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.

Texas Wins Conditional 'No Child Left Behind' Reprieve

Sep 29, 2015

The U.S. Department of Education has granted Texas a conditional waiver to avoid academic accountability standards under the No Child Left Behind law.

But the department placed Texas on "high risk status" for having future waivers rejected.

The Texas Education Agency announced Tuesday that securing waivers beyond the current school year will require statewide use of teacher and principal evaluations used to make personnel decisions.

But the agency said it won't compel school districts to use a uniform, statewide evaluation system.

3 New Mexico Schools Honored By US Department Of Education

Sep 29, 2015

Three New Mexico schools will be honored at a November ceremony in the nation's capital after being named National Blue Ribbon Schools.

The U.S. Department of Education announced the awards Tuesday to 335 schools. Those include Newcomb Elementary School in northwestern New Mexico, Mora High School and Melrose Elementary School.

The schools in Mora and Melrose were selected for closing achievement gaps.

Mora High School, which serves 138 students, has maintained an "A'' school grade for the past two years.

New Mexico Lawmakers Hire Lawyer For Impeachment Case

Sep 29, 2015

A panel of New Mexico lawmakers investigating fraud, embezzlement and money laundering charges against Secretary of State Dianna Duran has hired a lawyer.

The House Special Investigatory Committee announced Tuesday that it has retained former federal prosecutor Robert Gorence.

In 2001, the high-profile Albuquerque lawyer served as special counsel in the state impeachment case of a public regulation commissioner who later resigned.

Drones Again Banned From Balloon Fiesta

Sep 29, 2015

The Federal Aviation Administration will monitor the Balloon Fiesta again to make sure drones are kept out.

KOAT-TV reports officials are continuing to ban recreational drones within the three miles of the event's airspace radius.

Balloon Fiesta spokesman Tom Garrity said a couple of people pushed the envelope last year. Those individuals were contacted and spoken to, and Garrity said the unauthorized drones were taken out of event airspace.

NMSU College of Education Professor Receives National Award

Sep 29, 2015

  Deborah Rhein, an associate professor of Special Education and Communication Disorders at New Mexico State University’s College of Education, has been chosen to receive the 2015 Certificate of Recognition for Special Contributions in Multicultural Affairs from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

Lawsuit Claims New Mexico Company Discriminated Against Pregnant Women

Sep 29, 2015

A lawsuit filed by a federal agency accuses a New Mexico-based convenience store company of violating civil rights laws by refusing to make reasonable accommodations for pregnant women with disabilities.

The Equal Employment Opportunities Commission said Clovis-based Allsup's Convenience Stores Inc. also subjected pregnant women to forced leaves and terminations because of their disabilities, pregnancies, childbirth or related medical conditions.

The EEOC said it filed the lawsuit Tuesday after unsuccessfully attempting to negotiate a settlement with the company.

NM Supreme Court Rules In Contested Rate Case

Sep 29, 2015

The New Mexico Supreme Court is backing up a decision by state regulators to allow an electric utility to consider renewable energy costs and employee pension assets when seeking a change in customer rates.

The court's ruling came Monday in the case of Southwestern Public Service Co.

The state attorney general's office appealed after state regulators approved a 2012 request by the utility to change rates and add a surcharge for certain customers to recoup the costs of adding more renewable energy to its portfolio.

State Wildlife Panel To Decide On Mexican Wolf Permit Appeal

Sep 29, 2015

The New Mexico Game Commission is expected to decide an appeal by federal officials who are seeking to release endangered Mexican gray wolves as part of recovery efforts in the Southwest.

The commission is meeting Tuesday in Albuquerque.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service initially sought permits that would allow the agency to release a pair of wolves and their pups onto federal land in New Mexico and allow for up to 10 captive pups to be raised by foster wolves in the wild.

The requests were denied in June by the state game director.

Roswell Groundwater Plume Considered For Superfund Status

Sep 29, 2015

An area of contaminated water in downtown Roswell is being considered for addition on the Superfund National Priorities List.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says several dry cleaning businesses had operated there from 1956 and 1963. It's now a mix of residential and commercial use.

The agency says the contaminant of concern is a colorless, nonflammable liquid used by the dry cleaning industry. It's been detected in the alluvial aquifers underlying a portion of downtown Roswell.

Hatch Police Officer Pleads Not Guilty To False Imprisonment

Sep 28, 2015

A Hatch police officer has pleaded not guilty to charges of false imprisonment and battery.

The Las Cruces Sun-News reports that Mariano Fraere had been scheduled for an arraignment Monday in the Third Judicial District but waived a formal reading of the charges.

A grand jury indicted Fraere earlier this month on the charges. They stem from a June 10 incident involving two men who became verbally abusive toward Hatch officers.

Judge Sanctions Border Patrol Over Destruction Of Evidence

Sep 28, 2015

A federal judge is sanctioning the U.S. Border Patrol over its destruction of evidence in a civil suit filed in Arizona.

U.S. District Judge David C. Bury issued the sanctions Monday after the Border Patrol destroyed video surveillance at its eight stations in the Tucson Sector. The sanctions require the Border Patrol to produce other recordings within 15 days.

The lawsuit was filed in June by a coalition of advocacy groups on behalf of three immigrants. It claims agents routinely hold immigrants in dirty and extremely cold cells for extended periods.

NMSU TRiO Student Support Services Program Receives $1.1 Million

Sep 28, 2015

  The U.S. Department of Education has recently awarded a five-year grant for $1.1 million to the New Mexico State University TRiO Student Support Services Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics and STEM Health Services Program to serve 120 students each year. 

Wendy Alberson

Sep 28, 2015

Courtesy: USDA

  The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced $8.4 million to support the work of 54 partner organizations in 35 states to provide training, outreach and technical assistance for socially disadvantaged, tribal and veteran farmers and ranchers. An additional $400,000 will help establish the Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers Policy Research Center at Alcorn State University in Lorman, Miss.

The announcement includes a grant of almost $200,000 for New Mexico State University.

Las Cruces Officer Injured During Struggle with Suspected Panhandler

Sep 28, 2015

  A man believed to be trespassing on private property is suspected of trying to run away from a Las Cruces Police officer and then biting the officer during a violent struggle Sunday morning.

Timothy Ray Allison, 46, who is believed to be homeless, is charged with two counts of aggravated battery upon a peace officer, two counts of battery upon a peace officer, resisting or obstructing an officer, assault upon a peace officer and criminal trespass.

NMSU Upward Bound Alumna Wins National Award

Sep 28, 2015

  Sarah Silvafierro Nolan, an alumna of the Upward Bound program at New Mexico State University and executive director of New Mexico Communities in Action and Faith, was recently named one of the winners of the 2015 National TRIO Achievers Award, which honors individuals of distinction who, as students, made the most of their TRIO participation.

Heinrich Stands With Local Chile Farmers In Protecting Authenticity Of N.M. Brand

Sep 28, 2015

U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) raised concerns over reports of an out-of-state company manufacturing and marketing its products under the guise of authentic chile from Hatch, New Mexico. He issued the following statement today calling for better labeling protections for locally-produced products:

Information on Missing Las Cruces Woman Sought

Sep 28, 2015

  Police are asking for the public’s help in locating Las Cruces resident Janet Castrejon who went missingJune 19 while on a camping trip with family in the Chiricahua Mountains in southern Arizona.

Castrejon, 44, suffered a traumatic brain injury in a 1988 car accident which caused partial blindness and memory loss.

Castrejon was last seen Friday, June 19, in a developed campground in Rustler Park. Castrejon was waiting for her mother outside a campground restroom. When her mother emerged from the restroom, Castrejon was gone.

  After years of rodeo competition, racing horses and teaching junior high and high school students, New Mexico State University alumnus Joshua Boyd has taken on his next challenge in life: serving as the agricultural agent and director of the Sierra County Cooperative Extension Service.

Part of the NMSU College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences, the extension office provides many outreach services to residents of Truth or Consequences and surrounding areas. 

“We’re a livestock producing county, and we also have production agriculture,” Boyd said.

Variety Of Events Planned In Downtown Las Cruces

Sep 28, 2015
  •   Main St:

o   Empty Bowls Silent Auction, Oct. 2. Tickets also will be sold for the Empty Bowls event to be held Oct. 16.

o   Southern NM Pride Fall Fest, Oct. 3, 6 to 11 p.m.    

o   Downtown Art Ramble, October 4, 5-7 p.m.

  • Farmers and Crafts Market:

o   Sept. 30 and Oct. 3, 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

  • Museums and Cultural Center:

o   BRANIGAN CULTURAL CENTER UNDER RENOVATION (will be closed thru October 1, 2015)

Legislative Committee To Meet On The Navajo Nation

Sep 28, 2015

The state Legislature's Indian Affairs Committee will conduct meetings this week on the Navajo Nation to discuss several topics, including plans for a senior citizen center and road conditions affecting school bus safety.

The Daily Times reports that committee members on Wednesday will discuss the Upper Fruitland senior center, which had a groundbreaking ceremony last year. Progress has stalled on the building, and Upper Fruitland officials are expected to address ways to secure additional funding for construction.

Shelter Struggles To Keep Pickup Site For Homeless

Sep 28, 2015

Trash issues are making it a challenge for an Albuquerque shelter to keep pickup sites for homeless individuals and officials are looking to the city for help.

KOAT-TV reports Joy Junction has had to stop using two sites due to the trash and mess left behind by some of the homeless individuals.

Group founder Jeremy Reynalds says this public issue can't continue to be kicked down the road. Shelter officials planned to discuss options with city officials on Monday.

The Civic Plaza and downtown library have been suggested as possible alternatives.

Legislative Analysts: New Mexico's Economy Still Recovering

Sep 28, 2015

Legislative analysts say New Mexico's economy shows some signs of recovery but continues to struggle compared with those of neighboring states and the country as a whole.

The Legislative Council Service also said Monday that "a lot has to go right" for a recent forecast projecting modest revenue growth for the next five years to hold.

That forecast called for $293 million of additional revenue in the next fiscal year, but the service said factors determining whether the forecast stands up over time include oil prices and China's economy.

Jury Selection Begins In Civil Case Over New Mexico Wildfire

Sep 28, 2015

It will be up to jurors to decide whether two utility companies should be held liable for a 2011 wildfire that destroyed dozens of homes as it raced across more than 240 square miles on its way to becoming one of New Mexico's largest blazes.

Jury selection began Monday in Bernalillo before state District Judge Louis McDonald. The trial is expected to last six weeks.

The Las Conchas fire started when an aspen tree fell onto power lines that stretched through national forest land in the Jemez Mountains.


  The University of Texas at El Paso has received a $2.1 million grant to develop a next-generation 3-D printer. The system will be an all-in-one printer that’s capable of printing industry-quality parts, including electronics formed out of plastics, and assembling metals and electronics during the fabrication process.   

New Mexico Tribe Before Appeals Court In Casino Dispute

Sep 28, 2015
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Attorneys for a northern New Mexico tribe are appearing in federal appeals court in Denver for oral arguments in a long-running dispute over gambling operations.

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

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

Former President George W. Bush is set to host his annual golf tournament in Texas for wounded members of the U.S. military.

The Warrior Open, a 36-hole competitive golf tournament for military members wounded since Sept. 11, 2001, begins Tuesday in the Dallas suburb of Irving.

The first day of the two-day tournament will be open only to the 25 active and retired military members selected for the tournament. On Wednesday, a pro-am will feature PGA Tour professionals and the military members.

New Mexico Lawmakers To Meet On Secretary Of State Case

Sep 28, 2015
NM Sec. of State Dianna Duran / Official photo

A panel of New Mexico lawmakers investigating fraud, embezzlement and money laundering charges against Secretary of State Dianna Duran is slated to meet for the first time.

The House Special Investigatory Committee will gather Monday at the State Capitol in Santa Fe as part of impeachment proceedings. The bipartisan panel will discuss the hiring of special legal counsel, rules for the investigation and a hearing schedule.

The Legislative Council recently cleared the way for the committee to begin its work by providing $250,000 to finance the effort.

Monday Business Watch

Sep 28, 2015

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 a new redesign for the print and online editions of the Las Cruces Sun-News. 

White Sands Missile Range frequently conducts military tests and experiments, and yesterday they conducted the largest training exercise ever held at the range.

The 82nd airborne division flew to New Mexico from North Carolina dropping around 600 paratroops in the second phase of a two-week long Network Integration Evaluation, a training exercise to test new equipment and how well different military divisions can work together.