Regional

Regional
10:42 pm
Tue June 9, 2015

Feds say Southwest, Northwest Could See Catastrophic Fires

Credit usda.gov

Despite a wet spring over much of the nation, the Obama administration is warning of potentially catastrophic wildfires this summer, especially in the Southwest and Northwest.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Interior Secretary Sally Jewell discussed wildfire threats and fire outlook Tuesday in Denver.

Jewell says drought and climate change are increasing wildfire danger.

Federal fire managers say heavy precipitation in May reduced the likelihood of wildfires this month across much of the nation, but the danger will increase from July through September.

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Regional
10:40 pm
Tue June 9, 2015

Guards At Los Alamos Nuke Lab Ratify Contract Agreement

Security workers who protect Los Alamos National Laboratory have ratified a new five-year contract.

Union officials announced Tuesday that the deal was reached after both sides compromised and union workers got a no-lockout pledge from security contractor SOC-Los Alamos.

International Guards Union of America Local 69 negotiators walked out of talks last month, accusing SOC-Los Alamos of negotiating in bad faith. But the talks that began in January got back on track.

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Regional
3:45 pm
Tue June 9, 2015

Las Cruces Man Pleads Guilty To Federal Drug Charges

   Christopher J. Cleveland, 35, a resident of Las Cruces, N.M., pled guilty today in federal court to methamphetamine trafficking charges under a plea agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

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Regional
9:00 am
Tue June 9, 2015

Two Lose Jobs For Failures Causing Albuquerque Sewage Spill

Two water utility employees have lost their jobs as a result of the dumping of 6 million gallons of partly treated sewage into the Rio Grande in February.

Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority Chief Operating Officer John M. Stomp tells the Albuquerque Journal the spill occurred because of a lack of system maintenance.

He says an electrical supervisor was fired, a superintendent retired in lieu of termination and other disciplinary action may be taken.

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Regional
8:59 am
Tue June 9, 2015

New Mexico Capital Outlay Includes $8 Million For Santa Teresa Port Of Entry

  From football field bleachers to police cars, road projects to seniors, the $295 million capital outlay project bill approved by New Mexico lawmakers Monday appears to have something for everyone.

That includes House and Senate members who met in a special session to iron out their differences and Gov. Susana Martinez, who called the special session after lengthy negotiations.

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Regional
8:51 am
Tue June 9, 2015

NM Nuclear Laboratories Fined For Security Violations

Credit facebook.com/energygov

Two nuclear laboratories in New Mexico are facing hefty fines for the faulty handling of classified information of material.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that the federal Department of Energy has fined Sandia Corp. $577,500 for violation of control of nuclear weapons data.  

Sandia Corp. is a Lockheed Martin company that serves as the private operator of Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque.

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Regional
8:49 am
Tue June 9, 2015

Gov. Martinez Begins Review Of Capital Spending Bill

Credit Office of the Governor

New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez is beginning her review of a $295 million capital spending bill passed by lawmakers in special session.

Martinez said Monday she would take her time to examine the projects in the measure and may veto some if she feels the community doesn't want or need them.

She said any line-item veto won't be based on a lawmaker's vote but on if she deemed the project worthy.

Senate Democrats said the passage of the capital spending measure would create jobs across the state.

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Regional
8:45 am
Tue June 9, 2015

UPDATE: Teen Charged In Las Cruces Area Murder To Be Tried As Adult

  

The suspect charged in the homicide of a 20-year-old Doña Ana County man will be held without bond, as ordered Tuesday by a Magistrate Court judge.

            Jose Luis Salazar, Jr., 17, pled not guilty Tuesday during an in-jail arraignment.  Judge Conrad Perea then ordered that he be held without bond.

            Doña Ana County Sheriff’s detectives charged Salazar with an open count of murder after he allegedly stabbed Carlos Contreras, 20, during a party in the 7500 block of El Centro Boulevard in the East Mesa area of Las Cruces early Saturday morning.

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Regional
8:23 am
Tue June 9, 2015

Doña Ana County: No Immediate Plans To Close Park In Chaparral, Skate Park To Be Replaced

When the sun starts to set in Chaparral, the Dolores Wright Center Park comes to life.

Basketball courts are filled with players, parents surround a playground where children play, an abandoned tennis court holds five-on-five street soccer matches, and organized youth soccer games are held on nearby fields.

Residents in Chaparral, like Daniel Kerr, have been very vocal about the possible closure of the park. Kerr, who uses the park to rollerblade, says that people come here to play sports and be active.

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Regional
6:00 am
Tue June 9, 2015

Survey Shows What The Public Wants To See In Las Cruces

Better Employment opportunities, improved road conditions, and more youth activities, were all things Las Crucens said were important to them in a recent community survey for the city’s comprehensive plan.

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Regional
8:31 pm
Mon June 8, 2015

In Depth: Hundreds Rally To Protest Police Officer Who Pulled Gun On Teens At Pool Party

Credit thinkprogress.org

Hundreds of demonstrators have rallied outside a McKinney, Texas, elementary school in protest of a white police officer's actions against a mostly black group of teens at a pool party.

Some who gathered in the Dallas suburb held signs Monday that included the phrases, "My skin color is not a crime," and, "Don't tread on our kids."

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Regional
7:57 pm
Mon June 8, 2015

Legislature Passes Capital Projects; Martinez Won't Promise Zero Vetoes

Credit Office of the Governor

  New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez says she was pleased that state lawmakers came together for a special session and passed measures on capital funding and tax incentives.

But the Republican stopped short Monday of saying she wouldn't veto specific line items for projects.

Martinez says she will take her time to examine the details of a capital spending bill for roads and water projects. She praised the GOP-led House and the Democratic-controlled Senate for putting aside differences for the state.

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Regional
4:16 pm
Mon June 8, 2015

Feds Identify Two Killed In New Mexico Plane Crash

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says a pilot with the Wildlife Services program and a state wildlife specialist died when their plane crashed in northeastern New Mexico.

The agency says pilot Kelly Hobbs and Shannon "Bubba" Tunnell of the New Mexico Department of Agriculture were the only two aboard the single-engine plane when it went down early Friday near Raton.

Officials confirmed Monday that Hobbs and Tunnell were on a mission to curb damage caused by wildlife in Colfax County.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating.

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Regional
2:50 pm
Mon June 8, 2015

Man Suspected Of Breaking Into Ex-Wife's Las Cruces Home

  A Vado man suspected of violating a restraining order, breaking into his ex-wife’s home and holding the woman against her will Saturday has been arrested.

William Clyde Turner, 42, is charged with one count of aggravated stalking after it was determined he violated a stipulated order of protection issued in 2008 by District Court. Additional Charges against Turner are pending.

Turner was arrested Sunday by law enforcement in El Paso, Texas. He is expected to be extradited to New Mexico where he will be held on a cash-only bond set at $25,000.

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Regional
2:46 pm
Mon June 8, 2015

Charge Dismissed For Texas Man On Death Row

Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson has dismissed capital murder charges against a 33-year-old Houston man sent to Texas death row nearly a decade ago for the fatal shooting of a Houston police officer.

Alfred Dewayne Brown won a new trial last year after the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals agreed that telephone records bolstering his claims of innocence in the death of Houston Officer Charles Clark were withheld from Brown's 2005 trial. The phone records surfaced in 2013 year as a homicide investigator was cleaning out his garage.

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Regional
2:45 pm
Mon June 8, 2015

Martinez Pledges $1 Million For Amtrak Work

Credit Office of the Governor

Gov. Susana Martinez is pledging $1 million to improve part of the track used by Amtrak's Southwest Chief in New Mexico.

New Mexico Department of Transportation Deputy Secretary Loren Hatch informed Las Vegas Mayor Alfonso Ortiz of the $1 million commitment Thursday.

Hatch says the money will be used for the section of the track that is in most need of repair, which lies between Lamy and La Bajada hill.

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Regional
2:42 pm
Mon June 8, 2015

Arizona Sues To Require Feds To Revise Mexican Wolf Plan

The Arizona Game and Fish Department is suing the federal government to force it to develop an updated recovery plan for endangered Mexican grey wolves.

The lawsuit filed Monday is aimed at forcing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to publish a plan that includes guidelines for when the wolves can be removed from the endangered species list. Without those criteria the agency says the wolf could never be delisted.

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Regional
8:21 am
Mon June 8, 2015

UPDATE: New Mexico Special Session Begins

The New Mexico House of Representatives has been called to order as part of a special session ordered by Gov. Susana Martinez to resolve a partisan fight over $295 million capital projects.

House Speaker Don Tripp began the special session for the GOP-controlled body on Monday as state lawmakers try to adopt an agreement over capital spending and a bundle of tax incentives. Sixty-three House members are on hand and seven are absence.

The Democrat-led Senate is expected to come together later Monday.

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Regional
8:19 am
Mon June 8, 2015

Attorney General Investigates Officer's Shooting Death

Credit Hector Balderas

New Mexico's attorney general is investigating the circumstances that led to the release of a repeat offender who prosecutors say fatally shot a police officer.

Attorney General Hector Balderas this week is summoning about a dozen criminal justice and social service providers that came in contact with 28-year-old Andrew Romero.

Prosecutors have charged Romero with first-degree murder in the Memorial Day shooting that killed Rio Rancho police officer Gregg "Nigel" Benner. The Violent Crimes Review Team will investigate Romero's criminal history and release.

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Regional
8:18 am
Mon June 8, 2015

Southwestern New Mexico Wildfire At 30 Percent Containment

A lightning-started wildfire that has burned more than nine square miles of the Coronado National Forest in extreme southwestern New Mexico is about a third contained.

Officials say approximately 300 personnel were assigned to fight the fire as of Sunday but that some will be released Monday because rain is forecast for the area.

As of Monday, containment is reported around 30 percent of the fire's perimeter.

The fire is burning mostly grass and brush just across the state line from southeastern Arizona.

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Regional
6:00 am
Mon June 8, 2015

Monday Business Watch

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. 

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Regional
6:00 am
Mon June 8, 2015

New Mexico Department of Transportation Nears Completion Of Long Range Plan

Claude Morelli, Project Manager for the Department of Transportation’s statewide plan says the plan focuses on how they are going to manage roads when dealing with diminishing funds.

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Regional
6:00 am
Mon June 8, 2015

Madrid Road Closure Monday In Las Cruces

  West Madrid Avenue at Main Street will have a road closure to through traffic and detour for five days beginning Monday, June 8, for utility tie-ins at that location. Local access will be maintained.

 

Northbound traffic on Alameda Boulevard will be detoured east onto Three Crosses Avenue, south onto Solano Drive, and west back onto Madrid. The southbound traffic on Alameda will be detoured east onto Gallagher Avenue, north onto Main, and west back onto Madrid.

 

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Regional
9:33 pm
Sun June 7, 2015

Las Cruces Area Murder Victim Identified

 

  The man who was stabbed and killed early Saturday morning during a party east of Las Cruces has been identified as 20-year-old Carlos Contreras.

 Doña Ana County Sheriff’s deputies were called to the 7500 block of El Centro in the East Mesa area of Las Cruces just after 2 a.m. Saturday. Deputies immediately rendered aid to Contreras, who was then airlifted to University Medical Center in El Paso.

Contreras died during surgery.  

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Regional
3:09 pm
Sun June 7, 2015

No Election For Navajo Candidates With Ethics Violations

Candidates seeking office in a Navajo election won't be able to proceed if they have an outstanding ethics violation.

President Russell Begaye on Friday signed into law a resolution that prevents candidates with any outstanding ethics judgments, including orders of restitution, from running.

The measure won unanimous approval from the Navajo Nation Council last month.

According to the law, elected officials who are in violation can face disqualification from an election. Current tribal officials could be removed.

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Regional
3:07 pm
Sun June 7, 2015

New Mexico Rail Runner Has No Funding For $50 Million Safety Upgrade

New Mexico transportation officials say they don't have the funding to meet a deadline to install a federally mandated safety upgrade to the state's Rail Runner line.

The state Department of Transportation says there is no plan to cover the $50 million cost for safety technology designed to prevent collisions and derailments.

The Federal Railroad Administration is threatening to fine railroad owners who don't implement the technology before the Dec. 31, 2015 deadline.

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Regional
3:15 pm
Sat June 6, 2015

This Week In The Las Cruces Bulletin

  Every Saturday at 5:30pm on Images, Fred Martino speaks with Las Cruces Bulletin Managing Editor Brook Stockberger about the week's top stories and much more in the Bulletin.

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Regional
3:12 pm
Sat June 6, 2015

Glad They Had Video: Man Arrested For Knocking Out Albuquerque Bus Driver

A passenger has been caught on camera attacking and knocking out an Albuquerque city bus driver.  The video shows a man walking on to the bus and trying to pay with expired bus passes. He then refuses to get off the bus and claims to be an undercover police officer.

The video shows him telling the bus driver to close the door and drive. The driver says the man is holding a knife.

Eventually the man punches the bus driver, knocking him out, and then runs away.

Albuquerque police have arrested a man they say is responsible for the attack.

___

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Regional
3:11 pm
Sat June 6, 2015

Albuquerque Police Face Steroid Testing

Planned reforms of the Albuquerque police department will include randomly testing officers for steroids.

The Albuquerque Journal reports (http://bit.ly/1JyHhm7) that the city's human resources department announced Friday that the city would accept comment on the proposed steroid testing for two weeks.

The city would start the testing 30 days after that.

Albuquerque officers currently undergo random testing for drugs such as marijuana, cocaine and opiates.

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Regional
3:10 pm
Sat June 6, 2015

Feds Say Texas Should Repay $133 Million For Dental Bills

Credit NM Department of Health

A federal audit says Texas should repay at least $133 million in Medicaid funding misspent on unnecessary dental and orthodontic procedures.

The amount is part of an ongoing legal fight over responsibility for a spike in costs for braces and other dental care in Texas between 2007 and 2012.

The federal government has maintained the Texas Health and Human Services Commission for years didn't address the practices of Xerox Corp., the contractor it hired to pre-authorize the dental procedures.

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