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Local and State News

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


SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — An expected announcement that federal agents will surge into cities including Albuquerque is generating a backlash and opening divisions among Democratic elected officials in New Mexico. The U.S. Department of Justice on Wednesday announced the expansion of an initiative against violent crime in Albuquerque and six other U.S. cities that includes an increase in federal agents and grant money for local law enforcement agencies. The Democratic sheriff of New Mexico's most populous county that includes Albuquerque traveled Wednesday to the White House for discussions of the expanded partnership with the Department of Justice — prompting a string of rebukes from fellow Democrats.


SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A Santa Fe high school counselor accused of sharing racist messages on social media is back at work. The Santa Fe New Mexican reported Tuesday that Stephanie Sheldon has resumed her job with Santa Fe High School after being placed on paid leave more than a month ago. A Santa Fe Public Schools spokesman said "appropriate actions" had been taken against her. A Philadelphia man publicly decried Facebook posts by Sheldon during an online school board meeting last month. Among the posts was a comment from Sheldon likening protesters of George Floyd's death to "a bunch of animals." 


WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump says he will send federal agents into Chicago and Albuquerque to help combat rising crime as he runs for reelection under a "law-and-order" mantle. Using alarmist language, Trump on Wednesday painted Democrat-led cities as out of control, even though criminal justice experts say the increase in violence in some cities defies easy explanation. The decision to dispatch federal agents to American cities is playing out at a hyperpoliticized moment in American politics. With less than four months until Election Day, Trump has been serving up dire warnings that the violence would worsen if his Democratic rival Joe Biden is elected in November.


RIO RANCHO, N.M. (AP) — A New Mexico Hispanic activist upset about the removal of Spanish conquistador monuments is pushing for the state to end its support for Chicano and Native American Studies. New Mexico League of United Latin American Citizens executive director Ralph Arellanes wrote University of New Mexico President Garnett Stokes on Monday that the state's largest university should dismantle both programs because they teach Latino students "self-hate" about their Spanish heritage. Arellanes says he is angry some classes teach students that Spanish conquistadors are linked to the genocide of Indigenous populations. New Mexico LULAC State Director Juan Garcia says the civil rights group does not support dismantling academic programs.


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Officials with major health care providers in Albuquerque say they're having to temporarily stop COVID-19 testing for people who are asymptomatic. That's because there has been an unanticipated disruption in testing supplies. University of New Mexico Hospital, Presbyterian and Lovelace health system locations will conduct testing only for patients showing symptoms. Presbyterian also will continue testing for those who have been exposed to someone with a confirmed infection. Statewide, thousands of people are being tested per day. New Mexico health officials say tests since the pandemic began topped 481,000 on Tuesday.


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico regulators say they have taken best practices from around the U.S. and come up with new ideas as the state moves forward with mandating reductions in methane and other pollutants from the oil and gas industry. State environment and energy officials on Tuesday provided more details about the proposed regulations. The public has 30 days to comment before regulators hammer out the final rules. The proposal includes requirements for reporting emissions data and a path forward for collecting revenues on vented and flared gas, which could bring in millions of dollars annually to benefit public schools.


PHOENIX (AP) — The federal Bureau of Land Management says it has transferred over 65 acres of public land in Arizona and New Mexico to the Army for border wall infrastructure. The agency says it handed over 53 acres in Yuma County, Arizona, that is needed to install power and other utilities around the border wall there. Another 12.7 acres in Hidalgo County, New Mexico, were transferred so that the Army could install power and other utilities along with engineering for roads that provide access to the border wall project there. Critics say construction of the border wall and infrastructure around imperils wildlife and protected land. 


HOUSTON (AP) — The Trump administration is detaining immigrant children as young as 1 in hotels before deporting them to their home countries. Documents obtained by The Associated Press show a private contractor hired by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is taking children to three Hampton Inns in Arizona and Texas under restrictive border policies implemented during the coronavirus pandemic. The hotels have been used nearly 200 times, while more than 10,000 beds for children sit empty at government shelters. Lawyers and advocates say the practice exposes children to the risk of trauma. Federal immigration authorities say the contractors caring for the kids are "non-law enforcement staff members trained to work with minors."