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Sessions To Visit New Mexico To Speak With Border Sheriffs, Work Begins On Border Wall In NM

Apr 9, 2018

Sessions To Visit New Mexico, Speak To Border SheriffsThe Associated Press

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is slated to visit southern New Mexico as part of a three-day conference for sheriffs in border states.

Sessions will travel to Las Cruces on Wednesday and deliver remarks on immigration enforcement at the Texas Border Sheriff's Coalition Annual Spring Meeting with the Southwestern Border Sheriff's Coalition.

The move comes after President Donald Trump said last week he wants to send 2,000 to 4,000 National Guard members to the border.

Trump also has said he wants to use the military at the border until progress is made on his proposed border wall.

The Southwest Border Sheriff's Coalition is made up of 31 sheriff's departments from Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California whose counties are located within 25 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border.

Work Begins On New Border Wall In Southern New MexicoThe Associated Press

Work is beginning along a 20-mile stretch of the U.S.-Mexico border in southern New Mexico to replace existing vehicle barriers with a new bollard wall.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials gathered Monday to mark the groundbreaking of the $73 million project at Santa Teresa near New Mexico's state line with Texas.

Officers in the area are responsible for a sprawling desert territory that spans a portion of West Texas and all of New Mexico. They say the area remains an active route for illegal crossings and drug trafficking and that the existing barriers aren't meeting their needs.

During the last fiscal year, officials say more than 25,000 immigrants suspected of trying to enter the country illegally and seized more than 34,000 pounds of marijuana and 140 pounds of cocaine.

GOP Candidate For Governor Stockpiles CashThe Associated Press

Congressman Steve Pearce's campaign for governor of New Mexico says it has collected about $1.6 million over the past six months, including transfers from a federal campaign account.

Pearce is the only candidate for the Republican nomination. He reported in a news release Monday that his campaign has stockpiled about $2.1 million in cash. Detailed campaign finance statements were not yet available through the Secretary of State's Office ahead of an evening deadline.

Pearce's campaign received an infusion of $784,000 in November from a federal campaign account. That money was raised prior to his candidacy for governor.

Republican New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez cannot run for a third consecutive term in November. The Democratic nomination is being sought by U.S. Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham, former media executive Jeff Apodaca and state Sen. Joseph Cervantes.

Rancher Couple Settles Lawsuit Against 3 New Mexico OfficersThe Associated Press & The Deming Headlight

A ranch couple's defamation lawsuit against New Mexico State Police officers who were members of Gov. Susana Martinez's security team has been settled.

The Deming Headlight reports filing in Sixth Judicial District Court entered last week show that Scott and Colette Chandler settled their lawsuit against three New Mexico State Police officers.

But Scott Chandler says the settlement terms have been sealed for six months.

The Chandlers filed the suit against the three officers after a June 2014 dispute in Deming. The Chandlers claimed defamation and assault after they were ejected from an event where the Republican governor was to appear.

The couple's Tierra Blanca Ranch had been the focus of national media reports in 2013 following allegations of abuse and neglect at the ranch.

No charges were filed against Chandler or Tierra Blanca Ranch.

Tuition Will Rise 3.5 Percent At New Mexico State UniversityLas Cruces Sun-News, Associated Press

Tuition will rise 3.5 percent next year for students at New Mexico State University.

The Las Cruces Sun-News reports the hike approved Friday by the Board of Regents came a week after regents said they didn't want to increase tuition as a means to get the university out of its financial struggles.

The annual cost to attend NMSU is now $7,122, for in-state, full-time undergraduate students.

With the approved increase, the cost will be $7,371 next school year.

The increase is expected to bring in $2.67 million after taking into account an expected decrease in enrollment.

Many of the university's financial woes stem from its inability to enroll and retain students.

This year's enrollment is about 14,500 students, down 3,500 students from its height in 2009.

Rancher Couple Settles Lawsuit Against 3 New Mexico OfficersDeming Headlight, Associated Press

A ranch couple's defamation lawsuit against New Mexico State Police officers who were members of Gov. Susana Martinez's security team has been settled.

The Deming Headlight reports filings in Sixth Judicial District Court entered last week show that Scott and Colette Chandler settled their lawsuit against three New Mexico State Police officers.

But Scott Chandler says the settlement terms have been sealed for six months.

The Chandlers filed the suit against the three officers after a June 2014 dispute in Deming. The Chandlers claimed defamation and assault after they were ejected from an event where the Republican governor was to appear.

The couple's Tierra Blanca Ranch had been the focus of national media reports in 2013 following allegations of abuse and neglect at the ranch.

No charges were filed against Chandler or Tierra Blanca Ranch.

Don Imus Ranch In Northern New Mexico Up For SaleSanta Fe New Mexican, Associated Press

The sprawling cattle ranch in northern New Mexico owned by controversial former radio host Don Imus is for sale.

The Santa Fe New Mexico reports real estate agent Craig Huitfeldt confirmed last week that the ranch is on the market.

The 2,400-acre ranch near the small community of Ribera, New Mexico, and about 45 miles east of Santa Fe has been used to benefit children afflicted by cancer.

It is listed at $19.9 million after Bell Tower Keller Williams Realty originally listed it as $35 million.

Imus and his wife founded the ranch in 1998. It has hosted children for nine-day visits during summer months.

The shock jock was fired from his radio show in 2007 after using a racial slur to refer to the Rutgers women's basketball team.

New Mexico Deadline Approaches For Campaign Finance ReportsAssociated Press

Candidates for governor and other public offices in New Mexico are filing their first election-year campaign finance reports that detail contributions and expenditures.

Monday evening is the deadline for candidates to make public their fundraising activities during the six-month period ending April 2. The mandatory report is the first of four ahead of June primary elections.

Republican Congressman and gubernatorial candidate Steve Pearce already reported an infusion of $784,000 to his gubernatorial campaign in November from a federal campaign account.

That money was raised by Pearce while in Congress. Contributors to Pearce's Congressional campaign account over the past decade include political committees run by Facebook, billionaire activists Charles and David Koch, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and Allsup's convenience stores founder Barbara Allsup.

Feds Investigating 3rd Eagle Shooting On Navajo NationFarmington Daily Times, Associated Press

Authorities say a third eagle has been shot and found with its tail feathers removed on the Navajo Nation.

The Daily Times of Farmington reports U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials are investigating the eagle shooting after the injured bird was found last week at the Navajo Agricultural Products Industry headquarters near Farmington.

The shooting comes after two eagles were shot — one fatally — on the Navajo Nation last month.

Gail Garber, executive director of the Albuquerque-based nonprofit Hawks Aloft, says the golden eagle underwent surgery at the Petroglyph Animal Hospital in Albuquerque.

Bald and golden eagles are protected by the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

Eagle parts and feathers are used in cultural and religious ceremonies in many Native American cultures.

State Police ID Hobbs Police Officer Involved In A ShootingAssociated Press

New Mexico State Police have released the name of a rookie Hobbs police officer who was involved in a shooting last month.

They say Hobbs police were trying to serve a warrant on a homicide suspect at a residence.

Investigators say the suspect — 37-year-old Jose Acosta — fled the residence and got into a vehicle.

Officer Isidro Urias Mora gave Acosta commands to get out of the vehicle.

Acosta ignored the commands and accelerated rapidly toward Mora.

Investigators say Mora believed he was about to be run over and fired shots, striking the vehicle.

Acosta lost control of the vehicle and drove into an electric pole and fence.

He was treated at the scene for minor injuries and arrested.

Mora has been with Hobbs police for about one year.

Cash-Strapped New Mexico County Asks City For AidGallup Independent, Associated Press

A financially troubled New Mexico county is asking its largest city to help fund its sheriff's office.

The Gallup Independent reports Cibola County formally asked the city of Grants for money to keep its sheriff's office operating for the rest of the year.

Cibola Board of Commissioners Chairman Robert Armijo and Sheriff Tony Mace pleaded with Grants City Council to give them $150,000 to keep the office running.

Mayor Martin "Modey" Hicks says the request is not a loan but a "donation."

The move comes as the cash-strapped county is in "crisis mode" after years of overspending and the recent discovery that it sent a bounced check to a for-profit prison company.

The county also is liquidating $3 million from a money market account with the Bank of New Mexico.

New Mexico District Eyes Spanish, Navajo Dual-Language PlanDaily Times, Associated Press

A school district in New Mexico's Four Corners region wants to have some students fluent in Spanish or Navajo by the time they graduate from high school.

The Daily Times in Farmington reports kindergartners in the Farmington Municipal School District next school year will have the chance to enroll in a dual-language program in Spanish or Diné.

The Diné class will be taught at Apache Elementary School, while Spanish will be taught at McCormick Elementary School.

Superintendent Gene Schmidt says the district hopes to expand the programs to other schools. The first year will feature a 20-student kindergarten class at Apache and another 20-student class at McCormick.

By the time the kindergartners reach fourth grade, half of the day's instruction will be taught in Spanish or Diné, and the other half will be in English.

Test Shows Weapon Systems Can Work Together To Target ThreatAssociated Press

U.S. military officials are claiming success with a recent exercise involving two separate weapons systems working together to track a simulated threat over the New Mexico desert.

The Missile Defense Agency and the U.S. Army announced the results Friday.

The Terminal High Altitude Area Defense weapon system and the PATRIOT system were able to track the target after it was launched from White Sands Missile Range and exchange messages through tactical data links.

The director of the Missile Defense Agency, Lt. Gen. Samuel Greaves, says the two systems are important components of the nation's multilayered ballistic missile defense system and that it's critical they can communicate with one another.

U.S. Army soldiers from the 69th Air Defense Artillery Brigade from Fort Hood, Texas, participated in the exercise.

New Mexico To Honor Bataan March VeteransAssociated Press

The New Mexico National Guard and New Mexico Department of Veterans Services will honor veterans on the 76th anniversary of the surrender of Bataan in the Pacific theater during World War II.

The ceremony will be Monday in Santa Fe. A reception will follow at the New Mexico National Guard Museum.

Outnumbered and poorly supplied, more than 1,800 New Mexico National Guardsmen of the 200th and 515th Coast Artillery Regiments fought for months to hold back the Japanese.

On April 9, 1942, they were forced by the U.S. Command to surrender and went on to endure a 65-mile march to prison camps in what became known as the Bataan Death March.

About 900 New Mexicans survived and returned home.

Officials say only 11 of the Bataan survivors are still living.

New Mexico Border Wall Work To Begin MondayAssociated Press

Work will begin soon to replace existing vehicle barriers along the U.S.-Mexico border in southern New Mexico with a new bollard wall.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced that a groundbreaking near the Santa Teresa port of entry on Monday will mark the official start of construction along a 20-mile stretch of the border.

The $73 million contract for the work was awarded to a Montana company in February.

With a new wall, federal officials say agents working in southern New Mexico will be better equipped to stop drug trafficking and illegal crossings in the area.

Environmentalists have sued over the project, saying the federal government overstepped its authority in waiving laws as a way to speed construction. A federal judge recently sided with the government in a similar case in California.

Sessions Orders 'Zero Tolerance' Policy For Border CrossersAssociated Press

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has ordered a "zero tolerance" policy aimed at people entering the United States illegally for the first time on the Mexican border.

His directive Friday tells federal prosecutors in border states to put more emphasis on charging people with illegal entry, which has historically been treated as a misdemeanor offense for those with few or no previous encounters with border authorities. Smugglers and repeat offenders are usually charged with more serious crimes.

Sessions tells prosecutors to ask for additional resources if needed to prosecute cases. As a model, he points to a Border Patrol effort launched in 2005 that typically resulted in a conviction and short time in jail.

Last week, Sessions established quotas for immigration judges to reduce court backlogs.

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