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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.

EPA: Soil On Navajo Nation Trending To Pre-Spill Conditions

Aug 28, 2015
JONATHAN THOMPSON HIGH COUNTRY NEWS

Federal officials say the concentration of metals in the San Juan River on the Navajo Nation is returning to what it was before the release of toxic sludge from a gold mine.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released new data Friday of surface water and soil samples from nearly a dozen locations on the reservation. The EPA says iron and other metals peaked in the week following the Aug. 5 spill at the Gold King mine but since have declined.

Secretary Of State Accused Of Embezzlement, Money Laundering

Aug 28, 2015
NM Sec. of State Dianna Duran / Official photo

New Mexico's Democratic attorney general has filed a complaint in state district court, accusing Republican Secretary of State Dianna Duran of embezzlement, money laundering and other campaign-finance violations.

Attorney General Hector Balderas' office filed the 64-count complaint in Santa Fe late Friday afternoon.

According to the document, the attorney general's investigators say they uncovered behavior that included the transferring of large amounts of cash from Duran's personal and campaign accounts as well as cash expenditures at casinos throughout the state.

Suspect Sought In Drive-By Shooting Investigation

Aug 28, 2015

  A warrant was issued late Thursday for the arrest of an 18-year-old Las Cruces man who Doña Ana County Sheriff’s detectives say is a suspect in a series of drive-by shootings last week east of Las Cruces.

According to court documents, Eric Brooks, who lives in the 9100 block of Corona, is wanted on one count of shooting at an inhabited dwelling and two counts of shooting at or from a motor vehicle. The allegations are all fourth-degree felony charges.

New Federal Charges For Man Accused In Rio Rancho Officer's Death

Aug 28, 2015

A federal grand jury has filed robbery and other charges against a man accused in the fatal shooting of a police officer in an Albuquerque suburb.

A superseding indictment filed Friday says 28-year-old Andrew Romero carried out armed robberies at a CVS on April 6 and a gas station on May 26 in Albuquerque. The gas station robbery came in the day after authorities say Romero shot and killed Officer Gregg "Nigel" Benner in Rio Rancho.

Romero is charged in state court with first-degree murder.

  Technology is consistently changing. To keep up with the demands of the evolving technology, students can learn about useful tools needed in the field through New Mexico State University’s bachelor’s degree in information and communication technology. 

Texas Worker Gets Prison Time For Selling Driver's Licenses

Aug 28, 2015

A woman accused of selling driver's licenses to more than 28 illegal immigrants while working at the Texas Department of Safety has been sentenced to 15 months in federal prison.

The Dallas Morning News reports Gloria Adame was sentenced Thursday. She had pleaded guilty to conspiracy to transfer identification documents produced without lawful authority.

Santa Fe Residents Concerned Over River Turning Green During Test

Aug 28, 2015

After a water drainage test in the Santa Fe River turned the normally clear water bright green many surprised residents are calling the city government for answers.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that on Thursday the New Mexico History Museum was trying to find where its emergency drainage system discharged water, causing the intentionally bright, nontoxic dye to seep into the river.

Stormwater inspector Dave Pike, who conducted the test, says he was just as surprised as many residents, as he didn't know it would drain into the river.

JONATHAN THOMPSON HIGH COUNTRY NEWS

Farmers in the northeast part of the Navajo Nation will soon be cleared to resume using the San Juan River for irrigation after it was contaminated by the Gold King Mine spill.  

The Farmington Daily Times reports that Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye announced Thursday at a meeting with chapter officials that the Fruitland Irrigation canal, which delivers water to the Nenahnezad, San Juan and Upper Fruitland chapters will be opened. The chapters have been without water since the Colorado gold mine sent toxic sludge into the waterway on Aug. 5.

Swimming can be a form of recreation, exercise, and a competition sport. Many in Las Cruces are concerned that one of their favorite activities could soon be hard to come by.

Mary Ann Hendrickson tries to swim laps 5 days a week at Frenger pool in Las Cruces, she says it’s how she exercises and what helps keep her in shape.

PNM Wants Rate Increase Of More Than 14 Percent

Aug 27, 2015
pnm.com

  New Mexico's largest electric utility is renewing its request to raise rates, this time by more than 14 percent.

Public Service Company of New Mexico filed its request with the state Public Regulation Commission on Thursday. A previous attempt was rejected by commissioners earlier this year because the utility failed to provide enough information.

Voice Of The Public

Aug 27, 2015

  Today, most news websites allow you to comment on a story anonymously. Some say…that leads to problems….but others argue it attracts more people to share their opinions. 

Guests include…Las Cruces Sun-News Managing Editor, Sylvia Ulloa and District 33 State Representative, Bill McCamley.

Strong Storm Causes Flooding In San Juan County

Aug 27, 2015

Some homes remain without power Thursday, the morning after an intense thunderstorm downed trees and flooded roadways in San Juan County

The Farmington Electric Utility System says there are still outages in the community of Flora Vista and in the Bloomingfield and Farmington area.

According to the San Juan County Office of Emergency Management, Wednesday night's storm packed strong winds and heavy rains.

Resulting flooding has forced schools in Aztec to close Thursday.

Mayor Ken Miyagishima Seeking Re-Election This November

Aug 27, 2015

Las Cruces Mayor Ken Miyagishima announced that he will be running for re-election this November. If elected, this will be his third term as Mayor of Las Cruces.

Miyagishima will be up against City Councilor Miguel Silva, who announced he was running for Mayor earlier this month.  

Three city council seats are also up for election this year, two of which do not have an incumbent in the race. 

Board Punts Decision On Embattled Albuquerque Schools Chief

Aug 27, 2015
aps.edu

The board that oversees New Mexico's largest school district has decided to delay making a decision on the fate of its embattled superintendent after he hired an administrator charged with child sex abuse.

Albuquerque Public Schools Board President Don Duran announced the delay Thursday after board members met behind closed doors for more than four hours.

Duran didn't detail any of the discussion and said only that the board needs to review the matter further before determining whether Superintendent Luis Valentino will keep his job.

A Santa Fe lawmaker says he will sponsor a proposed constitutional amendment for the state's bail system, which he calls "broken."

Sen. Peter Wirth, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said Thursday his bill will be introduced during the 30-day state legislative session that starts in January.

The Democrat's proposal puts forward two key reforms, one of which would allow judges to deny bail before trial for the most high-risk, dangerous defendents.

Study Abroad Grows at NMSU

Aug 27, 2015

   New Mexico State University students can share photos of their summer experiences on Instagram to become eligible to win bookstore gift certificates.

NMSU’s Office of Education Abroad is hosting the contest, which began Friday, through the end of the month. The top five participants with the most likes will be eligible to win a $50 or $25 gift certificate to the Barnes & Noble NMSU bookstore.

Darren Phillips, NMSU

  According to the Washington Monthly National Universities rankings for 2015, New Mexico State University is among the best colleges in the country.

This year, NMSU is listed at 114 in the national rankings. Washington Monthly ranks institutions based on their contribution to the public good in three broad categories: social mobility, which includes recruiting and graduating low-income students, research and service. 

Film Office Announces "The Magnificent Seven" to Film in New Mexico

Aug 27, 2015

  New Mexico Film Office Director Nick Maniatis announced today that the feature film "The Magnificent Seven," produced by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures and Sony Pictures Entertainment in association with LStar Capital and Village Roadshow Pictures, will be filmed throughout the state.
 The film stars Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, Ethan Hawke, Vincent D'Onofrio, Byung-hun Lee, and Peter Sarsgaard.  The production will employ approximately 275 New Mexico crew members, nine New Mexico actors and approximately 60 New Mexico background talent.

JONATHAN THOMPSON HIGH COUNTRY NEWS

  Today the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released new data trend graphs and additional public records on the Gold King Mine response.

PRC Approves Utility's Deal With Environmental Groups

Aug 27, 2015

The Public Regulation Commission has accepted an agreement between Public Service Company of New Mexico and three environmental groups about the utility's proposal for a coal plant.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that the deal, approved Wednesday, will allow the utility to close two of four coal-fired units at the San Juan Generating Station near Farmington. The lost capacity would be replaced with coal-generated power from another unit at the plant as well as natural gas from a new facility, nuclear power from Arizona and a small percentage of solar power.

New Mexico Considers Hunting Limits On Bears, Cougars

Aug 27, 2015
facebook.com/nmdgf

The New Mexico Game Commission is expected to vote on a proposal that would ease limits on hunting and trapping bears and cougars around the state.

The commission is meeting Thursday in Santa Fe. The agenda includes revised rules that would allow for more black bear hunting in all but two of the state's game management districts as well as the doubling of cougar hunting limits.

The rules would also allow trapping and snaring of cougars on private land and state trust land without special permits.

New Mexico Insurer Leaving State Health Exchange

Aug 27, 2015
https://www.facebook.com/NewMexicoHIX

Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Mexico is pulling out of the state health exchange for 2016.

Company president Kurt Shipley announced the move Wednesday in a letter to individual customers posted on the insurer's website.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Mexico says it's lost more than $19 million this year on the 35,000 individuals covered by plans they purchased on and off the exchange.

The company says existing policies will be good until the end of the year.

Mother Of Man Killed By Border Patrol Agent Files Suit

Aug 27, 2015

The mother of an unarmed man killed by a U.S. Border Patrol agent last year is suing the federal government.

The Arizona Daily Star reports Elisa Beckel, the mother of Jose Luis Arambula, filed the lawsuit Friday, saying she has suffered pain and sorrow since her son's May 2014 death. The lawsuit doesn't specify an amount for damages.

Authorities say Border Patrol agent Daniel Marquez shot Arambula from about 70 feet away during a foot chase near Green Valley. Arambula was suspected of smuggling drugs through a southern Arizona checkpoint.

Las Cruces Voters Speak Out Thursday At 7pm On KRWG-TV

Aug 27, 2015

  Las Cruces voters are speaking out about their expectations for city government.  KRWG and the Las Cruces Sun News talked with Las Cruces voters for a special airing Thursday at 7pm on KRWG-TV.   With three open council seats…and a mayoral race….voters will have some major decisions.

Barbara Alvarez says….it’s important for the city to attract more good employment opportunities.

  The Las Cruces Police Department is still searching for the person or persons who planted bombs at two Las Cruces Churches earlier this month, and since the attacks the city has been on high alert.

Las Cruces Mayor Ken Miyagishima held a community meeting last night to answer questions from the public.

Representatives from the city, Dona Ana County, Las Cruces Public Schools, and various first responding agencies were on hand to answer questions and let the public know the different safety measure being taken. 

Acoma Pueblo Man Pleads Guilty To Involuntary Manslaughter

Aug 26, 2015

An Acoma Pueblo man has pleaded guilty to an involuntary manslaughter charge and is facing up to eight years in federal prison.

Prosecutors say 18-year-old Dwight T. Brown entered his plea Wednesday without a plea agreement.

Brown was arrested on a criminal complaint charging him with killing a child while driving under the influence of alcohol in New Mexico's Cibola County on April 9.

Prosecutors say Brown faces a statutory maximum penalty of eight years in federal prison when he's sentenced.

Las Cruces Mother Sentenced To 21-Years In Prison For Daughter's Death

Aug 26, 2015

  A Las Cruces mother was sentenced to 21 years in prison in the death of her young daughter.

Annette Smith pleaded guilty to Attempt to Commit Abuse of a Child (Resulting in Great Bodily Harm or Death), six counts of Abuse of a Child and one count of Tampering with Evidence.  The Third Judicial District Court, Chief Judge Fernando R. Macias presiding, sentenced Annette Smith to a total of twenty-one (21) years in prison to be followed by a suspended sentence of nine (9) years and five (5) years of probation.

Clovis Man Convicted In Re-Trial Of Trafficking Meth

Aug 26, 2015

A Clovis man has been found guilty of drug-related charges after years of court proceeding delays going back to 2012, including a mistrial.

The Ninth Judicial District Attorney's Office says 48-year-old Kelly Jaramillo was found guilty in Curry County court on Tuesday of conspiracy to traffic methamphetamines and attempting to traffic methamphetamines.

Prosecutors say Jaramillo tried to buy more than two pounds of methamphetamine from an undercover informant in February 2012.

JONATHAN THOMPSON HIGH COUNTRY NEWS

  Today the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released the findings of an internal review of the agency’s response to the Gold King Mine incident. Led by five EPA personnel from multiple EPA regions and Headquarters, the reviewers were tasked with developing a detailed, chronological description of events as well as identifying potential factors contributing to the release.

 Governor Susana Martinez announced CyraCom will create up to 100 new jobs in Las Cruces as it expands to meet growing demand. The Governor's office says CyraCom hired its first round of new employees this summer and will hire up to a total of 100 new employees in the next few months expanding its Las Cruces operations to 200 employees.  

"We're proud to have partners like CyraCom as we continue to diversify New Mexico's economy," said Governor Martinez. "As our state becomes more business friendly, we're growing our private sector and creating more jobs for our families."

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