A major fire has broken out in Ruidoso, New Mexico this afternoon. KFYO News has independently learned that 7 structures have burned and K-Bob’s Restaurant and the Wal-Mart in Ruidoso have been evacuated. The Las Cruces Sun-News reports that the fire broke out behind the Ruidoso Travel Lodge on US Highway 70 after 3 o’clock Mountain time today. Police are searching for a person of interest. Other areas evacuated this evening are the Swallow, Wood Lane, Lark, Mockingbird and Turkey Canyon area of Ruidoso Downs. As of 6 o’clock Central Time/ 5 Mountain, firefighters are still battling the blaze.
The director of the Texas Tech Vietnam Center and Archives has received an award from the Government of Vietnam. Stephen Maxner received the Medal for Records Management and Archives Career of Vietnam for his contribution to both the archives and the relationship between the US and Vietnam. Maxner says everyone at the Vietnam Center and Archive at Tech is to thank. The Vietnam Center was the first to establish a formal relationship with Vietnam, even preceding the U.S National Archives.
Four Texas Tech professors have been given a four year $1.2 million grant to help them develop explosive detection systems. The grant comes from the Office of Naval Research, and funds the technology which could be used by the Department of Homeland Security. This technology would also have many military applications. Professors Louisa Hope-Weeks, Brandon Weeks, Greg McKenna, and Michelle Pantoya received the grant and will use it to develop the technology.
Sheriff Kelly Rowe says there’s not much he or other authorities can do about a kennel in Lubbock County that has received worldwide criticism because of sub-par animal living conditions.
The kennel, located on CR 7250, houses around 60 dogs in cinderblock pens. Sheriff Rowe says the man who owns kennel has been under investigation for several years, however he hasn’t actually broken any laws, which means a case hasn’t been built against him. KAMC 28 reports that he showed them stacks of purchase and vaccine receipts that prove he both owns and vaccinates the animals. They also report that a walk-through of the kennel showed water tanks covered in algae, and pens full feces.
It’s suspected that the man has been selling some of the puppies from the kennel. Rowe says all that can be done is to monitor the animals’ situation to make sure that disease and malnutrition doesn’t become a problem.
KAMC 28 is reporting that a large scale fire has destroyed one house and is threatening another in the 500 block of 77th street. Several engines are on the scene as firefighters battle the fire, which appears to have started in the back yard of one of the homes. Firefighters received an emergency call reporting the fire just before 5:30 this afternoon. The blaze quickly grew, and within an hour the roof of the home had already collapsed. It is unknown if anyone was in the house when it caught fire, however the Red Cross is present.
Devastatingly hot temperatures are back here on the South Plains. In Lubbock today temperatures reached 108 degrees, tying a record from the 1920’s. Many Lubbockites have lost their air conditioners because of the high temps. Lubbock Hospitals have also seen many cases of heat exhaustion.
The Salvation Army has announced that they will open their doors if temperatures exceed 100 degrees by 3p for the rest of the summer. The high temperatures aren’t helping lower the danger of wildfires. A red flag warning has been issued for all of the south plains, Panhandle, Permian Basin and eastern New Mexico regions for today.
Organizers of the 4th of July Plains Capitol Bank Evening Concert and Fireworks Extravaganza have announced that not only are the fireworks canceled, but also the Evening Concert at Mackenzie Park. Broadway Festivals Board President Phyllis Jones said the board feels that “There is high level of concern for a gathering of 50,000+ people essentially sitting on top of kindling in conditions that are so quick to ignite.” While the fireworks and concert are off, there are still some events being held to celebrate Independence Day. The Lubbock Apartment Association Street Dance, McDougal Companies Broadway Parade and the KMAC 28 sponsored Wells Fargo Street Fair are all still slated to take place during the 3rd and 4th.
The City of Lubbock will unveil the first sculpture in over 50 years to be placed in the Lubbock Cemetery. A Golden Day by Vivian Cooke will serve as a memorial to infants buried in the cemetery. The last sculpture to be placed in the Lubbock Cemetery was the Umlauf Angel in the 1950’s. Cooke has works displayed throughout the Lubbock area, and has taught art at several Lubbock ISD Schools throughout the past thirty years. The unveiling will be at 10:30 Saturday morning, June 18th.
Today the Sheriff’s Office announced Murder warrants have been obtained for Casey and Merideth Ledbetter for the murder of Joanie Parker last month. Additional evidence is still being collected so that the Ledbetter’s can be charged in the death of Parker’s son, Derek Hale. Both suspects have been served their warrants and remain jailed under a $500,000 bond each.
A Lubbock City Councilman has been appointed to the Texas Municipal Retirement System Board of Trustees Advisory committee on Retirement Matters. Lubbock City Councilman Victor Hernandez is one of three appointed to the Committee. Hernandez has law degrees from Texas Tech University and the University of Texas at El Paso.
The two suspects in the case of a double homicide have confessed to murdering a mother and her son. 37 year old Casey Ledbetter and 28 year old Meredith Ledbetter confessed to the murders of 26 year old Derek Hale and his 49 year old mother Joanie Parker. Investigators believe that the couple lured Parker out of her home and shot her after killing her son during a botched robbery attempt.
Hale was found dead late last month only a few days after a maintenance worker found the body of his mother outside a vacant house. Parker died from three gunshot wounds, while Hale died from blunt force trauma to the head and stab wounds. KMAC 28 reports the couple may have connections to the Aryan Brotherhood gang, but authorities sustain that the two acted on their own.
The Ledbetters are behind bars on $100,000 bail each, and could face capitol murder charges. Sherriff Kelly Rowe says murder charges are expected to be filed Monday.
A spokesperson at Xcel Energy says their customers will not be affected by the Arizona wildfire which threatens high voltage El Paso Electric power lines that provide electricity to areas of New Mexico and West Texas. Wes Reeves, with Xcel Public relations explained that El Paso operates on a separate power grid from Xcel, and that they would be standing by to assist El Paso if emergency power assistance is needed. Xcel energy consumers yesterday reached nearly the all team peak of power demand, using 5,484 megawatts. Reeves says that the Xcel fleet is working efficiently today and expects to meet all customer power needs.
A Plainview man has died in a Lubbock hospital after jumping in front of a train in what is being called an apparent suicide. The Plainview Daily Harold reports 77 year old Alfonso Garza leapt in front of a six-engine train last night at around 11:30. The conductor said Garza leapt out from behind some trees onto the tracks. The train hit him traveling at about 12 miles per hour. He was pulled from beneath the train by emergency personnel and transported via Aerocare to Covenant Hospital in Lubbock. He later died from head injuries. A can of beer was found at the scene, however authorities have not determined if alcohol was a contributing factor.
Governor Rick Perry has appointed a Lubbock man to the Product Development and Small Business Incubator Board. David Miller is one of four people appointed to the board, with his term expiring Feb. 1st 2013. He has a Masters of Business Administration and Law Degree from Texas Tech. He is the Vice chancellor of Research and Commercialization at the university and is vice president of Omega Mission International.
The Buddy Holly Center will host a free concert tomorrow as part of the center’s Summer Showcase. Patricia Vonne will play tomorrow from 5:30 to 7:30 in the Meadows Courtyard. Vonne, a native of San Antonio, will be performing Latin Roots Rock music at this week’s concert. There will be a cash bar, however outside drinks are not allowed.
A Lubbock mother had a scare after a man tried to steal her van with her children inside.
The woman left her car running just before 11:00am in the parking lot of the Stripes Convenience Store on 82nd and I-27 while she made quick purchase inside. While she was inside a man attempted to steal the vehicle by jumping into the driver’s seat. However the woman’s young daughter took the keys out of the ignition, and the man fled. The girl says she learned the tactic in safety programs at school.
Police are still looking for the man. If you have any information, contact crime line at 741-1000.
Texas Tech’s track and field program has received four Mountain Regional Awards from the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association. Discus thrower Julian Wruck and shot putter Ifeatu Okafor were named by the association yesterday as the Regional Field Athletes of the Year. Tech’s Dion Miller and Cliff Felkins were named Regional Assistant Coaches of the Year. Miller coaches sprinters and hurdlers. Felkins coaches field competitors.
Texas Tech’s Amanda Dowdy has accepted an invitation to be a member of the USA Volleyball squad which will be competing at the 2011 European Global Challenge in Pula, Croatia next month. Dowdy, from Lexington, Texas, will leave on July 10th for London where the squad will train several days with the Great Britain National Team that will compete in the 2012 London Olympics. The European Global Challenge is being held in Croatia from July 17th until July 21st. Dowdy’s team will be one of 14 squads from the U.S. and Europe participating in the tournament.
Directors of the water district responsible for 16 counties including Lubbock are proposing less restrictive rules than ones that angered farmers and cattlemen earlier this year. The High Plains Underground Water Conservation District No. 1 will hold public hearings later this month on the draft rules. But for now, affected groups seemed pleased that the district’s directors yesterday heeded their calls for allowing more water to be used each year from the Ogallala Aquifer and allowing producers to keep water they don’t pump one year for use the next year. Landowners must still meter their wells, which will be costly on big acreages. They will also have to submit annual reports on water usage. The district’s public hearings will be held on June 27th in Dimmitt and in Levelland.
Lubbock police are investigating what they say are possible suspicious circumstances in the death of a 39-year-old woman. A person called 911 at 12:30 a.m. Saturday reporting discovery of the body of Cheryl Follis in a residence at 1910 Inler Avenue. The person began to take Follis to a hospital but was advised to stop the vehicle and wait for EMS. First responders said the woman was dead in the vehicle when they arrived. Police yesterday were awaiting results of an autopsy.