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Local and State News

Latest New Mexico news, sports, business and entertainment at 11:20 a.m. MDT


LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico State University has announced that classes will be entirely online after the Thanksgiving break and that the college's fall commencement will not be held in-person because of coronavirus restrictions. The Las Cruces Sun-News reports that University President John Floros said Wednesday the university surveyed students, faculty and staff at the Las Cruces campus about returning following the break. Classes currently online are not expected to change. There will be two weeks left in the fall semester following the holiday. The campus will remain open after Thanksgiving to provide housing, dining and other services. The college plans to return to in-person classes after the December break.


SANTA FE, N.M (AP) — State legislators are hearing from school leaders about their ideas on how New Mexico can meet its obligation under a court order to provide an adequate education for all students. Panelists on Thursday told members of the Legislative Finance Committee that the coronavirus pandemic has set schools back in staffing, enrollment, testing and school time. Those setbacks are slowing the state's efforts to meet court-ordered mandates to improve instruction for at-risk students. That includes students who are English language learners, Native Americans and those who have mobility or learning impediments.


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico's commercial racetrack and casino venues have crafted a proposal for an expansion that would including internet gaming, 24-hour casino operations and unlimited video slot machines and table games. Officials with Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino are scheduled Thursday afternoon to testify before the Legislative Finance Committee about overhauling the industry in New Mexico. Any changes would likely compromise the state's agreements with Native American tribes that operate casinos. The tracks and casinos say they've been hit hard by the pandemic. Spectators have been kept out of the stands and the casinos have been prohibited from reopening, unlike tribal casinos.


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.


LOS ALAMOS, N.M. (AP) — A $105 million contract has been awarded to Hewlett Packard Enterprise to build a next-generation supercomputer that will be used by the federal government for its nuclear stewardship programs. The Crossroads supercomputer will be based as Los Alamos National Laboratory in northern New Mexico. Scientists at Sandia and Lawrence Livermore national labs also will use the machine for work related to the nation's nuclear stockpile and other weapons research. Officials say Crossroads will have four times the system performance of its predecessor, the Trinity supercomputer. It will consist of Intel processors that will be able to move data faster.


ALAMOGORGO, N.M. (AP) — The embattled Cowboys for Trump leader who has drawn criticism for racist online videos has been banned from a New Mexico tribe's reservation. The Alamogordo Daily News reports the Mescalero Apache Tribe announced Monday that Couy Griffin is no longer allowed on tribal land following a video disseminated by Griffin via the Cowboys for Trump Facebook page. One video showed Griffin getting a blessing where he says. "Bring it on Nancy Pelosi," in a reference to the Democratic House speaker. Another video, since deleted, contained tribal members making accusations against the tribe. Griffin faced criticism in July for telling Black NFL players to "got back to Africa." 


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A decades-long battle over rights to the Jemez River has taken another turn. The question before the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals was whether the mere extension of Spanish authority over the American Southwest centuries ago extinguished the aboriginal water rights of Indigenous communities. A three-judge panel on Tuesday overturned a lower court decision, ruling that Spain would have had to take formal action to extinguish the rights, such as reducing or altering water use. Parties in the case say settling that point could affect the outcome. It will be up to the district court to handle further proceedings.


LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Twelve Democratic governors have issued a joint statement defending American democracy, vowing that every ballot will be counted in the election after President Donald Trump sowed distrust during the first presidential debate. Trump claimed without evidence Tuesday night that mail voting is ripe for fraud, and he refused to say whether he would accept the results. The governors said Wednesday that efforts to toss ballots or refuse a peaceful transfer of power "are nothing less than an assault on democracy." Signing the statement were the governors of Michigan, California, Illinois, New Jersey, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Oregon, Nevada, New Mexico and Delaware.