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.

State Auditor Tim Keller Announces New Accounting Standard for Tax Breaks

Jan 21, 2016
New Mexico State Auditor Timothy Keller (D)

  For years, New Mexico policymakers have struggled to access data that would reveal whether the state’s many tax exemptions, credits, deductions and rebates are truly effective in supporting economic growth. An historic development in national accounting standards now requires state and local governments to take the first steps toward collecting that information in their audited financial statements. The Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) issued the new standard, GASB 77, that will be required for most agencies beginning on July 1, 2016.

"Preacher" to Film its First Season in New Mexico

Jan 21, 2016
nmfilm.com

New Mexico Film Office Director Nick Maniatis announces the television series "Preacher," produced by AMC Studios and Sony Pictures Television, will film in Albuquerque beginning in February.

  The Texas Tribune will host a free, open-to-the-public Symposium on Urban Public Education from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday, Jan. 22, at The University of Texas at El Paso.

Symposium discussion topics will include educating the emerging demographic majority, social and emotional learning in public education and strategies for widening the high school-to-college pipeline.
 

  University of Texas at El Paso Professor of Computer Science David Novick, Ph.D., and his students have developed a system for virtual agents and an immersive interactive application titled “Survival on Jungle Island.”

New Mexico Legislative Session Costs $5.4 Million

Jan 21, 2016

New Mexico lawmakers have approved funding for the ongoing 30-day legislative session with a slight increase in spending.

The $5.4 million appropriations bill was approved unanimously Thursday by the House and Senate and awaits the governor's signature.

The measure is known as the "fee bill" and traditionally is the first piece of legislation approved during annual legislative sessions.

Plan Calls For Operations To Resume At Nuke Dump In 2016

Jan 21, 2016
energy.gov

Some operations at the federal government's troubled nuclear waste repository in southern New Mexico could resume by the end of 2016 under a plan approved by U.S. Energy Department officials.

The agency's field office in Carlsbad, New Mexico, announced the approval Thursday.

The plan covers recovery activities at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, baseline operations and capital projects that need to be done before the underground facility reopens.

Border Officials In Texas, New Mexico, Prep For Pope Visit

Jan 21, 2016

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials in Texas and New Mexico are preparing for more visitors heading to Mexico when Pope Francis visits next month.

CBP officials in El Paso on Thursday announced an increase in staffing and service hours at ports of entry in the days before, during and after the pope's Feb. 17 visit. Pope Francis will be in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, across the border from El Paso.

The changes involve entry ports in El Paso and Tornillo, Texas, plus Santa Teresa, New Mexico. Travelers are advised to expect delays and plan ahead.

Lobbyists and their clients provided about $750,000 in campaign contributions to New Mexico lawmakers, Gov. Susana Martinez and others in months leading up to this year's legislative session.

The contributions are in addition to nearly $90,000 spent by lobbyists since last spring for food, drinks, gifts and entertainment for lawmakers and other state officials.

The disclosures filed last week with the secretary of state's office cover contributions and spending from May through Jan. 15.

New Mexico Auditor: Disclosure Needed For Governor's Contingency Fund

Jan 21, 2016
New Mexico State Auditor Timothy Keller (D)

  New Mexico’s legislative session is underway.  And the state auditor is calling for a big change in a fund provided to the Governor’s office.

The Governor’s so-called contingency fund came to light recently when it was revealed taxpayers footed the bill for a holiday party at a Santa Fe hotel.  The party, which cost about $8,000, received more headlines for the Governor’s reaction to a noise complaint than the money spent on the event.  

But State Auditor Tim Keller told KUNM the legislature should ensure the way this contingency fund is being spent is fully disclosed.

Suspect Arrested In Fatal Shooting Near Albuquerque Club

Jan 20, 2016

Police say they've arrested a suspect in a fatal shooting near a downtown Albuquerque nightclub.

They say 25-year-old Tory Burdex is being held on suspicion of an open count of murder and conspiracy to commit a first-degree felony in connection to the October 2014 shooting.

He's been booked into jail and his bond has been set at more than $1 million.

It was unclear Wednesday if Burdex has a lawyer yet.

Police say they're still searching for Burdex's younger brother in the case.

  Defense Department installations will no longer accept driver’s licenses from Minnesota, Illinois, Missouri, New Mexico, and Washington as proof of identity, DOD officials said.

Federal policy

The ban, which also includes licenses from American Samoa, is a consequence of the REAL ID Act of 2005.

NMSU selects four top faculty members as new Regents professors

Jan 20, 2016

  New Mexico State University’s annual spring convocation included the announcement of four new Regents Professorships among the NMSU faculty.

The Regents Professorship, established in 2001 by the NMSU Board of Regents, recognizes faculty who have made outstanding contributions to the university’s mission and honors contributions in areas of education, research, extension education and public service.

Man Who Escaped Traffic Stop Surrenders

Jan 20, 2016

  A 23-year-old Mesilla man who escaped in handcuffs from a Mesilla marshal during a Dec. 22 traffic stop has surrendered to authorities.

Zachary Soto turned himself in at Doña Ana County Magistrate Court on Tuesday.

According to an arrest warrant that was issued earlier this month, Soto was detained on Dec. 22 for an outstanding warrant for narcotics possession related to a previous incident. Soto was placed in handcuffs while the officer started processing his vehicle to obtain a search warrant.

Scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey and the New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources will determine changes in the amount of groundwater stored in the Mesilla Basin aquifer in and around Las Cruces by precisely measuring differences in the acceleration of gravity at several locations the week of January 18.

Oil Plunge Upends State Budget Session In New Mexico

Jan 20, 2016

New Mexico legislators are conferring with energy experts about plunging oil prices as they craft a new state budget.

The price of U.S. crude sank almost seven percent to below $27 a barrel Wednesday amid a glut in oil supplies.

New Mexico may put plans for $77 million in salary increases on hold because of falling revenues from taxes and royalties linked to oil production. The salaries represent about one-third of new spending under a $6.5 billion state budget recommendation from Republican Gov. Susana Martinez.

Arizona Woman Pleads Guilty In Fatal Crash In New Mexico

Jan 20, 2016

An Arizona woman has pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and assault charges in a car accident last year in New Mexico.

Prosecutors say 40-year-old Miranda Rentz of Red Valley entered her plea Wednesday in a federal court in Albuquerque.

Rentz was arrested in January 2015 and indicted the following month.

Prosecutors say Rentz was driving under the influence of alcohol in New Mexico's San Juan County on Jan. 17, 2015.

They say her car collided head-on with another vehicle that had two occupants. One person was killed and the other seriously injured.

Arizona Man Sentenced To Prison In New Mexico Drug Case

Jan 20, 2016

A 48-year-old Arizona man has been sentenced to nearly 22 years in prison on federal convictions in New Mexico on methamphetamine and firearms charges stemming from a drug trafficking organization that prosecutors said he led.

According to prosecutors, the organization led by Matthew Maley of Tucson distributed significant quantities of methamphetamine in New Mexico and Arizona in 2013.

Maley was sentenced Wednesday in federal court in Las Cruces on convictions resulting from a four-day trial in September 2014.

  A new medical center focused on treating Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia is coming to the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center (HSC).

UNM physicians who are leading the effort will announce the creation of the UNM Memory and Aging Center at an 11 a.m. news conference held by the Alzheimer’s Association, New Mexico Chapter, in the State Capitol Rotunda on Thursday, Jan. 21 as part of Alzheimer’s Day at the state Legislature.

Las Cruces Crime Stoppers Helps ID Fraud Suspect

Jan 20, 2016

  The man suspected of using a stolen bank card several times over a two-day period last September has been identified thanks, in part, to more than 90 tips from area residents who positively identified him via Crime Stoppers.

Matthew B. Guerra, 19, of the 5100 block of Sioux Trail in unincorporated Dona Ana County, is charged with one count each of fraudulently signing of a credit card or sales slip, fraudulent use of a credit card and possession of a stolen credit card.

Martinez Calls For Some Government Reforms

Jan 20, 2016

 

   Just two days after former Secretary of State Dianna Duran was released from county jail, Gov. Susana Martinez used a small part of her fifth State of the State address to support government accountability efforts.

Las Cruces Cooking Class For Adults With Diabetes

Jan 20, 2016

  Adults in New Mexico who have been diagnosed with diabetes can learn how to prepare healthy and delicious meals by participating in the Kitchen Creations cooking school, sponsored by the New Mexico Department of Health and offered by New Mexico State University’s Cooperative Extension Service.

The next Kitchen Creations session will be offered in Las Cruces from 5:30-8:30 p.m. Feb. 2, 9, 16 and 23 at Mayfield High School. The cooking school is free thanks to funding from the New Mexico Department of Health Diabetes Prevention and Control Program.

Changes To Dog Chaining Law Take Effect

Jan 20, 2016

  Beginning Saturday, Jan. 16, 2016, dogs throughout Doña Ana County will get some relief from chains and tethers as a portion of the county’s new animal-control ordinance takes full effect.

         Following a nationwide trend to abolish or severely limit the amount of time dogs can legally be chained – as well as the conditions under which limited chaining remains allowable – the Doña Ana County Board of Commissioners has approved the following revisions, which Animal Control personnel in the field will be empowered to enforce.

UPDATE: Missouri Avenue Closure In Las Cruces

Jan 20, 2016

  Las Cruces: The New Mexico Department of Transportation (NMDOT) along with FNF Construction will have some road closures. In order to complete the bridge placement, there will be a full closure of Missouri Avenue between Don Roser Drive and Triviz Drive each night beginning Tuesday, January 19th to Thursday, January 21st starting at 6:00PM and reopening at 6:00AM.  

Santa Fe Archbishop John Wester says he won't be traveling to Ciudad Juarez next month to see Pope Francis.

Wester said Tuesday the travel hassles to get into the Mexican border city were too much and he will stay in Santa Fe during the pope's historic visit.

Ciudad Juarez, on Mexico's northern border across from El Paso, Texas, is the last stop in the pope's schedule 5-day visit to Mexico in February.

The pope is slated to finish his Ciudad Juarez trip with an open-air Mass in a large field near Benito Juarez Stadium.

Silver City Report

Jan 20, 2016

Time now for a new segment on KRWG and krwg.org, the Silver City Report with Edmundo Resendez and Silver City Press and Independent reporter, Stewart McClintic who discuss a recent school board meeting. 

Hector Balderas

 

Attorney General Hector Balderas filed the lawsuit in state district court in Santa Fe late Tuesday. He alleges Volkswagen, Audi, Porsche and their U.S. subsidiaries violated state air quality regulations and engaged in deceptive trade practices.

Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Justice sued on behalf of the federal Environmental Protection Agency. That action alone could potentially expose VW to more than $20 billion in fines under the Clean Air Act.

Hundreds of private class-action lawsuits filed by VW owners in many states also are pending.

Start Young with Cancer Prevention

Jan 20, 2016

  Cancer is a disease that touches so many of our lives. The American Cancer Society estimates in 2014 alone there was an estimated 1,665,540 new cancer cases diagnosed and 585,720 cancer deaths in the United States. It remains the second most common cause of death in the US, accounting for nearly 1 of every 4 deaths. 

One of the most preventable forms of cancer for women is being talked about this month by the New Mexico Department of Health (NMDoH): cervical cancer.  In fact, January is known in health circles as National Cervical Health Awareness Month.

Simon Thompson

A recent study by the Urban Institute found cities reap significant economic benefits when eligible residents become naturalized US citizens.  But each year, only 10% of those eligible do so.

108 about to be US citizens from all over the world gathered at the Las Cruces convention center taking an oath of loyalty as part of a ceremony to become a US citizen.

Raksmey Chan came to the US from Cambodia 3 years ago to live with her husband and son in Artesia, New Mexico.

“It is great! I am happy to be one of the people, to be an American citizen.” Chan said. 

Las Cruces City Council approved the initial funding that will go toward a future soundstage in Las Cruces.

The City Council voted to accept a state legislative appropriation of $402,000 that will be put toward building a soundstage in Las Cruces. Irene Oliver-Lewis, Vice President of Film Las Cruces says it’s exciting to see the first of the funding.

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