Regional

Regional
8:57 pm
Wed June 17, 2015

Judge Rejects Motion To Dismiss Teacher Evaluation Lawsuit

A state district judge has denied a motion by the New Mexico Public Education Department to dismiss a lawsuit over the agency's contested teacher evaluation system.

The Albuquerque Teachers Federation and the American Federation of Teachers filed a lawsuit earlier this year, saying the evaluation system was punitive and based on flawed methodology.

Judge David Thomson denied the department's motion during a hearing Wednesday in Santa Fe, clearing the way for the case to continue.

Union officials say they're pleased with the ruling.

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Regional
4:13 pm
Wed June 17, 2015

NMSU’s Arrowhead Center Hosts Info Session On Creative Startups

Alice Loy, co-founder of Albuquerque-based Creative Startups, will present an information session about the accelerator at 8 a.m. Monday, June 22, at Cafe de Mesilla, 2190 Avenida de Mesilla. (Courtesy photo)

  Arrowhead Center, the economic development engine of New Mexico State University, will host an information session at 8 a.m. Monday, June 22, with Alice Loy, co-founder of Albuquerque-based Creative Startups, at Cafe de Mesilla, 2190 Avenida de Mesilla.

Creative Startups is the nation’s only startup accelerator specifically for businesses in the creative industries, and is accepting applications for the 2015 startup program. 

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Regional
1:35 pm
Wed June 17, 2015

Expert Warns Of Future Medicaid Costs In New Mexico

New Mexico is in good shape now that revenues are lining up with projections made earlier this year when lawmakers were forced to weigh dropping oil and gas prices to hammer out the state budget.

But a top legislative finance expert warned during a meeting Wednesday in Santa Fe that future years will be challenging due to the state's decision to expand Medicaid coverage for low-income residents under the federal health care overhaul.

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Regional
1:33 pm
Wed June 17, 2015

Martinez Signs Capital Spending Bill In Las Cruces

Credit Office of the Governor

New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez has signed a capital spending bill that includes around $45 million for needed highway infrastructure projects.

The Republican governor signed Wednesday the $294 million measure at St. Luke's Health Care Clinic in Las Cruces and said it would be seen as a "job-creation bill."

She vetoed around $1.1 million in projects — many she said weren't fully funded.

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Regional
1:32 pm
Wed June 17, 2015

Balderas Asks Duran For More "Transparency" In Campaign Finance Reporting

Credit NM Sec. of State Dianna Duran / Official photo

New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas says he wants to increase "transparency and accountability" in the state's campaign finance reporting process.

Balderas sent Secretary of State Dianna Duran a letter Wednesday describing what he sees as shortcomings in the current system of campaign finance reporting.

The Democrat says he'd like to see the reinstatement of mandatory fines for violation of the Campaign Reporting Act during the upcoming legislative session.

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Regional
1:31 pm
Wed June 17, 2015

Former Texas Judge Gets Probation In Bill Scam

A former judge in Northeast Texas has been put on a year of probation and fined $25,000 for his role in a phony invoice scheme involving the Red River Army Depot.

Patrick James pleaded guilty in April to misdemeanor tampering with a governmental record. He and six others were charged with participating in a scam to defraud the army depot of millions by billing it for goods and services never delivered.

All but one of the defendants has pleaded guilty to their role in the scheme. A Texarkana lawyer says one defendant is seriously ill and in hospice care.

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Regional
1:30 pm
Wed June 17, 2015

New Mexico AG Names Widow Of Murdered Officer To Review Panel

Credit New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas

New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas has named the widow of a murdered Rio Rancho police officer to taskforce reviewing the state's criminal justice system.

Balderas said Wednesday that Julie Benner, the wife of the late Gregg "Nigel" Benner, will join the Violent Crimes Case Review Team.

Authorities say Benner was shot and killed by 28-year-old Andrew Romero during a traffic stop last month in the Albuquerque suburb. Romero was a repeat offender who critics say slipped through the justice system before his encounter with Benner.

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Regional
1:28 pm
Wed June 17, 2015

Court Rules Out Key Evidence In New Mexico Sexual Assault Trial

A federal appeals court says a 911 recording can be excluded in the trial of a Jemez Pueblo man charged with sexual assault resulting in death.

The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Albuquerque upheld a district court's decision in a ruling issued Wednesday.

The district court prohibited a 911 call made by victim Lynette Becenti during the assault because prosecutors had added it to an evidence list three months past deadline.

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Regional
10:30 am
Wed June 17, 2015

Audit: New Mexico DPS Gave Wrong Information On Grants

A federal audit says the New Mexico Department of Public Safety submitted inaccurate financial reports and delayed adopting key components of a sex offender law.

Inspector General Michael Horowitz announced Wednesday the release of a report, which faulted the New Mexico agency over its handling of $900,000 in Department of Justice grants to implement the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act.

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Regional
10:22 am
Wed June 17, 2015

Las Cruces Police: Fewer Crashes Along North Main Street

  The increased presence of police along north Main Street appears to be limiting the number of motor vehicle crashes between Interstate 25 and the Spitz Avenue/Solano Drive intersection.

In the first 16 days of June, police responded to only four crashes along that stretch of north Main Street. LCPD investigated at least 19 motor vehicle crashes along that stretch of roadway in April and another 28 in May.

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Regional
9:28 am
Wed June 17, 2015

Former Felon Sentenced For Having Gun At Roswell Graduation

A former convicted felon who brought a firearm to a Roswell high school graduation last year has been sentenced to federal prison.

The U.S. Attorney's Office for New Mexico says 32-year-old Brandon Warford received a sentence of three years and one month Tuesday in federal court in Las Cruces.

Warford will also have to serve two years of supervised release for being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Prosecutors say school district officials notified Roswell police that Warford had a gun at the ceremony.

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Regional
9:25 am
Wed June 17, 2015

Clovis Man Sentenced In Meth Trafficking Case

A Clovis man has been sentenced for his role in a methamphetamine trafficking conspiracy.

A judge in Albuquerque sentenced 38-year-old Christopher Jason Kidd on Tuesday to 78 months in federal prison. He will be on supervised release for five years after serving prison time.

Kidd and three co-defendants were indicted in February 2014 on federal charges of conspiring to distribute methamphetamine in New Mexico's Curry County.

Kidd pleaded guilty in November 2014.

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Regional
9:23 am
Wed June 17, 2015

DOE Official: Workers To Practice Before Nuke Dump Opens

Credit facebook.com/energygov

An official with the U.S. Department of Energy says workers at the federal government's troubled nuclear waste repository will practice with "dummy drums" before limited operations resume next year.

Monica Regalbuto with DOE's Office of Environmental Management testified Tuesday during a Senate hearing in Washington, D.C., that workers will start by moving non-radioactive drums.

When officials are confident the work can be done safely, workers will switch to dealing with real waste. That's expected sometime next spring.

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Regional
9:19 am
Wed June 17, 2015

Gov. Martinez To Sign Capital Spending Bill In Las Cruces

Credit Office of the Governor

New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez is set to sign a capital spending bill that includes more than 1,000 projects lawmakers say will create jobs across the state.

The Republican governor is scheduled Wednesday to sign the measure at St. Luke's Health Care Clinic in Las Cruces.

Last week, the GOP-controlled House and the Democratic-led Senate passed the capital spending bill following a four-hour special session that came after an agreement between Martinez and Senate Democrats.

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Regional
6:00 am
Wed June 17, 2015

Film Project Tells The Story Of The First Service Member From Las Cruces To Die In Vietnam

John Milton Risner
Credit www.johnnyscactus.com

  Efforts are underway to create a short film that tells the story of the first Las Cruces service member to die in Vietnam.

The project is called “Johnny’s Cactus,” a short film about making peace with war.  The project website, www.johnnyscactus.com says John Milton Risner became the first service member from Las Cruces to die in the Vietnam War on June 26, 1966.  

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Regional
9:32 pm
Tue June 16, 2015

Doña Ana County Works Toward Finalizing Budget

The Doña Ana County Commission wrapped up their budget discussion yesterday at a final budget work session. Doña Ana County’s $152 million budget is almost ready to be finalized, but Commissioner Rawson says he still has a few problems with the budget.

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Regional
7:53 pm
Tue June 16, 2015

Opponents Promise Legal Action Over Master Plan For Massive Santolina Development Near Albuquerque

Credit bernco.gov

   A planned community west of Albuquerque that developers say could someday be home to as many as 90,000 people has cleared a major hurdle.

The commission in the state's most populous county voted 3-2 to approve Tuesday a master plan for a nearly 22-square-mile development known as Santolina. The development would rival some of New Mexico's largest cities once completed.

Bernalillo County commissioners narrowly approved the plan despite opposition from Albuquerque's historical Hispanic South Valley area over fears that Santolina would draw from much needed water sources.

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Regional
5:13 pm
Tue June 16, 2015

Are Two Deans Better Than One? UNM Will Find Out

Two deans might be better than one.

That's the hope of University of New Mexico Provost Chaouki Abdallah, who says no one person can address the full spectrum of today's challenges.

Abdallah announced Tuesday that Alfred Mathewson and Sergio Pareja will serve as co-deans at the UNM law school. The professors will begin their new duties Aug. 1.

The University of New Mexico is taking a page from Case Western Reserve University law school in Ohio, which has had co-interim deans since November 2013.

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Regional
4:15 pm
Tue June 16, 2015

Doña Ana County Juvenile Detention Center Could Remain Closed For Over a Year

Doña Ana County temporarily closed the juvenile detention center last month due to staffing problems, moving juvenile detainees to a portion of the adult facility.

At a work session Tuesday, Doña Ana County Detention Center Director Chris Barela said it could be 12- 14 months before they are able to reopen the detention center.

“Based on the attrition rates that we have,” Barela said. “Unless we get an influx of recruits and we are able to retain the existing officers that we have currently on the rolls then in may take that long. Just last month alone I lost 5 people.”

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Regional
2:18 pm
Tue June 16, 2015

Mescalero Apache Man Pleads Guilty To Federal Voluntary Manslaughter Charge

  Jerrick Blake, 22, a member of the Mescalero Apache Nation who resides in Mescalero, N.M., pleaded guilty this morning in Las Cruces, N.M., to a voluntary manslaughter charge.

   According to court filings, Blake killed the victim on the afternoon of Nov. 3, 2014, by stabbing him in the chest with a knife.  The crime occurred during an argument between Blake and the victim on the Mescalero Apache Reservation in Otero County, N.M.

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Regional
2:17 pm
Tue June 16, 2015

Former Corrections Officer Sentenced For Conspiring To Distribute Drugs

  A former corrections officer was sentenced this morning in federal court in Las Cruces, N.M., for conspiring to distribute heroin, methamphetamine and cocaine within the Doña Ana County Detention Center (DACDC).  Francisco Balderrama, 27, of El Paso, Texas, was sentenced to a year and a day in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release.

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Regional
2:14 pm
Tue June 16, 2015

Texas Spending $800 Million On Border Security

Credit Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R)

Texas is going on a spending spree aimed at securing the Mexican border, but the spending raises questions about whether the state is creating its own border patrol.

The state's new Republican governor, Greg Abbott, this month approved $800 million for border security over the next two years — more than double any similar period in the previous 14 years under former Gov. Rick Perry.

Texas is doing so at a time when the number of immigrants crossing the border illegally has subsided.

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Regional
2:13 pm
Tue June 16, 2015

McAllen Police Officer Resigns; Accused Of Human Smuggling

A South Texas police officer has resigned and faces a human smuggling charge after being stopped at a border checkpoint with two women allegedly in the U.S. illegally.

McAllen police Officer Joan De La Fuente-Garza is in custody pending a federal detention hearing Thursday.

Prosecutors say the officer was off-duty Friday and in a northbound car with two women at the Falfurrias (fal-FYOO'-ree-uhs) checkpoint. They say the passengers could not produce identification on their immigration status.

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Regional
10:11 am
Tue June 16, 2015

Living Here: Deming Luna Mimbres Museum

Regional
10:08 am
Tue June 16, 2015

Artists in Juárez - Laura Turon and Alejandro Morales

Regional
10:04 am
Tue June 16, 2015

Aggies Go Global Visits India

Fred Martino interviews several students from the Aggies Go Global program about their recent experience exploring India as part of an UBELONG expedition.

Regional
10:03 am
Tue June 16, 2015

NMSU’s Loui Reyes Selected As President Of New Mexico Council Of Graduate Deans

Credit Dr. Loui Reyes, NMSU

  Loui Reyes, dean of the New Mexico State University Graduate School, was unanimously elected as president-elect of the New Mexico Council of Graduate Deans at a meeting recently. 

The council serves as a recommending body for the state’s graduate education endeavors including graduate curriculum review for new graduate programs, graduate program review and any other items regarding statewide graduate education.

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Regional
8:26 am
Tue June 16, 2015

Man Convicted Of Rape Pleads No Contest To More Attacks

An Albuquerque man who was convicted and sentenced for the rape of a 13-year-old girl in 1988 has added six more convictions to his history of violent sex crimes.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that 58-year-old Joseph Blea pleaded no contest Monday to five counts of first degree rape and one count of kidnapping involving attacks on three victims between 1990 and 1993.

A District Attorney's Office spokeswoman in Albuquerque identified the victims as one child and two adults.

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Regional
8:21 am
Tue June 16, 2015

Decision Set On Heavily Debated New Mexico Development

Credit bernco.gov

The fate of a planned community west of Albuquerque that developers say could someday be home to as many as 90,000 people is in the hands of Bernalillo County commissioners.

The commission in the state's most populous county is expected to make a final decision Tuesday on a nearly 22-square-mile development known as Santolina. The development would rival some of New Mexico's largest cities once completed.

However, the plan has drawn opposition from Albuquerque's historical Hispanic South Valley area over fears that Santolina would draw from much needed water sources.

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Regional
8:17 am
Tue June 16, 2015

Suspects Plead Not Guilty In Death Of Rio Rancho Policeman

Credit https://www.facebook.com/RioRanchoPolice

A man and woman accused in the fatal shooting of a Rio Rancho police officer during a traffic stop last month have pleaded not guilty.

Andrew Romero and his 30-year-old girlfriend, Tabitha Littles, entered their pleas Monday in a Sandoval County courtroom.

Romero and Littles were indicted last week in the May 25 death of Officer Gregg Benner.

Prosecutors say the 28-year-old Romero allegedly told Littles that he was going to shoot the officer before opening fire.

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