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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.

Local Newscast 2

Apr 5, 2021


  ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The city of Albuquerque in New Mexico and an aerospace company that is planning a satellite manufacturing operation have come to terms on a lease for 114.5 acres of Aviation Department land. Documents sent this week from Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller to City Council say the pending development agreement requires Theia Group Inc. to develop the site in the next decade, including at least 48 acres by 2025. Representatives have said that the proposed project could host 1,000 workers when it opens and eventually grow to about 2,500 people.

Local Newscast 1

Apr 5, 2021


Rep. Brian Egolf

  SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The State Ethics Commission has dismissed two allegations in an ethics complaint against House Speaker Brian Egolf and instead will refer them to a legislative ethics committee. The Albuquerque Journal reports that the commission did not announce a decision on the complaint’s third allegation, that Egolf had failed to disclose a conflict of interest. The commission on Friday dismissed allegations that Egolf used his office’s powers to obtain personal benefit and failed to ethically discharge his duties as a legislator. The Santa Fe Democrat has denied the allegations. They center on his work as a lawyer and his push to enact civil rights legislation.

  TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — A federal judge has ordered the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to consider anew whether a type of minnow that lives in the lower Colorado River’s watershed should receive federal protection under the Endangered Species Act. District Court Judge Jennifer Zipps' ruling Wednesday overturned the agency’s 2017 withdrawal of a proposed 2015 rule to designate the lower Colorado River basin roundtail chub as a threatened species. The minnow is found in Arizona and a small part of New Mexico in drainage basins of the Bill Williams, Gila, Little Colorado, Salt and Verde rivers. The Center for Biological Diversity had sued to challenge the 2017 withdrawal.

Las Cruces Utilities (LCU) works with many City of Las Cruces (City) departments that together are working to help residents and businesses come through to the other side of the pandemic, especially in making sure that COVID-19 relief financial aid can help drive down any high balances on customer’s utilities bill.

One department, Housing and Neighborhood Services of Economic Development, assists residents who may wonder what might be available to help them.

“We’re committed to helping low-income earners to stay ahead of any large debts,” Housing and Neighborhood Services Manager Natalie Green said.

UNM Researchers Join National Trial of Moderna Vaccine in Children

Apr 3, 2021

  University of New Mexico Health Sciences researchers plan to participate in a national clinical trial to test the safety and efficacy of the Moderna vaccine in preventing SARS-CoV-2 infections in children.  Here is a statement from UNM:

 

The trial, which will enroll 6,750 healthy children between the ages of 6 months and 12 years, is being conducted in partnership with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the federal Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority.

CLOUDCROFT, N.M. (AP) — An animal advocacy group is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of those responsible for the deaths of five horses found in southern New Mexico. Animal Protection New Mexico announced Friday that the horses appeared to be shot and their bodies left in March in and around the mountainous community of Cloudcroft. The New Mexico Livestock Board responded after getting reports about the dead animals and continues to investigate. Officer Skylar Davis is asking the public to contact the agency right away if they find any more dead horses in the area.

 ROSWELL, N.M. (AP) — Tourism officials in New Mexico have raised concerns about people confusing a UFO Festival with downtown alien-related events because of similar domain names searched online. The Roswell Daily Record reported that the Roswell UFO Festival will get a marketing boost from a state pilot program intended to help cultural events recover from the pandemic. However, the state expressed concerns about the messaging since Roswell is also hosting its Alien Fest. City Manager Joe Neeb said the confusion is caused in part by online search results for the UFO Festival that frequently yield a website for Mainstreet Roswell’s Alien Fest.

  SANTA FE – New Mexico state health officials on Friday announced 218 additional COVID-19 cases and 7 deaths.

As of today, there are 94 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.

  ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — As several states in the American West face intense drought, water managers say it's shaping up to be a very difficult year for New Mexico farmers because of limited irrigation supplies. Officials with major irrigation districts along the Rio Grande say snowpack and precipitation are below average, spring runoff is trailing and there's no extra water in the state's reservoirs. It's no different elsewhere in the West. The district that provides water to Indigenous communities and farmers on part of the Rio Grande says it hasn't been in a position like this since the 1950s. In southern New Mexico, growers are being told to prepare for a short irrigation season.

  AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The ranks of big corporations now criticizing GOP efforts to restrict voting access are spreading to Texas. American Airlines and Dell on Thursday both came out against new restrictive voting measures that have a favorable path to reaching Republican Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk in the coming weeks. The opposition by two of Texas' biggest companies came a day after some of Georgia’s most prominent corporate leaders criticized new voting restrictions signed into law in that state last week. Abbott and other Republicans have given no indication of wavering in their pursuit of passing the measures before the session ends in May. 

Local Newscast 2

Apr 2, 2021


Local Newscast 1

Apr 2, 2021


BILLINGS, Mont. — Wildlife advocates are suing federal officials in a bid for greater protections for monarch butterflies, northern spotted owls and eight other species inching toward possible extinction.

The move comes after federal officials have said previously that the species named in the lawsuit needed protections, but that other imperiled plants and animals had higher priority.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Two Indigenous communities in New Mexico are suing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency over a revised federal rule that lifts protections for many streams, creeks and wetlands across the nation.

The pueblos of Jemez and Laguna are the latest to raise concerns over inadequate protections for local water sources in the desert Southwest.

The challenge follows a similar case filed in 2020 by the Navajo Nation, the nation’s largest Native American tribe, and several environmental groups.

El Paso Matters

Apr 2, 2021
El Paso Matters CEO Robert Moore


  A commercial motor vehicle carrying refrigerated liquid hydrogen is being safely depressurized after a leak forced its travel to come to a standstill just south of Las Cruces.
 
The Las Cruces Fire Department’s Hazardous Material Response Team, firefighters and law enforcement personnel are on scene and working closely with the transportation company to mitigate the hazard.
 
Fire and law enforcement authorities were notified of the leak about 5:20 p.m. Thursday, April 1.

  SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The New Mexico Supreme Court ruled Thursday that state courts cannot order a veteran to reimburse a former spouse for a share of the veteran’s military pension under a divorce agreement that ended when the veteran opted to receive disability benefits instead. However, the justices’ unanimous decision said trial judges can consider other legal options for adjusting the financial support the veteran provides his or her former spouse. The New Mexico high court partly hinged its ruling on a 2017 U.S. Supreme Court decision. That decision prevented states from treating waived military retirement benefits as community property that can be divided in a divorce.

  SANTA FE – New Mexico state health officials on Thursday announced 297 additional COVID-19 cases and 5 deaths. As of today, there are 96 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.

Walk into a Las Cruces Public Schools building, and it’s obvious things are a little different—partitions, shields and temperature checkpoints are just some of the measures the district is taking in the fight against COVID-19.

But the biggest change is one that can’t be seen at all.

Bobby Stout, the executive director of the district’s physical plant department, says MERV 13 air filters have been installed across the district, helping to ensure clean air in schools.  Mandated by the New Mexico Public Education Department, the upgraded filters remove 75% of particles between the size of 0.3 and 1.0 micrometers.

Las Cruces Utilities Sewage Line Extension

Apr 1, 2021

During the 2019 New Mexico Legislative Session, a $1,006,370.00 grant was approved for the Las Cruces Septic Systems Replacement project, Hacienda Acres is one of two areas in Las Cruces that will benefit from the grant funding. Approved by the Las Cruces Utilities (LCU) Board of Commissioners via Resolution No. 20-21-LCU026, the Hacienda Acres Phase II Sewer Improvements Project will now go to construction. 

Another busy week of news, and we have you covered.

We begin with complete coverage of this week’s top story: the vote to legalize adult-use cannabis in New Mexico.

We have the region’s in-depth report on efforts to reduce the use of fossil fuels in New Mexico.

Plus…New Mexico State University launches a new center to boost economic development on the border.

All that, plus the week’s other top stories, commentary, and more.

Las Cruces Library Presents "Dispelling Vaccine Myths"

Apr 1, 2021

  As part of its health literacy initiative, Thomas Branigan Memorial Library presents “Dispelling Vaccine Myths” with guest presenters Renée Despres PhD, MPH and Anne Barraza, M.Ln at 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 7 via Zoom. Dr. Despres is an independent journalist who has written extensively about health for print and online publications. She is an adjunct professor in the English and Public Health Sciences Departments at New Mexico State University. Ms. Barranza is a public health consultant who has worked for many years in public health emergency preparedness and health policy at the New Mexico Department of Health.

  The southbound lanes of Telshor Boulevard (south of Del Rey Boulevard) will have intermittent roadway closures beginning Tuesday, April 6. The City of Las Cruces continues implementation of safety measures throughout the City. Delineators will be installed to highlight the separate lanes of traffic along Telshor Boulevard. Construction will take approximately a week to complete and will take place from 4 - 7 a.m. The southbound dedicated right turn lane from Del Rey Boulevard onto Telshor Boulevard will be closed during the hours of construction and a detour from Del Rey Boulevard to Telshor Boulevard will be provided.

Newsmakers 1310 - New Mexico Sustainability - Camilla Feibelman

Apr 1, 2021

This week, Newsmakers features Camilla Feibelman, Director of the Sierra Club Rio Grande Chapter to discuss how to make New Mexico more sustainable.  

 

  Santa Fe, NM—Attorney General Balderas today called on the U.S. Department of Education to cancel federal student loan debt of those who attended ITT Technical Institute. Here is a statement from the AG's office:

The now defunct for-profit school defrauded thousands of individuals by encouraging them to enroll and borrow loans based on false and misleading information about the value of an ITT degree and empty promises of high-paying jobs after graduation. The borrower defense application that a bipartisan coalition of 24 states and the District of Columbia filed today includes students who attended ITT Tech between at least 2007 and 2011 when these deceptive tactics were used to convince students to attend the school and borrow federal student aid. This widespread and pervasive misrepresentation violated state consumer protection laws. Federal law permits the Department of Education to forgive federal student loans when borrowers were deceived in obtaining loans. The attorneys general are demanding full relief to ITT students, including refunds of the money students already paid on those loans. 

Nash Jones / KUNM

Santa Fe--The New Mexico Department of Health (DOH) on Thursday announced that New Mexicans registered at vaccineNM.org are now able to self-schedule their booster doses. Users who have received a first dose - either within the vaccineNM.org system or elsewhere - can log in, choose their location, and then select from booster appointments available to them.

“Our goal has always been to make registration and vaccination as easy as possible. Given an increase in vaccine supply, we are now able to offer New Mexicans the ability to self-schedule their booster appointments,” said DOH Cabinet Secretary Dr. Tracie Collins.

  The New Mexico Environment Department is seeking public comment on a Corrective Action Complete proposal for five sites at the White Sands Missile Range located in Doña Ana, Socorro, Lincoln, Otero, and Sierra Counties, New Mexico. The public comment period ends on June 1, 2021 for submittal of written comments and to request a Public Hearing. For information regarding these proposals, including a location where additional information may be viewed and how to make comment, please call the Hazardous Waste Bureau at (505) 476-6000.

New Mexico Marijuana Legalization: A Years-Long Political Battle

Apr 1, 2021
Medlineplus.gov

This week’s vote to legalize adult-use marijuana in New Mexico comes after years of failures.

In the past, the math wasn’t there.  With some Democrats joining Republicans in opposing legalization, New Mexico watched while neighboring state Colorado raked in more than a billion dollars in revenue…and even heavily Republican states like Arizona approved legalization efforts too.

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