Latest New Mexico news, sports, business and entertainment at 4:20 p.m. MDT
- RACIAL INJUSTICE-NEW MEXICO PROTEST
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Albuquerque's police chief says he's making a priority out of finding the suspect who reportedly drove a vehicle into racial injustice protesters near the campus of the University of New Mexico. No one was hurt in Friday's incident. Albuquerque Police Chief Harold Medina said in a statement Saturday that the city "will not tolerate this kind of behavior." Demonstrators claim the driver was disparaging them before driving through the crowd. They had gathered for a third night of protests after a grand jury in Louisville, Kentucky, decided not to indict any of the officers directly involved in the death of Breonna Taylor.
- OIL INVESTMENTS
CARLSBAD, N.M. (AP) — An American energy investment company has pledged $8.5 million to develop oil and gas assets in the Permian Basin that are owned by Shell Oil Co. The announcement this month by U.S. Energy Development Corp. to acquire interest in a horizontal well project near the New Mexico-Texas state line is an indication that some operations are looking to expand their footprint in what is still considered one of the country's most productive oilfields. The Carlsbad Current-Argus reports that the project will target part of what government scientists have identified as the largest continuous oil and gas resource in history.
- NAVAJO HEMP FIGHT
PHOENIX (AP) — The Navajo Nation is not letting go of a fight against what it says are illegal hemp farms cultivated through immigrant labor. A member of the tribe and head of the operation, Dineh Benally says his business partnership with a Las Vegas dispensary has provided dozens of jobs on the vast reservation that includes parts of New Mexico, Arizona and Utah. A New Mexico judge, however, approved last week a temporary restraining order keeping Benally from running the Shiprock area farms. Benally called the ruling disappointing and harmful to the Navajo Nation's economy. He says more than 200 members of the tribe are employed there.
- POLICE STAFFER-MISSPENDING
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The head of the outgoing Albuquerque police chief's staff has been cleared of allegations of abusing a city credit card and getting an inappropriate pay raise. The Albuquerque Police Department announced Friday the results of an internal investigation of John Ross, the chief of staff for Chief Mike Geier. Geier's secretary in July accused Ross of using the city-issued card for personal purchases like a $2,500 laptop. According to the probe, Ross only committed a minor infraction. He did not list the purchase of two items on the card within the required three days of their acquisition.
BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A federal judge has ruled that the Trump administration's leading steward of public lands has been serving unlawfully and blocked him from continuing in the position. U.S. District Judge Brian Morris said Friday that U.S. Bureau of Land Management acting director William Perry Pendley was never confirmed to the post by the U.S. Senate as required under the Constitution and served unlawfully for 424 days. The ruling marks the latest pushback against the administration's practice of filling key positions without U.S. Senate approval. Montana's Democratic governor had sued to remove Pendley. The agency oversees almost a quarter-billion acres of land, primarily in the U.S. West.
- DRY SOUTHWEST
BERNALILLO, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico's state climatologist says the fingerprints of climate change are evident in the persistent drought that's plaguing the American Southwest. Dave DuBois says dry areas are becoming drier due to a semi-permanent high-pressure system over the West that has become stronger in recent years. He also warned during an online briefing Thursday that the region should be prepared for more warm temperatures and less precipitation this fall and winter. In Nevada, forecasters continue to track a record-setting dry streak for Las Vegas as their colleagues in Arizona hold out hope for a break from record heat next week.
ZUNI PUEBLO, N.M. (AP) — A hand-carved figure held sacred by a Native American community in New Mexico has been returned to the tribe by an Ohio auction house. Cowan's Auctions announced Thursday that the 15-inch carving of a Zuni Pueblo war god was returned in late August after being discovered in an estate collection that had been consigned to the auction house. The wooden war god carvings are ceremonially brought to shrines on tribal lands where they are left to return to the elements. Over the years, many have been illegally removed and have made their way to museums and private collections. Zuni Pueblo has recovered more than 100.
- ELECTION 2020-JUDICIAL APPOINTMENTS
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico's Democratic senators have placed the judicial confirmation process for two U.S. District Court vacancies on hold until after the Nov. 3 election. They say the president has politicized the process, so they'll wait until the voters have spoken. Using their home-state consultation authority, Sens. Martin Heinrich and Tom Udall confirmed Thursday that they have interrupted the vetting of the two lifetime appointments. They say they took the action even before the death of liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, in response to a White House news conference where President Donald Trump rallied his base with talk of his judicial appointments.