Regional

Regional
2:46 pm
Mon June 8, 2015

Charge Dismissed For Texas Man On Death Row

Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson has dismissed capital murder charges against a 33-year-old Houston man sent to Texas death row nearly a decade ago for the fatal shooting of a Houston police officer.

Alfred Dewayne Brown won a new trial last year after the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals agreed that telephone records bolstering his claims of innocence in the death of Houston Officer Charles Clark were withheld from Brown's 2005 trial. The phone records surfaced in 2013 year as a homicide investigator was cleaning out his garage.

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Regional
2:45 pm
Mon June 8, 2015

Martinez Pledges $1 Million For Amtrak Work

Credit Office of the Governor

Gov. Susana Martinez is pledging $1 million to improve part of the track used by Amtrak's Southwest Chief in New Mexico.

New Mexico Department of Transportation Deputy Secretary Loren Hatch informed Las Vegas Mayor Alfonso Ortiz of the $1 million commitment Thursday.

Hatch says the money will be used for the section of the track that is in most need of repair, which lies between Lamy and La Bajada hill.

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Regional
2:42 pm
Mon June 8, 2015

Arizona Sues To Require Feds To Revise Mexican Wolf Plan

The Arizona Game and Fish Department is suing the federal government to force it to develop an updated recovery plan for endangered Mexican grey wolves.

The lawsuit filed Monday is aimed at forcing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to publish a plan that includes guidelines for when the wolves can be removed from the endangered species list. Without those criteria the agency says the wolf could never be delisted.

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Regional
8:21 am
Mon June 8, 2015

UPDATE: New Mexico Special Session Begins

The New Mexico House of Representatives has been called to order as part of a special session ordered by Gov. Susana Martinez to resolve a partisan fight over $295 million capital projects.

House Speaker Don Tripp began the special session for the GOP-controlled body on Monday as state lawmakers try to adopt an agreement over capital spending and a bundle of tax incentives. Sixty-three House members are on hand and seven are absence.

The Democrat-led Senate is expected to come together later Monday.

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Regional
8:19 am
Mon June 8, 2015

Attorney General Investigates Officer's Shooting Death

Credit Hector Balderas

New Mexico's attorney general is investigating the circumstances that led to the release of a repeat offender who prosecutors say fatally shot a police officer.

Attorney General Hector Balderas this week is summoning about a dozen criminal justice and social service providers that came in contact with 28-year-old Andrew Romero.

Prosecutors have charged Romero with first-degree murder in the Memorial Day shooting that killed Rio Rancho police officer Gregg "Nigel" Benner. The Violent Crimes Review Team will investigate Romero's criminal history and release.

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Regional
8:18 am
Mon June 8, 2015

Southwestern New Mexico Wildfire At 30 Percent Containment

A lightning-started wildfire that has burned more than nine square miles of the Coronado National Forest in extreme southwestern New Mexico is about a third contained.

Officials say approximately 300 personnel were assigned to fight the fire as of Sunday but that some will be released Monday because rain is forecast for the area.

As of Monday, containment is reported around 30 percent of the fire's perimeter.

The fire is burning mostly grass and brush just across the state line from southeastern Arizona.

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Regional
6:00 am
Mon June 8, 2015

Madrid Road Closure Monday In Las Cruces

  West Madrid Avenue at Main Street will have a road closure to through traffic and detour for five days beginning Monday, June 8, for utility tie-ins at that location. Local access will be maintained.

 

Northbound traffic on Alameda Boulevard will be detoured east onto Three Crosses Avenue, south onto Solano Drive, and west back onto Madrid. The southbound traffic on Alameda will be detoured east onto Gallagher Avenue, north onto Main, and west back onto Madrid.

 

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Regional
6:00 am
Mon June 8, 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
6:00 am
Mon June 8, 2015

New Mexico Department of Transportation Nears Completion Of Long Range Plan

Claude Morelli, Project Manager for the Department of Transportation’s statewide plan says the plan focuses on how they are going to manage roads when dealing with diminishing funds.

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Regional
9:33 pm
Sun June 7, 2015

Las Cruces Area Murder Victim Identified

 

  The man who was stabbed and killed early Saturday morning during a party east of Las Cruces has been identified as 20-year-old Carlos Contreras.

 Doña Ana County Sheriff’s deputies were called to the 7500 block of El Centro in the East Mesa area of Las Cruces just after 2 a.m. Saturday. Deputies immediately rendered aid to Contreras, who was then airlifted to University Medical Center in El Paso.

Contreras died during surgery.  

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Regional
3:09 pm
Sun June 7, 2015

No Election For Navajo Candidates With Ethics Violations

Candidates seeking office in a Navajo election won't be able to proceed if they have an outstanding ethics violation.

President Russell Begaye on Friday signed into law a resolution that prevents candidates with any outstanding ethics judgments, including orders of restitution, from running.

The measure won unanimous approval from the Navajo Nation Council last month.

According to the law, elected officials who are in violation can face disqualification from an election. Current tribal officials could be removed.

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Regional
3:07 pm
Sun June 7, 2015

New Mexico Rail Runner Has No Funding For $50 Million Safety Upgrade

New Mexico transportation officials say they don't have the funding to meet a deadline to install a federally mandated safety upgrade to the state's Rail Runner line.

The state Department of Transportation says there is no plan to cover the $50 million cost for safety technology designed to prevent collisions and derailments.

The Federal Railroad Administration is threatening to fine railroad owners who don't implement the technology before the Dec. 31, 2015 deadline.

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Regional
3:15 pm
Sat June 6, 2015

This Week In The Las Cruces Bulletin

  Every Saturday at 5:30pm on Images, Fred Martino speaks with Las Cruces Bulletin Managing Editor Brook Stockberger about the week's top stories and much more in the Bulletin.

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Regional
3:12 pm
Sat June 6, 2015

Glad They Had Video: Man Arrested For Knocking Out Albuquerque Bus Driver

A passenger has been caught on camera attacking and knocking out an Albuquerque city bus driver.  The video shows a man walking on to the bus and trying to pay with expired bus passes. He then refuses to get off the bus and claims to be an undercover police officer.

The video shows him telling the bus driver to close the door and drive. The driver says the man is holding a knife.

Eventually the man punches the bus driver, knocking him out, and then runs away.

Albuquerque police have arrested a man they say is responsible for the attack.

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Regional
3:11 pm
Sat June 6, 2015

Albuquerque Police Face Steroid Testing

Planned reforms of the Albuquerque police department will include randomly testing officers for steroids.

The Albuquerque Journal reports (http://bit.ly/1JyHhm7) that the city's human resources department announced Friday that the city would accept comment on the proposed steroid testing for two weeks.

The city would start the testing 30 days after that.

Albuquerque officers currently undergo random testing for drugs such as marijuana, cocaine and opiates.

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Regional
3:10 pm
Sat June 6, 2015

Feds Say Texas Should Repay $133 Million For Dental Bills

Credit NM Department of Health

A federal audit says Texas should repay at least $133 million in Medicaid funding misspent on unnecessary dental and orthodontic procedures.

The amount is part of an ongoing legal fight over responsibility for a spike in costs for braces and other dental care in Texas between 2007 and 2012.

The federal government has maintained the Texas Health and Human Services Commission for years didn't address the practices of Xerox Corp., the contractor it hired to pre-authorize the dental procedures.

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Regional
3:08 pm
Sat June 6, 2015

A New National Park Dedicated To The History Of The Atomic Bomb?

Federal employees and Los Alamos officials have started meeting to discuss an ambitious plan: to create a new national park scattered across three different states and dedicated to the history of the atomic bomb.

Employees from the National Park Service and Department of Energy met with leaders in Los Alamos this week to begin tackling the challenges of designing facing the proposed Manhattan Project National Historical Park.

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Regional
3:06 pm
Sat June 6, 2015

Border Patrol Helicopter Makes Emergency Landing After Taking Shots From Mexico

U.S. and Mexican authorities are seeking suspects after a U.S. Customs and Border Protection helicopter was fired upon and forced to make an emergency landing in Laredo.

A CBP statement says the crew of the Office of Air and Marine helicopter was patrolling the US-Mexico border near the banks of the Rio Grande when attacked about 5:30 p.m. Friday. Bullets hit the ride side of the aircraft and the rotor blade, but the pilot was able to land safely with no injuries.

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Regional
3:04 pm
Sat June 6, 2015

New Mexico Ski Resorts See 20 Percent Jump In Business

Credit Sipapu Ski and Summer Resort

A state industry group says New Mexico's ski resorts have seen a significant jump in the number of visitors in recent seasons.

Ski New Mexico has found a nearly 20 percent increase in skiers during the 2013-14 season.

The nonprofit trade organization also found resorts gained 176,000 more visits during this past season with a $98 million boost in economic activity.

The group's report calculated any skier visiting any of the state's 11 ski areas for all or part of a given day.

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Regional
3:02 pm
Sat June 6, 2015

Las Cruces Area Murder Under Investigation

  Doña Ana County Sheriff’s deputies were called to the East Mesa area in Las Cruces just after 2 a.m. Saturday in response to a 20-year-old male who had reportedly been stabbed.  This is the second homicide in Doña Ana County this year. 

            The incident happened in the 7500 block of El Centro. Deputies had responded to that address earlier that same night when neighbors reported a loud party. The second time they were called back was after a 911 call to dispatch alerted authorities to a stabbing.

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Regional
4:33 pm
Fri June 5, 2015

What?! Texas Supreme Court Judge Named 'Tweeter Laureate'

Texas has become the first state to name an official "Tweeter Laureate," and its recipient is not a star quarterback, or pop star but a state Supreme Court justice.

The Texas House recognized Republican Don Willett as a "lively and engaging presence on Twitter." Despite a heavy workload on the state's highest civil court, Willett Tweets at least 10 times daily.

Like the state's "Poet Laureate," also appointed by lawmakers, the recognition is ceremonial.

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Regional
4:31 pm
Fri June 5, 2015

Martinez Dedicates New Port Of Entry In Santa Teresa

Credit Office of the Governor

New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez has dedicated a new, state-of-the-art port of entry facility in the booming border town of Santa Teresa.

Martinez visited the new port of entry Friday and participated in a ribbon cutting ceremony for Twin Cities Logistic Center.

In April, Martinez signed two measures aimed at helping Santa Teresa.

One measure extends the overweight cargo zone in Santa Teresa and two other New Mexico ports of entry, a move officials say could attract more companies to the area.

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Regional
4:17 pm
Fri June 5, 2015

Historical Marker At NMSU To Honor Education Pioneer

Maria Gutierrez Spencer, a pioneer in bilingual education, traveled throughout the state helping educators develop programs for students with language and cultural barriers. This summer a historical marker will be added to the NMSU campus acknowledging her service to the state. (NMSU photo provided by Laura Gutierrez-Spencer)

  Of the 536 historical markers in New Mexico, only five represent women. 

This year, a historical sign will be placed honoring the legacy of Maria Gutierrez Spencer, a pioneer of bilingual and bicultural education and advocate of the indo-hispanic experience. 

Located on Espina Street (NM Highway 38) between E. University Avenue and Stewart Street, a sign will be placed marking the life of one of the state’s boldest natives. 

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Regional
4:14 pm
Fri June 5, 2015

Auto Burglary Suspects Sought In Las Cruces

  Las Cruces Crime Stoppers is offering a reward of up to $1,000 for information that helps identify two young men suspected of breaking into and burglarizing vehicles along a stretch of north Willow Street.

  The two suspects, both believed to be teenage boys, broke into at least two vehicles near the 1200 block of north Willow Street on the evening of Wednesday, May 13. The vehicles were left unlocked and the suspects simply opened the doors and rummaged through, taking items they perceived as valuable.

Photos of the suspects were captured on surveillance cameras.

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Regional
4:05 pm
Fri June 5, 2015

Ex-Doña Ana County Election Supervisor Arrested For Allegedly Falsifying Records

Lorrie Munoz

Authorities say a former Doña Ana County employee has been arrested for allegedly falsifying her pay records to receive food stamp benefits.

County sheriff's officials say 32-year-old Lorrie A. Munoz was the bureau of elections supervisor at the county clerk's office before resigning Thursday.

She was arrested Friday and booked into jail on suspicion of making or permitting a false claim for reimbursement for public assistance services.

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Regional
12:05 pm
Fri June 5, 2015

Las Cruces Doctor, License Revoked, Arraigned On New Health Fraud Charges

Pawan Kumar Jain, 62, of Las Cruces, N.M., was arraigned this morning in Las Cruces federal court on a 114-count superseding indictment which alleges that, among other crimes, Jain’s over-prescribing of opioid pain medication resulted in the deaths of four patients.  Jain entered a not guilty plea this morning to the superseding indictment; he remains in custody pending trial.  The filing of the superseding indictment was announced by U.S. Attorney Damon P. Martinez, Special Agent in Charge Will R. Glaspy of the DEA’s El Paso Division, and Special Agent in Charge Carol K.O.

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Regional
9:35 am
Fri June 5, 2015

NMSU College Of Business To Offer New MBA Fellowship With Education Focus

Secretary of Education Hannah Skandera

New Mexico Secretary of Education Hannah Skandera visited the New Mexico State University campus Thursday to announce a new education leadership program designed to help provide the state’s principals, superintendents and other aspiring school leaders with the knowledge and skills to help close the state’s school achievement gap.

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Regional
8:33 am
Fri June 5, 2015

Doña Ana County Whistleblower Fired; Was Temporary Employee

A whistleblower who brought an alleged identity theft and check cashing scam to light within the Dona Ana County clerk's office has been fired.

The Las Cruces Sun-News reports that Robert "RJ" Hernandez was told of the termination Thursday.

Hernandez says he was a temporary clerk's office employee, so county officials weren't obligated to give an explanation for the decision. He says they also can terminate temporary employees at will.

But Hernandez says the move is backlash for his involvement in calling attention to the alleged fraud and theft.

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Regional
8:25 am
Fri June 5, 2015

Special Session Expected To Tackle Infrastructure Spending

Lawmakers expect Gov. Susana Martinez on Monday to formally announce a special session so lawmakers can tackle a $295 million infrastructure package to replace a previous capital improvements bill that died on the Legislature's last day.

The Albuquerque Journal reports legislators are also expected to discuss tax breaks and short-term funding to address shortfalls in the state court system and the Health Department.

Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez says the session will hopefully only last a day.

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Regional
2:38 am
Fri June 5, 2015

City Councilor Nathan Small To Propose Enforcement Of Las Cruces Minimum Wage Law

  

Café or Communities in Action and Faith says it has received more than 100 reports of companies not paying the full Las Cruces minimum wage. But the lack of enforcement on a city level means those wage violation claims are not being addressed.

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