Regional

Regional
6:00 am
Mon September 29, 2014

The NEA, The Biggest Union In the Nation Takes On New Mexico Public Education Department

Public Education Secretary Designate Hanna Skandera speaking at the Greater Las Cruces Chamber of Commerce Education Luncheon Last August.
Credit Simon Thompson

The New Mexico NEA is filing another lawsuit against the state Public Education Department, this time with  support from the national NEA teacher union.

Las Cruces NEA officials say the department is infringing on local school district authority to have a say in how their teachers are evaluated.

Child poverty, special needs kids and a large percentage of English language learners. National Education Association Las Cruces president Patrick Sanchez says these are some of the challenges that define teaching in Las Cruces public schools.

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Regional
7:05 pm
Sun September 28, 2014

Wet Weather Hurts Chile Crop

Wet weather in recent weeks has left some of New Mexico's green chile crop in danger.  A hail storm on Thursday was the latest in a spate of precipitation to plague chile fields in Dona Ana County.

Farmers say the rain is delaying some harvests as well as increasing the chances of a chile-plant disease.

Some fields are already dying from phytophera, a disease caused by moisture. Other crops are suffering from chile "pod rot."

A U.S. Department of Agriculture report issued last week says about 75 percent of the state's green chile crop has been harvested.

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Regional
7:02 pm
Sun September 28, 2014

Report: Abbott Campaigns Received At Least $1.4 Million From State Fund Grantees

Credit Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott (R)

Republican gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott has received more than $1 million in campaign contributions from recipients of a state economic development fund that was the focus of a critical state audit.

The Dallas Morning News notes that in his role as Texas attorney general, Abbott is required by law to monitor state accounts and recover misspent money.

The audit, released Thursday, says about a third of all the money handed out since the launch of the Texas Enterprise Fund a decade ago — $172 million — went to companies that never submitted applications.

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Regional
10:50 am
Sun September 28, 2014

This Week In The Las Cruces Bulletin

  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.

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Regional
10:34 am
Sun September 28, 2014

NMSU Model U.N. Team Hosts Salvadoran Ambassador

Ruben Zamora, El Salvador’s ambassador to the United Nations, will be in Las Cruces for a public discussion of his role in the U.N. as a guest of NMSU’s Model U.N. team. (Courtesy photo)

  El Salvador’s ambassador to the United Nations Ruben Zamora will be a special guest of New Mexico State University’s Model United Nations team from 6-7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 3, in Breland Hall Room 179, 1525 Stewart Street, on the NMSU campus.

Zamora will come to Las Cruces fresh from attending the 69th Session of the U.N. General Assembly, which runs through Oct. 1. He will give a public talk, discuss his role in the U.N. and take questions from the audience.

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Regional
10:30 am
Sun September 28, 2014

New Mexico To Spend $1 Million On Rail Crossing Improvements

New Mexico transportation officials are channeling nearly $1 million toward safety measures to protect bicyclists and pedestrians at train crossings.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports crews began installing new equipment earlier this month at crossings used by Rail Runner trains.

The boost in spending comes in the wake of two cyclists who were struck and killed by trains earlier this year.

Crossings will have more safety gates, flashing lights and other improvements.

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Regional
10:30 am
Sun September 28, 2014

Five Babies Test Positive For TB In El Paso

  Five babies have tested positive for tuberculosis in West Texas after a nurse assistant at an El Paso hospital exposed hundreds of infants to the disease between September 2013 and last month.

The El Paso Department of Public Health says in a statement that none of the children have active TB, the deadly and contagious form of the illness. All five will be treated.

The department also says it is expanding the list of children who may have been exposed by 96, bringing the total to about 850.

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Regional
10:28 am
Sun September 28, 2014

Border Bridge Closure Starts Monday

  Some lanes of a border bridge linking West Texas and Mexico will be closed for high-tech upgrades.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials in El Paso say improvements to the southbound lanes of the Bridge of the Americas are set to begin Monday.

The work includes lane excavation and construction to support installation of speed humps and technology improvements, such as automated license plate readers.

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Regional
10:27 am
Sun September 28, 2014

Texas Marriage Equality Ban Stalls Changes To Dallas Pensions

Although the Dallas city council has modified policies that ensure equal rights for gay municipal employees, the city's two pension funds have delayed enacting the new measures.

The council earlier adopted a resolution seeking equal treatment for gay, bisexual and transgender employees. It followed that vote with another Wednesday to amend personnel rules to prohibit discrimination.

But The Dallas Morning News reports that leaders of the city's two pension funds — one for public safety workers and the other for civilian employees — say changing the plans is complicated.

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Regional
10:13 am
Sun September 28, 2014

Roxanne "Rocky" Lara

Fred Martino speaks with Roxanne "Rocky" Lara, the Democratic candidate in New Mexico's 2nd Congressional District.  Lara faces Republican Rep. Steve Pearce in the November election.

Regional
7:02 pm
Sat September 27, 2014

El Paso Man Gets 50 Years For Strangling Wife

  An El Paso man has been sentenced to 50 years in prison for strangling his wife as they argued about whether she had been unfaithful.

Manuel Torres was sentenced Friday.

El Paso County jurors on Thursday found the 50-year-old Torres guilty of murder in the April 2013 death of his spouse, Lilia Torres.

Attorneys for Torres say he was acting in self-defense as his wife allegedly punched and kicked him. She was found dead on a sofa in the couple's home.

Torres will be eligible for parole in 25 years.

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Regional
7:01 pm
Sat September 27, 2014

Valles Caldera Preserve To Request More Funding

  The Valles Caldera National Preserve plans to ask Congress for more federal funding to manage operations for another five years.

The preserve's board of trustees voted Wednesday to submit a recommendation for extending federal appropriations through 2020.

Valles Caldera Trust Board chairman Kent Salazar says there are inherent government functions that will likely require aid on the federal level.

Those functions include compliance with historic preservation and environmental laws, forest restoration and infrastructure repairs.

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Regional
6:55 pm
Sat September 27, 2014

Las Cruces City Manager Recommends Repeal Of $8.50 Minimum Wage, Discussion Of Changes To $10.10 Law

Robert Garza, Las Cruces City Manager

  The minimum wage controversy in Las Cruces continues to grow more complicated.  Now, it appears the Las Cruces City Council may modify the minimum wage ordinance it recently approved.  That ordinance, proposed by the group Café, would have raised the minimum wage incrementally over the next two years.  It would have been $10.10 per hour in 2017, and would have risen in subsequent years to keep up with inflation. 

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Regional
6:00 am
Sat September 27, 2014

"Tough Enough To Wear Pink" Kickoff Sunday At NMSU

NMSU President Garrey Carruthers poses with his NMSU Aggies are Tough Enough to Wear Pink T-shirt at the Barnes and Noble at NMSU bookstore. (NMSU photo by Justin Bannister)

  The New Mexico State University campus is about to “think pink” as part of the annual NMSU Aggies are Tough Enough to Wear Pink campaign, scheduled Sept. 28 to Oct. 4. Now in its eighth year, the events surrounding the week promote cancer awareness and raise money to fund cancer research in New Mexico.

“We always hope to achieve three things: to raise money for research, to raise awareness and education and to remember people who have been affected by breast cancer, but at the same time celebrate the survivors,” TETWP campus coordinator Julie Weber said.

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Regional
5:15 pm
Fri September 26, 2014

It's Still Not Over...Texas Supreme Court To Get School Finance Appeal

Credit Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott (R)

  Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott's office formally notified the Texas Supreme Court that it's appealing a ruling that the state's school finance system is unconstitutional.

Abbott's office filed a single-paragraph notice to appeal to the court on Friday.

State District Judge John Dietz has twice declared since last year that the way Texas funds schools isn't constitutional. If the high court upholds the ruling, the Legislature will have to devise a new funding formula.

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Regional
5:14 pm
Fri September 26, 2014

Martinez Fundraising In Florida

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio is helping New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez raise money for her re-election.

Martinez campaign spokesman Chris Sanchez said the governor has scheduled a fundraiser with Rubio on Friday in Miami.

The governor's re-election campaign will pay for Martinez's travel expenses. She flew Thursday evening to Florida and will return to New Mexico on Friday after the fundraiser.

Martinez holds a large fundraising advantage over her Democratic challenger, two-term Attorney General Gary King.

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Regional
5:13 pm
Fri September 26, 2014

Judge Excuses Perry From Next Court Date

Credit Texas Governor Rick Perry (R)

  A judge has excused indicted Texas Gov. Rick Perry from his next court appearance but denied the Republican's request to skip all other pretrial hearings.

State District Judge Bert Richardson ruled Friday that Perry doesn't have to attend a status hearing Oct. 13. Perry plans to be in Europe on state business and asked to be excused.

The governor had further asked Richardson to let him miss all future, non-evidentiary hearings. The judge denied that, though he added Perry can ask to miss individual court appearances.

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Regional
5:11 pm
Fri September 26, 2014

Enterovirus Confirmed In New Mexico

Federal health officials say a case of a severe respiratory illness has been confirmed in a New Mexico child.  New Mexico Department of Health officials announced Friday that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported a positive test for enterovirus D68 from samples the state agency submitted.

The health department began working with the CDC earlier this month after a child was hospitalized in Albuquerque with respiratory illness. The child has since recovered.

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Regional
2:43 pm
Fri September 26, 2014

Joint Land Use Study Focus Of Public Meeting

  Doña Ana County and the City of Las Cruces will host a public meeting on Monday, October 6 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the City of Las Cruces City Hall, Room 2007 at 700 North Main Street. The purpose of the meeting is to share information and gather input on recommended compatibility strategies from the ongoing Joint Land Use Study (JLUS) for Doña Ana, Lincoln, Otero, Sierra, and Socorro Counties in New Mexico and El Paso County in Texas, and the military installations of Fort Bliss, Holloman Air Force Base, and White Sands Missile Range.

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Regional
2:31 pm
Fri September 26, 2014

Holloman Gets Next-Gen Fire Engine

  When fires engulf aircraft on the flight line, blazing with hundreds of degrees, Holloman's Fire Fighters remain vigilant to respond.  In the worst of circumstances, they are relied upon to mitigate and control a variety of crisis scenarios within a moment's notice.

Holloman firefighters relentlessly train to be the best, most efficient fire response team in the Air Force and with a recent addition to their fleet, they will be.

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Regional
2:26 pm
Fri September 26, 2014

Test Results Being Assessed For New Mexico Babies Possibly Exposed To Tuberculosis

  (Las Cruces) – The New Mexico Department of Health reports evaluations are still underway for 16 New Mexico babies tested at the Sunland Public Health Office Tuesday, and an additional 26 tested Wednesday at the Anthony Public Health Office for possible exposure to tuberculosis (TB). To date, none of the children have been found to have active TB.

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Regional
7:53 am
Fri September 26, 2014

New Documentary Captures Life Of Chicano Poet

  

A documentary based on a memoir by Chicano poet Jimmy Santiago Baca is set to debut.

"A Place to Stand" is scheduled to be screened in Santa Fe on Saturday and follows the life of Baca from Estancia, New Mexico, to his time in the Arizona State Prison in Florence, Arizona. It covers his rise from a nearly illiterate convicted criminal to one of the most recognized Mexican-American writers in the country.

Director Daniel Glick says he got the idea for the documentary after visiting a New York prison and reading Baca's memoir.

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Regional
7:49 am
Fri September 26, 2014

Regional Bus System Routing Available Online

The state Department of Transportation says New Mexicans can use an online mapping service to get information about routes and schedules for the agency's Park and Ride regional bus system.

The department said Thursday that bus information is now available through Google Maps and travelers can use the trip planning feature to pick the best route for getting to their destination.

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Regional
7:46 am
Fri September 26, 2014

Food Stamp Changes Exclude Some Counties, Tribes

A state agency for now is exempting several New Mexico counties and about a dozen Native American tribes and pueblos from new work-related rules for participation in the food stamp nutrition-assistance program.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that counties being excluded from the rules include Luna, McKinley and Mora and that the tribes and pueblos being exempted include the Navajo Nation.

The new rules are scheduled to start taking effect Nov. 1 in three planned phases. Counties in the first phase include Bernalillo, Sandoval, Santa Fe and Valencia.

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Regional
6:00 am
Fri September 26, 2014

NMSU Tests Drone In Various Conditions

A Puma small unmanned aircraft system is launched by hand. New Mexico State University’s Physical Science Laboratory recently completed a series of three, week-long, experimental tests to evaluate the safety of small unmanned aircraft systems operations in the day, at dusk and at night. (Submitted photo)

  The New Mexico State University Unmanned Aircraft Systems Flight Test Center and the NMSU Department of Psychology just completed a series of three, week-long, experimental tests to evaluate the safety of small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS) operations in the day, at dusk and at night.

The NASA-funded experiments used AeroVironment Raven B and Puma sUAS for the study and used NMSU’s chase plane to simulate an encroaching aircraft.

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Regional
4:06 pm
Thu September 25, 2014

Texas State Auditor: College Owes The State $75.6 Million

  The state auditor's office says the University of North Texas should repay Texas millions of dollars over the next 10 years.

The office says the university manipulated its payroll spending so it received extra money from the state over many years. It recommends that the Legislature require the school to repay at least $75.6 million.

University of North Texas System Chancellor Lee Jackson says he saw the state auditor's investigative report and says the findings were accurate.

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Regional
4:04 pm
Thu September 25, 2014

Son: New Mexico Sheriff Chased Driver For A Reason

  The son of a northern New Mexico sheriff accused roughing up a driver says he and his father chased the motorist because he had run a stop sign.

Thomas Rodella, Jr., told jurors Thursday his father, Rio Arriba County Sheriff Thomas Rodella, identified himself as a lawman twice before arresting 26-year-old Michael Tafoya.

Authorities say the older Rodella was in plainclothes in March when he pulled over Tafoya in a fit of road rage, jumped out of his personal SUV with a gun, and shoved his badge in Tafoya's face.

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Regional
4:03 pm
Thu September 25, 2014

Texas Denying Driver's Licenses To Gay Married Couples

Some homosexuals have been denied a Texas driver's license because they took their same-sex spouse's name and the Department of Public Safety won't recognize documents reflecting the name change.

DPS won't accept out-of-state marriage licenses or other documents reflecting the change. The Dallas Morning News reports virtually the only way DPS will issue a driver's license is to provide a Texas court order approving a name change or a U.S. passport with the new surname.

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Regional
4:00 pm
Thu September 25, 2014

Perry: If Energy Is A Weapon, We Need The Biggest Arsenal

Credit Texas Governor Rick Perry (R)

  Gov. Rick Perry says the booming natural gas industry in Texas can ease U.S. allies' energy dependence on Russia.

The Republican is mulling a second White House run in 2016 and keynoting a Houston energy forum Thursday night.

According to speech excerpts, Perry will say, "Energy is a weapon in the hands of aggressors" and therefore "America should always have the largest arsenal."

He'll say that aggressively marketing American energy abroad, including Texas natural gas, can "enhance our national security and promote stability" worldwide.

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Regional
11:52 am
Thu September 25, 2014

Report: More Than 50 Percent Of New Mexico Dropouts Come From 25 Schools

Credit Courtesy: US Dept. of Education

   Legislative auditors report that about 11 percent of high schools account for roughly half of the New Mexico students who drop out without graduating.  About 25 high schools account for 52 percent of dropouts.

An audit released Thursday by the Legislative Finance Committee said New Mexico needs to better target its dropout prevention efforts.

Auditors said 4.7 percent of students statewide dropped out in the 2013 budget year, up from 3.6 percent in 2008.

In 2013, nearly 7,200 out of 152,000 students in grades seven to 12 dropped out.

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