Latest New Mexico news, sports, business and entertainment at 5:20 p.m. MDT
- VIRUS OUTBREAK-NEW MEXICO
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico health officials are reporting an additional 248 COVID-19 cases, bringing the statewide total of confirmed infections to 12,520. Another three deaths also were reported Thursday, bringing that total to more than 500. The state's most populous county, Bernalillo, led all others with 97 additional cases reported for the day. In southern New Mexico, Doña Ana County reported an additional 42 confirmed cases. Members of the county commission and the Las Cruces City Council are urging residents to stay home for the Fourth of July holiday weekend. They reiterated mandates by the state that people wear masks and practice social distancing.
- TAXATION-NEW MEXICO
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Taxes are being levied on home-delivered groceries that are tax free when purchased at stores in New Mexico, undercutting incentives to stay at home during the coronavirus pandemic. A panel of government income experts noted the problem Thursday as they delved into the financial consequences of COVID-19 and New Mexico's stay-at-home order to avoid infections. New Mexico lawmakers removed the gross receipts tax from sales of most food items in 2004, but the exemption covers only on-site sales. Gross receipt taxes on sales and services range from about 5.5% in some rural areas to more than 9% in Espanola.
- NUCLEAR WEAPONS-PUBLIC MEETINGS
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Several groups are asking state and federal officials to hold semi-annual public meetings as Los Alamos National Laboratory prepares to resume and ramp up production of key components for the nation's nuclear weapons stockpile. The groups outlined their request in a recent letter to the U.S. Energy Department and the New Mexico Environment Department. Los Alamos National Laboratory in northern New Mexico is in line for more federal funding to manufacture plutonium triggers for the U.S. nuclear arsenal. State environmental officials are considering a draft air emissions permit that would regulate emissions from the lab's manufacturing facilities.
- VIRGIN GALACTIC-SPACESHIP
UPHAM, N.M. (AP) — Virgin Galactic is preparing to unveil the cabin interior of its spaceship as final testing of the craft nears completion in southern New Mexico. The space tourism company on Tuesday announced that the cabin's interior will be revealed during a virtual event planned for July 28 that will be streamed on YouTube. Company officials consider the cabin of SpaceShipTwo the centerpiece of a customer's journey, saying it was designed to provide a level of intimacy as customers are launched into the lower fringes of space where they can experience weightlessness and get a view of the Earth below.
- STUDENT-ONLINE THREATS
ROSWELL, N.M. (AP) — The FBI says a teenage boy who made online threats that led to the lockdown of Roswell High School is facing a federal charge. FBI officials said in a news release Wednesday that the 18-year-old has been charged with interstate communications containing a threat to injure the person of another. According to authorities, Herbert went on the social media app Snapchat on Nov. 12. He allegedly posted a message with an image of a semi-automatic weapon and a threat specifically targeted at Roswell High School. The message led to Roswell High School being shut down. The boy remains in custody.
- COMMUNITY LIBRARIES-ALBUQUERQUE
RIO RANCHO, N.M. (AP) — The city of Albuquerque and a Wisconsin-based group have agreed on a new initiative to encourage residents to build "Little Free Libraries" throughout the region. The Little Free Library nonprofit organization announced this week that Albuquerque will help volunteers create small spaces where residents can trade books amid the pandemic. Under the agreement, the city's Office of Civic Engagement's One ABQ Volunteers program will work to expand the number of free libraries across the city. Since 2009, tens of thousands of little free libraries have sprung up in the U.S. and more than 100 countries.
- VIRUS OUTBREAK-NEW MEXICO
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham says there will be more aggressive enforcement of the state's public health order to rein in rising coronavirus infection rates across the state. The Democratic governor said Wednesday that people who ignore mask-wearing requirements in public could face a $100 fine and that businesses that flout health orders risk workplace citations and misdemeanor criminal charges. Three new deaths linked to the coronavirus brought the statewide death toll to 500 since the outbreak of the pandemic in March. Health officials stressed concerns about an increase in the rate of spread. They say that trend could interfere with efforts to resume classroom school attendance.
- HORSE RACING-NEW MEXICO
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — With the New Mexico State Fair being called off, the horse races that usually coincide with the annual event are being cancelled too. State regulators approved a motion to nix the fair races during a special meeting Wednesday. They also approved changes to the race dates and stakes schedule for The Downs at Albuquerque. The changes mean this year's meet at the Downs will start later, running from Aug. 8 through Sept. 20. New Mexico's horse tracks and casinos have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic. After a brief hiatus, races resumed at Ruidoso Downs in May but without spectators.