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Local and State News

Latest New Mexico news, sports, business and entertainment at 11:20 a.m. MDT


SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A summary of witness statements is shedding light on the events surrounding the shooting death of a college basketball recruit in northern New Mexico. The document was released Tuesday by the Santa Fe County Sheriff's Department in support of criminal charges against a detained 16-year-old defendant. High school basketball standout Fedonta White pleaded with friends to help him survive after being shot in an altercation with an individual at a house party on the outskirts of Santa Fe. Multiple people told investigators that they saw the confrontation. White's death has led to an outpouring of public grief.


Albuquerque zoo's will partially reopen next week to visitors wearing face masks or other face coverings after being closed for months due to the coronavirus pandemic. Mayor Tim Keller announced Wednesday that outdoor exhibitis of the ABQ BioPark Zoo will reopen Aug. 12 but indoor facilities such as the reptile and crocodile buildings will remain closed to the public. Also, high-touch attractions such as the carousel and trains will not operate and daily public feedings and shows that draw crowds remain canceled temporarily. Limited tickets will be available and guests are asked to reserve their tickets in advance online to secure their spot. 


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Vandals damaged the New Mexico Holocaust Museum and Gellert Center for Education just as the burial of U.S. Congressman and civil rights leader John Lewis was being televised. Museum executive director Leon Natker told the Albuquerque Journal the large window of the downtown Albuquerque museum was shattered Thursday. Behind the window was a large photo of an early 1960s civil rights march, part of a movement in which Lewis was a leader. Natker says it was no coincidence the attack happened just as the funeral of Lewis was being broadcast. No arrests have been made.


SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico state health officials say the state has 214 new confirmed cases of COVID-19, bringing the state total to 21,340. The state Department of Health said Tuesday that three more people have died from the novel coronavirus. Officials say 658 have died from COVID-19 in the state. As of Tuesday, there are 133 individuals hospitalized in New Mexico for COVID-19. There are 8,685 virus cases designated as having recovered by the New Mexico Department of Health.


SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The New Mexico Supreme Court has upheld the governor's authority to fine businesses as much as $5,000 a day for violations of emergency health orders aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19. The court heard arguments from businesses claiming the administration of Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham overstepped its authority in response to the pandemic. The ruling was unanimous in the governor's favor. Chief Justice Michael Vigil says the Legislature clearly gave the governor authority to apply administrative fines higher than the $100 citations the businesses claimed was the maximum allowed. The state has fined 16 businesses up to $5,000 a day.


FARMINGTON, N.M. (AP) — A New Mexico man who is serving a life sentence for kidnapping and killing an 11-year-old girl in 2016 had his appeal dismissed after he failed to file his court motion in time. Tom Begaye Jr. was sentenced in 2017 to life in prison with no possibility of parole after pleading guilty to murder, kidnapping and aggravated sexual abuse. The Farmington Daily Times reports that Begaye requested a reduced prison sentence and a hearing to try to plead guilty to lesser offenses. A judge ruled Begaye's claims were invalid because he made the requests too late.


RIO RANCHO, N.M. (AP) — Two U.S. House hopefuls in a crucial southern New Mexico race are distancing themselves from a Cowboys for Trump leader who said some Black athletes should "go back to Africa." Democratic U.S. Rep. Xochitl Torres Small said late Saturday remarks by Couy Griffin were "another example of dangerous rhetoric" coming from someone who also is an Otero County commissioner. Torres Small says his "comments should be condemned by all." Republican former state lawmaker Yvette Herrell also says she disagrees with Griffin's comments. Griffin told The Associated Press he used a poor choice of words in the video.


RIO RANCHO, N.M. (AP) — A Republican seeking to unseat Democratic U.S. Rep. Xochitl Torres Small in a crucial New Mexico House seat has picked up an endorsement from a former Democratic congressman. Former U.S. Rep. Harry Teague once held Torres Small's seat and said Tuesday he is backing Yvette Herrell in November. Teague says Herrell appreciates the impact the energy industry has on the state and will reach across party lines. Teague held the southern New Mexico seat from 2009 until 2011 and was the first Democrat to win the seat in nearly 30 years. He lost after voting for a bill aimed at curbing greenhouse gasses.