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Local and State News

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

  • ETHICS COMPLAINT-NEW MEXICO

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The New Mexico State Ethics Commission is invoking its full investigatory powers for the first time with a request for court approval of a subpoena. The commission declined to provide any details of the ethics complaint that inspired the investigation. Commission spokesman Sonny Haquani said that state statute requires a probable cause finding before the commission can disclose details of complaints.  The seven-member commission fields complaints regarding campaign finances, government contracting, gifts from lobbyists and more. Voters overwhelmingly approved the creation of the commission in 2018 in the wake of a series of high profile corruption scandals.

  • OIL AND GAS-PRODUCED WATER

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico regulators are close to adopting a set of rules focused on the wastewater that is produced during oil and gas operations. The Oil Conservation Commission is expected during its meeting in early September to vote on the final language. State officials say the rules would require additional reporting to better track the types and volumes of water used within the industry. They would also clarify the jurisdictions of state agencies when it comes to produced water. The state Environment Department also is developing its own rules to regulate potential environmental effects of produced water on the environment.

  • VIRUS OUTBREAK-NEW MEXICO

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico health officials are reporting an additional 132 coronavirus cases and five more deaths. The latest numbers come as nursing homes and other long-term care facilities in some parts of the state begin providing additional visitation options for residents and their families. The New Mexico Health Care Association and New Mexico Center for Assisted Living say the state's new visitation guidance is a positive step and will help with patient wellbeing while still considering the health concerns associated with the coronavirus pandemic. In all, New Mexico has reported more than 22,440 cases and 690 deaths since the pandemic began. 

  • ELECTION 2020-STATE ELECTION AID

ATLANTA (AP) — Congress' inability to reach a deal on another round of coronavirus aid means state and local officials could be on their own to deal with the soaring costs of holding a presidential election amid a pandemic. The coronavirus outbreak has triggered unprecedented disruptions for election officials, many of whom are dealing with staffing shortages and budget constraints. They're also trying to figure out how to process a flood of absentee ballot requests and deal with a critical loss of longtime poll workers, many of whom are older and fear getting COVID-19 from crowded polling places.

  • VIRTUAL STATE FAIR

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Next month's New Mexico State Fair is going all virtual. Organizers plan to hold the fair entirely online to circumvent challenges from the coronavirus pandemic. They announced Monday that there will still be 4-H and Future Farmers of America virtual competitions. There also will be online contests in cake decorating, flower arranging, photography and designing a poster for next year's fair. Video entries for the various competitions will be accepted until Aug. 31. Musicians who would have performed live at the fair will do so digitally. Viewers can check out the event on the fair's website and social media channels.

  • VIRUS OUTBREAK-MARIACHI CONFERENCE

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.

  • HISTORIC BATHHOUSE-FIRE

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.

  • VIRUS OUTBREAK-NAVAJO NATION

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. (AP) — Navajo Nation health officials have reported seven more cases of COVID-19 and one additional death. That brings the total number of people infected to 9,315 and the known death toll to 473 as of Monday night. Navajo Department of Health officials said 85,772 people have been tested for the coronavirus and 6,878 have recovered. Tribal President Jonathan Nez pointed to the latest coronavirus figures as evidence that most Navajo Nation residents are complying with lockdown orders and the advice of medical experts. The Navajo Nation recently changed its 57-hour weekend lockdown to a 32-hour one. The vast reservation covers parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah.