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.

NMSU To Teach Lamaze Classes In English, Spanish This Fall

Aug 18, 2015

  For the first time this fall, the New Mexico State University School of Nursing will offer Lamaze childbirth preparation classes in both English and Spanish for free to pregnant women in their seventh to ninth month of pregnancy.

NMSU nursing faculty and students are teaching the educational classes to women. The first Spanish six-week course will start Oct. 7 in the School of Nursing of the College of Health and Social Services building. The course is from 6:30-8:30 p.m. every Wednesday night from Oct. 7 to Nov. 18. 

NMSU To Host Chile Field Day In Las Cruces

Aug 18, 2015

  Chile roasting season is here, and if you’ve ever wanted to learn more about the pepper, the 2015 Chile Field Day is the perfect opportunity. This year, New Mexico State University’s Leyendecker Plant Science Research Center will host the field day from 8 a.m.-noonWednesday, Sept. 9, and registration begins at 7:30 a.m. Leyendecker is located eight miles southeast of Las Cruces on Highway 28. The event is free and open to the public. 

Albuquerque Teen Curfew Proposal Withdrawn

Aug 18, 2015

An Albuquerque city councilor has withdrawn his resolution to seek a change in state law that would give local governments the authority to impose teen curfews.

Councilor Ken Sanchez made the decision Monday after Gov. Susana Martinez announced that she would put the question on the agenda for the next legislative session in January.

The City Council was set to discuss the proposal during Monday night's meeting. Dozens of speakers still weighed in on the resolution.

Closing Arguments Set In Albuquerque Police Shooting Case

Aug 18, 2015
3/16/14 fatal shooting of James Boyd--Albuquerque Police Department video

Closing arguments are set in a preliminary hearing for a former and current Albuquerque officer facing murder charges in a homeless man's shooting death.

Special Prosecutor Randi McGinn is scheduled Tuesday to outline her reasons why Officer Dominique Perez and former Detective Keith Sandy should face a jury for the fatal shooting of James Boyd. McGinn says the two shot the 38-year-old Boyd even though he was surrendering.

Defense attorneys, however, say the officers shot the knife-wielding Boyd because he posed a danger to police and had threatened officers.

USDA Funds To Bring Broadband Services To Mescalero Apache Tribe

Aug 18, 2015


The U.S. Department of Agriculture last week announced funding for Mescalero Apache Telecom, Inc. for the construction of broadband services in Southern NM.

USDA Rural Development State Director, Terry Brunner announced that $5.3 million would be made available for the construction of broadband services on the Mescalero Apache Tribal Lands in Southern New Mexico.

“This is a broadband loan to the Mescalero Apache Telephone Company, and they are going to get broadband service to about 800 homes in the Mescalero Apache Area,” says Brunner.

In 2013, Las Cruces City Council approved a 3/8th’s of 1 percent Hold Harmless GRT Tax Increase. The Council is now trying to determine the best way to use the funds.

While, Hold Harmless payments are being phased out by the state, Las Cruces is projecting an increase in available funds from the GRT tax revenue after the budget is balanced.

Federal Judge Denies Injunction In New Mexico Drilling Case

Aug 17, 2015
Bureau of Land Management

A federal judge has denied a request by environmentalists to put on hold oil and gas development in northwestern New Mexico that stems from the approval of dozens of permits over the last two years by the Bureau of Land Management.

U.S. District Judge James Browning issued his ruling late Friday. At least one environmental group plans to appeal.

Environmentalists contend the BLM's Farmington office violated federal environmental laws by approving 265 permits since 2013 and that more development could harm the environment and archaeological and cultural sites in the region.

Irrigation In Dona Ana County Coming To Close

Aug 17, 2015

Farmers in Dona Ana County are bringing their irrigation seasons to a close, but water in the Rio Grande is expected to keep flowing for several more weeks.

The Las Cruces Sun-News reports the Elephant Butte Irrigation District, which covers Dona Ana County, shut down its Hatch-area irrigation network and plans to finish irrigating additional farms by the end of next week.

Water in the Rio Grande will still flow as irrigators in El Paso and Mexico continue their water seasons through September.

Texas Gay Couple Settles Suit Over Marriage License Denial

Aug 17, 2015

Attorneys for a gay couple who sued a Texas county clerk who denied them a marriage license on religious grounds have announced they've reached a settlement of the lawsuit.

In a statement, attorneys for Jim Cato and Joe Stapleton said Monday that they've settled their federal lawsuit against Hood County Clerk Katie Lang for what they've spent in attorneys' fees — almost $44,000.

Hood County Attorney Lori Kaspar referred requests for comment to the county's special attorney, Grant Blaies of Fort Worth, Texas, who didn't return messages.

Officer: Police Saved His Life By Shooting Homeless Man

Aug 17, 2015

A K-9 officer says two Albuquerque officers saved his life by shooting a knife-wielding homeless man during a tense standoff.

Scott Weimerskirch testified Monday that he was very close to an armed James Boyd, and Boyd refused officers commands to get on the ground. That's when Officer Dominique Perez and former Detective Keith Sandy shot the 38-year-old camper.

Weimerskirch made his comments during a preliminary hearing for Perez and Sandy, who are facing murder charges for Boyd's death.

Navajo Nation Doing Its Own Water Testing After Mine Spill

Aug 17, 2015

The Navajo Nation says it's waiting for test results from its own environment officials before deciding whether to declare the San Juan River safe for use.

Tribal President Russell Begaye has advised Navajos not to let livestock drink from the river or use the water for crops.

Meanwhile, New Mexico has lifted water restrictions for the Animas and San Juan rivers, and Colorado has reopened the Animas to boating. Utah also has given the OK for San Juan River to be used for crops and livestock.

Man Arraigned In Teenager's Drive-By Shooting Death

Aug 17, 2015

The 18-year-old son of a New Mexico lawmaker is being held on a $250,000 bond in connection with a deadly drive-by shooting and a second suspect has turned himself in to police.

Donovan Maez was arrested Friday on several charges, including an open count of murder, aggravated assault and conspiracy.

He's the son of Democratic Rep. Stephanie Maez of Albuquerque.

The teen is accused of firing shots from a vehicle at a home on June 26 and killing 17-year-old Jaydon Chavez-Silver.

Police believe the shooting may have been motivated by retaliation.

This Week In The Las Cruces Bulletin

Aug 17, 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.

Issues And Answers: The Disappearing Middle Class?

Aug 17, 2015

What state and federal policies are needed to boost the economy?  In
particular, with median household wages down and pay increases meager
or non-existent, what can be done?

A studio audience poses questions to:

Steve Fischmann, former state legislator and co-chair of the New
Mexico Fair Lending Coalition

Man Suspected of Beating, Kidnapping Girlfriend

Aug 17, 2015

  Las Cruces Police arrested a man suspected of beating up his girlfriend early Saturday morning and holding the woman against her will.

Armando C. Silva Jr., 20, is charged with one first-degree felony count of kidnapping and one count of aggravated battery causing great bodily harm, a third-degree felony.

Utah Man Pleads Guilty In 2014 Fatal Crash In New Mexico

Aug 17, 2015

A Utah man has pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter in a 2014 car crash in New Mexico.

Prosecutors say 33-year-old Bradford J. Billy, of West Jordan, pleaded guilty Monday in Albuquerque.

Under the terms of a plea agreement, Billy will be sentenced to between 37and 46 months in prison followed by a term of supervised release to be determined by the court.

Billy was arrested last December.

State: Political Party Emails Identified As Spam Years Ago

Aug 17, 2015

State officials are acknowledging that emails from the domain belonging to the Democratic Party of New Mexico were first blocked from state servers after being identified as spam four years ago.

Officials with the state Department of Information Technology detailed the cause of the email flap Monday as the party called for an investigation.

Party spokesman Scott Tillman says Democrats first noticed emails being returned in July after requesting information from the secretary of state's office.

Teen Curfew To Be On Agenda For NM Legislative Session

Aug 17, 2015

Gov. Susana Martinez says curfews can be an important tool for keeping teens on the right track and that she would support letting communities decide for themselves whether to impose such measures.

The governor issued her comments Monday as the Albuquerque City Council prepared to discuss whether to push for legislation that would give local governments across New Mexico the ability to impose and enforce teen curfews.

Man Held In Officer's Death Had Knife In Prison

Aug 17, 2015

Prison officials say a homemade knife has been found on a man accused of fatally shooting a police officer in a suburb of Albuquerque.

The New Mexico Department of Corrections said Monday that Central New Mexico Correctional Facility guards found a "shank" inside the cell assigned to Andrew Romero.

Officials say the knife was discovered after Romero made threats at officers and authorities ordered a shakedown of his cell.

Authorities say officials are trying to determine how Romero got the weapon.

Georgia Man Pleads Guilty In Cocaine Trafficking Case

Aug 17, 2015

A Georgia man has pleaded guilty to a cocaine trafficking charge in New Mexico.

Prosecutors say 65-year-old Willie Collier, of Macon, pleaded guilty Monday in federal court in Albuquerque.

Under the terms of the plea agreement, Collier will be sentenced to 60 months in federal prison followed by up to four years of supervised release.

Collier was arrested in January 2014 at a bus station in Albuquerque after a search of his baggage by federal drug agents revealed that Collier was carrying nearly six kilograms of cocaine inside a backpack.

ALBUQUERQUE – Conrad Vasquez Salazar, 43, of Las Cruces, N.M., pleaded guilty this afternoon to conspiracy and firearms charges.  Under the terms of his plea agreement, Salazar will be sentenced to 20 years in federal prison followed by a term of supervised release to be determined by the court.  The guilty plea was announced by U.S. Attorney Damon P. Martinez, Special Agent in Charge Carol K.O. Lee of the Albuquerque Division of the FBI, and Las Cruces Police Chief Jaime Montoya.

The Las Cruces Police Department says the downtown Las Cruces post office was evacuated Monday afternoon around 1 p.m. due to a suspicious package found in the mail.

The department says authorities have already examined the package and the post office, and have determined there was no threat.

According to the Las Cruces Police Department, the scene was cleared at 2 p.m. Monday.

NMSU Joins State Agencies In Response To Gold King Mine Spill

Aug 17, 2015

  FARMINGTON – When three million gallons of mining sludge from the Gold King Mine site at Silverton, Colorado, flowed downriver in the Animas and San Juan rivers, area emergency response teams jumped into action.

As the plume worked its way through the Four Corners region of New Mexico, New Mexico State University, New Mexico Department of Agriculture, New Mexico Environment Department and New Mexico State Engineer’s office personnel addressed the short- and long-term impacts of heavy metal contamination of river water and soil along the contaminated rivers.

Hatch Chile Still Available In New Mexico Whole Foods Stores

Aug 17, 2015

  Hatch chile fans...fear not.  Whole Foods stores in New Mexico will continue to carry the famous state product.  "Whole Foods Market will proudly continue to carry and support local Hatch chile in all of our New Mexico locations. Pueblo chile will be available in our CO/KS/ID/UT stores," said Benji Fitts, Marketing Team Leader with Whole Foods in Santa Fe.

Here is last week's original story from the Associated Press:

Colorado's Pueblo chiles are taking on the venerable Hatch chiles of New Mexico.

NMSU Professor Works Toward Eliminating Blackouts

Aug 17, 2015

  Sukumar Brahma, a professor in the Klipsch School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at New Mexico State University, is developing methods to produce more reliable and resilient delivery of electric power to end users.

New Mexico Ramps Up Efforts To Collect Gross Receipts Taxes

Aug 17, 2015

New Mexico has been ramping up its efforts to collect delinquent gross receipts taxes from self-employed workers, contractors and business owners.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that the number of letters alerting taxpayers of a possible discrepancy in taxes paid has grown from 666 in the 2011 fiscal year to 17,930 in the budget year that ended in June.

The New Mexico Taxation and Revenue Department says it can better identify taxable income by using computer tracking programs to compare different sources of tax data.

Monday Business Watch

Aug 17, 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. 

Classes are resuming at NMSU, and returning students are finding some changes at the University. One of those changes involves the weekly student newspaper The Round Up, will be replaced with the monthly publication Oncore Magazine.

Los Alamos Lab Contractor Fined For Security Lapses

Aug 16, 2015

The private consortium that manages the Los Alamos National Laboratory has been fined by the federal government for losing track of secret weapons data and nuclear material.

The more than $192,000 fine was reduced by about 20 percent from the fine initially proposed by the Department of Energy in May.

Testimony Resumes Monday In Police Shooting Case

Aug 16, 2015
3/16/14 fatal shooting of James Boyd--Albuquerque Police Department video

A judge could decide this week if a former and current Albuquerque officer should stand trial for the shooting death of a homeless man.

Pro Tem Judge Neil Candelaria is scheduled Monday to hear more testimony in a preliminary hearing for Officer Dominique Perez and former Detective Keith Sandy. They are facing murder charges for the death of James Boyd.