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.

Lea County Seeking Housing Amid Pending Shortage

Nov 4, 2015

Lea County and two cities in New Mexico's oil country want to attract more housing developers to help with the area's expected housing shortage.

The Hobbs News-Sun reports that Hobbs, Lovington and country officials are wrestling with different ideas on incentives for housing developers.

The incentive program for Hobbs, for example, reimburses developers for building market rate, multi-family and single-family housing projects

University of New Mexico researchers project the Lea County population at 75,855 by 2020, with a need for 1,500-2,000 more housing units.

Ex-Border Patrol Agent In Texas Gets Six Years For Sexual Assault

Nov 4, 2015

A former U.S. Border Patrol agent in West Texas has been sentenced to six years in prison for having sex with a 15-year-old girl.

The El Paso Times reports 29-year-old Luis Angel Lozada pleaded guilty to three counts of sexual assault and three counts of sexual performance of a child.

Court records indicate Lozada was sentenced last week to six years in state prison on each count, with the terms running currently.

Bill Requires Navajo Chief Justice To Have Law Degree

Nov 4, 2015

The head of the Navajo Nation's judicial branch now is required to have a law degree.

Tribal President Russell Begaye approved a bill this week to make the switch from a law degree being preferred for the chief justice.

Begaye says the bill helps move the tribe toward fulfilling requirements of federal laws meant to bolster public safety on tribal lands. Tribes that have law-trained, licensed judges can lengthen and stack sentences under the Tribal Law and Order Act, and prosecute non-Natives for certain domestic-violence crimes under the Violence Against Women Act.

Lawsuit: NM Police Arrested Wrong Man For DUI

Nov 4, 2015

A New Mexico man says state police wrongly arrested him for driving under the influence because a trooper thought he was a suspect who had the same name.

A lawyer for Blas Varela recently filed a federal lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Albuquerque in a case that accused New Mexico State Police of wrongful imprisonment.

According to court documents, Varela was arrested in September following a minor traffic stop in San Juan County. Court documents say the trooper told Varela he had an arrest warrant stemming from a 2000 case.

Gov. Martinez Travels To Texas For Tax Symposium

Nov 4, 2015
Office of the Governor

Gov. Susana Martinez is making a quick trip to Texas to talk about tax reform and economics.

The governor will be speaking Wednesday at a symposium in Austin that's hosted by the Institute for Professionals in Taxation.

Her office says she'll discuss efforts to grow and diversify New Mexico's economy. Part of the focus will be on the state's tax and regulatory climate and how that has affected New Mexico's ability to compete when it comes to jobs and new investment.

Martinez also plans to attend two political fundraisers while in Austin.

Las Cruces Museum To Host ‘HomeGrown’ Event

Nov 3, 2015

   Food produced in New Mexico is showcased at the second-annual event, “HomeGrown: A New Mexico Food Show & Gift Market,” on Nov. 21-22 at the New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum.

Vendors from around the state will sell their products as the gift-giving season approaches. The event is 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 21, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 22. Admission is $5 per vehicle and the first 100 vehicles each day receive a free, burlap shopping bag. The bags can also be purchased at the event for $5.

New Mexico Food, Ag Companies Invited To Free Exporting Workshop

Nov 3, 2015

(LAS CRUCES, N.M.) – Food and agriculture companies of all sizes from across New Mexico are invited to attend a free, daylong workshop to learn how to build their business by exporting.

The “Explore Exporting” workshop happens Tuesday, December 1, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Las Cruces.  Those interested in attending must register at on or beforeFriday, November 27.  Location details will be provided upon registration.

Virtual Learning

Nov 3, 2015

Las Cruces Man Sentenced To Prison For Narcotics Conviction

Nov 3, 2015

  Eddie Gallardo, 32, of Las Cruces, N.M., was sentenced this morning in Las Cruces federal court to 78 months in prison followed by four years of supervised release for his conviction on cocaine and methamphetamine trafficking charges. 

  The New Mexico Department of Health reports that healthcare facilities in the state are making progress in preventing healthcare-associated infections.  Healthcare‐associated infections can be acquired by patients in healthcare settings while receiving treatment for other conditions and are therefore being addressed nationally and in New Mexico as an important prevention target. The New Mexico Department of Health has an initiative to monitor and prevent healthcare‐associated infections and to share those findings with the public annually.

Mora School Chief Resigns Amid Fake Credential Probe

Nov 3, 2015

An embattled northern New Mexico superintendent under fire for faking his credentials has resigned.

The Las Vegas Optic reports that Mora Independent School District superintendent Charles Trujillo recently submitted his resignation and it was approved by the school board.

Trujillo's resignation follows an investigation by the Optic that Trujillo faked his credentials to obtain his administrative license. Two days after the Optic story was published, Trujillo surrendered his education licenses to the state Public Education Department.

GOP Lawmaker Eyes Utah's Driver's License Model For New Mexico

Nov 3, 2015

A key New Mexico Republican lawmaker says he will propose a bill next session modeled after Utah's immigrant driver's license law.

Rep. Paul Pacheco told The Associated Press he will sponsor legislation that would grant New Mexico "driving privilege cards" for immigrants suspected of living in the country illegal. Pacheco says he decided to look at the Utah model amid a stalemate between Republicans and Democrats over revising a New Mexico law that allows immigrants to obtain state driver's licenses regardless of status.

Forecasters say New Mexico's winter likely will feature more snowfall than normal, at least in the higher elevations.

The National Weather Service's Albuquerque office is predicting above-average snow snowfall in the state's higher-elevation mountain areas during December through February.

According to the weather service, its forecast is based on snowfall data from the last four strong to extreme El Nino events and climate forecast models.

In September, Las Cruces voted to issue up to $28.5 million dollars in bonds using revenue from the Hold Harmless GRT tax hike, with 45% of that funding being used toward roads projects. At Monday’s city council meeting, council approved yet another bond to get the most for their money.

Mother, 2 Daughters Die In El Paso Apartment Fire

Nov 2, 2015

A woman and her two young daughters died when flames swept through the family's apartment on El Paso's east side.

El Paso police say the 4:30 a.m. Monday fire at the Las Casitas apartments inflicted severe burns on 32-year-old Magaly Mendoza and her two daughters, 11-year-old Andrea Garcia and 4-year-old Paulina Ortega. They died later at hospitals.

Police say 22-year-old Perla Mendoza, carrying an infant daughter, and 33-year-old Lizette Gomez were able to escape the burning apartment uninjured through the front door.

Deming Man Arrested On Federal Porn Charges

Nov 2, 2015

    ALBUQUERQUE – Robert Steven Elliott, II, 32, of Deming, N.M., made his initial appearance this morning in federal court in Las Cruces, N.M., on a criminal complaint charging him with production and possession of visual depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct.  Elliott remains in federal custody pending a preliminary hearing and a detention hearing, both of which are scheduled for later this week.

New Mexico Authorities Recapture Escaped Inmate

Nov 2, 2015

Authorities say an inmate who escaped from the Central New Mexico Correctional Facility Level One Farm has been captured.

New Mexico Department of Public Safety officials say 42-year-old Ronald Martinez was arrested around 11 a.m. Monday by a Valencia County Sheriff's deputy in the Tome area.

They say Martinez is in the custody of the New Mexico State Police and will be charged with escape from a penitentiary, which is a second-degree felony.

If convicted of escape, authorities say Martinez could face 10 more years in prison.

Arizona Man Pleads Guilty To Child Abuse In New Mexico

Nov 2, 2015

An Arizona man has pleaded guilty to child sexual abuse charges in New Mexico and is facing a 10-year sentence in federal prison.

Prosecutors say 34-year-old Aaron Hubbard, of Fort Defiance, Ariz., entered his plea Monday in federal court in Albuquerque.

Under the terms of his plea agreement, Hubbard will be sentenced to a decade years in prison followed by at least three years of supervised release. He also will be required to register as a sex offender.

Aging Department Hosts Meeting to Discuss Family Caregivers Plan in Las Cruces

Nov 2, 2015

Each year, 419,000 New Mexicans provide 274 million hours of unpaid family care. Earlier this year, New Mexico unveiled its State Plan for Family Caregivers. Aging and Long-Term Services Secretary Designate Myles Copeland will be presenting the plan in Las Cruces at the Pete V. Domenici Hall, 3014 McFie Circle, on Friday, Nov. 13, 2015 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Office of the Governor

New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez's office says she won't call a special legislative session to fix the state's noncompliance with the federal REAL ID Act.

Martinez spokesman Michael Lonergan says the governor has already tried five times to repeal a New Mexico law that gives driver's licenses to immigrants regardless of legal status. However, Lonergan says Senate Democrats have blocked those bipartisan attempts.

The governor is expected to put the issue on the agenda — again — for next session.

Free Aerial Dance Show Friday In Las Cruces

Nov 2, 2015

LAS CRUCES, NM - The Consulate General of Mexico in El Paso, the City of Las Cruces, New Mexico, and Centro Cultural Mexicano Paso del Norte are pleased to invite the binational community of the Paso del Norte region to the aerial dance show "Malagueño Varieté", by Mexican dancer Rafael González.

This performance will take place on Friday, November 6th, at 7:00 PM, at the Rio Grande Theatre, located at 211 N. Main Street.

  Investigators looking into the Aug. 2 detonation of explosive devices outside two Las Cruces churches are still asking for the public’s help in identifying the man seen on surveillance video near Calvary Baptist Church.

The FBI is offering a reward of up to $20,000 for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for placing the two devices.

Martinez Proposes Nearly Doubling Funding for Early Reading Initiative

Nov 2, 2015

  Albuquerque, NM — Today, Governor Susana Martinez proposed a targeted $10 million expansion of the New Mexico Reads to Lead initiative, a statewide program that identifies struggling students in kindergarten through third grade and provides them with the help they need to strengthen their reading skills.

Tucson Students Announce 'El Jefe' as New Name for America's Only Jaguar

Nov 2, 2015

  TUCSON, Ariz.— Students at Felizardo Valencia Middle School today announced “El Jefe” as the winning name for the only known wild jaguar in the United States, which lives just 30 miles outside of downtown Tucson. The announcement culminates a nationwide naming contest sponsored by the Center for Biological Diversity. The name is Spanish for “The Boss,” a nod to the jaguar’s place at the top of the food chain.

Santa Fe, NM – Today, New Mexico State Parks announced their plan to provide every fourth grader with a day pass, which will allow them to explore 11 New Mexico state parks for free. The partnership with the U.S. Department of the Interior and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is part of the Every Kid in a Park program, which encourages kids and their families to explore the outdoors.

Federal and local authorities will give an update on an investigation into the bombings that occurred outside two Las Cruces churches last summer.

The FBI and Las Cruces police are scheduled to hold a briefing Monday morning at New Mexico State University's police department on the Aug. 2 explosions.

Authorities say two small bombs detonated outside Calvary Baptist Church and Holy Cross Roman Catholic Church about 20 minutes apart.

The churches, which are roughly 3 miles apart, suffered minor property damage.

There were no injuries.

Appeals Court Rules Arrest Of Albuquerque Family Was Illegal

Nov 2, 2015

The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver has ruled that the arrest of an Albuquerque family in 2013 was illegal.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that school principal Stephen Maresca and his family was arrested after a hike in 2013 when a rookie Bernalillo County Sheriff's Office deputy typed in a wrong license plate number. The court ruled also month that the arrest was illegal, reversing an earlier decision.

The case has been sent back to federal district court for a jury to determine whether the officers used excessive force in the arrest.

Monday Business Watch

Nov 2, 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 rental property - more than half of Las Cruces renters are spending too much. 

A much-watched case headed to the Texas Supreme Court could have broad implications on the nation's booming home-school ranks.

At issue: Where do religious liberty and parental rights to educate one's own children stop and obligations to ensure home-schooled students actually learn something begin?

An El Paso family, the McIntyres, is accused of failing to teach its nine hone-schooled children anything because they were "waiting to be raptured."

But the family says its children were educated and has accused the local school district of being anti-Christian.

Albuquerque Dentist Offers To Buy Back Halloween Candy

Nov 1, 2015

An Albuquerque, New Mexico, dentist is hoping to get ahead in the fight against post-Halloween cavities with cash.

Byron Wall, of Cosmetic Dentistry of New Mexico, said he is offering to buy candy back from trick-or-treaters on Sunday afternoon.

Wall says children 14 years old or younger can pawn their sweets at his office.

His office will pay $1 for every pound of candy up to $5.

The purchased candy goes to Blue Star Moms, a nonprofit supporting New Mexico troops.