Regional

Regional
8:38 am
Thu February 19, 2015

NM Senate Panel To Consider Spaceport Sale Bill

Credit spaceportamerica.com

A proposal that calls for pulling the plug on New Mexico's taxpayer-financed spaceport and putting the futuristic hangar up for sale will have its first legislative hearing.

The Senate Corporation and Transportation Committee on Thursday will consider the legislation sponsored by Democratic Sen. George Munoz of Gallup.

The bill has added fuel to criticisms that Spaceport America — first initiated by former Gov. Bill Richardson, a Democrat, and British billionaire Richard Branson — is a boondoggle.

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Regional
6:23 am
Thu February 19, 2015

Former Albuquerque Schools Chief Sues District

Credit Former Supt. Winston Brooks, Albuquerque Public Schools

A former Albuquerque Public Schools superintendent is suing the district over allegations that the current school chief violated an agreement.

Lawyers for Winston Brooks filed a lawsuit Tuesday following comments made by interim superintendent Brad Winter.

According to the lawsuit, Winter told the Albuquerque Journal in September that Brooks refused to work with the community and business leaders. The lawsuit says those remarks violated a settlement agreement that no district officials would disparage Brooks.

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Regional
6:16 am
Thu February 19, 2015

Help Or Hindrance: Evaluating State Economic Incentive Programs

Chiuahaha Governor Horacio Duarte Jaquez, Senator Tom Udall and Governor Susana Martinez celebrate the opening of the Union Pacific Inter-modal facility in Santa Teresa
Credit Simon Thompson

Creating jobs and generating development in New Mexico has largely been approached by giving business incentives and tax exemptions. But some economists say those tools don’t offer a guaranteed return on investment.  Some lawmakers are proposing an end to wasteful programs with a way to evaluate incentives.

MVEDA; The Mesilla Valley Economic Development Alliance has what is called an economic base approach to generating jobs and economic growth. Davin Lopez is the CEO of the Alliance.  

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Regional
5:52 pm
Wed February 18, 2015

Mayor Miyagishima Delivers State Of The City Address

Las Cruces Mayor Ken Miyagishima’s State of the City Address highlighted upcoming city improvements and reflected on the biggest issue the city dealt with this past year.

One of the most heavily debated topics of the past year was the city’s minimum wage increase. Mayor Miyagishima said that the debate taught the city a lot.

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Regional
3:53 pm
Wed February 18, 2015

Texas Governor "Confident" In Fight Against Immigration Relief

Republican Gov. Greg Abbott says he is confident that Texas and 25 states will continue to prevail in their lawsuit that has put President Barack Obama's executive actions on immigration on hold.

Flanked by U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz and other top Texas Republicans, Abbott said Wednesday that the ruling this week from a federal judge in Brownville was a "victory for America."

Texas led a lawsuit against the Obama administration to block programs that could spare as many as five million people in the U.S. illegally from deportation.

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Regional
12:41 pm
Wed February 18, 2015

Uber Comes To Las Cruces

The ride-sharing service Uber has found its way to southern New Mexico.

Operations began in Las Cruces on Wednesday following the calls for service from thousands of potential riders in the area.

The general manager for Uber in New Mexico and Arizona, Steve Thompson, says the level of interest has been high. The company already operates in Albuquerque and Santa Fe.

A state district judge earlier this year refused to bar Lyft, a similar ride-sharing service, from operating in the state because the Public Regulation Commission's authority was unclear.

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Regional
12:40 pm
Wed February 18, 2015

Bill Would Limit Vaccine Exemptions For New Mexico Children

A proposal by a New Mexico lawmaker would tighten rules that currently allow parents to seek vaccine exemptions for their children over religious beliefs.

The measure sponsored by Democratic Rep. Deborah Armstrong of Albuquerque would still allow for waivers to be approved for others reasons, including medical conditions.

Armstrong says she's not attacking religious beliefs and that the measure would in effect eliminate the parental ability to assert that a child's religious beliefs clash with immunization.

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Regional
12:39 pm
Wed February 18, 2015

Bill Would Give Less Weight To Tests In Teacher Evaluations

Less weight would be given to standardized tests in New Mexico teacher evaluations under a bill that passed the House Education Committee.

The measure sponsored by Republican Rep. James Smith of Sandia Park passed on an 8-3 vote Tuesday. It now goes to the full House for a vote.

The legislation proposes a teacher evaluation system similar to one the Public Education Department put in place last school year by administrative rule.

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Regional
12:37 pm
Wed February 18, 2015

New Mexico "Three Strikes" Bill Would Lead To Life Sentences

House Majority Leader Nate Gentry wants to clear the way for mandatory life sentences for offenders who are convicted of three violent crimes.

His legislation joins a growing list of tough-on-crime proposals being floated by the Republican majority.

Gentry says there's a reason for the theme. Pointing to a recent report, he says New Mexico is the second most dangerous state in the nation when it comes to violent crime.

Democrats argue that the majority's motive for the anti-crime bills is political.

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Regional
12:36 pm
Wed February 18, 2015

Chief Justice: Reform Texas Truancy Laws, Provide Legal Aid To Vets

Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Nathan Hecht in his first State of the Judiciary address is asking state lawmakers to approve funding for legal assistance to military veterans and reform truancy laws.

Hecht said Wednesday during a joint session of the State and House that funding for the judiciary is roughly one-third of 1 percent of the state budget. At the top of Hecht's wish list is $4 million for legal aid for veterans, which would be supplemented with $1.5 million from the Texas Veterans Commission.

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Regional
12:34 pm
Wed February 18, 2015

Colorado Snow Is A Bright Spot Amidst The Drought

Snowpack in the mountain valleys where the Colorado River originates is only a little below normal, marking one of the few bright spots in an increasingly grim drought gripping much of the West.

Measurement stations in western Colorado showed the snowpack on Wednesday at 90 percent of the long-term average.

By contrast, many stations in the mountains of California, Oregon and Washington have shown snowpack at 50 percent or less. Some detected no snow at all.

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Regional
10:48 am
Wed February 18, 2015

Terror In Las Cruces: Man Charged With Duct-Taping Girlfriend And Stealing ATM Card

  Las Cruces Police arrested a man suspected of duct-taping his girlfriend in a hotel room Tuesday afternoon, and stealing her ATM debit card and cell phone.

Wesley James Webb, 28, is charged with one count each of robbery, false imprisonment, battery against a household member and tampering with evidence.

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Regional
9:01 am
Wed February 18, 2015

UNM Unveils Nursing Course To Boost Care In Rural Areas

Professors at the University of New Mexico's College of Nursing are hoping a new online course will help boost health care in rural areas.

The college began offering its first open online course earlier this month. Officials say over 1,200 participants from more than 115 countries are registered for the course.

Professor Amy Levi says the college has deep roots in rural health care and the course provides an opportunity to share what the faculty and staff have learned over the years.

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Regional
9:00 am
Wed February 18, 2015

Bill Calls For 1980 Prison Riot Officers To Be Compensated

It's been 35 years since one of the nation's deadliest prison riots erupted in New Mexico, and one lawmaker wants to compensate the guards who were diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder as a result.

The legislation sponsored by Democratic Rep. Eliseo Alcon of Milan is headed for its first committee this week.

The measure calls for setting aside $1.5 million for the state Corrections Department to compensate officers who were involved.

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Regional
8:58 am
Wed February 18, 2015

Bill Would Reward School, Local Government Whistleblowers

Whistleblowers who report public school and local government fraud would be rewarded under a measure approved by a New Mexico Senate committee.

The bill calls for expanding the Fraud Against Taxpayer Act to include schools and local governments. State agencies, departments, boards and commissions are already covered.

The act is a series of statutes designed to protect the state from potential fraud and abuse. It rewards a percentage of the penalized amount to the whistleblower, or the person exposing the fraud.

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Regional
6:00 am
Wed February 18, 2015

NMSU Launches Veterans On Campus Training Program For Faculty And Staff

Jacobo Varela, director of New Mexico State University’s Military and Veterans Programs, takes the new Veterans on Campus training for faculty and staff. The online simulation launched in late January and is available at all NMSU campuses. (NMSU photo by Tiffany Acosta)

  As New Mexico State University continues to see an increase in enrollment for student veterans, university officials are aware of the unique characteristics they bring to classrooms across campus. 

To help educate the NMSU faculty and staff about the diverse situations student veterans and active military members may face, NMSU’s Military and Veterans Programs launched an online training program called Veterans on Campus in late January. 

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Regional
6:00 am
Wed February 18, 2015

American Southwest Theatre Company at NMSU Presents ‘Other Desert Cities’

The 2012 Pulitzer Prize finalist drama “Other Desert Cities” will come to the Medoff Theatre in the Center for The Arts on the New Mexico State University campus in February. This explosive, finely tuned family drama is directed by Josh Chenard, set and lighting by Jim Billings and costumes by Megan Thompson. Cast members include NMSU faculty member Claudia Billings, community members Deborah Storm, Jeff Peckham and NMSU Theatre Arts students Rachel Adams and Nico Holguin. 

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Regional
4:46 pm
Tue February 17, 2015

Men Charged In Las Cruces Robbery

George Baca

  Police arrested a pair of Las Cruces men suspected of stealing a woman’s purse as she walked along El Paseo Road Monday afternoon.

Gabriel Moya, 20, and George Baca, 19, are charged with one count each of robbery and conspiracy.

At around 3 p.m. Monday, Feb. 16, Las Cruces Police were dispatched to the report of a robbery that occurred along El Paseo Road near the Video 4 cinema. Officers made contact with a 44-year-old woman who stated that a young man knocked her to the ground, stole her purse and boarded a sport utility vehicle.

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Regional
4:20 pm
Tue February 17, 2015

Teen Brothers Charged With Battering Las Cruces Officers

  Las Cruces Police arrested a man suspected of striking three officers and spitting at two of them.

Gabriel Lopez, 18, of the 2500 block of Burke Road in Dona Ana County, is charged with three counts of battery on a peace officer, two counts of assault on a peace officer and one count of obstructing an officer.

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Regional
4:18 pm
Tue February 17, 2015

Hunt Is On For Suspect In Las Cruces Stabbings

An early-morning altercation outside a local Walmart store left two men with stab wounds.

Shortly after midnight Tuesday, Feb. 17, Las Cruces Police were dispatched to the Walmart store on south Valley Drive. There, officers located two men who appeared to be suffering from stab wounds.

An altercation that led to the stabbings is believed to have occurred in the parking lot north of the Walmart store. The two victims then walked to the store after being stabbed.

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Regional
4:07 pm
Tue February 17, 2015

Lou Henson Part Of The National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2015

  LAS CRUCES, N.M. – Legendary New Mexico State coach Lou Henson was introduced Tuesday as a member of the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2015.

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Regional
12:05 pm
Tue February 17, 2015

DA Wants To Stay On Albuquerque Police Shooting Case

A New Mexico district attorney who drew national attention for seeking charges against two Albuquerque officers who killed a homeless man says she shouldn't be taken off the case.

Bernalillo County District Attorney Kari Brandenburg said in a court filing this week that she saw no conflict of interest despite her office working closely with Albuquerque police on other cases.

Lawyers for Albuquerque SWAT team member Dominique Perez and former detective Keith Sandy filed a joint motion last month to remove Brandenburg from the case due to a conflict of interest.

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Regional
12:03 pm
Tue February 17, 2015

Texas Mayors Blast Republican Effort To Cap Revenue

Credit Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick - R

The mayors of the state's largest cities are pushing back against efforts by Republican lawmakers to cap the revenue generated by property taxes.

The mayors held a news conference Monday in response to proposed legislation meant to limit to 4 percent the amount of revenue that can be generated from the prior year.

They argued any cap would impair their efforts to provide basic services.

Austin officials say the legislation would have amounted to a loss of $87 million over the past five years.

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Regional
12:02 pm
Tue February 17, 2015

Fires Set At Deming Newspaper

Somebody entered The Deming Headlight's building last weekend and set small fires in a back shop area.

The Headlight reported that the circulation workers discovered small piles of apparent newsprint ashes scattered in the carriers' work space.

That part of the building formerly housed a printing press and darkrooms but now is used for storage and sorting.

Circulation Manager Barry Webber said entrance might have been made through a door that he found partially open.

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Regional
11:58 am
Tue February 17, 2015

Abbott Makes Border Security, Ethics Bills "Emergency Items"

Credit Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R)

Gov. Greg Abbott says finding the funding to train and station 500 new state troopers along the Texas-Mexico border is a top priority for the Texas Legislature.

In his first State of the State address Tuesday, Abbott also named stiffening ethics rules and bolstering early public education and higher education research as "emergency items."

And he said increasing state spending for transportation infrastructure was one, too.

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Regional
11:57 am
Tue February 17, 2015

New Mexico House Approves Bill Speeding Teacher To Administrator Track

Credit Courtesy: US Dept. of Education

New Mexico House of Representatives has approved a bill to streamline the licensing process for teachers, speeding up the process for them to become school administrators.

The bill passed on a 38-24 vote Monday and now heads to the Senate for a vote.

The legislation allows quality educators to get an administrative license in a shorter time period and gives superintendents more flexibility to fill administrative positions. The current six-year licensing process is the longest in the nation.

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Regional
11:55 am
Tue February 17, 2015

Jackpot! Texas Traffic Stop Yields $700,000 Hidden In Tire

A South Texas traffic stop has led to the discovery of nearly $700,000 hidden in a tire and two arrests.

Hidalgo County jail records show the driver, Reyes R. Hernandez III of Humble, was being held Tuesday on charges of money laundering and unlawful carrying of a weapon.

No attorney was listed for the 31-year-old Hernandez, whose bond was set at $100,000 following last Thursday's stop on southbound U.S. 281.

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Regional
11:53 am
Tue February 17, 2015

Feds Halt Preparations For Challenged Immigration Program

The Homeland Security Department is ceasing preparations for a program designed to shield millions of immigrants from deportation. That decision comes as a result of Monday's federal court ruling temporarily halting it.  Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson says his agency will stop working on the program to protect parents of U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents until further notice.

Late Monday a federal judge in Texas temporarily blocked the program and a second effort to shield young immigrants from deportation as part of an ongoing lawsuit involving 26 states.

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Regional
11:52 am
Tue February 17, 2015

New Mexico Senate Eyes Limiting Police Drones

A New Mexico Senate panel is set to debate a measure that would ban the use of police drones from gathering evidence without a warrant.

The Senate Public Affairs Committee is scheduled Tuesday to vote on a proposal outlawing unwarranted surveillance by unmanned aircraft in New Mexico.

The bill, sponsored by Sen. Gerald Ortiz y Pino and Rep. Paul Pacheco, would prevent unwarranted material from being used in court and would allow targets of drones to seek civil action.

The move comes as police departments in New Mexico consider the use of drones.

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Regional
11:52 am
Tue February 17, 2015

$1 Million Bond For Man Charged In Las Cruces Murder

  Las Cruces—Corey Franklin, 23, was arraigned in district court Monday and a secured bond was set at $1 million by Judge Darren Kugler.

On February 5, 2015 Franklin was indicted on charges including 1st Degree Murder for the death of Graciela Hernandez on January 21, 2015. Other charges included Kidnapping and Tampering with Evidence.

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