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.

Forbes Ranks NMSU as One of America’s Top Colleges in 2015

Oct 5, 2015

  New Mexico State University has been recognized as one of America’s Top Colleges in 2015 by Forbes. 

On the list of 650 institutions, NMSU ranked 417th overall and 92nd in the South, which are improvements of 25 spots nationally and 12 spots regionally from a year ago.

  Despite the return of monsoon rainfall this summer, New Mexico continues to be immersed in a prolonged drought, and the state’s limited water resources will continue to be squeezed.

Water resource management throughout the West is facing dramatic challenges that go to the core of our cultural, economic, and societal foundations. 

La Cella Bella Performs Free Concert In Las Cruces

Oct 5, 2015

  La Cella Bella performers Allison Reynolds and Alicia Dolan will perform in concert at the Doña Ana Community College (DACC) East Mesa Auditorium on Friday, October 9 at 6:30 p.m.

La Cella Bella perform on cellos which are part of the violin family and are the second largest bowed string instrument in modern symphony orchestra.

The New Mexico Department of Health (DOH) announced today that it will be issuing licenses to 12 applicants who applied to become licensed non-profit producers (LNPPs) in the state’s Medical Cannabis Program. Licensure is contingent upon the applicants’ acceptance and demonstration of regulatory compliance. This will bring the total number of LNPPs to 35.


New Mexico Elected Officials Declare Support For Power Plant

Oct 5, 2015

Several New Mexico officials recently declared support for a plan to build a nearly $1 billion natural gas and solar power plant in San Juan County.

The Daily Times of Farmington reports that Gov. Susan Martinez, the state's five congressmen and County Executive Officer Kim Carpenter wrote letters to Western Area Power Administration in support of the plant. It's known as the Clean Path Energy Center and could start operating in late 2019.

Power plant developer Western Energy Partners is awaiting approval to connect transmission lines to the plant.

Radar Finds Hundreds Of Unmarked Graves In Santa Clara

Oct 5, 2015

The Santa Clara Cemetery is working to mark almost 500 unmarked graves that were found using ground penetrating radar.

The Silver City Sun-News reports that the Village of Santa Clara was prompted to investigate their burial grounds after people searching for family members had been unable to find them. In all, they identified 1,397 burials.

Man Who Shot At Clovis Officers Gets 40-Year Prison Sentence

Oct 5, 2015

A Clovis man has been sentenced to 40 years in prison for shooting at police officers responding to a 2013 disturbance at a home.

The 9th Judicial District Attorney's Office said Judge Drew W. Tatum on Monday sentenced 32-year-old Eric Gutierrez on convictions for attempted murder, assault with intent to commit a violent felony upon a peace office and being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Border Crossing Officers Find Cocaine In Vehicle's Oil Pan

Oct 5, 2015

Federal officers found seven pounds of cocaine with an estimated street value of $224,000 hidden inside the oil pan of a vehicle entering the United States from Mexico.

Customs and Border Protection officers found the cocaine in a 2001 Jeep Cherokee Sunday morning at the Santa Teresa port of entry in southern New Mexico.

According to CBP, an officer at the primary inspection booth selected the vehicle for a secondary inspection. Officers found the cocaine after putting the vehicle on a lift and examining the engine area.

America's Challenge Balloon Race Dependent On Weather

Oct 5, 2015

Officials are waiting for a break in unsettled weather to launch the 20th annual America's Challenge gas balloon race.

The initial launch for the seven teams participating in this year's distance race was Saturday, but showers and thunderstorms over the weekend forced race officials to delay.

Officials say they must consider weather conditions both for the launch at Balloon Fiesta Park in Albuquerque and downrange across the country for the two or three days the balloons are expected to be aloft.

The next briefing is scheduled Monday evening.

Jackpot Odds Change For New Mexico Lottery

Oct 5, 2015

It will now be tougher to win a Powerball jackpot, but lottery officials say the odds of winning smaller cash prizes will improve under changes to the multi-state game.

The changes that took effect Sunday mean the overall odds of winning a prize will be one in about 25 instead of one in 32. A shot at the jackpot increases to one in 292 million, up from one in 175 million.

The first drawing under the revised game is Wednesday.

Los Alamos Lab Running Out Of Storage For Nuclear Waste

Oct 5, 2015

Los Alamos National Laboratory has only a narrow time frame before it runs out of room to store its nuclear waste.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that the waste should go to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant near Carlsbad, but that remains shut down after the underground site was contaminated last year.

A recent report from the Defense Nuclear facilities Safety board said the Los Alamos lab will reach its maximum capacity for storing the waste sometime in the federal fiscal year that begins in fall 2016.

Just about a week after Pope Francis spoke about the need for immigration reform in the United States, the Center for Migration Studies held their annual Catholic Immigrant Integration Conference in El Paso.

Everything from border security to health care and education was discussed at the conference with people who work and study every step of the immigration process. Sister Norma Pimentel, Executive Director of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley spoke about her experience working on the border during the wave of unaccompanied children migrating into the United States.

Monday Business Watch

Oct 5, 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 the upcoming ISPCS conference and takes a look at Mesilla Valley Maze. 

San Juan County To Improve Accessibility

Oct 5, 2015

FARMINGTON, N.M. (AP) — San Juan County has agreed to take steps to improve the accessibility of public facilities as part of a settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice.

The Daily Times of Farmington reports that the agreement requires the county to hire an independent architect to certify that the county has altered polling places and emergency shelters to comply with the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

UNM Provost Calls Scorecard Of Students' Salaries Unfair

Oct 5, 2015

A top University of New Mexico official says a federal scorecard that says the school's graduates earn thousands of dollars less than their peers from other colleges is unfair.

The Albuquerque Journal reported Sunday that Provost Chaouki Abdallah is criticizing the U.S. Department of Education's College Scorecard.

According to the study, UNM students who enrolled and obtained financial aid make $5,000 less than the national median for students.

Guard Shortage Taking A Toll On New Mexico Prison Staff

Oct 4, 2015

New Mexico officials say challenges in recruiting and maintaining corrections officers is causing large staffing shortages across state prisons.  Five of the six state-run prison facilities have vacancy rates of 20 percent or more.

The shortage has led to corrections officers complaining about mandatory overtime for not that much pay.

Deputy Corrections Secretary Mark Myers says the department cannot keep "running officers into the ground."

Myers says the state's salary for guards is among the lowest nationally, even with a 2014 pay raise.

In Depth: A Call For Capital Outlay Reform In New Mexico

Oct 4, 2015

  A leading non-partisan think tank wants state lawmakers to reform how New Mexico pays for brick-and-mortar projects.

And it wants lawmakers to do it during the 2016 legislative session, which starts in January.

Officials in Luna County are considering a proposal allowing authorities to fine homeowners who permit underage drinking on their property.

The Luna County Board of Commissioners will hold a forum Wednesday to discuss a social host ordinance.

Under the proposed law, police an issue a citation to homeowners or property owners who knowingly allowed minors to consume alcohol.

The commissioners are considering giving out a warning citation before a fine.

Massive Hailstorm Hits Las Cruces

Oct 3, 2015

  For about 20 minutes on Saturday afternoon, it sounded like the end of the world in Las Cruces.  A massive hailstorm pounded roofs and cars on the East Mesa and in other parts of Las Cruces.  The National Weather Service reported hail of about 1.25 inches.  

But some areas of Las Cruces reported golf ball-sized hail.  And the resulting damage was devastating:  some homes reported every skylight broken; cars were dented; even car windshields were shattered.  Many life-long residents of the city said it was the worst hailstorm they had ever witnessed.

Army and Air Force ROTC To Send Off Local Honor Flight

Oct 3, 2015

More than 40 World War II, Korean and Vietnam War veterans from southern New Mexico and El Paso will travel to Washington, D.C., after the New Mexico State University Army and Air Force ROTC ceremoniously sends them off at 6 a.m. Monday, Oct. 5, from the north side of the Pan American Center.

“This small service we provide to them is the least we can do for the service and sacrifices they made for us,” said Lt. Col. Jeremiah Klomp, NMSU Air Force ROTC commander and professor of aerospace studies in the College of Arts and Sciences. 

NMSU Fire Chief Gives Safety Tips Ahead of Fire Prevention Week

Oct 3, 2015

  Smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are lifesavers and should be installed in every home, said New Mexico State University Fire Chief Johnny Carrillo.

The NMSU Fire Department is one of several throughout the nation commemorating Fire Prevention Week Oct. 4-10. This year’s theme is, “Hear the Beep Where You Sleep.”

NMSU To Host Extension Disaster Education Network Meeting

Oct 3, 2015

  About 70 representatives from the national Extension Disaster Education Network will meet in Las Cruces next week for their annual meeting Oct. 6-9 at Hotel Encanto de Las Cruces. The gathering will feature a tour of the New Mexico Border Authority Port in Santa Teresa.

  The Las Cruces Fire Department and the Veterans Advisory Board will commemorate National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Weekend with a flag-raising and bell ceremony at precisely 8 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 4, at Veterans Memorial Park, 2651 Roadrunner Parkway.


The ceremony will honor the 87 firefighters throughout the country who died last year in the line of duty and is open to the public.


New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas

Embattled New Mexico Secretary of State Dianna Duran could face stiffer fines if convicted in a campaign finance fraud case.

The state attorney general's office filed a motion in district court late Friday seeking a penalty enhancement since Duran is a public official and the allegations are related to her duties as New Mexico's top elections official.

If Duran were to be convicted and a judge were to approve the motion, her sentence could be increased by an additional fine amounting to pay and fringe benefits she has since 2010, or close to $500,000.

Education Across the Border - Grecia Rivas

Oct 2, 2015

New Mexico In Depth: More Questions About Campaign Accounts

Oct 2, 2015

  The Secretary of State’s office said this week it would look closer at a former lawmaker’s decision to contribute money from his campaign fund to a family member running for office last year.

Roswell School Official Supports State Teacher Evaluations

Oct 2, 2015

The superintendent of a southern New Mexico school district said he supports the state's controversial teacher evaluation system, but has also gone against the state's policy by renewing the license of a teacher who received low ratings.

The testimony from Superintendent Tom Burris of the Roswell Independent School District came Tuesday, the third day of hearings in Santa Fe on a lawsuit filed by teachers and Democratic lawmakers.

The suit calls for a temporary injunction to stop evaluations based on testing.

More Accusations Leveled Against New Mexico Secretary Of State

Oct 2, 2015
NM Sec. of State Dianna Duran / Official photo

A high-ranking New Mexico official charged with dozens of counts related to alleged campaign finance fraud is now facing allegations of identity theft.

The state attorney general's office filed a criminal complaint Friday afternoon in state district court accusing Secretary of State Dianna Duran of listing a former state lawmaker as treasurer of her campaign without his knowledge.

Las Cruces Man Wanted after Toddler Shot in Eye with BB Gun

Oct 2, 2015

  A warrant has been issued for the arrest of a Las Cruces man suspected of discharging a BB gun that struck his girlfriend’s 16-month-old child’s eye, most likely causing permanent loss of sight.

Lorenzo Ordaz, 30, of 2230 Dona Ana Road, is charged with one count of negligent child abuse resulting in great bodily harm. The charge is a first-degree felony count.

  ALBUQUERQUE – Theresa Romero, 34, of Albuquerque, N.M., was sentenced this morning in federal court to three years of probation for her conviction on a theft of government property charge.  Romero also was ordered to pay $32,542.37 in restitution to the National Nuclear Security Administration, an agency of the U.S. Department of Energy that was the victim of Romero’s criminal conduct.