Latest New Mexico news, sports, business and entertainment at 11:20 a.m. MDT
- ELECTION 2020-HOUSE-NEW MEXICO
RIO RANCHO, N.M. (AP) — Democratic Rep. Xochitl Torres Small and Republican challenger Yvette Herrell have finally have met in a televised debate in southern New Mexico's closely watched U.S. House race. Torres Small stressed bipartisanship during the KOAT-TV/Albuquerque Journal-sponsored debate on Sunday. Herrell tried to link the Democrat to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Herrell says she would be a conservative voice and stressed her Christian values. Torres Small repeatedly highlighted her votes on oil and gas that bucked the Democratic Party. The race is a rematch of the 2018 campaign. Torres Small won that one by less than 4,000 votes and flipped the traditionally Republican-leaning district.
- VIRUS OUTBREAK-NAVAJO NATION
WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. (AP) — Navajo Nation health officials are reporting 18 new confirmed cases of the coronavirus and three additional deaths. The latest figures released Sunday bring the total number of cases to 10,290 with the known death toll at 555. Tribal officials said 104,884 people have been tested on the vast reservation that covers parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah and 7,250 have recovered from COVID-19. The Navajo Nation has implemented a stricter weekend lockdown as it looks into new clusters of coronavirus cases from family gatherings and off-reservation travel. Residents now are being required to stay home from Friday evening until early Monday morning.
- 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.
- CRIME SWEEP-ALBUQUERQUE
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Albuquerque police say the latest in a series of city-wide crime sweeps has netted 36 arrests, including many suspects with a history of gun violence. Police Chief Harold Medina said Saturday that the "anti-crime operation" has resulted in 151 arrests since Aug. 19. The majority of the 36 offenders booked into jail Wednesday through Friday during the fourth edition of the crack down have a criminal history for gun violence and property crimes. Officers and detectives cleared 53 felony warrants, made 20 felony arrests; recovered nine firearms, nine stolen vehicles and issued 183 citations.
- 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.