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.

This Week In The Las Cruces Bulletin

Sep 26, 2015

  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.

Pope Francis’ visit to the United States is creating excitement across the country, including in Las Cruces

People of all faiths gathered at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Cathedral to listen to the Pope’s address, and discuss what it means to Las Cruces.

Father Bill McCann, Rector at Immaculate Heart of Mary, says it’s great to see people excited about the Pope’s visit.

Skandera: Expect Lower Test Scores In New Mexico

Sep 25, 2015
NM Education Secretary Hanna Skandera

New Mexico's Secretary of Education Hanna Skandera is warning parents, students and educators to expect lower scores from a new statewide exam designed to test students' knowledge of Common Core standards.

The Partnership for Assessment and Readiness for College and Careers test results will be released for high school students Oct. 16 and for third- through eighth-graders Oct. 30. Skandera said Thursday that other states that have implemented the test have seen up to a 40 percent drop in student proficiency ratings under the former Standards Based Assessment.

Man Acquited In 2013 Fatal Shooting

Sep 25, 2015
Efren Rey

A Dona Ana County man who has maintained his innocence in a teenager's 2013 shooting death has been acquitted of murder.

29-year-old Efren Rey was found not guilty Thursday in the death of 17-year-old Fernando Morales at a birthday party.

Rey, who was the last person to testify in the four-day trial, said that he had been attacked by a group of gang members at the party. After firing a warning shot, he said he punched Morales with the hand that was holding the gun in an act of self-defense. The gun discharged, killing Morales.

  During a ceremony this morning, USDA Rural Development State Director Terry Brunner presented Fred Rael, the owner of the Sedillo Hill Route 66 Travel Center, with a certificate of completion for the installation of a new solar photovoltaic system.

New Mexico In Depth: Lobbyist Contributions Helped GOP Win House In 2014

Sep 25, 2015

  New Mexico lobbyists steered $1 million to winning candidates in 2014, with nearly a half million to Republican House candidates.

That cash helped the GOP take over the House of Representatives for the first time since the 1950s.

A New Mexico In Depth analysis of state data shows that from 2013 to 2015, lobbyists guided $1.8 million to New Mexico campaigns.

More than $1 million went to Republicans, including nearly $462,000 to GOP House candidates, compared with $339,000 to Democratic House candidates.

$2 Million For Native American Schools In New Mexico

Sep 25, 2015

  Today, U.S. Sens. Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich and U.S. Reps. Steve Pearce, Ben Ray Luján and Michelle Lujan Grisham welcomed news that the Native American Community Academy (NACA) Foundation is receiving a highly competitive $2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education to launch and maintain five schools in New Mexico Native communities. The NACA-Inspired School Network is one of 12 programs nationally to receive this award.

Las Cruces Highway 70 Patrols to Target Speeding, Cell Phone Usage

Sep 25, 2015

  The Las Cruces Police Department will increase patrols along Highway 70 over the next several weeks, paying particular attention to motorists who are exceeding the posted speed limit and using electronic devices while driving.

It is illegal to use a cell phone or other electronic device while operating a motor vehicle within city limits. Violators of the law are subject to a $92 fine. Use of a cell phone is permitted as long as the device is completely hands-free and the driver is in no way distracted by its usage.

Traffic citations for speeding start at $111.

NMSU Graduate Wins State TRiO Award

Sep 25, 2015

  Rose Perea, a graduate of New Mexico State University who is working on her doctorate in physics and astronomy at Vanderbuilt University, will be recognized with the 2015 TRiO New Mexico TRiO Achiever Award in November.

The award is given to those who successfully completed any TRiO program, including Upward Bound, Student Support Services and the Ronald E. McNair Postbaccaulaureate Achievement Program.

Science and Art are a SNAP! at the Las Cruces Museums

Sep 25, 2015

  The Las Cruces Museum of Nature & Science and the Las Cruces Museum of Art invite children and their families to join us each Saturday in October from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm for SNAP!: The Science, Nature, and Art Program.

Recognizing the importance of interdisciplinary learning experiences, the program encourages visitors to embrace their artistic creativity while engaging in educational STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) activities.

Las Cruces Prescription Drug Take-Back Saturday

Sep 25, 2015

  The Drug Enforcement Agency’s National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day is Saturday, Sept. 26, with several locations around Las Cruces where unused pills and medications can safely be discarded.

The take-back event gives residents an opportunity to safely – and anonymously – dispose of outdated or unused prescription pills and medications. The service is free and no questions will be asked.

The take-back event will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at these local collection sites:

City Of Rocks State Park Public Meeting Tuesday

Sep 25, 2015

  Silver City, NM – New Mexico State Parks invites citizens to a public meeting to comment on the draft Park Management Plan for City of Rocks State Park. The plan includes a review of existing park resources and proposes improvements for the next five years.

Mexico's Attorney General's Office says federal police have rescued a Texan who was kidnapped and taken across the border to Mexico for ransom.

In a statement Thursday, Mexico's top prosecutor says the victim was kidnapped in Sullivan City, Texas, on Aug. 27. The victim was taken across the Rio Grande in a boat and held in a house in Reynosa, Mexico, across the border from McAllen, Texas.

Authorities aren't saying when Mexican federal police rescued the victim without injury. The victim's identity has not been released.

New Mexico GOP Eyes Plans To Put State In Play In 2016

Sep 25, 2015

Republicans are laying the groundwork to put the state in play in 2016 just months after their historic victories in the nation's most Hispanic state.

The Republican Party of New Mexico is set Friday to unveil plans it says will help the GOP presidential nominee and keep the New Mexico House under Republican control.

Last year, the GOP captured the New Mexico House for the first time in 60 years and Republican Gov. Susana Martinez won re-election by a record margin.

However, Republicans have failed to win New Mexico in the last three of four presidential elections.

Michele Auzenne

Sep 24, 2015

Las Cruces Man Suspected of Stabbing Teenager

Sep 24, 2015

  A Las Cruces man suspected of getting into a fight and stabbing a teenager at a local fast food restaurant has been arrested and charged with a felony.

Jimmy Barela Jr., 36, of the 1600 block of Ebony Avenue, is charged with a third-degree felony count of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and three misdemeanor counts of battery.

Shortly after 8 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 23, Las Cruces Police were dispatched to Mountainview Regional Medical Center where a 17-year-old boy was being treated for a stab wound to a hand. The boy’s injury was not life-threatening.

New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas

  Today, New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas and 27 other attorneys general initiated a multi-state investigation into allegations that Volkswagen altered emissions software on their diesel vehicles to produce favorable test results.

NMSU Graduate Student Wins National Poetry Award

Sep 24, 2015

  New Mexico State University student Nicolás Cabrera was awarded first place in the 2015 National Federation of Press Women Communications Contest earlier this month.

Cabrera, a graduate student studying Spanish literature in the College of Arts and Sciences, won at the state level last spring, allowing him to compete nationally. 

For the national competition, Cabrera took home the top prize in the creative single verse poem category for his piece titled “La yerbabuena,” which means mint.

In Depth: 41 Face Drug Charges In Chaves County, New Mexico Operation

Sep 24, 2015

  Forty-one individuals are facing drug trafficking charges as a result of an eight-month multi-agency investigation led by the FBI, the DEA, Chaves County Metro Narcotics Task Force, Roswell Police Department, Chaves County Sheriff’s Office, the New Mexico State Police.  Twenty-one of the defendants charged are facing federal charges and the remaining 20 are facing state charges. 

NMSU Fire Department to Host Fire Safety Event

Sep 24, 2015

  Two men who survived a devastating fire at Seton Hall University in 2000 are scheduled to make their first trip to New Mexico State University to speak at the “After The Fire” safety event Monday.

The event, which will take place from 5 to 9 p.m. Monday, Sept. 28, is free and open to the public. It will be in the grassy area between Chamisa Village buildings A and H near Corbett Center.

Sen. Heinrich Eyes Audit Of Army National Guard Re-enlistment

Sep 24, 2015
US Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM)

Sen. Martin Heinrich is calling on the U.S. Army National Guard to conduct an audit of bonuses for men and women who recently re-enlisted.

Heinrich wrote Gen. Frank Grass a letter Wednesday asking for the review after a New Mexico man failed to receive his re-enlistment payment from 2009.

The New Mexico Democrat says the Army National Guard confirmed the man was owed $7,500 but never received the payment. Heinrich says he wanted to make sure other servicemen and servicewomen are receiving their re-enlistment payments.

Albuquerque Woman Pleads Guilty In A Drug Trafficking Case

Sep 24, 2015

An Albuquerque woman has pleaded guilty to prescription drug trafficking and theft of medical products charges.

The charges against 23-year-old Josephine Duran stem from the armed robbery of an Albuquerque-area retail pharmacy in January.

Under the terms of her plea agreement Thursday, Duran will be sentenced to a prison term of between 48 months and 100 months.

Duran was one of six defendants charged in four indictments announced in April.

  Carnegie Corporation of New York today announced that UTEP President Diana Natalicio is among the recipients of its prestigious 2015 Academic Leadership Award.

Four leaders of American universities are being recognized for demonstrating vision and outstanding commitment to excellence and equity in undergraduate education, in addition to fulfilling their administrative and managerial roles with dedication and creativity.

Somos Un Pueblo Unido: Lawsuit Against New Mexico Moves Forward

Sep 24, 2015

SANTA FE, NM-On Wednesday, State District Court Judge David Thomson rejected a motion by the New Mexico Taxation and Revenue Department  ("NMTRD") and Secretary Demesia Padilla to dismiss a lawsuit for unlawfully withholding millions of dollars from New Mexico immigrant taxpayers using federal Individual Tax Identification Numbers ("ITINs") to file their tax returns.

Balderas’ Criminal Affairs Update to Courts, Corrections & Justice Interim Committee

Sep 24, 2015
New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas

  Today, New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas gave the New Mexico Legislature’s Courts, Corrections and & Justice Interim Committee an update on the state of Criminal Affairs. Below are Attorney General Balderas’ remarks as prepared for delivery:

·         The Criminal Affairs section of the Office of the Attorney General has been structured to include all of our criminal divisions, which includes the Special Prosecutions Division, Special Investigations Division, Criminal Appeals Division and the Medicaid Fraud and Elder Abuse Division.

US Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM)

 Today, U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) congratulated several New Mexico programs for their recognition as Bright Spots in Hispanic Education by the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics.

Ready Roast Nut Company Announces Plans For Reopened Portales Plant

Sep 24, 2015

Ready Roast Nut Company officials have announced plans to create jobs at the site of an eastern New Mexico peanut butter plant involved in a 2012 salmonella outbreak.

The Portales News-Tribune reports officials said this week it would create up to 200 jobs at the former home of Sunland Peanuts, which closed its doors in October 2013 after filing for bankruptcy.

The local peanut plant sold to Golden Boy Foods for $26 million in March 2014.

New Mexico Tribe To Make Federal Court Appearance In Casino Dispute

Sep 24, 2015

Leaders of a northern New Mexico tribe and dozens of their tribal members will be traveling to Colorado for oral arguments in a long-running dispute with the state over gambling operations.

A hearing in the case of Pojoaque Pueblo is scheduled Monday before the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver.

Pojoaque's gambling compact expired in June. The pueblo tried to negotiate a new compact with the federal government after talks with the state broke down in 2013.

Pregnant Wife, Husband Rescued By Border Agents

Sep 24, 2015

U.S. Border Patrol agents rescued a pregnant woman and her husband after they became stranded on a southern Arizona mountain range.

The Tucson Sector agents say the rescue happened earlier this week after they received a 911 call from the wife near Sells, Arizona.

Agents tried to hike to her location in the Baboquivari Mountain Range Sunday but had to retreat because of harsh conditions.

They tried to conduct a helicopter rescue but extreme turbulence made it too difficult.

Las Cruces City Council is planning to issue $28.5 million dollars in bonds that would be paid off using gross receipts taxes.  An estimated $12.6 million dollars of this funding is being put toward business development projects.

35% of the Hold Harmless GRT bond funding is being put toward business development projects. According to City Manager Robert Garza one of the first projects the council will be voting on is the expansion of the Las Cruces Convention Center.