Latest New Mexico news, sports, business and entertainment at 11:20 a.m. MDT
- BUDGET CRUNCH-NEW MEXICO
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico state government income defied expectations amid the pandemic by increasing slightly during the fiscal year that ended June 30, but state economists warned Wednesday of a highly unpredictable future for state finances. In an unusual pronouncement, four state economists said Wednesday they could not pinpoint how much income the state is likely to receive during the current and coming fiscal years to sustain public education, health care, public safety and other crucial services. State government income may range from $6.8 billion to $7.6 billion during the coming fiscal year — on current annual spending obligations of $7.2 billion.
RIO RANCHO, N.M. (AP) — A new documentary is diving into the complicated and sometimes contradictory life of James Meredith, a Black civil rights figure who helped change Mississippi. "Walk Against Fear: James Meredith," scheduled to air Thursday on the Smithsonian Channel, examines the life of a U.S. Air Force veteran whose admission to the University of Mississippi forced President John F. Kennedy to send federal troops into the state to quell a white supremacy uprising. Meredith was later shot during a peaceful demonstration in Mississippi. Years later, he drew anger from civil rights leaders for endorsing former Klansman David Duke for Louisiana governor.
- JUDGE RETIRES-MISCONDUCT
GALLUP, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico officials have allowed a judge to retire while facing 10 allegations of misconduct in office. The Gallup Independent reported McKinley County Magistrate Judge April J. Silversmith retired Aug. 31. Silversmith faced accusations of excessive absences from work, failing to attend court for the required 40 hours per week, failing to recuse or inappropriately involving herself in cases concerning family members and yelling at court staff members. Silversmith and her attorney requested the case remain sealed, but the allegations became public Sept. 4 when the New Mexico Supreme Court ordered the court filings to be opened.
- AMTRAK GRANT-NEW MEXICO
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The U.S. Department of Transportation has awarded Amtrak a $5.6 million grant for track improvements and other work in New Mexico and Colorado along the Southwest Chief passenger train route between Chicago and Los Angeles. The grant will help pay for upgrading 12.4 miles of rail near Lamy, New Mexico, replacing thousands of ties south of Raton Pass and along another section of track and removing loose rock in Raton Pass and other locations. Other planned work includes rebuilding railroad bridges and grade crossings. The Transportation department said the work will result in higher speed limits for trains and reduced maintenance costs.
- LAS CRUCES-AIR SERVICE
LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — The Las Cruces City Council has given the green light to continue exploring what it would take to reestablish commercial air service for the southern New Mexico community. Consultants told councilors during a work session Monday that research indicates the airport could sustain two to four daily flights to Dallas, Phoenix or maybe both cities. The consultants also identified American Airlines as a potential provider. The city's economic development department has been working with the consultants to determine the feasibility of restoring passenger service. The goal would be daily, regional commercial flights out of the Las Cruces airport.
- DRY NEW MEXICO
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — If hot and dry conditions persist, federal water managers warn that it's possible Albuquerque could see its stretch of the Rio Grande go dry this fall. The Bureau of Reclamation has teamed up with the Interstate Stream Commission and irrigators to lease the last block of water available to keep the river as stable as possible before winter. The entities will pay Albuquerque's water utility $700,000 for the extra water. Other emergency releases happened earlier this year as spring runoff was poor and the monsoon season was spotty. Officials say New Mexico will wrap up the irrigation season with very little water left in storage.
- LEGISLATOR RESIGNS
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A New Mexico legislator not running for re-election this year has resigned and is leaving office before the end of his term. Democratic Rep. Jim Trujillo of Santa Fe announced his resignation Monday. He previously cited health concerns and a desire to spend more time with family members when he announced last October he wouldn't run for re-election. Trujillo represented House District 45 and served as co-chairman of the House Taxation and Revenue Committee. The Santa Fe County Commission will select a replacement to serve the remainder of Trujillo's term. Voters in November will elect a successor who will take office in January.
- FATAL SHOOTING-ALBUQUERQUE
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Albuquerque police say one person was detained and nobody else was being sought in a double fatal shooting prompted by an altercation during a party. Police said officers early Tuesday found the two people fatally shot at an apartment complex. No identities were released and police didn't immediately say whether the person detained was a suspect in the shooting. A brief police statement said "there are no outstanding subjects related to this incident."