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.

U.S. Lab In New Mexico, Univ. Of Arizona Team Up On Research

Aug 4, 2015

A military laboratory in New Mexico and the University of Arizona have agreed to collaborate on technological research.

The agreement between the Albuquerque-based Air Force Research Laboratory New Mexico and the Tucson-based school calls for collaboration between scientists and engineers of the lab's directed energy and space vehicles directorates and students and faculty from the university.

An announcement of the collaboration agreement cites the university's work in optics research, which it said is particularly important to the lab's research.

Bondsman Arrested

Aug 4, 2015

In a story July 26 and in a previous story about the arrest of a man in a fraud case, The Associated Press, relying on information from the San Juan County Sheriff's Office, reported erroneously that Daniel Goldberg Sr. is a bondsman. Goldberg formerly was licensed by New Mexico as a bondsman but he currently does not have a bondsman's license.

A corrected version of the July 26 story is below:

New Mexico man says arrest is retaliation

Man claims arrest by San Juan County sheriff's deputies is retaliation over suit.

Los Alamos Vigils Eye 70th Anniversary Of Atomic Bombings

Aug 4, 2015

Peace advocates are planning peace vigils in Los Alamos to mark the 70th anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

The activists are scheduled to hold the peace vigils at Ashley Pond on Thursday and Sunday.

Thursday is the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, Japan, and Sunday is the anniversary of the Nagasaki bombing.

Activists also plan to hold nonviolent workshops this week in Santa Fe.

Witness To Testify At Evidence Hearing In El Rancho Killings

Aug 4, 2015

A pregnant inmate is expected to testify Tuesday at an evidence hearing related to the 2011 killings of an El Rancho couple and their adult son.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports 28-year-old Ashley Mae Roybal took a plea deal in exchange for her testimony against Nicholas Ortiz, who has pleaded not guilty to charges related to the three deaths.

Police say Ortiz killed Lloyd and Dixia Ortiz and their son Steven with a pickax.

Testing No Longer Required For First-Time Teacher Evaluations

Aug 4, 2015

Districts are no longer required to evaluate first-time teachers based on test scores from the previous year.

The Albuquerque Journal reports the state's public education department announced Monday that the exemption makes the evaluation process fairer for new teachers by replacing student improvement with observation, attendance data and other factors.

The state is applying the new criteria to last year's 1,876 new teacher evaluations, which the education department says will bring up 166 teachers' scores and downgrade 31.

Simon Thompson


As part of a locally negotiated contract, teachers in the Las Cruces Public Schools are allowed ten sick days and two personal days. But following pressure from the New Mexico Public Education Department- during the last school year. Las Cruces teachers were marked down on their evaluations for taking any more than two days off.   One Las Cruces teacher recently told the school board how this policy affected her evaluation. 

New Mexico Not Expected To Fight EPA's Emission-Cutting Rule

Aug 3, 2015

New Mexico Environment Secretary Ryan Flynn says the state has properly prepared for President Barack Obama's efforts to cut greenhouse gases from power plants.

Flynn told The Associated Press on Monday that New Mexico won't be among the many Republican-led states expected to fight the plan because New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez had previously brokered an agreement.

Martinez moved to comply with the rule to allow the state to craft its own path to compliance. Flynn says New Mexico could have faced a federally imposed implementation plan.

Prosecutor: Police Officers Unlawfully Opened Fire In Death

Aug 3, 2015

A special prosecutor said Albuquerque police unnecessarily escalated an encounter last year that ended when two officers opened fire and killed a mentally ill homeless man despite signs that he wanted to surrender.

Special Prosecutor Randi McGinn spoke at a preliminary hearing Monday to determine if Officer Dominique Perez and former Detective Keith Sandy should stand trial for murder.

In their opening statements, defense attorneys said their clients did nothing wrong and both felt the lives of their fellow officers were in danger when they shot James Boyd.

Albuquerque Mayor Removes Confederate Flag From Old Town

Aug 3, 2015

An early version of the Confederate flag that had flown above Old Town Albuquerque for decades has been taken down.

Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry decided to remove the flag Monday after meeting last week with black leaders.

Berry says the city still will mark its role in the Civil War by keeping replica cannons and plaques that accurately describe the "Skirmish of Albuquerque" when Confederate and Union soldiers exchanged artillery fire.

FBI: 3 devices Found At New Mexico Power Plant Not Dangerous

Aug 3, 2015
Four Corners Power Plant. Photo courtesy of EcoFlight and San Juan Citizens Alliance

The FBI says three "suspicious devices" found at the Four Corners Power Plant near Farmington are not dangerous.

An FBI spokesman says agents and Farmington police secured the area Monday and analyzed the items.

According to investigators, the steel pipe devices were each 6 inches in length and capped on both ends.

But the FBI says nothing was inside the pipes so they were not explosive.

They say there's also no indication that the devices are related to the ones that exploded Sunday outside two churches in Las Cruces.

The FBI, New Mexico State Police, and several other law enforcement agencies are investigating the circumstances surrounding explosive devices that were detonated Sunday Morning at two local churches.

Three Teens Charged In Las Cruces Murder Plead Not Guilty

Aug 3, 2015

  Las Cruces---Three of the four suspects involved in a Las Cruces area shooting on July 31, 2015 which resulted in the death of Jaycob Alba, 17, were arraigned before Magistrate Court Judge Beverly Singleman.

All the suspects have been charged with one count each of the following: first-degree murder, aggravated burglary with a deadly weapon, conspiracy to commit armed robbery, aggravated battery causing great bodily harm, shooting at an inhabited dwelling causing personal injury and tampering with evidence.

NMSU Robotics Camp Challenges Las Cruces Students

Aug 3, 2015

  Elias Borchert, a seventh grader at Vista Middle School, leaned over his robot as he tried to figure out why the machine is not making a 180-degree turn as he programmed it to do.

Tiplines Set and Reward Offered in Explosions at Las Cruces Churches

Aug 3, 2015

  Federal, state and local partners continue to investigate Sunday morning’s detonation of explosive devices outside Calvary Baptist Church and Holy Cross Catholic Church in Las Cruces.

Investigators spent the better part of Sunday and into the early morning hours of Monday gathering evidence at both scenes and their on-site investigation is now complete. Evidence gathered from both scenes has already been transported for professional analysis. Agents and investigators are continuing to follow up on several leads.

Gov. Martinez Vows Capture In Church Blasts

Aug 3, 2015
Office of the Governor

New Mexico's governor says whoever set off explosions outside two churches "will feel the full pressure of the law."

Gov. Susana Martinez spoke at a news conference Sunday evening, hours after the two small blasts shattered the morning calm in Las Cruces, shocking congregants.

Police spokesman Danny Trujillo says that there were no injuries or deaths from the blasts outside Calvary Baptist and Holy Cross Roman Catholic churches, but each building had minor damage.

NM Attorney General To Hold First Anti-Crime Review Meeting

Aug 3, 2015
Hector Balderas

New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas is set to hold his first meeting with a taskforce reviewing the state's criminal justice system.

The team made up of district attorneys, judges, sheriffs and the widow of a slain Rio Rancho police officer is scheduled to meet Monday at the National Hispanic Cultural Center in Albuquerque.

Balderas says Julie Benner, the wife of the late officer Gregg "Nigel" Benner, is a key member of the team.

Federal fish and wildlife officials are appealing to the state to reconsider its rejection of two permits related to Mexican wolf conservation efforts.

The Albuquerque Journal reports this is the first year the state has denied the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's request to renew a permit to hold wolves at Ted Turner's Ladder Ranch in southwestern New Mexico.

State Game Commission members also denied a request to release wolf pups and two adults on land managed by the U.S. Forest Service in New Mexico.

Robin Rollins

Last month, Las Cruces Mayor Ken Miyagishima announced that the city had joined a handful of others across the nation by having zero homeless veterans.

In 2014, The United States Housing and Urban Development Department estimated that on any given night just under 50,000 homeless veterans are on the streets in the United States, and between 2013 and 2014 there was an 11 percent decrease in homelessness among veterans, and a decline by 33 percent from 2009 to 2014.

Monday Business Watch

Aug 3, 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. 

No Rush To Defend Indicted Texas Attorney General

Aug 2, 2015
Texas AG Ken Paxton

Republican leaders in Texas are not rushing to the defense of Attorney General Ken Paxton before he's expected to turn himself in on felony securities fraud charges.

A grand jury indictment is expected to be unsealed Monday near Paxton's home in suburban Dallas. Special prosecutors and the Texas Rangers have been investigating Paxton for months over allegations that he misled investors before become the state's top law enforcement officer.

Las Cruces Police and several other law enforcement agencies are investigating the circumstances surrounding explosive devices that were detonated Sunday morning at two local churches.  The two explosions caused relatively minor damage at each location and no injuries have been reported.

Fourth Arrest In Shooting Death Of Las Cruces Teen

Aug 2, 2015

  Nearly 24 hours after receiving reports of shots fired in the 2600 block of Doña Ana Road, Doña Ana County Sheriff’s detectives have arrested and charged four Las Cruces-area teenagers with the murder of Jaycob Alba, 17, also of Las Cruces.

Clovis Man Indicted In 2002 Murder

Aug 1, 2015

A Clovis man has been indicted on a first-degree murder charge in a 2002 shooting case.

Prosecutors say a Curry County grand jury on Friday indicted 33-year-old David Gutierrez Jr. in the death of Jose Valverde.

They say Valverde was found in a boxcar that he used as his residence with an apparent gunshot wound to the face.

A homicide investigation was opened by Clovis police.

They say witnesses began to come forward with new information about the unsolved murder case, which ultimately gave police enough information to secure an arrest warrant for Gutierrez.

This Week In The Las Cruces Bulletin

Aug 1, 2015



  Every Saturday at 5:30pm on Images, Fred Martino speaks with Las Cruces Bulletin Managing Editor Brook Stockberger about the week's top stories and much more in the Bulletin.

Albuquerque Police ID Fatally Shot Kidnapping Suspect

Aug 1, 2015

Police have identified a kidnapping suspect who was fatally shot by officers in Albuquerque.

Police spokeswoman Celina Espinoza said Saturday that 33-year-old Rafael Molina Jr. was killed trying to evade a traffic stop Friday.

A witness called 911 after seeing Molina allegedly force a woman he was arguing with into an SUV. The woman was able to escape the vehicle shortly after.

Officers tried to stop Molina at Edith Boulevard and Garfield Avenue and then shots were fired.

Molina was pronounced dead at the scene.

Flooding Halts Rail Runner Service

Aug 1, 2015

Flash flooding has led to the suspension of all Rail Runner train service this weekend.

Transportation officials say that flash flooding washed out tracks north of Algodones on Friday evening.

They say about 100 feet of track on the bridge at Arroyo Maria Chavez are impacted.

Rio Metro Regional Transit District spokeswoman Augusta Meyers says crews are working to re-stabilize the tracks so commuter service can resume Monday.

Feds: Action Taken To Fix Mistakenly Awarded Work Permits

Aug 1, 2015

The U.S. Justice Department says problems have been fixed that led to about 2,100 work permits being mistakenly awarded under President Barack Obama's executive immigration action after a federal judge in Texas had put the plan on hold.

Prosecutors detailed the corrective action in court documents filed Friday in federal court in Brownsville, Texas.

U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen had threatened to hold Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and other top immigration enforcement officials in contempt of court if the problems weren't fixed.

First 2015 Plague Death In New Mexico

Aug 1, 2015
New Mexico Department of Health

State health officials say a Santa Fe County woman's death was the result of the plague.  Tests confirmed the 52-year-old woman died from the disease, making her the first human case of plague in the state this year.

The woman died last week after also contracting pneumonia.

State Epidemiologist Mike Landen says officials found no obvious source of the bacteria that causes plague at her home.

Officials are not releasing the victim's name or where she lived.

UNM Consultant With Three DWI Arrests Cancels Contract

Aug 1, 2015

University of New Mexico's former chief lobbyist who resigned after a third DWI arrest has withdrawn from a $50,000 consulting contract with the school.

Marc Saavedra said he asked the UNM Health Sciences Center to cancel his contract to do community relations work.

Saavedra says the contract had become too much of a "distraction."

The 43-year-old son of a former state lawmaker is still on probation after being arrested for his third DWI last year.

Texas Woman Who Killed Two Daughters Released From Program

Aug 1, 2015

A Texas appeals court has ruled that a mother found guilty of drowning her two young daughters by reason of insanity 11 years ago no longer must participate in court-ordered mental health services.

Lisa Ann Diaz drowned her 3- and 5-year-old daughters by holding their heads under water in the bathtub of their Plano home. A jury found her not guilty by reason of insanity in 2004.

Fifth Court of Appeals Chief Justice Carolyn Wright ruled that Diaz, who now goes by Lisa Ann Trevino, had been off medication since 2008 and no longer needed supervision.