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Local and State News

Latest New Mexico news, sports, business and entertainment at 5:20 p.m. MST


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Federal law enforcement authorities are stepping up their vigilance of any possible civil rights violations related to the Nov. 3 election by establishing an FBI command post and assigning a prosecutor to monitor complaints or threats. The precautionary effort is unprecedented in recent memory and was announced at a joint news conference Monday attended by New Mexico Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver and officials from the FBI and U.S. attorney's office. The process of tallying ballots is likely to take more time amid partisan monitoring efforts because of a massive surge in absentee balloting in response to the coronavirus pandemic. 


SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has tested negative for the coronavirus after a custodian at the governor's mansion was diagnosed with COVID-19. The governor announced Monday that she is self-quarantining for a two-week period as an extra precaution in accordance with state guidelines. Lujan Grisham spokeswoman Nora Sackett says a staff member at the governor's official residence reported feeling unwell on the afternoon of Thursday, Oct. 1, and was immediately sent for a virus test that turnout out positive. She said the governor was tested Friday with a negative result, and that 37 other people were tested for possible exposure. A second round of testing is planned.


SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Candidates for an open U.S. Senate seat in New Mexico are parrying a barrage of political attack ads as the first televised debate of the campaign takes place. Retiring Democratic Sen. Tom Udall has endorsed as his successor allied six-term U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján, while Republican former television meteorologist Mark Ronchetti is proposing to chart a more conservative political course. Absentee balloting begins Tuesday across the state that currently has an all-Democratic delegation to Washington, D.C. Ronchetti is defending his standing as a scientifically minded Republican, while Luján says he'll never vote as a Democrat to defund the police.


WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. (AP) — Tourist sites on the Navajo Nation will be closed through at least the rest of the year. The Navajo Parks and Recreation Department cited a rise in coronavirus cases on the reservation and a public health order in making the announcement. Officials say they'll reassess in January. The closure includes tribal parks like the Four Corners Monument, Lake Powell Navajo Tribal Park and Lower Antelope Canyon. It also extends to rivers, trails, canyons and roads that lead to those sites. The tribe reported 19 new cases of the coronavirus on Sunday and one death, bringing the total number of cases on the reservation to 10,441.


LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — Authorities in New Mexico say a Doña Ana County deputy shot a man who was allegedly threatening people with a shotgun after a car wreck over the weekend. Doña Ana County sheriff's office spokeswoman Perri Marte said a silver sedan and a pickup truck towing a trailer collided on Sunday around 10 a.m. Marte said Sheriff Kim Stewart, who was off duty, and other bystanders stopped to help when the driver of the sedan retrieved a shotgun and threatened those nearby. Authorities say the man fled the scene and a deputy located the man and shot him. The man's condition is unknown. An investigation is ongoing. 


FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — Members of a small Arizona tribe have reached a settlement with the federal government to partly resolve a lawsuit that sought widespread education reforms. Attorneys for Havasupai parents and students say the agreement will help thousands of Native Americans who attend Bureau of Indian Education schools. A federal court had already determined that the bureau violated its duty to ensure access to special education, therapists and mental health services. The Bureau of Indian Education didn't admit fault in the agreement that requires it to incorporate a federal disability civil rights law into its manual. Independent monitors would ensure the agency complies with the agreement for the next three years.


BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Montana's governor is asking a judge to block three sweeping land use plans that would open most U.S.-owned lands in the state to energy development. The move comes after the Trump administration's public lands boss, William Perry Pendley, was removed by a court after being in the post for more than a year without Senate confirmation. Bullock, a Democrat, told The Associated Press Monday that all actions undertaken during Pendley's 424-day tenure atop the U.S. Bureau of Land Management are subject to legal challenge. The agency oversees almost a quarter-billion acres of land, primarily in the U.S. West.


CARLSBAD, N.M. (AP) — Leading oil companies in the Permian Basin are working with a Colorado-based nonprofit environmental organization to better track emissions from the industry as it tries to curb pollution. Shell Energy, ExxonMobil and Chevron are among the partners working with the Rocky Mountain Institute. They will be using a digital platform that will offer emissions data from satellites, aircraft and monitoring stations as well as industry reports. The Carlsbad Current-Argus reports that the system is intended to help companies meet benchmarks for greenhouse gas emissions and invest more in targeted efforts to curb the effects of climate change.