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.

15-Year-Old To Stand Trial As Adult In Fatal Shooting

Oct 1, 2015

A 15-year-old youth is accused of fatally shooting a 30-year-old man in Truth or Consequences.

District Attorney Clint Wellborn said a judge ruled during a preliminary hearing Thursday that the youth must stand trial as an adult on an open count of murder and a tampering with evidence charge.

State police said the youth surrendered soon after the Sept. 20 shooting death of Jonathan Regalado and that Regalado and the youth had an "on-going disagreement."

The Associated Press is not identifying the youth because of his age.

McKinley County Allocates Liquor Tax Funds For Detox Center

Oct 1, 2015

McKinley County commissioners have allocated liquor excise tax funds for a detox center in Gallup.

The Gallup Independent reports that the resolution approved by the board Tuesday comes after the Navajo Nation Department of Behavioral Health announced that it would no longer operate the Gallup Detox Center.

Gallup officials approved a temporary agreement last month putting Na'nizhoozhi Center Inc. in charge of operations at the facility for five months starting in October.

FBI Statistics Show Violent Crime Down In New Mexico

Oct 1, 2015

FBI statistics show the violent crime rate in New Mexico improved slightly in 2014 but remained significantly higher than the national rate.

The figures released this week also identify Espanola as the New Mexico city with the highest violent crime rate, due to a relatively high number of aggravated assault arrests in the small northern New Mexico city. All but 42 of the city's 265 violent crimes were classified as aggravated assault, while there were no new murder or non-negligent manslaughter cases in the community.

Opening Statements Scheduled In Wildfire Liability Lawsuit

Oct 1, 2015
<p><a href="">Image: luigi diamanti /</a></p>

Investigators determined a rotting tree that fell onto a power line sparked what would quickly become one of the largest fires in New Mexico's recorded history.

Attorneys are scheduled to make opening statements Thursday in state district court in a case that will answer whether two electric utility companies should be held liable.

The trial is expected to last six weeks.

More Oil Spills Reported In New Mexico As Production Increases

Oct 1, 2015

The volume of oil produced in New Mexico increased by nearly a quarter during the last fiscal year, but a review has found that the volume of industry-related spills jumped by more than 60 percent.

The findings are part of the state Oil Conservation Division's annual performance report card, which is prepared by legislative analysts.

Mangers with the agency say the growth of both production and the volume of spills could be the result of new technology that brings more oil and associated waste to the surface.

Testimony Continues In New Mexico Teacher Evaluation Fight

Oct 1, 2015

Testimony is scheduled to continue in a legal challenge against New Mexico's teacher evaluation system.

Former Public Education Department assistant secretary Pete Goldschmidt is scheduled Thursday to face cross examination in Santa Fe over how well the evaluation system is working. Goldschmidt helped draft the evaluation system.

The American Federation of Teachers New Mexico and the Albuquerque Teachers Federation are seeking an injunction to halt the use of student test scores while their lawsuit against the evaluation system moves forward.

Las Cruces has incentives to try to get developers to build in the infill area in the center of the city, such as expedited zoning and permits and fee waivers.

The city has had a plan to encourage infill development for about 20 years, and since it was enacted vacant land area in the infill zone has decreased by close to 50%. The city still uses the plan today, and continuing development of the infill area is part of the city’s comprehensive plan.

Councilor Greg Smith says developing at the center of the city, can help to save money.

Data Shows Violent Crime Increase In Albuquerque

Sep 30, 2015

Federal statistics show violent crime increased slightly in Albuquerque last year, while rape and murder numbers in the state's largest city went down.

FBI statistics released this week reflect a steady increase in Albuquerque's violent crime rate in recent years. Mayor Richard Berry said at a news conference Wednesday that the city aims to work with lawmakers and corrections officials to make changes in the system that might reverse downward trends.

   Mayor Richard Berry says he has vetoed an Albuquerque City Council measure to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana.

The council voted 5-4 along party lines last week in favor of making it a civil offense to possess up to an ounce of marijuana, with Berry vowing to veto the legislation.

He vetoed the measure on Wednesday, saying he has a "hard time signing any legislation that preempts federal law" and that his oath of office requires him to uphold the Constitution.

Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry

Albuquerque officials are designating police substations as exchange sites for people buying and selling merchandise on Internet sites like Craigslist.

The so-called "Exchange Zones" will be in the parking lots at each of the six area command substations. Officials say the sites eventually will be monitored by security cameras that police can see in real time.

Police say the Northwest Area Command across from Cibola High School should have cameras within the next few months.

Search For Armed Suspect Leads To Albuquerque Residence

Sep 30, 2015

Authorities say an armed carjacking suspect who fled from police in a stolen vehicle as an officer opened fire is believed to be hiding at an Albuquerque residence.

Albuquerque police spokesman Officer Tanner Tixier says the man fled as two other suspects were being taken into custody Wednesday. Police say the man pointed a gun at an officer, who opened fire.

Police say they believe the suspect is holed up at a residence near the intersection of San Pedro and Karlson, and a SWAT team has responded to the location.

  The U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico issued orders today dismissing a lawsuit filed by a drug addict against the United States and five DEA agents and supervisors.

Plaintiff Aaron Romero filed his lawsuit on July14, 2014, in which he alleged that undercover DEA agents wrongfully supplied him with cocaine base, more commonly known as crack, thus “reigniting” his previous addiction to crack.  Romero sought $8,500,000.00 in damages from the United States, the DEA agents and their supervisors.

  Police arrested a Las Cruces man suspected of using a hammer to strike his roommate multiple times on the head.

Jacob A. Stick, 25, is charged with one count of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon. The charge is a third-degree felony count.

Shortly after 4 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 29, Las Cruces Police were dispatched to the 2100 block of Solar Way where the incident occurred. Officers located a 25-year-old man outside the residence with injuries to his head. The victim lost consciousness for a moment before he was transported to a local hospital.

Global Trade Magazine

The city of Las Cruces has announced it’s been named among the best cities for global trade by a national magazine. 

Las Cruces received the ranking by Global Trade magazine following a 210 percent boost in regional export growth last year .  The designation also cited investments in the city from foreign and out of state companies.

Las Cruces economic development coordinator Gary Camarano says though Las Cruces has long held a geographical edge when it comes to international trade it is only just beginning to be recognized. 

  EL PASO, Texas – A grant from the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) will enhance access to victim services and develop programs to prevent, investigate and respond to sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking at The University of Texas at El Paso and in the community.

  Silver City, NM – Political cartoonist Lalo Alcaraz, who has been described as perhaps the most prolific Chicano artist in the nation, will be on the Western New Mexico University campus as part of the Raza Alumni Reunion for Homecoming 2015.

On Thursday, October 8 at 7:00 p.m., Alcaraz will give a presentation at the Global Resource Center on campus.  He will speak about his experience as a writer and then premiere the first episode of Bordertown, an upcoming American adult animated sitcom. The premiere will be followed by a Q&A opportunity.

El Paso Plans For Possible "Toilet To Tap" Water Recycling

Sep 30, 2015

  The search for new water sources is never-ending for growing cities in the desert Southwest. Traditional sources like rivers and underground aquifers are proving insufficient, so cities are turning to options that were once unthinkable — like "toilet to tap" recycling. A handful of cities in Texas are leading the way.

Appeal Heard In Dispute Over Ten Commandments Monument

Sep 30, 2015

A New Mexico municipality that wants to keep a 6-foot-tall Ten Commandments monument outside city hall is asking a federal appeals court to overturn a judge's ruling deeming the display unconstitutional.

Attorneys for the city of Bloomfield argue the display is legal because it was privately funded. They'll make their case Wednesday morning before the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver. Bloomfield is appealing a 2014 federal order to remove the monument on grounds it violates a constitutional ban on using public property to support specific religions.

Leaders of minority farm and ranching groups say the U.S. Department of Agriculture hasn't done enough to address discrimination and civil rights violations that have affected Latinos and women.

They're expected to discuss the issue during a news conference Wednesday as the National Latino Farmers and Ranchers Trade Association kicks off its annual meeting in Albuquerque.

Groups representing black and Native American farmers and ranchers also are expected to attend.

The debate over Planned Parenthood was brought to the forefront in Washington, yesterday, when Planned Parenthood officials testified in front of Congress. Currently, there is no Planned Parenthood located in Las Cruces, but that hasn’t stopped the debates from happening locally.

Silver City Report

Sep 30, 2015

Time now for the Silver City Report with Edmundo Resendez and Silver City Press and Independent reporter, Ben Fisher taking a look at the pinon harvest starting to take place right now in the Gila.

Investigation Clears Mesilla Deputy Marshal In Shooting

Sep 29, 2015
Jacob Martinez

  A Mesilla deputy marshal who shot at a 21-year-old man earlier this month has been cleared of criminal wrongdoing.

The Las Cruces Sun-News reports that the Dona Ana County Sheriff's Office recently completed its investigation of the Sept. 1 shooting. The office recommended that no charges be filed against Deputy Marshal Manuel Cortez.

Sheriff's spokeswoman Kelly Jameson said Tuesday that the case has been turned over to Mesilla for any internal investigation.

Cortez had responded to a domestic disturbance between Jacob Martinez and his mother.

Texas Wins Conditional 'No Child Left Behind' Reprieve

Sep 29, 2015

The U.S. Department of Education has granted Texas a conditional waiver to avoid academic accountability standards under the No Child Left Behind law.

But the department placed Texas on "high risk status" for having future waivers rejected.

The Texas Education Agency announced Tuesday that securing waivers beyond the current school year will require statewide use of teacher and principal evaluations used to make personnel decisions.

But the agency said it won't compel school districts to use a uniform, statewide evaluation system.

3 New Mexico Schools Honored By US Department Of Education

Sep 29, 2015

Three New Mexico schools will be honored at a November ceremony in the nation's capital after being named National Blue Ribbon Schools.

The U.S. Department of Education announced the awards Tuesday to 335 schools. Those include Newcomb Elementary School in northwestern New Mexico, Mora High School and Melrose Elementary School.

The schools in Mora and Melrose were selected for closing achievement gaps.

Mora High School, which serves 138 students, has maintained an "A'' school grade for the past two years.

New Mexico Lawmakers Hire Lawyer For Impeachment Case

Sep 29, 2015

A panel of New Mexico lawmakers investigating fraud, embezzlement and money laundering charges against Secretary of State Dianna Duran has hired a lawyer.

The House Special Investigatory Committee announced Tuesday that it has retained former federal prosecutor Robert Gorence.

In 2001, the high-profile Albuquerque lawyer served as special counsel in the state impeachment case of a public regulation commissioner who later resigned.

Drones Again Banned From Balloon Fiesta

Sep 29, 2015

The Federal Aviation Administration will monitor the Balloon Fiesta again to make sure drones are kept out.

KOAT-TV reports officials are continuing to ban recreational drones within the three miles of the event's airspace radius.

Balloon Fiesta spokesman Tom Garrity said a couple of people pushed the envelope last year. Those individuals were contacted and spoken to, and Garrity said the unauthorized drones were taken out of event airspace.

NMSU College of Education Professor Receives National Award

Sep 29, 2015

  Deborah Rhein, an associate professor of Special Education and Communication Disorders at New Mexico State University’s College of Education, has been chosen to receive the 2015 Certificate of Recognition for Special Contributions in Multicultural Affairs from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

Lawsuit Claims New Mexico Company Discriminated Against Pregnant Women

Sep 29, 2015

A lawsuit filed by a federal agency accuses a New Mexico-based convenience store company of violating civil rights laws by refusing to make reasonable accommodations for pregnant women with disabilities.

The Equal Employment Opportunities Commission said Clovis-based Allsup's Convenience Stores Inc. also subjected pregnant women to forced leaves and terminations because of their disabilities, pregnancies, childbirth or related medical conditions.

The EEOC said it filed the lawsuit Tuesday after unsuccessfully attempting to negotiate a settlement with the company.

NM Supreme Court Rules In Contested Rate Case

Sep 29, 2015

The New Mexico Supreme Court is backing up a decision by state regulators to allow an electric utility to consider renewable energy costs and employee pension assets when seeking a change in customer rates.

The court's ruling came Monday in the case of Southwestern Public Service Co.

The state attorney general's office appealed after state regulators approved a 2012 request by the utility to change rates and add a surcharge for certain customers to recoup the costs of adding more renewable energy to its portfolio.

State Wildlife Panel To Decide On Mexican Wolf Permit Appeal

Sep 29, 2015

The New Mexico Game Commission is expected to decide an appeal by federal officials who are seeking to release endangered Mexican gray wolves as part of recovery efforts in the Southwest.

The commission is meeting Tuesday in Albuquerque.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service initially sought permits that would allow the agency to release a pair of wolves and their pups onto federal land in New Mexico and allow for up to 10 captive pups to be raised by foster wolves in the wild.

The requests were denied in June by the state game director.