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 Gets Ready For "Giving Tuesday"

Nov 15, 2015

  What is #GivingTuesday?

#GivingTuesday is a global day dedicated to giving back. On Tuesday, December 1, 2015, charities, families, businesses, community centers, and students around the world will come together for one common purpose: to celebrate generosity and to give. New Mexico State University wants to build on the strength of this global movement to increase exposure and build support for student success.

Water Expert To Speak In Silver City Saturday

Nov 15, 2015

    Dan Beard will be speaking in Silver City on Saturday, Nov. 21, 7 p.m. at the WNMU Global Resource Center, 1000 W. College Ave.


DANIEL P. BEARD, the author of Deadbeat Dams, has been a forceful advocate for water policy reform for nearly four decades. He has extensive experience working in the government and private sector. His positions include:

·        Chief Administrative Officer, U.S. House of Representatives

·        Commissioner, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

  LAS CRUCES, N.M.– The New Mexico Department of Agriculture (NMDA) is reminding New Mexicans that there’s a law governing firewood sales in this state – and that it exists to ensure that people buying firewood get their money’s worth.

NMDA’s Standards and Consumer Services Division (SCS) regulates New Mexico’s Weights and Measures Law, which covers how firewood and other agricultural commodities must be advertised and sold in order to maintain fairness in the marketplace for both buyer and seller.

New Study Shows Risk To New Mexico's Snow-fed Water Supplies

Nov 15, 2015
Laura Paskus

  Last month, NMID published a story about the challenges forecasters and water managers in New Mexico face when trying to determine how and when snowpack will melt.

As NMID reported:

Lawsuit Calls Martinez Supreme Court Appointment Unconstitutional

Nov 15, 2015
Office of the Governor

A lawsuit is disputing the appointment of District Court Judge Judith Nakamura of Albuquerque to fill a vacancy on the New Mexico Supreme Court.

Former attorney Stuart Stein, of La Cienega, says her selection is unconstitutional and that the process was illegally rushed.

Nakamura declined to comment on the litigation Friday but told the Santa Fe New Mexican that she followed the process "to the T."

Gov. Susana Martinez chose Nakamura, a former chief judge in Bernalillo County Metropolitan Court, to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Richard Bosson.

New Mexico residents are rushing to get passports before driver's licenses are no longer accepted at federal facilities next year.

The U.S. Postal Service tells KOAT-TV that the earliest available appointment to apply for a passport at an Albuquerque post office is Feb. 4.

USPS officials say hundreds of residents have made appointments since October.

A passport fair this weekend hosted by the Postal Service to help people sign up is already full.

USPS spokesman Peter Hass says there will likely be more.

Audit Shows Special Treatment At Texas Agency

Nov 14, 2015

An internal audit of the Texas Facilities Commission has found some employees were hired without facing competition, promotions were made with little supporting material and people were being paid after they stopped working for the agency.

The Austin American Statesman reported Saturday that its review of the agency also found that some of the individuals who seem to have benefited from the actions listed in the audit had personal or political connections to its executive director at the time, Terry Keel.

In Depth: Sting Of Sage Grouse Rules Begins

Nov 14, 2015

  One of the first, actual on-the-ground disruptions caused by new U.S. efforts to protect the greater sage grouse isn't on a cattle ranch in Oregon or an oil field in Colorado.

It's in the backyard of a residential neighborhood north of Reno, Nevada, where plans to acquire federal land to build a badly needed school are on hold because the government considers it sage grouse habitat.

Albuquerque Man Sentenced To 18 Years In Squirt Gun Assault

Nov 14, 2015

  A man accused of spraying children with a squirt gun loaded with his semen will go to prison.

Kevin Jaramillo pleaded no contest to charges stemming from two indictments, including child abuse without great bodily harm, criminal sexual contact and sexual exploitation, in an Albuquerque, New Mexico, courtroom Friday.

Under the plea agreement, Jaramillo must serve 18 years. Jaramillo initially faced going to prison for more than 57 years.

Four Hurt In Helicopter Crash During Deer Survey

Nov 14, 2015

A pilot and three passengers have been hurt when a private helicopter crashed into the side of a canyon during a deer survey in West Texas.

The Brewster County Sheriff's Office says the crash happened Friday afternoon at the Yarborough Ranch, 25 miles south of Alpine.

Sheriff Ronny Dodson said Saturday that the men on board shot some feral hogs. The chopper hit a tree and the side of the canyon while chasing the pigs.

Dodson says two passengers walked 5 miles to summon help. Emergency personnel used four-wheel drive vehicles to reach the scene.

Victim In Las Cruces Shooting Held On Contempt Charge

Nov 14, 2015

The victim of a shooting has been arrested for contempt-of-court in Las Cruces after flying into a rage during a suspect's sentencing.  A judge on Friday ordered 37-year-old Fernando Molina to be held at Dona Ana County Detention Center.

Christopher Silva, who was being sentenced for conspiracy to commit residential burglary, was giving an apology when Molina interrupted him with profanity-laced threats.

It's not clear how long Molina will be detained but a contempt charge can bring up to six months in jail.

Las Cruces Recount Set For Next Wednesday

Nov 13, 2015
Richard Hall

  A recount of ballots from five of the 15 voting convenience centers used in the Nov. 3 Las Cruces municipal election is scheduled for 8 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 18 at City Hall, 700 N. Main St. The recount will take place in City Council Chambers.

The application for a recount was filed with Interim City Clerk Linda Lewis on Nov. 10 by unsuccessful city council candidates Melecio Guzman and Richard Hall. Guzman, who sought the District 1 city council seat lost to Kassandra Gandara by 18 votes. Hall was defeated by Jack Eakman in the District 4 city council race by 11 votes.

Clinton Has Support Of Key New Mexico Democrats

Nov 13, 2015

Some of New Mexico's top Democrats are throwing their support behind Hillary Rodham Clinton for the party's presidential nomination.

The Associated Press surveyed the state's nine superdelegates about which candidate they plan to support at the party's national convention next summer. Seven responded, with four naming Clinton as their choice. Three have yet to commit.

Lawyers For Gallup Diocese Say Deal In Bankruptcy Case Near

Nov 13, 2015

Attorneys for a New Mexico diocese and its insurance companies say they are optimistic they will soon reach a resolution during mediation talks in their bankruptcy proceedings.

The Gallup Independent reports that the Diocese of Gallup's Chapter 11 case has been winding its way through bankruptcy court for nearly two years. At a status conference Tuesday, attorneys said they believe a successful resolution might be obtained during mediation talks scheduled to take place in Phoenix Dec. 3-4.

Arizonan Pleads Guilty To Heroin Trafficking In New Mexico

Nov 13, 2015

An Arizona woman has pleaded guilty to heroin trafficking charges in New Mexico and is facing up to 20 years in federal prison.

Prosecutors say 26-year-old Fabiola Soriano-Tlapanco, of Phoenix, entered into a plea agreement Friday.

Soriano Tlapanco and a co-defendant were arrested in May.

A criminal complaint charged the two with conspiracy and possession of heroin with intent to distribute.

Federal drug agents say they found almost four kilograms of heroin concealed in the suspects' baggage at an Albuquerque bus station on May 16.

Man Arrested After Police Find Explosives In East Roswell

Nov 13, 2015

Authorities say a man has been arrested after police discovered explosives inside a residence in east Roswell.

New Mexico State Police bomb technicians removed the explosive material during a 14-hour incident that began with the execution of a search warrant in an unrelated case Thursday.

The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is assisting in the investigation and authorities say formal federal charges are expected to be filed soon against 23-year-old Isaac J. Salas.

According to the Veterans Association, 10% to 18% of soldiers that served and are serving in Afghanistan and Iraq are likely to have PTSD when they return and are at risk for other mental issues.

Dr. Jacqueline Williams, works with veterans at the El Paso VA Healthcare systems, she says every veteran mental health case is different.

Santa Fe Archbishop: 'Spotlight' to bring up 'horrific' past

Nov 13, 2015

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Santa Fe Archbishop John Wester says the upcoming release a movie detailing the Boston Globe's 2002 investigation into the church's cover-up of clergy abuse may bring up "horrific memories" for New Mexico victims.

In a recent letter to Archdiocese of Santa Fe priests and parishioners, Wester says the movie "Spotlight" is a chance for the faithful to pray for abuse victims.

New Mexico was at the center of similar scandals years before the Boston stories.

Nun Who Challenged Billy the Kid To Move Up Sainthood Path

Nov 13, 2015



ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — An Italian-born nun who challenged Billy the Kid, calmed angry mobs and helped open New Mexico territory hospitals and schools is set to move up the path toward possible sainthood.

The Archdiocese of Santa Fe is scheduled Friday to close its inquiry on why Sister Blandina Segale should become a saint. The inquiry panel will then forward its findings to the Vatican.

Segale, a nun with the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati and an advocate for Hispanics and Native Americans, founded schools in New Mexico and St. Joseph Hospital.

Judge Hears Arguments Over Licensing Of Detention Centers

Nov 12, 2015

A judge will continue blocking bids by two South Texas immigrant family detention facilities for state licensure as residential child care centers.

State District Judge Karin Crump's decision came Thursday after a hearing in Austin on emergency rules created by Texas health officials. Those rules aim to fast-track licensing of the facilities. She said she plans to reissue a restraining order blocking licensing from proceeding while she considers the case.

An immigrant rights group has argued that the emergency rules were unnecessary and blocked public comment.

Border Agency Holds Off On Widespread Use Of Body Cameras

Nov 12, 2015

U.S. Customs and Border Protection has ordered additional study as it considers whether to equip agents and officers with body cameras.

The move came after a yearlong review at the nation's largest law enforcement agency.

Commissioner R. Gil Kerlikowske said Thursday the agency will use body cameras for training purposes sometime after January, but he was noncommittal on when, or even if, the devices will be distributed more widely.

He cited cost, technological challenges and need for labor union approval as concerns.

State Funds For Private Textbooks Ruled Unconstitutional

Nov 12, 2015

The New Mexico Supreme Court has ruled that the state's practice of buying textbooks for private and religious schools is unconstitutional.

The high court issued its ruling Thursday, reserving a previous Court of Appeals decision that said the practice was allowed.

Advocates of the program said that money for the books is governed by federal law, because the funds are provided by federal mineral leases. But half of the money the federal government receives from use of public lands is paid to the state.

Final Settlement On Nuke Violations Have Yet To Be Inked

Nov 12, 2015

New Mexico and the federal government have yet to sign a final agreement aimed at settling dozens of violations stemming from a radiation leak at an underground nuclear waste repository.

The state Environment Department's chief attorney briefed lawmakers on the status of the settlement during a meeting Thursday in Santa Fe.

Jeff Kendall says the debate is over the amount of money that will be funneled to New Mexico over what period of time.

Albuquerque Kindergarten Teacher Accused In Child Porn Case

Nov 12, 2015

Authorities say a suspended Albuquerque Public Schools kindergarten teacher who's accused of possessing child pornography has been arrested again on federal charges.

Joshua Weitz was arrested Nov. 4 on suspicion of sexual exploitation of a child and 25 counts of intent to distribute child pornography.

The 30-year-old Albuquerque resident bonded out of jail two days later.

Gov. Martinez Appoints Nakamura To Fill Supreme Court Seat

Nov 12, 2015

Gov. Susana Martinez has chosen District Court Judge Judith Nakamura of Albuquerque to fill a seat on the New Mexico Supreme Court.

Martinez, a Republican, announced the appointment Thursday, calling Nakamura an advocate for public safety who has shown "tremendous leadership" while serving as a judge in New Mexico's Second Judicial District.

Nakamura will have to seek election next year if she wants to keep the seat being vacated by retiring Supreme Court Justice Richard Bosson.

NM Speedy Trial Rule Story

Nov 12, 2015

In stories Nov. 11 and Oct. 27 about New Mexico Supreme Court rules aimed at expediting criminal cases, The Associated Press erroneously reported the timing of arraignments. The rules in question call for arraignments within 10 days, not 48 hours.

A corrected version of the story is below:

State high court to review timeline for criminal cases

New Mexico Supreme Court to review timeline for criminal cases after criticism

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. (AP) — Roy Hawthorne recalls his time served during World War II with pride, effortlessly sharing his native Navajo language as he shows off how he used codes to trick the Japanese.

The 89-year-old Hawthorne served as a Navajo code talker with the U.S. Marine Corps from 1943 to 1945, hopping from island to island across the South Pacific as U.S. troops fought their way toward Japan.

He recalled his service during an interview in Window Rock, Arizona, before the nation paused to commemorate Veterans Day.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — An Albuquerque personnel board's vote to reinstate an officer who was fired for violating orders to use his lapel camera has drawn criticism from local supporters of police reform.

The coalition APD Forward said Wednesday that it was dismayed the board would overturn a decision by Police Chief Gordon Eden to fire Officer Jeremy Dear.

Dear came under scrutiny last year when he fatally shot Mary Hawkes, a 19-year-old car thief suspect. His on-body camera was unplugged at the time.

Office of the Governor

FORT STANTON, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez has dedicated the new $5.7 million Veterans Cemetery in Fort Stanton that's expected to be completed in 2017.

The cemetery is the first of four proposed by Martinez for veterans who live in rural areas throughout the state.

The federal grant to establish the cemetery in Fort Stanton followed the $600,000 in initial funding the governor secured in the 2014 capital outplay bill.

The money will be used to plan, design and construct the Fort Stanton Veterans Cemetery and others in Angel Fire, Carlsbad and Gallup.

NM Department of Health

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Hospitals in New Mexico are reporting lower costs for providing care to patients without insurance since the state expanded Medicaid under President Barack Obama's health care law.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that a report by the Legislative Finance Committee shows more patients are covered with some type of private insurance or government-issued Medicaid coverage, lowering the cost of indigent care for hospitals across the state.