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Local and State News

Latest New Mexico news, sports, business and entertainment at 6:20 a.m. MDT


RIO RANCHO, N.M. (AP) — A New Mexico judge has barred the leader of the group Cowboys for Trump from seeing his son following social media posts and refusing to abide by COVID-19 mask requirements. District Judge Mary Rosner ruled last month that Couy Griffin can only see his son on Facetime calls after he ignored orders to remove social media photos of his son at Cowboys for Trump events. His ex-wife, Kourtnie Griffin, says the posts have generated online threats. The judge says Griffin also has defied health orders to put a mask on his son at public events. Griffin told The Associated Press he's made sacrifices for his beliefs.


LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — A whistleblower complaint says the CEO of New Mexico's commercial spacecraft launch facility pressured the former chief financial officer to circumvent internal financial controls and accounting protocol. The Las Cruces Sun-News reports the complaint obtained through a public records request says Spaceport America CEO Dan Hicks also tried to monitor the CFO's communications with state Economic Development Director Alicia Keyes. The four-page complaint was submitted in June by Zach De Gregorio, who has since resigned as CFO. Keyes said in July that Hicks was placed on leave pending an investigation, but did not provide further details.


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico's state auditor says the city of Albuquerque should ask a councilor to repay $4,000 for a trip to three East Coast cities. The Albuquerque Journal reports State Auditor Brian Colón said his review of a 14-day trip by City Councilor Klarissa Peña found extra costs that violate city policies on reimbursements. Peña says she is committed to repaying the city. The review came after Pena traveled in June with family to Philadelphia, New York City, and Washington to attend a conference for city council presidents. Records show Pena billed the city $3,290 for train tickets and another $2,082 for hotels.


SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A 16-year-old has been arrested after a standout high school basketball player was fatally shot in northern New Mexico. The Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office says the teen has been charged in the death of FeDonta "J.B." White, who was killed early Saturday. White had planned attend the University of New Mexico this year on an athletic scholarship. The 6-foot-8 forward averaged 20 points and 10 rebounds last season with the Santa Fe High School Demons. The school's principal tells the Santa Fe New Mexican that White was an incredible young man who was ready to fulfill his dream in college.


SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in New Mexico has increased by 210. State health officials also reported nine more deaths Saturday. The deaths include three residents of Bernalillo County and two in Dona Ana County. The state has logged 651 deaths due to the coronavirus since the pandemic began. De Baca County is the only county in New Mexico without a confirmed case. Lea, McKinley and Luna counties were leading the state in number of cases per capita over the past two weeks. That's according to an Associated Press analysis of data collected by Johns Hopkins University.


WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. (AP) — Lawmakers on the Navajo Nation have approved a massive spending bill to respond to the coronavirus pandemic. The legislation includes money for water projects, power lines, broadband and casino employees who no longer are receiving paychecks. The Navajo Nation Council passed the more than $650 million measure late Friday after discussing it for more than 28 hours in a special session over three days. The money comes from the Navajo Nation's share of $8 billion in federal coronavirus relief funding that was set aside for tribes. Navajo President Jonathan Nez has 10 days to act on the bill once it reaches him.


LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — A county sheriff in southern New Mexico has criticized a former deputy after boxes containing bags of police evidence and scattered pages of police case files were found in the deputy's foreclosed home. A cleaning crew discovered 72 pieces of case evidence May 23 after going to prepare the home for resale. The Las Cruces Sun-News reported that Doña Ana County Sheriff Kim Stewart called it a failure in leadership while speaking at a press conference Friday. None of the cases can be prosecuted. Former Deputy Vincent Lopez was charged with tampering with public records and tampering with evidence. Online records don't list an attorney for Lopez.


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A shortage of Jesuit priests is forcing the storied Society of Jesus Catholic order to abandon New Mexico after more than 160 years. The Albuquerque Journal reports the St. Louis, Missouri-based Jesuits USA Central and Southern Province is pulling out the last remaining four Jesuit priests next year. Rev. Warren Broussard, pastor of Immaculate Conception Church and Parish in Albuquerque will be the last to depart next June 30. Broussard says the Jesuits are just stretched too thin to continue ministering to all the places that they've been ministering. The Jesuit Order was founded in the early 1500s by Ignatius Loyola.