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.

SANTA FE, N.M.  — New Mexico legislators have announced a July return to in-person committee meetings amid evidence of retreating coronavirus infections. Democratic House speaker Brian Egolf made the announcement Monday to a panel of leading legislators. Committee hearings have been conducted largely by videoconference since the spring of 2020.

Alamogordo NOW

May 4, 2021

  FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — A Texas hospital is asking a state appeals court to take steps to overturn a ruling that forced it to continue providing life-sustaining treatment for a toddler who doctors say is in pain and will never recover. Cook Children’s Medical Center filed an appeal April 16 asking the 48th District Court of Fort Worth to quickly schedule a new trial date to decide whether 2-year-old Tinslee Lewis should be removed from life support. The hospital in Fort Worth says it has spent $24 million in Medicaid funds to keep Tinslee alive and that her condition only continues to deteriorate. The hospital says Tinslee cannot feel anything except pain. 

  DALLAS (AP) — Are the National Rifle Association’s leaders abusing the legal system to duck accountability for their mismanagement? Or are they making a legitimate move to reorganize following attacks from politicians bent on dismantling the gun-rights group? A federal judge in Dallas heard those competing narratives Monday during closing arguments in the NRA’s bankruptcy trial. The NRA filed for bankruptcy in January after New York’s attorney general sued to disband the group over alleged financial abuses. Judge Harlin Hale says he expects to issue a written ruling early next week in the case over whether the NRA can move its incorporation from New York to Texas.

New Mexico State Police Makes an Arrest in a Cold Case Murder

May 3, 2021

Alamogordo, NM - On Wednesday, April 28, 2021, New Mexico State Police Investigation Bureau agents, the 

New Mexico State Police Tactical Team and officers from the Fugitive Apprehension Unit assisted the Anaheim Police Department from California in tracking down a murder suspect in Alamogordo, NM.  The male suspect who was identified as William Lepere (64) from Alamogordo, NM was wanted in a cold case murder which occurred in the 1980’s in Anaheim California.  

During the investigation, a search warrant was obtained and served by the New Mexico State Police on Lepere’s residence. Lepere was taken into custody and arrested without incident. He was transported to the Otero County Detention Center where he was booked on murder charges.  Lepere is currently being held without bond pending extradition back to California.  For information on the charges out of California, please reach out to the California Anaheim Police Department.  

  Eligible students, staff and their families will be able to receive their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine on Wednesday, May 5, following the announcement from Las Cruces Public Schools that a second clinic will take place from 10 a.m. to noon in the north parking lot at Las Cruces High School.  

The district vaccinated 79 students last week at its first clinic. Anyone 16 years of age and older, with parent permission, was eligible. Those same students will receive their second dose on May 19.  

Through a partnership with the New Mexico Department of Health and the Office of Emergency Management, district officials say more doses will be available this week, allowing opportunities for staff and families of students and staff to be vaccinated if they haven’t already.  

  SANTA FE – New Mexico state health officials on Monday announced 685 additional COVID-19 cases and 6 deaths. As of today, there are 132 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.

A unanimously adopted ordinance will require hundreds of homes to move onto the city’s sewer system, following an update to the municipal code by the Las Cruces City Council.

The Water and Wastewater System Master Plan Update, which has been in development since 2008, includes a prioritization plan to help keep the Las Cruces water supply clean. Preventing water supply contamination from septic tanks was cited as the main reason for the code change.

But the estimated $5,000 initial cost per property, one that homeowners will be responsible for, gave some city council members pause. Councilor Tessa Abeyta-Stuve highlighted the burden placed on homeowners, saying the cost of switching from septic to sewer was a concern among her constituents.

Electrical Fire Near Las Cruces Brought Under Control

May 3, 2021

A residential structure fire on the 6000 block of Fox Road in Organ was reported at 11:13 a.m. Monday, May 3. Upon arrival at 11:30 a.m., Doña Ana County Fire Department and Emergency Services firefighters found the mobile homes unoccupied and no injuries were reported. 

The electrical fire was brought under control at 12:15 p.m. and claimed two mobile homes, which were a total loss.

Ambulance Medical Response, AMR, Doña Ana Sheriff’s Office, DASO, the City of Las Cruces and NASA Fire Departments assisted 24 Doña Ana County firefighters.

jeff proctor-new mexico in depth / Race car legend and New Mexico icon Bobby Unser, left, tells the Charles Koch Institute’s Vikrant Reddy the story of his tangle with the federal government in 1996 during an event in Albuquerque.

Three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Bobby Unser has died. He died of natural causes at his home in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on Sunday.

Unser won the Indy 500 in 1968, 1975 and 1981. His younger brother, Al, is one of only three four-time Indy 500 winners in race history. The Unser family tradition stretched to Al Unser’s son, Al Unser Jr., who won the Indy 500 in 1992 and 1994.

RIO RANCHO, N.M. — Computer chip manufacturer Intel is scheduled Monday to announce a $3.5 billion investment in its plant in New Mexico.

Intel executives will be joined by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and other politicians at the plant in the Albuquerque suburb of Rio Rancho for a news  conference where they will detail the plans. It will mark one of the largest single investments by the company since it opened the plant in 1980.

Local Newscast 2

May 3, 2021

Local Newscast 1

May 3, 2021

StoryCorps Military Voices - Mario Kirker

May 3, 2021
StoryCorps - WWII Veteran Mario Kirker

Hear the full interview with David Morrison and his friends, WWII Veterans Mario Kirker and Randy Miller.

Hear the portion of the interview with David Morrison and WWII Veteran Mario Kirker which aired on KRWG-FM.

SANTA FE, N.M. — New Mexico is on track to have fewer young people. Researchers are warning this week that results from the 2020 Census strengthen predictions that the state’s meager 2.8% growth rate over the past decade is likely to reach zero, or even go negative.

There are likely going to be fewer people in New Mexico with a declining birth rate and more people moving out of the state than in. On average, the state's residents will be older. Kindergarten classes are already shrinking, leaving child care and school leaders wondering how to plan for a future with fewer kids.

Santa Fe’s Summer Markets a Go

May 2, 2021

Santa Fe’s Summer Markets are a Go!

Santa Fe’s three biggest cultural markets announced they will be held in person this summer, bringing a much-needed influx of tourist dollars and inspiring hope that things might just be getting back to normal. KUNM’s Zélie Pollon has more.

  LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) — Lubbock voters have approved a measure aimed at outlawing abortion in the West Texas city. The move is likely to draw a lawsuit from opponents who say it is an unconstitutional ban on the procedure. Residents voted Saturday to declare Lubbock a “sanctuary city for the unborn.” According to the unofficial results from Lubbock County, the proposition was approved with 62% of the vote. The City Council last year rejected a similar proposal over concerns that it would be unenforceable and tie the city up in costly litigation. It’s unclear when the ordinance will go into effect.

  ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Authorities say a driver who was going the wrong way on Interstate 40 is dead after crashing into the back of a semi-truck. Albuquerque police say the crash occurred early Sunday and closed part of the freeway for hours. They say the wrong way driver was pronounced dead at the scene. The name, age and hometown of the driver haven’t been released yet. It was the second fatal crash on an interstate in the Albuquerque area involving a wrong-way driver in about 24 hours. Bernalillo County Sheriff’s officials say an off-duty officer with the Cuba Police Department allegedly caused a head-on crash around 2 a.m. Saturday that left two people dead and another person hospitalized.

  Residents have until May 26, 2021 to provide input on new Las Cruces Utilities Natural Gas Rate Review options. Las Cruces Utilities (LCU) is a department of the City of Las Cruces but is not funded by tax dollars. It has been 10 years since LCU last reviewed natural gas rate charges. The current gas rate review reflects cost increases in wages and benefits, gas system maintenance and safety compliance, and vehicle and equipment maintenance and replacement.

The three options are:
1). A full cost implementation of new rates in one year;
2). A limited phased-in cost increase for the two most impacted customer classes (small and large commercial) over three years;
3). A full phased-in cost increase for all customer classes over three years.

  ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Authorities say a 29-year-old off-duty police officer was arrested in an Albuquerque-area wrong-way crash in which two people were killed early Saturday morning. A criminal complaint charged Cuba police officer Brandon Barber with homicide by vehicle, aggravated DWI and an open container violation after the crash on Interstate 25 in Albuquerque’s northern outskirts. The Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office said two passengers in a SUV were killed. The SUV’s driver and the driver of a pickup truck were injured. Online court records didn’t indicate whether Barber has an attorney who could comment on his behalf. 

Russ McSpadden, Center for Biological Diversity.

  SAN DIEGO (AP) — The Biden administration says it will begin work to address the risks of flooding and soil erosion from unfinished sections of the wall on the U.S. border with Mexico. It also began providing answers on how it will use unspent money from shutting down one of President Donald Trump’s signature domestic projects. The Defense Department says it will use unobligated money for military construction projects for its initial purpose. The repair work will take place in Texas' Rio Grande Valley and in San Diego. Officials in Texas have expressed alarm about flooding risks during the hurricane season from breaches in a levee system.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Officials in New Mexico's largest city say they have cleared a backlog of thousands of untested rape evidence kits as part of an endeavor that has spanned more than three years.

Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller was flanked by law enforcement officials and advocates who work with victims of sexual assault as he marked the accomplishment Friday. Overall, millions of dollars have been poured into addressing the backlog statewide.

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. (AP) — The Navajo Nation on Thursday reported six new confirmed COVID-19 cases and three additional deaths.

Tribal health officials say the total number of cases since the pandemic began more than a year ago now is 30,491 on the vast reservation that covers parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah with 1,276 known deaths.

Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez says more than half of the reservation’s adult population has been vaccinated. But people still need to stay home as much as possible, wear masks and avoid large gatherings.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — State legislators are bristling at vetoes by New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham that block legislative authority over new federal pandemic aid, and say they may seek a court ruling.

Democratic state Sen. George Muñoz of Gallup urged colleagues to seek an opinion from the state Supreme Court on Friday. A spokeswoman for the governor says the appropriation of federal funds falls to the executive branch of state government — though the governor welcomes collaboration with the Legislature.

Nine additional COVID-19 deaths

SANTA FE – New Mexico state health officials on Friday announced 309 additional COVID-19 cases. Per the state Department of Health, the most recent cases are:

·     127 new cases in Bernalillo County

·     10 new cases in Chaves County

·     1 new case in Colfax County

·     3 new cases in Curry County

·     4 new cases in De Baca County

·     28 new cases in Doña Ana County

·     7 new cases in Eddy County

·     6 new cases in Grant County

·     1 new case in Hidalgo County

Court orders state to provide students the technology they need

Apr 30, 2021

SANTA FE—First Judicial District Court Judge Matthew Wilson ordered the state to provide computers and high-speed internet access to the thousands of “at-risk” students who lack these necessary tools to access remote learning now and post pandemic. The ruling came during a hearing in the landmark Yazzie/Martinez education case on a Yazzie plaintiff motion addressing technology gaps among the state’s students.

Half of counties advance to a less restrictive level;

Nearly every New Mexico county now Turquoise or Green

CORRECTION: The below release corrects typos in the previous iteration referring to the effective date for the updated statewide map criteria and the updated capacity limits for houses of worship. We regret the oversight. To reiterate, the updated statewide map is effective today, April 30.

Voice of the Public - Labor Issues

Apr 30, 2021

NEA New Mexico President Mary Parr-Sanchez and former Workforce Solutions Secretary Bill McCamley discuss labor issues facing New Mexico and the nation. / Lincoln National Forest

THREE RIVERS, N.M. — Officials now put the size of a wildfire in southern-central New Mexico mountains at less than half of a previous estimate as they report progress in containing the blaze.

Officials said Friday that mapping of the fire after an aerial reconnaissance flight using infrared sensing put it at 5,557 acres. That's down from the previous estimate of 12,000 acres.

Officials cited damp conditions expected to lessen by Saturday as they said crews had the fire contained around 13% of its perimeter.