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Local and State News

Latest New Mexico news, sports, business and entertainment at 3:20 p.m. MDT

  • VIRUS OUTBREAK-NEW MEXICO

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A New Mexico district court judge has temporarily blocked a ban on indoor dining service at restaurants and breweries. The temporary order on Monday from Judge Raymond Romero in Eddy County suspends the state's prohibition of indoor restaurant service that was reinstated this month in response to surging coronavirus infections. A hearing is scheduled on July 30 to consider objections to emergency health orders from the administrationof Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham. Local restaurants say the industry has not had a significant role in the spread of the coronavirus and that businesses that pose greater potential risks have fewer restrictions.

  • TEEN VAPING

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A state analysis says many New Mexico teenagers have stopped cigarette smoking but are vaping. That has erased progress anti-tobacco advocates said they achieved in getting high school students to avoid traditional tobacco use. The Albuquerque Journal reported the findings were in the New Mexico Department of Health 2019 Youth Risk and Resiliency Survey. The survey found that overall use of tobacco products including e-cigarettes among young people increased by 23% since 2009, with 37.8% of high school students saying they use tobacco. Youth e-cigarette use rose nearly 42% from 2015 to 2019.

  • AP-US-COAL-CLIMATE-CHANGE

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A coalition of states is renewing its push to stop the Trump administration from selling coal from public lands after a previous effort to halt the sales was dismissed by a federal judge. Democratic attorneys general from California, New York, New Mexico and Washington on Monday sued the administration over its coal program. They allege the administration acted illegally when it resumed coal sales that had been halted under Obama due to climate change and other concerns. Under Trump, the Department of Interior lifted a moratorium on federal coal sales and concluded they have limited environmental impacts.

  • AP-US-SCI-CARBON FOOTPRINT-INEQUALITY

A comprehensive study of American homes finds that on average rich people produce nearly 25% more heat-trapping gases than poorer residents. Monday's study looked at 93 million U.S. housing units, calculating that the average rich person produces nearly 6,500 pounds of greenhouse gases per year from residential use. For the average poor person, the amount is more than 5,200 pounds. In tony Beverly Hills, the average resident produces four times more than the average resident of poorer South Central Los Angeles. Scientists say while the rich emit more carbon pollution per person, the poor bear the brunt of global warming impacts such as heat waves.

  • SCHOOL-GUNSHOT-NEW MEXICO

RIO RANCHO, N.M. (AP) — A teen accused of firing a gun at a New Mexico high school last year on the anniversary of the Parkland, Florida, shooting has been released and his charges have been dismissed. Sandoval County District Attorney Lemuel Martinez said last week state health officials and the children's psychiatric hospital refused to treat the suspect, who was 16 at the time of his arrest. The teen had been found incompetent to stand trial. Martinez says state law mandates that the suspect be released if there is no place to treat his competency. Police said the teen opened fire at Cleveland High School in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, before running away. No one was hurt.

  • RACIAL INJUSTICE-NEW MEXICO

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico's lieutenant governor has called on the high school baseball team he once coached to remove its stadium's logo of a Native American caricature. The Santa Fe New Mexican reports Howie Morales asked the superintendent of Cobre Consolidated School District in Grant County to remove the "Chief Wahoo" logo from the main sign at Cobre High's baseball stadium in Bayard, New Mexico. A similar logo was used by Major League Baseball's Cleveland Indians until 2018 but still remains at the high school stadium, which is named after Morales. Morales coached Cobre's baseball team to a state title in 2008. 

  • ELECTION 2020-HOUSE-NEW MEXICO

RIO RANCHO, N.M. (AP) — Democrat Teresa Leger Fernandez has a massive money edge over a poorly funded Republican opponent going into a general election for an open U.S. House seat in northern New Mexico. Federal records show Leger Fernandez raised $335,959 from mid-May to June 30 following a grueling Democratic primary. According to records, she has just $232,855 cash-on-hand, reflecting the expensive Democrat primary where Leger Fernandez defeated a number of candidates. But records show Republican opponent Alexis Martinez Johnson raised less than $10,000 during the same time period. She only had $6,102 cash-on-hand. 

  • VIRUS OUTBREAK-NEW MEXICO

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — State health officials are charting a recent surge in coronavirus cases in the Albuquerque area as New Mexico nears 17,000 reported cases of the COVID-19 illness. The Albuquerque Journal reported Sunday the number of infections tallied by the New Mexico Department of Health nearly doubled from mid-June to mid-July in Bernalillo County. That includes the state's most urban area, and compares with a 60% increase statewide over the same period. State Human Services Secretary David Scrase calls it an almost a vertical line uptick in recent cases, and says it might stem from Fourth of July gatherings.