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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.

  The New Mexico Public Regulation Commission Wednesday approved a $1.1 million El Paso Electric (EPE) rate hike.  EPE had originally requested $8.6 million, or 7.1%, but later reduced its request to $6.4 million.  In a press release, the utility said it expects the $1.1 million rate hike will take place in the third quarter of this year.

New Mexico Democratic Party Chair Pledges To Clinton

Jun 8, 2016
hillaryclinton.com

The head of New Mexico's Democratic Party is pledging her delegate vote to presumptive presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

After months of being uncommitted, Debra Haaland made the announcement Wednesday in a phone call with reporters.

Haaland acknowledged that Bernie Sanders' campaign helped to inspire record turnout Tuesday among Democrats at primary polls across the state.

With Haaland's commitment, eight of New Mexico's nine superdelegates now back Clinton.

Men Charged With Heroin Trafficking Accused Of User's Death

Jun 8, 2016

Two New Mexico men already charged with heroin trafficking are now accused of a death that resulted from use of the drug.

Rosendo Flores Angulo of Albuquerque and Curtis Hutchinson of Edgewood were arraigned Wednesday on an 18-count superseding indictment in federal court in Albuquerque. Both pleaded not guilty.

The indictment alleges the two on April 29, 2015 distributed heroin to a person who died as a result of its use.

The men would face between 20 years and life in prison if convicted on the "death resulting" charge added by the latest indictment.

Rio Rancho Homeowner Shoots, Wounds Intruder During Burglary

Jun 8, 2016

Rio Rancho police say a homeowner shot and wounded an intruder during a burglary.

Police say dispatchers got nearly simultaneous calls Wednesday morning from the home about the shooting and from a local hospital's emergency room about a person being dropped off with gunshot wounds to the chest.

Lt. Lt. Nicholas Onken says the person with the gunshot wounds was transferred to an Albuquerque hospital and that his condition is not immediately known.

Identities weren't released, and additional information is not immediately available.

  (Santa Fe) – Today, the New Mexico Department of Health announced that drug overdose deaths in the state decreased by 9 percent last year. Preliminary mortality data from 2015 shows that the number of drug overdose deaths among New Mexicans dropped from 540 in 2014 to 492 in 2015.

“The decrease in overdose deaths is encouraging, but we still have a lot of work to do,” said Secretary of Health Lynn Gallagher. “We will continue working closely with the Human Services Department and our stakeholders to reduce overdose deaths in New Mexico.”

New Mexico Primary: Most Of The Time, Money Matters

Jun 8, 2016

  New Mexico voters spoke in Tuesday’s primary election, rendering their judgment on candidates from president on down.

But before that, the money weighed in on New Mexico races, coming from small donors up to billionaires.

Here’s New Mexico In Depth’s morning-after look at where the money and the voters aligned and where they didn’t.

President

Lightning-Caused New Mexico Wildfire Now At 19 Square Miles

Jun 8, 2016

A wildfire in the San Mateo Mountains of west-central New Mexico has grown to 19 square miles.

Officials say the lightning-caused fire that started May 21 around 25 miles southwest of Magdalena on the Cibola National Forest and National Grasslands is 20 percent contained and that its size will increase daily as ignition operations continue.

Spokeswoman Cynthia Wolfe of the Magdalena Ranger District says a new incident commander has taken over in a switch that she called routine for long-burning fires.

NMSU to open Passport Acceptance Facility at Garcia Annex

Jun 8, 2016
Garcia Annex / NMSU photo

  New Mexico State University’s Office of International and Border Programs will open a Passport Acceptance Facility on campus to serve the university community and the general public.

The facility will be located in Room 233A of the Garcia Annex building, located next to Breland Hall. Hours will be 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday through Fridaybeginning June 14.

The Latest: New Mexico Prepares Recounts Of Primary Votes

Jun 8, 2016

The Latest on Legislative primary races in New Mexico (all times local):

1:20 p.m.

New Mexico election officials are preparing to recount ballots in two primary elections for the state House of Representatives that were too close to call.

Kari Fresquez of the New Mexico Secretary of State's Office said Wednesday that two races finished within a margin of less than 1 percent that triggers a recount.

More Than 200 CNM Workers Owe School For Insurance

Jun 8, 2016
cnm.edu

Central New Mexico Community College says more than 200 employees owe money on their health and life insurance benefits, while the school owes money to other workers.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that some employees underpaid on their health and life insurance benefits, while others overpaid. CNM President Kathie Winograd sent an email Tuesday explaining the situation and saying she deeply regrets the error.

In total, employees owe about $89,000 to the school and the college owes about $9,000 to its staff.

   ALBUQUERQUE – U.S. Attorney Damon P. Martinez and Special Agent in Charge Will R. Glaspy of the DEA’s El Paso Division announced today that two men have been charged with distributing heroin that resulted in the death of the person who used the drug.  The “death resulting” heroin distribution charge is contained in an 18-count superseding indictment that was filed May 25, 2016 by a federal grand jury.

Primary Draws Record Number Of New Mexico Democrats

Jun 8, 2016

The number of ballots cast in the Democratic presidential primary election in New Mexico outpaced previous years as overall turnout by eligible voters from both parties was above average.

Preliminary results show one in three eligible Democratic and Republican voters — or more than 325,000 — cast ballots across the state. That's more than in each of the presidential primaries and caucuses in 2004, 2008 and 2012.

Turnout has averaged 28 percent in presidential election year primaries in New Mexico since 1996.

Las Cruces Regional Aquatic Center / las-cruces.org

  The City of Las Cruces Parks & Recreation Department invites parents and their children to participate in the City’s second annual “World’s Largest Swimming Lesson” from noon - 3:30 p.m. Friday, June 24, at the Regional Aquatic Center, 1401 E. Hadley Ave.

Las Cruces Police Issue Warning About Ilegal Yard Sale Signs

Jun 8, 2016

  Las Cruces residents who host yard or garage sales are reminded that the city has ordinances regulating the frequency of such sales and posting of signs that advertise them.

Whether they’re called yard, garage, rummage, tag or moving sales – or by any other name – such sales are allowed to be held for no more than four days and no more than three times per calendar year at any one location.

If the sale is held at a business or other property not used mainly for residential or institutional purposes, a temporary-use permit must be obtained from the city.

Steven Michael Quezada

"Breaking Bad" actor Steven Michael Quezada is moving on to the general election for a commissioners' seat in New Mexico's most populous county.

Unofficial results show that Quezada edged out two other candidates in a close Democratic primary race for a spot on the Bernalillo County Commission.

In the final days of the race, Quezada got a public Hollywood push from comedian George Lopez and Emmy Award-winning actor and fellow "Breaking Bad" co-star Bryan Cranston. Both gave praising endorsements on Quezada mailers.

WNMU To Host Symposium On Gila Wilderness

Jun 8, 2016

Western New Mexico University is hosting a three-day symposium on the Gila Wilderness.

The symposium beginning Wednesday will feature three days of lectures and panel sessions by recognized authors and academics touching on subjects such as nature, conservation and history.

The wilderness is part of New Mexico's Gila National Forest in western New Mexico. It is the largest designated wilderness area in the state.

The symposium also will touch upon the water and resources of the wilderness.

Officials: Restoration Of Bonito Lake Aims To Be Completed By 2018

Jun 8, 2016

Officials say restoration of the Bonito Lake, damaged after the 2012 Little Bear Fire, is estimated to be completed in 2018.

The Alamogordo News reports that Alamogordo's Public Works Director Brian Cesar recently told city commissioners that workers are still pulling material out of the lake.

Debris from the fire had plugged pipeline coming into Alamogordo.

Cesar says construction time for pulling material out of the lake has been expanded because officials don't workers d in the basin during monsoon season.

FDR Granddaughter To Speak At New Deal Symposium In Santa Fe

Jun 8, 2016

Descendants of President Franklin Roosevelt and relatives of FDR administrators are scheduled to speak at a New Deal symposium in Santa Fe.

Nina Gibson, a granddaughter of the late World War II-era president, is slated to participate in a conference June 24 sponsored by the National New Deal Preservation Association.

Speakers will share their families' New Deal histories and how their experiences affected their lives and career paths.

The event will be held at La Fonda Hotel in Santa Fe.

Silver City Report

Jun 8, 2016

Time now for the Silver City Report with Edmundo Resendez and Silver City Press and Independent editor, Nick Seibel. Elections took place in Grant County yesterday and Nick Seibel has a look at the local races.

The region's home page is only possible with your support.  Become a member, renew, or make an additional gift now.  Thank you.

Las Cruces City Council approved a new Urban Agriculture and Food Policy Plan for the city, which establishes support for equitable food and agriculture policies in Las Cruces.

The Urban Agriculture and Food Policy Plan recommends educational activities, policies and programs to promote equitable food and agriculture practices for the city of Las Cruces. Krysten Aguilar, Food Planning and Policy Specialist at La Semilla Food Center, says the plan was developed with community input.

Primary Election results are in throughout Southern New Mexico, and the unofficial results in contested races are in.

First looking at the state legislature:

In the District 36 Democratic State Senate Race, Jeff Steinborn defeated Oscar Vasquez Butler with 65% of the vote, and will take on GOP incumbent Lee Cotter in November.

In the three-way race for State Representative for District 34, Bealquin Bill Gomez defeated opponents Paul Maxwell and Raymundo Lara with 45% of the vote. 

Udall, Vitter Hail Passage Of Landmark Chemical Safety Reform, Now Headed To The President's Desk

Jun 7, 2016
Senator Tom Udall (D-NM)

Commentary: Today, U.S. Senators Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and David Vitter (R-La.) announced Senate passage by voice vote of a final agreement on their landmark bipartisan legislation to reform the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976 (TSCA). The final legislation, titled the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, will overhaul the current broken law, which has allowed tens of thousands of chemicals — including hundreds that Americans come into contact with in daily life — to go on the market without any evaluation for safety.

Mistrial In Case Against Deputy Who Shot Partner In Las Cruces

Jun 7, 2016

  A mistrial has been declared in the case against Tai Chan, the former Santa Fe deputy who shot partner Jeremy Martin more than 18 months ago at the Hotel Encanto in Las Cruces.

Chan's team argued self-defense and the trial ended with a hung jury.  District Attorney Mark D’Antonio released the following statement in response:

“All jurors agreed to convict Tai Chan but could not agree to which degree of criminal homicide. We plan on retrying the case as soon as the court can set a date and will continue to pursue the best result for Jeremy Martin and his family.”

Police: Albuquerque Mother Killed; 4 Children Found Unharmed

Jun 7, 2016

The Latest on killing of an Albuquerque woman (all times local):

5:15 p.m.

Albuquerque police say authorities have arrested a man in southern New Mexico in connection with the death of his girlfriend.

Albuquerque police spokesman Officer Tanner Tixier says 30-year-old Carlos Perez will be booked on an open count of murder in the death of 26-year-old Vanessa Delgado. He's in custody in Las Cruces.

Police say the woman was found dead in her Albuquerque home early Tuesday and family members told investigators four children were missing.

Courtesy Photo

Commentary: At an event in the U.S. Capitol today, U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) highlighted Project ECHO (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes), a program started by the University of New Mexico (UNM) that has become a national model for providing remote communities access to high quality health care resources. Project ECHO uses technology-enabled collaborative learning to support community providers and dramatically increases access to specialty treatment in remote and underserved areas.

As Primaries Wind Down, US Voters Eye General Election

Jun 7, 2016

Voters in six states cast ballots in presidential primary contests Tuesday, but many were clearly looking ahead to the general election.

Voters in Democratic and Republican primaries told The Associated Press they have long been weighing and comparing candidates of both parties with an eye toward who would make the best general election candidate in November.

  

  ALBUQUERQUE – Eric G. Acosta, 29, a resident of Las Cruces, N.M., was sentenced today in federal court to 120 months in prison followed by five years of supervised release for his conviction on methamphetamine trafficking and firearms charges.  Acosta’s conviction was based on his May 14, 2015, guilty plea.

New Mexico City Finds Thousands Of Unpaid Traffic Tickets

Jun 7, 2016

Officials in a New Mexico city are reconsidering a red light camera and speed van program after discovering thousands of people who never paid fines from those tickets.

KOAT-TV reports that Rio Rancho's automated traffic system has sent out 90,000 tickets and brought in more than $1.4 million between 2011 and 2015.

The city says 35,000 people have ignored red light or speed van tickets over the last five years, however, costing the city around $3.7 million.

Police say a woman found dead in her home in Albuquerque was the mother of four children who were recovered unharmed in Las Cruces.

A caller reported Tuesday morning that a woman was killed or injured in her home and family members told police that four children were missing.

Police spokesman Tanner Trixier says the children were found in a vehicle with a suspect on southbound Interstate 25 about 10 miles north of Las Cruces and that it's possible the suspect was headed to family in El Paso.

Man Pleads Not Guilty To Abducting, Killing Navajo Girl

Jun 7, 2016

The man accused of abducting and killing an 11-year-old Navajo girl has pleaded not guilty to murder, kidnapping, sexual abuse and other charges.

Tom Begaye Jr. entered the plea Tuesday in federal court in Albuquerque, where relatives of the victim left the courtroom weeping after his brief court appearance.

The arraignment for the 27-year-old Navajo man came just over a month after authorities say he kidnapped fifth-grader Ashlynne Mike and her younger brother as they played near their home on the Navajo Nation.

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