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Local and State News

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

  • VIRUS OUTBREAK-NEW MEXICO

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Officials with major health care providers in Albuquerque say they are 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. Nearly 490,000 tests have been done since the pandemic began. Health officials on Wednesday reported another 316 cases, bringing the statewide total to 17,828. The death toll has topped 590.

  • RACIAL INJUSTICE-NEW MEXICO

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — President Trump is focusing on an open wound in the law enforcement community as he announces a surge in federal agents to cities including Albuquerque and Chicago in attempts to contain violent crime. Trump administration officials invoked the 2019 shooting death in Albuquerque of the mother of two New Mexico state police officers as he announced a surge in federal agents and grants for local police to fight violent crime. The announcement prompted immediate concerns among Democratic elected officials in New Mexico of federal overreach and the potential for new civil rights abuses. 

  • COUNSELOR-RACISTS POSTS

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." 

  • CONGRESS-PUBLIC LANDS

WASHINGTON (AP) — A bipartisan bill that would spend nearly $3 billion on conservation projects, outdoor recreation and maintenance of national parks and other public lands is on its way to the president's desk after winning final legislative approval. Supporters say the measure, known as the Great American Outdoors Act, would be the most significant conservation legislation enacted in nearly 50 years. The House approved the bill Wednesday, weeks after it won overwhelming approval in the Senate. The bill now goes to President Donald Trump, who is expected to sign it. The bill would spend about $900 million a year on land and water conservation and $1.9 billion on parks and other lands.

  • AP-US-TRUMP-LAW-ENFORCEMENT

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.

  • RACIAL INJUSTICE-SPANISH LEGACY

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.

  • METHANE FIGHT-NEW MEXICO

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.

  • AP-US-BORDER WALL-LAND TRANSFER

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.