Regional

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.

Navajo Nation To Receive Support Following Mine Spill

Aug 13, 2015
JONATHAN THOMPSON HIGH COUNTRY NEWS

Truckloads of drinking water are headed to the Navajo Nation where a mine spill upstream of the San Juan River has residents worried about contamination.

St. Mary's Food Bank Alliance is donating 200,000 bottles of water to Navajo communities. The shipment is expected to arrive Friday.

Navajo Nation Council Speaker LoRenzo Bates says the donations will help alleviate stress in finding potable water for residents.

NMSU Researchers Examine Adult Day Services In New Mexico

Aug 13, 2015

  Donna Wagner, dean of the College of Health and Social Services and Joe Tomaka, associate dean and director of the New Mexico State University Survey Research and Program Evaluation Center, conducted a study of adult day services in New Mexico for the Aging and Long-Term Services Department of New Mexico. Their study found that many of the 27 licensed adult day programs in the state were begun in response to community demand and were providing important support for older adults in the community as a result.

Panel: NM Supreme Court Should Support No-Bond Amendment

Aug 13, 2015

A panel of judges, lawyers and legal experts is recommending that New Mexico's highest court support a constitutional amendment to allow judges to order the most dangerous, violent criminal defendants held in jail pending trial without bond.

The committee voted during a meeting Thursday in Albuquerque to send a letter outlining its recommendation to the state Supreme Court.

Albuquerque Can Prohibit Employees From Running For Office

Aug 13, 2015

The New Mexico Supreme Court has ruled Albuquerque can bar its firefighters and other employees from running for elected office.  

In a 49-page ruling Thursday, the state's high court reversed a lower court's ruling in the case of fire Capt. Emily Kane.

Kane served for two years in the state House before losing her re-election bid last year.

The city had sought to discipline Kane before she won a lower-court ruling that said the prohibition was unconstitutional.

Ex-Airman Who Killed Friend In NM Crash Gets Probation

Aug 13, 2015

A former U.S. Air Force airman who was driving more than 120 mph when he crashed near a New Mexico base and killed his passenger has been sentenced to five years' probation after a judge rejected a prosecutor's request for prison time.

Tylan Bolden of Franklin, Louisiana, was sentenced Wednesday by 9th Judicial District Judge Drew Tatum.

The 21-year-old was driving a car in Clovis last year when he crashed. A fellow airman, 22-year-old Andrew Padilla of Santa Maria, California, was ejected and killed.

Padilla and Bolden were assigned to Cannon Air Force Base.

El Paso Woman Gives Birth To 3 Girls, 2 Boys, All Doing Well

Aug 13, 2015

A West Texas woman has given birth to quintuplets and hospital officials in El Paso say the premature babies are doing well.

Susana Giron of El Paso delivered the three girls and two boys on Tuesday at Providence Memorial Hospital. They are the first children for Giron and her husband, Marco Delgado.

Dr. Maria D. Velazquez said Thursday that all five babies are in stable condition in the neonatal intensive-care unit.

Hospital officials say the babies — Vanessa, Jackeline, Montserrat, Diego and Samuel — ranged from 1 pound, 9 ounces to 2 pounds at birth.

DEA Seizes Medical Pot After Explosion At Dispensary

Aug 13, 2015

The federal Drug Enforcement Administration has seized and destroyed several marijuana plants from a licensed Santa Fe dispensary after two employees were burned in a recent explosion.

The Albuquerque Journal reports Santa Fe police asked the DEA to help investigate the blast at NewMexiCann Natural Medicine on July 23.

Officials To Mark 'Milestone' In Kirtland Fuel Spill Cleanup

Aug 13, 2015
kirtland.af.mil

Officials are marking a milestone in the cleanup of a massive plume of jet fuel at the edge of Albuquerque.

Gov. Susana Martinez, members of the state's congressional delegation and other officials are scheduled Thursday to join U.S. Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James at Kirtland Air Force Base to mark the extraction and treatment of some of the contaminated water.

First detected in 1999, the fuel leak is believed to have been seeping into the ground for decades. Estimates of the amount of fuel spilled range from 6 million to 24 million gallons.

New Mexico Chile Growers Pushing Guest Workers Program

Aug 13, 2015
krwg.org

Chile growers in New Mexico say they need a guest worker program to survive and reverse the decline of the famed crop.

New Mexico Chile Commission chairman Rick Ledbetter says growers want new temporary immigrant labor because U.S.-born workers are opting not to work in the fields. That's creating a shortage of green chile pickers

Ed Ogaz, owner of the Anthony, New Mexico-based chile wholesaler Seco Spice Co., says the shortage also is preventing farmers from using all available land to grow the spice stable.

The new double up food bucks incentive for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistant Program or SNAP, better known as food stamps, is giving recipients double their money at New Mexico Farmer’s Markets.

Simon Thompson

In the last 15 years every state in the country has seen a decline in the middle class. That’s according to a Pew Charitable trust study based on Census Bureau.  New Mexico and a number of other states saw about a five percent decline in middle class households.  Only Wisconsin did worse with a decline of about six percent.

The recession left a trail of foreclosure, debt and unemployment. 

PRC Wants To Withdraw Suit Vs Newspaper Over Documents

Aug 12, 2015

The state Public Regulation Commission wants to withdraw its lawsuit against a Santa Fe newspaper over confidential documents relating to the San Juan Generating Station.

A lawyer for the commission informed a District Court judge Wednesday that the regulatory body was dropping the suit.

The litigation sought to stop any publication of documents that the commission staff inadvertently released to a Santa Fe New Mexican reporter last week as part of a response to a public records request.

The Latest: EPA Head To Visit New Mexico To Address Spill

Aug 12, 2015
JONATHAN THOMPSON HIGH COUNTRY NEWS

The head of the Environmental Protection Agency says she will visit Farmington, New Mexico, downstream from where millions of gallons of mine waste spilled into a southwest Colorado river.

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy is scheduled to address the agency's response in Farmington on Thursday. On Wednesday, she spoke with residents of Durango, Colorado, as well as state, local and tribal officials.

An EPA-supervised cleanup crew accidentally unleashed 3 million gallons of wastewater from an old mine that flowed into southwest Colorado's Animas River.

California Firm Pays $5.9M For Overcharging NM National Lab

Aug 12, 2015

A San Diego company will pay $5.9 million to settle allegations that it overcharged the federal government for computers used at a national security research and development laboratory in New Mexico.

The computers sold by a subsidiary of PC Specialists Inc. to the National Nuclear Security Administration between 2003 and 2013 were used at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque. The settlement of the civil fraud charges was announced by the Department of Justice late Tuesday.

State Officials: New Mexico Democrats' Emails Unblocked

Aug 12, 2015
dpnm.net

Officials say a server issue that was blocking emails from the Democratic Party of New Mexico to state agencies should be resolved.

Secretary of State spokesman Ken Ortiz said Wednesday the Department of Information Technology contacted the service provider for state email addresses after an inquiry by The Associated Press and Democrats should no longer be blocked.

Democratic Party spokesman Scott Tillman says emails from New Mexico Democratic chairman Deb Haaland and other staffers were being blocked and "blacklisted" from state agencies.

New Mexico Man Pleads Guilty To Involuntary Manslaughter

Aug 12, 2015

A Fruitland man has pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter in connection with a car crash that killed two people in New Mexico last year.

Prosecutors say 28-year-old Farrell Bowman entered into a plea agreement in the case Wednesday.

They say he will be sentenced to 74 months in federal prison followed by a term of supervised release to be determined by the court.

Bowman was arrested in January.

New Details In Shooting Of Undercover Officer In Drug Bus

Aug 12, 2015

Authorities say the Albuquerque police lieutenant who shot and seriously injured an undercover officer during a low-level drug bust may not have known he was an officer.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that police reports released Tuesday show Lt. Greg Brachle didn't attend a pre-operation briefing where police decided to send an additional undercover officer to the January drug bust.

That officer was Jacob Grant, who was shot multiple times by Brachle during the undercover operation near an Albuquerque McDonald's restaurant.

The Latest: New Mexico Official: Towns Want Answers On Spill

Aug 12, 2015
JONATHAN THOMPSON HIGH COUNTRY NEWS

The latest in the Colorado mine spill (all times local):

2:35 p.m.

New Mexico's attorney general says communities affected contaminated wastewater that spilled from a Colorado mine have anywhere from seven to 50 days of drinking water in storage tanks and reservoirs.

Hector Balderas says the towns are anxious for the release of sampling results from the Animas and San Juan rivers. He spoke Wednesday after meeting with local officials in Farmington, New Mexico. He was headed to Durango, Colorado, to meet with his counterparts from that state and Utah.

  State officials have signed off on an agreement between Verizon Wireless and Doña Ana County to build a new cellular tower at the Talavera Volunteer Fire District station near the base of Soledad Canyon Road. 

District 3 Doña Ana County Commissioner Benjamin L. Rawson applauded the state Board of Finance’s action to approve the agreement so that construction can begin on the 75-foot tower, which will resemble a large flagpole that is designed to be virtually invisible from a distance of one-quarter mile or more.

Albuquerque Man Must Pay 23K For Fake Claims To VAMC

Aug 12, 2015

An Albuquerque man has been sentenced to three years of probation and ordered to pay more than $23,000 in restitution for submitting fraudulent claims to the Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

Prosecutors say 43-year-old Rick J. Serrano was sentenced Tuesday in federal court.

He was indicted in April 2013 for submitting 146 fraudulent claims to the VAMC for travel beneficiary payments from September 2010 through October 2012.

Serrano pleaded guilty last November.

In the wake of explosions at two Las Cruces churches, Holy Cross Catholic Church and Calvary Baptist Church are looking into expanding the security at both churches.

New Mexico Court Of Appeals Strikes Down Right-To-Die Law

Aug 11, 2015

The New Mexico Court of Appeals has struck down a prior Bernalillo County District Court ruling that essentially allowed assisted suicide in the state.

In a split decision Tuesday, a majority of the court concluded "that aid in dying is not a fundamental liberty interest under the New Mexico Constitution."

A District Court judge previously ruled that a 1963 state statute making assisted suicide a fourth-degree felony in the state was invalid as applied to physicians who administer a lethal dose of medication to a terminally-ill patient.

NEA-New Mexico Wins First Round In Lawsuit Over Teacher Evaluations

Aug 11, 2015
Betty Patterson-President, NEA New Mexico

  First District Judge Francis Mathew ruled Monday against the New Mexico Public Education Department (PED) in its attempt to dismiss a lawsuit brought by the National Education Association- New Mexico (NEA-NM).    

PNM Wants To Join Lawsuit To Stop Publication Of Contract

Aug 11, 2015

Public Service Company of New Mexico and two coal firms want a judge to stop the Santa Fe New Mexican from publishing documents the paper got accidentally from the Public Regulation Commission.

PNM says it will suffer "irreparable harm" if its confidential business information and trade secrets are published by the newspaper.

The utility wants to join in a lawsuit filed last week by the PRC seeking to block the newspaper from reporting on the information, which is related to the pending San Juan Generating Station case.

Uber Reaches Temporary Agreement For Service At Sunport

Aug 11, 2015
uber.com

The Uber ride-sharing service is getting city permission to operate temporarily at the Albuquerque International Sunport.

Mayor Richard Berry's office says Albuquerque and Uber have entered a temporary agreement in compliance with existing city ordinances and state laws to allow Uber drivers to provide an on-demand transportation option.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that the official announcement of the agreement is expected to be made by Berry late Tuesday afternoon.

Frenger Pool Closure Next Week

Aug 11, 2015

 

 

The City of Las Cruces Parks & Recreation Department will close Frenger Pool, 800 Parkview Dr., for its annual inspection Aug. 17 through Aug. 28. The pool will reopen Monday, Aug. 31. 

During the temporary closure, lap swimming will be available at Laabs Pool, 750 W. Picacho Ave., from 7 – 11a.m. Monday - Friday.   

For more information call 575/541-2782

Information from city of Las Cruces

Assistant Land Commissioner Resigns

Aug 11, 2015
http://www.nmstatelands.org

Assistant State Land Commissioner Jim Lane has resigned in the wake of allegations of sexual harassment during his time as director of the state Department of Game and Fish.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that Lane stepped down Monday. State Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn says he accepted the resignation due to the recent disclosure of private personnel files.

Los Ranchos Woman Pleads Guilty To Robbing Albuquerque Bank

Aug 11, 2015

A Los Ranchos woman could be facing up to a 20-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to robbing an Albuquerque bank five months ago.

Prosecutors say 27-year-old Denise Romero pleaded guilty Tuesday to robbing the New Mexico Bank & Trust branch on March 16. She was arrested four days later.

According to the criminal complaint, Romero approached the bank teller with a note suggesting that she had a gun.

Authorities say Romero used the money to bail her boyfriend out of jail.

Stepfather Of Slain Boy Pleads Guilty To Drug Charges

Aug 11, 2015

The stepfather of a 9-year-old boy, who was allegedly kicked to death by his mother, has pleaded guilty to drug charges.

KOB-TV reports that Stephen Casaus on Monday pleaded guilty to drug trafficking and paraphernalia possession as part of a plea deal. He faces up to nine years in prison.

Casaus is also awaiting trial in the death of his stepson, Omaree Varela. Casaus was charged last year with six counts of child abuse stemming from the boy's death.

Court: Placitas Horse Herd Could Be Considered 'Wild'

Aug 11, 2015
whoanm.org/

An appellate court has ruled that a horse herd in the mountain hamlet of Placitas could be considered wild, drawing praise from an advocacy group.

The Albuquerque Journal reports the New Mexico Court of Appeals recently ruled the herd couldn't be simply rounded up under state law and must go through DNA testing.

The ruling means a lawsuit filed by the Wild Horse Observers Association will go back to a lower court in a dispute that has entangled residents in the affluent community.

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