Regional

Regional
3:05 pm
Wed November 19, 2014

New Record For New Mexico Exports South Of The Border

  The New Mexico Economic Development Department announced that New Mexico exported $1,082,000,000 in goods to Mexico according to the third quarter report released by the U.S. Department of Commerce's International Trade Administration. This is first time exports to Mexico have surpassed $1 billion. The 2014 third quarter number also exceeds the record yearly number which was last year's at $800,733,264.

 

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Regional
12:33 pm
Wed November 19, 2014

Another Scam Surfaces In Southern New Mexico

  Doña Ana County Sheriff Todd Garrison warns that a new telephone scam is being perpetrated on residents of Doña Ana County.

   In the latest version of the scam, the victim receives a call from someone saying they represent the Internal Revenue Service. The caller threatens the victim with arrest later in the day if an outstanding tax issue is not resolved with a cash transaction during the course of the telephone call.

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Regional
12:28 pm
Wed November 19, 2014

Mapping New Mexico's Vote

The Republican takeover of New Mexico’s state House was the big news from the Nov. 4 election.

Using vote tallies from the New Mexico Secretary of State’s office as of Nov. 17, New Mexico In Depth mapped the state House outcomes, as well as the results for the U.S. Senate and governor’s races.

First, the House.

From the start, 14 Republican and 20 Democratic seats were uncontested. Two seats featured Democrats versus write-in candidates, while two others featured independent candidates.

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Regional
12:25 pm
Wed November 19, 2014

Apartment Fire In Las Cruces

The Las Cruces Fire Department extinguished a fire in an apartment complex Tuesday evening.

Firefighters from the Las Cruces Fire Department responded shortly before 9 pm to an apartment fire in the 300 block of Foster Tuesday November 18. Firefighters were able to force entry and quickly extinguish the fire located in a bedroom. The apartment tenants were not home at the time of the incident. Alert neighbors called 911 after hearing a smoke detector. There were no reported injuries to firefighters or civilians.

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Regional
8:21 am
Wed November 19, 2014

Bernalillo County Inmate-release Plan Approved

Bernalillo County has a contingency plan to release some prisoners deemed to be low risk if the jail population gets too large.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that the county jail's population of just under 1,900 inmates is now well below its peak and slightly below a court-ordered target.

County commissioners late Tuesday approved a plan allowing for emergency releases if the jail population exceeds the court-ordered target two weeks in a row.

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Regional
8:19 am
Wed November 19, 2014

Case Against Former Las Cruces Official Dropped

    

Prosecutors in Las Cruces are dropping a criminal case against a former city official who was accused of orchestrating an illegal kickback scheme.

The Las Cruces Sun-News reports that 50-year-old Jeff Honeycutt was arrested in April and accused of giving overtime assignments to employees in exchange for cash.

District Attorney Mark D'Antonio says prosecutors reviewed new evidence and decided to not take the case to a grand jury.

Citing cases still pending against other former city workers, D'Antonio's office declined to discuss the additional evidence.

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Regional
8:15 am
Wed November 19, 2014

Immigrant Rights Group To Sue On Jail Detentions

An advocacy group and three immigrants are suing a northwestern New Mexico county over jail detentions from immigration holds.

The Santa Fe-based Somos un Pueblo Unido is scheduled to announce Wednesday details about a federal civil rights lawsuit on behalf of three immigrants who live in Farmington.

According to the lawsuit, all three were stopped for minor traffic violations and held unlawfully by the San Juan County Sheriff's Office while federal officials checked their immigration status.

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Regional
5:26 pm
Tue November 18, 2014

Former Deputy Accused Of Killing Partner Released On Bond

  A former sheriff's deputy charged with first-degree murder in the killing of a fellow lawman during an alcohol-fueled argument in New Mexico has been released on bail.

Ex-Deputy Tai Chan was released Monday night after posting $600,000 bond. His lawyer earlier Monday entered a not guilty plea in state District Court to the murder charge on Chan's behalf.

Authorities say Chan fatally shot fellow Santa Fe County Deputy Jeremy Martin at a Las Cruces hotel last month after they drank at a nightspot and got into a heated argument.

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Regional
5:25 pm
Tue November 18, 2014

Perry Wants To Spend Another $86 Million In Border Security Push

Credit Texas Governor Rick Perry (R)

  Gov. Rick Perry wants to spend more than $86 million to extend extra security patrols along the border with Mexico to next August.

He and other state officials said in a statement Tuesday that they're seeking the approval of a legislative budget panel that would allow enhanced patrols by the Department of Public Safety, the Texas National Guard and other personnel to continue.

Officials want to divert nearly $48 million in general revenue bonds and other monies to cover the cost.

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Regional
5:20 pm
Tue November 18, 2014

Las Cruces Police Seek Man Accused Of Hitting Boy

  Las Cruces Police are looking for a 45-year-old man suspected of punching his girlfriend’s young son Monday afternoon before stealing her car.

Juan Bazan Agilar has been charged with one count of child abuse and one count of unlawful taking of a motor vehicle. Agilar was last seen Monday afternoon driving a 1999 gold Plymouth Breeze bearing New Mexico license plate JWR355.

LCPD investigators learned that Agilar was released from a hospital Nov. 16 and was prescribed medication which he intended to sell on Monday to an unidentified woman who resides on Colorado Avenue.

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Regional
5:17 pm
Tue November 18, 2014

Las Cruces Man Pleads Guilty In Drugs, Firearms Case

A Las Cruces man has pleaded guilty in federal court to drug trafficking and firearms charges.

Prosecutors say 33-year-old Armando Conrad Gonzales entered his plea Tuesday morning.

Under the terms of his plea agreement, Gonzales will be sentenced to 100 months in federal prison followed by a term of supervised release to be determined by the court.

Gonzales was charged in July 2014 with two co-defendants from Tucson, Arizona who previously had been arrested.

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Regional
5:16 pm
Tue November 18, 2014

Senators Seek Funds For New Mexico Nuclear Waste Site

Credit US Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM)

  Members of the state's congressional delegation are seeking an additional $113 million to help fund ongoing recovery efforts at the federal government's troubled nuclear waste repository in southern New Mexico.

U.S Sens. Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich outlined their request Tuesday in a letter to the chairman and ranking member of a Senate Appropriations subcommittee.

The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant has been closed since February, following a fire and then a radiological leak from a canister of waste shipped from Los Alamos National Laboratory.

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Regional
5:15 pm
Tue November 18, 2014

Re-Elected Navajo Leader Faces Criminal Charges

  A Navajo Nation lawmaker who secured another term in office has been accused of illegally authorizing nearly $34,000 in payments to his children.

Mel Begay faces nine criminal charges, including conspiracy to commit fraud and conflict of interest.

Prosecutors say, in one instance, Begay's daughter posed as a voter and requested money for heating costs and a new transmission for her car. She did not disclose her relationship. Prosecutors say she was 15 at the time, making her ineligible to vote and drive a car.

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Regional
5:03 pm
Tue November 18, 2014

Group Moves Forward On Effort To Recall Three Las Cruces City Councilors

  A group organizing a recall campaign against three Las Cruces city councilors is moving ahead with its efforts.  

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Regional
9:22 am
Tue November 18, 2014

A Closer Look At The Lawsuit Against The Public Education Department

Deborah Romero was one of the teachers that rallied in front of Las Cruces City Hall in opposition to the Public Education Department's public education overhaul.
Credit Simon Thompson

They are calling it a war against teachers. Many New Mexico teachers say they are being demoralized by a rigid, one size fits all evaluation system that doesn’t accurately measure their performance.  Teachers are firing back with a national lawsuit filed against the New Mexico public education department by the NEA teachers’ union.

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Regional
8:24 am
Tue November 18, 2014

Lawmakers Back 'Timeout' On Pension System Changes

Some New Mexico legislators agree that there shouldn't be policy changes made to the state's big retirement system for public employees for at least five years.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that a legislative oversight committee on Monday indicated support for a "timeout" proposed by the board that oversees the Public Employee Retirement Association,

It'd be up to the full Legislature to decide whether there actually would be a pause on changes to the retirement system's retirement and benefit guidelines.

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Regional
8:22 am
Tue November 18, 2014

Ex-Navajo Lawmaker Pleads Guilty In Criminal Case

A former Navajo Nation lawmaker accused of funneling nearly $25,000 in tribal funds to her family has pleaded guilty in a criminal case.

Orlanda Smith-Hodge entered her plea Monday in Window Rock District Court to a single count of conspiracy to commit bribery.

She had been charged with six counts of bribery, four counts of abuse of office and five counts of unauthorized compensation. Those charges will be dismissed with prejudice if she cooperates with prosecutors in similar cases against her onetime colleagues.

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Regional
8:20 am
Tue November 18, 2014

New Mexico Says It Is Working To Improve Teacher Evaluations

Education Secretary Hanna Skandera says New Mexico is taking steps to improve its system for evaluating public school teachers but that decreasing its reliance on students' test scores won't be one of them.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that Skandera told a legislative study committee Monday that steps being taken include assigning a Public Education Department liaison to each school district and charter school and increasing training on how the system works.

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Regional
6:00 am
Tue November 18, 2014

Las Cruces City Council Moves Forward With Minimum Wage Increase

Las Cruces City Council decided to move forward with the public led minimum wage ordinance passed in September that will increase the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour by 2017, repealing the other increase the city council passed in June.

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Regional
6:00 am
Tue November 18, 2014

Flu Shot Clinic Friday In Las Cruces

Credit New Mexico Department of Health

  The New Mexico Department of Health’s Las Cruces Central Public Health Office will be hosting a flu shot clinic onFriday, November 21 from 1:00 – 3:30 pm at the St. Genevieve Parish Hall, 1025 E. Las Cruces Ave. in Las Cruces, NM. There is no charge to those attending the clinic, but everyone should bring their insurance card, including Medicaid or Medicare, with them.   

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Regional
6:00 am
Tue November 18, 2014

Quilt Exhibit Coming To Las Cruces Gallery

  Las Cruces, NM —  The Tombaugh Gallery at 2000 South Solano Drive presents the “UU Bee Welcome” show, an exhibit opening December 7 featuring the work of this long-time quilting group and associated artists.

 

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Regional
6:00 am
Tue November 18, 2014

NMSU Student Wins Award From New Mexico Press Association

  A love of photography led New Mexico State University student Kyle Chancellor to make a career change during his second year of college. 

“I realized I didn’t want a career in engineering, and I saw journalism as a way for me to take my love of photography and apply it to a real career, photojournalism,” Chancellor said. “As I spent more time and classes in the major, I realized I want to be a writer and not just a photographer.”

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Regional
8:27 pm
Mon November 17, 2014

New Mexico Democrat To Lead Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee

  House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi has tapped Rep. Ben Ray Lujan of New Mexico to head the party's campaign committee.

Lujan, who was elected in 2008, will succeed New York Rep. Steve Israel as chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Lujan led the committee's Latino Council this past election.

Pelosi made the announcement through Twitter, saying Lujan's vision, energy and leadership will mean victory for Democrats in 2016.

Democrats lost at least a dozen seats in the midterm elections as Republicans romped.

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Regional
3:45 pm
Mon November 17, 2014

Bond Reduced For Man Accused In Stabbling Death

  Las Cruces—Today, District Court Judge Darren Kugler reduced bond for Ismael Montoya from $100,000 secured bond to $15,000. Montoya is charged in the stabbing death of David Escamilla on October 19, 2014.

Montoya has pleaded not guilty to first-degree child abuse resulting in death, second-degree murder, and aggravated battery, a third-degree felony.

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Regional
12:44 pm
Mon November 17, 2014

CBP Processing Traffic At New Tornillo Facility

  TORNILLO, Texas -- U.S. Customs and Border Protection is processing northbound vehicular and pedestrian traffic at the new Tornillo international port of entry. CBP began routing traffic from the former Fabens port of entry inspection area to the newly built Tornillo port of entry primary inspection at 6 a.m. today.

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Regional
12:42 pm
Mon November 17, 2014

Man Charged For Firing Shotgun Toward Las Cruces Officers

  A man suspected of firing a shotgun toward two Las Cruces Police officers was arrested late Friday evening.

Rick William Toombs, 40, of the 4600 block of Triumph Ct., is charged with two counts of aggravated assault upon a peace officer. Both counts are third-degree felonies.

Shortly after 10 p.m. Friday, Nov. 14, Las Cruces Police were called to Toombs’ residence after he allegedly threatened to shoot his brother and sister-in-law who also reside at the home. Toombs’ sister-in-law reported to 911 that Toombs was intoxicated and armed with a loaded shotgun.

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Regional
12:40 pm
Mon November 17, 2014

Report: 25+ Percent Of Fired Albuquerque Officers Dismissed For Use Of Force

  Records show more than a quarter of Albuquerque officers fired in recent years were dismissed for use of force.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that 17 Albuquerque officers have been fired since 2010 and that five of those firings involved use-of-force allegations.

Documents show that the 12 dismissals that didn't involve use of force included six officers fired for policy violations and four who were indicted in criminal cases. The final two officers were still in probationary periods, and they were dismissed without stated reasons.

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Regional
12:38 pm
Mon November 17, 2014

New Mexico Teacher Arrested For Pulling Knife On Student

Credit KRQE

  A middle school math teacher is in jail after he allegedly threatened a student with a knife for speaking during a test.

KRQE-TV reports that Bernalillo police plan to share more details Monday about the arrest of Benjamin Nagurski.

According to a family member of a 12-year-old Bernalillo Middle School student, Nagurski pointed a steak knife at the student Friday.

Family members say Nagurski told the class they could discuss the test problems with the person sitting next to them. But when the victim spoke, Nagurksi allegedly pulled out the knife.

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Regional
10:09 am
Mon November 17, 2014

NMSU President To Interview Athletic Director Finalists This Week

Credit NMSU President Dr. Garrey Carruthers

  This week, NMSU President Garrey Carruthers will interview four finalists for NMSU’s athletic director position. The finalists were presented to Carruthers by a 15-member search committee.

They include Rory Hickock, deputy athletics director at the University of Nevada-Reno; Gerard Koloskie, former deputy director of athletics/senior associate athletics director at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas; Mario Moccia, director of athletics for Southern Illinois University; and Ronald Prettyman, athletics director for Indiana State University.

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Regional
8:24 am
Mon November 17, 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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