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Local and State News

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


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham's revamped public health order takes effect Monday, and some restaurant owners aren't happy that they've been ordered to roll back indoor dining. They say they've gone to great lengths to make their establishments safe and that the governor has offered no evidence that New Mexico's uptick in cases has anything to do with restaurant service. The New Mexico Restaurant Association has helped organize an online petition and a statewide protest was planned Monday. The state has reported nearly 15,300 coronavirus cases since the pandemic began, and hospitalizations saw a steep increase in the past week.


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A New Mexico man who opened fire after a fight broke out as protesters tried to tear down a statue of a Spanish conquistador is facing a new charge  of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon. Bernalillo County District Attorney Raul Torrez said Monday he's amending the charges because he believes Steven Ray Baca had repeatedly provoked protesters. Defense attorneys say Baca was acting in self-defense. One man was shot and injured during the June 15 confrontation. Torrez also is going after an armed group of men to keep them from acting as what he called an unlawful military unit.


DEMING, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico State Police say driver fatigue is likely behind a rollover crash that killed two members of a San Diego family. Authorities say the deadly rollover happened early Sunday near Deming on Interstate 10. A Chevy Suburban carrying a couple and their six children was heading westbound when it went off the road. Emergency workers pronounced a 12-year-old girl dead at the scene. A 10-year-old boy later died at a hospital. Police say the 37-year-old mother, 42-year-old father and their 16-year-old son were hospitalized with non-threatening injuries. The other siblings _ ages 3, 5 and 7 _ were uninjured.


WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. (AP) — Navajo Nation officials are reporting five additional coronavirus-related deaths as well as 45 more confirmed cases on the tribe's sprawling reservation. That pushes the death toll to 401 with the total confirmed COVID-19 cases to 8,187 as of Sunday night. Tribal officials say 64,128 people on the reservation have been tested for the coronavirus and 5,856 people had COVID-19 but recovered. The number of infections is thought to be far higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick. The reservation includes parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah.


HOBBS, N.M. (AP) — The crash of the oil business and the economic decline that has followed the COVID-19 pandemic hasn't stopped construction for the housing shortage in the heart of New Mexico's oil region. The Hobbs News-Sun reports Hobbs, New Mexico, is seeing new construction with three major developments, and building continues to grow through the pandemic. On top of the lots and homes being sold, multiple companies are trying to meet the need for apartments. Real estate agents say that despite the oilfield crash, the region still has a housing shortage.


MIAMI (AP) — Former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson plans to travel this week to Venezuela to urge President Nicolás Maduro to free several jailed Americans as a goodwill gesture aimed at easing tensions with the U.S. Among the U.S. citizens jailed in Venezuela are two former Green Berets arrested in May while participating in a botched raid organized from neighboring Colombia to oust Maduro. Also being held are six oil executives from Houston-based Citgo who were lured to Caracas in 2017 for a meeting. Richardson and his center have negotiated the release of some 40 Americans held by hostile foreign governments and criminal organizations. 


SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Health officials in New Mexico are reporting an additional 262 additional COVID-19 cases and two more confirmed deaths. That increased the statewide death toll to 545 and the confirmed cases total to 15,028 as of Sunday. The New Mexico Department of Health says 111 of the additional cases were in Bernalillo County, the state's largest county that includes the Albuquerque metro area. The number of infections is thought to be far higher because many people have not been tested, Studies suggest people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick.


LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — This year's Hatch Chile Festival has been cancelled over coronavirus concerns. The Las Cruces Sun-News reports organizers recently announced that COVID-19 had forced the cancellation of the event for the first time in its 49-year history. The fiesta is usually held over Labor Day weekend in Hatch, New Mexico — the chile capital of the world. The festival's president said it would have been impossible to keep every area clean and disinfected at the event that normally hosts tens of thousands of people.