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Local and State News

Latest New Mexico news, sports, business and entertainment at 3:20 a.m. MDT

  • School year begins for some New Mexico districts

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The school year is getting underway at some of New Mexico's largest public school districts as teachers, students and parents deal with remote learning amid the coronavirus pandemic. Albuquerque Public Schools is starting Wednesday as schools in the district have been distributing technology to students, making virtual home visits, and providing guidance to staff, students and families. The Las Cruces district also is outlining new protocols for instruction, technology and nutrition services for an all-online start Wednesday. Whether students return to the classroom later in the year will depend on the pace of the pandemic in the state.  

  • New Mexico reports another 202 COVID-19 cases, 3 deaths

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico health officials are reporting another 202 COVID-19 cases, bringing the total to more than 22,640 since the coronavirus pandemic began. Another three deaths were also reported Tuesday, bringing that tally to 693. The additional deaths include men in their 40s from San Juan and McKinley counties, one of whom had underlying conditions. The state Health Department's latest modeling report indicates that the highest percentage of cases _ about 19% _ are among people between 25 and 34 years old. State data also shows that people 45 and older make up the highest percentages of new hospital admissions each week.

  • 2nd suspect hospitalized in case where child's remains found

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A second member of an extended family facing firearms, kidnapping and terrorism-related charges in connection with an 2018 raid on a remote compound where a child's decomposed body was found has been ordered hospitalized for mental health treatment. Federal prosecutors said Tuesday that the trial of five related defendants is on hold until competency issues can be resolved. The case stems from a 2018 raid on a remote compound in New Mexico where a child's decomposed body was discovered. Defendant Lucas Morton was found incompetent to stand trial last week by a federal judge and was referred to a medical center for treatment.

  • 'Poor People's Campaign' eyes low-income voters in 13 states

RIO RANCHO, N.M. (AP) — A campaign inspired by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s last organizing effort says new data suggest low-income voters in key states could swing some U.S. Senate races. The Poor People's Campaign coalition of activists and union and religious leaders said Tuesday it's using the data to pressure candidates to focus on poverty and encourage poor and low-income people in 13 states to register to vote. The study by Columbia School of Social Work assistant professor Robert Paul Hartley found that low-income eligible non-voters make up about one-fifth of the electorate in states like Arkansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, and New Mexico. 

  • Meetings canceled as New Mexico agency stretches resources

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A panel that oversees water quality and permitting issues across New Mexico has been forced to cancel another meeting. The reason is the state Environment Department doesn't have the staff needed to organize meetings for the boards and commissions under its umbrella. That means it could be September before the Water Quality Control Commission meets again, putting on hold decisions about everything from lower financing rates for rural water projects to enforcement actions against polluters. New Mexico Environment Secretary James Kenney says years of austere budgeting have left his agency in a "deep hole" with few resources in the face of more responsibility.

  • Navajo Nation president asks Trump to commute death sentence

PHOENIX (AP) — Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez has asked President Donald Trump to commute the death sentence of a Navajo man convicted in the 2001 killing of a fellow tribal member and her 9-year-old granddaughter. Nez cited the tribe's longstanding opposition to the death penalty in a July 31 letter to Trump that asks for Lezmond Mitchell's sentence to be reduced to life in prison. Mitchell is the only Native American on federal death row. Tribal officials and even the victims' family opposed his death penalty, despite the grisly nature of the killings. The U.S. Justice Department declined to comment on the clemency request.

  • Trini Lopez, 1960s-era singer mentored by Sinatra, dies

RIO RANCHO, N.M. (AP) — Trini Lopez, a singer and guitarist who gained fame for his versions of "Lemon Tree" and "If I Had a Hammer" in the 1960s and took his talents to Hollywood, has died. He was 83.  Filmmaker P. David Ebersole confirms that Lopez died Tuesday from complications of COVID-19. Lopez was mentored by Buddy Holly and Frank Sinatra and became an international star, performing in English and Spanish. Unlike Mexican American singers such as Ritchie Valens, Lopez rejected advice to change his name. Lopez crossed over into acting, appearing in the World War II drama "The Dirty Dozen," the comedy "The Phynx" and credits on television's "Adam-12."

  • New Mexico lawmaker resigns, will run for Bernalillo sheriff

RIO RANCHO, N.M (AP) — New Mexico state Rep. Patricio Ruiloba has resigned from his Albuquerque-area seat and says he will run for Bernalillo County sheriff. The Democrat told The Associated Press on Tuesday that he submitted his resignation letter and will begin organizing his campaign. The 53-year-old retired Albuquerque police officer says he has been urged to run for sheriff by residents concerned about rising crime and conflicts between law enforcement and communities of color. Current Democratic Sheriff Manny Gonzales has faced criticism for a rise in deputy shootings and for stalling on requiring deputies to wear body cameras. He cannot seek reelection due to term limits.