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.

Feds: Drug Investigation In Shiprock Area Nets 6 Arrests

May 12, 2016

Authorities say a crackdown on narcotics trafficking in northwestern New Mexico has led to arrests of multiple people charged in federal indictments.

The U.S. Attorney's Office for New Mexico says the multi-agency investigation was launched in response to an increase in methamphetamine trafficking in the Shiprock area of the Navajo Nation.

The office says six people who were arrested Wednesday made initial appearances Thursday in federal court in Farmington. Two other people named remain at large.

The indictments stem from undercover agents' drug purchases.

Voice Of The Public: Economic Development In The Mesilla Valley

May 12, 2016

  To quote the 2016 Statewide Town Hall report on Economic Security and Vitality for New Mexico, “High unemployment, low job creation, high poverty, shrinking population and poor education. These markers comprise what could be called the “Forbidden Five” for any state seeking to build a strong workforce. New Mexico is battling all of them. Tasked to overcome these barriers is Davin Lopez, President and CEO with the Mesilla Valley Economic Development Alliance, MVEDA. Dr.

Bush Appointee Sides With Republicans Against Health Care Law

May 12, 2016

A federal judge has ruled that the Obama administration is unconstitutionally spending federal money to fund the president's health care law.

The ruling Thursday from U.S. District Judge Rosemary Collyer is a win for House Republicans who brought the politically charged legal challenge.

At stake is $175 billion the government is paying to reimburse health insurers over a decade to reduce co-payments for lower-income people.

Emissions Vote On Agenda At PNM Meeting

May 12, 2016
Four Corners Power Plant. Photo courtesy of EcoFlight and San Juan Citizens Alliance

The holding company for New Mexico's largest electric provider has opted to host its annual shareholders' meeting in Texas this year, and on the ballot is a proposal that would require Public Service Co. of New Mexico to adopt goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The PNM Resources shareholders meeting will be Tuesday in Lewisville, where the company's other subsidiary Texas-New Mexico Power is headquartered.

Company officials say this marks the first time in the 11 years since PNM Resources acquired TNMP that the meeting will be held in Texas.

Las Cruces Municipal Court Closed Due To Power Outage

May 12, 2016

  Las Cruces Municipal Court is closed for the remainder of today due to a power outage. Depending on circumstances, the court may or may not open at its regular time tomorrow and an announcement will be made at a later time.

Feds Seek Transportation Services For Nuke Waste Repository

May 12, 2016
Department of Energy

The U.S. Department of Energy has started the search for contractors that can provide transportation services for the federal government's only underground nuclear waste repository.

The agency released its draft request for proposal on Wednesday.

It's also planning a tour of the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant for those companies that are interested along with one-on-one sessions in the coming weeks.

The current contracts held by CAST Specialty Transportation Inc. and Visionary Solutions LLC will expire next year.

Officials Eye Santa Fe Municipal Airport Plan

May 12, 2016

Business officials are set to push a plan to promote the Santa Fe Municipal Airport to draw more traffic to northern New Mexico.

Santa Fe Chamber CEO Simon Brackley is scheduled next week to discuss before the New Mexico Tourism Commission an initiative to draw attention to an airport that offers daily commercial flights.

American Airlines offers non-stop service from Dallas and Los Angeles to Santa Fe.

United Airlines also offers non-stop service from Denver to Santa Fe.

The New Mexico Tourism Commission is meeting in Las Cruces on Monday.

Joe Widmer

Alamogordo is home to largest community of German expatriates in the U.S. most of them serving in the German Air Force at Holloman Air Force base. Alamogordo is also home to the largest public German school outside Germany. Simon Thompson reports on the foreign school and what New Mexico could learn from the German approach to vocational learning.

Ski Season Wraps Up In New Mexico With Over 938,000 Visitors

May 12, 2016

New Mexico saw an increase in the number of skiers who hit the slopes this past winter, with more than 938,000 people visiting the state's ski areas in the 2015-16 season.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that this season's totals marked a 20 percent increase from the previous five-year average of 783,000 visits and a 3 percent increase from the 2014-15 season.

Ski industry figures show that visits to the state's ski areas contributed $524 million to the local economy, nearly $17 million more than the previous season.

Texas AG Vows He's 'Not Going Anywhere' Amid Criminal Case

May 12, 2016
Texas AG Ken Paxton

Indicted Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has released a defiant video vowing "I'm not going anywhere" as his lawyers go to court to fight felony securities fraud indictments against him.

The Republican's legal team is asking an appeals court in Dallas on Thursday to toss criminal charges Paxton defrauded investors. Paxton also faces separate civil fraud charges filed by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

BLM Boss: Wild Horse Program Faces $1 Billion Budget Crisis

May 12, 2016
Bureau of Land Management

The head of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management says his agency has a billion-dollar problem.

Neil Kornze says the BLM is fighting an uphill battle to protect federal rangeland across the West while managing tens of thousands of wild horses and caring for tens of thousands more already rounded up in government corals.

Kornze told The Associated Press the agency may not have done as good of job as it could have in recent years to underscore the environmental and budgetary crisis looming in its wild horse and burro program.

UPDATE: Prisoner Escapes From Memorial Medical Center In Las Cruces

May 12, 2016

Las Cruces Police are asking for the public’s help in locating 24-year-old Michael Derby who escaped custody near Memorial Medical Center Wednesday evening.

Derby is facing multiple charges in two states after leading police on a pair of pursuits to and from El Paso Sunday morning, and carjacking an SUV and briefly kidnapping its owner at gunpoint while in El Paso.

In an effort to help improve voting rates among young people in Doña Ana County, The County Clerk’s office went out to high schools throughout the county to make sure teenagers were registered to vote.  The Dona Ana County Clerk’s office held voter registration drives at almost every high school in the county; Chief Deputy Clerk Scott Krahling says it’s important to make sure people start voting early. “So, you know, studies have shown the earlier you get involved in voting,” Krahling said. “The more likely you’ll stay involved in voting throughout the rest of your life.

Brothers Dead In Apparent Double Homicide In Albuquerque

May 11, 2016

Two brothers are dead in what Albuquerque police say is being investigated as a double homicide.

Police say officers were called to a house on the city's northeast side Tuesday evening.

They reported finding 31-year-old Joe Baca and 29-year-old Carlos Baca Jr. dead inside the house.

Police didn't immediately disclose how the two men died.

Detectives say they now are looking for a 29-year-old man who may be connected to the homicide.

Ex-New Mexico Jail Officer Gets Prison For Inmate Sex Abuse

May 11, 2016

A former tribal corrections officer in New Mexico has been sentenced to 30 months in prison for sexually abusing a female inmate and violating her civil rights.

Prosecutors say 22-year-old Trevor Hunt, of Paguate, also was sentenced to five years of supervised release.

He'll be required to register as a sex offender for 15 years after completing his prison term.

Hunt was a detention officer at the Laguna Pueblo Detention Facility when he was accused of sexually assaulting the woman in the jail's laundry room last May 23.

Farmington Officials Reverse Denial Of Hospital Solar Farm

May 11, 2016

San Juan Regional Medical Center's proposed solar farm is moving forward with the Farmington council's approval of a previously-denied zoning change.

The Daily Times reports a 3-1 vote on Tuesday pushed the hospital closer to using 12.3 acres for 6,000 solar panels.

The council had denied the zoning change over concerns that the solar farm's industrial nature didn't fit with the area.

Plans put the project on land with industrial zones on three sides.

New Mexico Weighs Federal Funding For Home Visits

May 11, 2016

A Medicaid policy analyst is urging New Mexico officials to seek out federal matching funds to help pay for state-sponsored home visits by nurses and educators to families with infants and toddlers.

Policy analyst Kay Johnson told state lawmakers and the Secretary of Children, Families and Families Department on Wednesday that New Mexico could receive as much as 70 cents in federal funding for every dollar spent on home visits by nurses and councilors on early-childhood development. The state is directly spending $7.7 million on home visits next year.

New Mexico Proposes Changes For Dealing With Polluters

May 11, 2016

New Mexico regulators are proposing changes to a policy that governs civil penalties levied against certain polluters and how those fines can be used to benefit local communities.

The state Environment Department wants to clarify the decades-old policy to ensure the money goes directly to projects in communities most affected by the pollution.

New Mexico Environment Secretary Ryan Flynn says that didn't always happen in the past and the proposed changes are meant to keep any of the civil fines from being used for political agendas or pet projects.

New Sign Marks History Of Agua Fria Village

May 11, 2016

A new marker describes the historical significance of Agua Fria, a village along Santa Fe's southwest border that was a stop for people along El Camino Real.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports the previous marker became defaced and worn partially because the responsibility for the sign's maintenance transitioned from the state to Santa Fe County.

The updated sign is part of the Official Scenic Historic Marker Program.

Lois Mee grew up in the village and joined other residents in pushing for the sign, approved by the New Mexico Historic Preservation Division.

Department Of Corrections Outlines Pay Raise Structure

May 11, 2016

The Department of Corrections has outlined a set of proposed compensation increases for prison guards that officials say will help with recruitment within the department beset by staffing shortages.

Spokeswoman Alex Tomlin says the raises will go into effect in July.

State lawmakers this year allocated $4.5 million to the department to address correctional officer pay, after officials raised concerns about low-staffing levels and overworked guards.

Museum’s Dome Theater To Close for Upgrades

May 11, 2016

  In the early 1980’s, the New Mexico Museum of Space History proudly opened the Clyde W. Tombaugh IMAX Dome Theater & Planetarium – a state of the art facility and the only one of its kind for hundreds of miles. Named after the discoverer of the smallest planet, the theater boasted one of the smallest domes in the world with eye-popping clarity and an up close and personal experience enhanced by futuristic surround sound.   Visitors were amazed and flocked to see it.

Career Art Path Program Returning To Las Cruces

May 11, 2016

  For over 20 years, middle school students who love to draw, paint and doodle have found inspiration, kindred spirits and a chance to explore arts-oriented careers at CAP – Career Art Path. 

The Doña Ana Arts Council’s Career Art Path is a two-week immersion program in the visual arts for students entering the 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th grades.  The program will be held June 13-24, 2016 (M - F from 8:30 AM-- 2:00 PM) at Alma d’Arte Charter High School, 402 W Court Avenue, Las Cruces, NM. 

NMSU alumna receives prestigious 2016 NSF award

May 11, 2016

  As a teenager growing up in Grants, New Mexico, Kathryn Sanchez never thought she was good at STEM subjects. However, her father’s diagnosis with multiple sclerosis and a local science fair competition that led to an international fair changed her mind. 

Child Abuse Charges Follow Las Cruces DUI Crash

May 11, 2016

  A Las Cruces man arrested Friday is suspected of driving intoxicated with his young son in the vehicle and crashing into a light pole on Missouri Avenue.

Adan A. Franco Jr., 24, of the 1500 block of La Fonda Drive, is charged with one count each of intentional child abuse, driving under the influence of intoxicating liquor or drugs, and possession of drug paraphernalia. Franco also faces other motor vehicle code violations including careless driving, driving while license suspended or revoked, driving with expired registration and failure to provide proof of registration.

NMSU Extension expert provides tips for mosquito-proofing your yard

May 11, 2016
NMSU photo by Darren Phillips

  Unfortunately, the dry New Mexico desert doesn’t protect the state from mosquitoes. These bloodsuckers emerge each year and, according to Jeff Anderson, the Agronomy and Horticulture Agent for New Mexico State University’s Dona Ana County Cooperative Extension Service, the state’s mosquitoes are especially active in July and August, once the monsoon season rains kick in. 

Businessman To Lead Roswell's UFO museum

May 11, 2016

A Roswell businessman has been tapped to lead Roswell's UFO museum.

The Roswell Daily Record reports Jim Hill was named this week as the executive director of the International UFO Museum and Research Center. It's the city's biggest tourist destination and one of the world's largest sites for research on extraterrestrial sightings and investigations.

Hill says his top priorities include evaluating advertising methods to increase visitors for the museum and the city and overseeing several redesign and improvement projects for the organization's properties.

Residents Near Trinity Test Want Obama To Also Visit Village

May 11, 2016

Residents of a historic Hispanic village in New Mexico are praising President Barack Obama's plan to visit Hiroshima — the Japanese city where the U.S. dropped an atomic bomb.

But residents also want Obama to visit their village of Tularosa next to where U.S. government tested the first atomic bomb. Residents say generations of descendants have suffered from various cancers and health problems resulting from the Trinity Test in a remote stretch of New Mexico desert.

New Mexico State Revenues Lag

May 11, 2016

New Mexico budget analysts say state revenues continue to trail last year by about 10 percent amid low energy prices and weak tax receipts.

The Legislative Finance Council is reviewing its estimates Wednesday that show the state collecting revenues of $3.6 billion during the first seven months of the current fiscal year. The state had collected $4 billion a year earlier.

Reducing The Risk Of Stroke

May 11, 2016

  Every 40 seconds, someone in the United States has a stroke. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports every four minutes, one of those stroke victims die.

A stroke happens when the blood supply to the brain is blocked or when a blood vessel in the brain ruptures, causing brain tissue to die. Although many people think of stroke as a condition that affects only older adults, strokes can and do happen to people of all ages. In fact, nearly a quarter of all strokes occur in people younger than 65.

Silver City Report

May 11, 2016

Time now for the Silver City Report with Edmundo Resendez and Silver City Press and Independent reporter, Ben Fischer with a look at a grant for Hurley for water supply and a look at how the Tour of the Gila turned out. 

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