Regional

Regional
4:26 pm
Fri June 20, 2014

New Mexico Jobless Rate Falls To 6.5 Percent

New Mexico's unemployment rate dropped to 6.5 percent in May, down from 6.8 percent the previous month and 6.9 percent a year ago.

The state Workforce Solutions Department said Friday that the state's economy lost 600 jobs over the year.

Over the year, the sector with the largest job gain was financial activities and retail trade sectors. They each have added 2,200 jobs since May 2013.

Education and health services added 1,500 jobs, mining gained 1,300 jobs, and the leisure and hospitality industries added 1,000 jobs.

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Regional
1:50 pm
Fri June 20, 2014

20 Years Later, Family Of Murder Victim Pleads For Clues

Truck driven by Robert Rocha

  On June 28, 1994, 43-year-old Robert Rocha got in his 1985 Ford pickup and headed out to a shady area near the Rio Grande River south of Las Cruces. He was looking for a nice spot to have a party for his niece, who was getting ready to go to college. Just as the sun was about to go down, Rocha’s nude body was found shot to death next to his truck.

Twenty years later, the Doña Ana County Sheriff’s Office is still hoping that someone who knows something about the murder will come forward.

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Regional
11:56 am
Fri June 20, 2014

Perry Says Comments On Gays Were A Mistake

Credit Texas Governor Rick Perry (R)

   Texas Gov. Rick Perry says it was a mistake for him to compare alcoholism and homosexuality in an effort to explain his views.  The speech in which Perry made the comments airs Saturday at 7am and Sunday at 11am on KRWG-FM 90.7 during the broadcast of The Commonwealth Club.

Perry said Thursday at a forum hosted by The Christian Science Monitor that he "stepped right in it" after being asked during a trip to California last week if homosexuality is a disorder.

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Regional
11:54 am
Fri June 20, 2014

Some Immigrant Children Coming To New Mexico

Advocates say some of the immigrant families caught crossing the border together illegally will be coming to New Mexico and housed by the Catholic Church.

Thomas Baca, executive director of Catholic Charities in Las Cruces, told The Associated Press on Friday that close to 300 people will be housed at a parish in Anthony after being released from federal immigration authorities.

He says the Diocese of Las Cruces is working on raising funds to house the immigrants and racing to get the facility ready.

Baca says the Diocese of El Paso is housing around 300 immigrants.

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Regional
11:52 am
Fri June 20, 2014

FAA Approves Corpus Christi As Fully Operational Drone Test Site

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi’s Lone Star Unmanned Aircraft Systems Center of Excellence & Innovation (LSUASC) has met federal requirements to begin full operations as a test site for unmanned aircraft.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) designated the center as one of only six test sites in December, and approved it as operational on Friday, June 20.

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Regional
11:49 am
Fri June 20, 2014

NMSU Alamogordo To Offer Bachelor's Degree In Nursing

Nursing students will soon be able to earn a bachelor’s degree entirely in Alamogordo. A celebration of the new partnership between the New Mexico State University School of Nursing and NMSU Alamogordo’s Allied Health Pre-Nursing will be marked with the signing of a memorandum of understanding at 3:30 p.m. Monday, June 23, at the NMSU-A Science Center Atrium.

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Regional
10:57 am
Fri June 20, 2014

Black Bear Activity Increasing In Gila National Forest

  Due to the continuing hot and dry conditions that the Gila National Forest is experiencing, black bear activity is on the rise.  Homeowners and recreationists have been seeing an increasing number of  black bears in close proximity to their property or within recreation areas.  As drought conditions persist, black bears are in search of food and water.

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Regional
10:36 am
Fri June 20, 2014

Drone Facility Puts Holloman At The Helm Of Changing Face Of Warfare

A MQ-9 coming in for landing after at test flight at Holloman air force base in Alamogordo
Credit Courtesy of Holloman AFB

While the federal government has been cutting military budgets over the last 2 years- the Holloman remotely piloted Aircraft training program has been growing.

Students in the remotely piloted aircraft facility at Holloman Air Force Base in Alamogordo are training with two different unmanned aircrafts or drones The MQ1 "Predator" and the more powerful MQ-9 "Reaper". But not before racking hours and hours of training on simulators doing virtual missions.

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Regional
9:55 am
Fri June 20, 2014

Autopsies Ordered On El Paso Couple

Autopsies have been ordered on a man and an older woman whose bodies were found in the West Texas home they shared.

El Paso police on Friday did not immediately release the name of the man believed to be in his 60s and a woman listed as being in her 80s. Police say the two people are related. Investigators did not immediately elaborate.

Authorities say another relative discovered the bodies Thursday night after not hearing from the pair for about a week.

Police report no obvious signs of foul play in the deaths being treated as suspicious.

Regional
9:54 am
Fri June 20, 2014

Texas Jobless Rate Drops To 5.1 Percent

The Texas unemployment rate has declined for a third straight month to settle at 5.1 percent for May.

The Texas Workforce Commission on Friday announced the latest seasonally adjusted jobless rate compares to 5.2 percent unemployment in April.

The chairman of the commission, Andres Alcantar, says Texas employers kept the economy moving with 383,100 jobs added over the past year. He says that's the largest such increase since September 1997.

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Regional
9:53 am
Fri June 20, 2014

New Immigrant Detention Facilities Opening For Families

  The Obama administration is opening new detention facilities to house immigrant families caught crossing the border together illegally. This is after months of an immigration surge from Central America.

The Homeland Security Department did not immediately say how many families would be kept in the new immigration jails or where they will be located.

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Regional
9:52 am
Fri June 20, 2014

Tribe Cleared To Pursue Gaming Compact

Credit <p><a href="http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=2280">Image: digitalart / FreeDigitalPhotos.net</a></p>

  A New Mexico tribe has gotten approval to pursue a gambling compact despite possible resistance from the state.

The U.S. Department of Interior notified the Pojoaque Pueblo that it is eligible to obtain the compact from the interior secretary directly.

Pueblo Gov. George Rivera says the tribe reached out to federal officials after negotiations with Gov. Susana Martinez's administration failed.

Both sides say the other was not operating in good faith.

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Regional
9:51 am
Fri June 20, 2014

Texas School Finance Judge Could Be Removed

An outside judge is weighing whether a colleague presiding over Texas' long-running school finance trial should be removed because of perceived bias.

San Antonio-based Judge David Peeples said during a Friday hearing that he has "no business second-guessing" fellow state District Judge John Dietz's rulings and key decisions. But he will decide if Dietz can remain on the case.

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Regional
9:49 am
Fri June 20, 2014

Heinrich Urges President To End Bulk Collection Of Phone Records

Credit Senator Martin Heinrich (D) New Mexico

  U.S. Senators Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Mark Udall (D-Colo.), and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) urged President Obama to take immediate steps -- while Congress works to pass true surveillance reform -- to end the ongoing bulk collection of Americans' phone records. The senators, who all serve on the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, said the president should take every step he can under current law to end bulk collection, and rely on individual requests to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to get any records that are needed for national security investigations.

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Regional
8:21 am
Fri June 20, 2014

Proposed Federal Rule Would Extend Family Leave Benefits To All Same-Sex Married Couples

U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez announced today a proposed rule extending the protections of the Family and Medical Leave Act to all eligible employees in legal same-sex marriages regardless of where they live. The proposal would help ensure that all families will have the flexibility to deal with serious medical and family situations without fearing the threat of job loss. Secretary Perez is proposing this rule in light of the Supreme Court’s decision in United States v.

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Regional
7:27 am
Fri June 20, 2014

GAO Asked To Study Communication On Tribal Lands

U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján (Democrat)
Credit lujan.house.gov

U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Lujan and two of his congressional colleagues are pushing for the Government Accountability Office to study the current state of communication services in Native American communities.

Lujan, Democrat Anna Eshoo of California and Republican Don Young of Alaska sent a letter to the GAO this week. They say the digital divide persists perhaps nowhere more so than on tribal lands.

More than a decade ago, federal officials identified tribal lands as having less access to telecommunications services than any other segment of the population.

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Regional
7:21 am
Fri June 20, 2014

Curry County Jail Overcrowding Blamed On Low Funds

Low funding and a lack of taxpayer support are being blamed for Curry County jail overcrowding.

The Clovis News Journal reports that Curry County Commissioner Robert Sandoval says three recent jail bonds failed to pass and that's putting a strain on the county.

Officials say overcrowding at the Curry County Detention Center is forcing administrators to house prisoners at detention centers in Texas counties.

Commission Chairman Frank Blackburn said it costs around $45 a day to house a local inmate in Texas.

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Regional
7:20 am
Fri June 20, 2014

New Mexico Governor Raises Money In Missouri

Credit Office of the Governor

New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez made a quick trip to Missouri to raise money for re-election before heading to the West Coast for a Republican Party event. 

Martinez campaign spokesman Chris Sanchez said the governor traveled Thursday to St. Louis for a fundraiser for her re-election.

The governor's next stop was California for a Republican National Committee event in San Diego.

Martinez is to return to New Mexico after Friday evening's GOP event.

Sanchez said the governor's re-election campaign will pay for her travel expenses.

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Regional
7:19 am
Fri June 20, 2014

21 Refugees In Albuquerque To Become US Citizens

Nearly two dozen refugees are scheduled to become U.S. citizens at a special ceremony in Albuquerque.

Twenty-three immigrants, including 21 refugees, are slated to be naturalized Saturday as part of a "World Refugee Day" celebration at the Cesar Chavez Community Center.

Amanda Michelle Orta, of Catholic Charities Center for Refugee Settlement & Support, says these candidates for citizenship come from all over the world, including Iran, China, Nepal and Rwanda.

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Regional
7:17 am
Fri June 20, 2014

Groups Files For Release Of Mental Health Audit

New Mexico Foundation For Open Government
Credit nmfog.org

The New Mexico Foundation for Open Government has renewed its request for the full release of an audit of 15 nonprofits that provided behavioral health services for needy New Mexicans.

In a motion Thursday, the groups asked District Court Judge Sarah Singleton of Santa Fe to order the state to make the report public, saying the New Mexico Attorney General's Office has had ample time to secure information for possible prosecution against any of the providers targeted. The Attorney General already has cleared two of the nonprofits.

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Regional
3:39 pm
Thu June 19, 2014

Cruz Courts Evangelicals With Attacks On President Obama

Credit Senator Ted Cruz (R) Texas

  Leading Republicans are insisting at a social conservative conference in Washington D.C.  that America's leaders must do more to defend Christian values at home and abroad.

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas blamed President Barack Obama for attacks on religious freedom as they courted social conservatives expected to play a critical role in the next presidential contest.

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Regional
3:32 pm
Thu June 19, 2014

Texas Won't Disclose Details Of Additional Security Spending

  State officials won't reveal exactly how an extra $1.3 million a week in border security funding authorized by Gov. Rick Perry will be spent.

Texas Department of Public Safety spokesman Tom Vinger said Thursday that details of ramped-up patrols along the Texas-Mexico border for the rest of the year are being withheld because of "operational security and law enforcement safety."

Perry and other top-ranking Republicans approved additional spending late Wednesday to fight what they described as a flood of illegal immigration.

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Regional
3:31 pm
Thu June 19, 2014

New Mexico's Largest Solar Plant Opens Near Deming

  The state's largest solar power plant has opened on 600 acres in southern New Mexico.  New Mexico State Land Commissioner Ray Powell visited Deming on Wednesday to marking the opening of Macho Springs Solar Facility.

Built of state trust land in Luna County, the project is jointly owned by Southern Company subsidiary Southern Power and by Turner Renewable Energy.

Powell says the 50 megawatt solar power project provided about 300 jobs during the construction phase.

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Regional
3:25 pm
Thu June 19, 2014

Group Files Motion For Full New Mexico Human Services Department Audit

  The New Mexico Foundation for Open Government ("NMFOG") today renewed its request for a court order directing the release of the full audit of the New Mexico behavioral health providers prepared for the New Mexico Human Services Department by a private consulting group.

 

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Regional
3:23 pm
Thu June 19, 2014

Longtime NMSU Extension Agent Named Professional Of The Year

  With a 29-year record of service to New Mexicans, Eddy County Cooperative Extension Service Program Director Woods Houghton has been named Professional of the Year by a national organization.

Houghton, who serves as agriculture agent as well as program manager at New Mexico State University’s Extension office in Eddy County, was recognized for his leadership and expertise by the Joint Council of Extension Professionals and the National Association of County Agriculture Agents.

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Regional
10:42 am
Thu June 19, 2014

Las Cruces Museum To Unveil Cowboy Exhibit

The first artwork ever to be displayed at the New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum belonged to Robert “Shoofly” Shufelt. Fifteen years after he graciously loaned some of his lithographs for a temporary exhibit, Shufelt and his wife, Julie, donated his collection to the museum for a new exhibition. And now, another cowboy exhibit is coming to the museum.
Credit New Mexico Farm And Ranch Heritage Museum

  LAS CRUCES – There’s a chuck wagon over in the corner, but before you get there, you’ll walk past a squeeze chute. There are ropes, saddles, branding irons and hats. Campfire music is playing, and there are cowboy images of from all different eras covering the walls.

The only things missing in the Legacy and Traditions galleries at the New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum are the livestock and some dust. But there’s plenty of that outside on the museum’s 47-acre property in Las Cruces.

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Regional
8:04 am
Thu June 19, 2014

New Mexico Judges Earn Average Pension Of $66,300

Judges receive the highest average pensions in New Mexico's governmental retirement system.

The Public Employees Retirement Association reported to a legislative committee this week that the average pension for judges was $66,312 in the last fiscal year. Magistrates averaged $63,648 annually.

Retirement benefits are mostly based on an employee's salary and how long they've worked for the government.

District judges currently earn a salary of $112,747 a year. A Supreme Court justice is paid $124,927.

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Regional
8:02 am
Thu June 19, 2014

Hobbs Moves To Ban 12 Forms Of 'Spice'

Officials in Hobbs are looking to ban more forms of the synthetic drug known as "spice."

The Hobbs News-Sun reports that city commission voted this week to move ahead in adding 12 new compounds of the synthetic marijuana to the list of 32 chemical compounds already outlawed within the city limits.

The synthetic drug is being sold illegally at smoke shops across Hobbs and police have been waging a war against the sellers of this new drug for more than a year.

Spice is the common name for chemically treated herbs that mimic the effects of marijuana.

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Regional
7:56 am
Thu June 19, 2014

Movie About Cartels To Film In New Mexico

Credit nmfilm.com

A movie about efforts to take down a Mexican cartel boss will be filmed in New Mexico.

New Mexico Film Office Director Nick Maniatis announced Wednesday that the feature "Sicario" will be shot in Albuquerque, Los Lunas, Corrales, Laguna Pueblo, Bernalillo County and Sandoval County at the end of June through the end of August.

Starring Benicio Del Toro, Emily Blunt and Josh Brolin, "Sicario" is the story of a by-the-book female FBI agent who is assigned to work with two Delta-force operators to take down a Mexican cartel boss.

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Regional
7:55 am
Thu June 19, 2014

New Mexico Congressional Delegation Reaching Out To Veterans

    

U.S. congressman Ben Ray Lujan will be hosting a town hall via telephone to discuss the latest reports that thousands of New Mexico veterans have had long waits for medical care in the Veterans Affairs health care system.

The town hall with the New Mexico Democrat will take place Thursday evening.

Members of New Mexico's congressional delegation have been reaching out to veterans in recent weeks as they try to gage the extent of the wait times and the quality of care patients are receiving from the VA.

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