Regional

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 Attorney General Hector Balderas

  The Office of Attorney General Hector Balderas is actively searching for relatives of past Attorneys General to be included in the unveiling of a photo gallery honoring AGs serving from 1846 to present.

The gallery housed in the Santa Fe OAG building is open to the public for tours during normal business hours.

Anyone who is related to a past AG or who knows relatives of past AGs is encouraged to contact the OAG Constituent Affairs Unit to provide contact information atAGPhotoGallery@nmag.gov

  Las Cruces Police are trying to locate the driver of a white cargo van suspected of striking a pedestrian Monday afternoon and leaving the scene of the crash.

At around 3:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 31, Las Cruces Police learned of the crash on the 1100 block of Edgewood Avenue. A 34-year-old woman was walking across the street when she was struck and run over by the van.

The woman was transported to University Medical Center of El Paso with serious but not life-threatening injuries.

The El Paso Passport Agency is hosting a special passport day on Saturday, September 26 as part of the Department of State’s “Apply Early” campaign for Passport Awareness Month in September.  The Department is expecting an increase in passport applications through 2018.  The “Apply Early” campaign encourages travelers to submit passport applications well ahead of their planned travel dates in order to avoid delays receiving their travel documents.  Typically, applicants can receive their passports more quickly when applying between the months of September to December.  The event on Saturday

  Spaceport America – the world’s first purpose-built, commercial spaceport announced today ARCA Space Corporation has selected Spaceport America as the site for its space launch vehicle and high altitude autonomous aircraft testing.

ARCA Space Corporation was founded in the United States in July in Las Cruces, New Mexico.  A Spaceport America press release stated:

Michael Vadon

Some political analysts say to win the 2016 Presidential election Republicans must do a better job reaching Latinos, millennials and women. Some New Mexico Republicans are worried about another challenge, they’re concerned Donald Trump’s candidacy is compromising the party’s appeal.

Let’s quantify the challenge the Republican party is facing in the upcoming election. According to 2015 Pew Research Center data.

51% of millennials lean Democratic just 35% support Republicans.

When it comes to women: 52% Democratic to 36% Republican.

Latest Texas School Finance Case Reaches State Supreme Court

Sep 1, 2015

Lawyers for 600-plus Texas school districts are set to tell the state Supreme Court that classroom funding is inadequate and unfairly distributed via a "hopelessly broken" system.

The state attorney general's office will counter that funding mechanisms aren't perfect but meet Texas constitutional standards.

Oral arguments before the nine Republican justices should last several hours Tuesday. But there's no timetable on when they'll rule, or remand the matter back to lower courts.

New Laws On Marijuana, Truancy, Drones Take Effect In Texas

Sep 1, 2015

Texas is taking its first step toward easing limits on medical marijuana — even as it imposes bans on synthetic forms of the drug.

A measure allowing some epilepsy patients to get low-THC cannabis oil, Texas' first concession on medical marijuana, is one of nearly 700 new laws taking effect Tuesday.

Also kicking in are laws strengthening restrictions on synthetic marijuana.

So are laws scrapping criminal penalties for skipping school and ending the "pick-a-pal" grand jury system, which critics said created conflicts of interest.

Albuquerque Starts New Superintendent Search Amid Turmoil

Sep 1, 2015
aps.edu

Albuquerque Public Schools must enter another superintendent search after its new school chief resigned following the hiring of an administrator facing child sex abuse charges.

And some worry it may be hard to attract strong candidates amid the turmoil.

The latest controversy is just another in a string of high-profile bad news for New Mexico's largest school district.

Video Appears To Show Texas Deputies Shooting Man With His Hands Up

Aug 31, 2015

Video obtained by a San Antonio TV station appears to show a man with his hands up fatally shot by deputies.

The Bexar County Sheriff's Office said Monday that 41-year-old Gilberto Flores died after the shooting Friday.

Sheriff Susan Pamerleau said what the video shows "is a cause for concern," though her office in a Facebook post criticized its release amid an investigation.

The department says deputies responded to a domestic disturbance and found a woman with a cut and a baby who appeared injured.

  Disparities in school attendance rates starting as early as preschool and kindergarten are contributing to achievement gaps and high school dropout rates across the country, according to a new report released today by Attendance Works and Healthy Schools Campaign. 

New Mexico To License Medical Cannabis Producers

Aug 31, 2015

  The New Mexico Department of Health (DOH) announced today that a four-member review committee has narrowed the applicant pool from 86 to 17 for the licensing of new medical cannabis producers. Secretary of Health Retta Ward will now review and determine the number of producers that will receive licenses. This represents the top 20 percent of applications submitted. Secretary Ward is expected to make a final decision about which applicants will be licensed in the next 30 days.

Photo by: Lourdes Cardenas

  When Hurricane Katrina stranded 800 people at the historic Fairmont Hotel in downtown New Orleans, head pastry chef Thierry Marceaux sent up hundreds of chocolate truffles to the guest rooms.

Those where his last days working at the century-old landmark. The storm shut down the hotel and destroyed everything inside his home, which was located in the city's heavily flooded Lakeview neighborhood. Marceaux left the bayou and moved to the desert.

  For the second time since late July, Las Cruces Police have arrested a man suspected of strangling his ex-girlfriend.

Jesus Garcia, 21, of the 100 block of Cinnabar Lane, is now charged with aggravated battery causing great bodily harm, battery against a household member and false imprisonment.

Shortly after 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 29, Las Cruces Police were dispatched to the report of a domestic incident at Garcia’s residence. Officers arrived and made contact with Garcia’s 23-year-old ex-girlfriend who indicated that she was battered and strangled by Garcia.

NM Sec. of State Dianna Duran / Official photo

Democratic Leaders in the New Mexico House of Representatives are taking aim at the state's top elections official after allegations of fraud, embezzlement and money laundering were leveled against her.

House Democrats said Monday they want to begin the impeachment process against Republican Secretary of State Dianna Duran. They've asked Republicans, who hold the majority in the chamber, for a meeting.

Arizona Woman Pleads Guilty To Heroin Trafficking

Aug 31, 2015

A 21-year-old Arizona woman has pleaded guilty in New Mexico to a heroin trafficking charge.

Federal prosecutors say Janette Marline Montero of Glendale entered the plea Monday in federal court in Albuquerque.

A Drug Enforcement Administration agent said in a criminal complaint that Montero was arrested Aug. 5 after the agent found four kilograms of heroin in packages inside a suitcase on a Greyhound bus and that Montero said the luggage was hers.

According to the complaint, Montero said she was transporting the heroin to Chicago.

  The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s El Paso Area Office and the Consulate General of Mexico in El Paso.

Injunction Against Federal Water Rule May Expand

Aug 31, 2015
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

A federal judge in North Dakota is allowing arguments over the scope of his injunction blocking a new rule that would give the federal government jurisdiction over some smaller waterways.

U.S. District Judge Ralph Erickson in Fargo last week issued a temporary injunction requested by North Dakota and 12 other states, including New Mexico, to stop the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers from regulating some small waterways under the Clean Water Act.

  Doña Ana County Sheriff’s detectives are investigating a weekend incident in which multiple shots were fired at a residence in Doña Ana.

   Sheriff’s deputies responded just after 5 a.m. Saturday to the 5700 block of Tanglewood Place after neighbors in the area called 911 to report they had heard what sounded like gunfire. Detectives discovered multiple bullet holes in the residence.

  This summer, New Mexico State University was approved to participate as an institution of the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA) after the state of New Mexico joined the initiative in May. Vermont and Wyoming also joined 20 other states as members of SARA. 

  Dominic Tyrel Holland, 28, of Las Cruces, N.M., was sentenced this morning to 40 months in federal prison followed by two years of supervised release for his bank robbery conviction.

  The New Mexico State University College of Health and Social Services will host the Southwest Institute for Health Disparities Research 2015 Conference: Academic-Community Partnerships to Address Health Disparities in the Border Region from 1-5 p.m. Friday, Sept. 11, at the Pete V. Domenici Hall Yates Theater. The event is free and open to the public. 

 

  Over 100 residents gathered to support Kasandra Gandara as she announced her candidacy to serve as Las Cruces City Councilor in District 1. A resident of the city for over 20 years, In a release, the campaign said Gandara would work to develop city policy that benefits the diverse needs of residents and businesses in her district, if elected.

UPDATE: Embattled Albuquerque School Chief Resigns

Aug 31, 2015
Dr. Luis Valentino, Albuquerque Schools Superintendent

The board that oversees New Mexico's largest school district has unanimously voted to accept the resignation of its embattled superintendent, who hired an administrator charged with child sex abuse.

Board members voted on Luis Valentino's fate Monday following a controversy that has enveloped Albuquerque Public Schools just two months after he became its superintendent.

NMSU helps Mexican Universities With Extension Programs

Aug 31, 2015

New Mexico State University and the University of Arizona have partnered to help several Mexican universities increase their ability to develop and deliver extension programs to rural Mexico.

The Las Cruces Sun-News reports (http://bit.ly/1Jrh1Y0 ) that members of the NMSU Cooperative Extension Service and representatives from 19 Mexican universities traveled to Washington, D.C., in August to meet U.S. Department of Agriculture officials and congressional staff.

Blue Bell Resumes Selling Ice Cream After Listeria Recall

Aug 31, 2015

Blue Bell Creameries has resumed selling its products in select locations Monday, four months after the Texas-based retailer halted sales due to listeria contamination.

Blue Bell ice cream is now available at stores in the Houston and Austin areas, including in the company's hometown of Brenham, plus parts of Alabama.

The company voluntarily recalled its products in April after they were linked to 10 listeria cases in four states, including three deaths in Kansas.

Monday Business Watch

Aug 31, 2015

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.  This week, Jason discusses the increasing amount of student debt. 

The head of a key Texas business group says he doesn't trust the high school dropout and graduation rates provided by state officials.

Texas Association of Business president Bill Hammond told The Dallas Morning News that public schools can manipulate the statistics they give to the Texas Education Agency, including the rates of students who opt for home-schooling.

But TEA spokeswoman Debbie Ratcliffe said the state monitors the numbers it receives and requires documentation to avoid stat fixing.

The managers of the agencies that provide health care and disability benefits to New Mexico veterans say wait times for medical appointments and disability claims have improved.

Andrew Welch, New Mexico VA Health Care System director, and Chris Norton, regional director for the Veterans Benefits Administration, told the Albuquerque Journal that notable progress has been made in the past two years.

Welch says as of last month, the average wait time for a primary care appointment was about seven days.

Ninth-graders who were barely a month into high school when Texas' latest school finance trial began in 2012 are now entering their senior year.

There's no end in sight for the case, in which oral arguments begin Tuesday in front of the state Supreme Court.

Attorneys for the more than 600 school districts suing Texas argue that classroom funding is inadequate and unfairly distributed. The state has said it meets constitutional requirements.

Members of the New Mexico Military Institute's girls college volleyball team suffered minor injuries when their bus crashed following a tournament in Texas.

The Institute says all cadets and coaches who were hurt have since been released from various medical centers and should be back on post Sunday.

Institute spokeswoman Lt. Col. Colleen Cole Velasquez told KOB-TV in Albuquerque (http://bit.ly/1JENbTE) that the incident occurred Saturday around 7:30 p.m.

Velasquez says the team was heading back to Roswell after winning a volleyball tournament in Abilene.

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