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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.

Carlsbad Caverns Elevator Work Taking Longer Than Expected

Sep 13, 2016

A temporary shutdown of elevators used to transport visitors in and out of caves in Carlsbad Caverns National Park will last a day longer than expected.

The elevators were scheduled to be shut down for maintenance Monday and Tuesday and be back in operation Wednesday, but park officials say a subcontractor's miscalculation means the elevators won't be back in operation until Thursday.

Workers are installing new brake linings.

Visitors are still allowed to hike in and out of the cave's Natural Entrance.

Groups Rekindle Battle Over Lesser Prairie Chicken

Sep 13, 2016
USFWS

Four months after the federal government gave up a court fight to keep the lesser prairie chicken on the endangered species list, environmentalists say there's new evidence that warrants listing the bird again.

A coalition of environmental groups has filed a petition with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, arguing that key populations are in danger of extinction as climate change exacerbates problems caused by energy development, farming and other infrastructure such as roads and power lines.

Group Eyes Blocking New Mexico Border Town Area Annexation

Sep 13, 2016

A group seeking to incorporate a booming border town in New Mexico is seeking an injunction to stop the annexation of its land by a nearby city.

The Las Cruces Sun-News reports the Provisional Government of Santa Teresa wants to block Sunland Park from annexing 229 acres.

The lawsuit filed Wednesday names the city of Sunland Park and Socorro Partners, a limited liability company that twice petitioned Sunland Park for annexation earlier this year

Sunland Park Mayor Javier Perea says he is aware of the lawsuit, but couldn't comment.

New Mexico U.S. Department of Energy Grant to Study Nuclear Power

Sep 12, 2016

Santa Fe, NM – Today, the New Mexico Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department (EMNRD) announced that they have received $25,000 from the United States Department of Energy to study nuclear power here in New Mexico. The grant comes just a year after Governor Susana Martinez unveiled her “all of the above” energy plan which promotes all sources of energy production. The energy industry is an economic driver in New Mexico and is helping our state and nation become energy independent.   

NMSU biomedical research seminar series kicks off Friday

Sep 12, 2016

New Mexico State University is continuing its biomedical research seminar series with five new talks during the fall semester beginning at 3:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 16, in Pete V. Domenici Hall, Room 109.

NMSU’s College of Arts and Sciences and the Office of the Provost began the series last spring to bring attention to types of research in the biomedical field at the university. NMSU brings in more than $10 million a year in National Institutes of Health funding.

NMSU recognized as a top 50 Military Friendly university

Sep 12, 2016
Darren Phillips, NMSU

G.I. Jobs magazine has named New Mexico State University as a top 50 Military Friendly school in degree programs within areas of telecommunications and security/corrections. According to G.I. Jobs, Military Friendly schools represent the top tier of institutions that provide the best educational opportunities for military service members and their dependents. NMSU has been designated a Military Friendly school since 2010. 

Transmission Problems Blame For New Mexico Power Outages

Sep 12, 2016
pnm.com

New Mexico's largest electric provider says it has restored power to thousands of customers following multiple outages throughout central New Mexico.

Public Service Co. of New Mexico had reported outages from Santa Fe to Albuquerque and south toward Belen on Monday afternoon. Residential and business customers were affected.

The utility company said on its social media pages that it was having transmission problems and that the cause was still under investigation.

PNM customers have experienced a number of outages in recent weeks.

Silver City, NM – The forgotten sounds of the Mongolian culture will come to life through a unique presentation of throat singing by AnDa Union on Wednesday, September 21 at 7:00 p.m. in Light Hall Theater. 

AnDa Union is a ten-member group that combines instruments with vocals to deliver sounds considered old and forgotten. The group describes itself as music gatherers, digging deep into Mongol traditions to unearth lost music. A mission of the group is to inspire young Mongols to connect to their past cultures. Many young Mongols do not speak their native language.

Judge Vacates Nov. Retrial For Man Accused Of Fellow Deputy

Sep 12, 2016

A district court judge in Las Cruces has postponed the retrial of a former Santa Fe County sheriff's deputy accused of killing a fellow deputy in 2014.

The original retrial of Tai Chan had been set for Nov. 28.

A judge Monday granted a stipulation motion to vacate the November date, but didn't set a new retrial date.

Prosecutors are seeking to have the retrial in February.

Chan's first trial ended in a mistrial in June.

He had been charged with first-degree murder in fellow deputy Jeremy Martin's death.

NMSU conducts unmanned aircraft system flight at rivalry football game

Sep 12, 2016

The Sept. 10 New Mexico State University Aggie victory over the University New Mexico had significance to history in several ways. Not only it is the first time in four years that the Aggies’ beat the Lobos on the football filed, but more significant was that NMSU used new technology, an unmanned aircraft system to record video of the pre-game and kick-off. 

Events On Tap For Downtown Las Cruces

Sep 12, 2016

     

Farmers and Crafts Market

o   Wednesday, Sept. 14, Evening Farmers Market, 6 – 10 p.m.

o   Saturday Sept. 17, 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

·         Plaza De Las Cruces

o   Saturday, Sept. 17, Downtown Plaza Dedication, noon to 9 p.m.

The Latest: Jury Selection Begins In Trial For 2 Officers

Sep 12, 2016

The Latest on jury selection in the trial for two officers charged with second-degree murder in the death of a homeless man (all times local):

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2:30 p.m.

An attorney prosecuting two former police officers charged with second-degree murder in the 2014 shooting of a homeless man has asked potential jurors with law enforcement ties whether they could be fair and impartial in deciding the case.

Get The Facts On Climate Change

Sep 12, 2016

  Recently, the US Environmental Protection Agency released two-page fact sheets about climate change in each of the 50 states.

Drawing on sources like the national climate assessments, the fact sheets don’t have new or breaking information. But they do provide a good overview for citizens and decision-makers who might be thinking about the future.

In New Mexico, for example:

New Mexico AG Eyes Hospital's Obstetrical Services Closing

Sep 12, 2016
New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas

New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas is demanding answers from a northern New Mexico hospital that ended obstetrical and delivery services six months ago.

Balderas sent letters last week to leaders of the Alta Vista Regional Hospital in Las Vegas and said the closure had left an unacceptable gap in services for women in the area.

The sudden closure left dozens of pregnant women without a local hospital to deliver newborns.

The Democrat stopped short of threatening any action but said he is "tasked with oversight of charitable organizations in New Mexico."

Navajo Officials Move Toward Tribal Amber Alert System

Sep 12, 2016

Navajo Nation leaders are in talks with the U.S. government to establish an emergency alert system across the 27,000-square-mile reservation.

The Farmington Daily Times reports that Coordinator Harlan Cleveland says tribal government officials and the U.S. Department of Justice are considering establishing the Integrated Public Alert & Warning System on tribal land.

The program is a federal alert system created in 2006 in response to Hurricane Katrina.

Dr. Pat Hynes

Sep 12, 2016

On this episode of Images, Fred Martino speaks with Dr. Pat Hynes, Director of the New Mexico Space Grant Consortium.  They discuss the upcoming International Symposium for Personal and Commercial Spaceflight.  From the symposium website:

You are cordially invited to attend the International Symposium for Personal and Commercial Spaceflight (ISPCS 2016), to be held October 12-13, 2016, at the New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum, Las Cruces, New Mexico.

University Of The Southwest Eyes Enrollment Record

Sep 12, 2016

The University of the Southwest is looking at record-setting enrollment this fall.

The Hobbs News-Sun reports officials at the private, Christian liberal arts Hobbs school say enrollment last week was 429. That includes 47 inmates. Both are records for the school.

University of the Southwest president Clint Thurman says last year the school had 343 students, including 25 prisoners.

Officials say the increased enrollment does present problems because the university provides on-campus housing.

Memorial Planned For Albuquerque Girl In Brutal Killing

Sep 12, 2016

The family of a 10-year-old Albuquerque girl who police say was raped and brutally murdered is planning a memorial in her honor.

KOB-TV in Albuquerque reports the family of Victoria Martens says the memorial is slated for October 29.

Martens' godmother, Laura Bobbs, told KOB-TV the event would not be a funeral. The Office of Medical Investigator says it will take months before her remains will be given to the family.

Copper Pointe Church in Albuquerque will host the memorial, and it will be open to the public.

Monday Business Watch

Sep 12, 2016

Every Monday at 7:51am on Morning Edition, Edmundo Resendez covers the week's top local business stories with Las Cruces Sun News Content Director, Lucas Peerman. This week, Fort Selden Winery puts family, volunteers to work in harvest. 

The region's home page is only possible with your support.  Become a member, renew, or make an additional gift now.  Thank you.

I-10 Closures This Week

Sep 11, 2016

  I-10 WEST

Overnight

I-10 Westbound will be reduced to one lane between the Executive Center Overpass and the Sunland Park Overpass Monday, Sept. 12 through Thursday, Sept. 15 from 9 p.m. each night to 5 a.m. each morning. This closure is necessary so crews can continue work on the new Paisano (US 85) Bridge and continue concrete paving of the new westbound lanes. [Map 1]

Overnight

Los Alamos Lab in for long environmental clean-up process

Sep 11, 2016

A team of specially trained workers has been busy excavating plutonium-laden dirt one bulldozer load at a time along rugged canyons in the shadow of Los Alamos National Laboratory.

The work is part of a $3 billion clean-up effort at the northern New Mexico lab where the atomic bomb was developed decades ago.  Dirt is bagged and then tested for radioactivity levels.

The bag is then put on an 18-wheeler and be transported to disposal site in Utah.

But other steps include pumping out a contaminated aquifer and building new stormwater systems.

New Mexico State beats New Mexico in final minutes 32-31

Sep 11, 2016

Tyler Rogers threw a scoring pass to Gregory Hogan late in the fourth quarter to give New Mexico State the lead for good in a 32-31 win over state-rival New Mexico on Saturday night.

Rogers and Hogan connected from eight yards for the win — the first over UNM at home since 2010 — with 5:46 to play after the Aggies (1-1) had trailed throughout the game. Terrill Hanks intercepted an Austin Apodaca pass and returned it eight yards to the New Mexico 27, setting up the six-play scoring drive.

Marijuana plant display cut from New Mexico State Fair

Sep 10, 2016

One display at the New Mexico State Fair has gone to pot.

The display that included at least one live cannabis plant was yanked from the fair Thursday.

State health officials say grower Ultra Health didn't have the authority to display cannabis plants publicly.

Fair managers say they somehow overlooked the mention of a cannabis plant in the booth application submitted by Ultra Health.

Owner Duke Rodriguez says he included a graphic depiction in his application that showed any plants would be on view in a secure area.

Carlsbad Caverns elevators to close for planned maintenance

Sep 10, 2016

Elevators used to transport visitors in and out of caves in Carlsbad Caverns National Park will be out of commission briefly.

The secondary elevators are scheduled to undergo maintenance Monday and Tuesday.

Workers will be installing new brake linings.

Park spokeswoman Valerie Gohlke says the project will cost $3,000.

She says some hoist ropes will also have to be replaced next month. That project will mean the elevators must be closed for five to seven days.

Visitors are still allowed to hike in and out of the cave's Natural Entrance.

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Martinez Administration Closes Four Welcome Centers, Including Anthony

Sep 10, 2016
Office of the Governor

New Mexico tourism officials are closing four visitor centers next month, including the facility in Anthony.

The state Tourism Department confirmed Friday that the closures will take effect Oct. 7 and attributed part of the decision to the greater role that mobile devices and online media play in travel planning.

Visitor centers in La Bajada, Raton, Chama and Anthony will be affected.

Facilities in Santa Fe, Lordsburg, Glenrio and Manuelito will remain open.

The tourism centers are staffed by state workers who hand out maps and advise travelers.

Hundreds Honor Alamogordo Officer Killed In The Line Of Duty

Sep 10, 2016
Clint Corvinus-Alamogordo Police officer

  Hundreds of people are remembering a New Mexico police officer who was shot and killed last week.

Gov. Susana Martinez and Congressman Steve Pearce were among those who spoke of Officer Clint Corvinus during a funeral service Saturday morning at the Tays Center on the New Mexico State University-Alamogordo campus.

Martinez, who was speaking at an officer funeral for the second time in less than a month, says Corvinus donned the uniform because there were people in the world who did not respect it.

Customs officer sentenced to prison for smuggling immigrants

Sep 10, 2016

A U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer has been sentenced to 7½ years in federal prison for smuggling Mexican nationals illegally into the United States.

A federal judge in El Paso sentenced 53-year-old Lawrence Madrid on Friday. Senior U.S. District Judge David Briones also ordered Madrid to serve three years of supervised release after he leave prison.

On May 26, a federal jury found Madrid guilty of single counts of conspiracy to smuggle immigrants and aiding and abetting immigrant smuggling, as well as two counts of taking a bribe.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations says by the year 2050, the world will have to produce 70% more food in order to feed the growing population and combat hunger.

New Mexico State University, Mexico’s Agricultural department and the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities are hoping to work together to find new innovative ways to produce food.

  The City’s public transportation system, RoadRUNNER Transit (RRT), is providing assistance to military veterans who rely on transportation to and from the Veterans Affairs Community Based Outpatient Clinic on Don Roser Drive in Las Cruces while the new clinic on Del Rey Boulevard is planned and constructed.

 

New Charge Filed in Las Cruces Walmart Incident

Sep 9, 2016

Las Cruces Police have filed a new charge in Magistrate Court against the man suspected of stealing a wallet from a woman who had just exited a local Walmart store.

Christian Sanchez, 48, is now charged with a petty misdemeanor count of larceny. LCPD detectives had originally charged Sanchez with felony counts of robbery and conspiracy but the Third Judicial District Attorney’s Office dismissed those charges.

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