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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.

Texas Governor Meets With Israeli Prime Minister

Jan 18, 2016
http://gov.texas.gov/

Gov. Greg Abbott has told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that Texas will maintain its Iran divestiture policy.

A statement from Abbott's office says the governor, who's traveling overseas, met with the Israeli leader on Monday.

Abbott also announced that he'll seek new laws, during the 2017 Legislature, to strengthen prohibitions in Texas on the investment of public funds in Iran.

Report: Pope Francis Is In Touch With A Man On Death Row In Texas

Jan 18, 2016

Vienna's cardinal says he is in touch with a man condemned to die in Texas, and that Pope Francis is following the case, too.

Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn said Monday that he has been in close touch with Richard Masterson, scheduled to be executed on Tuesday. Masterson was convicted of strangling a man who was a female impersonator. Attorneys for Masterson have contended his earlier lawyers were deficient and that his confession about the death of Darin Shane Honeycutt, who went by the stage name of Brandi Houston, was improper.

New Mexico Charter Schools: Cost More, Perform The Same Or Worse

Jan 18, 2016

An evaluation of student achievement at New Mexico charter schools finds higher spending per student with roughly the same academic results as traditional public schools.  The evaluation also finds that charter schools authorized by local school districts perform below charter schools authorized by the state of New Mexico.

The evaluation by New Mexico's Legislative Finance Committee looked at six representative charter schools. The full report is being presented Monday to lawmakers in Santa Fe.

An Overview Of The New Mexico Legislative Session

Jan 18, 2016

The New Mexico Legislature at a glance:

START TO FINISH:

The Legislature convenes at noon Tuesday. It's formally called second session of the 52nd Legislature.

Lawmakers adjourn after 30 days at noon on Thursday, Feb. 18. The governor then has until March 9 to sign bills.

___

THE MAKEUP:

The House has 70 members: 37 Republicans and 33 Democrats. The Senate has 42 members: 24 Democrats and 18 Republicans.

___

PAY:

Monday Business Watch

Jan 18, 2016

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 New Mexico Magazine. 

Santa Fe Establishing City Film Commission

Jan 17, 2016
Santa Fe Mayor Javier Gonzales

Santa Fe will have its own film commission to help lure productions and cultivate independent filmmakers.

The Santa Fe City Council unanimously approved establishing a 16-member commission last week amid inquiries about how it would use its $50,000 budget.

Councilor Joseph Maestas says he will "reluctantly support" the commission but wants more discussions about the film industry's potential in Santa Fe.

Former New Mexico Secretary of State Dianna Duran was released Sunday from a Santa Fe County jail after a 30-day sentence for using political campaign funds to fuel a gambling spree.

A judge ordered Duran to be released at 9 a.m.

Duran pleaded guilty to felony counts of embezzlement and money laundering. Her transgressions have led to calls for a major overhaul of New Mexico's campaign finance and ethics laws during the legislative session that starts on Tuesday.

Former Las Cruces City Councilor Miguel Silva Dead In Apparent Suicide

Jan 17, 2016

NMPolitics.net is reporting that former Las Cruces city councilor Miguel Silva has died in what Las Cruces Police are calling an apparent suicide.

Newsmakers 802, 1/14/15

Jan 17, 2016

This episode of Newsmakers includes the following field reports and
more:  Dona Ana County Community College demonstrates a "use of force"
simulator being used to train area law enforcement officers; students
at UTEP build a soccer field for a shelter in El Paso; and "Living
Here" takes us to the Our Lady of Guadalupe Festival held by Tortugas
Pueblo.

  The New Mexico State University Art Gallery will host the opening reception for “Water! What is it good for?” from 5-7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 21. This exhibition will allow viewers to engage with multifaceted and complex environmental concerns.

As an associated program, the gallery will present “Relational Sustainability,” an interdisciplinary panel discussion focused on environmental issues, beginning at noonSaturday, Jan. 23, at the UAG. Both events are free and open to the public.

  Chile lovers rejoice. A new chile pepper variety is now available for growers. For the first time, New Mexico State University’s Chile Pepper Institute has released NuMex Sandia Select chile seed. This new Sandia cultivar allows the traditionally red chile pepper to be used as a green chile pepper.

  LAS CRUCES – Recruitment is underway for the LCPS Head Start program, which services to more than 400 students in Las Cruces and to parents and families. Recruitment for the Head Start program will continue through March for the current school year, said Dr. Maria Artiaga, coordinator. The Head Start program also makes available 10 percent of its slots to children with disabilities. Parents of disabled children are required to submit an application and go through the same process as all other parents. 

In Depth: Moratorium On New Coal Leases On Federal Lands

Jan 17, 2016
Interior Department Secretary Sally Jewell at Isleta Pueblo

 

  US Department of the Interior Secretary Sally Jewell announced that the federal government is putting a moratorium on new coal leases, including 28,000 acres of leases in New Mexico.

Feds To Search Laptop In Case Against New Mexico Rescue Team

Jan 16, 2016

Federal investigators are looking for evidence that a New Mexico search-and-rescue team falsified training certifications to qualify for funding.  Federal Emergency Management Agency officials filed a search warrant request this week in U.S. District Court.

The warrant allows officials to search a laptop computer to see if it was used to print out false training certificates.

New Mexico Task Force 1 team, which deploys to disaster scenes, is accused of failing to properly account for funding.

Albuquerque Man Who Helped Carjacking Victim Gets Job Back

Jan 16, 2016

An Albuquerque Walgreens employee who was fired after coming to the aid of a carjacking victim is back at work.

KOAT-TV reports (http://bit.ly/205dpoo) that John Garcia was fired two weeks after helping pin down a suspected carjacker.

Police say a woman had run into the store Jan. 2 while her friend stayed in the car.

They say that is when a man allegedly took control of the car.

The victim went after the car and got dragged 10 feet.

Garcia and a customer pulled Stone out of the car and detained him until police arrived.

Man Goes Missing While Hunting For New Mexico Treasure

Jan 16, 2016

Searchers are looking for a Colorado man who went missing while hunting for treasure in Santa Fe.

Searches for 54-year-old Randy Bilyeu, who remained missing Saturday, are being carried out by air and foot.

Bilyeu's dog and an inflatable raft were found along the Rio Grande about 9 miles downstream from his car.

Police say the car was in an area popular for hiking and rafting.

They say Bilyeu, of Broomfield, told a friend on Jan. 4 that he planned to travel on the river.

Las Cruces February Events

Jan 15, 2016

  Tuesday, February 2

Every Other Tuesday: Jazzman Ross                                                       6:30 pm

I-10 Closures Week Of January 17

Jan 15, 2016

  Closures near Mesa:

Daytime closure from 5 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 17

·        The westbound right lane, including the shoulder, will be closed from the North Mesa Street overpass to the Thorn Avenue overpass.

·        The North Mesa Street on-ramp to I-10 westbound will be closed.

Daytime closure from 9 a.m. to noon Tuesday, Jan. 19

·        The right lane on North Mesa Street from Osborne Drive to the I-10 eastbound on-ramp will be closed.

IRS Free File Launched Today

Jan 15, 2016

  The Internal Revenue Service and Free File Alliance today announced the launch of Free File with many changes and updates for 2016, including more free state tax return options and easier Form W-2 imports.

Ahead of this years opening of the Burrell College of Osteopathic Medicine, the school is launching the Burrell Institute for Health Policy and Research.

Dan Burrell, Chairman of the Burrell College of Osteopathic Medicine says the new Institute for Health Policy and Research will help study ways to improve the health problems in the border region, and how everyone can have access to high quality care.

Isleta Pueblo

  ISLETA PUEBLO, N.M. – As part of President Obama’s goal of placing half a million acres of tribal homelands into trust for the benefit of tribal nations, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell today announced that the Bureau of Indian Affairs has placed 89,978 acres of land into trust status for the Pueblo of Isleta. The Administration’s single largest trust acquisition to date brings to nearly 400,000 the total acreage placed in trust on behalf of federally recognized tribes since 2009.

NMSU helps southern pueblos improve their agricultural workforce

Jan 15, 2016

  With nearly half of United States agricultural producers reaching retirement age, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has allocated funding to train beginning farmers and ranchers to help reduce the impact of that aging population. 

  Albuquerque, NM - BeWellnm, the official state marketplace for New Mexicans to shop, buy, and compare health plans, will be hosting public informational events in Las Cruces. The free events will provide an opportunity for residents to learn more about the changes in federal law affecting health insurance and health care, the various plans offered on the exchange, and subsidies or tax credits for which they may be eligible.

Las Cruces Man Suspected of Breaking into Ex’s Home

Jan 15, 2016

  Las Cruces Police arrested a man suspected of forcing his way into his ex-wife’s apartment and holding the woman against her will Thursday evening.

Edward B. Martinez, 24, of the 1500 block of La Fonda, is charged with one count each of false imprisonment, battery against a household member and interference with communications.

I-10 Union Bridge at University - CLOSURE

Jan 15, 2016

  Las Cruces – The New Mexico Department of Transportation (NMDOT) District One office along with La Calerita Construction will have to close a section of Union Avenue as the contractor demos the eastbound bridge on I-10. This must be done in order for the contractor to reconstruct a new bridge overpass. The first phase (westbound lanes) construction has been completed and the second phase (eastbound lanes) construction is underway.

Las Cruces City Councilor Running For State Senate

Jan 15, 2016
Ceil Levatino, Las Cruces city council district 6

  Las Cruces City Councilor Ceil Levatino has announced her campaign for Senate District 37, a seat currently held by Democrat William Soules. Levatino was first elected to the City Council in 2013 in a close three-way race.  

"As a City Councilwoman, I've witnessed firsthand the effect that higher taxes and burdensome state regulations have on business development," Levatino said. "If we want more companies to relocate or expand into southern New Mexico, we have to make sure we stay competitive with the business climate of other states."

Nambe Pueblo To Open Slots-Only Casino Sunday

Jan 15, 2016
freedigitalphotos.net

Nambe Pueblo will open its first casino Sunday.

The small, slots-only casino about 16 miles north of Santa Fe will be open to the public from 6 p.m. to midnight Sunday, ending years of negotiations and planning.

Nambe Pueblo has been talking about getting into the casino business for 20 years. Initial plans were for a 50,000-square-foot building with 500 slot machines and a theme park.

The Nambe Falls Casino is a fraction of that size at only 7,310 square feet and features 180 slot machines.

Group Appeals Power Plant Plan To NM Supreme Court

Jan 15, 2016

An environmental group is challenging New Mexico regulators' decision that cleared the way for the partial closure of a coal-fired power plant in the northwest corner of the state.

New Energy Economy filed its appeal with the New Mexico Supreme Court on Thursday.

The Santa Fe-based group has been critical of Public Service Co. of New Mexico's plan for replacing the capacity that will be lost with the shuttering of two units at the San Juan Generating Station.

The group claims PNM didn't prove it identified all the alternatives.

Hector Balderas

New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas and the top prosecutors for more than two dozen other states have sent a letter to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, asking the agency to quickly adopt new guidelines for prescribing opioids.

Balderas cited a prescription drug and heroin addiction epidemic in New Mexico as a reason joining in supporting the CDC to speedily adopt guidelines that indicate patients, in some cases, can be treated for pain with lower doses or alternative methods.

The letter dated Wednesday was signed by 36 attorneys general.

One Of New Mexico's "Most Wanted" Captured

Jan 15, 2016

  The United States Marshals Service South West Investigative Fugitive Team (SWIFT) task force has arrested wanted fugitive Steven Malone, 30, after developing leads that the fugitive was in Albuquerque. Las Cruces SWIFT members headed to Albuquerque, joined with the rest of the Albuquerque team and continued the investigation. Fugitive Malone was located and placed under arrest without incident. This case is also listed as a United States Marshal Service Major Case. 

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