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Outside the Las Cruces Utilities (LCU) Administration building is its Demonstration Garden, filled with native trees and plants. However, New Mexico State University (NMSU) professor Dr. Leslie Beck decided to walk across the parking lot – a different plant had caught her eye. It was the simple morning glory, famous for its pretty flowers, but a pest when it comes to local chile farmers.

Beck, an NMSU Extension weed specialist, was followed by a small, socially distanced Youth Conservation Corp (YCC) summer crew who was there to learn about responsible irrigation, but also weed management. Beck explained how to homeowners the flowers are attractive, but to chile plants, it’s deadly when the vines wrap around and choke the plant.

  ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A Colorado man has been sentenced to 15 months in federal prison for threatening to kill a New Mexico state official and an attorney with a law firm in connection with a fraud case. Federal prosecutors say 40-year-old Andrew Graham of Snowmass, Colorado, had pleaded guilty to sending interstate communications threatening to killing someone and was sentenced Wednesday in federal court in Albuquerque. The U.S. Attorney's Office for New Mexico says Graham falsely believed an official with the state Department of Regulation and Licensing and a lawyer with a private law firm were complicit in his losing trust fund money in a fraud case, 

  SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico regulators have ordered employers to promptly report coronavirus cases to the state. An emergency rule issued by the Environmental Department requires employers to report positive COIVD-19 cases to the department within four hours of being notified of the case. The department said requiring employers to quickly report positive cases means the state will be able to more rapidly respond to workplaces to provide immediate guidance and support to employers. The goal is preventing the spread of COVID-19 beyond the infected employees. The state on Saturday reported 155 additional confirmed cases with six more deaths.

  ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The attorney for the family of a Colorado man fatally shot by a U.S. National Park Service ranger in New Mexico said she was disappointed with a district attorney decision to not pursue criminal charges against the ranger. Civil rights lawyer Shannon Kennedy said District Attorney Dianna Luce had omitted “some key factors” when explaining the decision. Luce announced earlier this week that the actions of Park Ranger Robert Mitchell were “objectively justifiable” during a traffic stop at Carlsbad Caverns National Park. Kennedy filed a wrongful death claim against the National Park Service and the U.S. Department of Interior in June. They have yet to file a response.

Updated New Mexico COVID-19 cases: Now at 22,115

15 hours ago

  SANTA FE – New Mexico state health officials on Saturday announced 155 additional COVID-19 cases and 6 deaths.

As of today, there are 127 individuals hospitalized in New Mexico for COVID-19. This number may include individuals who tested positive for COVID-19 out of state but are currently hospitalized in New Mexico. This number does not include New Mexicans who tested positive for COVID-19 and may have been transferred to a hospital out of state.

Updated at 8:07 p.m. ET

At his Bedminster, N.J., golf resort on Saturday, President Trump signed four executive actions to provide economic relief amid the coronavirus pandemic. The actions amount to a stopgap measure, after failing to secure an agreement with Congress.

The three memorandums and one executive order call for extending enhanced unemployment benefits, taking steps to stop evictions, continuing the suspension of student loan repayments, and deferring payroll taxes.

  WASHINGTON (AP) — It was a week of relentless attacks by President Donald Trump and his allies on mail-in voting for the November election, and truth took a beating at every turn.

Fearing a pandemic-induced surge in such voting will work against him, Trump persisted in arguing that fraud is rampant for mail-in ballots yet quite fine and safe for absentee votes, which are also mailed. There is no functional difference between the two, and both have extensive verification systems.

  ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A man linked to a child pornography investigation that sparked a mysterious closure of a solar observatory in New Mexico has been indicted. Court documents show that a grand jury last month indicted former janitor Joshua Lee Cope on three child pornography counts stemming from an investigation in 2018 at the Sunspot Solar Observatory. The mountaintop observatory in Sunspot closed for 11 days in 2018, but the research association that manages it has said only that an unspecified security issue was the reason for the closure. Cope's attorney, Lauren Elizabeth Anne Truitt, did not immediately return a phone message.

It's a busy time for the tomato-producing farms in eastern Tennessee. Farms have staffed up with hundreds of workers, most of whom are Latino. Some live locally. Others are migrant workers who travel from farm to farm, chasing the summer growing seasons. Still others come from Mexico or Central America on temporary agricultural visas to work at certain farms.

But, this year, the season is taking place under a cloud of coronavirus worries that, for these agricultural workers, hit close to home.

  SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The New Mexico Public School Insurance Authority board unanimously voted Thursday to send a letter warning schools and districts about the dangers of not complying with coronavirus guidelines. The letter to member districts and charter schools warns that if they do not comply with state health restrictions, they may jeopardize their chances of receiving coverage for coronavirus-related work claims. The Santa Fe New Mexican reports the board also approved the creation of a task force to better understand the challenges of returning to school during a pandemic. The authority provides insurance for all school districts in the state except for Albuquerque. 

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E-mail Viewpoints to: feedback@nmsu.edu

Dr. Chris Erickson

Commentary: The current recession is a crisis like no other. GDP fell 9.5% in the third quarter, the sharpest decline on record. Here in New Mexico, employment is down by 8.3% since the onset of the Pandemic. Add to this the sharp drop in oil prices. All this illustrates what we already knew, which is that this is easily the deepest, sharpest recession in our lifetimes.

The impact of the Pandemic on the economy is profound, affecting both the supply side and the demand side. The supply effect arises because the Pandemic exposes people who are at work to the virus. People react to this risk by avoiding the workplace.

Rep. Xochitl Torres Small

Commentary: Congressman Harry Teague’s guest editorial in the (August 5)  Las Cruces Sun-News was a surprise. He said that New Mexico needs a congresswoman who “knows and appreciates the impact of the energy industry has on all New Mexico.”  I thought he meant Rep. Xochitl Torres Small.  Instead he was endorsing her Republican opponent.  Mr. Teague, a Democrat who briefly represented New Mexico’s Second Congressional District, hasn’t kept up with Rep. Torres Small’s record of the past two years.

  Commentary: Today, the Interior Department’s Office of Natural Resources Revenue proposed a new valuation and civil penalty reform rule.

Photo by: Nathan J. Fish

Commentary: Say something enough times, even if it’s a lie, and people will repeat it. 

Here’s what happened.

 

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham gave a press conference last week, during which I asked a question about campaign rallies and political protests. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, we are in a season of robust social protest over police violence and racism, and now we are in the final 100 days of an election cycle. I wanted to get the governor on record with her recommendations about these activities in light of the public health emergency. 

Commentary: The City Council will be voting on the creation of a Tax Increment Development District ("TIDD") for the vacant land on the site of the old Las Cruces Country Club. This TIDD transaction is being ramrodded by a Zachary Wiegert of Nebraska for a private investor group. Mr. Wiegert has established a number of anonymous LLC's for the TIDD lacking any transparency and making them unaccountable to the taxpayers. 

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Covering the big stories in New Mexico and Texas. Friday at 1pm on KRWG-FM, call in with your questions on Voice Of The Public with KC Counts.
Join Fred Martino for the region's in-depth television news Thursday at 7pm, Saturday at 5pm and Sunday at 11am on KRWG-TV. E-mail story ideas to feedback@nmsu.edu
The people and issues in our growing border communities.  Watch Fronteras with Anthony Moreno Thursday at 7:30pm, Saturday at 5:30pm, and Sunday at 11:30am on KRWG-TV.

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