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Local and State News

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


FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — The U.S. government has set an execution date for the only Native American on federal death row. Lezmond Mitchell is scheduled to be put to death in late August. The Navajo man was among the first of a handful of inmates set to be executed after the Trump administration ended an informal 17-year moratorium. Mitchell temporarily was spared by a federal appeals court as his attorneys argued to interview jurors for potential racial bias. The court sided against Mitchell in late April. Mitchell was convicted of the 2001 murder of a Navajo woman and her 9-year-old granddaughter.


SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico health officials say the state has 352 new confirmed COVID-19 cases, bring the state's total to 20,136. The state Department of Health said Wednesday that six more people died from the virus and New Mexico's death total is now 632. There are 158 individuals hospitalized in New Mexico for COVID-19. This number may include individuals who tested positive for COVID-19 out of state but are currently hospitalized in the state. In addition, there are 7,817 COVID-19 cases designated as having recovered by the New Mexico Department of Health.


SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — U.S. Attorney John C. Anderson is defending a decision to deploy 35 more federal agents to Albuquerque to address violent crime, urging the city's Democratic mayor to embrace the effort. A letter to the mayor Tuesday reiterated that the new agents will augment existing federal task forces in Albuquerque and not target protests. President Donald Trump and U.S. Attorney General William Barr announced last week the new law enforcement deployment, with assurances it would not involve agents in tactical gear like those used to confront protesters in Portland, Oregon.


SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico utility regulators have approved a plan for major investments in solar-generated electricity and battery storage to replace a coal-fired power plant. The five-member Public Regulation Commission on Wednesday voted unanimously for a plan that relies almost entirely on renewable energy sources to replace electricity from the San Juan Generating Station as it is retired. Advocates for renewable energy say the investments are in line with goals established by state lawmakers in 2019 for decreasing dependence on fossil fuels and channeling investments toward communities that relied on the coal industry. The city of Farmington and others have been trying to keep San Juan open.


RIO RANCHO, N.M. (AP) — U.S. Rep. Xochitl Torres Small of New Mexico has released a new commercial touting her bipartisan work on a COVID-19 relief package. The Las Cruces Democrat unveiled the ad entitled "Accountable" this week that says she worked with Republicans, Democrats and President Donald Trump to get the measure passed. Torres Small says it's now time to hold the federal government and banks accountable for mismanaging relief dollars. Republicans immediately attacked the ad's bipartisan message and said Torres Small voted to impeach Trump. Torres Small faces Republican Yvette Herrell in a closely watched race in southern New Mexico. 


CHICAGO (AP) — The Trump administration says it will reject new applications and shorten renewal periods for an Obama-era program that shields young people from deportation. The move Tuesday is a defiant stance after the U.S. Supreme Court refused to let the administration end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. The justices ruled last month that President Donald Trump failed to follow rule-making procedures when he tried to scrap DACA, but they kept a window open for him to try again. A federal judge in Maryland ruled earlier this month that DACA should be restored to its original form. 


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — High school athletic directors across New Mexico are actively seeking to obtain schedules for the 2020-21 school year amid a pandemic, uncertainty and fewer games. The Albuquerque Journal reports school districts are waiting for each other to finish crafting basketball, soccer and volleyball schedules. Meets, tournaments and matches are up in the air. Meanwhile, the New Mexico Activities Association has eliminated regular-season tournaments and overnight travel for the upcoming school year. Albuquerque Public Schools district Athletic Director Kenny Barreras says all districts are scrambling. Districts still don't know if schools will play full, if abbreviated, schedules. 


LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — A New Mexico man is facing charges after police said he barged in on his neighbor in an angry tirade and was dispelled only after the neighbor doused him with boiling water. The Las Cruces Sun-News reports Joseph "JoJo" Garcia was arrested Sunday in Las Cruces following an argument over a bathroom break. According to police, a man was approached by a woman he knew from his neighborhood who asked him if she could use his bathroom. Shortly after Garcia ran into the house armed with a knife and demanded to talk to his girlfriend. The neighbor then poured boiling water on him.