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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.

AG: No Pattern Of Fraud Found With 10 Nonprofit Providers

Feb 8, 2016
New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas

The New Mexico Attorney General's Office says there doesn't appear to be any pattern of fraud by 10 nonprofits that provided behavioral health services to needy New Mexicans.

Attorney Hector Balderas announced the findings in a letter delivered Monday to state lawmakers.

Balderas said some regulatory violations were uncovered. Those are being forwarded to the Human Services Department for possible administrative action.

Balderas' office is continuing to review two remaining providers. His office previously found no fraud but overpayment issues with three others.

New Mexico Department of Health

Commentary: Zika virus disease has been in the news for several weeks now and has many individuals concerned. Zika virus is transmitted to people primarily through the bite of an infected mosquito, though there also have been reports of transmission through sexual contact. The disease can cause fever, rash, muscle aches, joint pain and red eyes. Zika virus disease has also been linked to birth defects, including microcephaly and other poor birth outcomes in some women infected during their pregnancy. There have been no known cases in New Mexico to date.

Report: Expand Mental Health Capacity In Southern New Mexico

Feb 8, 2016

A new report recommends adding 30 new hospital beds in southern New Mexico for adults with severe mental illness.

The Las Cruces Sun-News reports the study recommends partnering with a provider to take such patients while a new $15.5 million public facility is built Dona Ana County.

Currently, when district judges order involuntary psychiatric hospitalizations, patients are sent to a state-run hospital four hours away. The report says that puts a burden on local agencies responsible for transporting the patients and isn't ideal for patients or their families.

Monday Business Watch

Feb 8, 2016

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  two broadband tax breaks pending in NM Leg stand to benefit rural, metro economies by drawing more companies to the state.

The New Mexico State University Black Student Association has a full schedule of events for Black History Month.

The Black Student Association at NMSU held a living Wax Museum, students and faculty dressed up like historical figures and provided information about why they were influential. Vice President Meligha Garfield says it was a fun way to bring the historical figures to life.

“Viva La Cultura!” Coming To Las Cruces

Feb 7, 2016

  The Doña Ana Arts Council and Santa Fe’s Spanish Colonial Arts Society, organizers of the second annual Las Cruces Spanish Market, present “Viva La Cultura!” an evening of traditional New Mexican and Latin American music with “La Rondalla de Albuquerque” at 7:30 p.m. Friday, February 19, on stage at the historic Rio Grande Theatre in Downtown Las Cruces.

Former UNM regent blames hospital delay on political interference

Feb 7, 2016

  A former University of New Mexico regent publicly accused Gov. Susana Martinez's administration Friday of politically interfering to block the development of a new facility to replace the university’s ’outmoded’ hospital.

Mel Eaves leveled his accusations during apublic meeting of the Health Sciences Center Board of Directors  in which staff ticked off the challenges to working in an older facility, some portions of which were built in the 1950s.

Sunland Park Gets Interim City Manager

Feb 7, 2016

A former New Mexico Oil and Gas Association president has been named interim city manager of a troubled New Mexico border city.

KVIA-TV in El Paso reports (http://goo.gl/TwEiiR) that Sunland Park city council voted 4-3 during a heated meeting to hire former New Mexico State University regent Bob Gallagher to a $56,000 six-month contract. Under the terms of the deal, Gallagher will work two weeks per month.

The vote comes as two Sunland City councilors face legal problems stemming from separate arrests.

Bill Proposes Adding Qualifications For New Mexico Sheriffs

Feb 7, 2016

A proposal has been approved by the state Senate's Public Affairs Committee that would increase the necessary qualifications needed to for sheriff in any New Mexico county.

Senate Democrats say there are currently no minimum qualifications outlined in state law for holding a sheriff's office.

The bill sponsored by Sen. Michael Padilla and approved in committee Saturday would include requiring candidates for sheriff to be at least 21 years old and have at least seven years of professional law enforcement experience, plus a certification of basic law enforcement training.

Texas Teen Kills Mother, Two Neighbors, And Himself

Feb 7, 2016

Authorities say a Texas teenager killed his mother and two neighbors before killing himself.

Uvalde County Sheriff Charlie Mendeke said Sunday that 19-year-old Dylan Westerburg gunned down his mother Friday in their home near Uvalde, about 85 miles west of San Antonio. He then went and killed two brothers who lived next door.

Mendeke says a witness saw Westerburg kill one of the brothers and called for help. When officers arrived they heard a final gunshot that investigators believe was Westerburg shooting himself inside the neighbors' home.

JONATHAN THOMPSON HIGH COUNTRY NEWS

The Environmental Protection Agency says millions of gallons of wastewater that gushed from a Colorado gold mine last year may have sent more than 880,000 pounds of metals into a river.

A preliminary report released Friday says the spill flowed into the Animas River and most of the metals settled into the riverbed. It says some of them reached the San Juan River, which the Animas joins in New Mexico.

Utah officials have said some contaminants reached their state, but the report doesn't address that.

New Mexico Couple: Woman Posed As Humane Society Worker And Stole Dog

Feb 6, 2016

A New Mexico couple says a woman posing as an Animal Humane employee threatened them with jail and stole one of their dogs.

KRQE-TV in Albuquerque (http://goo.gl/f605Kx) reports Leandra and Angelo Quevedo of Rio Communities, New Mexico, said Thursday the woman originally responded to a Criaglist ad about buying a dog.

After purchasing a dog, she returned and claimed she was with the Humane Society of the United States.

Group Questions Closed-Door Meeting By New Mexico Lawmakers

Feb 6, 2016

The New Mexico Foundation for Open Government says a House appropriations committee locked out the public from a meeting on the state budget.

Foundation Executive Director Susan Boe wrote to the House speaker and Senate president Friday to urge that all legislative committee meetings be held in public.

Boe says the House Appropriations and Finance Committee locked the doors to its committee room and barred the public while discussing a state budget bill on Monday. The committee presented a detailed $6.3 billion budget plan in public the next day.

Bataan 2016, Who Will You March For?

Feb 5, 2016
flickr/wsmr

  The 27th annual Bataan Memorial Death March is gearing up to step into another record-breaking year March 20 at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico. The event is an active history lesson and a true test of endurance.

Considered one of the hardest marathon-length routes in the U.S., participants come from all over the world to honor the Bataan fallen and World War II survivors.

This Week In The Las Cruces Bulletin

Feb 5, 2016

  Every Saturday at 5:30pm on Images, Fred Martino speaks with Las Cruces Bulletin Managing Editor Brook Stockberger about the week's top stories and much more in the Bulletin.  

Apollo 14 Astronaut Edgar Mitchell Passes Away at 85

Feb 5, 2016

  The last surviving member of the Apollo 14 crew, Astronaut Edgar Dean Mitchell, passed away February 4, at 9:30 pm, in West Palm Beach from a sudden illness.

Although Mitchell was born in Hereford, Texas, he always considered Artesia, New Mexico, his home because he spent most of his childhood there. A 1948 graduate of Artesia High School, the Navy veteran also held degrees in Industrial Management, Aeronautical Engineering, and Aeronautics and Astronautics. He held an honorary doctorate from New Mexico State University and several other universities.

Suspect Sought In Fatal Stabbing Surrenders

Feb 5, 2016

  A suspect wanted by Doña Ana County Sheriff’s detectives in the fatal stabbing of David Escamilla, 17, surrendered to law enforcement late Thursday afternoon.

   Lawrence J. Lucero, 19, turned himself in just after 5 p.m. at the sheriff’s main headquarters in Las Cruces. He was accompanied by his attorney and a few family members.

   Detectives had obtained a warrant for Lucero’s arrest on Thursday morning, identifying him as a suspect in the fatal stabbing investigation that began on Oct. 19, 2014.

A second Senate committee has passed a bipartisan proposal aimed at making New Mexico compliant under the federal REAL ID Act.

The Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously approved Friday a measure that would create "driver's authorization card" following emotional pleas some senators.

Under the proposal, immigrants living in the country illegally would be allowed to apply for that card but could no longer get a New Mexico driver's license.

Family Blames Deputies For Death Of Great-Grandfather

Feb 5, 2016
bernco.gov

A New Mexico family says excessive force on the part of sheriff deputies is to blame for the death of an 88-year-old great-grandfather who was distraught following the death of his wife.

The family of Fidencio Duran is suing Bernalillo County in state district court.

Their complaint outlines a standoff last September that ended with deputies shooting Duran with pepper balls before unleashing a police dog. Duran died a month later, and medical investigators classified his death as homicide.

Officials: Burglar Takes Chocolate From New Mexico School

Feb 5, 2016

Authorities say a thief broke into an Albuquerque elementary school and stole more than a dozen boxes of Student Council chocolate.

KOAT-TV in Albuquerque reports the bandit broke into Ernie Pyle Middle School last week and also ran out with $120 in Student Council cash, a laptop, a wheel barrow and a garbage can.

Officials say the cash and chocolate belonged to the Student Council, which was fundraising for various school projects.

Parent Cassandra Lucero says the break-in was "heartbreaking" for students.

Man Gets Maximum For Transients' Beating Deaths

Feb 5, 2016

The latest on the sentencing of a man convicted of beating two homeless men to death (all times local):

3:10 p.m.

An Albuquerque man convicted of beating two homeless men to death with cinder blocks and other objects has been sentenced to 67 ½ years in prison, the maximum allowed.

A jury found 20-year-old Alex Rios guilty last year of more than a dozen felony counts in the 2014 killings of Alison Gorman and Kee Thompson.

New Mexico Senate Passes Version Of A 'Kendra's Law'

Feb 5, 2016

The New Mexico Senate has passed a proposal that would require some New Mexico residents with severe mental illness to receive court-ordered outpatient treatment.

The Democratic-led Senate voted 29-9 to approve a bill that orders some patients to participate in assisted outpatient treatment if the court finds that the patients are a danger to themselves and others.

Senate President Pro Tem Mary Kay Papen, who is co-sponsoring the bill, says it's "like a modified version" of the New York's Kendra's law.

Las Cruces Mother Indicted for Leaving Kids in Car

Feb 5, 2016

  LAS CRUCES, N.M. – Today, District Attorney Mark D’Antonio announced that a grand jury has indicted a Las Cruces woman accused of leaving her kids in a car during the summer.  

Authorities said Gretta Jimenez, 35, left her 8-year-old son and 6-year-old daughter in a locked car outside a grocery store in Las Cruces for 30 minutes. The incident happened last September when the temperature was 91 degrees outside.

D'Antonio said “Protecting the children of Doña Ana County needs to be everyone’s top priority. We are very fortunate the officer arrived when he did.”

  PBS and WETA Washington, D.C., the flagship public television station in the nation’s capital, has announced that PBS NewsHour will produce the first Democratic presidential candidates debate following the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary on Thursday, February 11, 2016 at 7 PM MT. NewsHour co-anchors and managing editors Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff will moderate the PBS NewsHour Democratic Primary Debate, to be broadcast on KRWG-TV and KRWG-FM and nationwide on PBS/NPR stations.

Las Cruces Arts Fair Planned For March

Feb 5, 2016

  The Las Cruces Arts Fair opens on Friday, March 18 at 5:00 PM at the Las Cruces Convention Center. In its 6th year, the Arts Fair features original work by fine artists from throughout the United States and Mexico. This year, much to the delight of all, the Arts Fair fills the entire Convention Center, utilizing both ball rooms. It is a showcase of incredible work from one hundred and one artists who were selected by a jury of local arts professionals. There are many returning artists, even more new artists, and emerging student artists.

Territorial Charter Event Planned For Silver City

Feb 5, 2016
original charter for silver city

  On Saturday, February 13 from 1 to 2 p.m., guests, friends, and family are invited to come to the museum for Valentine’s Day refreshments and to view an exhibit honoring the February 15, 1878, signing of the Territorial Charter of the Town of Silver City.

Koch brothers, defense attorneys: What’s on New Mexicans’ minds matters

Feb 5, 2016
jeff proctor-new mexico in depth / Race car legend and New Mexico icon Bobby Unser, left, tells the Charles Koch Institute’s Vikrant Reddy the story of his tangle with the federal government in 1996 during an event in Albuquerque last week.

  A politically disparate, influential group of thought-heavyweights has its eye on New Mexico for a clampdown on government prosecutions of people for crimes they didn’t know they’d committed.

Last week, the Charles Koch Institute and the Rio Grande Foundation, New Mexico’s libertarian think tank, co-sponsored a discussion in Albuquerque about what they call “over-criminalization.” At their side was the executive director of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL).

Mescalero Man Pleads Guilty To Meth Distribution Charge

Feb 5, 2016

Wallace Rice, 23, an enrolled member of the Mescalero Apache Nation who resides in Mescalero, N.M., pleaded guilty this morning in federal court in Las Cruces, N.M., to a methamphetamine distribution charge under a plea agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

http://www.agavearts.com/?page_id=146

Glenn Schwaiger, an artist and associate professor at New Mexico State University and Dona Ana Community College, will present highlights of his latest trip to Jingdezhen, China, during a presentation later this month.

Schwaiger’s presentation, “Handcrafted Porcelain in China: Collaborative Processes and Methods,” will be from 6 to 7:30 p.m.Feb. 23 in the NMSU Health and Social Services Building Auditorium, Room 101. The presentation is free and open to the public, and is sponsored by the NMSU Confucius Institute and the NMSU Department of Art.

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