Regional

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.

UPDATE: Suspicious Device "Rendered Safe" In Las Cruces

Aug 14, 2015

The Las Cruces Police Department reports a suspicious device found Friday morning on the grounds of First Presbyterian Church in Las Cruces has been "rendered safe" while a team of local, state and federal investigators looks into its origin.  The department has not provided additional information about the device.

The Dona Ana County Bomb Squad rendered the device safe at around 11:30 a.m. A portion of Boutz Road between El Paseo Road and south Main Street remains closed while the investigation continues and K-9 teams conduct a protective sweep of the area.

UPDATE: FAA To Investigate Las Cruces Private Plane Crash

Aug 14, 2015

At around 11 a.m. Friday, Aug. 14, New Mexico State Police responded to a plane crash located approximately one quarter mile east of the Las Cruces International Airport in Las Cruces. State Police officers will conduct an initial investigation.

The downed airplane was identified as a T-28 vintage Navy plane. The plane was occupied by a civilian pilot and passenger. Both sustained injuries. The pilot was transported to University Medical Center in El Paso and the passenger was transported to Memorial Medical Center in Las Cruces for medical treatment.

Police: Suspicious Device Found On Las Cruces Church Grounds

Aug 14, 2015

Police have cordoned off an area of Las Cruces after a suspicious device was found on the grounds of the First Presbyterian Church on Boutz Road.

Police have closed the roadway in front of the church and evacuated nearby businesses. They've also told students and teachers at nearby Las Cruces High School to remain indoors.

The Dona Ana County Sheriff's Office has dispatched its bomb squad to the scene.

The device was found Friday morning by a groundkeeper at the church. Police haven't released any details about the device.

Two Get Prison For Trying To Smuggle Grenades Into Mexico

Aug 14, 2015

Two people in South Texas have been sentenced to prison for trying to smuggle three-dozen grenades into Mexico.

Prosecutors in Del Rio say the scheme was exposed last August when 28-year-old Juliette Ramirez was found with a grenade in her backpack at a Texas border crossing.

The arrest of the pedestrian led to an apartment in Del Rio. Officers discovered 35 more grenades and arrested 28-year-old Noe Ramirez. The woman and man are not related.

Lawyers: Immigrant Family Detention Still Lengthy And Unsafe

Aug 14, 2015

Immigrant rights lawyers say families caught crossing the U.S.-Mexico border illegally are often detained for long periods and that their detention is unsafe and violates a ban on holding children in secure facilities.

The government told U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee in California last week that families are being detained for only a few weeks.

But in a filing late Thursday, the immigration lawyers counter that many women and children are detained for a month or more, with poor medical care, while immigration officials delay processing and impede access to legal help.

Judge Upholds Firing Of Physician's Assistant For Pot Use

Aug 14, 2015

A state district judge has upheld the firing of a physician's assistant because the woman, who is a registered medical marijuana patient, tested positive for marijuana while working as an employee at Presbyterian Healthcare Services.

The Albuquerque Journal reports Presbyterian spokeswoman Amanda Schoenberg says that under federal law, employees must show that they are drug-free. The judge ruled in favor of Presbyterian Thursday, agreeing that the federal contractor must comply with the Federal Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988.

Silver City Report

Aug 14, 2015

Time now for a new segment on KRWG and krwg.org, the Silver City Report with Edmundo Resendez and Silver City Press and Independent Publisher, Nick Seibel taking a look at the farmer’s market.

  With the El Paso Electric rate increase request moving forward, it's a good time to speak with the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission, which is tasked with approving or reject the company's request.  Fred Martino spoke with PRC District 5 Commissioner Sandy Jones about how the PRC evaluates utility requests.

New Mexico State Police Investigating Fatal Hobbs Shooting

Aug 13, 2015
nmsp.dps.state.nm.us

New Mexico State Police are investigating a fatal shooting involving Hobbs police officers and Lea County Sheriff's deputies.

State police say the shooting occurred about 3 p.m. Wednesday after a vehicle fled officers in Hobbs.

When the pursuit ended on a dead-end street, state police say deputies and Hobbs officers encountered 49-year-old William Smith, who had been a passenger in the vehicle.

Authorities say it's still unclear what triggered the shooting.

Smith was taken to Hobbs Regional Hospital, where he later died.

Navajo Nation To Receive Support Following Mine Spill

Aug 13, 2015
JONATHAN THOMPSON HIGH COUNTRY NEWS

Truckloads of drinking water are headed to the Navajo Nation where a mine spill upstream of the San Juan River has residents worried about contamination.

St. Mary's Food Bank Alliance is donating 200,000 bottles of water to Navajo communities. The shipment is expected to arrive Friday.

Navajo Nation Council Speaker LoRenzo Bates says the donations will help alleviate stress in finding potable water for residents.

NMSU Researchers Examine Adult Day Services In New Mexico

Aug 13, 2015

  Donna Wagner, dean of the College of Health and Social Services and Joe Tomaka, associate dean and director of the New Mexico State University Survey Research and Program Evaluation Center, conducted a study of adult day services in New Mexico for the Aging and Long-Term Services Department of New Mexico. Their study found that many of the 27 licensed adult day programs in the state were begun in response to community demand and were providing important support for older adults in the community as a result.

Panel: NM Supreme Court Should Support No-Bond Amendment

Aug 13, 2015

A panel of judges, lawyers and legal experts is recommending that New Mexico's highest court support a constitutional amendment to allow judges to order the most dangerous, violent criminal defendants held in jail pending trial without bond.

The committee voted during a meeting Thursday in Albuquerque to send a letter outlining its recommendation to the state Supreme Court.

Albuquerque Can Prohibit Employees From Running For Office

Aug 13, 2015

The New Mexico Supreme Court has ruled Albuquerque can bar its firefighters and other employees from running for elected office.  

In a 49-page ruling Thursday, the state's high court reversed a lower court's ruling in the case of fire Capt. Emily Kane.

Kane served for two years in the state House before losing her re-election bid last year.

The city had sought to discipline Kane before she won a lower-court ruling that said the prohibition was unconstitutional.

Ex-Airman Who Killed Friend In NM Crash Gets Probation

Aug 13, 2015

A former U.S. Air Force airman who was driving more than 120 mph when he crashed near a New Mexico base and killed his passenger has been sentenced to five years' probation after a judge rejected a prosecutor's request for prison time.

Tylan Bolden of Franklin, Louisiana, was sentenced Wednesday by 9th Judicial District Judge Drew Tatum.

The 21-year-old was driving a car in Clovis last year when he crashed. A fellow airman, 22-year-old Andrew Padilla of Santa Maria, California, was ejected and killed.

Padilla and Bolden were assigned to Cannon Air Force Base.

El Paso Woman Gives Birth To 3 Girls, 2 Boys, All Doing Well

Aug 13, 2015

A West Texas woman has given birth to quintuplets and hospital officials in El Paso say the premature babies are doing well.

Susana Giron of El Paso delivered the three girls and two boys on Tuesday at Providence Memorial Hospital. They are the first children for Giron and her husband, Marco Delgado.

Dr. Maria D. Velazquez said Thursday that all five babies are in stable condition in the neonatal intensive-care unit.

Hospital officials say the babies — Vanessa, Jackeline, Montserrat, Diego and Samuel — ranged from 1 pound, 9 ounces to 2 pounds at birth.

DEA Seizes Medical Pot After Explosion At Dispensary

Aug 13, 2015

The federal Drug Enforcement Administration has seized and destroyed several marijuana plants from a licensed Santa Fe dispensary after two employees were burned in a recent explosion.

The Albuquerque Journal reports Santa Fe police asked the DEA to help investigate the blast at NewMexiCann Natural Medicine on July 23.

Officials To Mark 'Milestone' In Kirtland Fuel Spill Cleanup

Aug 13, 2015
kirtland.af.mil

Officials are marking a milestone in the cleanup of a massive plume of jet fuel at the edge of Albuquerque.

Gov. Susana Martinez, members of the state's congressional delegation and other officials are scheduled Thursday to join U.S. Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James at Kirtland Air Force Base to mark the extraction and treatment of some of the contaminated water.

First detected in 1999, the fuel leak is believed to have been seeping into the ground for decades. Estimates of the amount of fuel spilled range from 6 million to 24 million gallons.

New Mexico Chile Growers Pushing Guest Workers Program

Aug 13, 2015
krwg.org

Chile growers in New Mexico say they need a guest worker program to survive and reverse the decline of the famed crop.

New Mexico Chile Commission chairman Rick Ledbetter says growers want new temporary immigrant labor because U.S.-born workers are opting not to work in the fields. That's creating a shortage of green chile pickers

Ed Ogaz, owner of the Anthony, New Mexico-based chile wholesaler Seco Spice Co., says the shortage also is preventing farmers from using all available land to grow the spice stable.

The new double up food bucks incentive for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistant Program or SNAP, better known as food stamps, is giving recipients double their money at New Mexico Farmer’s Markets.

Simon Thompson

In the last 15 years every state in the country has seen a decline in the middle class. That’s according to a Pew Charitable trust study based on Census Bureau.  New Mexico and a number of other states saw about a five percent decline in middle class households.  Only Wisconsin did worse with a decline of about six percent.

The recession left a trail of foreclosure, debt and unemployment. 

PRC Wants To Withdraw Suit Vs Newspaper Over Documents

Aug 12, 2015

The state Public Regulation Commission wants to withdraw its lawsuit against a Santa Fe newspaper over confidential documents relating to the San Juan Generating Station.

A lawyer for the commission informed a District Court judge Wednesday that the regulatory body was dropping the suit.

The litigation sought to stop any publication of documents that the commission staff inadvertently released to a Santa Fe New Mexican reporter last week as part of a response to a public records request.

The Latest: EPA Head To Visit New Mexico To Address Spill

Aug 12, 2015
JONATHAN THOMPSON HIGH COUNTRY NEWS

The head of the Environmental Protection Agency says she will visit Farmington, New Mexico, downstream from where millions of gallons of mine waste spilled into a southwest Colorado river.

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy is scheduled to address the agency's response in Farmington on Thursday. On Wednesday, she spoke with residents of Durango, Colorado, as well as state, local and tribal officials.

An EPA-supervised cleanup crew accidentally unleashed 3 million gallons of wastewater from an old mine that flowed into southwest Colorado's Animas River.

California Firm Pays $5.9M For Overcharging NM National Lab

Aug 12, 2015

A San Diego company will pay $5.9 million to settle allegations that it overcharged the federal government for computers used at a national security research and development laboratory in New Mexico.

The computers sold by a subsidiary of PC Specialists Inc. to the National Nuclear Security Administration between 2003 and 2013 were used at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque. The settlement of the civil fraud charges was announced by the Department of Justice late Tuesday.

State Officials: New Mexico Democrats' Emails Unblocked

Aug 12, 2015
dpnm.net

Officials say a server issue that was blocking emails from the Democratic Party of New Mexico to state agencies should be resolved.

Secretary of State spokesman Ken Ortiz said Wednesday the Department of Information Technology contacted the service provider for state email addresses after an inquiry by The Associated Press and Democrats should no longer be blocked.

Democratic Party spokesman Scott Tillman says emails from New Mexico Democratic chairman Deb Haaland and other staffers were being blocked and "blacklisted" from state agencies.

New Mexico Man Pleads Guilty To Involuntary Manslaughter

Aug 12, 2015

A Fruitland man has pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter in connection with a car crash that killed two people in New Mexico last year.

Prosecutors say 28-year-old Farrell Bowman entered into a plea agreement in the case Wednesday.

They say he will be sentenced to 74 months in federal prison followed by a term of supervised release to be determined by the court.

Bowman was arrested in January.

New Details In Shooting Of Undercover Officer In Drug Bus

Aug 12, 2015

Authorities say the Albuquerque police lieutenant who shot and seriously injured an undercover officer during a low-level drug bust may not have known he was an officer.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that police reports released Tuesday show Lt. Greg Brachle didn't attend a pre-operation briefing where police decided to send an additional undercover officer to the January drug bust.

That officer was Jacob Grant, who was shot multiple times by Brachle during the undercover operation near an Albuquerque McDonald's restaurant.

The Latest: New Mexico Official: Towns Want Answers On Spill

Aug 12, 2015
JONATHAN THOMPSON HIGH COUNTRY NEWS

The latest in the Colorado mine spill (all times local):

2:35 p.m.

New Mexico's attorney general says communities affected contaminated wastewater that spilled from a Colorado mine have anywhere from seven to 50 days of drinking water in storage tanks and reservoirs.

Hector Balderas says the towns are anxious for the release of sampling results from the Animas and San Juan rivers. He spoke Wednesday after meeting with local officials in Farmington, New Mexico. He was headed to Durango, Colorado, to meet with his counterparts from that state and Utah.

  State officials have signed off on an agreement between Verizon Wireless and Doña Ana County to build a new cellular tower at the Talavera Volunteer Fire District station near the base of Soledad Canyon Road. 

District 3 Doña Ana County Commissioner Benjamin L. Rawson applauded the state Board of Finance’s action to approve the agreement so that construction can begin on the 75-foot tower, which will resemble a large flagpole that is designed to be virtually invisible from a distance of one-quarter mile or more.

Albuquerque Man Must Pay 23K For Fake Claims To VAMC

Aug 12, 2015

An Albuquerque man has been sentenced to three years of probation and ordered to pay more than $23,000 in restitution for submitting fraudulent claims to the Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

Prosecutors say 43-year-old Rick J. Serrano was sentenced Tuesday in federal court.

He was indicted in April 2013 for submitting 146 fraudulent claims to the VAMC for travel beneficiary payments from September 2010 through October 2012.

Serrano pleaded guilty last November.

In the wake of explosions at two Las Cruces churches, Holy Cross Catholic Church and Calvary Baptist Church are looking into expanding the security at both churches.

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