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Local and State News

Latest New Mexico news, sports, business and entertainment at 4:20 p.m. MDT


LOS ALAMOS, N.M. (AP) — Authorities say a woman was seriously injured when she was attacked by a bear which approached her and her husband as they were comet-watching on the deck of a northern New Mexico ski area's lodge. The state Game and Fish Department said the bear chased the woman before attacking her in the parking lot of the ski area on the outskirts of Los Alamos. The woman was hospitalized for multiple injuries, including several broken bones and a collapsed lung. The department said police shot and killed a bear found eating trash in the vicinity. A lab will analyze DNA samples to see whether that bear attacked the woman. 


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico has received permission from neighboring states to access stored water after little rainfall, low runoff and high temperatures dried out some sections of the Rio Grande. The Albuquerque Journal reported that the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District and the state can now access more than 12 billion gallons stored in the El Vado Reservoir. The water is stored under the Rio Grande Compact agreement between New Mexico, Texas and Colorado. A district water official said supply for part of the Rio Grande valley would have run out without this approval. Agencies are expected to hold back use if the region receives significant rainfall. 


SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Officials say the University of New Mexico and New Mexico State University face the prospect of major budget challenges. State funding has been reduced in the fiscal fallout from the coronavirus pandemic and reduced energy prices. The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that UNM likely faces a $22 million cut in state funding while NMSU will have about $20 million less to spend in the current fiscal year due to reduced state funding, revenue losses from lower enrollment and other circumstances. Legislators and Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham approved spending cuts to help close a budget gap caused by the pandemic and falling oil revenues. 


PHOENIX (AP) — A federal court in Maryland has ruled that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program must be restored fully, meaning it must open up to new applicants for the first time in three years. The program helps immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children to legally work and protects them from deportation. Last month, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that President Donald Trump didn't properly end the program in 2017. Roughly 650,000 people are enrolled in DACA, but only those who were already in the program when it ended have been able to renew. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services said it is reviewing the ruling. 


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico's top public education officials say many schools have submitted requests to start the school year with remote classes rather than return to the classroom immediately, even if under a hybrid plan. Public Education Secretary Ryan Stewart testified Friday before a legislative committee on the challenges that his agency and schools are facing amid the coronavirus pandemic. Stewart says agility will be key as schools will need to be ready to shift gears depending on the pace of the virus. The discussion came as health officials acknowledged that New Mexico's rolling average of positive COVID-19 cases has not been good. An additional 319 cases were reported Friday.


RIO RANCHO, N.M, (AP) — Democratic U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján has a nearly 6-to-1 fundraising advantage over his GOP opponent in a race for an open U.S. Senate seat in New Mexico. Federal records show the Democrat from Nambé‎ raised nearly $1 million from mid-May to June 30. He has more than $3.3 million cash on hand going into the general election. Meanwhile, Republican Mark Ronchetti reported raising $532,500 during the same time period. The former television weatherman had $571,000 cash-on-hand. Both are seeking to replace U.S. Sen. Tom Udall, who is retiring.


EUNICE, N.M. (AP) — State officials say they discovered a massive illegal dumping site in southeastern New Mexico while cleaning up a former limestone mining pit. The small plot of state trust land near Eunice hasn't been leased since the 1970s. Workers who were disposing of mine waste and reseeding the area found tons of trash and tires that likely had been buried there for decades. The New Mexico State Land Office says the additional work to clean up the dump bumped up the price tag for the project by $45,000. The office is seeking an environmental assessment and whoever is responsible for the illegal dumping.


ESPAÑOLA, N.M. (AP) — A New Mexico sheriff accused of showing up drunk to a SWAT standoff and trying to order officers away is no longer a licensed law enforcement officer in the state. The Santa Fe New Mexican reports the New Mexico Law Enforcement Academy Board members voted unanimously Thursday to suspend the certification of Rio Arriba County Sheriff James Lujan. A criminal complaint filed in March said Lujan, in plainclothes, attempted to take over the scene involving a barricaded subject in Española. The complaint also says he smelled like alcohol and appeared to have trouble keeping his balance.