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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.

Researchers To Examine If Methane Is Escaping From Navajo Mine

May 29, 2016

Researchers will look at whether methane is escaping from Navajo Mine.

The study is also intended to find ways to capture any methane that does escape and use it for energy.

Navajo Transitional Energy Company oversees the mine that provides all coal used at Four Corners Power Plant near Farmington.

A NASA and University of Michigan report in 2014 said there was a hot spot of methane above the Four Corners.

CEO Clark Moseley said in a statement that the research is intended to answer questions about the company's role in the methane debate.

An Albuquerque interstate reopened after police say they took into custody a man on an overpass threatening to take his life.

East and westbound lanes of I-40 at Wyoming Boulevard were closed about 2:30 p.m. as officers tried to talk to the man, the Albuquerque Journal reports.

Police say the man was taken into custody about 6 p.m., KQRE-TV reports (http://bit.ly/1sleM77 .)

Police also told KQRE that the same man has threatened to jump off a bridge onto the interstate before.

  Albuquerque police say they will no longer set up reverse drug stings involving the homeless.

While police spokeswoman Celina Espinoza defended the use of such a tactic, she says the department will refrain from using it on homeless people.

City officials have voiced concerns about undercover operations luring homeless people to buy drugs in order to arrest them.

The decision comes as Mayor Richard Berry is highlighting city programs under his administration aimed at panhandlers and the homeless.

School officials in an El Paso district where high school stadiums are getting new artificial turf are keeping the stadium lights on at night to deter thieves and vandals.

The action is a response to a fire set May 18 to a patch of newly installed turf at Hanks High School. The district's security chief, J.R. Martinez, tells the El Paso Times (http://bit.ly/1RCm6zu ) the lights make it easier for security guards and provide better images for security cameras.

Pueblo Builds Homes Near Railrunner Station

May 28, 2016

A Santo Domingo Pueblo housing project is intended to keep the Native American community connected with tradition while linking commuters to trains.  Homes will be constructed opposite the New Mexico Rail Runner station.

Residents who work or go to school outside the community take the trains to Albuquerque and Santa Fe.

Four years of planning and funding from at least a dozen groups helped the Santo Domingo Housing Authority break ground on the project last week with a Kewa prayer and spiritual offering.

Three Sentenced In El Paso Bribery Scheme

May 28, 2016

  Three people have been sentenced for their roles in a scheme in which bribes were paid to steer construction projects at a West Texas military base to one company.

James Tuskan was sentenced to 15 months in prison by a federal judge in El Paso on Friday. Christine Prince Hayes and Anthony Acri III each were sentenced earlier in the week to five years in prison.

Prosecutors say Hayes and Acri bribed Tuskan with expensive meals and airline tickets to get construction projects at El Paso's Fort Bliss military base.

14-year-old boy charged in Albuquerque man's dragging death

May 28, 2016

A 14-year-old Albuquerque boy has been charged with running over a man before dragging him to his death.

Police spokesman Tanner Tixier says an investigation into the Wednesday shooting death of a 15-year-old boy yielded information that led to the arrest.

The 14-year-old was arrested Wednesday for murder, unlawful taking of a motor vehicle and evidence tampering.

He is being held in a juvenile detention center on $75,000 bond.

The Associated Press is not identifying him because of his age.

Texas agencies use emergency leave to keep ex-workers quiet

May 28, 2016

Several state agencies are sidestepping Texas law by keeping employees on the payroll months after they've left their jobs as part of deals that in many cases are designed to keep former employees quiet.

At least seven former workers at the Teacher Retirement System were given as much as six months of paid "emergency leave" in exchange for signing documents promising not to discuss the deals or sue the agency.

Texas Braces For More Rain As Floods Kill One; Three Others Missing

May 28, 2016
imagebase.net

Officials in Texas are bracing for the possibility of more rain over the long Memorial Day weekend after flooding there killed one person and left three others missing.

The forecasts through the holiday weekend called for scattered or isolated thunderstorms in Central and Southeast Texas. But officials say they will be monitoring local rivers and waterways, which could rise out of their banks in the coming days due to the heavy rains.

Court Orders Bill Richardson To Attend Driving School

May 27, 2016
billrichardson.com

Former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson is pleading no contest to charges of driving away from a traffic accident without notice.

Richardson dialed in remotely to a municipal court hearing on Friday in Santa Fe and agreed to pay $56 in court costs and complete a defense driving class under the judgment. A sentence of 90 days unsupervised probation is on hold while Richardson completes the requirements.

  PBS NewsHour co-anchor and managing editor Gwen Ifill will sit down for an exclusive interview with President Barack Obama on Wednesday, June 1 in Elkhart, Indiana. It will follow with a town hall, produced by PBS NewsHour, during which local residents will ask questions of the President. The one hour primetime special will air at 7pm on KRWG-TV. 

City, County Compete to Benefit Las Cruces Dogs and Cats

May 27, 2016
imagebase.net

  The City of Las Cruces and Dona Ana County are participating in a friendly competition to collect supplies for cats and dogs at the Animal Services Center of the Mesilla Valley (ASCMV) from the public and staff. The competition runs from June 1 to June 30, 2016.

Only laundered or new blankets and towels will be accepted. Comforters and sleeping bags cannot be accepted, due to the lining. Donations of food and toys for the animals also are welcomed.

Coyote Fire Closes Most Of Guadalupe Mountains National Park

May 27, 2016

To ensure firefighter and public safety, officials from the Guadalupe Mountains National Park (GMNP) and the Southwest Incident Management Team 5 (SWIMT5) would like to remind the public that closure orders remain in effect over the Memorial Day Holiday.  Although the GMNP Visitors Center and the Salt Basin Dunes Trail are open, officials are discouraging visitation due to the increase in fire related traffic in and around the park. We apologize for the inconvenience and appreciate your cooperation.

NMSU dance company to host first performance, ‘HOME’

May 27, 2016

  The Traveling Airs Performance Company, a graduate dance company at New Mexico State University, will host a premiere production featuring both graduate students and College of Education faculty, along with local visual artists, singers and dancers.

Performances of the production, titled “HOME,” will be at 7:30 p.m. June 3 and 2:30 and 7:30 p.m. June 4 at the ASNMSU Center for the Arts, 1000 E. University Ave. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students.

KRWG wins awards for broadcast excellence

May 27, 2016
Fred Martino

  New Mexico State University’s KRWG Public Media has won two 2016 Excellence in Broadcasting Awards from the New Mexico Broadcasters Association.

KRWG won the award for best website in the large market radio category. It marks the third time in eight years KRWG has won an award for its website: two from the NMBA and one from the Associated Press.

KRWG Director of Content Fred Martino said there has been a 400 percent increase in website traffic over the past six years.

Lincoln National Forest’s Fire Danger Returns to HIGH

May 27, 2016

  With the increase in hotter temperatures and drying winds over the past few days, drier fuel moistures have escalated the potential for new fire starts. Based on current weather and fuel conditions and the increase in public and recreational activities within the Forest during the upcoming holiday, the fire danger rating now sits at HIGH.  This HIGH fire danger rating extends across the entire forest, which includes Smokey Bear, Sacramento and Guadalupe Ranger Districts.

Community Connection - Broken Promises SW - Joe Miele

May 27, 2016

  The University of New Mexico is one of five universities selected to establish centers for excellence that will focus on environmental health disparities research.

New Mexico Gets $3.3 Million For Foreclosure Legal Assistance

May 27, 2016

State officials say New Mexico has received $3.3 million to help provide legal assistance to homeowners facing foreclosure.

The money is from a 2014 settlement with Bank of America and its subsidiaries over mortgage practices.

Terms of the settlement restrict use of the money to foreclosure prevention legal assistance and community redevelopment.

In New Mexico, the money will be awarded to legal aid groups based on grant applications.

There are about 5,000 open mortgage foreclosure cases in the state.

Immigrant Licenses In New Mexico Jump Before Law Change

May 27, 2016

The number of immigrants seeking driver's licenses in New Mexico surged during the first three months of the year.

Data obtained by The Associated Press through a records request showed 3,568 licenses were issued to foreign nationals from January to March.

That's just shy of the 4,026 licenses granted to foreign nationals for all of 2015.

State officials believe the spike came because immigrants in the country illegally wanted to get New Mexico driver's licenses before state lawmakers voted to revise the law.

Dona Ana County passed a preliminary budget for Fiscal Year 2017 by a vote of 3-0, Commissioners Ben Rawson and Leticia Duarte-Benavidez were not present at the special meeting.

The preliminary budget for Dona Ana County totals about $153 million dollars. Anticipated revenues for fiscal year 2017 are expected to be around $137 million dollars. The budget difference is made up with restricted reserve funds or savings accounts for a specific use. The rest comes from the county’s general reserve funds, which Commissioner Billy Garrett says will be used for one-time costs.

Your Weekend Pulse!

May 27, 2016

Time now for Your Weekend Pulse! your guide to what is happening in our area this weekend with Lorena Sanchez, Pulse Editor for the Las Cruces Sun-News and Edmundo Resendez. Today, it’s Memorial Day weekend and there is lots to do including a new festival taking place in Las Cruces!

The region's home page is only possible with your support.  Become a member, renew, or make an additional gift now.  Thank you.

Recently naturalized resident Barbara Aguilera fills out a voter registration form.
Simon Thompson / KRWG

Donald Trump’s candidacy has been controversial...it’s even prompting some to apply for citizenship. And those new citizens are anxious to vote in November.

About 9 million U.S. residents are eligible to become U.S. citizens.  According to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, more of them have been going through with the naturalization process.
 
Barbara Aguilera was one of more than 100 at a recent naturalization ceremony at the Las Cruces convention center.

“I am just very excited.” Aguilera said

State Police: Traffic stop on I-25 leads to a fatal shooting

May 26, 2016

Authorities say a person fatally shot by law enforcement officers during a traffic stop along Interstate 25 appears to be the suspect in an armed carjacking in Albuquerque hours earlier.

New Mexico State Police say the shooting occurred shortly after noon Thursday.

The name of the person killed is being withheld until relatives are notified.

Socorro County sheriff's deputies attempted to stop a vehicle near the San Antonio exit.

State Police say shots were fired during the traffic stop and officers returned fire, striking a person in the vehicle.

NMSU selects Lakshmi Reddi as dean of College of Engineering

May 26, 2016

  Florida International University Graduate School Dean Lakshmi N. Reddi has been selected to lead the New Mexico State University College of Engineering.

“Dean Reddi is a distinguished scholar and has a track record of increasing enrollment and growing research funding and activity,” said NMSU Provost Dan Howard. “We are looking forward to Dean Reddi’s leadership and energy as he guides a strong College of Engineering to new levels of accomplishment in education, research, and service.” 

Leading the college for the past year has been Interim Dean Steven Stochaj.

Albuquerque Police Searching For Some Anti-Trump Protesters

May 26, 2016
facebook.com (donald trump)

Authorities say anti-Donald Trump protesters in Albuquerque threw rocks, urine-filled bottles, molotov cocktail-type devices at officers, and some later fired gunshots.

Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry said Thursday around 30 people out of 1,000 protesters were responsible for the violence from Tuesday's riot that caused around $10,000 in city damage.

Police Chief Gorden Eden says six officers suffered injuries from rocks and other objects, and one police horse suffered a leg injury.

The Latest: New Mexico Tribe Makes Plea To French People

May 26, 2016

The Latest on a planned auction of sacred Native American items in France (all times local):

2:50 p.m.

The leader of a Native American community in New Mexico is pleading with the French people to stand with his tribe in its fight to keep Paris auction houses from putting up for bid sacred objects.

Acoma Pueblo released the letter from tribal Gov. Kurt Riley on Thursday.

The letter comes as Paris' EVE auction house prepares to put up for bid hundreds of religious items and art pieces, including a ceremonial shield from the pueblo.

Officials Ban Using, Growing Marijuana In Santa Fe Forest

May 26, 2016

Officials have issued an order banning the use, possession or storage of marijuana in the Santa Fe National Forest, though such practices were already illegal.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that Forest Supervisor Maria Garcia issued the closure order banning both medical and recreational marijuana from the 1.5 million acres of the northern New Mexico forest. Possession and use of marijuana are already illegal under federal law.

Federal Grand Jury Indicts Suspect In Navajo Girl's Slaying

May 26, 2016

A federal grand jury has returned a six-count indictment against a man accused of killing an 11-year-old Navajo girl who was abducted as she and her younger brother played on the way home from school.

Federal prosecutors announced Thursday that the indictment charges Tom Begaye Jr. with murder, aggravated sexual abuse, kidnapping resulting in death and kidnapping of a minor.

The 27-year-old Navajo man has been in federal custody since his arrest May 4. An arraignment is scheduled June 7.

New Mexico Land Boss Weighs Easement Request From Feds

May 26, 2016
New Mexico Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn
nmstatelands.org

U.S. Customs and Border Protection is seeking rights of way for the next 35 years to repair nearly 30 miles of roads in two counties to help with operations in New Mexico's border region.

Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn has scheduled a June 2 public meeting in Lordsburg to discuss the request.

Easement fees charged by the State Land Office could total $400,000. But federal officials want the fees to be waived since it plans to repair the roads, many of which are dirt and gravel.

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