Regional

Regional
8:03 am
Tue March 10, 2015

Hearing Set On New Mexico PARCC Testing Contract Challenge

A hearing is set on a legal challenge to New Mexico's contract to a testing company that is administering a much-debated assessment examine in state schools.

Santa Fe District Judge Sarah Singleton is scheduled Tuesday to hear arguments in a case that seeks to overturn a contract awarded to London-based Pearson.

The Washington-based American Institutes for Research wants to limit a potentially multi-year contract given to Pearson for Common Core testing and force New Mexico to reopen bidding.

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Regional
8:03 am
Tue March 10, 2015

District Attorney Seeks Help In Holding Cell Investigation

The Dona Ana County district attorney's office is asking for help in the investigation of a holding cell incident that left a Las Cruces man hospitalized.  

The district attorney's office announced Monday that it's seeking the help of New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas. The office has also requested that state police conduct an independent investigation.

The Las Cruces Sun-News reports that local police are also investigating.

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Regional
6:00 am
Tue March 10, 2015

Organizers Continue Las Cruces Recall Effort

The efforts to recall City Councilors Gill Sorg, Olga Pedroza, and Nathan Small came short of collecting the correct number of valid signatures.

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Regional
6:00 am
Tue March 10, 2015

Friday Event At NMSU Las Cruces Tackles Test-Based Evaluation Issues

  Nationally renowned education scholar Audrey Amrein-Beardsley will give a talk at New Mexico State University titled “Critical Perspectives on Assessment-Based Accountability” from 7-9 p.m. on Friday, March 13 in the Health and Social Services Auditorium on campus.

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Regional
6:00 am
Tue March 10, 2015

Thursday Event At NMSU Designed To Help Former Students

New Mexico State University’s Cross Campus Advising office will host a “Come Back and Complete” information session from 6 to 7 p.m. Thursday, March 12, at the Educational Services Building, Room 7. 

The event is designed to help former students learn how they can re-enroll at NMSU and how many credits they need to complete their bachelor’s degrees. Former students also can learn about options for possible financial assistance and information about NMSU programs. 

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Regional
6:00 am
Tue March 10, 2015

Report Shows New Mexico Child Poverty Rate Lower Due To Federal Programs

The Annie E. Casey Foundation reports New Mexico’s child poverty rate is decreasing thanks to federal assistance programs. 

The Casey Foundation report finds that without programs like food stamps, housing assistance, and tax credits…100,000 more New Mexico children would live in poverty.

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Regional
3:51 pm
Mon March 9, 2015

Tuesday Water Outage On Part Of Main Street In Las Cruces

  Residents and businesses along Main Street between Madrid Avenue and Cambridge Drive will experience a water outage between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. Tuesday, March 10.

Adjacent areas also may be affected. Crews will post door hanger notices on affected homes and businesses a minimum of 24 hours in advance of the planned outage.

Once water service is restored, residents might notice discolored water due to mineral deposits. Although the water is safe to drink, the City recommends waiting to wash laundry until after the water becomes clear.

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Regional
3:46 pm
Mon March 9, 2015

Texas Couple Buys "The Lodge" In Cloudcroft, Renovation Planned

A Texas couple has purchased and plan to renovate the Lodge At Cloudcroft, a 115-year-old southern New Mexico property that includes a 59-room hotel.

The Alamogordo Daily News reports that Joe and Lanna Duncan of Fort Davis, Texas, purchased the lodge from Great Inns of the Rockies Inc., which bought it in 1992 and which previously owned it in the late 1980s.

Besides the hotel, the property also includes an 18-hole golf course, a restaurant and a bar.

Lanna Duncan said she and her husband Joe bought the lodge because of a love of history and historic preservation.

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Regional
3:43 pm
Mon March 9, 2015

271 Immigrants With Criminal Records Arrested In Texas

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials say federal agents have captured 271 immigrants with criminal records during a five-day immigration sweep of Texas.

An ICE statement Monday said the arrests were part of a nationwide operation that netted a little more than 2,000 immigrants with criminal histories in the sixth operation of this type ICE has run since 2011.

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Regional
3:40 pm
Mon March 9, 2015

Heinrich Addresses New Mexico Legislature, Asks For Help To Break The Cycle Of Poverty

Credit US Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM)

  Today, U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) addressed a joint session of the New Mexico Legislature where he discussed leveling the playing field for New Mexico families and diversifying the state's economy. In his remarks, Senator Heinrich focused on the need to work together in building a two-generation approach to break the cycle of poverty, and invest in early childhood education and job training.

Below are Senator Heinrich's remarks as prepared for delivery:

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Regional
3:35 pm
Mon March 9, 2015

Mexican Universities Sign Agreements With WNMU

Pictured are Dr. Jack Crocker; Mario Lopez Valdez, Governor of the Mexican State of Sinaloa; President Joseph Shepard; Francisco Cordova Celaya, Secretary of Tourism for the State of Sinaloa; and Dr. Magdaleno Manzanarez.

  Silver City, NM – Western New Mexico University continues its efforts in strengthening relations with higher education institutions in Mexico and the Americas with the recent signing of agreements with two Mexican universities.  

A visit by members of the WNMU administration to Universidad De Occidente (UDEO) in the city of Culiacan, Mexico, during the first week of March culminated with the signing of a memorandum of understanding by both university presidents, opening the door to opportunities of faculty and student exchanges.

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Regional
3:27 pm
Mon March 9, 2015

NMSU Tests New Drone With Private Company

  Under the New Mexico State University Physical Science Laboratory Unmanned Aircraft Flight Test Center’s Certificate of Authorization, Vanilla Aircraft LLC successfully completed the first flight Feb. 25 of the VA001 Unmanned Aircraft System, a 36-foot wingspan Ultra-Long Endurance aircraft designed to fly missions of up to 10 days. 

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Regional
3:25 pm
Mon March 9, 2015

Regents Approve Construction Projects, Including Privately-Funded Skybox

Credit NMSU President Dr. Garrey Carruthers

  During its regular meeting March 9, the New Mexico State University Board of Regents approved renovations to Jett Hall, including Jett Annex, and Rentfrow Hall using funding from the General Obligation Bond approved by voters last fall. Regents also gave the go-ahead to construction of a new skybox for Aggie Memorial Stadium, funded through a private donation.

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Regional
12:15 pm
Mon March 9, 2015

Texas Activists Push Tighter Ethics Rules

Buoyed by Gov. Greg Abbott fast-tracking tougher ethics rules proposals through the Legislature, a coalition of political and civil groups has unveiled a package of changes they're championing.

The Texas Anti-Corruption Campaign features left-leaning groups including Public Citizen, and conservatives like the state Libertarian Party.

They'd like to strengthen existing but rarely enforced conflict-of-interest rules against lawmakers voting on bills that could profit their outside livelihoods.

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Regional
12:14 pm
Mon March 9, 2015

Navajo Nation Eyes Immigration Program To Boost Economy

Navajo Nation officials hope to lure foreign investments by using a carrot provided by a federal immigration program.

The Daily Times in Farmington, New Mexico, reports that an immigrant investor program known as EB-5 offers legal residency to foreign investors who start a new business or rescue an existing one in the United States, including on tribal lands.

Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly said using the EB-5 program could help create jobs and accelerate the tribe's economy with outside investment.

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Regional
9:43 am
Mon March 9, 2015

Legal Challenge Could Halt PARCC Testing In New Mexico

A legal challenge by a Washington-based testing company may halt a controversial assessment exam in New Mexico that has sparked school walkouts and anger from parents and teachers.

A Santa Fe judge is scheduled to hear arguments Tuesday in an appeal by the American Institutes for Research. The company is fighting the state's granting of a potentially multi-year contract for Common Core testing to Pearson.

AIR wants to limit Pearson's contract to a year and is seeking another bidding process for later contact years.

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Regional
9:41 am
Mon March 9, 2015

Site Of First Test Of Atomic Bomb To Hold Open House

Credit http://www.wsmr.army.mil/PAO/Trinity/Pages/default.aspx

The test site of the world's first atomic bomb will be open for visitors for one day next month.

The Alamogordo Daily News reports that the public can access Trinity Site during an open house April 4.  

Visitors will be able to walk about a quarter-mile to where a small obelisk marks the spot where the bomb went off.

They can also ride a shuttle to the ranch house where scientists put together the bomb's plutonium core.

The only other day Trinity Site will be open this year is Oct. 3.

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Regional
9:29 am
Mon March 9, 2015

New Mexico Data On State Water Supply Not Sufficient For Future Planning

A ground water well that is used to irrigate a pecan orchards south of Las Cruces
Credit Simon Thompson

New Mexico has been in a sustained drought since 2002 far longer than experts predicted.  And scientists from NASA, Cornell and Columbia University are warning if climate change continues the way it has the drought may get a lot worse.  As Simon Thompson reports some water experts say New Mexico is trailing far behind other southwestern states in developing strategies for sustained growth and water access.

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Regional
9:22 am
Mon March 9, 2015

Spaceport Director To Update Doña Ana County Commission

Credit Spaceport America

Dona Ana County officials will get an update this week on the progress of Spaceport America.

The Las Cruces Sun-News reports that spaceport authority executive director Christine Anderson is scheduled to speak Tuesday morning at a county commissioners meeting.

Anderson will make a presentation to the five-member panel about the spaceport, which is about 60 miles north of Las Cruces.

Taxes imposed in Dona Ana and Sierra counties have helped pay for the spaceport, which has cost more than $200 million.

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Regional
8:55 am
Mon March 9, 2015

UPDATE: State Auditor Says New Mexico Is Sitting On $4.5 Billion In Unspent Funds

SANTA FE, NM – State Auditor Tim Keller announced that the Office of the State Auditor (OSA) has identified unspent funds in government accounts totaling about $4.5 billion dollars. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) at OSA released the first in a series of reports disclosing public dollars that were previously allocated but remained unspent. The report focuses on state agencies while subsequent volumes will identify funds in school districts, cities and counties.

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Regional
6:45 am
Mon March 9, 2015

Lt. Governor Sanchez Shares Thoughts On Current Legislative Session

Credit http://www.ltgov.state.nm.us/

    

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Regional
6:00 am
Mon March 9, 2015

Monday Business Watch

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. 

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Regional
3:05 pm
Sun March 8, 2015

State Auditor: New Mexico Has $4.5 Billion In Unspent Funds

Credit New Mexico State Auditor Timothy Keller (D)

New Mexico has more than $4 billion in unspent funds tied up in hundreds of state agencies, according to a report released Saturday by the State Auditor's Office.

The 25-page report made public by state Auditor Tim Keller looks at whether some of the $4.5 billion in reserved funds could be spent on other projects.

It is the first time such a study has been done by Keller's newly established Government Accountability office.

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Regional
11:02 am
Sun March 8, 2015

Immigration Ruling Part Of The Venue Shopping Game

A federal judge's ruling last month to block President Barack Obama's immigration executive action lays bare a pervasive practice in federal district courts: venue shopping.

Immigration advocates say that lawyers for the state of Texas were seeking a court with sympathetic judges when they filed their case in Brownsville. They found one in U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen, who on Feb. 16 halted Obama's immigration action. The Texas lawyers played the 50-50 odds and won with Hanen, who is one of only two judges hearing civil cases in that district.

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Regional
11:02 am
Sun March 8, 2015

In Depth: Issues As Big As Texas

Credit Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R)

The Senate raced to pass the session's first bill, approving a road-funding plan that would funnel billions of dollars annually from taxes collected on vehicles sales to transportation projects.

Gov. Greg Abbott made the issue an "emergency item," freeing up the Legislature to pass it quickly. And the proposal's sponsor, Jacksonville Republican Sen. Robert Nichols, sped it through committee.

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Regional
11:01 am
Sun March 8, 2015

Tour Of The Gila Still Needs Funding

Organizers of the annual Tour of the Gila in southwestern New Mexico are holding out hope that enough financing will come through for this year's race.

The Silver City Sun-News reports that race director Jack Brennan says a decision will be made Thursday whether the cycling event will proceed.

Brennan says he is still looking for a title sponsor and $40,000 in funding to put on the April 29 race, which has financial backing from Silver City.

Tour of the Gila has been a signature event in Grant County for nearly 30 years.

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Regional
3:03 pm
Sat March 7, 2015

House Committee Approves Bill To Allow Unlicensed Cougar Hunting

Credit wildlife.state.nm.us

A bill that would allow the unlicensed hunting of cougars and other mountain cats in New Mexico has cleared a hurdle in the state Legislature.

The House Agriculture, Water and Wildlife Committee voted Friday 8-2 to move along legislation that would reverse a law that requires license to hunt cougars.

Under the proposal, people will be able to trap and shoot any number of mountain cats at any time.

Rep. Zach Cook, who is sponsoring the bill, says the measure is a way to better control cougar populations.

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Regional
2:55 pm
Sat March 7, 2015

Father Of Toddler Who Shot Parents Said Gun Had No Safety

The father of a 3-year-old boy who accidentally shot his parents in an Albuquerque motel room frantically called for help, telling 911 dispatchers that the gun had no safety.  Police released recordings of the emergency call from the Jan. 31 incident at the America's Best Value Inn.

Justin Reynolds told a dispatcher that his son had gotten the gun out of his girlfriend's purse.

He is heard saying "it doesn't have a safety and he pulled the trigger, we didn't have it high enough."

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Regional
2:54 pm
Sat March 7, 2015

Texas Coach Involved In Imposter Player Incident Reassigned

A West Texas school district has reassigned a coach whose team gained national attention when a former Haitian star athlete posed as a high school player before going to prison.

Danny Wright won't coach a ninth season as Permian High's boys' basketball coach.

Ector County school Superintendent Tom Crowe said the incident involving Jerry Joseph several years ago played into his decision, as did instances of players competing while academically ineligible.

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Regional
2:53 pm
Sat March 7, 2015

15 Police Officers In Mexico Arrested For Kidnapping, Extortion

A Mexican official says troops have detained 15 federal police officers for allegedly kidnapping the owner of a construction company in the northern border city of Matamoros and demanding a $2 million (31 million peso) ransom.

An official with the federal Attorney General's Office says the officers were arrested late Thursday as they prepared to receive the money they demanded for earlier releasing the businessman. The official agreed on Saturday to reveal details of the case only if not quoted by name, because he wasn't authorized to talk with journalists.

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