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.

Scott Krahling, Dona Ana County Chief Deputy Clerk

Jan 22, 2016

Fred Martino interviews Dona Ana County Chief Deputy Clerk Scott Krahling.  They discuss a variety of efforts designed to increase voter participation, including online registration and an Election Advisory Committee.

Newsmakers 803, 1/21/15

Jan 22, 2016

This episode of Newsmakers features a variety of field reports, including:  A look at how new U.S. citizens can boost local economies; a feature on the owners of the Pepper Pot restaurant in Hatch, N.M.; and Dona Ana County discusses forming a Detention Center Advisory Committee.

Immigrant Children To Arrive At Holloman On Sunday

Jan 22, 2016

The first group of immigrant children from Central America is slated to arrive at Holloman Air Force Base on Sunday.

The Alamogordo Daily News reports that the base plans to house as many as 700 children. Initial reports said the base would shelter 400 children, but the number has since changed since the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services saw how they could use the space.

The children are set to be housed in a vacant building on base previously used by the 4th Space Surveillance Squadron.

Businesses Nervous On Possible New Mexico REAL ID Stalemate

Jan 22, 2016

Business leaders in New Mexico say the partisan stalemate in the Legislature over a REAL ID fix have them nervous about the state's economy.

Border Industrial Association president Jerry Pacheco says potential investors may overlook New Mexico if workers can't get REAL ID compliant driver's licenses. Pacheco says he worries the uncertainty may hurt efforts to attract new companies to places like the booming border city of Santa Teresa.

State AG Special Agents Sworn In As Special Deputy Marshals

Jan 22, 2016
https://www.facebook.com/pages/US-Marshals-Service/219176894842440

Five special agents from the state Attorney General's Office are among New Mexico law enforcement officers sworn in as special deputy U.S. marshals to work on a multi-agency fugitive task force.

The Marshal's Service says the newly sworn-in special deputy marshals also include an Albuquerque police officer and a Bernalillo County sheriff's deputy.

Centennial High School was on lock down this morning, after a threat to the school was made on social media.

According to the Las Cruces Public Schools, the lock-down Centennial High School has since been lifted and an 18-year old Centennial High student has been detained by police.

Police took the male student off campus for further questioning for allegedly posting a social media message that was threatening in nature.

New Mexico Auditor: Reform Capital Outlay

Jan 22, 2016
New Mexico State Auditor Timothy Keller (D)

  New Mexico’s state auditor says the legislature should tackle capital outlay reform.  State Auditor Tim Keller says…the way New Mexico pays for infrastructure projects is not working.  The so-called capital outlay process allows legislators to designate money for projects in their respective districts even if those projects are not fully funded.  So sometimes…money sits for years without being used. 

Keller told KUNM….projects should be prioritized and fully funded or the money should eventually revert to the state.

Proposal To Expand Three-Strikes Law Wins Committee Vote

Jan 21, 2016

A proposal to expand the New Mexico's three-strikes law for sentencing habitual offenders has passed its first House committee vote.

The House Regulatory and Public Affairs Committee voted 4-3 along party lines Thursday in favor of the bill filed by Rep. Paul Pacheco, an Albuquerque Republican.

He says the current three-strikes law in New Mexico includes crimes that already can result in life sentences and is so narrow that no one has been convicted under it since it was enacted two decades ago.

The Latest: GOP-Sponsored REAL ID Fix Clears 1st Hurdle

Jan 21, 2016

A GOP-sponsored bill that would make New Mexico compliant under the REAL ID Act and allow some immigrants to obtain driver's permit cards has cleared its first hurdle.

The proposal passed 4-3 on Thursday in the House Regulatory and Public Affairs Committee along party lines after a nearly three-hour meeting.

The measure passed despite charges of racism from immigrant advocates.

New Mexico currently allows immigrants in the country illegally to obtain driver's license and this bill would only allow them get the driver's permit cards.

Filmmaker John Valadez

Jan 21, 2016

New Mexico Lobbyist, Employer Campaign Contributions Top $1 Million In 2015

Jan 21, 2016

  Nearly half the total of $1.1 million in campaign contributions from lobbyists and their employers to New Mexico politicians and political action committees in 2015 came after Oct. 5, 2015.

  That’s the last date candidates and PACS had to report contributions in 2015. So the lobbyist and employer reporting paints a picture of donations leading up to the 30-day 2016 legislative session that started Tuesday.

State Auditor Tim Keller Announces New Accounting Standard for Tax Breaks

Jan 21, 2016
New Mexico State Auditor Timothy Keller (D)

  For years, New Mexico policymakers have struggled to access data that would reveal whether the state’s many tax exemptions, credits, deductions and rebates are truly effective in supporting economic growth. An historic development in national accounting standards now requires state and local governments to take the first steps toward collecting that information in their audited financial statements. The Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) issued the new standard, GASB 77, that will be required for most agencies beginning on July 1, 2016.

"Preacher" to Film its First Season in New Mexico

Jan 21, 2016
nmfilm.com

New Mexico Film Office Director Nick Maniatis announces the television series "Preacher," produced by AMC Studios and Sony Pictures Television, will film in Albuquerque beginning in February.

  The Texas Tribune will host a free, open-to-the-public Symposium on Urban Public Education from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday, Jan. 22, at The University of Texas at El Paso.

Symposium discussion topics will include educating the emerging demographic majority, social and emotional learning in public education and strategies for widening the high school-to-college pipeline.
 

  University of Texas at El Paso Professor of Computer Science David Novick, Ph.D., and his students have developed a system for virtual agents and an immersive interactive application titled “Survival on Jungle Island.”

New Mexico Legislative Session Costs $5.4 Million

Jan 21, 2016

New Mexico lawmakers have approved funding for the ongoing 30-day legislative session with a slight increase in spending.

The $5.4 million appropriations bill was approved unanimously Thursday by the House and Senate and awaits the governor's signature.

The measure is known as the "fee bill" and traditionally is the first piece of legislation approved during annual legislative sessions.

Plan Calls For Operations To Resume At Nuke Dump In 2016

Jan 21, 2016
energy.gov

Some operations at the federal government's troubled nuclear waste repository in southern New Mexico could resume by the end of 2016 under a plan approved by U.S. Energy Department officials.

The agency's field office in Carlsbad, New Mexico, announced the approval Thursday.

The plan covers recovery activities at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, baseline operations and capital projects that need to be done before the underground facility reopens.

Border Officials In Texas, New Mexico, Prep For Pope Visit

Jan 21, 2016

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials in Texas and New Mexico are preparing for more visitors heading to Mexico when Pope Francis visits next month.

CBP officials in El Paso on Thursday announced an increase in staffing and service hours at ports of entry in the days before, during and after the pope's Feb. 17 visit. Pope Francis will be in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, across the border from El Paso.

The changes involve entry ports in El Paso and Tornillo, Texas, plus Santa Teresa, New Mexico. Travelers are advised to expect delays and plan ahead.

Lobbyists and their clients provided about $750,000 in campaign contributions to New Mexico lawmakers, Gov. Susana Martinez and others in months leading up to this year's legislative session.

The contributions are in addition to nearly $90,000 spent by lobbyists since last spring for food, drinks, gifts and entertainment for lawmakers and other state officials.

The disclosures filed last week with the secretary of state's office cover contributions and spending from May through Jan. 15.

New Mexico Auditor: Disclosure Needed For Governor's Contingency Fund

Jan 21, 2016
New Mexico State Auditor Timothy Keller (D)

  New Mexico’s legislative session is underway.  And the state auditor is calling for a big change in a fund provided to the Governor’s office.

The Governor’s so-called contingency fund came to light recently when it was revealed taxpayers footed the bill for a holiday party at a Santa Fe hotel.  The party, which cost about $8,000, received more headlines for the Governor’s reaction to a noise complaint than the money spent on the event.  

But State Auditor Tim Keller told KUNM the legislature should ensure the way this contingency fund is being spent is fully disclosed.

Suspect Arrested In Fatal Shooting Near Albuquerque Club

Jan 20, 2016

Police say they've arrested a suspect in a fatal shooting near a downtown Albuquerque nightclub.

They say 25-year-old Tory Burdex is being held on suspicion of an open count of murder and conspiracy to commit a first-degree felony in connection to the October 2014 shooting.

He's been booked into jail and his bond has been set at more than $1 million.

It was unclear Wednesday if Burdex has a lawyer yet.

Police say they're still searching for Burdex's younger brother in the case.

  Defense Department installations will no longer accept driver’s licenses from Minnesota, Illinois, Missouri, New Mexico, and Washington as proof of identity, DOD officials said.

Federal policy

The ban, which also includes licenses from American Samoa, is a consequence of the REAL ID Act of 2005.

NMSU selects four top faculty members as new Regents professors

Jan 20, 2016

  New Mexico State University’s annual spring convocation included the announcement of four new Regents Professorships among the NMSU faculty.

The Regents Professorship, established in 2001 by the NMSU Board of Regents, recognizes faculty who have made outstanding contributions to the university’s mission and honors contributions in areas of education, research, extension education and public service.

Man Who Escaped Traffic Stop Surrenders

Jan 20, 2016

  A 23-year-old Mesilla man who escaped in handcuffs from a Mesilla marshal during a Dec. 22 traffic stop has surrendered to authorities.

Zachary Soto turned himself in at Doña Ana County Magistrate Court on Tuesday.

According to an arrest warrant that was issued earlier this month, Soto was detained on Dec. 22 for an outstanding warrant for narcotics possession related to a previous incident. Soto was placed in handcuffs while the officer started processing his vehicle to obtain a search warrant.

Scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey and the New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources will determine changes in the amount of groundwater stored in the Mesilla Basin aquifer in and around Las Cruces by precisely measuring differences in the acceleration of gravity at several locations the week of January 18.

Oil Plunge Upends State Budget Session In New Mexico

Jan 20, 2016

New Mexico legislators are conferring with energy experts about plunging oil prices as they craft a new state budget.

The price of U.S. crude sank almost seven percent to below $27 a barrel Wednesday amid a glut in oil supplies.

New Mexico may put plans for $77 million in salary increases on hold because of falling revenues from taxes and royalties linked to oil production. The salaries represent about one-third of new spending under a $6.5 billion state budget recommendation from Republican Gov. Susana Martinez.

Arizona Woman Pleads Guilty In Fatal Crash In New Mexico

Jan 20, 2016

An Arizona woman has pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and assault charges in a car accident last year in New Mexico.

Prosecutors say 40-year-old Miranda Rentz of Red Valley entered her plea Wednesday in a federal court in Albuquerque.

Rentz was arrested in January 2015 and indicted the following month.

Prosecutors say Rentz was driving under the influence of alcohol in New Mexico's San Juan County on Jan. 17, 2015.

They say her car collided head-on with another vehicle that had two occupants. One person was killed and the other seriously injured.

Arizona Man Sentenced To Prison In New Mexico Drug Case

Jan 20, 2016

A 48-year-old Arizona man has been sentenced to nearly 22 years in prison on federal convictions in New Mexico on methamphetamine and firearms charges stemming from a drug trafficking organization that prosecutors said he led.

According to prosecutors, the organization led by Matthew Maley of Tucson distributed significant quantities of methamphetamine in New Mexico and Arizona in 2013.

Maley was sentenced Wednesday in federal court in Las Cruces on convictions resulting from a four-day trial in September 2014.

  A new medical center focused on treating Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia is coming to the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center (HSC).

UNM physicians who are leading the effort will announce the creation of the UNM Memory and Aging Center at an 11 a.m. news conference held by the Alzheimer’s Association, New Mexico Chapter, in the State Capitol Rotunda on Thursday, Jan. 21 as part of Alzheimer’s Day at the state Legislature.

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