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Local and State News

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


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A New Mexico sheriff, whose office is plagued by racial profiling lawsuits, said deputies will be outfitted with new superhero-style restraining devices but not body cameras. The Albuquerque Journal reports the Bernalillo County Sheriff's Office is giving 20 deputies a BolaWrap. That's a handheld device that shoots a Kevlar wire, which wraps around a fleeing suspect several times and restricts movement. Each device costs about $1,000. The move comes as Bernalillo County Sheriff Manny Gonzales said he can't afford to purchase body cameras for his deputies as now required by state law. Gonzales said he is looking to allow deputies to put smartphones in their vests and record video.


RIO RANCHO, N.M. (AP) — The nation's oldest Latino civil rights organization says it strongly supports Ethnic Studies programs in colleges and won't participate in the "glorification of historical figures" like Spanish conquistadors. The League of United Latin American Citizens said Friday it endorses the growth and establishment of college programs that focus on Latino and Native American voices. The statement came after New Mexico LULAC Executive Director Ralph Arellanes wrote that the state's largest university should dismantle programs and censor classes that mention Spanish conquistadors committed genocide against Indigenous populations. Arellanes denied that he was talking about Chicano Studies or Native American Studies but scholars around the country said he was.


MONTEZUMA, N.M. (AP) — Federal immigration officials have rescinded a directive that would have kept international students from attending colleges in the United States, but it's not going to help the United World College. Most of the students who attend the northern New Mexico school still are shut out from entering the U.S. because of travel bans and their inability to obtain F-1 visas due to the closure of consulates worldwide. School officials say about three-quarters of the 220 teenage students are from foreign lands. Students can participate in online courses, but officials say those in many countries don't always have easy access to the internet.


SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico State Forester Laura McCarthy says summer rains are starting to put a dent in the fire danger so she's decided to lift fire restrictions. The restrictions had been put in place in May for all non-municipal, non-federal and non-tribal lands. McCarthy on Friday urged people to still be careful, saying there's always a chance a wildfire can start. She pointed to northern and eastern parts of New Mexico where drought conditions have been the most severe. The Forestry Division will continue monitoring conditions statewide and could reimpose restrictions if the fire danger worsens.


HOLBROOK, Ariz. (AP) — County health officials in northeastern Arizona said a man has contracted the human plague and are warning the public to take precautions to limit the risk of exposure. Navajo County Assistant Manager Bryan Layton said Friday that a man over the age of 55 was being treated for the disease amid an investigation into how it was contracted. Humans typically get plague after being bitten by an infected flea that is carrying the plague bacterium or by handling an animal infected with plague. The Navajo County Health Department encouraged people to avoid rodent burrows and keep dogs on a leash.


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A defense spending bill pending in Congress includes an apology to New Mexico, Nevada, Utah and other states affected by nuclear testing over the decades. But communities downwind from the first atomic test in 1945 are still holding out for compensation amid rumblings about the potential for the U.S. to resume nuclear testing. While the U.S. House has adopted language prohibiting spending on such an effort, a group of senators has included $10 million for testing preparation. Details of the spending bill have yet to be hashed out, but the Union of Concerned Scientists, nuclear watchdogs and environmentalists are pushing for the funding to be eliminated. 


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham says there are not enough people are wearing masks. She said during her latest briefing that she wants to see at least 80% or 90% of people wearing face coverings. The state's mandate that everyone must wear a mask in public has been in effect since May 16, and the Democratic governor vowed more enforcement at the start of July. But since then, New Mexico State Police officers have issued only one citation for a violation. Virus-related deaths have surpassed 600. There are 317 newly confirmed infections.


SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The former CEO of a rural hospital in northwestern New Mexico is alleging in a lawsuit that his contract was unfairly terminated in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. Filed in federal court on Thursday, the lawsuit from David Conejo and his hospital management company takes aim at the board chairwoman and medical staff at Rehoboth McKinley Christian Hospital in Gallup. Doctors and nurses at Rehoboth staged a public protest in May to criticize staffing levels and call for the ouster of Conejo. The lawsuit seeks payment for damages to Conejo's reputation and loss of earnings.