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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.

New Mexico Auditor: Unspent Funds Are Opportunity To Help State

28 minutes ago
Tim Keller, New Mexico Auditor

  More than $4 billion sits idle as little progress has been made to spend down accumulated money stashed away in state coffers earmarked for infrastructure and other state projects.

New Mexico Auditor Tim Keller issued a report on the unspent money Friday morning, suggesting that spending the dollars could create thousands of jobs and give the economy a boost.

DA Weighs Appeal In Case Of Teen Who Killed Family Members

18 hours ago

A New Mexico district attorney says she's disappointed a teen who pleaded guilty to killing his parents and three younger siblings will be sentenced as a juvenile, and her office is considering an appeal.

Bernalillo County District Attorney Kari Brandenburg says a final decision on an appeal hadn't been reached Friday, a day after a children's court judge ruled lawyers for 18-year-old Nehemiah Griego had shown he is receptive to psychological treatment.

Compromise Paves Way For New Mexico REAL ID Compliant Driver's License

18 hours ago

  Commentary:  A key committee in the New Mexico Senate tonight unanimously approved House Bill 99, a bipartisan- compromise legislation to make the state’s driver’s licenses compliant with federal REAL ID requirements. The bill now advances to the floor for a full vote of Senate. The amended bill would make New Mexico driver’s licenses compliant with the federal REAL ID Act if approved by the House of Representatives and signed by the Governor.

Man Charged in Arson Case Receives 21-Year Sentence

23 hours ago

 

  A man charged in three cases involving arson and home burglaries has been sentenced to 21 years behind bars.

Reuben Armijo, 41, was sentenced to 21 years in prison and five years of probation by Chief District Judge Fernando Macias. 

District Attorney Mark D'Antonio applauded the judge's decision and said, "The victims in this case either lost their home or were displaced. They lost their peace of mind and sense of security. However, today's sentence gives those affected the justice and safety they needed."

New Mexico Legislators Reach Deal On Bail Reform

Feb 12, 2016

New Mexico House Republicans and Senate Democrats say they have reached a compromise on a bail reform proposal.

Both sides spoke Friday at a press conference, with Republican Rep. David Adkins saying the bill crafted by Sen. Peter Wirth, a Santa Fe Democrat, is the "right piece of legislation to support."

Wirth's bill allows judges to deny bail to defendants deemed a danger to the public, while granting non-violent defendants pretrial release if the sole reason they are being held in jail is because they are too poor to make bail.

A powerful Republican lawmaker is demanding that Texas health officials explain why two state employees co-authored a study suggesting that cuts to Planned Parenthood are curbing access to women's health services.

State Sen. Jane Nelson sent a letter Friday to Texas Health Commissioner Chris Traylor. Her request is the latest fallout from a New England Journal of Medicine study that has angered Republicans, who say the findings are flawed and biased.

Rep. Terry McMillan

Feb 12, 2016

Las Cruces Home Care Worker Suspected of Swindling $11,000 from Client

Feb 12, 2016

  Police are looking for a former home care worker suspected of accepting an $11 check from an 85-year-old client and altering the check to read $11,000 before depositing it into her account.

Christina M. Mendez, 29, of the 2100 block of Lester Avenue, is charged with one count of forgery over $2,500. The charge is a third-degree felony count.

A warrant has been issued for Mendez’s arrest. A cash-only bond has been set at $10,000.

  The University of Texas System Wednesday presented tuition and fee increase proposals from System institutions, including proposed modest increases from The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP).

New Mexico House Committee Kills Capital Outlay Overhaul

Feb 12, 2016

  Expressing concerns that rural communities would no longer receive infrastructure funding, a House committee killed a capital outlay reform bill Friday morning.

The House Government, Elections and Indian Affairs Committee voted 5-4 against favorably recommending House Bill 307, then voted 5-5 to forward the bill to another House committee with no recommendation. That effectively halts the bill.

Think New Mexico spearheaded the effort to turn funding from the Legislature to an appointed commission similar to the process for funding public education infrastructure.

Painted Sky Elementary

  

Downtown Events Set For Las Cruces

Feb 12, 2016
  •   Main St:

o   Downtown Las Cruces Charrette – February 16-19 at Branigan Cultural Center. More information and full schedule atwww.lascrucesdowntownplan.org.

  • Farmers and Crafts Market:

o   February 17 & 20, 8:30 to 1 p.m.

  • Museums and Cultural Center:

o   Branigan Cultural Center – Love of Art Month Member Exhibit for February,

o   Reflections from the Myrna Colley-Lee Collection –On display through April 2. 5 – 7 p.m.

Las Cruces Mother of Three Indicted on Child Abuse

Feb 12, 2016

  Today, District Attorney Mark D’Antonio announced that a grand jury has indicted a Las Cruces mother of three charged with child abuse. 

Authorities said Stacy Adams, 29, was arrested after police found her home filled with trash and dirty diapers. According to investigators, the defendant’s children – ages 8, 6 and 1 – had not bathed since early January and appeared to have lice in their hair.  

“It’s a disturbing case,” D'Antonio said “I don’t want to think about what would have happened if the CYFD worker and Las Cruces police did not intervene.”

Push For Open Primaries In New Mexico

Feb 12, 2016

Host Intro: Open Primaries, a national leader on election reform, the group is working on a campaign to build support in the state House Judiciary Committee to approve HJR 12, the Open Primary Elections Constitutional Amendment. Edmundo Resendez spoke to former New Mexico State Representative and founder of New Mexico Open Primaries Bob Perls about the latest efforts in the legislature.

Cut: Interviews

Host Outro: That was Bob Perls with New Mexico Open Primaries speaking with Edmundo Resendez.

Audit Finds New Mexico Has Billions In Unspent Funds

Feb 12, 2016
Tim Keller, New Mexico Auditor

  The Office of the State Auditor (OSA) released the second annual Fund Balance Report that tallies unspent funds in government accounts from the most recent financial audits. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) at OSA reviewed 398 business and enterprise, capital outlay, special revenue and other funds of 86 state agencies, and put forward best practices to get these dollars moving.

Auditor Report: New Mexico Has $4.4 Billion In Unused Funds

Feb 12, 2016

New Mexico's state auditor has found $4.4 billion in unspent funds tucked away in hundreds of agency accounts.

The report released Friday by State Auditor Tim Keller looked at fund balances as of July 1, 2015, and seeks to identify money that is sitting unnecessarily idle when it might otherwise be used to stimulate the economy and employment.

The funds cited in the report do not include employee salaries, operating costs or retirement and permanent trust funds. A report from the previous year found $4.2 billion in unspent funds.

University of New Mexico basketball coach Craig Neal says his son, who also plays as a point guard on his father's team, has been harassed and threatened online.

At a news conference Thursday, Neal said his son Cullen Neal has had to change his phone number twice, shut down his Twitter account and deactivate Facebook as a result of threats.

Police Flight Turns Up No New Evidence Of Missing Treasure Hunter

Feb 12, 2016
nmsp.dps.state.nm.us

Authorities have yet to uncover any new clues to the whereabouts of a Colorado man who went missing in northern New Mexico while looking for a $2 million cache of gold, jewels and artifacts.

A helicopter flight this week by New Mexico State Police and the state's search and rescue team turned up nothing, but Randy Bilyeu's relatives say they're not giving up.

A father and grandfather, Bilyeu has been missing for more than a month since he set out in January in search of author Forrest Fenn's treasure.

Las Cruces Bishop To Represent U.S. During Pope's Visit To Mexico

Feb 12, 2016

Las Cruces Bishop Oscar Cantu will represent U.S. during the pope's historical visit to Mexico.

Cantu will be one of two bishops from the U.S. and will accompany Pope Francis in Mexico from Friday to Wednesday.

Cantu and Bishop Daniel Flores of Brownsville, Texas received the appointment from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishop's President Archbishop Joseph Kurtz.

Cantu says he expects the pope to touch on immigration.

New Mexico Lawmakers Back Campaign Finance Database

Feb 11, 2016

A proposal to overhaul New Mexico's online clearinghouse for campaign finance information has been approved by the state House of Representatives.

The House voted 65-0 on Thursday to send the bipartisan bill to the Senate. The plan would standardize electronic reporting so that filings by candidates, lobbyists and political committees can be searched, cross-referenced or downloaded for analysis.

It also would require all lobbyists to file regular reports, as candidates already do.

Tickets Available for Papal Mass in Cuidad Juarez, Mexico

Feb 11, 2016

  ALBUQUERQUE, NM – Thursday, February 11, 2016 - IMMEDIATE RELEASE--BREAKING NEWS: Tickets Available for Papal Mass in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico The Archdiocese of Santa Fe unexpectedly received a batch of tickets for the Papal Mass that will be celebrated by Pope Francis in Juarez, Mexico on Wednesday, February 17, 2016 at 4:00 PM.

The celebration will take place at Antigua Feria Expo (Old Fairgrounds), a large field near Benito Juarez Stadium. They are expecting 220,000 people to attend.

  The New Mexico Department of Agriculture (NMDA) is recruiting food and agricultural companies from across the state to join a trade mission to Vietnam, April 4-8.  Companies need not have any exporting experience to be considered for participation.

The Rotary Club of Silver City, NM, in conjunction with Western New Mexico University and Silver Screen Society, have launched a film competition for the documentation of the invasion of Columbus, NM by Pancho Villa.  The film documentation will take place during the Centennial in Columbus, NM, March 9-12, 2016.   Participants are invited to join WNMU students, faculty and others for the Centennial events in Columbus, NM.  A unique feature of the competition is the opportunity to create a film remotely without visiting the Village of Columbus.  A video “pool” will be created from the Centen

New Jersey Man Gets Prison Sentence In New Mexico Fraud Case

Feb 11, 2016

A New Jersey man has been sentenced to 18 months in federal prison in a New Mexico fraud case involving ATM skimming devices.

Federal prosecutors say 25-year-old Michael Silva, of West Orange, also was sentenced Thursday to three years of supervised release after his prison term.

Silva was arrested last September on a 15-count indictment charging him with one count of conspiracy to commit aggravated identity theft, 11 counts of access devise fraud and two counts of aggravated identity theft.

Las Cruces Community Garden Plots Open for the Season

Feb 11, 2016

  The City of Las Cruces Parks & Recreation Department will make community gardenplots available to the public for summer planting starting March 1. If you have ever wanted to grow your own vegetables and flowers, here is your opportunity!

Las Cruces Doctor Pleads Guilty To Health Care Fraud

Feb 11, 2016

A Las Cruces physician whose license has been revoked has pleaded guilty to health care fraud and unlawfully dispensing prescription painkillers.

Federal prosecutors say 63-year-old Pawankumar Jain entered his plea Thursday.

Under the terms of his plea agreement, Jain will be sentenced to 42 to 108 months in prison.

Jain has been in federal custody since April 2014 and remains detained pending his sentencing hearing, which has yet to be scheduled.

Mexican Nationals Arrested In New Mexico On Federal Meth Charges

Feb 11, 2016

  Four Mexican nationals made their initial appearances this morning in federal court in Las Cruces, N.M., on a criminal complaint charging them with methamphetamine trafficking offenses.  All four remain in federal custody pending preliminary hearings and detention hearings which have yet to be scheduled.

UPDATE: Las Cruces Police Arrest Man Suspected Of Fraud

Feb 11, 2016

  Gary D. Sugamosto, 67, the man suspected of swindling several individuals out of cash he suggested would pay for ‘flipping’ used vehicles, was arrested by Las Cruces PoliceThursday morning.

Sugamosto is charged with five felony counts of fraud including two counts of fraud over $2,500, one count of fraud over $20,000, one count of fraud over $500 and one count of fraud by worthless check.

Sugamosto was arrested Thursday morning and booked into the Dona Ana County Detention Center with a cash-only bond set at $50,000.

Udall Reiterates Concerns About Lack Of An Ambassador To Mexico

Feb 11, 2016
Senator Tom Udall (D-NM)

Commentary: Today, U.S. Senator Tom Udall, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a longtime advocate for Senate reform, pushed for a Senate vote on Roberta Jacobson's nomination to serve as ambassador to Mexico. Although Jacobson has been called one of the most qualified nominees for the position ever, her nomination has been on hold for almost six months in large part due to a few senators’ objections to her role in the Obama administration's Cuba policy.

The Latest: Prosecutor Says Teen Planned Family Killing

Feb 11, 2016

The latest on the case of a teen charged with killing his parents and three siblings in New Mexico (all times local):

2:20 p.m.

Closing arguments are underway in a hearing that will determine whether a New Mexico teenager who pleaded guilty to killing his parents and three siblings should be sentenced as a juvenile or adult.

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