Regional

Regional
7:56 am
Tue July 22, 2014

Arizona Senators Renew Call To Quickly Deport Kids

Arizona's two U.S. senators are commending the Border Patrol amid news a massive Nogales facility will no longer be receiving immigrant children.

U.S. Sen. John McCain and Jeff Flake said in a joint statement Monday that agents provided good humanitarian relief and both renewed calls to pass legislation aimed at quickly deporting children.

Under a bill sponsored by the two senators, human smugglers would face harsher penalties and the number of immigration judges would increase.

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Regional
7:53 am
Tue July 22, 2014

FAA Gives OK On Belen Airport Runway

The Federal Aviation Administration has given the green light on a new runway for Belen's Alexander Municipal Airport.

The approval means the bidding process for construction can begin for the $4 million project.

Airport manager Robert Uecker says the runway is needed because the current runway can't be used when the wind blows in from the west.

Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez of Belen says the runway will bring a much needed economic boost to Valencia County.

Regional
7:52 am
Tue July 22, 2014

Santa Fe Hospital Preparing For Possible Walkout

Contract talks are continuing but Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center says it's preparing to keep operating in the event of a possible strike by nurses and technicians at the Santa Fe hospital.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that a union that represents the workers presented the hospital with a strike notice Monday after workers voted overwhelmingly to reject a contract proposal.

The notice says a work stoppage is possible if a new contract isn't ratified before July 31. That's when the current contract expires.

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Regional
7:49 am
Tue July 22, 2014

N.M. Man Pleads Guilty In Young Boy's Beating Death

A 24-year-old northern New Mexico man faces 21 years in prison after pleading guilty in the 2011 beating death of the 3-year-old son of the man's girlfriend at the time.

Steven Gallegos of Pojoaque pleaded guilty Monday in a Santa Fe courtroom under a plea agreement that averts a trial for him in the killing of Leland Valdez.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that Gallegos pleaded guilty to child abuse resulting in death and child abuse not resulting in death.

Gallegos is to be sentenced July 29.

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Regional
7:46 am
Tue July 22, 2014

Gov. Martinez Names Ex-Prosecutor To Public Defender Commission

Credit Office of the Governor

A juvenile detention center administrator has been named to a commission that oversees the independent state agency that provides legal representation to criminal defendants who can't afford lawyers.

Jeanne Quintero of Las Cruces was appointed to the Public Defender Commission by Gov. Susana Martinez for a term expiring June 30, 2015.

Quintero is superintendent of the J. Paul Taylor Center, which is part of the Children, Youth and Families Department.

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Regional
7:40 am
Tue July 22, 2014

New Mexico Insurance Exchange CEO Starts In August

Credit NM Department of Health

A new CEO of New Mexico's health insurance exchange will take over running the online marketplace in late August.

The exchange announced Monday that Amy Dowd had accepted its offer to become the exchange's top administrator.

The exchange's board of directors voted earlier this month to select Dowd, who has been executive director of Idaho's insurance exchange.

Interim CEO Mike Nunez has been running New Mexico's exchange since it was created last year.

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Regional
6:00 am
Tue July 22, 2014

NMSU Dona Ana County Head Start Receives Grant

The New Mexico State University Dona Ana County Head Start has been awarded a Head Start and Early Head Start grant. 

In January 2013, the program, which is in the NMSU College of Education, was placed on the Office of Head Start Designation Renewal System list. The process required the program to undergo a competitive grant process, which resulted in NMSU’s selection as the best organization to continue to operate Head Start and Early Head Start grants in the community. 

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Regional
6:00 am
Tue July 22, 2014

NMSU Students Compete In National "Concrete Canoe" Competition

  New Mexico State University’s concrete canoe team placed 13th of 23 other universities that competed at the American Society of Civil Engineers National Concrete Canoe Competition. This year’s national concrete canoe competition took place at the University of Pennsylvania at Johnstown, Pennsylvania, June 18-22.

In three out of four different categories, NMSU’s 13-member team took top 10 honors. The team earned 10th place in the oral presentation, ninth in the combined race category, and the final product of the concrete canoe team also placed ninth.

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Regional
6:00 am
Tue July 22, 2014

New Mexico Still Near The Bottom In Child Well Being Report

  New Mexico moved up from the bottom ranking of 50th in the 2013 national KIDS COUNT rankings to 49th in child well-being this year in the 2014 KIDS COUNT Data Book.  While improvement was made from the 2013 to 2014 editions of the report in some child well-being indicators—such as child poverty (dropped from 31 percent to 29 percent), high school graduation rates (rose from 67 percent in 2010 to 74 percent in 2012) and our teen birth rate (dropped from 53 births per 1,000 female teens to 47 per 1,000)—others declined.

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Regional
9:02 pm
Mon July 21, 2014

More Immigrants Deported From New Mexico Detention Center

Officials say more Central American immigrants detained briefly in New Mexico have been deported.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said one plane Friday took the immigrants from Artesia to Honduras and another flight sent the women and children to Guatemala and El Salvador.

ICE officials say more of the 600 or so women and children at the Artesia center are scheduled to return to Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador soon.

The deportations are part of an effort to quickly remove immigrants who were part of a recent surge along the U.S.-Mexico border.

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Regional
3:59 pm
Mon July 21, 2014

NMSU Plans To Establish A "Free Speech Task Force"

Credit NMSU President Dr. Garrey Carruthers

  In a memo issued today by NMSU President Dr. Garrey Carruthers, NMSU announced the formation of a "free speech task force."

Here is the full text of the memo:

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Regional
3:55 pm
Mon July 21, 2014

NMSU Student Designs Water Filters To Be Used In Mexico

Joshua Gomez, NMSU chemical engineering sophomore, designed and developed water filters that will be installed in houses and schools in Puerto Palomas, Chihuahua, Mexico. At the Border Partners Facility, residents of Puerto Palomas learn how the filter works and how to put the filter together. (Courtesy photo by Erin Ward)

  New Mexico State University chemical engineering sophomore Joshua Gomez designed and developed water filters that will be installed in houses and schools in Puerto Palomas, Chihuahua, Mexico. 

Puerto Palomas is located just south of Columbus, New Mexico. Water supplies in both Palomas and Columbus are drawn from the same arsenic- and fluoride-contaminated aquifer. While Columbus has installed a reverse osmosis system to provide all residents clean water, Palomas’ water supply is only disinfected with chlorine.

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Regional
3:35 pm
Mon July 21, 2014

Major Drop In Minors Crossing Border

  The White House says the number of unaccompanied minors crossing the border is dropping significantly.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest says a daily average of about 150 children were apprehended along the Rio Grande border in the first two weeks of July. He says that's down from an average of 355 per day in June.

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Regional
3:33 pm
Mon July 21, 2014

Second Plague Case Of 2014 In New Mexico

  A second case of plague has been reported in New Mexico this year.

The Department of Health says testing has confirmed that a hospitalized 43-year-old woman from Rio Arriba County had plague.

An environmental investigation will take place at the woman's home to look for ongoing risk to others in the area.

The first case of plague in New Mexico this year was reported in April. It involved a 57-year-old man from Torrance County. He's still recovering.

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Regional
3:33 pm
Mon July 21, 2014

Perry Deploys National Guard To Border

Credit Texas Governor Rick Perry (R)

  Gov. Rick Perry says he's deploying as many as 1,000 National Guard troops to the Texas-Mexico border after growing tired of "lip service" from the federal government.

Perry said Monday that the National Guard will provide additional support to a state-funded border surge that is costing an additional $1.3 million a week.

Much of the area has been overwhelmed in recent months by tens of thousands of unaccompanied children illegally entering the U.S.

Perry says criminals are exploiting the situation for human and drug trafficking.

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Regional
3:30 pm
Mon July 21, 2014

CBO: Border Crisis To Cost $25 Million In 2014

   A congressional analysis says just $25 million of President Barack Obama's $3.7 billion request to deal with a wave of unaccompanied Central American children on the Southern border might be spent before the budget year ends Sept. 30.

The Congressional Budget Office analysis assumes Obama's request for handling the border crisis won't be enacted until mid- to late-September. Lawmakers are struggling to address the issue before leaving Washington for their annual August recess, but appear unlikely to succeed.

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Regional
11:18 am
Mon July 21, 2014

Police Look For Suspects Who Stole NMSU Golf Cart

  Las Cruces Crime Stoppers is offering a reward of up to $1,000 for information that leads to the arrest of two men suspected of stealing a golf cart from an academic building at New Mexico State University.

NMSU police learned that during the early-morning hours of Saturday, July 12, two men entered the courtyard of O’Donnell Hall and stole a golf cart belonging to the Learning Resource Center. Evidence from the courtyard indicates the men damaged the golf cart as they drove it through a pedestrian gate on the west side of O’Donnell Hall.

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Regional
8:29 am
Mon July 21, 2014

Migration Spotlights Mexican 'Coyote' Smugglers

Human smuggling is a high-risk, often high-yield business, with migrants in Latin America paying $5,000-$10,000 each for the long, illegal journey in the care of smugglers.

Smugglers, known as "coyotes," say they must pay off officials, gangs operating on trains and drug cartels controlling the routes north.

Judging by the dramatic increase in the number of minors apprehended in the United States in recent months, it seems the human smuggling business from Central America is booming.

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Regional
8:27 am
Mon July 21, 2014

UPDATE: $5 Million Bond For Three Teens Held In Albuquerque Homeless Killings

Three Albuquerque teenagers accused of fatally beating two homeless men beyond recognition have been ordered held on $5 million bonds.

Police say they are also investigating claims by one of the teens that the trio had been terrorizing transients around Albuquerque for months.

Prosecutors requested $1 million bond for each of the three during initial appearances Monday, but Metropolitan Court Judge Linda Rogers set bond at $5 million. She cited the gravity of the alleged crimes and the suspects' potential to flee.

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Regional
8:25 am
Mon July 21, 2014

Report: Visitor Spending Up At New Mexico National Parks

Credit facebook.com/nationalparkservice

A new report shows visitors and spending were up last year in national parks across New Mexico.

The analysis released Friday by the National Park Service shows more than 1.5 million people visited the state's 13 national parks in 2013, spending $83.2 million and supporting 1,136 jobs in the state.

Sue Masica, director of the Park Service's Intermountain Region, says the report confirms that national park tourism is a significant driver in the national economy, returning $10 for every $1 invested in the National Park Service.

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Regional
7:49 am
Mon July 21, 2014

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 July 21, 2014

Organ Monument Designation Key Factor In ETA's Denial Of Commercial Zoning Near Tortugas Mountain

Outdoors man and local resident Duane Mosley anxiously awaits the Extra Territorial Zoning Authorities decision on proposed commercial development near the base of Tortugas Mountain
Credit Simon Thompson

Tortugas Mountain is a site of cultural significance for the Our Lady of Guadalupe Tortugas Pueblo congregation, who climb the mountain in an annual pilgrimage to honor the Virgin Mary.  But it’s also an important place for local residents like Duane Mosley who go to the mountain to unwind, hike, and watch the sunset and the stars at night.

“It has always been a special place for me” he says “Eating the mesquite beans and watching lizards crawl around on the rocks it is something that brings me back to my center” he says.

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Regional
11:56 am
Sun July 20, 2014

FBI: Scams Aimed At Families Of Child Immigrants

Federal authorities are warning the public about fraud schemes aimed at exploiting relatives of unaccompanied children who've recently entered the United States.

San Antonio-based FBI officials say in a statement that perpetrators have demanded payments from family members, claiming the monetary payments will cover processing and travel expenses needed to allow the children to be reunited with their families.

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Regional
11:53 am
Sun July 20, 2014

Schools Work On Water Filter System For Colonias

  A university research project is helping some border residents get clean drinking water through filtration systems made out of supplies found at many hardware stores.

The project is led by a group of students and professors at the University of Texas at El Paso and New Mexico State University. They build filtering systems that can be made with supplies that cost anywhere from less than $50 and up to $300.

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Regional
11:52 am
Sun July 20, 2014

Navajos Struggle To Get Birth Certificates

Navajos born in remote areas of the Navajo Nation say getting a birth certificate to access retirement and health benefits has been a struggle under Arizona's strict regulations.

Most residents born before the 1970s were commonly delivered at home without any hospital-issued certificate.

Many of those residents today can obtain a "delayed birth certificate," but not without proper documentation.

Officials say sometimes as many as six documents are required in Arizona.

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Regional
11:51 am
Sun July 20, 2014

Major Texas Planned Parenthood Campaign

  The political arm of Planned Parenthood expects to spend $3 million on an aggressive campaign to support Texas Democrats in the 2014 general election.

The move has raised concerns from anti-abortion groups, who may not be able to match that sort of spending in a fight to attract women voters.

President of Planned Parenthood Votes Cecile Richards says the campaign will draw differences between gubernatorial candidates Democrat Wendy Davis and Republican Greg Abbott.

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Regional
11:49 am
Sun July 20, 2014

Nuke Dump Operator Got $1.9 Million Bonus After Fire

The contractor that operates the federal government's underground nuclear waste dump in southeastern New Mexico received a $1.9 million bonus just five days after an underground truck fire closed the facility.  The U.S. Department of Energy awarded Nuclear Waste Partnership the funds based on an "excellent" job performance in maintaining the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in Carlsbad.

Some observers say last February's fire and the radiation leak that followed nine days later show the contractor failed at its job.

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Regional
12:52 pm
Sat July 19, 2014

Navajo Leader On Paid Leave Files Appeal

  The speaker of the Navajo Nation Council is appealing a judge's decision that kept him away from his administrative duties.

The Navajo Nation Council placed Johnny Naize on paid administrative leave months after he was charged with bribery and conspiracy in a criminal case. Naize has pleaded not guilty.

Naize challenged his colleagues' decision, saying it was invalid and denied him due process.

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Regional
12:50 pm
Sat July 19, 2014

Las Cruces Trio Pleads Guilty To Drug Charges

  Federal authorities say three Las Cruces residents have pleaded guilty to charges of methamphetamine trafficking.

The U.S. Attorney's Office for New Mexico said 42-year-old Jennifer Sanders entered a plea Friday in federal court in Albuquerque.

Co-defendants Jose Luis Nino and Aubrey Savage already entered guilty pleas to multiple drug charges.

Prosecutors say all three were indicted in March after a lengthy undercover sting.

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Regional
12:49 pm
Sat July 19, 2014

Communities Help Migrants

  As thousands of unaccompanied immigrant children have poured into the U.S., community leaders from Dallas to Los Angeles to Syracuse are offering to set up temporary shelters to relieve the Army bases, holding cells and converted warehouses at the border.

In Dallas County, Judge Clay Jenkins has offered three county buildings that could hold up to 2,000 migrants. He says the offer comes from compassion, not politics. Communities in other states are offering to build or rehab facilities.

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