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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.

The Latest: Legislature Approves Internet Sales Tax

May 25, 2017

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The Latest on efforts by New Mexico lawmakers to resolve a state budget crisis (all times local):

2:10 p.m.

A bill that would impose new taxes on online retail sales and nonprofit hospitals in New Mexico has been approved by the Legislature for consideration by the governor.

The state House and Senate gave their final approval Thursday to the budget-balancing measures. It was unclear whether Republican Gov. Susana Martinez would sign the bill.

Voice of the Public: U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich

May 25, 2017
KRWG

Welcome to Voice of the Public on 90.7 FM and krwg.org! I’m your host, Edmundo Resendez. Our special guest today is U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich, Democrat from New Mexico. Lots to talk about including, the investigation of Russia’s interference in the election, the senate debate over repealing the Affordable Care Act, and the Trump administration’s review of the Organ Mountains Desert Peaks National Monument. 

Navajo Nation Bill Would Be Name Highway After Chief Manuelito

May 25, 2017

FARMINGTON, N.M. (AP) — A Navajo Nation proposal would designate a portion of U.S. Highway 491 in honor of the prominent Navajo leader Chief Manuelito.

The Daily Times in Farmington, New Mexico, reports a bill sponsored by a member of the Navajo Nation Council would renamed the portion between Monticello, Utah, and Gallup, New Mexico, after Chief Manuelito Atiin.

Atiin is the Navajo word for highway.

On the Navajo Nation, the highway travels through various Navajo communities, including Shiprock and Newcomb.

Colorado Schools To Participate In Spaceport Rocket Launch

May 25, 2017

UPHAM, N.M. (AP) — More than a dozen payloads from public schools and other educational organizations around Colorado will be aboard one of the rockets to be launched from Spaceport America during a competition next month.

The schools are teaming up with United Launch Alliance and Ball Aerospace for the June 24 launch at the spaceport in southern New Mexico.

Their projects will be launched on a 53-foot-tall, high-power sport rocket dubbed "Future Heavy."

Randi Weingarten, AFT President

  Commentary: Santa Fe – American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten, American Federation of Teachers New Mexico President, Stephanie Ly, American Federation of Teachers New Mexico Executive Vice President Kathy Chavez, and Albuquerque Teachers Federation President Ellen Bernstein released the following statements:

New Mexico Senate Approves Bond Funding To Close Budget Gap

May 24, 2017

Commentary: Santa Fe, NM – Today, the Senate passed Senate Bills 1 and 2 to help fill the state’s budget gap and leave our state with a responsible level of reserves.

Senate Bill 1 by Senator Carlos Cisneros allows the Board of Finance to issue up to $81.4 million of 217 non-recurring supplemental severance tax bond capacity and appropriates the proceeds to the general fund.  Additionally, the bill transfers approximately $19 billion in cash balances from certain funds to the general fund, including $5 million from the capital buildings repair funds.

The Bulletin On The Radio

May 24, 2017

Every week, KRWG News provides a preview of the stories in The Las Cruces Bulletin. 

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Democrat Running For Congress To Speak In Alamogordo

May 24, 2017

The Democratic Party of Otero County will hold the monthly meeting on June 6th at 6:00 p.m. at Margo's Mexican Food Restaurant, 504 E. 1st Street in Alamogordo. All are invited and encouraged to attend. 

Our speaker is Mr. David Baake, candidate for Congress in Congressional District 2.

​WHAT                DPOC Meeting

WHEN                JUNE 6, 6:00 P.M.

WHERE              MARGO'S MEXICAN FOOD RESTAURANT-

504 E. 1ST STREET, ALAMOGORDO

Western Heritage Bank to Acquire PlainsCapital Bank El Paso Branch

May 24, 2017

Las Cruces, NM – Western Heritage Bank (“WHB”) has announced that on May 16, 2017 it entered into a definitive agreement with PlainsCapital Bank for the purchase of its El Paso location.  The transaction includes the purchase of approximately $25 million in loans and $24 million in deposit accounts.  The acquisition is subject to regulatory approval and expected to close in the third quarter of 2017. 

Previous Owner Of Elvis Jet Says He Designed Red Interior

May 24, 2017

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A previous owner of a private jet also once owned by Elvis Presley is disputing an auction house's claim the king of rock 'n' roll designed its red velvet interior.

Roy McKay told KOB-TV in Albuquerque on Tuesday he designed the interior himself. McKay says when he purchased the red 1962 Lockheed Jetstar it had a two-toned gray interior and "kind of looked like a casket."

GWS Auctions Inc. of California is auctioning off the jet after it sat on a runway in Roswell, New Mexico, for 30 years.

The Latest: House Panel Votes To Reinstate Education Funds

May 24, 2017

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The Latest on efforts by New Mexico lawmakers to resolve a state budget crisis (all times local):

3:30 p.m.

Legislation that reinstates funding for New Mexico's universities and colleges as well as the Legislature itself has cleared its first hurdle.

Members of the House Appropriations Committee voted mostly along party lines in favor of restoring some $765 million in funding that was vetoed by Gov. Susana Martinez as part of a budget dispute following the regular legislative session earlier this year.

New Mexico SOS holds out hope for campaign finance funding

May 24, 2017

  While New Mexico’s colleges and universities are hoping today’s special legislative session restores hundreds of million worth of funding, the Secretary of State’s office is yearning for something more modest.

That’s $950,000 for a new online reporting system.

Settlement with Johnson & Johnson Concerning the Quality of Over-The-Counter Drugs

May 24, 2017
New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas

Santa Fe, NM- This morning, Attorney General Hector Balderas announced that New Mexico will receive $453,474.16 from a settlement with Johnson & Johnson concerning their representations regarding the quality of over-the-counter drugs. Attorney General Balderas and 42 other attorneys general reached a $33 million settlement with Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc. and Johnson & Johnson (“Defendants”).  McNeil-PPC, Inc. was a wholly-owned subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson that manufactured and distributed over-the-counter (OTC) drugs.  

NMSU summer computer camps filling up, space still available

May 24, 2017

New Mexico State University’s summer computer camps are in high demand but there is still time to sign up. The Department of Computer Science in the College of Arts and Sciences is hosting the free summer programs in June and July. 

The Young Women in Computing (YWiC) program for young women in high school runs from 12:30-4 p.m. Monday through Friday from June 5 through June 16. Students will learn to explore computing skills and discover talents through an introduction to programming, computational thinking and new technologies. 

Gabe Vasquez

LAS CRUCES -- Longtime Las Cruces resident and New Mexico State University graduate Gabe Vasquez has announced his candidacy for Las Cruces City Council District 3.  Vasquez issued this statement:

USDA Rural Development Acting State Director Eric Vigil announced today the selection of the Mid Central Rural Corridor and South Eastern New Mexico regions to participate in the Stronger Economies Together (SET) program.

The SET program is a joint initiative between the Western Regional Rural Development Center at Utah State University, New Mexico State University (NMSU) Cooperative Extension and USDA Rural Development to provide assistance in community and economic development planning. 

University Of New Mexico Spending Under Review

May 24, 2017

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The state Auditor's Office is reviewing the spending of public money by the University of New Mexico's athletic department on a 2015 golf trip to Scotland that included the athletic director, other employees and boosters, the agency confirmed Wednesday.

The review comes as the state's universities and colleges are being forced to consider tuition increases and other cuts as New Mexico grapples with a budget crisis.

Udall, Heinrich Cosponsor Legislation To Reduce Skyrocketing Student Loan Debt

May 24, 2017
Senator Martin Heinrich (D) and Senator Tom Udall (D)

Commentary: U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich joined Senator Elizabeth Warren in introducing the Bank on Students Emergency Loan Refinancing Act that would allow those with outstanding student loan debt to refinance at the lower interest rates currently offered to new borrowers. Outstanding student loan debt in America totals more than $1.4 trillion. In New Mexico, students are graduating with an average of nearly $20,000 in debt and 134,000 federal student loan borrowers would benefit from loan refinancing. 

Longest Serving Member Of UNM Regents Resigns After 18 Years

May 24, 2017
unm.edu

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The longest serving member of the University of New Mexico regents has resigned from the school's governing board after 18 years.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that Regent Jack Fortner submitted his letter of resignation Tuesday.

Fortner's most recent six-year term expired last December, but regents can continue serving until their replacement is confirmed by the New Mexico Senate.

Fortner told the Journal that he didn't want to be a distraction to the university.

Xcel Completes $5.6 Million Project To Boost Capacity

May 24, 2017

HOBBS, N.M. (AP) — Xcel Energy says it has completed a $5.6 million project to boost electric capacity in one stretch of southeastern New Mexico. 

The utility says the infrastructure improvements will help the agricultural areas north of Hobbs, where irrigation and dairy customers were experiencing voltage fluctuations due to their distance from the power source and the strain on existing substations in the area.

blm

This past weekend marked the third anniversary of the Organ Mountains Desert Peaks National Monument. It comes after President Donald Trump issued an executive order reviewing national monuments of 100,000 acres or more that were designated as far back as 1996.

Since the designation of the monument, some Las Cruces-area businesses say they have found opportunities to get creative with new brands and expand.

Texas Senate revives full bathroom bill with late-night move

May 24, 2017

  AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Texas' Republican-controlled Legislature is tying itself in knots over a transgender "bathroom bill."

The state Senate voted 21-10 vote after 1 a.m. Wednesday to attach rules requiring transgender Texans to use public restrooms corresponding to their birth-certificate gender onto an otherwise unrelated proposal on county governments.

A full bill doing the same thing cleared the Senate in March but stalled in the House, which instead passed a scaled-back version applying only to schools on Sunday.

nmpolitics.net

A bill aimed at increasing New Mexico state tax income from online sales and nonprofit hospitals has been approved by the House of Representatives.

The House voted 37-29 Wednesday on the budget-balancing measures. The bill also would create a new state rainy day fund from future oil and natural gas proceeds for use during future fiscal emergencies.

Silver City Report

May 24, 2017

Time now for the Silver City Report with Edmundo Resendez and Silver City Press and Independent reporters Christine Steele and Ben Fischer. This week, the Silver City School Board is cited for an open meetings violation, a teacher is charged with a sex crime with a student, and the Silver City Blues Festival.

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Las Cruces City Councilor Olga Pedroza Not Seeking Re-Election

May 23, 2017

Commentary: This is to inform you that as City Councilor for Las Cruces’ District 3, I, Olga Pedroza, have decided to not seek re-election in November. This was a difficult decision, but was made much easier by knowing the person who will run for the position, Gabe Vasquez.
 

Join Las Cruces Utilities’ 2017 Spring Stroll

May 23, 2017

“Come out to the garden, enjoy coffee and pastries while you learn how to plant and irrigate a garden in the desert - surrounded by beautiful blooming healthy plants that are grown in our area with the use of efficient irrigation and local free compost,” invites Rhonda Diaz, water conservation program coordinator.

This Wednesday, May 24th, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. come stroll the Demonstration Garden at Las Cruces Utilities (LCU) Administration offices, 680 N. Motel Blvd.

Heinrich Statement On President Trump’s Budget

May 23, 2017
US Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM)

Commentary: U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Ranking Member of the Joint Economic Committee, released the following statement on President Trump’s FY2018 budget:

“President Trump’s budget does nothing but abandon the hard-working Americans and rural communities he promised to fight for, while providing tax breaks to the wealthy. This proposal stacks the deck against the most vulnerable Americans and cuts $3.6 trillion from critical investments in families, communities, and industries that will create the jobs of the future.

The Latest: Judge Declares Mistrial In Ex-Deputy's Case

May 23, 2017

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — The Latest on the retrial of a former Santa Fe County deputy charged in the death of a fellow deputy (all times local):

3:50 p.m.

A judge has declared a mistrial in the case of a former New Mexico sheriff's deputy who was charged in the shooting death of a fellow deputy during what authorities described as an alcohol-fueled dispute.

The ruling came Tuesday after jurors informed the judge they would not be able to reach a unanimous decision in the case of Tai Chan. They deliberated for less than four hours.

AG Balderas Announces $205,000 Settlement with Target over Data Breach

May 23, 2017
New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas

Española, NM- Attorney General Hector Balderas announced today that New Mexico reached a $205,163.99 settlement with Target. The settlement addresses the company’s 2013 data breach that affected more than 41 million payment card accounts and contact information for over 60 million customers. New Mexico joined 46 other states and the District of Columbia in an investigation that resulted in a total settlement of $18.5 million.

Two seventh grade White Sands Middle School students were recognized for their historical documentary in the National History Day New Mexico State Competition, April 28. Jacob Paschal and Alexander Lyons finished third in
the junior division of the state competition after finishing second in the regional division held in Las Cruces, New Mexico, March 24.

Paschal and Lyons are the first students from White Sands School to place in the competition and the only students from Las Cruces to compete.

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