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Local and State News

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


LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — A New Mexico high school named after a Spanish conquistador will be renamed following nationwide protests against racial injustice.. The Las Cruces School Board voted Tuesday to drop the name of Don Juan de Oñate y Salazar from a high school. Indigenous leaders convinced another New Mexico county to remove its statue of Oñate. New Mexico Pueblo members have long seen Oñate has a brutal leader who forced Native Americans into slavery. Numerous Confederate statues and monuments to American slave owners, as well as statues honoring Christopher Columbus, have been taken down by officials or torn down by protester in the weeks following the death of George Floyd.


FARMINGTON, N.M, (AP) — Officials say a riot at a northwestern New Mexico jail sparked by demands for more COVID-19 testing and warm meals left one inmate injured and damage to the jail.  Authorities say the disturbance at the San Juan County Adult Detention in Farmington, New Mexico, began Monday after 35 inmates barricaded themselves and started a fire. Officials say the inmates also were armed with shards of porcelain from broken toilets. According to San Juan County authorities, inmates started demanding Sunday afternoon to speak to an administrator about their concerns for more hot meals and more coronavirus testing.


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The head of the National Nuclear Security Administration is visiting New Mexico this week as part of a tour of the nation's nuclear security operations. The visit coincides with the 75th anniversary of the Trinity Test, which marked the world's first atomic explosion in 1945. Administrator Lisa Gordon-Hagerty is scheduled to lead a commemoration Thursday at the historic V-Site at Los Alamos National Laboratory, where early testing and some assembly of the atomic bomb took place. Gordon-Hagerty has been spearheading the federal government's recent efforts to ramp up production of the plutonium triggers for the nation's aging nuclear stockpile.


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico's state auditor is seeking an investigation into what he calls potential criminal activity around overtime abuse within Albuquerque police. State Auditor Brian Colón said Wednesday he is asking New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas to join him with a probe of the state's largest police department. Colón also says he has designated the city of Albuquerque for a special audit to examine the allegations of overtime abuse and policy violations. A spokesman for Albuquerque police did not immediately return an email.


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The University of New Mexico has announced it's reopening plan for the fall semester with coursework offered both in-person and remotely starting in August. The Albuquerque Journal reported that university officials announced the plan at a Board of Regents meeting Tuesday. The fall semester is set to begin Aug. 17. Officials say thermometers will be included in welcome kits for students and any confirmed COVID-19 cases will be addressed with cleaning and contact tracing. Masks and social distancing measures will also be required. On Wednesday, New Mexico health officials reported an additional 330 COVID-19 cases in the state, bringing the statewide total to more than 15,800 since the coronavirus outbreak began


LOS ANGELES (AP) — Disney Parks International President Michael Colglazier has been appointed chief executive officer of Virgin Galactic as the space tourism company prepares for commercial service. Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson said Wednesday that Colglazier's career at one of the world's leading customer experience brands is a natural fit. Current CEO George Whitesides will become chief space officer and focus on future business opportunities, including point-to-point hypersonic travel and orbital space travel. Virgin Galactic is currently in a flight test program aimed at launching paying customers on suborbital flights into the lower reaches of space over New Mexico.


RIO RANCHO, N.M. (AP) — A new campaign manager for Democratic U.S. Rep. Xochitl Torres Small is facing attacks from Republicans for once working on behalf of a gun control group funded by former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Torres Small recently announced she had hired Emma Caccamo to help her win reelection in southern New Mexico. Caccamo previously served as deputy political director for Everytown for Gun Safety, a nonpartisan advocacy group that pushes for gun control. Michael Horanburg, campaign manager for Torres Small's Republican challenger Yvette Herrell, says the hire reeked of hypocrisy from the Democratic congresswoman who shot a rifle in a 2018 campaign ad.


SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico health officials are reporting an additional 227 COVID-19 cases, bringing the statewide total to more than 15,500 since the coronavirus outbreak began. The latest figures released Tuesday show Bernalillo County, which includes the state's most populous metro area, added another 65 confirmed cases. Health officials also reported three additional deaths, bringing that total to 551. Those deaths include a McKinley County man and San Juan County woman, both in the their 30s, who had underlying conditions. New Mexico has been added to New York, New Jersey and Connecticut's quarantine list because it's among states with growing infection rates.