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.

Udall Announces Legislation In Wake Of Mine Waste Spill

Sep 22, 2015

The federal government would be required to identify the most dangerous abandoned mines in the West and make plans to clean them up under legislation introduced by members of New Mexico's congressional delegation.

Sen. Tom Udall announced the legislation Tuesday. The New Mexico Democrat says it's a response to the torrent of toxic wastewater from a Colorado mine that fouled rivers in three Western states.

First On KRWG: First Lab Confirmed Cases of Flu Reported in New Mexico

Sep 22, 2015
New Mexico Department of Health

  The New Mexico Department of Health is reporting the first lab-confirmed cases of influenza for the 2015 – 2016 season. The three cases were reported in women, ages 54, 68, and 77, from Bernalillo county.  The 68 and 77 year olds were hospitalized for treatment, and are now out of the hospital. The first flu case last season was reported in September.

  In one of the largest recoveries of overtime wages in recent years for the U.S. Department of Labor, oil and gas service provider, Halliburton, has agreed to pay $18,293,557 to 1,016 employees nationwide. The department’s Wage and Hour Division investigated Halliburton as part of an ongoing, multi-year compliance initiative in the oil and gas industry in the Southwest and Northeast.

  Jessie Manuel Pena, 32, of Las Cruces, N.M., was sentenced this morning in federal court in Las Cruces to 77 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release for his conviction on heroin trafficking and firearms charges.

  The University of Texas at El Paso is presenting a series of lectures, panel discussions, and conferences featuring experts from around the country who will focus on issues regarding race, authority and violence in 21st Century America.


Clerk's Office Implements Privacy Changes Following Arrests

Sep 22, 2015
Dona Ana County Clerk Lynn Ellins

  Acting on the recommendations of a bipartisan Blue Ribbon Panel, the Doña Ana County Clerk’s Office has begun implementing a series of new steps designed to enhance the security of sensitive information belonging to registered voters in Doña Ana County.

   The panel was convened after the June arrests of a Clerk’s Office employee on various charges related to the theft of registered voters’ names, Social Security numbers and dates of birth for illegal private gain. Three others were arrested for improperly notarizing documents.

Third Candidate In Race For Las Cruces Council District 4

Sep 22, 2015
Richard Hall

  Richard Hall has announced his bid to replace Las Cruces City Councilor Nathan Small, representing District 4 on the City Council. Two others, Gilbert Vasquez and Jack Eakman have also announced candidacies in District 4.

Small previously announced he is not seeking re-election after two terms in office.

Along with his wife and stepson, Hall says he has lived in Las Cruces for nearly 20 years.  Hall adds that he is a small business owner and contractor.

Dr. Pat Hynes-New Mexico Space Grant Consortium

Sep 22, 2015


   Fred Martino speaks with Dr. Pat Hynes, Director of the New Mexico Space Grant Consortium.  Hynes discusses the 2015 International Symposium for Personal and Commercial Spaceflight, which takes place on October 7 and 8 at the New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum in Las Cruces.

International Symposium for Personal and Commercial Spaceflight 

Tuesday – October 6th  

All activities at New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum unless otherwise stated.

11:30-1:30 pm

New Mexico Auditor Releases Findings Of Statewide Review

Sep 22, 2015
Tim Keller, New Mexico Auditor

The Office of the State Auditor has finished examining nearly 450 government entities in New Mexico as part of a first-of-its-kind review.

The office released the findings Tuesday in an effort to make information about the financial health of state and local government more transparent and accessible to the public and policymakers.

State auditors looked at data from state agencies, cities, counties and school districts and other entities.

Only a small percentage of the entities had audit findings, indicating a deficiency or an issue of non-compliance.

Albuquerque Councilors Support Reduced Marijuana Penalties

Sep 22, 2015

The Albuquerque City Council has voted in favor of decriminalizing the possession of small amounts of marijuana, but that action will likely face opposition from Mayor Richard Berry, who plans to veto the legislation.

The council voted 5-4 along party lines Monday in favor of making it a civil offense to possess up to an ounce of marijuana. They also adopted a resolution declaring marijuana a low enforcement priority for police.

But Mayor Richard has cited conflicts with state and federal law as reasons to veto the measure.

Albuquerque Police Investigate Two Shootings; Victims Wounded

Sep 22, 2015

Albuquerque police are investigating two shootings that occurred early Tuesday morning.

Officer Fred Duran says officers responding to a shooting call founded a wounded female victim who was unable to tell them where the shooting occurred or who shot her. Duran says the victim's injuries are not believed to be life-threatening.

Officers responding to a different shooting call found a male victim with at least one gunshot wound to his upper body. That person is reported in critical but stable condition.

Ages and identities of the victims weren't released.

Udall To Announce Legislation In Wake Of Mine Waste Spill

Sep 22, 2015
Senator Tom Udall (D-NM)

U.S. Sen. Tom Udall is expected to announce legislation aimed at compensating communities affected by the torrent of toxic wastewater from a Colorado mine that fouled two Southwestern rivers.

The New Mexico Democrat scheduled a conference call Tuesday to discuss his plans. His office says the legislation would require water quality monitoring of the Animas and San Juan rivers.

Colleges In New Mexico Seeing Declining Enrollment

Sep 22, 2015

Colleges in New Mexico are seeing declining enrollment and administrators says they are trying to adjust to the changing landscape.

New Mexico State University for example reported an enrollment drop for 2015, continuing a decrease over five years like other schools.

According to New Mexico State University, its 2015 fall was 15,490. Officials say that's a 14 percent drop from 2011. Standard & Poor's recently lowered the school's long-term rating to 'AA-' from 'AA' citing falling enrollment numbers.

Dog In Police Shooting Being Retired, May Be Put To Sleep

Sep 21, 2015

Albuquerque police say a service dog that was unleashed after officers shot a homeless man last year is being retired and may be put to sleep.

Police spokeswoman Celina Espinoza says K-9 Rex's time on the force is ending after his handler, Officer Scott Weimerskirch, retired Friday.

At 9-years-old, she says, Rex is too old to be trained to work with another handler.

She added Monday that Weimerskirch cannot keep the dog because he has a small child at home.

Las Cruces City Council voted unanimously to approve the issuance of up to $28.5 million in bond funding to be repaid over 20 years using revenue from the 2014 Hold Harmless GRT tax hike.

In a work session, council decided 20% of the funding will be used to increase energy efficiency of city facilities, 45% will be allocated toward road projects, and 35% will be used for business development.

Las Cruces Mayor Ken Miyagishima says spending the money now will help save money in the future. 

Bergdahl Lawyer Asks Court To Make Interrogation Public

Sep 21, 2015

The lawyer for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, the soldier held prisoner by the Taliban for five years, is asking a military court to publicly release a transcript of Bergdahl's interview with military officials and a summary of an investigation into his disappearance.

Defense attorney Eugene Fidell has unsuccessfully tried to get the Army to make the documents public while Bergdahl faces charges, including desertion, for leaving his post in Afghanistan in 2009.

Third Candidate In Las Cruces Mayoral Race

Sep 21, 2015
Gina Montoya Ortega

  On Tuesday…candidates in the Las Cruces municipal election will submit voter signatures to get on the ballot. 

And a third candidate has announced in the race for Mayor.

Utilities Payment Scam In Las Cruces

Sep 21, 2015

  Las Cruces Utilities (LCU) is warning customers of a scam involving utility bill payments. In at least one case, a caller identifying himself as being with the “water billing department” informed the customer that water service would be shut off within an hour, unless the customer purchased a Walmart gift card for the exact amount owed on the bill.

  Attorney General Loretta Lynch today announced that the Justice Department has awarded grants totaling more than $23.2 million to 73 local and tribal agencies in 32 states to expand the use of body-worn cameras and explore their impact.  The investment includes $19.3 million to purchase body-worn cameras, $2 million for training and technical assistance and $1.9 million to examine the impact of their use.  The grants, awarded by the Department’s Office of Justice Programs (OJP), are part of President Obama’s proposal to purchase 50,000 body-worn cameras for law enforcement agencies within

White House Touts NMSU Program As "Bright Spot in Hispanic Education"

Sep 21, 2015

  New Mexico State University’s College Migrant Assistance Program (CAMP) was named one of the country’s “Bright Spots in Hispanic Education.” More than 230 programs and organizations are now listed online in the national catalog that recognizes their commitment to narrowing the Latino achievement gap.

  FARMINGTON – Kevin Lombard knows how his neighbors are feeling after the Gold King Mine spill in Silverton, Colorado.

He stood on the banks of the Animas River, 500 meters from his three-acre vegetable garden, and watched the plume of the spill turn the river water orange in August.

Lombard’s not your average San Juan County farmer – he’s an associate professor of horticulture at New Mexico State University’s Agricultural Science Center at Farmington.

New Mexico Wildlife Group Protest Game Commission Decisions

Sep 21, 2015

The Sierra Club Rio Grande Chapter has launched a radio campaign targeting New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez and the Game Commission's decisions to allow trapping of cougars and increased bear-killing by trophy hunters.

The chapter says Martinez appointed every commissioner on the panel.

The chapter's ads ask New Mexicans to urge Martinez to direct the Game Commission to reverse the cougar and bear votes.

Chapter officials say the ad will appear on radio stations in central, northern and southern New Mexico and will run in concert with online ads throughout the state.

State Obesity Rates Hold Steady; 30% Or More In 22 States

Sep 21, 2015

New government data shows that in most states, the rate of adult obesity is not moving.

Results from a telephone survey show obesity rates stayed about the same in 45 states last year. There were small increases in Kansas, Minnesota, New Mexico, Ohio and Utah.

Some experts said they are glad, overall, that obesity rates aren't getting worse.

The 2014 survey found that in 22 states, 30 percent or more of the population was obese. They were mostly in the South and Midwest. Three states — Arkansas, Mississippi and West Virginia — had obesity rates over 35 percent.

NM Officer Accused Of Kneeing Law Student Pleads Not Guilty

Sep 21, 2015

An Albuquerque police officer accused of kneeing a law student in the groin and deleting a cellphone video has pleaded not guilty to charges in New Mexico's Second District Court.

Pablo Padilla appeared Monday during a brief arraignment hearing on charges of aggravated battery causing great bodily harm and tampering with evidence. He was released on his own recognizance.

Albuquerque Police ID Wrong-Way Driver In Fatal Collision

Sep 21, 2015

Albuquerque police have identified a man who was one of two people killed in a collision that occurred while the man was speeding the wrong way on Interstate 25.

Police say 22-year-old Angel Romero was driving northbound in southbound lanes of I-25 early Sunday morning when the collision occurred at Comanche.

The other driver killed was a 21-year-old woman. Her identity hasn't been released.

Investigators are trying to determine if alcohol was a factor.

Police: Hobbs Woman Used Son To Shoplift

Sep 21, 2015

Police says a Hobbs woman used her 10-year-old child to help shoplift items from a Lovington clothing store.

The Hobbs News-Sun reports 42-year-old Veronica Acosta was recently arrested after police say an employee heard her tell the son, "watch my back."

A criminal complaint says Acosta's child reportedly tried to distract workers by asking for a bathroom key, informed them of a mess in the children's department and alerted his mother an employee was near when she was shoplifting.

Acosta was booked at the Hobbs City Jail on a $20,000 bond.

Monday Business Watch

Sep 21, 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 Fall heating and steps you can take to winterize your home. 

Las Cruces City Council is voting to approve an issuance of $28.5 million dollars in bonds that would be paid off using Hold Harmless GRT tax funds. The money will be used to fund projects including roads, energy efficiency and business incentives.

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. City Council is trying to use that increase to fund projects that could be a greater cost to the city in the future.

New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas

A northern New Mexico tribe is accusing state gaming officials of holding a closed-door meeting to plot out ways to stop its casino operations.

The Pojoaque Pueblo complained to the state Attorney General's Office late last week, accusing the state Gaming Control Board of illegally holding a closed door meeting on their gaming activities.

Pueblo officials say the July 15 meeting violates the Open Meetings Act.

They are accusing board members of discussing retaliation tactics against any entities doing business with them.

Police Shooting Contest In Albuquerque Draws Protests

Sep 20, 2015

Police were called to escort guests into an Albuquerque hotel amid protests of a national police shooting contest.

Police were called to assist when a 13-year-old girl protesting tried to enter the hotel Saturday evening.

However, no arrests were made and 50 demonstrators continued protesting the National Rifle Association's National Police Shooting Championships.

Organizers say the five-day contest glorifies police shootings and should not be in a city with a police department undergoing reforms.