Regional

Regional
12:13 pm
Fri January 23, 2015

Texas Boom Continues-Jobless Rate Drops To 4.6%

  The Texas unemployment rate slipped to 4.6 percent in December for a fourth straight month of declines.

The Texas Workforce Commission on Friday reported that compares to a November jobless rate of 4.9 percent.

The December statewide jobless figure was the lowest since May 2008 and compares to 6.0 percent unemployment a year earlier.

Gov. Greg Abbott, who was inaugurated Tuesday, says the Texas history of strengthening job growth equates to more opportunity for all Texans.

The nationwide unemployment rate last month hit a six-year low at 5.6 percent.

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Regional
12:11 pm
Fri January 23, 2015

Texas Supreme Court To Hear School Finance Case

  The Texas Supreme Court has agreed to hear the state's sweeping school finance case — and set a timetable that ensures there won't be a decision until after the legislative session ends.

An Austin-based district judge has declared the way the state pays for public schools unconstitutional. The attorney general's office is appealing.

In an advisory Friday, the state's highest civil appeals court gave Texas 80 days to file briefs, then attorneys for the 600-plus school districts suing the state 80 days for their own briefs.

Both sides then have 40 days for replies.

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Regional
12:10 pm
Fri January 23, 2015

In Depth: Army Says Fort Hood Lacked System To ID Threat Of Rampage

  Fort Hood officials say there were no clear warning signs before a soldier went on a rampage last April that left four dead and 16 wounded, according to a U.S. Army report released Friday.

There was no indication that Spc. Ivan Lopez would go on a two-block shooting spree before killing himself on April 2, the report concluded. It also said the chain of command would have had difficulty recognizing any personal problems leading up to the attack, because risk assessment relies on self-reporting and Lopez had been dishonest with his supervisors.

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12:08 pm
Fri January 23, 2015

Bishops Want New Mexico To Restrict Late-Term Abortions

  Republicans' new control of the New Mexico House has the state's three Roman Catholic bishops urging lawmakers to enact a bill to restrict late-term abortions.

The GOP now has a majority in the House for the first time in decades, while Democrats remain in control of the Senate.

Archbishop Michael J. Sheehan of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe said New Mexico is among only a few states that don't restrict late-term abortions, often defined as those procedures occurring after 28 weeks of pregnancy

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Regional
11:27 am
Fri January 23, 2015

Drone Crashes At Holloman

An MQ-1 Predator, similar to this one, was part of runway excursion at Holloman Air Force Base, N.M. today. The aircraft was taking part in a regularly scheduled training mission. The MQ-1 is a medium-altitude, long-endurance, unmanned aircraft system. The MQ-1's primary mission is interdiction and conducting armed reconnaissance against critical, perishable targets.

  HOLLOMAN AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. -- An unmanned MQ-1 Predator was part of a runway excursion at approximately 8 a.m. Friday.  The aircraft is assigned to the 6th Reconnaissance Squadron, which is part of the Remotely Piloted Aircraft Flying Training Unit, and was taking part in a regularly scheduled training mission.

No one was injured and no private property was damaged. There is no threat to the Holloman population and the airfield remains open.

A board will be convened to investigate the cause of the accident.

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Regional
8:20 am
Fri January 23, 2015

New Mexico GOP House Speaker Tripp 'Never Expected' Spot

A California-born jeweler who only ran for a statehouse seat because he couldn't find another candidate is hoping to make his mark as New Mexico's first Republican House Speaker in 60 years.

Don Tripp of Socorro was elected this week as the new top leader in the New Mexico House of Representatives.

Tripp told The Associated Press he never expected to have the position.

The 68-year-old lawmaker says he's focused on passing a series of measures aimed at improving New Mexico's economy and educational system.

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Regional
8:17 am
Fri January 23, 2015

New Mexico Senator Wants To Modernize Telecom Law

Credit http://www.nmlegis.gov

A state senator has introduced legislation aimed at modernizing New Mexico's 30-year-old telecommunications law.

Sen. Majority Whip Michael Padilla says his bill would create a level playing field when it comes to regulation.

By freeing up large carriers from outdated rules, he says the measure would also encourage more investment in broadband and high-speed wireless communications.

Similar legislation failed last year, but Padilla says he and other lawmakers met with stakeholders to resolve some of the issues.

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Regional
8:13 am
Fri January 23, 2015

New Mexico State Veterans' Home In Line For Federal Funding

Credit http://nmhealth.org/about/ofm/ltcf/nmsvh/

The State Veterans' Home in south-central New Mexico is in line to receive nearly $16 million in federal funds for an expansion project.

Members of New Mexico's congressional delegation announced the conditional funding from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs on Thursday. They say the Veterans' Home still needs to meet certain conditions to receive the funds.

The money would go toward a new 59-bed facility and a rehabilitation area.

The plans also call for 39 beds for Alzheimer's patients.

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Regional
8:06 am
Fri January 23, 2015

Train Route In Northern NM Not Allocated Funds

New Mexico lawmakers have not allocated funding for the upkeep of tracks along a historic passenger train route through northern New Mexico.

That puts the state at risk of losing the Amtrak Southwest Chief passenger train route. The train stops in Raton, Las Vegas and Lamy.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that neither Republican Gov. Susana Martinez nor the Legislative Finance Committee have sought to allocate the estimated $4 million a year it will cost to maintain the route over the next decade.

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Regional
6:45 am
Fri January 23, 2015

LCPS Board Election District 5 Preview: Edward Frank

Credit http://www.edwardfrankforschoolboard.com/about.html
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Regional
10:26 pm
Thu January 22, 2015

Groups Withdraw Support Of PNM Power Plant Proposal

A third group is withdrawing its support of Public Service Co. of New Mexico's plan to shut down half of the coal-fired San Juan Generating Station near Farmington.

Western Resource Advocates notified state regulators in a filing Thursday it could no longer support the plan.

The group was one of several organizations that signed off on a settlement agreement last October to back the plan to replace the electricity that would be lost by the closure of two units at San Juan.

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Regional
10:03 pm
Thu January 22, 2015

Man Accused In 2006 Murder Extradited From Mexico

  Las Cruces, NM – Today, the U.S. Marshals Service booked wanted alleged murderer Eduardo Estrada-Garcia in a Dona Ana County jail after extraditing him from Mexico. The Border Violence Division of the New Mexico Attorney General’s Office worked with the U.S. Marshals Service, the United States Department of Justice and the Mexican government to bring Estrada-Garcia back to New Mexico to face an open count of murder for the alleged 2006 brutal murder of a Chaparral, New Mexico woman.

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Regional
4:41 pm
Thu January 22, 2015

Las Cruces Man Arrested After Alleged Dispute, Murder Of Girlfriend

  A 23-year-old Las Cruces man is in jail after Doña Ana County Sheriff’s deputies discovered his girlfriend’s lifeless body Wednesday night inside the couple’s Doña Ana home.

Corey Franklin reportedly went to the Las Cruces Police Department just before 7 p.m. Wednesday to report a burglary at his house in the 1400 block of Eclipse.

During questioning, Franklin changed his story and told the officer the incident was actually a domestic dispute between him and his 24-year-old girlfriend, Graciela Hernandez.   

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Regional
4:11 pm
Thu January 22, 2015

VIDEO: Heinrich Outlines Objections To Keystone Pipeline

U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), a member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, delivered a speech on the Senate floor today in opposition to legislation to approve the Keystone XL Pipeline. 

Regional
12:54 pm
Thu January 22, 2015

Top Judge: New Mexico Courts Overburdened

New Mexico courts have requested a nine percent increase in funding over last year to address hundreds of thousands of cases that remain open.  Supreme Court Chief Justice Barbara Vigil asked lawmakers to fund the courts with nearly $172 million for the 2016 fiscal year, which begins July 1.

The courts were allocated $157 million last year.

Vigil says trial court judges presided over nearly 400,000 new and reopened cases in fiscal year 2014 alone, with an average of 2,300 cases per judge.

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Regional
12:52 pm
Thu January 22, 2015

UNM Sex Assault Report Released

  An independent analysis says there's "a lot of confusion and misunderstanding" at the University of New Mexico about where students can report sexual violence.

Details of the report released Thursday outlined a series of steps the university could take to prevent sexual assaults on campus amid a U.S. Department of Justice investigation.

Jill Pilgrim, who headed up the independent report, says her team found that the school also had too many policies on sexual violence and needed to streamline them. She suggested that staff have access to better training.

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Regional
12:49 pm
Thu January 22, 2015

Suspect In Shooting Of Albuquerque Officer Indicted

  A homeless man has been indicted to charges related to the shooting and wounding of an Albuquerque police officer during a traffic stop.

The Second Judicial District Attorney's Office announced Thursday that a grand jury returned indictments against Christopher Cook in a shooting that garnered national attention.

The 36-year-old faces a number of charges, including aggravated battery on a peace officer.

He's accused of shooting Officer Lou Golson earlier this month after the officer pulled him over on suspicion of drunken driving.

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Regional
10:54 am
Thu January 22, 2015

Newsmakers 701

Field reports include:  A look at the expanded use of body cameras coming to the Las Cruces Police Department in 2015; plans are underway to pave important roads in the Organ Mountains Desert Peaks National Monument; and New Mexico State University film students get real-life experience to prepare for a career.

Regional
9:50 am
Thu January 22, 2015

Outside Team To Release UNM Sexual Assault Report

Credit unm.edu

An outside team of experts plans to release its findings following a review of the campus culture on sexual assault at the University of New Mexico.

Team leader Jill Pilgrim and Dean of Students Tomas Aguirre are expected to discuss the findings during a presentation Thursday.

In December, the U.S. Department of Justice announced it was launching an investigation into the university's handling of reported sexual assaults and sexual harassment of students.

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Regional
9:48 am
Thu January 22, 2015

Workers Discover Ceiling Damage At Nuke Repository

Credit facebook.com/energygov

Officials say a small portion of the ceiling at the federal government's underground nuclear waste repository in southern New Mexico has collapsed.

The U.S. Energy Department's Carlsbad Field Office says the damage was spotted by geotechnical workers during an inspection last week. The office announced the finding Wednesday, saying it highlighted the need for workers to continue with roof bolting operations at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant.

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Regional
9:48 am
Thu January 22, 2015

Workers Discover Ceiling Damage At Nuke Repository

Credit facebook.com/energygov

Officials say a small portion of the ceiling at the federal government's underground nuclear waste repository in southern New Mexico has collapsed.

The U.S. Energy Department's Carlsbad Field Office says the damage was spotted by geotechnical workers during an inspection last week. The office announced the finding Wednesday, saying it highlighted the need for workers to continue with roof bolting operations at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant.

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Regional
9:46 am
Thu January 22, 2015

New Mexico Lawmakers Await New Revenue Forecast

Oil prices continue to drop and that's making New Mexico lawmakers a little uneasy as they prepare to hammer out a state budget for the next fiscal year.

The chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, Democrat John Arthur Smith of Deming, joked during the floor session Wednesday that his committee wouldn't meet until the price of oil starts to rise.

On Thursday, the panel is scheduled to hear from state finance officials.

The 60-day legislative session began Tuesday and the big assignment for lawmakers will be approving a nearly $6.3 billion spending plan.

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Regional
7:04 am
Thu January 22, 2015

WINTER STORM ALERT-Friday Delays

  Las Cruces Public Schools will have a two-hour delay of all school schedules on Friday, Jan. 23.  Before-school activities and morning practices are cancelled Friday morning. All school schedules and bus schedules will be adjusted two hours later than normal. Also, Classes for the Developmentally Delayed (DD) preschool program will not be held Friday; DD preschool afternoon classes will be on a normal schedule.  Breakfast will not be served at all schools Friday morning; lunch will be served as normal. 

Jardin de los Niños in Las Cruces will open at 9:30 a.m.

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Regional
6:45 am
Thu January 22, 2015

LCPS Board Election District 5 Preview: Dr. Connie Phillips

Credit http://lcps.k12.nm.us/school-board/board-members/
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6:00 am
Thu January 22, 2015

NMSU Equine Professor Helps Students Become Leaders

Laura White, assistant professor of Equine Science, spends most of her time at the NMSU Horse Farm. (NMSU photo by Angela Simental)

  Her first horse was a mean, little pony her parents bought her even though she was a little too young to ride, but Laura White learned not to give in and to pursue her passion for horses.

“My parents thought it was just a phase, but I’ve always loved horses. They are truly magnificent beasts,” said White, New Mexico State University assistant professor of equine science. 

Originally from Texas, White now owns two horses – one for show and one miniature horse, which she is teaching new tricks.

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Regional
2:15 pm
Wed January 21, 2015

Heinrich Issues Statement On Efforts To Cover Up Torture Report

Credit Senator Martin Heinrich (D) New Mexico

  U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), a member of the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, issued the following statement in response to efforts to cover up the facts of the committee's report on the CIA detention and interrogation program:

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Regional
11:46 am
Wed January 21, 2015

Supreme Court May Weaken Housing Bias Cases With Texas Decision

Credit supremecourt.gov

  The Supreme Court appears bitterly divided in a debate over a decades-old strategy for fighting housing discrimination.

Chief Justice John Roberts and his conservative colleagues expressed serious doubts Wednesday that the Fair Housing Act can be used to ban housing or lending practices without any proof of intent to discriminate.

The court's four liberal justices defended the use of so-called "disparate impact" lawsuits that allege even race-neutral policies can have a harmful effect on minority groups.

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Regional
11:41 am
Wed January 21, 2015

Cost For New Mexico Legislative Session? $9.4 Million

  The New Mexico House of Representatives has unanimously approved the first bill of the 2015 session.

Legislators passed the piece of legislation that funds the 60-day session on Wednesday. It is known as a "feed bill."

A committee approved the measure Tuesday to provide nearly $9.4 million for session costs, including salaries for staff and expenses for legislators.

Last year, legislators approved a $5.4 million measure but the session was only 30 days.

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Regional
11:41 am
Wed January 21, 2015

In Depth: Former New Mexico Sheriff Sentenced To 10 Years

 ALBUQUERQUE – Thomas R. Rodella, 53, the former Rio Arriba County Sheriff, was sentenced today by U.S. District Court Judge James O.

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Regional
9:19 am
Wed January 21, 2015

Public Meeting Planned On Proposed Gila Cliff Dwellings Fee Increase

  Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument is seeking public comment on possible increases in the park's entry fees. The proposal is to raise the basic entrance fee from $3 to $5.  Anyone wishing to learn more about the changes, or make comments on them, is invited to a meeting to be held on Tuesday, January 27.  The meeting will take place at the Gila National Forest office in Silver City located at 3005 East Camino del Bosque. The meeting will take place between 1 and 3 PM.  Interested persons are welcome to come at any time during those hours.

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