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.

The Latest: State Auditor Also Probing MLK State Commission

Jan 26, 2016
Hector Balderas

The latest on New Mexico Attorney General's Office's investigation into the Martin Luther King Jr. State Commission (all times local):

5:45 p.m.

The New Mexico State Auditor's Office says the embattled Martin Luther King, Jr. State Commission also is under investigation by its office for fraud and abuse.

State Auditor spokeswoman Justine Freeman said Tuesday that the commission has been on the state's "at-risk" list for two years and now is facing an investigation.

New Mexico Cult Leader Could Be Getting Out Of Prison Early

Jan 26, 2016

A cult leader convicted of sex crimes in 2008 may be closer to being released early from a New Mexico prison after being diagnosed with skin cancer.

A hearing was held Tuesday in state district court in Taos for 74-year-old Wayne Bent, who has been in prison for nearly seven years.

A judge told lawyers for both sides to get together with the state Department of Corrections and try to agree on conditions of release for Bent within 15 days.

Office Of The State Auditor To Investigate Town Of Estancia

Jan 26, 2016

The Office of the State Auditor plans to conduct a special audit investigation of the town of Estancia.

The probe concerns a $33,000 financial discrepancy in the town's fiscal 2015 annual financial audit.

According to the state auditor, the town notified the office about concerns with cash balances in various accounts.

Estancia received a "disclaimer of opinion" on the audit, meaning the town failed to support its financial statements.

State Auditor Tim Keller says Estancia's citizens deserve to be assured that their public funds are accounted for properly.

Proposal To Expand New Mexico's 'Three-Strikes' Law Advances

Jan 26, 2016

A proposal to expand the New Mexico's "three-strikes" law for sentencing habitual offenders has cleared another hurdle.

The House Judiciary Committee voted 7-4 on Tuesday in favor of the bill filed by Rep. Paul Pacheco.

The Albuquerque Republican says the current "three-strikes" law in New Mexico includes crimes that already can result in life sentences and is so narrow that no one has been convicted under it since it was enacted two decades ago.

Audit Of Navajo Tribe: Mismanagement Cost At $10.8 Million

Jan 26, 2016

An audit of 23 of the Navajo Nation's 110 chapters has found that mismanagement cost the tribe $10.8 million in lost revenue related to internal controls and compliance with Navajo, state and federal laws.

The Gallup Independent reports that according to the audit presented by the Navajo Nation Office of the Auditor General, the bulk of that lost revenue came from deficiencies in internal controls.

The 23 chapters were audited between 2012 and 2015.

Plan Calls For Boosting Forest Restoration Around New Mexico

Jan 26, 2016

More than 140 square miles of overgrown, fire-prone areas around New Mexico have been thinned over the last several years, but state forestry officials are telling lawmakers they need more funding to continue the work.

The Forestry Division is seeking another $4 million in capital funds to expand a statewide watershed restoration program.

Acting State Forester Eddie Tudor told members of a House committee Monday that his agency is on track to complete several projects by the end of the year.

Albuquerque Bus Ridership Drops For First Time In Decade

Jan 26, 2016
Peter Reynolds, former Motorcoach Operator, ABQ RIDE.

Fewer people are riding the bus in Albuquerque for the first time in a decade.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that ridership for the city's buses and vans fell 5 percent in 2015, to a four-year low of 12.4 million. The decline in 2015 follows years of growth, with ridership growing 46 percent over the last 10 years.

Albuquerque transit system director Bruce Rizzieri says lower gas prices are likely to blame, with cheaper gas allowing more people to drive.

Winter Storm Warning In Effect For Northern New Mexico

Jan 26, 2016

A winter storm warning is in effect for parts of New Mexico until noon Tuesday due to snow accumulations near Albuquerque and Las Vegas.

The National Weather Service says snow accumulations ranging from 7 to 18 inches are possible, mainly on higher eastern slopes. The highest amounts are expected west and north of Las Vegas.

Snowfall is forecast to diminish by midday, though roads and highways likely will still be covered by snow and ice through the morning.

Public schools in Santa Fe delayed opening by two hours Tuesday.

  Continuing with NPR and KRWG’s coverage on the anxious voting public… the cause of most of that anxiety- economic status.   

A recent study from the Pew Research Center found that only 20% of the least financially secure people were considered “likely voters.”

But here in Las Cruces, one of the most discussed political decisions in recent years was fueled by those who are part of the least financially secure- minimum wage workers.

New Mexico Lawmakers Consider Open Primary System

Jan 25, 2016

New Mexico lawmakers are considering a proposal to open Democratic and Republican primary elections to any voter amid a surge in independent voter registration.

House Democrats announced the proposal Monday to switch the state to an open primary system in which voters can cast a primary ballot for the candidate of their preference without respect to party affiliations.

Currently, only Republicans and Democrats can vote in their respective primary elections in New Mexico. Critics say that contributes to low voter turnout.

The Indicted Anti-Abortion Group Behind The Planned Parenthood Videos

Jan 25, 2016

The leader of the Center for Medical Progress was indicted Monday in Houston by a grand jury investigating the anti-abortion group's undercover videos of Planned Parenthood officials discussing the handling of fetal tissue. Here is some information about the center:


New Mexico Lawmaker Invokes Holocaust In Trump Reference

Jan 25, 2016

The latest on New Mexico lawmakers' REAL ID debate:

6 p.m.

A New Mexico Democratic lawmaker says GOP presidential hopeful Donald Trump will put people "in boxcars and send them where they don't want to go."

Rep. Antonio Maestas made the Holocaust reference Monday during a heated New Mexico House committee meeting over a Republican proposal to place New Mexico in compliance under the federal REAL ID Act.

Maestas said some of the bill's provisions, which Democrats say targets immigrants, were something "Trump would love."

New Mexico Considers Opening Primary Vote To Independents

Jan 25, 2016

New Mexico lawmakers are considering a proposal to open Democratic and Republican primary elections to any voter amid a surge in independent voter registration.

House Democrats announced the proposal Monday to switch the state to an open primary system in which voters can cast a primary ballot for the candidate of their preference without respect to party affiliations.

Currently, only Republicans and Democrats can vote in their respective primary elections in New Mexico. Critics say that contributes to low voter turnout.

Lawyers Challenge Texas law On Harboring Immigrants

Jan 25, 2016

Immigrant rights attorneys are challenging part of a Texas security law that they say could allow state authorities to target shelters and landlords for harboring immigrants who are in the country illegally.

The Mexican American Legal Defense And Education Fund filed a federal lawsuit Monday in San Antonio, asking a judge to find unconstitutional part of a broad border security law passed in 2015.

  A team of computer science faculty from The University of Texas at El Paso has been awarded a highly competitive $3.9 million Scholarship For Service (SFS) grant from the National Science Foundation and the Department of Homeland Security. The funding will give scholarships to 28 bachelor’s, master’s and Ph.D. computer science students over the next five years.


Downtown Events Set For Las Cruces

Jan 25, 2016
  •   Farmers and Crafts Market:

o   January 27 & 30, 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

  • Museums and Cultural Center:

o   Branigan Cultural Center –Coming in February, For the Love of Art Month Member Exhibit and Reflections from the Myrna Colley-Lee Collection.

o   Branigan Cultural Center – Presents “Visionarias”, a collection of images from the female empowerment project in the Sacred Valley of Peru – Jan. 15 thru Feb. 27.

Applicants Sought For Rio Grande Citizens Forum Board

Jan 25, 2016
Laura Paskus, New Mexico In Depth

  The United States Section of the International Boundary and Water Commission (USIBWC) is seeking applicants to serve on the Rio Grande Citizens Forum (RGCF) Board.  The purpose of the Citizens Forum is to promote the exchange of information between the USIBWC and the community about Commission projects and related activities between Percha Dam, NM and Ft. Quitman, TX.  

About 700 Immigrant Children Now Staying At Holloman Base

Jan 25, 2016

About 700 immigrant children from Central America are now staying at Holloman Air Force Base.

KOAT-TV reports that the children arrived in Alamogordo on Sunday.

U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter directed Holloman Air Force Base to be the first of three temporary shelters to open in New Mexico, Colorado and Florida.

The children are being housed in a vacant building on base previously used by the 4th Space Surveillance Squadron.

Solar Industry Urges Extension Of New Mexico Tax Credit

Jan 25, 2016

Time may be running out for an extension of New Mexico's rooftop solar tax credit as legislators weigh whether to forgo $5 million in annual state revenues to encourage more generation of solar energy by households, farms and small businesses.

The tax credit offsets up to 10 percent of costs for new solar energy systems and expires at the end of the year. A bill to extend the credit through 2024 cleared its first hurdle on Monday with approval by a House energy committee.

Program To Study Recent Increase In Texas Earthquakes

Jan 25, 2016

A program to study the recent increase in earthquakes in Texas is getting underway with management hirings and deployment of new seismographic equipment.

The TexNet Seismic Monitoring Program is being overseen by the University of Texas and bankrolled with $4.5 million approved last year by the Texas Legislature.

  Las Cruces: The New Mexico Department of Transportation (NMDOT) along with FNF Construction will have full road closures at night on Missouri Avenue, between Triviz Drive and Don Roser Avenue:

Detectives Investigate Shooting In Berino

Jan 25, 2016

  Doña Ana County Sheriff’s detectives continue to investigate aSaturday incident in Berino that was initially reported as a drive-by shooting.

SCAM ALERT: Attorney General Warns New Mexicans of Craigslist Apartment Rental Scams

Jan 25, 2016
New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas

  Santa Fe, NM – Attorney General Hector Balderas issued a Scam Alert today in response to a recent uptick in reports of Craigslist apartment scams from consumers across New Mexico. This scam typically occurs when someone is looking for an apartment or house to rent on Craigslist.  The “landlord” will not be available to show the property personally as they claim to be out of town, but they promise a great deal on the rent. Typically, the person posting the photo and ad does not own the property. The scammer will request deposit money to be sent to another state or country.

  All this week….NPR and KRWG News will focus on the anxious voting public.  At the heart of that anxiety is the economy…and stagnant wages.  

New Mexico State Auditor Timothy Keller (D)

  New Mexico’s state auditor says….donations to inaugural committees should be fully disclosed.   

New Mexico does not require disclosure of donations and spending by inauguration committees.  And we’re talking about big money…nearly a million dollars raised for the inauguration of Governor Susana Martinez.  In November, the Albuquerque Journal reported the FBI was investigating the 2010 inauguration.  Martinez has denied any wrongdoing.

New Mexico state auditor Tim Keller told KUNM….disclosure is needed.

Monday Business Watch

Jan 25, 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 how taxes are due and there’s more teeth in the ACA penalties this year.

Museum Director To Be Featured on Science Channel

Jan 24, 2016

  New Mexico Museum of Space History Executive Director Chris Orwoll is a featured guest speaker in several episodes of the new season of NASA’s Unexplained Files scheduled to begin airing on Tuesday, February 23. Orwoll’s extensive background in space history, and his previous work with WAG TV, the producers of the show, led to him being chosen to appear on the series. A special sneak peek of the new season is slated for Sunday, February 21.

Immigrant Day of Action Protest Monday In Santa Fe

Jan 24, 2016

Commentary: Hundreds of immigrants and their children from more than fifteen counties in New Mexico will hold a demonstration in front of the Roundhouse on Monday, January 25th to protest the seventh attempt by the Governor and her anti-immigrant allies to use the Real ID Act to discriminate against immigrant families. 

Prejudice and Pride At Rio Grande Theatre In Las Cruces

Jan 24, 2016

  Join the Branigan Cultural Center at the Rio Grande Theatre on Saturday, February 20 at 1:00pm for the screening of the fifth episode of Latina Americans: 500 Years of History documentary series, “Prejudice and Pride”.

NMSU business student awarded competitive international internship

Jan 24, 2016

  New Mexico State University College of Business student Linsey Tabor has been selected by the National Association of Professional Surplus Lines Offices as the J.H. Blades Scholar for 2016 and awarded a three-week, all-expenses paid internship in London this summer.