

There's uncertainty swirling around Pojoaque Pueblo's casino operations since the tribe's gambling compact with the state expires at midnight.

Tribes must have compacts in place if they want to operate casinos. Four tribes have signed new agreements with Gov. Susana Martinez's administration, but Pojoaque remains embroiled in a dispute with the state in federal court.

The phones went unanswered Tuesday afternoon at the pueblo.

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Regional
8:49 pm
Tue June 30, 2015

FAA Grants License To Houston Spaceport Launch Site

The Federal Aviation Administration has granted the Houston Airport System a launch site license to use Ellington Airport as a launch site for reusable launch vehicles.

The license makes Ellington the nation's 10th commercial spaceport. Officials plan to launch the reusable vehicles horizontally, like conventional commercial aircraft, rather than vertically. A city statement Tuesday says the license clears the way for developing the facilities needed for reusable launch vehicle operations.

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Regional
4:51 pm
Tue June 30, 2015

Heinrich Lauds New Rules To Extend Overtime Pay Protection For New Mexico Workers

Today, U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) welcomed President Obama's plan to extend overtime pay protection for workers in New Mexico and across the country. The President's plan would guarantee overtime pay to most salaried workers earning less than an estimated $50,440 next year. The increased threshold would tie overtime protections to the 40th percentile of weekly earnings for full-time salaried workers.  The plan would raise the salary threshold from $455 a week -- below the poverty threshold for a family of four -- to a projected level of $970 a week in 2016.

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Regional
3:45 pm
Tue June 30, 2015

Walmart Shoplifting Suspect Wanted

Wal Mart Crime Stoppers
Credit Crime Stoppers

Las Cruces Crime Stoppers is offering a reward of up to $1,000 for information that helps identify a man suspected of stealing thousands of dollars’ worth of merchandise from a local Walmart store.

 

During the early-morning hours of Monday, June 29, the man is suspected of loading a shopping cart full of merchandise and leaving the store without paying. The man is suspected of leaving the store with more than $4,000 in stolen merchandise.

 

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Regional
3:40 pm
Tue June 30, 2015

Jury Acquits Woman In Fatal Shooting Of Man In Rio Rancho

A state District Court jury in Sandoval County has acquitted a 25-year-old woman of first-degree murder in the fatal shooting of a longtime friend in Rio Rancho in 2013.

In returning a not-guilty verdict Monday, the jury concluded that Amanda Jo Lucero might have shot 23-year-old Andrew Anderson in self-defense. His body was found on a busy street.

According to police, Anderson was shot during a confrontation over items missing from a residence that he had just left.

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Regional
3:38 pm
Tue June 30, 2015

Navajo Nation Chapters Have More Than $77M In Unspent Funds

An audit of the Navajo Nation revealed that the tribal government's 110 chapters had more than $77 million in unspent funds.

The Gallup Independent reports last week Tribal Auditor General Elizabeth Begay reported that the chapters hadn't spent $77.6 million as of December 2014.

Since the report's release, the Navajo Nation council has been looking into the impact of allowing the chapters to carry over their unspent annual budget into the next year.

Begay says an average of $650,000 annually had been appropriated to the 110 chapters from 2006 to 2013.

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Regional
1:18 pm
Tue June 30, 2015

NMSU Rodeo’s Josh Davison Captures All Around Honors At National Finals

New Mexico State University’s rodeo team competed at the College National Finals Rodeo in Casper, Wyoming, June 14-20, bringing home many honors. 

“With several top 10 finishes at this year’s CNFR, I am very proud of what my team has accomplished,” said Jim Brown, head rodeo coach for NMSU. 

Eleven regions compete within the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association for a shot at a CNFR championship title. Overall, the NMSU men’s team placed 29th out of 53 teams, while the women’s team ranked 27th of 35. 

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Regional
9:39 am
Tue June 30, 2015

Achaeologists Call On Feds To Protect Chaco Canyon Area

Credit National Park Service

Archaeologists from universities and organizations around the nation are calling on the U.S. Interior Department to protect the area around Chaco Culture National Historical Park from oil and gas development.

Nearly 30 archaeologists sent a letter to Interior Secretary Sally Jewell on Tuesday to highlight their concerns. It comes a day after Interior Deputy Secretary Mike Connor and U.S. Sen. Tom Udall toured the area in northwestern New Mexico.

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Regional
9:34 am
Tue June 30, 2015

New Mexico Corrections Halts Halfway House Connection In Alamogordo

Credit corrections.state.nm.us

The New Mexico Department of Corrections says it will no longer send female inmates to a halfway house named in a sexual-assault lawsuit.

Corrections spokeswoman Alex Tomlin said Monday the agency is ending its relationship with New Life Recovery House in Alamogordo out of safety concerns.

The move comes after three women last year sued a motel owner and the halfway house's director, saying they were sexually assaulted at work and threatened with being returned to prison when they complained.

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Regional
9:32 am
Tue June 30, 2015

First Woman Chosen To Lead New Mexico State Parks

Credit https://www.facebook.com/NewMexicoStateParksDivision

For the first time in the more than 80-year history of the New Mexico State Parks Division, a woman has been selected to run its operations.

The state Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department, which oversees the parks division, announced Tuesday that Christy Tafoya will take over immediately.

She replaces Tommy Mutz, who retired after three decades with the parks division.

Tafoya is an archaeologist by training. She began her career with State Parks when she was selected as the division's first archaeologist nearly 17 years ago.

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Regional
7:06 am
Tue June 30, 2015

Road To Spaceport America Hits Snag Due To Planning Error

Credit spaceportamerica.com

Officials say start of construction on an improved southern New Mexico road to Spaceport America will be delayed around three months thanks to a planning error.

The Las Cruces Sun-News reports that Dona Ana County staff told commissioners last week surveying work for the proposed construction didn't align with a corridor that was studied as part of a key environmental review.

County Engineer Robert Armijo says he didn't know why that happened but staff has to redesign the roadway to match the corridor.

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Regional
6:38 pm
Mon June 29, 2015

Texas Leads Multistate Suit Against EPA Over Water Rule

Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi have sued the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers in Houston federal court over a rule that they say strips them of jurisdiction over water.

In a separate case filed Monday, 13 states are also seeking to have the rule overturned.

The May rule would greatly expand federal authority under the Clean Air Act over the bodies of water the EPA can legally regulate, restoring protections to tributaries and wetlands.

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Regional
6:34 pm
Mon June 29, 2015

Authorities ID Boy Scout Who Died In New Mexico Flash Flood

Authorities have released the name of a Boy Scout who died after being swept away by a flash flood on a northern New Mexico camping trip with his troop.

New Mexico State Police announced Monday that the victim was 13-year-old Alden Brock of Sacramento, California.

Police say Brock was one of eight Boy Scouts participating in a 12-day trek at the Philmont Scout Ranch.

Floodwaters came through North Ponil Canyon where they were camping around 4:30 a.m. Saturday.

The water over-ran their camp site, taking four boys down the canyon.

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Regional
6:28 pm
Mon June 29, 2015

Body Of Mexican Man Found In Desert Area Near Santa Teresa

Authorities say the body of a 36-year-old Mexican man has been found in a remote desert area near Santa Teresa while two other suspected border crossers have been rescued.

Dona Ana County Sheriff's officials say the body was discovered Saturday evening and is being sent to Albuquerque for an autopsy.

U.S. Border Patrol agents were patrolling about 12 miles northwest of Santa Teresa when they discovered footprints.

Agents followed the prints for about a mile and found the body just before 6 p.m.

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Regional
4:35 pm
Mon June 29, 2015

Udall Hosts Deputy Interior Secretary Connor At Chaco Canyon

Today, U.S. Senator Tom Udall thanked U.S. Department of the Interior Deputy Secretary Mike Connor for joining him at Chaco Culture National Historical Park to learn more about the region's sensitive archaeological sites as Interior Department officials make decisions about future oil and gas leasing in the area. Connor's visit was in response to Udall’s letter asking the Department of the Interior to send a top-level official to New Mexico.

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Regional
4:28 pm
Mon June 29, 2015

Pearce Statement On Supreme Court Decision Rejecting EPA Emissions Rules

Credit Rep. Steve Pearce (R-NM 2)

Today, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) failed to consider cost before issuing burdensome 2012 emissions regulations on power plants.  Congressman Steve Pearce released the following statement on the 5-4 decision:

 

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Regional
3:52 pm
Mon June 29, 2015

DOE Names Acting Field Office Manager At Nuclear Repository

The U.S. Department of Energy has named one of its longtime employees as the acting director of the field office that oversees the federal government's troubled nuclear waste repository.

Dana Bryson is replacing Joe Franco, who recently took another job with the agency at the Hanford site in Washington.

The department says Bryson has more than 30 years of experience in the nuclear industry and has served as the deputy manager of the Carlsbad Field Office since 2013.

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Regional
3:48 pm
Mon June 29, 2015

New Mexico Reports 'All-Time High' Tourism Numbers For 2014

New Mexico True Ad Campaign
Credit newmexico.org

New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez has announced close to 33 million visited the state last year, making it a record-breaking year for tourism.

Martinez said Monday that half a million more people visited New Mexico than in 2013 and credited the state's New Mexico True campaign. That campaign features the state's famous outdoor locations and New Mexico celebrities, such as mixed-martial arts fighter Carlos Condit.

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Regional
3:44 pm
Mon June 29, 2015

2 Former Officers Plead Not Guilty In Holding-Cell Beating

Las Cruces Police Department
Credit http://www.las-cruces.org/

Two former Las Cruces police officers charged with aggravated battery in the beating of a man in a holding cell have pleaded not guilty.

The District Attorney's Office said ex-officer Danny Salcido entered his plea during an arraignment Monday in state District Court, while an attorney entered the plea for Richard P. Garcia on his behalf.

Salcido and Garcia were indicted in the Dec. 23 beating in a holding cell at the Las Cruces Police Department.

Lawyers for Ross Flynn have said he was severely beaten while handcuffed in the cell.

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Regional
3:38 pm
Mon June 29, 2015

Ex-Las Cruces Police Officers Arraigned

Danny Salcido and Richard Garcia were arraigned in the Third Judicial District Court today. Both former officers are facing a charge of Aggravated Battery for what took place in a holding cell on December 23, 2014 involving Ross Flynn.

 

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Regional
7:54 am
Mon June 29, 2015

Supreme Court Will Re-Hear Texas Affirmative Action Case

The Supreme Court says it will dive back into the fight over the use of race in admissions at the University of Texas, a decision that presages tighter limits on affirmative action in higher education.

The justices said Monday they will hear for a second time the case of a white woman who was denied admission to the university's flagship Austin campus.

The conservative-leaning federal appeals court in New Orleans has twice upheld the university's admissions process, including in a ruling last year that followed a Supreme Court order to reconsider the woman's case.

Regional
7:42 am
Mon June 29, 2015

Sen. Udall To Tour Chaco Canyon With Interior Deputy Secretary

Credit Senator Tom Udall (D-NM)

U.S. Sen. Tom Udall and Interior Deputy Secretary Mike Connor are visiting northwestern New Mexico.

The two are planning to tour the Chaco Canyon area before meeting Monday with residents and local officials with the Bureau of Land Management, the National Park Service and the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

The visit comes after Udall sent a letter to the Interior Department in which he highlighted constituent concerns about oil and gas development and potential effects on archaeological sites in the region.

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Regional
7:41 am
Mon June 29, 2015

Part Of Proposed SunZia Transmission Line May Move

A portion of a proposed $2 billion transmission line that would carry electricity generated by renewable resources in New Mexico and Arizona to markets across the West may get rerouted.

The Las Cruces Sun-News reported Saturday that the SunZia Southwest Transmission Project has submitted a tentative plan to the U.S. Department of Defense to move part of the line away from the White Sands Missile Range to avoid burying it.

Defense Department officials say the line's proximity to White Sands would interfere with military exercises.

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Regional
6:00 am
Mon June 29, 2015

Virgin Galactic CEO Discusses New Mexico Space Tourism

Credit facebook.com/virgingalactic

Last week’s Spaceport Visitor’s Center opening brought Virgin Galactic CEO, George Whitesides To Truth or Consequences.

Last years crash in Mojave set Virgin Galactic back in their progress toward achieving commercial spaceflight. CEO George Whitesides says they remain committed to bringing space tourism to New Mexico.

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Regional
7:19 pm
Sun June 28, 2015

Texas Attorney General: State Workers Can Deny Marriage Licenses

Credit Texas AG Ken Paxton

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton calls the Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry a "lawless ruling" and says state workers can cite their religious objections in denying marriage licenses.

He warned in a statement Sunday that any clerk, justice of the peace or other administrator who declines to issue a license to a same-sex couple could face litigation or a fine.

But he says "numerous lawyers" stand ready to defend, free of charge, any public official refusing to grant one.

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Regional
11:19 am
Sun June 28, 2015

Blue Cross Blue Shield Of NM Files For Health Exchange Premium Increase

A major insurer on the New Mexico health exchange is not budging from a proposal to raise its premiums for some customers by more than 50 percent.

The Albuquerque Journal reported  Friday that Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Mexico filed a request for a 51.6 percent increase with the state insurance office.

The exchange offers plans by five different insurance companies.

Three are asking to boost premiums between 2 and 17 percent, depending on the plan.

But CHRISTUS Health Plan, however, is not seeking any increase.

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