Latest New Mexico news, sports, business and entertainment at 3:20 p.m. MDT
- NEW MEXICO-EQUITY COUNCIL
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas says the state's natural resources are plentiful, but there have been missed opportunities to create prosperity because minority communities haven't been involved. He announced Tuesday that he's establishing a council to look into bolstering inclusion of communities of color for decisions about environmental protection and access to natural resources. The Equity Advisory Council that will start work soon includes state lawmakers and advocates who work on water, land and livestock issues. Balderas says he is open to adding more members because the goal is to welcome more diverse perspectives.
- VIRUS OUTBREAK-NAVAJO NATION
WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. (AP) — The Navajo Nation is implementing a stricter weekend lockdown as it looks into new clusters of coronavirus cases. Residents of the vast reservation that extends into New Mexico, Arizona and Utah will be required to stay home from Friday evening until early Monday morning. A previous lockdown was a day shorter. Tribal President Jonathan Nez says the tribe is investigating new cases that resulted from family gatherings around Ganado, Arizona, and on the eastern side of the reservation in New Mexico. A new public health order with the extended lockdown is expected Tuesday.
- VIRUS OUTBREAK-NEW MEXICO-SCHOOLS
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The U.S. Justice Department is siding with the father of a seventh grade prep school student in a lawsuit that challenges pandemic-related limits on classroom capacity at private schools in New Mexico as more restrictive than public school guidelines. Albuquerque-based U.S. Attorney John Anderson filed a statement of interest on Monday that argues the state is violating the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution by limiting attendance at private schools to 25% of building capacity when public school guidelines say 50%. Separately, President Donald Trump has proposed diverting federal funding away from public schools that decline to open.
- VIRUS OUTBREAK-NEW MEXICO
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham is sending campaign emails that accuse President Trump of single-handedly botching the nation's coronavirus response. Governors including Lujan Grisham and California's Gavin Newsom have been noticeably reluctant at times to criticize Trump publicly since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, as their state's rely heavily on aid from the federal government to respond to the crisis and balance budgets. That tone shifts in a campaign email from Lujan Grisham that says Trump refused to take action "while knowing how deadly and dangerous COVID-19 would be." State health officials responded last week to an increased number of virus outbreaks associated with work settings.
- NEW MEXICO ENERGY FUTURE
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico's largest electric utility and Sandia National Laboratories is teaming up to make the electric grid more resilient as the state gears up to add more renewable energy to the mix. The research and development partnership was announced Monday. Lab officials say the agreement will address energy challenges not just in New Mexico but across the U.S., as a safe and reliable electric power system is critical to national security. Under the agreement, researchers will be working over the next several years on everything from energy storage systems to artificial intelligence and new sensor technology that can support the grid.
- OFFICER-DWI ARREST
LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — A Las Cruces police officer has been arrested or allegedly driving while under the influence. The Las Cruces News-Sun reported Monday that 25-year-old Lourdes Hernandez has been released on her own recognizance after being booked for aggravated drunk driving and other charges. New Mexico State Police say Hernandez was stopped on Interstate 25 early Saturday for going nearly 20 mph above the 55 mile-per-hour speed limit. According to authorities, Hernandez showed signs of impairment. She identified herself as a police officer and said that she had her on-duty firearm with her. Hernandez then refused to take a Breathalyzer test. A police spokesman says she is on administrative leave.
- VIRUS OUTBREAK-NAVAJO NATION
WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. (AP) — Navajo Nation health officials on Monday reported 11 new confirmed cases of coronavirus but no additional deaths for the second consecutive day. The Navajo Department of Health says the number of known COVID-19-related deaths remains at 548 since the pandemic began. The total number of confirmed cases is now 10,031 which includes one additional case that was previously unreported due to delayed reporting. Tribal health officials say 102,442 people have been tested for the coronavirus and 7,234 have recovered on the vast reservation that covers parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah. The Navajo Nation enforced another 32-hour partial weekend lockdown, which began at 9 p.m. Saturday and ended at 5 a.m. Monday, to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
- VIRUS OUTBREAK-NEW MEXICO
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — State officials reported 164 additional COVID-19 cases with six additional deaths in New Mexico, increasing its totals to 27,512 cases and 847 deaths. Bernalillo and Dona Ana counties each had 31 additional cases and Lea County had 23, including 18 involving state corrections inmates at the Lea County Correctional Facility. Among other counties, Eddy County had 10 additional cases and Chaves County had 10. According to Johns Hopkins University data analyzed by The Associated Press, the seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in New Mexico and daily deaths both decreased over the past two weeks.