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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.

Mark Hice

  SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A murder trial for an Ojo Caliente man is slated to begin this week after being delayed more than a year because of possible COVID-19 exposure. The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that jury selection was underway Monday for the trial of 25-year-old Mark Hice, who faces first-degree murder and other charges. Hice was about to go on trial in July 2020 when his defense attorney disclosed she was exposed to COVID-19 patients while working as a midwife. The judge declared a mistrial. Hice is accused of killing 18-year-old Cameron Martinez and wounding three others on N.M. 68 north of Española in October 2018 in a case of mistaken identity.

NM Supreme Court upholds teen's convictions for pickaxe killings

48 minutes ago

  SANTA FE – The state Supreme Court today upheld the first-degree felony murder convictions of a Santa Fe County man for killing three members of a northern New Mexico family when he was 16-years-old.

 

In a unanimous opinion, the state's highest court concluded that the constitutional rights of Nicholas Ortiz were not violated when he was sentenced as an adult without a special proceeding to determine whether he was amenable to treatment or rehabilitation as a juvenile.  State law requires such a proceeding – known as an "amenability hearing" – for juvenile offenders other than those from ages 15 to 18 who are convicted of first-degree murder, a category considered "serious youth offenders."

Las Cruces Man Held Without Bond on Aggravated Battery

1 hour ago

Sean Hardy Lucky, 51, of Las Cruces was held without Bond in Third District Court.  Lucky is charged with 1 count of Aggravated Battery against a Household Member with a Deadly Weapon (1st degree felony), 2 counts of Battery against a household member (3rd degree felony), Larceny ($250 or less), and Tampering with Evidence.  District Court Judge Richard Jaquez found Aguilera to be Dangerous, and that Lucky failed to comply with conditions of release in his other cases and no Release Conditions will reasonably protect the safety of the community.  Lucky will remain in the Doña Ana County Detention Center awaiting a preliminary hearing.

  

SANTA FE- The New Mexico Department of Health (DOH) would like to encourage all individuals to get tested for COVID-19 if:

  • You have COVID-19 symptoms including cough, fever, shortness of breath, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea, and/or loss of taste or smell.
  • You don’t have symptoms but were in close contact or are a household member of someone who has tested positive and are in their infectious period. This is recommended regardless of vaccination status.
  • You don’t have symptoms, but you are unvaccinated and live or work in a high-risk congregate setting such as long-term care facilities, detention centers, and correctional facilities. 
  • You are a patient scheduled for surgery or hospital admission, even if you’re fully vaccinated. Some medical facilities may require testing prior to surgery or admission. 

Las Cruces Police ID Victim in Saturday Shooting

1 hour ago

  Las Cruces police are continuing to investigate Saturday’s shooting that resulted in the death of a Nicodemus Gonzales.
 
About 3:30 a.m. Saturday, July 31, Las Cruces police were dispatched to the report of shots fired at a loud party on the 1800 block of Chaparro Street. Officers arrived to find 23-year-old Nicodemus “Nico” Gonzales suffering from at least one gunshot wound.
 
Gonzales was pronounced dead on scene.

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cdc

  AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Officials say the resurgence of COVID-19 in Texas has put some cities’ health systems in dire circumstances, as intensive care unit beds fill up. In Austin, the health department said there were only nine ICU beds available on Friday for the 11-county trauma service region that includes the city and serves 2.3 million people. San Antonio is facing a nursing shortage caused by the COVID-19 surge. As of Saturday, only 43.8% of Texas’ total population had been fully vaccinated. That trailed the national rate of 49.5% and was far behind Vermont, which had the highest rate of any state, at 67.5%, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  

Beto Leads Voting Rights Rally

14 hours ago
Facebook / Beto O'Rourke

  AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Hundreds of people packed the steps of the Texas Capitol at a protest rally to make the end of a four-day march in support of voting rights. Country music legend Willie Nelson led spectators in singing “vote them out.” The march, which began Wednesday, was led in part by Beto O’Rourke, the former Democratic congressman and presidential candidate. Earlier this week, O’Rourke and marchers shut down the frontage road of Interstate 35 during the morning rush hour, funneled between restaurants and cut a path from red statehouse districts to blue ones. The rally culminated in a concert by Texas country singer Willie Nelson.

  ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Tens of thousands of people in New Mexico who are behind on their gas and electric bills could lose power as soon as mid-August. The New Mexico Public Regulation Commission prevented utilities from disconnecting service over unpaid bills during much of the pandemic. The moratorium for investor-owned and large gas companies ended in May but has a 90-day transition period. The soonest customers could be cut off is Aug. 12. Utilities say shutoffs are a last resort and would happen only after customers receive multiple past-due notices. The utilities and the state also have financial assistance for people struggling to pay their bills.

I-70 / Colorado Dept.of Transportation

  DENVER, Colo. (AP) — Colorado officials say mudslides caused “extreme damage” to a major interstate, leaving it clogged with boulders and rocks and no word on when it might reopen. Forecasters Sunday warned of the potential for more flash floods across the Rocky Mountain and Great Basin regions. Wildfires across the West have left many hillsides more susceptible to erosion. Interstate 70 in Glenwood Canyon, Colorado, was hit by flash flooding that left lanes in both directions snarled by logs, boulders and other debris from a burn scar left by a 2020 wildfire. Flood watches were in effect for portions of Colorado, Utah Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon and Washington state.

  ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Police in Albuquerque say they are investigating their third homicide case of the weekend. They say officers were called out around 2 a.m. Sunday after a man was found unresponsive and with trauma to his body. Police say the man was taken to a hospital, where he later died from his injuries.  His name and age haven’t been released yet. On Saturday morning, police were called to a southeast Albuquerque neighborhood about a man found dead outside a residence.  Officers also were called to a southeast Albuquerque apartment complex where a person was found dead Saturday evening.

Carson National Forest / GREG WESTFALL VIA FLICKR / CREATIVE COMMONS

  SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — U.S. Forest Service officials in New Mexico have approved a plan for the restoration of wetlands and areas along waterways in the Carson, Cibola and Santa Fe national forests and the Kiowa National Grasslands. The Santa Fe National Forest reports that plan is intended to enhance wildlife habitat, watershed health and water quality while countering the effects of climate change, wildfires, grazing, urbanization, recreation and invasive species. The approval enables Forest Service officials to implement various projects. Those include ones to plant riparian vegetation, relocate or close certain roads and trails and restore channels, springs and seeps.

New House Majority Leader to be Elected in Coming Weeks

Jul 31, 2021
House Majority Whip Doreen Gallegos (D-Las Cruces)

  

Santa Fe, N.M. – Today, the New Mexico House Democratic Caucus announced that it will hold elections in the coming weeks to select its new House Majority Floor Leader. House Majority Whip Doreen Gallegos (D-Las Cruces) will serve as Acting Majority Floor Leader in the interim.  Here is a statement from the New Mexico House Democrats:

 

The news follows a meeting by the Caucus today to discuss the resignation of Rep. Sheryl Williams Stapleton and the future of her vacated leadership role.  

Las Cruces Police Investigate Fatal Shooting

Jul 31, 2021

Las Cruces Police are investigating a fatal shooting on the 1800 block of Chaparro Street.

At around 3:30 a.m., officers were dispatched to shots fired at a party on Chaparro Street.  Upon arrival, officers found a male with at least one gunshot wound, who was deceased.

The investigation is ongoing.

Mandatory Mask Policy Returns To Las Cruces Area County Buildings

Jul 31, 2021

  County Manager Fernando Macias announced a new safe practices mandate in county buildings, for both the public and employees, effective Aug. 4.

“In light of the evolving concerns related to the spread of COVID-19 and any variants, all visitors inside Doña Ana County buildings and facilities are required to wear a face covering,” Macias said.

According to data from the NM Department of Health for Feb. 1 through July 19, 2021, 95.8% of COVID-19 cases identified in New Mexico are among people who are not fully vaccinated. 94.2% of COVID-19 hospitalizations are among people who are not fully vaccinated. 98.1% of deaths from COVID-19 are among people who are not fully vaccinated. Doña Ana County currently has a case count between 10 and 49.99 new cases per 100,000 people in the past 7 days. “We would like to keep those numbers trending downward,” Macias said.

UPDATE: Officer Involved Shooting In Las Vegas

Jul 31, 2021

Las Vegas, NM – On July 17, 2021, the New Mexico State Police Investigations Bureau was requested to investigate an officer involved shooting in Las Vegas, NM involving the City of Las Vegas Police Department (LVPD). 

Investigators learned that at approximately 9:36 p.m., LVPD responded to a domestic at 1315 Keen Street in Las Vegas, NM. Upon arrival, officers attempted to contact the reporting person, later identified as Jeffery Scott (30) of Las Vegas, NM, when they observed a male, later identified as Mr. Scott, walk out of 1315 Keen Street armed with a shotgun. Officers observed Scott walk towards the street and bend down behind a rock. As Scott stood up, he told officers, “Officers you better back up”. Scott then fired multiple rounds towards the officers. At that time, LVPD Officers Dennis Lujan and Elia Fasanella returned fire towards Scott with their department issued firearms. Scott fled on foot towards the south side of the residence causing the officers to lose sight of Scott. At that point, a single gunshot was heard.  Officers located Scott deceased with what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound to his head. Officers located a shotgun and a revolver near Scott’s body, and a knife on him. No officers or bystanders were struck by gunfire. Scott was pronounced deceased on scene by the Office of Medical Investigator.

  SANTA FE – More than 4,000 low-income New Mexico households this week will begin receiving a one-time payment of $750 in emergency financial assistance under an initiative administered by the New Mexico Human Services Department (HSD) in partnership with the Taxation and Revenue Department (Tax & Rev).

The funding for this effort was made possible through a $5 million appropriation from the New Mexico Legislature. The one-time payment is for low-income state residents who did not receive a federal pandemic stimulus payments. Although not all the funding was issued within the first round of payments, HSD and Tax & Rev will partner to issue an additional round of financial assistance within the next couple of months.

Las Cruces Utilities (LCU) provides utilities like clean water, removes waste and wastewater, and ensures customers have access to natural gas energy. LCU is also working to achieve the goals set by Las Cruces City Council to provide locations to grow the needed infrastructure for clean energy, including solar. One of those locations for a nearly finished photovoltaic array is at the West Mesa Industrial Park Wastewater Treatment Facility (WMIPWWTF).

“It’s not a place that most residents can get out to see, but the facility does serve the correctional facility and anticipated growth of the Las Cruces Innovation & Industrial Park,” said John Mrozek, deputy director Wastewater. “It had the space needed to build the array, plus we had the infrastructure to support it being in a protected location.”

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott

  EL PASO, Texas (AP) — The Biden administration sued Texas to prevent state troopers from stopping vehicles carrying migrants on grounds that they may spread COVID-19, warning that the practice would exacerbate problems amid high levels of crossings on the state’s border with Mexico. The Justice Department wants a judge to block Gov. Greg Abbott’s order allowing troopers to “stop any vehicle upon reasonable suspicion” that it provides transportation to migrants. The lawsuit escalates tensions between the administration and Abbott over the governor’s actions on the border, which have included jailing migrants on state crimes and building new barriers.

Emily Garcia knows a thing or two about making lemonade out of lemons.  At 16, she started a specialty lemonade business, Francy Emilade, in order to help establish financial independence.

Now a sophomore at New Mexico State University studying Civil Engineering Technology, Garcia is funding her education with revenue generated from her business.

“It was something I had to do to financially stay stable for myself, since I am a first-year college student within my family,” Garcia said. “And so doing that really gave me the push and motivation to be like, look, if I want to get this started and going, I’ve got to do it myself.”

  SANTA FE – New Mexico state health officials on Friday announced 331 additional COVID-19 cases and 2 deaths. As of today, there are 148 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.

Former Representative Sheryl Williams Stapleton - (D)

  SANTE FE, N.M. (AP) — The majority leader of the New Mexico House has resigned while investigators continue to probe evidence of possible racketeering, money laundering, kickbacks and violations of a law governing the conduct of state lawmakers. Democratic Rep. Sheryl Williams Stapleton of Albuquerque said in a resignation letter Friday that she “unequivocally” denies the allegations against her but decided she must devote her time and energy to fully defend herself. House Speaker Brian Egolf released the letter Friday along with a joint statement with other Democratic leaders who said that “given the weight of the allegations” her resignation "is appropriate and in the best interest of the Legislature and the state.”

facebook.com/better call saul

  ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — “Better Call Saul” star Bob Odenkirk says he “had a small heart attack” but will “be back soon.” The 58-year-old actor took to Twitter Friday to make his first public statement since collapsing on the show’s New Mexico set three days earlier. Odenkirk says he's going to be OK thanks to the doctors and nurses who knew how to fix his blockage. He says he's going to “take a beat to recover, but will "be back soon.” Odenkirk has been nominated for four Emmys for playing the title role on the show that was shooting its sixth and final season.

  SAN DIEGO (AP) — Two organizations say they are ending cooperation with the Biden administration to identify the most vulnerable migrants waiting in Mexico to be admitted to the United States to seek asylum. The withdrawals of the International Rescue Committee and HIAS from a consortium of groups helping the government is a blow to an effort that was always intended to be temporary. Advocacy groups were choosing a limited number of migrants for U.S. authorities to exempt from a coronavirus-related ban on migrants seeking asylum at the border. Former President Donald Trump imposed the public health order and Biden has largely kept it in place.


Las Cruces Mayor Ken Miyagishima joins the program to discuss plans for federal pandemic relief aid, cannabis business regulations and other community concerns. 

  DALLAS (AP) — A federal freeze on most evictions enacted last year is scheduled to expire Saturday. The moratorium, put in place by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in September, has been the only tool keeping millions of tenants in their homes. Many of them lost jobs during the coronavirus pandemic and had fallen months behind on their rent. Federal funds have flowed into Texas to help tenants who qualify pay their rent. The National Low Income Housing Coalition says Texas is one of the states doing the best at distributing its funds quickly. But renters' advocates expect evictions and homelessness to increase once the moratorium ends.

  SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Tenant protections in New Mexico don't end with the expiration of a federal freeze on evictions July 31. It is unclear when the state Supreme Court will end the New Mexico moratorium on evictions. The state has $284 million in federal funds available for rental and related assistance. At the same time, the flow of money to those in need has been slow, with about $17 million in emergency rental and utility assistance distributed so far. The high cost of rental housing is less of a problem in New Mexico than nationwide.

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