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.

Third Candidate In Las Cruces Mayoral Race

Sep 21, 2015
Gina Montoya Ortega

  On Tuesday…candidates in the Las Cruces municipal election will submit voter signatures to get on the ballot. 

And a third candidate has announced in the race for Mayor.

Utilities Payment Scam In Las Cruces

Sep 21, 2015

  Las Cruces Utilities (LCU) is warning customers of a scam involving utility bill payments. In at least one case, a caller identifying himself as being with the “water billing department” informed the customer that water service would be shut off within an hour, unless the customer purchased a Walmart gift card for the exact amount owed on the bill.

  Attorney General Loretta Lynch today announced that the Justice Department has awarded grants totaling more than $23.2 million to 73 local and tribal agencies in 32 states to expand the use of body-worn cameras and explore their impact.  The investment includes $19.3 million to purchase body-worn cameras, $2 million for training and technical assistance and $1.9 million to examine the impact of their use.  The grants, awarded by the Department’s Office of Justice Programs (OJP), are part of President Obama’s proposal to purchase 50,000 body-worn cameras for law enforcement agencies within

White House Touts NMSU Program As "Bright Spot in Hispanic Education"

Sep 21, 2015

  New Mexico State University’s College Migrant Assistance Program (CAMP) was named one of the country’s “Bright Spots in Hispanic Education.” More than 230 programs and organizations are now listed online in the national catalog that recognizes their commitment to narrowing the Latino achievement gap.

  FARMINGTON – Kevin Lombard knows how his neighbors are feeling after the Gold King Mine spill in Silverton, Colorado.

He stood on the banks of the Animas River, 500 meters from his three-acre vegetable garden, and watched the plume of the spill turn the river water orange in August.

Lombard’s not your average San Juan County farmer – he’s an associate professor of horticulture at New Mexico State University’s Agricultural Science Center at Farmington.

New Mexico Wildlife Group Protest Game Commission Decisions

Sep 21, 2015

The Sierra Club Rio Grande Chapter has launched a radio campaign targeting New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez and the Game Commission's decisions to allow trapping of cougars and increased bear-killing by trophy hunters.

The chapter says Martinez appointed every commissioner on the panel.

The chapter's ads ask New Mexicans to urge Martinez to direct the Game Commission to reverse the cougar and bear votes.

Chapter officials say the ad will appear on radio stations in central, northern and southern New Mexico and will run in concert with online ads throughout the state.

State Obesity Rates Hold Steady; 30% Or More In 22 States

Sep 21, 2015

New government data shows that in most states, the rate of adult obesity is not moving.

Results from a telephone survey show obesity rates stayed about the same in 45 states last year. There were small increases in Kansas, Minnesota, New Mexico, Ohio and Utah.

Some experts said they are glad, overall, that obesity rates aren't getting worse.

The 2014 survey found that in 22 states, 30 percent or more of the population was obese. They were mostly in the South and Midwest. Three states — Arkansas, Mississippi and West Virginia — had obesity rates over 35 percent.

NM Officer Accused Of Kneeing Law Student Pleads Not Guilty

Sep 21, 2015

An Albuquerque police officer accused of kneeing a law student in the groin and deleting a cellphone video has pleaded not guilty to charges in New Mexico's Second District Court.

Pablo Padilla appeared Monday during a brief arraignment hearing on charges of aggravated battery causing great bodily harm and tampering with evidence. He was released on his own recognizance.

Albuquerque Police ID Wrong-Way Driver In Fatal Collision

Sep 21, 2015

Albuquerque police have identified a man who was one of two people killed in a collision that occurred while the man was speeding the wrong way on Interstate 25.

Police say 22-year-old Angel Romero was driving northbound in southbound lanes of I-25 early Sunday morning when the collision occurred at Comanche.

The other driver killed was a 21-year-old woman. Her identity hasn't been released.

Investigators are trying to determine if alcohol was a factor.

Police: Hobbs Woman Used Son To Shoplift

Sep 21, 2015

Police says a Hobbs woman used her 10-year-old child to help shoplift items from a Lovington clothing store.

The Hobbs News-Sun reports 42-year-old Veronica Acosta was recently arrested after police say an employee heard her tell the son, "watch my back."

A criminal complaint says Acosta's child reportedly tried to distract workers by asking for a bathroom key, informed them of a mess in the children's department and alerted his mother an employee was near when she was shoplifting.

Acosta was booked at the Hobbs City Jail on a $20,000 bond.

Las Cruces City Council is voting to approve an issuance of $28.5 million dollars in bonds that would be paid off using Hold Harmless GRT tax funds. The money will be used to fund projects including roads, energy efficiency and business incentives.

While, Hold Harmless payments are being phased out by the state, Las Cruces is projecting an increase in available funds from the GRT tax revenue after the budget is balanced. City Council is trying to use that increase to fund projects that could be a greater cost to the city in the future.

Monday Business Watch

Sep 21, 2015

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.  This week, Jason discusses Fall heating and steps you can take to winterize your home. 

New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas

A northern New Mexico tribe is accusing state gaming officials of holding a closed-door meeting to plot out ways to stop its casino operations.

The Pojoaque Pueblo complained to the state Attorney General's Office late last week, accusing the state Gaming Control Board of illegally holding a closed door meeting on their gaming activities.

Pueblo officials say the July 15 meeting violates the Open Meetings Act.

They are accusing board members of discussing retaliation tactics against any entities doing business with them.

Police Shooting Contest In Albuquerque Draws Protests

Sep 20, 2015

Police were called to escort guests into an Albuquerque hotel amid protests of a national police shooting contest.

Police were called to assist when a 13-year-old girl protesting tried to enter the hotel Saturday evening.

However, no arrests were made and 50 demonstrators continued protesting the National Rifle Association's National Police Shooting Championships.

Organizers say the five-day contest glorifies police shootings and should not be in a city with a police department undergoing reforms.

  LAS CRUCES, N.M. – In a game that saw 97 points and over 1,000 yards of total offense, the NM State football team dropped a heartbreaking 50-47 overtime loss to Battle of I-10 rival UTEP on Saturday night in Aggie Memorial Stadium.

Top Texas Land Office Staffers Got Large, Frequent Bonuses

Sep 20, 2015

Top Texas General Land Office staffers routinely got cash bonuses worth thousands of dollars despite high salaries under former commissioner Jerry Patterson.

And many retained powerful posts under Patterson's successor, George P. Bush, until a recent round of jobs, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press.

Such "one time merit increase" bonuses are common throughout Texas government. But at other agencies, they often go infrequently to low-paid staffers rather than top officials.

Japanese Government Gifts New Mexico Veterans' Memorial With Tree

Sep 20, 2015

 The Japanese government has given a tree to honor New Mexico veterans to mark the anniversary of the end of World War II.

The cherry tree was planted during a ceremony at the New Mexico Veterans' Memorial on Saturday.

Officials say the gift is intended to commemorate 70 years since Japan's formal surrender.

Gov. Susana Martinez says the cherry tree will symbolize the lasting friendship between the people of Japan and New Mexico.

The Consulate-General of Japan in Denver was there to offer the tree.


Environmental Group Says Texas "Water Grid" Should Wait

Sep 20, 2015

A top official in Texas' largest environmental group says a proposal to study the possibility of a network that would pump water across vast Texas should be sidetracked until more immediate attempts at water conservation are examined.

The water resources chairman of the Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club, Ken Kramer, says more obvious attempts at water efficiencies should be taken before starting some huge infrastructure project.

John Sharp

The chancellor of the Texas A&M University System has agreed to a five-year contract extension increasing his annual base salary to $900,000.

System officials and John Sharp reached the agreement Saturday. The deal gives Sharp, who's been chancellor since 2011, a nearly $400,000 annual pay raise.

Regent Phil Adams says Sharp has done an outstanding job and the pay raise from the current $507,000 base was overdue.

Sharp is a 1972 Texas A&M graduate and a former state comptroller.



Santa Fe Triathalon Cancelled

Sep 20, 2015

The Santa Fe Triathlon has run its course before even starting.  City officials have decided to cancel this year's triathlon.

The Genoveva Chavez Community Center, which has served as the venue over the years, is undergoing maintenance work.

Organizers had been working the past several months to find an alternative route.

They say the race would have to be in a busier, high-traffic area of Santa Fe around Sal Perez.

The city says there is no course that would guarantee participants' safety in the bike and running portions of the triathlon.

Lawyers for the New Mexico Public Education Department are set to defend a teacher evaluation system facing a challenge from teachers unions.

Attorneys are scheduled Monday to defend the system before a Santa Fe County judge amid efforts to halt the use of student tests as part of evaluation.

American Federation of Teachers New Mexico and the Albuquerque Teachers Federation are seeking an injunction to halt the use of test scores while their lawsuit against the evaluation system goes through the court system.

Military Plane Crashes Near Las Cruces

Sep 19, 2015

Officials in New Mexico say a military aircraft crashed in the desert northwest of Las Cruces International Airport during a training flight Saturday, injuring at least one person aboard.

Las Cruces Fire Department spokesman Lt. Mike Martinez says the flight was a training aircraft and a student and instructor were aboard the aircraft and ejected before the crash.

He says at least one of the two people aboard sustained minor injuries and had to be taken to a hospital but didn't have further details.

Autopsy Confirms Las Cruces Teen Died From Gunshot Wound To The Head

Sep 19, 2015
Jaycob Alba

A state autopsy shows that a 17-year-old killed at a Las Cruces trailer park died of a gunshot wound to the head.

Jaycob Alba was shot outside a mobile home at about 3 a.m. on July 31.

The Dona Ana County Sheriff's Office says Alba and four acquaintances were attempting a home invasion robbery when gunfire broke out among the group. Alba was fatally shot and the four others ran away.

The four teenagers have been charged with murder for Alba's death. They all pleaded not guilty in August.

New Mexico Mayors To Form Caucus

Sep 19, 2015
Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry

Mayors from across New Mexico are forming a caucus to ensure their voices are heard by state lawmakers.

Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry announced the plans Friday at the Albuquerque Convention Center.

He was speaking during a summit attended by about half of New Mexico's 105 mayors. Berry intends to make the two-day gathering an annual event.

Senate Majority Whip Michael Padilla, an Albuquerque Democrat, also spoke at the summit. He asked mayors to simplify their message to lawmakers.

37 Immigrants Found In Texas Truck

Sep 19, 2015

Authorities have discovered 30-plus people in the country illegally who were locked inside a sweltering 18-wheeler parked at a truck stop south of San Antonio.

The Frio County Sheriff's Office found the truck Friday afternoon.

Deputies were responding to a call about people trapped inside a tractor-trailer near a gas station at Highway 57 and Interstate 35.

They found 37 people in Moore, about 40 miles southwest of San Antonio.

Texas Historical Bridges Have Charm, But Many Are Obsolete

Sep 19, 2015

The picturesque metal bridge across the Guadalupe River was built in 1938 and remains full of charm, but it's too narrow for today's traffic needs.

The bridge in Cuero, about 90 miles from San Antonio, is an example of a problem state officials are facing across Texas: How to salvage the identity of historical bridges that are structurally obsolete.

Issues are especially acute in areas like Cuero, which have seen the energy boom increase oil patch traffic that's hard on local infrastructure.

Rio Rancho Boy Faces Felony Charges For Poisoning Students

Sep 19, 2015

A Rio Rancho middle school student is facing felony charges after police say he poisoned his classmates by spiking a sports drink with copper sulfate taken from a science classroom.

Deputy District Attorney Barbara Romo says the boy was charged last week for the May incident at Eagle Ridge Middle School.

Police say the 14-year-old gave three students the poisoned drink in a Gatorade bottle. Two were hospitalized.

The teenager has moved out of state. Romo says she thinks the boy spiked the drink as a joke, but now realizes that it's not a joke.

Office of the Governor

  Today, Governor Susana Martinez presented seven New Mexico artists and art supporters with the 2015 Governor’s Awards for Excellence in the Arts at the New Mexico Museum of Art. The 2015 honorees are: Dr. William Clark of Las Cruces, music; Catalina Delgado-Trunk of Albuquerque, papel picado; Vincent N. Figiola of Las Cruces, painting; Virgil Ortiz of Cochiti Pueblo, ceramic and design; Irvin Trujillo of Chimayo, weaving; Edgar Foster Daniels of Santa Fe, major contributor to the arts; and Eric Renner and Nancy Spencer of San Lorenzo, major contributors to the arts.

New Mexico Group Attempts To Shutter Coal MInes

Sep 18, 2015

Boosted by a recent victory in Colorado, an environmental group is expanding its legal campaign to try stop coal mining over climate change by challenging permits for some of the largest mines in the West.

This time, New Mexico-based WildEarth Guardians is asking a federal judge to block mining at the Antelope and Black Thunder mines in Wyoming's Powder River Basin, the El Segundo mine in New Mexico and the Bowie No. 2 mine in Colorado but it's taking the argument further.

Police in suburban Dallas are reviewing how officers responded to a 14-year-old Muslim boy who brought a homemade clock to school that was mistaken for a possible bomb.

Irving Police Chief Larry Boyd said Friday that officers were justified Monday in questioning and handcuffing Ahmed Mohamed at MacArthur High School, given the limited information they had.

But he says he's reviewing the department's response. Boyd says he's had significant feedback, "some of which you wouldn't be able to print."