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Local and State News

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

  • International Mariachi Conference to go virtual amid virus

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — An international mariachi conference that brings student musicians across the country and Mexico to New Mexico will go virtual this year. The Las Cruces Sun-News reports organizers with the Las Cruces International Mariachi Conference made the decision to put the gathering online as cases of COVID-19 rise nationwide. The conference is still slated for the second week of November, but live performances and in-person classes have been canceled. The Las Cruces International Mariachi Conference began in 1994. Its mission is to preserve and promote the cultural art forms of Mariachi music and Folkloric dance through educational workshops and performance opportunities for youth and adults.

  • Fire hits historic New Mexico bathhouse, under investigation

OJO CALIENTE, N.M. (AP) — A fire that torched a historic New Mexico bathhouse built in the 1800s remains under investigation. Investigators say a blaze Thursday destroyed the Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs Resort & Spa in northern New Mexico after crews battled the fire for hours. Taos County Fire Chief Mike Cordova says the fire could have been worse and might have spread into the main building had crews not subdued it. Ojo Caliente is on the National Register of Historic Places. The site dates back to the Tewa speaking Pueblo people. No injuries were reported.

  • New Mexico reports 205 more COVID-19 cases, 4 more deaths

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Health officials in New Mexico have reported 205 additional confirmed COVID-19 cases with four additional deaths. The latest numbers increase New Mexico's case total to 22,315 and the death toll to at least 685. Of the 205 new cases, 49 occurred in Bernalillo County and 30 in Dona Ana County. The number of infections is thought to be far higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick. For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. But for some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.

  • Colorado man sentenced threatening to kill official, lawyer

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A Colorado man has been sentenced to 15 months in federal prison for threatening to kill a New Mexico state official and an attorney with a law firm in connection with a fraud case. Federal prosecutors say 40-year-old Andrew Graham of Snowmass, Colorado, had pleaded guilty to sending interstate communications threatening to killing someone and was sentenced Wednesday in federal court in Albuquerque. The U.S. Attorney's Office for New Mexico says Graham falsely believed an official with the state Department of Regulation and Licensing and a lawyer with a private law firm were complicit in his losing trust fund money in a fraud case, 

  • DA won't prosecute New Mexico park ranger in fatal shooting

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The attorney for the family of a Colorado man fatally shot by a U.S. National Park Service ranger in New Mexico said she was disappointed with a district attorney decision to not pursue criminal charges against the ranger. Civil rights lawyer Shannon Kennedy said District Attorney Dianna Luce had omitted "some key factors" when explaining the decision. Luce announced earlier this week that the actions of Park Ranger Robert Mitchell were "objectively justifiable" during a traffic stop at Carlsbad Caverns National Park. Kennedy filed a wrongful death claim against the National Park Service and the U.S. Department of Interior in June. They have yet to file a response.

  • Man in child porn case that closed observatory indicted

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A man linked to a child pornography investigation that sparked a mysterious closure of a solar observatory in New Mexico has been indicted. Court documents show that a grand jury last month indicted former janitor Joshua Lee Cope on three child pornography counts stemming from an investigation in 2018 at the Sunspot Solar Observatory. The mountaintop observatory in Sunspot closed for 11 days in 2018, but the research association that manages it has said only that an unspecified security issue was the reason for the closure. Cope's attorney, Lauren Elizabeth Anne Truitt, did not immediately return a phone message.

  • Agency reports first plague death in New Mexico since 2015

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A Rio Arriba County man has died of the plague in what the state Department of Health says is the first such death in New Mexico since 2015. Officials said Friday that the man was in his 20s and had been hospitalized. Department officials had said in late July that a Santa Fe County man in his 60s who was recovering at a hospital was the first case of plague this year. The plague is a bacterial disease that usually originates with wildlife. It can be transmitted to humans and pets through the bites of infected fleas.  

  • State requires fast reports from employers on COVID-19 cases

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico regulators have ordered employers to promptly report coronavirus cases to the state. An emergency rule issued by the Environmental Department requires employers to report positive COIVD-19 cases to the department within four hours of being notified of the case. The department said requiring employers to quickly report positive cases means the state will be able to more rapidly respond to workplaces to provide immediate guidance and support to employers. The goal is preventing the spread of COVID-19 beyond the infected employees. The state on Saturday reported 155 additional confirmed cases with six more deaths.