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.

  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

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

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

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.

  A Las Cruces couple has been arrested and charged with child abuse after the woman’s 3-year-old son was hospitalized with multiple internal and external injuries.

Alexandra C. Moore, 25, and Mario V. Gonzalez, 29, are charged with one count each of negligent child abuse causing great bodily harm.

  Moore’s son, 3-year-old Jose, was believed to be unconscious and not breathing when Gonzalez called 911 shortly before 8 a.m. Monday, Aug. 10. Police, fire and ambulance were dispatched to a report of CPR in progress at 2430 E. Idaho Ave.

Cosmo The Lion Dies At Albuquerque's BioPark

Aug 11, 2015

An African lion at the BioPark Zoo in Albuquerque has passed away after a two-month battle with lymphoma.

Cosmo, who had been at the zoo since 2004, was found dead early Monday. He was 18 years old, surpassing the median life expectancy for male lions in zoos by two years.

Mammal supervisor Shelly Dicks says Cosmo was a favorite among staff and described him as a "sweetheart."

Cosmo had kidney dysfunction and was diagnosed with lymphoma in June.

NM Assistant Land Commissioner Is Asked To Resign

Aug 11, 2015

State Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn has asked Jim Lane to step down as assistant commissioner in connection to 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, saying he accepted the resignation due to the recent disclosure of private files.

Dunn says "dirty politics" helped disclose the contents of Lane's personnel files. In the files it shows that Lane resigned from Game and Fish in 2013 after a subordinate accused him of sexual harassment.

Courtesy: Robin Rollins

George DeSantos lives in El Paso. He says that after a divorce and the death of his father, alcohol and drug abuse led him to being broke and on the streets of El Paso. However, he says that his life changed on a Christmas Eve several years ago when he found himself at a homeless shelter.

“You slept on the floor; you had to eat what they gave you," says DeSantos. 

LCPD Offers Back-To-School Safety Tips For Motorists, Students

Aug 10, 2015

Students and teachers have begun a new academic year so the Las Cruces Police Department is reminding motorists to drive with caution, particularly when traveling through school zones and near bus stops.


Basic back-to-school safety tips for motorists:

ERCOT Peak Electricity Demand Tops 69,000 MW For 1st Time

Aug 10, 2015

Managers of the state's biggest electrical grid say peak electricity demand has topped 69,000 megawatts for the first time.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which operates that grid that covers most of the state, says demand peaked at 69,408 megawatts between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. on Monday, then 69,783 megawatts between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m.

Those marks shattered a record of 68,912 megawatts set between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. Thursday. An ERCOT statement says the system set a weekend record of 66,587 megawatts between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. on Saturday.

Man Convicted In A Fake Driver's License Ring In New Mexico

Aug 10, 2015

A man has been convicted in a fake driver's license ring in New Mexico and could face up to 124 ½ years in prison when he's sentenced in November.

Prosecutors say Tin Cheung was found guilty on 77 counts Monday.

Cheung was accused of helping dozens of people in the country illegally get New Mexico driver's licenses.

He was among six defendants charged with forgery, conspiracy and other charges.

They were accused of running advertisements in New York newspapers in 2009 and 2010, promising New Mexico driver's licenses for $1,500.

Plea of No Contest in Failed Burglary Attempt

Aug 10, 2015

  Las Cruces--Chris Silva pled no contest to conspiracy to commit burglary; a 4th degree felony, in a change of plea hearing before Chief Judge Fernando Macias today in district court.

Judge Macias ordered a pre-sentence report to be completed by the adult probation office prior to rendering sentence.  Under the conspiracy charge Silva faces up to a maximum of 18 months.

Las Cruces Police Arrest Man Suspected of Threatening Pastor

Aug 10, 2015

  A Las Cruces man suspected of wielding a knife and threatening a pastor of a local church was arrested by police Sunday.

James Bernard Wright, 48, is charged with one count each of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and unlawfully carrying a deadly weapon.

At around 9 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 9, Las Cruces Police were dispatched to the Greater St. John Church of God where Wright allegedly threatened a pastor.

Proposed Increase To Bear Hunting Limits Draws Fire

Aug 10, 2015

New Mexico officials want to increase the number of Sandias bears that can be killed by hunters, but the plan is drawing fire from critics.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that officials want to raise the limit from five to 11 after a new study put the bear population of the Sandias at 132, nearly double previous estimates.

The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish biologists say the number comes from a three-year study used genetic testing of bear hairs.

Report: Monkeys Had 6 Escape Tries At An Albuquerque Lab

Aug 10, 2015

Federal official say monkeys from a research facility on an Albuquerque Air Force base nearly escaped six times last year.

The Albuquerque Journal reports U.S. Department of Agriculture inspectors found the monkeys had gotten loose in the Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute on Kirtland Air Force Base. The report says the animals had to be lured back into cages with food, among other recapture methods.

A March USDA report says escapes pose safety risks for personnel and animals.

Santa Fe Man Charged In Brother's Death

Aug 10, 2015

Police have arrested a man accused of killing his brother during a dispute over a malfunctioning vehicle in Santa Fe.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports 26-year-old Eric Melero is facing a voluntary manslaughter charge in the death of his 22-year-old brother, Robert Estrada on Saturday.

According to a police report, Estrada was with a man and a woman whose white Ford Taurus had stopped on a nearby road. The couple went to get help from Melero and another man, who got the car started and drove it to the brothers' residence for additional repair.

Google To Repay New Mexico $1M For Subsidiarity Closure

Aug 10, 2015

Officials say Google Inc., will repay New Mexico nearly $1 million in economic assistance funds after announcing it was pulling a subsidiarity out of the state.

The Albuquerque Journal reports New Mexico Economic Development Secretary Jon Barela said Monday that Google has agreed to repay that amount under clawback provisions.

The Mountain View, California-based Google announced last week that Titan Aerospace was leaving its facilities at the Moriarty airport, where it has been developing a solar-powered drone.

Charity Preps For Immigrant Surge In Rio Grande Valley

Aug 10, 2015

A Catholic charity that operates an immigrant relief center in McAllen says they've had city workers put up a tent because number of people using the center for overnight stays has risen so sharply in the last month.

Sister Norma Pimentel, executive director of the Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley, tells The Monitor of McAllen 762 migrants at the center in July topped last year's peak by 29 percent.

First Trial Wrapped Up For Green Chile Harvesting Machine

Aug 10, 2015

Inventors and investors recently came to southern New Mexico to try to do what many farmers believe can't be done: Mechanically harvest the green chile crop.

Green chile harvesting and de-stemming is now done entirely by hand.

The Las Cruces Sun-News reports that the people behind a chile harvesting machine have wrapped up their first trial of the device.

Monday Business Watch

Aug 10, 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. 

While law enforcement continues the investigation into the explosions at two Las Cruces Churches last week, Sunday’s services were held as usual.

As people returned to service at Calvary Baptist Church and Holy Cross Catholic Church they recalled their experiences the week before.

Thousands Of Mines With Toxic Water In The West

Aug 9, 2015

Beneath the western United States lie thousands of old mining tunnels filled with the same toxic stew that spilled into a Colorado river last week, turning it into a nauseating yellow concoction and stoking alarm about contamination of drinking water.

Though the spill into the Animas River in southern Colorado spill is unusual for its size, it's only the latest instance of the region grappling with the toxic legacy of a mining boom.