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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.

New Mexico Three-Strikes Bill Heads To Hostile Senate

Jan 29, 2016

A recently House-approved proposal to broaden New Mexico three-strikes sentencing law for violent criminals now heads to the Senate where it faces an uncertain future.

That's because the Democratic-controlled Senate announced Friday it would be assigned to three committees, effectively dimming hopes it could pass before the 30-day Legislative session ends.

The legislation targets criminals with three or more violent felony convictions.

The Latest: Change-Of-Venue Motion Denied In Police Shooting

Jan 29, 2016

The Latest in recent developments stemming from legal motions filed ahead of the trial for two Albuquerque police officers charged with second-degree murder in the on-duty shooting death of a homeless man (all times local):

1:15 p.m.

A judge has denied a motion to move the trial for two former Albuquerque officers charged with second-degree murder in the on-duty shooting death of a homeless man in 2014.

Ex-Judge Ordered To Pay Restitution To New Mexico Couple

Jan 29, 2016

A former El Paso County judge has been ordered to pay restitution after being convicted of embezzling a New Mexico couple.

Prosecutors say a judge on Friday suspended a nine-year jail sentence for 48-year-old Antonio "Anthony" Cobos and gave him years of probation.

Cobos also was ordered to pay the victims at least $28,675 in restitution.

He was found guilty of embezzlement earlier this month and already is serving a four-year sentence for an unrelated 2013 federal corruption conviction.

State Police: Officers Shot Man During Arrest Attempt Near Los Lunas

Jan 29, 2016

New Mexico State Police say state police officers shot and wounded a man as they tried to arrest him in drug and stolen vehicle cases.

State Police Chief Peter Kassetas said 26-year-old Augustine Carillo Ortiz was shot Thursday near Los Lunas.

According to Kassetas, three officers fired after Ortiz drove his car toward an officer who had gotten out of his vehicle and pinned the officer between his car and another.

The special prosecutor in the case of two former Albuquerque police officers charged in the on-duty shooting death of a homeless man has asked the judge to keep the victim's and the officers' backgrounds out of the trial.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that prosecutor Randi McGinn said in a motion that sealing the motions related to James Boyd's criminal history and the background of the officers will allow an impartial jury to be seated.

Storm To Hit New Mexico With Snow, Wind, Low Temperatures

Jan 29, 2016

Forecasters say northern and central New Mexican can expect a strong dose of winter weather over the weekend.

The National Weather Service says a storm system will produce strong and gusty winds in the region between Saturday and Monday night, with snow accumulations in much of the north and west.

Forecasters say cold temperatures below seasonal norms will spread over northern and central New Mexico Sunday night through Tuesday.

New Mexico REAL ID Debate Moves To Senate

Jan 29, 2016

The heated debate on making New Mexico in compliance with the federal REAL ID Act now moves to the Democratic-controlled Senate.

But no Senate committee meetings on any proposals have been scheduled as of Friday. And a recently passed GOP-House bill faces an uncertain future.

Senate Democrats say committee hearings will be scheduled soon on a proposal that would create a "two-tier" driver's license system for state residents who want a REAL ID compliant license and for those who don't.

Darren Phillips

In a poignant ceremony and reception Thursday, New Mexico State University celebrated the life and gifts of its most passionate Aggie football fan, Lori Paulson.

A 2002 and ’04 graduate of the College of Business, Paulson has served an important and meaningful role the past two seasons as honorary team captain, becoming a friend and confidante to players and coaches. During that time, she has also been battling a rare type of pancreatic cancer, and her toughness and character have served as an inspiration to the team.

https://www.facebook.com/donaanademocrats/

    

3 Proposals For Stricter DWI Sentencing Pass Committee

Jan 28, 2016

Three proposals to tack on sentencing enhancements for violating the state's DWI laws have won approval in their first House committee vote.

The bills proposed by Republican lawmakers would add more prison time for people convicted of multiple DWIs, and add a charge of "party to a crime" for people who toss the keys to convicted drunk drivers with driving restrictions.

Ex-New Mexico Corrections Officer Pleads Guilty To Sex Abuse

Jan 28, 2016

A former tribal corrections officer in New Mexico has pleaded guilty to sexually abusing a female inmate last year and violating her civil rights.

Prosecutors say 22-year-old Trevor Hunt, of Paguate, entered his plea Thursday in federal court in Albuquerque.

They say Hunt pleaded guilty to one count of sexual abuse of a ward and one count of violating the civil rights of the woman.

Authorities say Hunt accompanied the victim to the laundry room of the Pueblo of Laguna's Detention Facility and sexually assaulted her on May 23, 2015.

Albuquerque Tax Preparer Is Indicted For Identify Theft

Jan 28, 2016

Authorities say a tax preparer in Albuquerque has been indicted for filing fraudulent tax returns using stolen identities.

They say 54-year-old Flora Mascarenas has been charged with two felony counts each of identity theft, forgery and computer access with intent to defraud or embezzle.

Authorities say the charges carry a maximum sentence of nine years in prison and $30,000 in fines.

Mascarenas was indicted by a Bernalillo County Grand Jury in the Second Judicial District of New Mexico.

New Mexico Three-Strikes Law Goes To House Floor

Jan 28, 2016

Legislation to broaden the state's three-strikes law for violent offenders with three or more felony convictions is scheduled for a vote on the House floor Thursday.

Rep. Paul Pacheco's proposal to add 16 felonies to the list of crimes that make repeat offenders eligible for life sentences is part of a slate of tough-on-crime bills proposed by Republican lawmakers.

The proposals come as strict sentencing laws already on the books in other states are being re-evaluated amid concerns nationally about burgeoning prison populations.

Poll: At Least 3 Out Of 5 New Mexicans Support Legal Marijuana

Jan 28, 2016

   A new poll finds that three out of five New Mexico residents support the legalization and taxation of recreational marijuana.

The survey released Thursday by Albuquerque-based Research & Polling, Inc. found that 61 percent of residents support proposed legislation to legalize, regulate and tax marijuana sales among adults of ages 21 and over.

Support rises to 69 percent when residents are informed that tax revenue generated by marijuana sales would be used to pay for health care and substance abuse programs.

Roswell Republican Considering Secretary Of State Run

Jan 28, 2016
Representative Nora Espinoza - (R)

A Roswell Republican is thinking of throwing her hat into the Secretary of State race.

Rep. Nora Espinoza told The Associated Press on Thursday that she is gathering signatures and will make a decision later on whether she'll seek the statewide office.

So far, Espinoza is the only Republican to publicly say she wants to run for the seat to fulfill the remaining term after Dianna Duran resigned amid a fraud case.

Bernalillo County clerk Maggie Toulouse Oliver says will seek the Democratic nomination for the office.

Lawsuit Looks To Stop Food Stamp Work Requirement In New Mexico

Jan 28, 2016

The New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty has asked a federal judge to temporarily stop the state from implementing rules that tie food assistance to employment.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that the filing Wednesday is part of a decades-old federal case in which the state agreed to improve how it communicates with low-income residents about public health benefits — including food assistance.

State Police: Santa Fe Police Officer Fatally Shot Suspect

Jan 28, 2016

Authorities say a Santa Fe police officer fatally shot an armed robbery suspect at a motel.

New Mexico State Police said no officer was hurt during the Wednesday night shooting, which state police are investigating.

No details were released about the suspect or circumstances of the shooting.

The incident occurred shortly before 9 p.m.

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Texas Militia Member Gets 30 Months In Weapons Case

Jan 28, 2016

A South Texas militia member who in 2014 pointed a gun at a Border Patrol agent must serve 2½ years in prison for being a felon in possession of a firearm.

John Frederick Foerster of Brownsville was sentenced Wednesday by a federal judge in Brownsville.

The 46-year-old Foerster has a 2001 burglary conviction. He pleaded guilty to having a pistol during the August 2014 incident in which prosecutors say he pointed a gun at a Border Patrol agent near Brownsville.

The agent then opened fire, believing Foerster was a smuggler. Nobody was injured.

A Republican-sponsored bill aimed at putting New Mexico in compliance with the federal REAL ID Act has passed in the House.

The proposal was approved 39-30 along largely party lines on Wednesday, setting up a showdown with the Democratic-controlled Senate.

Under the proposal, New Mexico would begin issuing REAL ID-compliant licenses and end the practice of granting state driver's licenses to immigrants in the country illegally. Instead, the bill would allow such immigrants to obtain "driver's permit cards."

New Mexico State Revenues Plunge On Low Energy Prices

Jan 27, 2016

New Mexico is revising downward estimates for revenue growth to $30 million from previous expectations of $232 million as the Legislature crafts a new budget.

The New Mexico Department of Finance and Administration announced Wednesday that a perfect storm of low energy prices had eroded revenue expectations for the budget year starting in July. Economists from three executive agencies and the Legislature agreed on the new estimate.

The revised figures threaten to upend priorities for spending during the Legislature's abbreviated 30-day budgetary session.

Warrant Points To Allegations Of Fraud At MLK Commission

Jan 27, 2016

A search warrant targeting bank records, emails and other documents related to the financial activities of the Martin Luther King, Jr. State Commission is shedding new light on accusations of fraud and embezzlement by the commission's executive director.

The warrant was made public Wednesday, a day after state agents seized documents and computers from the commission's office in Albuquerque.

New Mexico Court Approves Changes To Speedy Trial Rule

Jan 27, 2016

The New Mexico Supreme Court has approved changes to a rule designed to diminish the backlog of criminal cases awaiting trial in Bernalillo County.

The court made the announcement Wednesday, saying prosecutors in the state's busiest judicial district will have more time for handling cases.

The changes also include safeguards for limiting when cases may be dismissed for failure to comply with the so-called "speedy trial rule."

The changes will take effect Feb. 2 for new cases and for those pending cases that are assigned on or after next Tuesday.

University of New Mexico Looks To Build New Hospital

Jan 27, 2016
facebook.com/UNMHospitals

University of New Mexico Hospital is planning a $600 million hospital intended to reduce emergency room wait times.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that hospital officials on Tuesday told Bernalillo County commissioners that the 408-bed facility would require an 18-month planning phase and three years of buildout.

UNM Health Sciences Center Chancellor Dr. Paul Roth says project funding would come from Federal Housing Authority bonds and internal UNMH funding.

County taxpayers pay about $90 million a year in property taxes for UNMH operations.

Tim Keller, New Mexico Auditor

New Mexico's state auditor is flagging a long list of state agencies and local government authorities for failing to turn in annual audit results on time.

State Auditor Tim Keller announced Wednesday that 56 entities have not submitted audits for the fiscal year ending in June 2015.

Audits are overdue from the New Mexico Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management and the Department of Public Safety, Cibola and Harding counties, and the cities of Carlsbad and Espanola.

The New Mexico Public Education Department has sent the Las Cruces school district a letter about alleged violations of the state's open meetings act.

Secretary of Education Hanna Skandera wrote that the alleged violations have been referred to the state Attorney General's office for investigation and action.

She says it's clear that school board members either don't understand or choose to ignore their roles and responsibilities in providing oversight of the district.

REAL ID Showdown In NM Set For GOP-Controlled House

Jan 27, 2016

A Republican-sponsored bill aimed at putting New Mexico in compliance with the federal REAL ID Act is set to go before the full House.

The GOP-led House is expected to take up the proposal Wednesday despite objections from immigrant advocates and an uncertain future in the Democratic-controlled Senate.

Under the proposal, New Mexico would begin to issue REAL ID-compliant licenses and end the practice of granting state driver's licenses to immigrants in the country illegally. Instead, the bill would allow such immigrants to obtain "driver's permit cards."

All this week KRWG and NPR are bringing you stories focused on the anxieties of voters before the upcoming presidential election.

Samantha Sonner spoke with voters in Las Cruces concerned about the angry rhetoric targeting specific groups of people, like Immigrants, and Muslims.

Las Cruces Residents Tona Moore and Carol Elder are concerned about some of the things they’ve heard from Presidential candidates so far.

Simon Thompson

There are only 1411 liquor licenses in New Mexico and the limited supply means selling liquor can be financially impossible for small businesses.

New Mexico licenses can sell for anywhere from $300,000 to $1 million. Compare that to Colorado where liquor licenses are about $2500.00.

With a big farmers market, the Rio Grande theatre and a soon to be completed plaza, Las Cruces is trying to revitalize its downtown.  Main Street Bistro owner manager Nick Ray said business is looking good.  But even when the plaza is completed Ray said there may still be something missing.

A Challenge for Many Families

Jan 27, 2016

  Being a parent is a challenge under any circumstance, but for 1 in every 33 babies born in the United States this year, there are challenges above and beyond the day-to-day raising of the child.

One in 33 is the rate of babies born nationally with birth defects. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that means about one child in every school classroom in the country might be affected.

Silver City Report

Jan 27, 2016

Time now for a new segment on KRWG and krwg.org, the Silver City Report with Edmundo Resendez and Silver City Press and Independent reporter, Ben Fischer who discuss a Silver City resident who has traveled to Oregon to join in the standoff against the government. 

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