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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.

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.

Sheriff To Launch Town Hall Meetings

May 26, 2016

  The Doña Ana County Sheriff’s Department will launch a series of town hall meetings next week, beginning in Hatch on May 31.

   The meeting will be held from 6:30 to 9 p.m. at the Hatch Community Center, 837 W. Hall Street.

According to Sheriff Enrique “Kiki” Vigil, the meetings are designed to provide a platform for people in the rural communities of Doña Ana County to express concerns over public safety and address issues in each of the county’s seven districts.

Deming Woman Sentenced To 10 Years For Meth Trafficking

May 26, 2016

  ALBUQUERQUE – Norma Patricia Rivera, 40, of Deming, N.M., was sentenced today in federal court in Las Cruces, N.M., to 120 months in prison followed by five years of supervised release for her methamphetamine trafficking conviction.

CBP Seeking 35-year Right-of-Way Easement Across Certain State Trust Lands in Southern New Mexico

May 26, 2016

  New Mexico State Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn will hold a public meeting in Lordsburg on June 2 to solicit feedback on U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s application for a 35-year right-of-way easement for the maintenance of certain existing roads on State Trust Lands in Luna and Hidalgo Counties, as part of the agency’s Tactical Infrastructure Maintenance and Repair (TIMR) program.

  The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) are funding research to the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center in Albuquerque, N.M., to better understand ways to improve environmental conditions for vulnerable populations. 

The university will use $1.5 million to establish a Center for Native American Health Equity Research. The center will examine how contact with metal mixtures from abandoned mines affects rural Native American populations.

Man Indicted In Murder Of 11-Year-Old Navajo Girl

May 26, 2016

  ALBUQUERQUE – A federal grand jury has returned a six-count indictment that charges Tom Begaye, Jr., 27, with murder, kidnapping and aggravated sexual abuse offenses arising out of the alleged abduction and murder of an 11-year-old Navajo child on May 2, 2016.  U.S. Attorney Damon P. Martinez, Special Agent in Charge Terry Wade of the FBI’s Albuquerque Division, and Director Jesse Delmar of the Navajo Nation Division of Public Safety announced the filing of the indictment.

Working At 9,000 Feet Near Las Cruces

May 26, 2016

  Salinas Peak, the highest point in the San Andreas Mountain and the highest point on White Sands Missile Range, is the place of duty for two WSMR TRAX employees whose job is to secure radio signals between pilots and the WSMR Cox Range Control Center.

TRAX Communications Technicians Charlie Arellanes and Ken Lawson are the two-person team who make the hour and a half long drive uphill after reaching Stallion Gate in the northern part of the range. The two work at the Information Systems Command located on Salinas Peak, which sits at an 8,967-foot elevation.

  LAS CRUCES, NM – The Bridge of Southern New Mexico today announced the return of Tracey Bryan to the position of President and CEO. Bryan formerly led the organization from 2010-2013, before leaving Las Cruces to move to Washington, D.C.

  EL PASO, Texas – Marc Cox, Ph.D., associate professor in The University of Texas at El Paso’s Department of Biological Sciences, has been selected as the 2016 Texas Inventor of the Year for his treatments for breast and prostate cancer developed at UTEP.  

Public Conversation: Making Las Cruces More Inclusive

May 26, 2016

  Casa Camino Real Bookstore & Art Gallery invites the public to come down to the bookstore on Thursday, June 2 from 3-5pm for a Community Charla to discuss how our community can become more inclusive and expansive in its cultural outreach to the Latino, African-American, Native-American and very rich and diverse Multicultural community.

 

  ALBUQUERQUE -- A week after the New Mexico Foundation for Open Government (NMFOG) released the results of its audit to determine compliance by state agencies and counties with public records requests, five additional state agencies now have filed responses. 

First Lady Set To Speak At Santa Fe Indian School Commencement

May 26, 2016
whitehouse.gov

Michelle Obama plans to address 105 Native American high school graduates during a commencement speech that comes as she attempts to spotlight tribal youth in the final months of her husband's presidency.

The first lady's commencement address Thursday at the Santa Fe Indian School is part of an Obama initiative aimed at removing "barriers to success" for Native American youth, who the White House says make up the nation's "most vulnerable population."

Mail Thief Suspect Killed In US Marshalls Shootout

May 26, 2016

Authorities say a suspected mail thief is dead and his wife is charged with harboring a fugitive after a gunfight with members of a U.S. Marshals task force in southeast Albuquerque.

Federal officers were looking for 31-year-old Mario Montoya after he disappeared from a halfway house on May 20.

They found him with his wife at an apartment Tuesday afternoon.

Authorities say 37-year-old Colleen Calamia then left the apartment and U.S. Marshals stopped her vehicle.

dpnm.net

With the end of the Democratic primary getting closer, Hillary Clinton is leading Bernie Sanders in the delegate Count, and Bernie Supporters who attended his rally in Vado, New Mexico have mixed opinions if they would support Clinton in the general.

“I’d definitely support Hillary,” Anthony Martinez said.  “I think she’s a good candidate, I think she’s great, but let’s try Bernie first. He’s the best.”

“I don’t know,” Devin Packer said. “I still haven’t decided what I’m going to do yet.”

 

   For the first time….voters in Dona Ana County will be able to cast a ballot on Memorial Day.   And it’s part of a larger effort to increase voter turnout in the county.

Voting will take place from 8am to 5pm on Memorial Day at the Dona Ana County Government Center on Motel Boulevard.  It’s part of early voting for the New Mexico primary for registered Republicans and Democrats. 

Alamogordo Man Pleads Guilty To Meth Charges

May 25, 2016

 ALBUQUERQUE – Justin Aaron Hudkins, 33, of Alamogordo, N.M., pleaded guilty today in federal court in Las Cruces, N.M., to methamphetamine trafficking crime charges.

Bill Clinton Wraps Up Campaign Swing In New Mexico

May 25, 2016
Former President Bill Clinton / twitter.com-@billclinton

Former President Bill Clinton has wrapped up a two-day swing in New Mexico with a low-key rally at a packed Albuquerque community center.

Clinton told the crowd Wednesday that his wife, Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton, plans to address income equality and college debt and bring back manufacturing jobs to the United States.

He also made a pitch to the working class, saying he understands their frustrations and that his wife doesn't want to leave anyone behind.

  Three teams won money and support during this year’s Launch competition hosted by Arrowhead Center at New Mexico State University.

On April 28, Launch finalists competed for a $25,000 equity investment award to accelerate their game-changing technologies. The Launch finals competition, now in its fifth year, had not previously been open to the public. In addition to the sizable grand award, there was a crowd favorite prize of $1,000 and a social media favorite prize of $500, which resulted from a new initiative to push out Launch technologies through a social media campaign.

Thompson: Pearce Is Wrong On Methane

May 25, 2016
Four Corners Power Plant. Photo courtesy of EcoFlight and San Juan Citizens Alliance

  Commentary: On May 12th, the EPA finalized new safeguards on methane pollution from the oil and gas industry. The rules increase NM revenue, put people back to work, and similar standards have already been implemented in CO with backing from industry. Some in New Mexico, though, have been too stuck in old thinking to see the facts.

Congressman Calls On New Mexico To Help With Water Dispute

May 25, 2016
Rep. Steve Pearce (R-NM 2)

New Mexico's only Republican member of Congress has joined the fight between ranchers and the federal government over access to water on national forest lands.

The U.S. Forest Service has fenced streams, springs and other watering holes to protect the habitat of an endangered mouse. The agency has defended the action, saying it has responsibilities under the Endangered Species Act.

But U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce said Wednesday the agency is blindly implementing laws without weighing the effects on livelihoods, customs and culture in rural New Mexico.

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