Local and State News

10:18am

Tue February 25, 2014
Local and State News

Man Pleads Guilty To Embezzling a New Mexico Tribe

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A former employee of the Jicarilla Apache Nation's Utility Authority in New Mexico has pleaded guilty to embezzling nearly $215,000 from the tribe.

Prosecutors say 63-year-old Robert G. Wells, of Albuquerque, pleaded guilty Monday to embezzlement and theft from a tribal organization and must pay full restitution.

His sentencing hearing hasn't been scheduled yet.

Wells was arrested last November for allegedly embezzling $214,594 from the tribe in 2011 when he was the utility authority's comptroller.

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10:17am

Tue February 25, 2014
Local and State News

New Mexico Woman Pleads Guilty in Child's Death

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — A New Mexico woman has pleaded guilty to child abuse in the 2007 death of her infant daughter.

Prosecutors say 32-year-old Sophia Monique Zayas entered her plea Monday in a federal court in Las Cruces.

She's been in federal custody since her April 2012 arrest along her 29-year-old husband, a former Air Force sergeant. Peter John Zayas pleaded guilty in the case last week.

The couple was arrested by the FBI for allegedly causing the death of their 2-month-old child in October 2007.

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10:13am

Tue February 25, 2014
Local and State News

6 New Mexico Legislators Retiring

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Democratic Rep. Ernest Chavez of Albuquerque is the sixth legislator to announce plans to retire from the 70-member House.

The 77-year-old Chavez said Monday his age and health were among the reasons he will not seek re-election. He missed the 30-day legislative session because of medical problems, but will continue serving through December when his term expires.

Chavez has represented an Albuquerque area district since 2004.

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10:12am

Tue February 25, 2014
Local and State News

NM Nuclear Dump Officials Say Environment Is Safe

CARLSBAD, N.M. (AP) — Officials investigating a leak from federal government's only underground nuclear waste dump are telling skeptical southeastern New Mexico residents that their health is safe.

More than 250 people attended a mostly calm two-hour meeting Monday night to discuss recent events at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant near Carlsbad.

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10:11am

Mon February 24, 2014
Local and State News

Historian Named Interim Director NM Museum

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico State University history professor Jon Hunner has been tapped to serve as interim director of the New Mexico History Museum and the Palace of the Governors

Hunner will start in early May after the spring semester.

The museum's current director, Frances Levine, will be heading to St. Louis this spring to take over at the Missouri History Museum. Her last day is March 16, when the exhibition Cowboys Real and Imagined is set to close.

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10:05am

Mon February 24, 2014
Local and State News

1 Killed In Shooting Outside Gallup McDonald's

GALLUP, N.M. (AP) — Police in Gallup are investigating a shooting in a McDonald's parking lot that has left one man dead.

Authorities say two men got into a physical altercation at the fast food restaurant Saturday afternoon.

They say one of the men went outside to get the license plate of the other man's car, a Nissan, as he was leaving.

Police say that's when the man driving the Nissan fired three shots and one hit the victim, who later died at a hospital.

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10:03am

Mon February 24, 2014
Local and State News

Albuquerque Stabbing Suspect Appears in Court

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A man accused of stabbing two adults and a 10-year-old girl at a home in the Albuquerque area has nearly 30 warrants for failing to show up in court in other cases.

Prosecutors disclosed the criminal background of 43-year-old Leroy Lindsey during his court appearance Saturday morning.

Bernalillo County Sheriff's deputies say Lindsey stabbed a man, a woman and the woman's daughter Friday night.

Deputies say they believe Lindsey may have been under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

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11:02am

Sun February 23, 2014
Local and State News

Man Accused in Beating Surrenders To Authorities

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — A Mesilla Park man sought by authorities in the beating of his girlfriend has surrendered to the Dona Ana County Sheriff's Office.

Dona Ana County Sheriff's investigators say 30-year-old Ernesto Vasquez turned himself in Friday in Las Cruces.

Vasquez is suspected of hitting his 28-year-old girlfriend in the face during an argument Feb. 1.

Authorities say the victim's eye was swollen shut and will require plastic surgery.

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11:00am

Sun February 23, 2014
Local and State News

New Mexico Soldier Injured in Training Accident at Fort Bragg

FORT BRAGG, N.C. (AP) — A New Mexico soldier remains in the hospital after a training exercise accident at Fort Bragg, N.C.

One 82nd Airborne soldier was killed, and several others were injured in Friday's blast during artillery live-fire training involving the 18th Fires Brigade.

Authorities say 25-year-old Sgt. Jason Muzzy of Pecos, N.M., and 30-year-old Spc. Scott Yeates of Sanford, Fla., remain in the hospital. Five other injured soldiers were treated and released.

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11:00am

Sun February 23, 2014
Local and State News

Number of Young Farmers Rising in New Mexico

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — A new government survey shows New Mexico has more farms and ranches than it did five years ago.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture survey also shows the state has seen significant increases in the number of young and minority farmers in recent years.

State Agriculture Secretary Jeff Witte says he's glad to see a wider diversity of people getting into farming and ranching across the state. He says that diversity will help create more opportunity.

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8:14am

Fri February 21, 2014
Local and State News

New Mexico Legislature Adjourns 30-Day Session

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Lawmakers have adjourned a 30-day legislative session after agreeing on a plan to try to head off cutbacks in a lottery-funded college scholarship program.

In the final hours before the Legislature adjourned on Thursday, the House and Senate agreed to a proposal that shore up the scholarship program temporarily with liquor tax money.

Cutbacks in scholarships have been looming because the program is running short of cash. Lottery proceeds aren't keeping pace with college tuition increases.

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8:12am

Fri February 21, 2014
Local and State News

2 New Mexico Counties Stop Officiating Weddings

CARLSBAD, N.M. (AP) — Judges in two southeastern New Mexico counties say they will no longer officiate weddings after the state's high court ruled that same-sex marriage is legal.

The Carlsbad Current-Argus reports that judges in Eddy and Chaves Counties recently announced they won't officiate civil marriage ceremonies for straight or same-sex couples.

In December, the New Mexico Supreme Court decided it was unconstitutional to deny marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples.

Officials in both counties say the decision was made a few months ago.

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8:10am

Fri February 21, 2014
Local and State News

Las Cruces Police: 2 Municipal Employees Arrested

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — Two Las Cruces municipal employees are accused of falsifying public documents, diverting resources to work on a private project and misappropriating materials paid for by the city.

Las Cruces police say 43-year-old Robert "Bob" Medina Jr. and 31-year-old Jesus "Chuy" Vasquez work for the city's transportation department.

Police say both were arrested Thursday on suspicion of two counts of forgery and two counts of conspiracy.

They say Medina also is facing two counts of embezzlement and Vasquez one count.

Bond is set at $25,000 each.

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8:09am

Fri February 21, 2014
Local and State News

Nuke Dump Officials Confirm Leak Of Waste

CARLSBAD, N.M. (AP) — Department of Energy officials say radiation levels detected in and around the nation's only underground nuclear waste repository are consistent with a leak at the southeastern New Mexico facility.

Carlsbad field office manager Jose Franco said Thursday that readings from sensors above and below ground indicate the radiation is coming from waste stored at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant. But officials won't know what caused the leak until they can get underground to investigate. That could be weeks.

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8:07am

Fri February 21, 2014
Local and State News

Boy Killed in Argument Over Teen's Baby

LOS LUNAS, N.M. (AP) — Court documents say a 15-year-old New Mexico boy accused of killing his 12-year-old friend struck him following an argument over the teen's infant daughter.

The arrest warrant affidavit, first obtained by KRQE-TV, says the 15-year-old suspect hit Alex Madrid, of Albuquerque, on the left side of his head, then placed him under a mattress in a field outside Los Lunas.

Valencia County Sheriff's Capt. Gary Hall says the suspect's daughter is around 4 months old.

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9:38am

Thu February 20, 2014
Local and State News

Legislature approves budget as adjournment nears

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The Legislature has wrapped up work on a must-do state budget proposal for financing public schools, colleges and government services next year.

A $6 billion budget measure passed the House on Wednesday on a 58-8 vote. The spending plan goes to Republican Gov. Susana Martinez.

A spokesman for the governor called the budget a good compromise.

Lawmakers also are sending the governor a measure financing $169 million in capital improvements for colleges, senior citizen centers and libraries.

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9:37am

Thu February 20, 2014
Local and State News

Measure calls for study of marijuana legalization

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The House has approved a measure that calls for studying the effects of marijuana legalization in Colorado and Washington.

The nonbinding memorial passed the House 31-28 late Wednesday.

Under the measure, the Legislative Finance Committee would conduct the study and report its findings later this year. The committee will be looking specifically at state revenue and agricultural production levels as well as addiction rates and the availability of law enforcement resources.

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9:37am

Thu February 20, 2014
Local and State News

NM minimum wage question fails in House

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A proposal that would let New Mexico voters decide whether to boost the state's minimum wage next year has failed to pass the House.

The proposed constitutional amendment needed the support of 36 House members to make it onto the ballot next November. The vote came up short Wednesday night at 33-29.

The measure had been a top priority for Democrats. They said a wage hike would help tens of thousands of workers.

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9:36am

Thu February 20, 2014
Local and State News

Senate rejects Navajo gambling compact

Senate rejects Navajo gambling compact

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The Senate has rejected a gambling compact that would have allowed the Navajo Nation to open three additional casinos.

The compact required approval of the Legislature and the Interior Department to take effect.

The Senate voted 31-10 against the agreement on Wednesday, which the House approved the day before.

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9:28am

Thu February 20, 2014
Local and State News

Air Force sergeant pleads guilty in child's death

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — An Air Force sergeant in New Mexico has pleaded guilty to negligent child abuse in the death of his infant daughter.

Prosecutors say 29-year-old Peter John Zayas entered his plea Wednesday in a federal court in Las Cruces.

He's been in federal custody since his April 2012 arrest.

Zayas' sentencing hearing hasn't been set yet, but prosecutors say he could be facing up to 18 years in prison.

Zayas and his wife were arrested by the FBI for allegedly causing the death of their 2-month-old child in October 2007.

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