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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.

In Depth: New Mexico lawmakers pass marijuana legalization bills in special session

Apr 1, 2021
NIDA

Marijuana sales will be legal in New Mexico next year following passage of a bill Wednesday, March 31, on the second day of a special session called by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham after a similar bill had failed to pass during the regular session.

The legislation, which takes effect in April 2022, will allow adults age 21 and older to purchase up to two ounces of cannabis flower, 16 grams of extract and 800 milligrams of edible cannabis at one time. They can possess more than that if stored at their private residence.

Jess Williams, Editor with the Las Cruces Bulletin gives his final preview for the paper. This week: The Las Cruces Public Works Department is keeping busy, medical students graduate from Burrell College of Osteopathic Medicine. Also, we get a profile of a local artist opening a space downtown, and film lovers are excited for the film "Walking With Herb" which was shot in Las Cruces. Also, Jess pens a farewell column as he retires from The Bulletin. 

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Apr 1, 2021


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Apr 1, 2021


  MISSION, Texas (AP) — Overwhelmed and underprepared, U.S. authorities are releasing migrant families on the Mexican border without notices to appear in immigration court or sometimes without any paperwork at all. U.S. immigration authorities say court notices often take hours to prepare and describes the move as a way to save time. The rapid releases ease pressure on the Border Patrol and its badly overcrowded holding facilities but shift work to Immigration and Customs and Enforcement, which enforces immigration laws within the United States. Migrants are now being told to report to ICE within 60 days.

Melanie Stansbury

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Democratic Party leaders rallied behind state Rep. Melanie Stansbury as the nominee to defend an Albuquerque-based congressional seat left open by newly confirmed Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland. Stansbury on Wednesday edged out state Sen. Antoinette Sedillo Lopez by four votes in runoff balloting among 200 members of the state central committee on the nomination. The second-term legislator will confront Republican state Sen. Mark Moores in a June 1 special congressional election. Democrats have held the 1st Congressional District seat since 2009. Republican Heather Wilson won the district's last special election more than two decades ago.

 SANTA FE –  Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Wednesday issued the following statement on the breakthrough in the New Mexico Legislature that will make New Mexico the next U.S. state to legalize adult-use cannabis and comprehensively address past low-level convictions:

“This is a significant victory for New Mexico. Workers will benefit from the opportunity to build careers in this new economy. Entrepreneurs will benefit from the opportunity to create lucrative new enterprises. The state and local governments will benefit from the additional revenue. Consumers will benefit from the standardization and regulation that comes with a bona fide industry. And those who have been harmed by this country’s failed war on drugs, disproportionately communities of color, will benefit from our state’s smart, fair and equitable new approach to past low-level convictions.

  SANTA FE – New Mexico state health officials on Wednesday announced 277 additional COVID-19 cases and 5 deaths. As of today, there are 99 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.

  SANTA TERESA, N.M. (AP) — Authorities say two Ecuadoran children were abandoned by smugglers after being dropped over a 14-foot-high barrier along the U.S.-Mexico border Tuesday evening. The toddler and her 5-year-old sister were unhurt, but officials with the U.S. Border Patrol called the incident near Santa Teresa, New Mexico, appalling. It comes as the Biden administration struggles with finding space to house the several hundred kids and teenagers who are crossing the border daily. In some cases, parents refused entry into the U.S. have sent their children across the border alone, hoping they will be placed with relatives eventually.

DEA

SANTA FE, N.M (AP) — New Mexico’s Legislature has approved the legalization of recreational marijuana for adults 21 and older in a bill that the governor plans to sign, extending the legal cannabis market across the American Southwest. The state House concurred with Senate amendments Wednesday to provide the Legislature’s final approval. A companion bill would automatically erase some past marijuana convictions and reconsider criminal sentences for about 100 prisoners. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham called a special legislation this week to push for legalization of marijuana in efforts to spur employment and a stable new source of state income. She is expected to sign the package of bills.  The target date for sales to begin is still a year away: April, 2022.

Silver City Report

Mar 31, 2021


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Mar 31, 2021


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Mar 31, 2021


Las Cruces Spring/Summer Water Restrictions Start Thursday

Mar 31, 2021
City of Las Cruces

  Citywide spring/summer water restrictions will begin April 1. The annual restrictions prohibit the watering of outside vegetation between the hours of 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.

A watering schedule allows residents with even-numbered addresses to water outside vegetation on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. Residents with odd-numbered addresses are permitted to water their vegetation on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays. No watering is permitted on Mondays.

Glorieta Camps

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A private Christian camp in northern New Mexico says it won’t be sheltering immigrant children for the foreseeable future. A spokesman for Glorieta Camp’s parent company says the federal government is putting a pause on contract negotiations to house up to 2,400 migrants. The camp had been looking for volunteers and staff to help host children from the U.S.-Mexico border as federal holding facilities become more crowded. The crowding is part of the latest uptick in unauthorized border crossings in which thousands of children and families have been arriving at the border.

Santa Fe--The Department of Health on Wednesday announced that beginning Monday, April 5, all New Mexicans 16+ will be eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccine. Currently, Phases 1A, 1B, and 1C are eligible. Beginning Monday, Phase 2 will be eligible as well.

“President Biden directed states to make all adults eligible for vaccine by May 1. New Mexico will meet that mark nearly a month early,” said DOH Cabinet Secretary Dr. Tracie Collins.

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Prosecutors say two former Texas sheriff deputies have been indicted on manslaughter charges in the March 2019 death of a 40-year-old Black man named Javier Ambler.

The announcement Tuesday comes two years after Ambler's death was filmed by the police reality TV series “Live PD." The former postal worker was shocked repeatedly with a stun gun after being pulled over in suburban Austin for allegedly failing to dim his headlights to oncoming traffic.

Austin

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Proposed overhauls of Texas’ power grid that buckled during February’s deadly winter storm are moving through the state legislature.

Some of the reforms passed Tuesday in the Texas Capitol include new oversight and mandates that power plants prepare for more extreme weather.

More than 100 people died in subfreezing weather in Texas as widespread blackouts spiraled into one of the worst power outages in U.S. history. Many families went without water and heat for days with no indication of when the power might be restored.

  On March 30, the New Mexico Legislature convenes for a special session to focus on legalizing cannabis. A bill made it past the House in the regular session but stalled in the Senate. Reporter Natalie Fertig with Politico covers cannabis policy around the country and has been closely watching the process in New Mexico. She spoke with KUNM's Megan Kamerick her along with my co-host Andy Lyman from New Mexico Political Report for the podcast “Growing Forward: Cannabis and New Mexico.”

  ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Organizers are planning for this year's Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, with ticket sales for the annual fall event expected to begin in July. The fiesta usually attracts hundreds of ballooning teams as well as hundreds of thousands of spectators from around the globe. Last year's fiesta wasn't held because of the coronavirus pandemic. Fiesta spokesman Tom Garrity said Tuesday that the board of directors is committed to New Mexico's public health mandates and plans to have health measures identified for pilots and guests by the time ticket sales begin. He also warned that the measures may be updated and will be evaluated as October approaches.

  SANTA FE – New Mexico state health officials on Tuesday announced 148 additional COVID-19 cases and 7 deaths. As of today, there are 110 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.

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. (AP) — A coronavirus variant first identified in Britain has been found on the Navajo Nation.

Tribal health officials said Tuesday that the United Kingdom strain was confirmed in a sample obtained in the western part of the reservation. The Navajo Department of Health is working with states and other public health entities to identify any more variant cases.

  Crime Stoppers and Las Cruces police are asking for the public’s help locating the man believed to be responsible for Sunday’s fatal shooting and the woman who may be accompanying him.
 
Alfonso Rodriguez, 32, whose last known address is 2230 Dona Ana Rd., is believed to be responsible for Saturday morning shooting death of 37-year-old Ramon Archuleta. The shooting took place about 1 a.m. Sunday, March 28, at 1907 W. Picacho Ave.
 

One Vehicle Fatal Crash in Lincoln County

Mar 30, 2021

On March 27, 2021 at approximately 6:31 p.m., the New Mexico State Police investigated a fatal crash near Cedar Creek Drive and Mechem Drive, by Ruidoso, NM.

The initial investigation indicated a 2019 Ford pickup, driven by a 24-year-old male from Artesia, NM was traveling north on Cedar Creek Drive. For reasons still under investigation, the Ford left the roadway and struck a tree. The driver sustained unknown injuries and was transported by ambulance to an area hospital.  

NMSU Plans Virtual And In-Person Graduation Ceremonies

Mar 30, 2021

Degree candidates, get your caps and gowns ready – New Mexico State University will hold limited in-person commencement events in May for its Spring 2021 graduates, in addition to its previously planned virtual ceremony.

The commencement events for Las Cruces campus graduates will take place at Aggie Memorial Stadium, in multiple sessions to accommodate the need for social distancing and limited capacity. The first ceremony, for graduate students, will include a doctoral hooding ceremony and will take place at 7 p.m. Friday, May 14. The second ceremony, for undergraduates, will take place at 7 p.m. Saturday, May 15. Commencement activities for NMSU’s branch campuses will be determined by those campuses.

  SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A New Mexico judge has postponed a jury trial for a man accused of rape after his attorney argued his client’s right to a fair trial was violated because none of the potential jurors selected were Black. The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that 25-year-old Maury Elliot is accused of raping two teens and a woman in separate attacks. Jury selection for one of the cases was scheduled to start Monday. But Judge T. Glenn Ellington halted the trial after a defense lawyer said none of the 77 potential jurors were Black. Assistant District Attorney Kent Wahlquist argued that the pool's racial makeup represents Santa Fe.

  ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Virgin Galactic rolled out its latest spaceship as the company gets ready to resume test flights in the coming months at its headquarters in the New Mexico desert. The newest ship dubbed the VSS Imagine was designed and manufactured in California. Company officials say it will likely be summer before the ship begins glide flight testing at Spaceport America in southern New Mexico. CEO Michael Colglazier says the addition of the new ship Tuesday marks the beginning of a Virgin Galactic fleet that will ferry paying customers and scientific payloads to the fringe of space. He said the company is still aiming for commercial operations in 2022.

Margaret Strickland

  Today, U.S. Senators Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) welcomed President Joe Biden’s nomination of Margaret Strickland for U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico in Las Cruces.  Here is a statement from the office of Senator Heinrich:

“We welcome today’s announcement that the Biden administration has accepted our recommendation of Margaret Strickland to fill this vacancy for our state’s District Court,” said Heinrich and Luján. “Margaret has proven legal expertise, meaningful relationships in her community, and understands the diverse landscape of New Mexico. It is critical that these important positions are filled in an expeditious manner. We look forward to working with the Biden administration to fill these rolls – and more – in the weeks ahead.”

Emergency relief funds available to Las Cruces area students

Mar 30, 2021

  COVID-19 implications continue to have a financial impact on many New Mexico State University students, and another round of emergency financial aid grants for students is available. Through the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, NMSU received $7 million in Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds II. With direction from the U.S. Department of Education, NMSU will begin to process and distribute the funds.

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Mar 30, 2021


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