Latest New Mexico news, sports, business and entertainment at 11:20 a.m. MDT
- VIRUS OUTBREAK-NAVAJO-SURVIVOR
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — Carol Todecheene has survived COVID-19 but she has lasting effects after becoming severely ill and spending nearly three weeks on a ventilator. She had to learn to walk and talk again. Months after getting the coronavirus, she still is weak, dizzy and has trouble remembering things. Doctors say the medical field isn't quite ready to focus only on long-term effects of COVID-19 while vaccines are in the works and communities are still working on reopening. The vast Navajo Nation where Todecheene lives still has daily curfews and partial weekend lockdowns. Despite her limitations, Todecheene recently went back to work.
- VIRUS OUTBREAK-NEW MEXICO
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico officials are urging residents to take precautions while celebrating Labor Day to avoid spreading the coronavirus. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham says the state "has made great progress in the fight against COVID-19." But she says the holiday weekend will be a key to keeping spread of the virus low and to ensuring that students can return safely to school this year. She asks New Mexicans to "not let their guard down" and to continue wearing masks and avoiding large gatherings. Specific practices recommended by state officials including celebrating outside and keeping celebrations within households. Also, wearing a mask, washing hands and staying six feet apart.
- SPENT NUCLEAR FUEL
CARLSBAD, N.M. (AP) — U.S. nuclear regulators have hosted their final public hearing on a proposal to build a multibillion-dollar complex in southern New Mexico to store spent nuclear fuel from commercial power plants around the country. And there's still disagreement about whether granting a license to Holtec International would be a good thing. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission heard from supporters and critics during Wednesday's meeting. The commission's draft environmental review says the project would have minimal environmental effects. A study on the project's impact on human safety is pending. That will require another round of public comment.
PHOENIX (AP) — Phoenix on Saturday set a high-temperature record of 115 degrees for the date as emergency crews rescued several hikers having heat-related issues on Camelback Mountain. Numerous other desert areas in Arizona and southern Nevada are under excessive heat warnings in effect through Monday night. The heat in Phoenix broke the previous record of 113 degrees set in 1945. Tucson reached 107 degrees, tying a 1945 record. The Phoenix Fire Department said crews rescued four adults in three separate incidents. One was taken to a hospital for evaluation.
- NAVAJO NATION-CENSUS
CHURCH ROCK, N.M. (AP) — Navajo Nation casinos are teaming up with regional census officials for a series of events they hope will boost participation. Billions of dollars in federal funding are at stake along with congressional representation, and many Native American communities are historically undercounted. The Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise will be hosting events in Arizona and New Mexico where people can either drive through or sit with a representative to complete the census questionnaire. The Navajo Nation this week joined a coalition of cities, counties and civil rights groups that are seeking a court order to keep the U.S. Census Bureau from winding down operations.
- NUKE REPOSITORY-VENTILATION
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Crews at the U.S. government's underground nuclear waste repository in New Mexico are starting a new phase of a contentious project to dig a utility shaft. Officials say it will increase ventilation at the site where workers entomb the radioactive remnants of decades of bomb-making. Officials at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant say the $75 million project is a top priority. Adequate ventilation at the repository has been an issue since 2014, when a radiation release forced a temporary closure and contamination limited air flow underground where workers dispose of nuclear waste. Watchdog groups are concerned, saying a final permit for the work hasn't been issued.
BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — U.S. wildlife officials are proposing to exempt some areas from habitat protections meant to save imperiled species. Friday's announcement by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service would place greater weight on the economic benefits of developments when deciding if land or water should be protected. It's the latest move by the Trump administration in a years-long overhaul of how the Endangered Species Act is used. Wildlife advocates say it could allow more drilling, minin and other activities in areas that are crucial to the survival of dwindling populations of plants and animals. Administration officials say the proposal gives more deference to local community needs.
- ART COLLECTIVE UNIONIZATION
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Workers at a New Mexico art collective say they are seeking unionization. Employees at the Santa Fe-based art collective Meow Wolf say Tuesday they will look to unionize under the Communications Workers of America umbrella. The National Labor Relations Board says workers can form a union either by a petition and election or by their employer voluntarily recognizing the union. Meow Wolf's top executives Ali Rubinstein, Carl Christensen and Jim Ward say in a statement that they do not support unionization. The union is currently collecting signatures for a petition, which more than half of collective's employees already have signed.