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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.

Las Cruces Construction Site Crash Leaves 1 Injured, 1 Jailed

Aug 9, 2016

  A two-vehicle industrial accident at a construction site seriously injured one man and resulted in a DWI charge for the man driving a water tanker.

Edward A. Sanchez, 56, of the 1500 block of Pradero Dorado Arc, is charged with driving under the influence causing great bodily harm, driving on expired tags, driving without insurance and driving with restrictions.

A 36-year-old construction worker injured a leg when he was pinned between two large vehicles. He was airlifted to University Medical Center of El Paso. His injuries are not believed to be life-threatening.

New Mexico Pilot Dies Days After Crash In NE Wisconsin

Aug 9, 2016

FOND DU LAC, Wis. (AP) — A pilot who crashed at the Fond du Lac County Airport in northeastern Wisconsin last month has died.

The sheriff's office says 78-year-old David Spencer died Tuesday morning at ThedaCare Regional Medical Center in Neenah. He was one of two men from Santa Fe, New Mexico, who were aboard the plane July 28 when they attempted to return to the airport because of a mechanical issue.

Spencer's passenger, 71-year-old Rafael J. Chaves, remains in critical condition at ThedaCare, according to hospital officials.

The Latest: Pima County Leader Rescued From Submerged Car

Aug 9, 2016

PHOENIX (AP) — The Latest on storms in Arizona and New Mexico (all times local):

3:24 p.m.

Pima County says Supervisor Sharon Bronson was one of the people rescued by firefighters after her car was submerged in water during a heavy rainstorm on Tuesday.

Bronson was in her county-issued car heading east on Fort Lowell Road when she turned onto Balboa Street to avoid flooding. But her car was swept by flood water into a wash. It ended up pinned against a bridge, leaving Bronson trapped. Firefighters had to break the back window to get her out.

UNM Suspends Prof Previously Accused Of Sexual Harassment

Aug 9, 2016

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The University of New Mexico has again suspended an assistant professor of anthropology.

Officials announced Tuesday that the school has received new information that has led to an emergency suspension of Dr. Cristobal Valencia.

Effective immediately, Valencia is suspended from all academic duties associated with his faculty appointment including teaching, research and service.

UNM officials didn't specifically say why Valencia is being suspended again.

New Mexico Governor Orders Agency Spending Reductions

Aug 9, 2016
Office of the Governor

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez directed most major state agencies on Tuesday to institute spending cuts in response to a sharp downturn in tax receipts and other state revenues tied to weak energy prices.

In a memo to state agencies under her control, the Republican governor called for preparations to reduce general-fund spending by at least 5 percent during the budget year that began in July. Executive agencies also were directed to spend no more than 45 percent of their general-fund budgets during the first half of the current fiscal year.

Heavy Rains From Tropical Storm Javier To Hit Southwest

Aug 9, 2016

PHOENIX (AP) — Heavy rain associated with Tropical Storm Javier in Mexico is expected to hit much of the American Southwest and bring the possibility of more flash floods. 

Forecasters say the new storms may remain through Thursday and could affect Arizona, New Mexico and the southern parts of Utah and Colorado.

DOI-US Fish and Wildlife Service

Commentary: Once abundant throughout rivers in southern New Mexico and the Rio Grande basin in Texas and Mexico, the Texas hornshell, a freshwater mussel, has experienced a dramatic decline. Today, it is the only native mussel remaining in New Mexico and is scarce in Texas, occupying only 15% of its historical U.S. range. Habitat fragmentation and loss as a result of impoundments and reduced water quality and quantity are negatively impacting the Texas hornshell and other freshwater mussels across the Southwest.

Stabbing Suspect Now Charged In Second Incident

Aug 9, 2016
Las Cruces Police Department

The 20-year-old man suspected of attempted murder in the July 28 stabbing near El Caldito Soup Kitchen is now charged in another stabbing that occurred on Main Street.

 

Marco A. Galvan, 20, who remains incarcerated at the Dona Ana County Detention Center, is now charged with a second count of attempted murder for the July 27 attack on a 17-year-old boy who was walking south along Main Street. The boy’s injuries were serious but not life-threatening.

 

Artesia Employees See 10 Percent Pay Cut Amid Oil Slowdown

Aug 9, 2016
https://www.facebook.com/City-of-Artesia-NM

A southeastern New Mexico city hit with declining revenues because of the area's oil downturn is slashing city employees' pay.

The Roswell Daily Record reports Artesia's nearly 200 city employees have had their annual salaries and hourly pay rates suddenly reduced by 10 percent due to the economic decline.

Those cuts include salary reductions for police officers and firefighters.

The reductions, which went into effect Aug. 1, were approved by the Artesia City Council last month.

Libertarian Party presidential candidate Gary Johnson is set to hold a rally in the state that launched his political career.

The former New Mexico governor is scheduled Thursday to hold a rally at the Albuquerque Convention Center.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump held a similar campaign event at the same location in May. That rally turned violent and caused thousands of dollars of damage.

Johnson is running with former Massachusetts governor William Weld.

Troubled New Mexico Basketball Coach May Get License Revoked

Aug 9, 2016
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Espa%C3%B1ola-Valley-High-School/109637099055306

A New Mexico high school basketball coach who was fired over allegations of abuse only to be rehired after an outcry may lose his coaching license.  

The state Public Education Department announced Monday it was opening an investigation into "disturbing and abusive behavior" by Espanola Valley High School boys basketball coach Richard Martinez.

The department says it may revoke his teaching and coaching licenses.

Artwork From Comedian Garry Shandling's Estate To Be Sold

Aug 8, 2016

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Dozens of paintings and other works of art from the estate of comedian Garry Shandling will be offered for sale at a show in New Mexico this week.

Organizers of the annual Objects of Art Santa Fe say this will be the first public viewing of Shandling's collection, which includes Navajo rugs, Southwest furniture and pieces by Mexican artists Francisco Zuniga and Alfredo Ramos Martinez.

More than 40 of Shandling's personal pieces from his California home will be offered, ranging from a couple hundred dollars to more than $40,000.

Police: Las Cruces Man Urinated On Ex-Wife During Attack

Aug 8, 2016

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — Las Cruces police are searching for a man authorities said urinated on his former wife before attempting to strangle her.

Dona Ana County Magistrate Court issued an arrest warrant for 26-year-old Jeffery Halona following a bizarre fight at a Las Cruces apartment on Thursday.

According to police, the 24-year-old woman had allowed Halona stay at her apartment for a few days though the pair had been divorced since 2014.

Navajo Nation President Signs Declaration After Flooding

Aug 8, 2016

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. (AP) — Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye has signed an emergency declaration in response to flash flooding that damaged homes, washed out roadways and killed livestock last week in Shiprock and Chinle.

The declaration signed Sunday means all Navajo Nation divisions and departments immediately must respond to communities impacted by the heavy rainfall, according to tribal officials.

Flash floods in Shiprock forced some residents to evacuate to a tribal government building.

Thousands Of New Mexico Tax Refunds Stalled In Fraud Fight

Aug 8, 2016

The New Mexico Taxation and Revenue Department says it has temporarily halted around 74,000 personal income tax refunds this year.

The Albuquerque Journal reports officials say the move is aimed at fighting tax fraud due to identity theft.

That decision has stalled more than one out of 10 claimed refunds by New Mexico tax filers.

Officials say of the nearly 74,000, more than 22,000 received their refunds after the department was able to determine the returns were legitimate without requesting proof of identity.

NM House Speaker Opposes Job Funds Move Amid Budget Crunch

Aug 8, 2016

 

New Mexico Republican House Speaker Don Tripp says he opposes moving a closing fund designed to help recruit businesses to the state.

Tripp said this weekend lawmakers should not place Local Economic Development Act money into the state's general fund amid a budget shortfall. He said the move would hurt investment.

Tripp also said such a move "is like a carpenter deciding to sell off his tools to pay his current bills."

The GOP leader's comment comes after a coalition of New Mexico business leaders urged state lawmakers to keep intact the closing fund.

Border Patrol Erecting New Border Fence In New Mexico

Aug 8, 2016

The U.S. Border Patrol is erecting an 18-foot-tall steel fence in the last stretch of unwalled, urban borderline in along the U.S-Mexico border in New Mexico.

The Albuquerque Journal reports officials say the new fencing will create a more imposing barrier in a location that is deeply symbolic to immigration activists.

Currently, a dilapidated, 10-foot-high chain-link fence is in place. It runs a mile or so from the bottom of a mesa to the base of Mount Cristo Rey.

Power Outage Hits NM; Police Link It To A Fatal Crash

Aug 8, 2016

A lightning-caused power outage hit parts of central New Mexico, and police linked its effects to a fatal crash.

Power went out in parts of Albuquerque, Santa Fe and elsewhere Sunday evening.

Santa Fe police say in a news release that a 40-year-old motorcycle rider died when he was hit by a motorist as he was stopped at a flashing traffic signal caused by the outage. They say alcohol was not believed to have been involved.

Public Service Company of New Mexico says the outage began at about 7:40 p.m. when lightning hit a substation.

Some in New Mexico GOP going with Libertarian Gary Johnson

Aug 7, 2016

  SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Former New Mexico governor and Libertarian Party presidential candidate Gary Johnson is gaining support from prominent Republicans in the state.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports (http://bit.ly/2aEzvg6) that a handful of New Mexico GOP members distrustful of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are looking to Johnson.

Last month, Johnson received the endorsement of state Sen. Lisa Torraco.

The Albuquerque Republican is now the state chairwoman for his campaign.

Survey: New Mexico teens report high rates of drug use

Aug 7, 2016

  ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A national survey of high school students has found that New Mexico teenagers have some of the highest rates of drug use involving a variety of illegal substances.

Ingrained social behavior and the easy access to drugs are among the factors that are contributing to the trend, state health officials told the Albuquerque Journal (http://bit.ly/2b2CoIZ ).

The Youth Risk Behavior Survey quizzes students about 118 health behaviors in areas ranging from drug and alcohol use to sexual behavior and eating habits.

Free Las Cruces Studio Programs Sneak Peek August 20

Aug 6, 2016

  The Las Cruces Museum of Art Studio Programs offer creative learning opportunities for all ages and skill levels. Visitors to the Museum can get a free sneak peek at Fall session classes, featuring demonstrations by instructors and on-site registration from 2-3:30 p.m. on Saturday, August 20.

Art studio programs are taught by experienced and qualified instructors. Classes must have a minimum of 4 students and are capped at 10 so students can receive individualized attention.

Las Cruces Woman Indicted for Shooting Boyfriend

Aug 6, 2016

  District Attorney Mark D’Antonio announced that a grand jury has indicted a Las Cruces woman accused of shooting her boyfriend with a semi-automatic handgun.

April Nastasi, 45, is charged with one count of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, a third-degree felony. She is also charged with one count of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, a fourth-degree felony, one count of obstructing an officer, a misdemeanor and one count of a negligent use of a firearm, a petty misdemeanor. 

Business Leaders Urge New Mexico To Keep "Closing Fund"

Aug 6, 2016

  ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A coalition of New Mexico business leaders is urging state lawmakers to keep intact a closing fund to help recruit businesses to the state amid a looming special session and budget shortfall that is threatening various departments.

In a letter sent Thursday, the New Mexico Coalition for Jobs asked key lawmakers not to place Local Economic Development Act money into the state's general fund over fear such a move would hurt investment

Las Cruces Starting Youth Mural Arts Program

Aug 5, 2016

  

  The City of Las Cruces Parks & Recreation Department announces the start of a Mural Arts Program for local youth, grades 7– 12.  The program is currently seeking teens with artistic ability and a desire to transform their community.  Participants will become part of a skilled team capable of producing high quality public art.

  The Doña Ana County Planning and Zoning Commission will host a public meeting at 9 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 11, to present the final draft of the Unified Development Code (UDC) that will guide future development throughout unincorporated Doña Ana County, upon formal approval by the Doña Ana County Board of Commissioners.

The final draft incorporates many changes suggested during a series of public meetings held this past year by the Community Development Department. This also includes feedback from multiple departments and agencies, incorporating best practices as suggested.

NMSU College of Education doctoral student to receive APA award

Aug 5, 2016

  Jamey Leeanne Rislin, a counseling psychology doctoral candidate at New Mexico State University’s College of Education, is the recipient of this year’s American Psychological Association’s Society for the Psychological Study of Culture, Ethnicity, and Race (Division 45) Toy Caldwell-Colbert Student Contributions to Service Award.

PRC Official Says PNM Rate Hike Should Be Cut By Two-Thirds

Aug 5, 2016
pnm.com

  ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A New Mexico hearing examiner has recommended cutting a rate increase requested by an electric utility by about two-thirds.

The Public Service Company of New Mexico sought an increase of $123.5 million a year, but Public Regulation Commission hearing examiner Carolyn Glick on Thursday recommended an increase of only $41.3 million.

I-10 Closures Week Of August 7

Aug 5, 2016

  I-10 West

Overnight

The following will be closed on Monday, Aug. 8 from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. the next morning:

·        Two right lanes on I-10 West between the Schuster Exit and the Executive Center Exit

·        I-10 westbound Executive Center Exit Ramp (Exit 16)

Crews will be opening up the westbound exit-only lane that leads to the Executive Center Exit Ramp. Motorists should use caution when approaching the newly opened, re-striped exit-only lane. [Map 2]

 

Overnight

  LAS CRUCES--- Dr. Steven Sanchez, interim superintendent for Las Cruces Public Schools, announced the selection of three top administrators to serve on his leadership cabinet — Crystal Valdez, Gabe Jacquez and Erlinda Martinez. Sanchez made the announcement at a School Board meeting Thursday.

Former Education Official Accused Of Faking Credentials

Aug 5, 2016

A former school official who once oversaw teacher licensing in New Mexico is accused of faking his credentials in order to apply for school district jobs.

State police say former Mora Independent School District Superintendent Charles Trujillo was arrested Thursday evening on multiple counts of forgery and fraud counts.

According to state police, agents found that Trujillo submitted applications with fraudulent and falsified information for top positions with the Mora district and another district.

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