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


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Deep political divisions over responses to the coronavirus pandemic are on display in New Mexico as the governor testifies to Congress in support further federal recovery aid. In remote testimony Thursday, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham described looming state budget troubles and highlighted the continued need for federal support to ensure economic recovery and fight the spread of COVID-19. Prominent New Mexico Republicans are joining mass rallies in defiance of emergency health orders and advocating for fewer restraints on business and schools that affect the economy. In Washington D.C., Senate Democrats scuttled a scaled-back GOP coronavirus rescue package. They say the proposal shortchanged too many pressing needs.


CLOVIS, N.M. (AP) — State officials have reached a settlement agreement with the U.S. Defense Department over groundwater violations at Cannon Air Force Base in eastern New Mexico. The agreement announced Thursday addresses a compliance order that was issued over Cannon's lack of a groundwater discharge permit. The base also was accused of not providing state environmental regulators with information about chemicals left behind by past military firefighting activities. The state remains in a legal battle with the U.S. government over the cleanup of contamination at Cannon and Holloman air bases that is linked to chemicals known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS.


ALBQUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Albuquerque's police chief is stepping down. Mayor Tim Keller announced Thursday that Police Chief Michael Geier will retire this fall, with Deputy Chief Harold Medina taking over as acting chief next week. Geier has served as police chief since December 2017 and Keller's statement said Geier brought in a new leadership team, restructured the department, revamped the use of force training and policies and hired additional officers. Keller credited Geier with "righting the ship through our first year, getting new leadership in place, focusing on gun violence and getting reform efforts on track,"


SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — "Game of Thrones" author George R.R. Martin won't be able to build a seven-sided, castle-style library at his compound in Santa Fe. The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that the city's Historic Districts Review Board denied a request Tuesday to allow Martin to exceed the building height limit in the historic district where he lives. Neighbors objected to the project, saying they didn't want a visible castle in the middle of a residential neighborhood. Officials also denied a similar proposal early this year, saying the project didn't meet height and style standards and didn't fit in with the character of the historic district.


CHAMA, N,M. (AP) — Damage from snow and wind forced the evacuation of about 50 people staying at an RV campground in Chama, sending dozens of people to hotels and an emergency shelter at a church. Snow caused tree limbs to fall down, knocking down power lines and damaging camper trailers. The danger prompted the campground's operators to order an evacuation early Wednesday morning. No serious injuries were reported but one camper vehicle was reportedly severely damaged when a tree limb fell on it. The campground's operators hoped to get power restored and downed tree limbs cleared in time to reopen for the weekend.


SEATTLE (AP) — A group of states suing over service cuts at the U.S. Postal Service is asking a federal judge to immediately undo some of them, saying the integrity of the upcoming election is at stake. In a motion filed late Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Yakima, Washington, the 14 states asked the judge to restore or replace decommissioned sorting machines at processing facilities, to treat election mail as First Class mail, and to end the so-called "leave behind" policy, requiring that postal trucks leave at certain times, whether or not there is additional mail to load. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy has said handling election mail is the organization's top priority.


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — There's growing frustration among New Mexico lawmakers and environmental regulators about the U.S. government's slow pace in cleaning up contamination from decades of nuclear research and bomb-making at Los Alamos National Laboratory. The officials are concerned about taking a backseat to other states, saying legal action might be New Mexico's only leverage against the U.S. Energy Department. A federal official told lawmakers that since January, only five shipments of waste had been sent from Los Alamos to the government's underground repository. Meanwhile, the Idaho National Laboratory is sending two to three waste shipments a week as part of the nation's multibillion-dollar cleanup program for Cold War-era waste.


SANTA TERESA, N.M. (AP) — A Taiwanese manufacturer of metal composite materials has announced it is relocating a distribution facility to a booming New Mexico border town. New Mexico Economic Development Secretary Alicia J. Keyes said Thursday the Xxentria Technology Materials Company has purchased land for its facilities in Santa Teresa, New Mexico, with a production plant planned in Chihuahua, Mexico. Keyes says the move was made after she met with company officials in Taiwan last year. Xxentria is a major producer of galvanized steel and aluminum composite panels for both the transportation and architecture industries. Keyes says the company plans to bring around 35 new jobs to the state.