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This Hour: Latest New Mexico news, sports, business and entertainment

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Heavy rain soaks southern New Mexico

LOVING, N.M. (AP) - Parts of southern New Mexico are seeing nearly a year's worth of rain in just one day thanks to intense storms.

The Carlsbad Current-Argus reports that forecasters say Loving picked up 8 inches of rain by Friday afternoon.

According to the Western Regional Climate Center, the area south of Carlsbad typically gets 10 inches annually.

National Weather Service officials say between 6 and 7 inches of rain fell east of Carlsbad near Monument. Meteorologists say more rain and cooler temperatures are likely Saturday afternoon.

In southcentral New Mexico, rain flooded some streets Friday between Alamorosa and Tularosa.

The Alamogordo Daily News reports that 1 ½ inches of rain fell in Tularosa and other areas received 2 ½ inches.

A flash flood watch expired Saturday morning.


Companies tied to Spaceport up for space contract

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - Two of the three companies competing for more than $3 billion to launch space tourism flights have ties to southern New Mexico's Spaceport America.

The Albuquerque Journal reported Saturday that SpaceX, Boeing Co. and a rocket system supplier for Virgin Galactic are vying for the lucrative contract to take astronauts to the International Space Station by 2017 in "space taxis."

Spaceport is where Virgin Galactic plans to launch its first space-tourism flights at a cost of $200,000 per person.

SpaceX also has a contract with Spaceport America.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is expected to announce the award of the contract later this month.

NASA officials, however, say they may choose more than one company.


Advocates to protest Albuquerque police contest

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - Advocates are planning to protest outside a shooting range where Albuquerque is hosting a police shooting contest.

The group Albuquerque Justice is scheduled Saturday to hold a rally outside the range after city officials declined to cancel the competition.

The city and its police department are hosting the National Rifle Association competition from Saturday to Wednesday for law enforcement members who can "select to fire in just one match or fire in all of the championship match events."

In recent months, the city has been rocked by angry protests and a U.S. Justice Department investigation over more than 40 police shootings since 2010.

Another protest is slated for Sunday where advocates say they will use water guns at a park.


Authorities: 2 inmates escape from New Mexico jail

SILVER CITY, N.M. (AP) - Authorities are searching for two jail inmates who have escaped from the Grant County Detention Center in New Mexico.

County authorities say Adam Martinez and Tyler Cole escaped sometime after 9 p.m. Thursday.

Detention center officials tell KOB-TV they believe the men removed a panel from the ceiling and climbed up into it.

They then allegedly followed a pipe channel in the roof and left the facility through a maintenance door.

Officers say they found a sheet hanging from the missing panel in the ceiling and clothing left behind by the inmates.

Martinez was arrested on Aug. 14 in Silver City for resisting arrest, trespassing and evading an officer.

Cole was arrested on May 5 on a failure-to-appear warrant and was scheduled to be transported to a rehabilitation facility.


Carlsbad police arrest 3 in school bomb threats

CARLSBAD, N.M. (AP) - Police in Carlsbad have arrested three students in separate bomb threat cases.

The Carlsbad Current-Argus reports that two students were taken into custody Friday evening for allegedly making bomb threats earlier in the day at Carlsbad Intermediate School.

Police say the school's P.R. Leyva campus was evacuated around 9 a.m. and it was the second bomb threat there in as many days.

One student faces two counts of a bomb hoax and the other one count. Each has also been charged with disruption of the educational process.

Authorities on Friday also arrested a 15-year-old boy accused of making a bomb threat at Carlsbad High School on Sept. 5.

The boy is currently awaiting arraignment in Eddy County on one charge of making an unlawful bomb scare.


Santa Fe burglary caught on cell video sentenced

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - A serial burglar caught on cellphone video breaking into a Santa Fe home has been sentenced to prison.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reported Friday that 20-year-old Dariush Esfandi received a 4 ½-year sentence as part of a plea deal.

Esfandi pleaded guilty Thursday to attempted burglary and burglary in exchange for other charges being dropped.

According to court documents, Esfandi was already on probation for home burglary and larceny convictions in January, when a homeowner filmed him trying to break into her house.

Police arrested him a month later while he was allegedly leaving another home with several stolen items.

He will get credit for time already served while awaiting trial.

Following his sentence, he will remain on probation for 6 ½ years.


FBI searching for man who robbed Albuquerque bank

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - Authorities are searching for a man who robbed an Albuquerque bank at gunpoint.

FBI spokesman Frank Fisher says a man with a bandanna covering his face entered the BBVA Compass Bank in northeast Albuquerque just after 9 a.m. Friday.

Witnesses say the man wielded a small, semi-automatic handgun at a teller and demanded money.

The suspect left with an undisclosed amount of cash and got into a light-colored Dodge extended cab pickup truck with a turquoise New Mexico license plate.

He is described as dark-skinned, in his 20s, about 150 pounds and between 5-foot-7 and 5-foot-10.

Authorities say he was wearing a black hoodie with a gray skull design on the chest, gray or blue jeans and black sneakers.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the FBI.


'Breaking Bad' actor to host show at former school

PORTALES, N.M. (AP) - "Breaking Bad" actor Steven Michael Quezada is going back to his former school.

Quezada is scheduled to return to Eastern New Mexico University on Monday for a comedy act. The show is a kickoff event for the university's Hispanic Heritage Month.

The 51-year-old actor says the three years he spent at the school helped him as a writer and later as a stand-up comedian.

"Breaking Bad," which ended last year and was filmed in Albuquerque, followed former high school teacher Walter White, played by Bryan Cranston. White produced methamphetamine with a former student, Jesse Pinkman, played by Aaron Paul.

Quezada, currently a board member of Albuquerque Public Schools, played federal drug agent Steven Gomez on the show.


Judge critical of county for 2012 election delays

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - A federal judge has ordered Sandoval County to provide adequate voting machines for the general election to prevent long delays for voters as happened two years ago.

U.S. District Court Judge William Johnson on Friday directed county elections officials to follow a plan adopted by county commissioners for allocating voting machines.

Some voters in Rio Rancho waited more than five hours to vote in 2012. The judge said the election in the community "was widely recognized as a complete disaster" because there weren't enough polling places and voting machines.

His order came in a lawsuit by Republican candidates.

The judge was sharply critical of county elections administrators and he issued an injunction to prevent them from deviating from the commission's plan for allocating voting machines and designating polling sites.


Jemez Pueblo frustrated over highway dispute

JEMEZ PUEBLO, N.M. (AP) - Jemez Pueblo leaders who are tired of seeing traffic speed through their northern New Mexico village say they are considering either bulldozing a popular state highway or putting up toll booths.

Pueblo Gov. Joshua Madalena tells the Associated Press the tribe has been seeking state and federal funding for a 5-mile bypass project for the past 60 years, but those efforts have not been successful.

He says the federal government just recently turned down the pueblo's latest application.

As a result, Madalena says he needs to take action to ensure families who live along the much-traveled national scenic byway are safe.

State officials did not immediately return a message seeking comment Friday evening.

The tribe estimates the bypass project would cost about $26 million.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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