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

  • New Mexico surpasses Colorado in per-capita virus cases

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico health officials have reported 110 newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 and eight related deaths. Tuesday's coronavirus statistics show that Dona Ana County had the most new infections, with 32 cases. Cumulative statewide deaths from the coronavirus now number 787. The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in New Mexico has decreased over the past two weeks, going from 156 new cases per day on Aug. 17 to 127 new cases per day on Aug. 31. That's according to an analysis by The Associated Press of data collected by Johns Hopkins University Center for Systems Science and Engineering.

  • New Mexico cites natural gas plants for excess air pollution

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico environmental regulators have issued citations against natural gas processing plants on allegations they vastly exceeded permitted air pollution limits while burning off excess natural gas. The New Mexico Environment Department on Tuesday announced compliance orders against plant operators DCP Operating Company and Energy Transfer Partners with potential fines in excess of $7 million. The agency said the excess pollutants may contribute to the formation of ground-level ozone and other hazardous air-quality conditions.

  • Santa Fe, McKinley County win larger federal relief grants

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The Santa Fe area emerged as a major beneficiary of federal relief funds for local government, as the state of New Mexico assigned nearly $100 million to towns, cities and counties to offset spending on the pandemic response. The city of Santa Fe was awarded $17.6 million in possible reimbursements and Santa Fe County can receive up to $10.5 — accounting together for 28% of direct grant awards announced on Tuesday. McKinley County, which has the state's highest tally of COVID-19 infections per capita, received an outsized direct grant award of $16.1 million.

  • Study: Cancer cases likely in those exposed to atomic test

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — After years of study, the National Cancer Institute says some people probably got cancer from the radioactive fallout that wafted across New Mexico after the U.S. government detonated the first atomic bomb in 1945. However, the exact number is unknown. Researchers said in studies released Tuesday that it's impossible to know if New Mexico's cancer rates changed in the first decades after the test, given the lack of data. They did conclude that whatever excess cancer cases did arise would have been limited to those alive at the time and that effects on those born later would be too small to expect additional cases. 

  • Man arrested in killing involving theft of victim's bike

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Albuquerque police say a 19-year-old man has been arrested n the 2019 killing of another man during the theft of the victim's bicycle. Police said Elijah Amos was arrested Monday in the fatal shooting of Isaac Candelaria on Jan. 16, 2019 as the two fought over Candelaria's bike at a bus stop. The shooting triggered a massive but unsuccessful search along the Rio Grande. Police said homicide detectives identified Amos as a potential suspect within days and that an arrest warrant was issued recently after additional information linked him to the killing. Online court records didn't list an attorney who could comment on his behalf.

  • New Mexico agency says it is unable to move despite mandate

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The New Mexico Public Regulation Commission has been asked to vacate its office space by Sept. 30, but a top official says it is ill-prepared to do so. The Albuquerque Journal reports officials had previously issued an order for the commission to vacate its building in Santa Fe by June in order to make room for the newly created Early Childhood Education and Care Department. That order was later extended to September. PRC chief of staff Jason Montoya says the office is in no position to move due to a lack of funds. The commission is seeking either a grant or loan from the state in order to find new housing.

  • Heat, drought make for miserable combo for southwest US

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — It's grim news for the western U.S. The latest maps show most of the southern half of the region is mired by drought, with the most extreme conditions centered over parts of Utah, Nevada, Arizona and Colorado. Some parts of Nevada have gone months without measurable rain. New Mexico's state climatologist says his state has its own problems, where drought has been compounded by dismal spring runoff and now a nearly nonexistent monsoon season. Dave DuBois says many measures — such as precipitation, soil moisture and reservoir levels — are all below average in New Mexico and across the Southwest.

  • New Mexico aims for 5% reduction in annual state spending

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The administration of New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham is directing executive agencies to reduce annual spending by 5% to help ease an anticipated budget deficit for the coming fiscal year. Agency budget proposal are due Tuesday in an annual rite that provides time for legislators to craft a balanced budget before they reconvene in January. A memo to state agencies obtained by The Associated Press calls for a 5% reduction in general fund levels for the fiscal year starting on July 1, 2021, compared with current-year spending. That is in line with recommendation from the Legislature's budget and accountability office.