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Local and State News

Latest New Mexico news, sports, business and entertainment at 5:20 p.m. MDT


SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — As New Mexico rolled out increased precautions to combat a spike in COVID-19 cases, two rural counties had not had a single confirmed case since the outbreak began. That changed Friday when Mora County reported its first. De Baca County remains at zero. Residents with underlying medical conditions fear their neighbors are using the statistic to lower their guard, gather in groups and go without masks. Others are growing impatient as they're forced to follow health guidelines in a place where the threat hasn't revealed itself. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has cited accelerating rates of infection across large expanses of the state for new restrictions and the rolling back of restaurant reopenings.


RIO RANCHO, N.M. (AP) — The New Mexico group, Cowboys for Trump has been ordered to register as a political committee in the state, and pay $7,600 in fines for not filing expenditure reports. Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver said Friday in a letter to the group's lawyers that if it fails to comply she will refer the matter to the state Ethics Commission for civil enforcement of the fine, Cowboys for Trump has protested the requirements because it argues campaign finance laws violate free speech, and the group doesn't meet the definition of a political committee. 


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The famed Santa Fe Opera is offering a series of virtual performances after being forced to cancel the 2020 season due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Saturday night events are meant to celebrate the five originally-scheduled operas that would have been performed this summer, including the world premiere of Huang Ruo and David Henry Hwang's M. Butterfly. The opera's general director says the message is simple: Dress up, pop the cork and join in from home. He hopes the digital initiative can bring some joy in what has been a trying time. The opera is facing a $10 million loss in revenue. 


SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A New Mexico state representative has resigned from the Legislature, citing financial burdens caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Democratic Rep. Linda Trujillo submitted her resignation Thursday to the secretary of state's office after having won election to the House in 2016. Trujillo has been working as an attorney in Albuquerque but said she had to cut back her hours by 25% because of her commitment to the Legislature. Trujillo was set to be unopposed in the fall election. The Santa Fe County Commission will appoint Trujillo's immediate successor, and a Democratic Party committee will choose a nominee to replace her on the ballot.


TSAILE, Ariz. (AP) — A college on the Navajo Nation plans to offer nearly all of its courses online this fall and says it is instituting safety and technology measures to help students succeed during the coronavirus pandemic. Dine College officials said all but 10 of its planned 358 courses will be offered online and that its preparations include a $6.4 million technology upgrade and development of a laptop loan program. College President Charles Roessel said on-campus safety measures include new signage encouraging social distancing and installation of plexiglas barriers in offices and classrooms to block transmission of COVID-19.


MONTE APLANADO, N.M. (AP) — Authorities are investigating the shooting for two horses in northern New Mexico. The Las Vegas Optic reports two horses in the Monte Aplanado area of Mora County were shot last month. Animal Protection of New Mexico says one of the horses died from gunshot wounds while the other is recovering. No arrests have been made. Horses were reported to have been running in the Laguna Alta area. The New Mexico Livestock Board is investigating the shootings as a felony animal cruelty case.


LAS VEGAS, N.M. (AP) — A foundation for a New Mexico college has announced it has created a scholarship in George Floyd's name for Black students. The New Mexico Highlands University Foundation said Thursday it developed the George Floyd Memorial Scholarship to benefit African American students, thanks to a generous donor. Highlands vice president of student and donor engagement Theresa Law says the new scholarship will benefit Black Highlands University students who are leaders on campus. New Mexico Highlands University is located in Las Vegas, New Mexico. Floyd, who was Black, died May 25, 2020, after a white Minnesota police officer pushed a knee into his neck. 


WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump is ramping up his attacks on his government's top health professionals as he pushes the country to move past the coronavirus. Even as U.S. cases and deaths are newly rising, Trump this week challenged the school-reopening guidelines of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And he publicly criticized the nation's top infectious diseases expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci. The schools flap has touched a nerve, in particular, because of increasing alarm about how the administration has sidelined, muzzled, and seemed to derail the Atlanta-based CDC. Trump is determined to get past the pandemic as he bids to revive the battered economy and resuscitate his reelection chances.