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The Daily Bulletin

Martinez re-elected; Republicans take NM House

The Republican wave reached New Mexico on Election Night.
On a night when the Republicans grabbed control of the U.S. Senate, Gov. Susana Martinez was re-elected after a campaign against Democrat opponent Attorney General Gary King.
In U.S. Representative District 2, Republican Steve Pearce held on to his seat against Roxanne Lara.
The big news, though, came in the races that shaped a new face for the state House of Representatives. Multiple reports show the Republicans have seemingly taken the majority in the House for the first time since the 1950s.
“It appears that six seats in the House of Representatives flipped from one party to the other — with five seats switching from Democrat to Republican and one seat going from Republican to Democrat,” watchdog.org reports. “If it holds, the plus-4 swing flips the majority in the House from 37-33 Democrats to 37-33 Republican.”
No state Senate races were up for grabs Tuesday so Democrats still hold a 25-17 advantage there.
Follow this link to see all the current results posted on the Doña Ana County Clerk’s website: https://donaanacounty.org/LiveElectionResults.
Follow this link to see the current results posted by the New Mexico Secretary of State’s office: http://electionresults.sos.state.nm.us/.

Upgrade changes coming to FirstLight Federal Credit Union

FirstLight Federal Credit Union is upgrading and improving its technology systems during the weekend of Friday, October 31. As part of an ongoing transition to a new system, members can expect some short-term inconveniences through Monday, November 3. While credit union officials are focused on keeping the interruptions to a minimum, some services will experience temporary delays at all El Paso and Las Cruces locations, as well as online.
As FirstLight transitions to this new system, there will be some planned, short-term impact. A major transition to the new system requires a temporary disruption to some services or access. “Over the weekend starting October 31, members will see their access to our online and mobile banking impacted,” according to Mark Hamid, Vice President of Branches. “Members will not be able to access their account on our mobile and online banking applications, but we will be working hard behind the scenes to minimize the duration of these interruptions.”
Account holders are advised to visit FirstLight’s website at www.firstlightfcu.org/upgrade for up-to-date information on the status of the systems. They are also invited to contact FirstLight at 915-562-1172 in El Paso, 575-526-4401 in Las Cruces or toll free at 1-800-351-1670 on Saturday, November 1 from 9 am to 1 pm and on Monday, November 3 from 9 am to 6 pm, if they are having a personal challenge or problem.
President/CEO Karl Murphy stated, “Our members deserve a reliable system, but equally important, a system that allows our employees to work more efficiently for our members. FirstLight members deserve not only fast, friendly, and accurate transactions, they also deserve quality decision-making advice.” He added that FirstLight is taking a major step in upgrading its technology to better serve the members and employees of FirstLight Federal Credit Union in the El Paso, TX and Las Cruces, NM communities.
After listening to their member-owners, FirstLight recognized the need to be more responsive and available to their members. After a rigorous search, FirstLight chose a system that has proven to be more flexible and, most importantly, more reliable for its customers.
On Tuesday morning, November 4, all systems are scheduled to not only return to normal, but will allow FirstLight to provide higher levels of member service.
FirstLight Federal Credit Union is a member owned $800M+ financial cooperative that provides the communities of El Paso, TX and Las Cruces, NM with high quality and low cost consumer and business banking products and services. With over 59 years of experience, FirstLight focuses on helping families and business navigate their complicated financial lives with quality products and professional advice.]

Santa Fe deputy held on shooting incident of slain fellow deputy

A Santa Fe County sheriff’s deputy is dead and another in custody following an early-morning shooting at Hotel Encanto in Las Cruces.
One of the deputies, a 27-year-old man, is being interviewed by Las Cruces Police detectives. Charges are pending.
Jeremy Martin, 29, was pronounced dead at MountainView Regional Medical Center.
Las Cruces Police investigators have learned that the deputies were passing through Las Cruces after transporting a prisoner to a detention facility in Arizona. As the two were on their return trip to Santa Fe they rented a room just before 4 p.m. Monday, Oct. 27, at Hotel Encanto, 705 S. Telshor Blvd. Sometime Monday evening the two deputies went to Dublin’s Street Pub, at 1745 E. University Ave., where it’s believed they consumed alcohol and got into an argument.
At around midnight, or shortly thereafter, the two returned to Hotel Encanto and to their 7th Floor room. The argument between the two quickly escalated and the 27-year-old deputy is believed to have fired several rounds from a semi-automatic weapon at Martin. Evidence indicates that the 27-year-old fired several rounds as Martin attempted to flee the 7th Floor and enter an elevator.
Shortly before 12:30 a.m. Tuesday, Las Cruces Police were dispatched to the shooting and arrived to find Martin bleeding profusely just outside the elevator in the hotel lobby. Officers rushed Martin to MountainView Regional Medical Center but attempts to save his life were unsuccessful. Martin had several gunshot wounds to his back and arms.
Meanwhile, LCPD officers at Hotel Encanto began the challenging task of looking for the shooter who was still believed to be in the seven-story hotel. Officers subsequently located the deputy in a stairwell near the roof of the hotel. He was taken into custody without further incident.
Martin’s next of kin have been notified as well as officials with the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office. The investigation is ongoing. Additional information will be released as it becomes available.

Minimum wage defined

This much became clear in the Las Cruces City Council work session Monday, Oct. 27: The city’s minimum wage will increase to $8.40 an hour starting Jan. 1, 2015. Whether it keeps being raised in the next two following years to eventually $10.10 an hour – and indexed to inflation afterwards – will depend on variety of factors. For more, see the Las Cruces Bulletin’s full story Friday, Oct. 31, for more.

Kenny Rogers to play at Las Cruces Country Music Festival

The Gambler is coming to Las Cruces
The Convention and Visitors Bureau reports that country music legend Kenny Rogers is scheduled to perform at the Las Cruces Country Music Festival April 24-26, 2015, in downtown Las Cruces.
Rogers had a runaway hit with the song “The Gambler” released in 1978 and then starred in multiple movies with the same name. The three-time Grammy award winner has charted 24 No. 1 songs including “Lady,” “Lucille,” “She Believes in Me,” “Islands in the Stream,” and others.
This year the Las Cruces Country Music Festival featured The Charlie Daniels Band. More information can be found online at www.lascrucescountrymusic.com.

Citizens Bank president Justin Harper dies

Justin Harper, president and CEO of Citizens Bank of Las Cruces since 1996, died Monday, Oct. 13, at his home. He was 68.
Tom Hutchinson, chairman of the board of directors for Citizens Bank, said that Harper had fallen ill in the past week with “flu-like symptoms” and his health worsened and he passed away late Monday night. “This was very much unexpected,” Hutchinson said.
George Ruth, senior vice president of the bank, has been named interim president.
Harper joined Citizens Bank in 1988 as a senior vice president. In 1993 he was appointed executive vice president of the bank and joined the board of directors. His tenure as president and CEO began in 1996.
“His colleagues would say he was one of the most solid bankers in the region,” Hutchinson said. “He was well respected by colleagues and peers alike.
“He will be missed,” Hutchinson said. “He was loved by his Citizens Bank family”
Service arrangements are pending.

Aggies center sits with foot injury as basketball practice starts

“Chili” will have to chill on the bench for a little bit.
New Mexico State University started mens basketball practice on Monday, but senior center Tschilidzi “Chili” Nephawe had to watch the action from the side of the court with a pair of crutches nearby.
Nephawe has what head coach Marvin Menzies called a minor foot injury.
“He’ll be back on the floor real soon,” Menzies said. “It was something that required some rest.”
Nephawe, a 6-10 native of Johannesburg, South Africa, was the team’s third-leading scorer last season with an average of 11.1 points per game. He tied with Sim Bhullar – NMSU’s former 7-5 post who is now trying to break into the NBA with the Sacramento Kings – to lead the team with 7.8 rebounds per game last year. The Aggies went 26-10 last season and won the WAC postseason tournament for the third year in a row. They lost in the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament to San Diego State.
NMSU’s first game this season is Nov. 14 at Wichita State. The Aggies first home game is Nov. 19 against Northern Colorado.

Animal Services Center offers October special for pit bull owners

The Animal Services Center of the Mesilla Valley is extending a discounted rate for Doña Ana County owners of pit bull terriers to promote responsible dog ownership and reduce the number of puppies that are surrendered to the shelter.
During the month of October, pit bull owners can have their dog(s) spayed or neutered, microchipped and vaccinated against rabies for $30.
Pit bull terriers are one of the most common breeds seen at the shelter, and contribute greatly to the number of dogs that are euthanized every week. Since May 2008, the shelter has taken in more than 11,000 pit bull terriers. Of those, about 60 percent were euthanized. Only 767 were adopted out and an additional 385 were sent to pit bull rescue organizations.
Anyone who would like to schedule an appointment to have their pit bull spayed/neutered, microchipped and vaccinated can call the shelter for an appointment at (575) 382-0018.

Denny's to celebrate remodeling

Denny’s in Las Cruces will celebrate its recent remodeling by serving up an all-day Grand Celebration on Thursday, Oct. 9, beginning at 8 a.m. Located at 740 S. Main St., the newly-renovated restaurant offers diners a first look at its all-new, locally-inspired design and updated features.
Denny’s has undergone an extensive top-to-bottom interior renovation, complete with a hint of Las Cruces flavor. The recently-reopened diner will feature an exclusive Las Cruces mural, in addition to updated booths, chairs and tables. Modern wall accents, hardwood floor tiles, a fresh coat of paint and landscaping ensure guests will enjoy an all-new Denny’s from every angle.
To kick off the grand re-opening festivities, Denny’s will offer select diner classics at a reduced price from 8 a.m. For only $1.99, guests can enjoy Denny’s Everyday Value Slam®, which includes two buttermilk pancakes, two eggs cooked to order and two bacon strips or sausage links. Incredible values will also be available during lunch, dinner and anytime in between with $3.99 Classic Burger & Fries and $5.99 Country-Fried Steak dinner. Hundreds of additional prizes, including complimentary cups of Denny’s new signature coffee blends for one month with the purchase of a limited-edition Denny’s mug, will be given away during the celebration.
“Today’s reopening is not only an exciting day for the residents of Las Cruces, but for all of us at Denny’s, as well,” said Doug Koch, Denny’s franchisee. “We’ve been a key part of this community for many years, and we couldn’t think of a better way to thank our friends and neighbors for their continued support than with a Grand Celebration.”

Country warns of flood clean-up scams

Following heavy rainfall that drenched most of Doña Ana County this past week, county officials remind residents to be cautious about companies offering low-cost cleanup services or solicitors for flood-related charities.
Financial contributions should only be made to the American Red Cross, or any other organization that can provide proper credentials with a photo ID. Anyone who suspects a scammer should contact the Doña Ana County Sheriff’s Office and report as much information on the person soliciting services or funds.
If residents are in doubt, a call can also be made to the Better Business Bureau’s Las Cruces office, (575) 524-3130.

Sandbags available at Las Cruces fire stations

The National Weather Service is calling for continued rain in the Las Cruces area through the weekend. Storms and thunderstorms could produce heavy rain at times and dangerous lightning.
In the event of localized flooding, the Las Cruces Fire Department is making sandbags available to Las Cruces residents. The number of sandbags is limited to 10 per homeowner. They are intended to keep water from entering a dwelling so they should be placed around doorways and other entrances that are susceptible to flooding.
The sandbags are not intended to protect landscaping or vegetation.
Las Cruces residents may pick up sandbags at any of the following fire stations:
Station No. 1: 201 E Picacho Ave.
Station No. 2: 1199 E. Foster Road
Station No. 3: 390 N. Valley Drive
Station No. 4: 2802 E. Missouri Ave.
Station No. 5: 5998 Bataan Memorial East
Station No. 6: 2750 Northrise Drive

Andele Restaurante’s Traditional Salsa takes top prize during annual Battle of the Salsas

After several hundred fairgoers sampled and voted, it was a new-to-market salsa that came out on top of the competition in this year’s Battle of the Salsas at the 2014 New Mexico State Fair.
Participants – some whose youth belies the fortitude of their taste buds – cast their ballots after dunking tortilla chips in each of 33 salsas made commercially across the state. After the votes were tallied Saturday, Andele Restaurante’s Traditional Salsa was named the people’s choice.
While the restaurant has been in business for nearly 20 years in Mesilla near Las Cruces, Andele has only recently begun packaging its salsa in jars for sale elsewhere.
Cindy’s Yummy & Healthy Salsa took second place, while third place went to Ol’ Gringo Chile Company.
Each salsa company was presented with a handcrafted silver Battle of the Salsas belt buckle from the New Mexico Chile Commission, which sponsors the always-popular event. The event is hosted by the New Mexico Department of Agriculture (NMDA).
“Battle of the Salsas is a fun way for people to try some of the best New Mexico has to offer,” said NMDA Deputy Director Anthony Parra, who announced the winners Saturday. “It’s meant to encourage people to try other foods grown or made across the state.”
Battle of the Salsas is an annual contest open to all New Mexico-made, commercially produced salsas available for sale in the New Mexico Country Store. Located in the Agriculture Building on the fairgrounds, the Country Store was created 23 years ago as a place for people to discover New Mexico foods such as salsas and other chile products, spice mixes, baked goods, jams and jellies, candies, fresh produce, nuts, honey, teas, and more. The Country Store is open each day of the fair from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Forbes ranks NMSU as one of America’s Top Colleges

Forbes has recognized New Mexico State University as one of America’s Top Colleges in 2014. On the list of 650 institutions, NMSU ranked 442 overall, 104 in the South, 135 in best public research and 165 in best national research.
For the seventh year, Forbes and Washington, D.C.-based Center for College Affordability and Productivity joined to create a return on investment-focused ranking structure. Forbes and CCAP utilized five weighted categories to calculate the rankings: student satisfaction (25 percent), post-graduate success (32.5 percent), student debt (25 percent), graduation rate (7.5 percent) and academic success (10 percent). For more details on ranking methodology, visit http://www.forbes.com/sites/carolinehoward/2014/07/30/americas-top-colleges-2014/.
In addition, NMSU recently ranked 104 on the Washington Monthly National Universities list for 2014. The Center for World University Rankings listed NMSU at No. 467 on their 2014 rankings, which placed NMSU in the top 2.2 percent among the more than 22,000 degree-granting institutions of higher education worldwide.

Las Cruces City Council OKs $10.10 minimum wage

In an odd split vote Monday, Sept. 8, the Las Cruces City Council approved a proposal to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 by 2017, avoiding a special election on the question.
The Comunidades en Acción y de Fé (CAFé) voter initiative proposal would first raise the minimum wage to $8.40 per hour in 2015, $9.20 in 2016 and $10.10 in 2017. The minimum wage then would be indexed to inflation in following years.
The City Council had previously approved raising the minimum wage to $8.50 by 2016, in conflict with the CAFé proposal.
Councillors Olga Pedroza, Nathan Small and Gill Sorg, who supported the CAFé proposal, voted against it in order to let voters decide. Councillors Miguel Silva and Ceil Levatino and Mayor Pro Tem Greg Smith voted for the CAFé to avoid the special election, leaving Mayor Ken Miyagishima the swing vote again. He voted yes, as he had also done with the $8.50 proposal.
The task ahead now for the council is to reconcile the conflicting ordinances, which fall under different sections of the municipal code.

Patriot Day events set for Sept. 11

The Las Cruces police and fire departments will host a Patriot Day Ceremony Thursday in remembrance of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the United States and the 421 first responders who died that day in the line of duty.
The Patriot Day Ceremony will begin at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 11, at Albert Johnson Park, near the corner of Main Street and Picacho Avenue in Las Cruces.
David Levine, a retired New York City police officer who was part of the Sept. 11 response to the World Trade Center, will be the keynote speaker during the ceremony. Levine now resides in Las Cruces and teaches criminal justice at New Mexico State University’s Dona Ana Community College.
The public is invited to attend the Patriot Day Ceremony. Seating is limited so attendees are encouraged to bring a lawn chair or blanket. The ceremony is expected to last about one hour. Guests may park in Las Cruces City Hall’s parking garage or in the lot immediately west of City Hall.

Oñate football defeats Eastlake 21-14

The game did not last a full 48 minutes, but the outcome was just as sweet for the Oñate High football team.
Thursday, Sept. 4 at the Field of Dreams, the Knights picked up their first win of the season with a lightning-shortened 21-14 victory against Eastlake (El Paso).
The win was the first for first-year head coach Brent Jaquess.
The game was delayed twice due to Mother Nature – once in the second quarter and again with a little more than three minutes left in the fourth. The contest never resumed as officials determined it would not be safe to return to action.
Oñate (1-1) took the final lead with 9:12 left in the game when running back Matthew Guerra took the ball across the goal line on a short carry. Guerra also started the game’s scoring with touchdown run in the first quarter that gave the host Knights a 7-0 advantage.
Eastlake tied the game in the second quarter and both teams eventually entered the locker rooms at halftime knotted at 7-7. The visiting Falcons jumped ahead 14-7 in the third quarter, but the Knights answered when quarterback Fabian Reyes kept the ball and ran 39 yards up the middle for the Knights’ second touchdown.
Oñate next plays at 1 p.m., Saturday Sept. 13 at home against Cleveland High from Rio Rancho.

Annual NMSU-UTEP rivalry blood drive to begin Sept. 8

New Mexico State University’s annual I-10 College Coalition Blood Drive, in partnership with University of Texas-El Paso will accept donations from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 8, through Friday, Sept. 12.
The organizers will announce the amount of blood gathered between the two schools during halftime at the Sept. 13 NMSU vs. UTEP game in El Paso.
“Blood donation is an important part of our health care system,” said Lori McKee, NMSU’s executive director of health and wellness. “Each day, countless lives are saved because people give of themselves through blood donation.”
One unit of blood is estimated to save around three lives and NMSU is one of the largest blood donors in the area. Over the last six years, this blood drive has raised 3,478 units of blood on the NMSU campus, saving about 10,434 lives. Currently, the regional blood supply is severely low.
“It is important to come together as a community to help one another,” said Monique Hilverding, donor recruitment representative of United Blood Services. “It takes 175 blood donations every day to meet the needs of local patients and to be ready for emergencies.”
Those unable to make the campus blood drive hours may stop by the United Blood Services bank at 1200 Commerce Drive and donate.
In addition to the drive, this year NMSU will be hosting a “Twilight” marathon, beginning Sept. 6. Screenings will take place in the Corbett Center Auditorium and were made possible by NMSU Student Affairs and Enrollment Management.
Attending a screening allows students to enter a drawing for a spirit pack. The spirit pack contains two tickets to the NMSU vs. UTEP game, two T-shirts and two passes for skipping the wait line at donation stations around campus. Students may enter once for every movie they attend.
Students that donate blood may also enter to win a second spirit pack, which includes two tickets to the game and two T-shirts. Showtimes are:
Saturday, Sept. 6: Twilight- 6 p.m. New Moon- 8:30 p.m.
Sunday, Sept. 7: Eclipse- 1 p.m. Breaking Dawn I- 3:30 p.m. Breaking Dawn II- 7 p.m.

LCHS football steamrolls El Paso Montwood 44-18

Defending state champion Las Cruces Bulldawgs opened their high school football season with a bang.
The Dawgs scored 37-first-half points on their way to a 44-18 takedown of Montwood High (El Paso). LCHS outscored Montwood 23-0 in the second quarter.
Junshiro Molinar finished the game with three touchdowns for the Dawgs while quarterback Kameron Miller threw two touchdown passes, including a 57 yarder to Cody Murillo on LCHS’ first possession to give the Dawgs a 7-6 advantage and the lead for good.
LCHS rolled to nearly 300 yards of offense in the first half alone.
The Bulldawgs (1-0) next play on Friday, Sept. 5 at home against La Cueva.

Centennial football dominates Oñate 42-10

The Centennial High Hawks jumped out to an early 14-3 lead against the Oñate High Knights and went on to roll to a 42-10 victory in the cross-town showdown on Friday, Aug. 29.
After Oñate cut the score to 14-10 in the second quarter, Centennial punched the ball into the endzone with 12 seconds left to take a 21-10 lead into the locker rooms at halftime. The Hawks (1-0) outscored the Knights 21-0 in the second half.
Hawks QB Cristian Cedano threw for three touchdown passes, including a 79-yarder in the second quarter to receiver Bryce Rewalt.
Oñate quarterback Fabian Reyes scored his team’s sole touchdown on a keeper.

LCHS football steamrolls El Paso Montwood 44-18

Defending state champion Las Cruces Bulldawgs opened their high school football season with a bang.
The Dawgs scored 37-first-half points on their way to a 44-18 takedown of Montwood High (El Paso). LCHS outscored Montwood 23-0 in the second quarter.
Junshiro Molinar finished the game with three touchdowns for the Dawgs while quarterback Kameron Miller threw two touchdown passes, including a 57 yarder to Cody Murillo on LCHS’ first possession to give the Dawgs a 7-6 advantage and the lead for good.
LCHS rolled to nearly 300 yards of offense in the first half alone.
The Bulldawgs (1-0) next play on Friday, Sept. 5 at home against La Cueva.

Aggie football tops Cal Poly in home opener

In the first half of New Mexico State University’s opening football game against Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, the Aggie defense had a heck of a time wrangling in the Mustangs’ option offense.
In the second half, though, NMSU stiffened and forced Cal Poly into another option - a few passing attempts – which failed miserably.
The result was a 28-10 victory for the home Aggies.
In front of an announced crowd of 13,772, NMSU gained 315 total yards while allowing Cal-Poly 265 yards. After taking a halftime lead of 14-10 into the locker room, NMSU’s young defense – the team started three freshmen on that side of the ball – stiffened and shutout the Mustangs through the final two quarters.
Making his first start, sophomore quarterback Tyler Rogers went 18-of-27 for 118 yards through the air with two touchdowns and one interception.
Even more impressive, the Aggies chewed up the artificial grass at Aggie Memorial Stadium to the tune of 197 yards on the ground.
Freshman Larry Rose III started his season off with a bang as he led the way with 150 yards on the ground on 30 carries. Rose scored twice, once on the ground and another on a touchdown catch. Redshirt sophomore Teldrick Morgan led the receivers with six catches for 51 yards and a touchdown.
On defense, freshman linebacker Derek Ibekwe pointed the way with 14 tackles and half a sack. Fellow linebacker Rodney Butler also had double-digit tackles, 11, and recorded a sack.
NMSU kicked off the 2014 season with an 11-play, 75-yard drive that culminated in a 30-yard touchdown pass from Rogers to Morgan.
Cal-Poly answered with an 11-play drive of its own, helped by a personal foul penalty. The Mustangs, running the option smoothly, knotted the score.
Front that point on, though, the Aggies outscored their guests 21-3.
In the second quarter, senior cornerback Winston Rose intercepted a pass from Cal-Poly quarterback Chris Brown and returned it 10 yards to the NMSU 37-yard line. The Aggies capitalized on their first takeaway of the season by rattling off a 63-yard drive capped by a one-yard touchdown run by Las Cruces High product Xavier Hall as NMSU the lead for good.
Hall finished with 22 yards on the ground while Mayfield High alum Brandon Betancourt was NMSU’s second-leading rusher with 42 yards.
In the second half, the Aggies continued to pound the ball and on a 2nd-and-goal, Rose picked up his first touchdown on a pass from Rogers. NMSU capped the scoring in the fourth quarter when Rose again took the ball across the goal line to set the final score at 28-10.
NMSU (1-0) travels to Atlanta next week to face Sun Belt Conference foe Georgia State. The game is set for a noon kickoff (MT) in the Georgia Dome.

Scam: Courts not calling about warrants

At least three Doña Ana County residents – and many others nationwide – have reported receiving phone calls threatening them with arrest for failure to report for jury duty or respond to a court summons, then seeking money and/or personal information to clear the arrest warrant.
Third Judicial District Court Chief Judge Fernando Macias said the phone calls are a scam, and should be reported to authorities immediately.
“Courts in the State of New Mexico do not request personal information – such as Social Security numbers, credit-card information, dates of birth, etc. – by telephone,” Macias said. “Our work is done by first-class mail and in person here at the court. Anyone with a question about whether they should report for jury duty or tend to a warrant should call the municipal, magistrate and/or district courts to request clarification. We do not recommend giving out any personal information over the phone.”

County adds constituent service person

Doña Ana County Manager Julia T. Brown has announced the formation of a new division of her office to respond in a timely fashion to constituent concerns and complaints, as well as to facilitate community meetings and to assist individual members of the Doña Ana County Board of Commissioners in their ongoing outreach efforts.
The Office of Community and Constituent Services will be headed by longtime Doña Ana County employee – and former Undersheriff – Edward Lerma.
The office, Lerma said, will provide an improved pathway to address areas of concern while consistently facilitating clear lines of communication and feedback. The office, he said, will handle issues ranging from road concerns and animal control to expedited service provisions and complaints or concerns related to work done in the field by county personnel.
“Working directly with the county manager, the individual commissioners, the constituents and department heads, the goal of this office will be to identify and resolve issues as they arise in a manner that is as expedited as possible,” Lerma said. “It will be a challenge, but I love a good challenge, and I’m excited to launch this initiative with the confidence of the county manager.” Brown said creation of the Office of Community and Constituent Services is designed to enhance the ability of the five county commissioners to be responsive to a vast range of needs and concerns as they arise.
“The commission districts are large and diverse,” she said, “and the county’s past efforts to assist the commissioners and their constituents have not gone far enough or been effective enough. It is my vision that by centralizing the response duties, we can improve both response and communication in both directions.”

Sheriff warns of phone scam

A tip was called in to the Doña Ana County Sheriff’s Office Friday, June 20, from a woman who reported that she was the target of a scam that used the sheriff’s office by name.
According to the victim, a man claiming to be a Doña Ana County Sheriff’s deputy called the woman to inform her she had warrants for her arrest. In order to clear the warrants, the victim was reportedly told she had to call a phone number with a 904 area code to pay the so-called fines with either a credit or debit card.
The victim further stated that her caller ID listed the man’s phone number as (575) 525-1911, the same number as the sheriff’s office main headquarters in Las Cruces.
The Doña Ana County Sheriff’s Office does not notify anyone by phone if they have a warrant, and would never ask for any type of payment over the phone.
An actual sheriff’s deputy called the 904 number Friday and spoke to a man with a Middle-Eastern accent who said he was with Federal Claims Court.
Research done by the sheriff’s office discovered that Federal Claims Court does not exist, but another government agency – the U.S. Court of Federal Claims – hears monetary claims against the United States.
Investigators with the Criminal Investigations Division warn anyone that it is dangerous to give personal or financial information over the phone to anyone you do not know.

To report any corrections, please contact the Las Cruces Bulletin at