Regional

Regional
7:44 am
Thu July 31, 2014

Part-Time Magistrate Judge Applies For State Court

A part-time federal magistrate judge is the only applicant for a vacant district court judgeship in southeastern New Mexico.

Kea Riggs has served as a magistrate in Roswell since 2001, handling criminal proceedings such as arraignments and issuing search and arrest warrants.

A bipartisan nominating commission will meet in Roswell on Aug. 7 to decide whether to recommend Riggs to Gov. Susana Martinez for possible appointment in the 5th Judicial District to replace District Judge Charles Currier, who retired.

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Regional
7:42 am
Thu July 31, 2014

Immigration Courts Speed Up Children's Cases

  

Immigration courts are speeding up hearings for the tens of thousands of Central American children caught on the U.S. border after criticism that the backlogged system is letting immigrants stay in the country for years while waiting for their cases to be heard.

The Executive Office for Immigration Review says the immigration courts are now giving each child an initial court hearing within three weeks. Traditionally, many immigrants have had to wait months or years for a hearing.

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Regional
7:38 am
Thu July 31, 2014

Doña Ana County Preparing For Possible Floods

   

  

Authorities in southern New Mexico are preparing for possible flooding amid more storms scheduled to hit the state.

The Dona Ana County Fire and Emergency Services Department authorized Wednesday its 16 Volunteer Fire Districts to stock and distribute sandbags to residents.

Officials say distribution will be limited to 10 sandbags per residence or business due to limited availability. However, authorities say additional sandbags can be purchased at hardware stores.

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Regional
2:00 pm
Wed July 30, 2014

Sandbags Available At Volunteer Fire Stations

  With the onset of the monsoon seasons in southern New Mexico, the Doña Ana County Fire and Emergency Services Department has authorized each of its 16 Volunteer Fire Districts to stock and distribute sandbags.

   Because of limited availability, distribution will be limited to 10 sandbags per residence or business. The sandbags allocated should be placed in doorways where there is a threat of water coming inside. Sandbags will not be issued to protect landscaping or to build water-diversion barricades.

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Regional
1:56 pm
Wed July 30, 2014

Gray Wolf Pups Thrive In New Mexico

  Wildlife managers say two Mexican gray wolf pups from an Arizona pack are thriving with their new family in New Mexico.

Biologists in May transplanted a pair of 2-week old pups born in a large litter to another pack of wolves with a smaller litter and more rearing experience.

Wildlife managers have been troubled by the survival rates of wild-born pups. The goal with cross-fostering is to improve the genetic health of the endangered predators as they are reintroduced to the American Southwest.

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Regional
1:54 pm
Wed July 30, 2014

D.H. Lawrence Ranch In New Mexico Opens To Public

A northern New Mexico ranch once home to famed English author D.H. Lawrence has reopened to the public.

The Taos Community Foundation and the University of New Mexico say the ranch about 20 miles north of Taos is open every Monday, Thursday and Saturday through October from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The 160-acre ranch is owned by the university but hasn't been regularly accessible to the public for several years.

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Regional
1:52 pm
Wed July 30, 2014

Federal Prison For Robbery Spree

  A Carlsbad man will have to spend nearly 11 years in federal prison after being sentenced for his part in a robbery spree in several southeastern New Mexico communities.

The U.S. Attorney's Office for New Mexico says 35-year-old Maurice Williams was sentenced Wednesday in federal court in Las Cruces.

The office says Williams was among six Carlsbad residents prosecuted under a federal anti-violence initiative.

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Regional
1:50 pm
Wed July 30, 2014

Albuquerque's Mistake On Pot Petition: Now They Want More Signatures

  A proposal to ease penalties for marijuana possession in Albuquerque now faces a higher hurdle to get on the city's ballot.

City Attorney David Tourek says the number of valid voter signatures needed on petitions to qualify a measure for the ballot is just over 14,200, not the just over 11,200 that city officials previously said.

According to the Albuquerque Journal Tourek says officials erroneously calculated the signature requirement, which is based on how many people voted in the last regular city election.

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Regional
1:47 pm
Wed July 30, 2014

Pepper Spray Used To Quell Jail Disturbance

  Grant County detention officers used pepper spray to subdue eight inmates during a confrontation in the jail.

The Silver City Sun-News reports that operations at the jail were back to normal Tuesday following the confrontation that occurred Monday night. No injuries were reported.

County officials said the confrontation began when inmates began kicking a door, banging on windows and throwing flip flops in the direction of an officer.

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Regional
8:59 am
Wed July 30, 2014

King Asks To Intervene In Election Voting Case

New Mexico Attorney General Gary King wants to defend in court a state law that bars independents from voting in the primary election.

The Santa Fe New Mexican  reports that King is asking a state District Court judge to permit him to intervene in the lawsuit filed on behalf of nearly 294,000 voters registered as independents.

The lawsuit contends the law allowing only Democrats and Republicans to vote in the primary violates the New Mexico Constitution.

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Regional
8:57 am
Wed July 30, 2014

Minimum Wage Proposal Submitted In Las Cruces

Las Cruces officials say supporters of a minimum wage proposal collected enough valid signatures on petitions to either have it put into law or submitted to city voters.

The Las Cruces Sun-News reports that the proposal seeks to raise the minimum wage within New Mexico's second most populous city to $8.40 per hour in 2015, to $9.20 in 2016 and to $10.10 in 2017.

New Mexico's hourly minimum wage is $7.50.

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Regional
8:53 am
Wed July 30, 2014

Arizona Wolf Pups Thrive In New Mexico Pack

Wildlife managers say two Mexican gray wolf pups from an Arizona pack are thriving with their new family in New Mexico.

Biologists in May transplanted a pair of 2-week old pups born in a large litter to another pack of wolves with a smaller litter and more rearing experience.

Wildlife managers have been troubled by the survival rates of wild-born pups. The goal with cross-fostering is to improve the genetic health of the endangered predators as they are reintroduced to the American Southwest.

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Regional
4:05 am
Wed July 30, 2014

Arroyo Management Has Dona Ana County In Over Its Head

Michael Mc Whirter advises a guest over for dinner on the best way to drive through the almost 2 feet of sand covering the road in front of his drive way.
Credit Simon Thompson

Michael Mc Whirter and his family bought their house near Picacho Mountain when it was one of the only properties there.

The realtor sold them on horizon to horizon views and the surrounding desert wilderness. But what wasn’t mentioned in the sales pitch was the arroyo that runs from the back to the front of the property.

“When we bought the property it was not disclosed to us that there was an issue with run off, when we bought the property it came as a surprise to us to realize that we had water swirling on the porch" he says.

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Regional
8:46 pm
Tue July 29, 2014

Woman Appeals Texas Affirmative Action Ruling

Attorneys for a woman is renewing her appeal of a federal appeals court ruling that upheld the use of race in University of Texas undergraduate admissions.

Abigail Fisher's attorneys filed their appeal Tuesday with the full 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, asking that it overturn the three-judge 5th Circuit Court panel's ruling. That 2-1 ruling July 15th held that barring the university's "limited use of race" would hurt diversity on the Austin campus.

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Regional
8:39 pm
Tue July 29, 2014

UPDATE: Las Cruces City Council Vote On $10.10 Minimum Wage Expected Monday

The Las Cruces City Council could decide next week whether workers in New Mexico's second most populous city will have a minimum wage of $10.10 per hour by 2017.  Las Cruces officials said Tuesday that the city clerk has validated the 2,257 signatures needed to certify the petition of the CAFé group that proposed the wage increase.

The City Council will vote on the petition at its meeting Monday. If approved, it will become law. But if it is voted down, it goes to Las Cruces voters to decide — likely in the Nov. 4 general election.

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Regional
1:56 pm
Tue July 29, 2014

Perry Slams New Hampshire Senator Who Voted For Immigration Reform

Credit Texas Governor Rick Perry (R)

  Texas Gov. Rick Perry says New Hampshire voters should be embarrassed by Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen's record on border security.

The Republican governor weighed in on New Hampshire's Senate race on Tuesday in a conference call with reporters. Shaheen will likely face former Republican Sen. Scott Brown in a re-election test this fall.

Perry has become a leading Republican voice in the immigration debate as he considers another run for president. The issue has emerged in elections nationwide as Central American children seek refuge at the border.

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Regional
1:54 pm
Tue July 29, 2014

Lane Closures On University Avenue And Locust Street In Las Cruces

  University Avenue from Telshor Boulevard to Jack Nicklaus Drive will have lane closures beginning immediately. The closures will be in effect for approximately ten days for milling and overlaying asphalt pavement on University Avenue.

The closure will not affect any RoadRUNNER Transit routes. Motorists wanting to avoid possible delays should seek alternate routes. Access to businesses and residences will be maintained during construction.

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Regional
1:05 pm
Tue July 29, 2014

Immigration And Defense Highlight NMSU Domenici Conference

Former U.S. Secretary of Defense and former CIA Director Leon Panetta will speak on Sept. 17 at the 2014 Domenici Public Policy Conference at the Las Cruces Convention Center. (Courtesy photo)

  The issues that dominate today’s news – the debate on immigration reform, the legislative stalemate in Washington and the future of our national defense strategy – are among the pressing state and national policy topics set to be discussed at the 2014 Domenici Public Policy Conference.

Experts including former U.S. Secretary of Defense and former CIA Director Leon Panetta, former U.S. counterintelligence head and inspector general of the National Security Agency Joel Brenner and national political strategists Donna Brazile and Charlie Black are among those scheduled to appear.

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Regional
1:02 pm
Tue July 29, 2014

Texas GOP Candidate For Governor: Ban On Marriage Equality Is Constitutional

Credit Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott (R)

 Attorney General Greg Abbott's office is arguing that the U.S. Constitution allows Texas to ban the marriage of same sex couples to promote the birth of children in "stable, lasting relationships."  Abbott is the Republican candidate for Texas Governor.

Abbott's office filed a brief Monday with the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

U.S. District Court Judge Orlando Garcia declared the state law unconstitutional in February, but allowed Texas to keep enforcing its ban pending an appeal.

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Regional
12:57 pm
Tue July 29, 2014

Santa Fe Wants To Lure "The Bachelor"

The city of Santa Fe is trying to get its hands on the "The Bachelor" and it may shell out some money for the mission.

Councilors are expected Wednesday to consider a request to spend between $50,000 and $100,000 from Tourism Santa Fe's reserve budget in an effort to attract the popular ABC-TV dating show.

Officials want the show to film one of next season's episodes in Santa Fe.

The New Mexico Department of Tourism has already agreed to a letter of intent to commit $50,000 to the effort.

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Regional
12:56 pm
Tue July 29, 2014

Pot Measure Submitted For Albuquerque Ballot

  Albuquerque officials are reviewing petitions submitted by backers of a proposal to relax marijuana possession penalties to see whether the measure qualifies to go before voters.

Supporters on Monday submitted petitions with an estimated 16,000 signatures. The measure needs at least 11,203 valid city voter signatures to qualify for the ballot.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that city workers have 10 days to determine whether enough of the signatures are valid.

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Regional
12:54 pm
Tue July 29, 2014

New Law Speeds Closure Of Troubled Texas Charter Schools

  The number of troubled charter schools that are forced to close is accelerating because of a new state law that makes it easier to shutter poorly performing ones.

The Texas Education Agency has revoked the license of five charter schools since February. Three others, including one co-founded by NFL Hall of Famer Deion Sanders, have appeals pending.

If the three appeals are unsuccessful, it would result in the most revocations of a charter's license in a single year.

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Regional
12:53 pm
Tue July 29, 2014

Lawmakers: Is Extra Border Spending Worth It?

  A legislative panel is questioning what Texas will ultimately have to show for the $5.2 million per week it's spending on beefed-up border security amid a surge of unaccompanied immigrant children.

Gov. Rick Perry is deploying 1,000 National Guard troops to the Texas-Mexico border at a weekly cost of $4 million. The state was already spending an additional $1.2 million weekly on border security.

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Regional
9:53 am
Tue July 29, 2014

Parts Of New Mexico Remain Under Flash Flood Watch

Much of northern and eastern New Mexico remain under a flash flood watch as another storm system moves across the state.

The National Weather Service says scattered showers and thunderstorms are expected Tuesday to travel east and drop in intensity by mid-morning. But forecasters say another round of severe storms will likely pop up by late afternoon in central and northern New Mexico through the evening.

The storms could lead to flood and possibly bring hail. Forecasters say the areas also may see strong winds up to 50 mph.

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Regional
9:52 am
Tue July 29, 2014

Santa Fe Eyes Wooing 'The Bachelor' To Town

The city of Santa Fe is trying to get its hands on the "The Bachelor" and it may shell out some money for the mission.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that councilors are expected Wednesday to consider a request to spend between $50,000 and $100,000 from Tourism Santa Fe's reserve budget in an effort to attract the popular ABC-TV dating show.

Officials want the show to film one of next season's episodes in Santa Fe.

The New Mexico Department of Tourism has already agreed to a letter of intent to commit $50,000 to the effort.

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Regional
9:50 am
Tue July 29, 2014

King Says He Will Ask Court To Decide Donation Issue

A campaign finance case involving the New Mexico's race for governor is apparently headed to the state Supreme Court

Democratic nominee and current Attorney General Gary King says he'll ask the justices to decide whether he has to return certain donations as Secretary of State Diana Duran contends.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that the issue centers on the timing of the contributions. They were made weeks after the June 3 primary election, and Duran contends that contributions for the primary election cycle cannot be accepted after that election.

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Regional
7:52 am
Tue July 29, 2014

Texas Lawmakers Scrutinize Costs Of Beefed Up Border

A legislative committee is scrutinizing the more-than-$5 million a week Texas spends on beefed-up security along the Mexican border amid a surge of unaccompanied immigrant children.

The special Texas House committee on border operations meets Tuesday after the state announced it was spending an extra $1.2 million per week on border security.

That "operational surge" means more helicopters, armed boats and police troopers — but exactly how it's being spent hasn't been made public.

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Regional
7:49 am
Tue July 29, 2014

New Mexico Tax Holiday Starts Friday For Shoppers

New Mexico's annual tax holiday is approaching and will provide shoppers with savings on purchases of school supplies, computers and some clothing and shoes.

Starting Friday through the weekend, there will be no gross receipts tax on certain products purchased at participating retailers.

The tax rate varies across the state, but exceeds 8 percent in some communities.

No tax will be imposed on computers up to $1,000, including tablets; and computer hardware costing no more than $500, including printers.

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Regional
7:43 am
Tue July 29, 2014

Man Arrested After New Mexico Capitol Evacuated

A 48-year-old man has been arrested following the evacuation of the New Mexico Capitol in Santa Fe after a caller allegedly threatened to kill himself there and blow up the building.

State Police Lt. Emmanuel Gutierrez says the building was closed Monday afternoon after being evacuated. Normal operations resume Tuesday.

Gutierrez said officers arrested 48-year-old Matthew Pacheco Monday night at a drug store in Taos, which is about 55 miles north of Santa Fe.

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Regional
4:02 pm
Mon July 28, 2014

Retiree Health Care Agency Proposes Solvency Plan

Taxpayers and public employees would chip in more money over three years under a proposal to improve the finances of a program providing health care for retired state and local government workers.

The Retiree Health Care Authority executive director Mark Tyndall said Monday the Legislature will be asked to approve the proposal when it convenes in January.

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