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Local and State News

Latest New Mexico news, sports, business and entertainment at 3:20 a.m. MDT

  • Interior secretary will not delay New Mexico land-use plan

FARMINGTON, N.M. (AP) — The U.S. interior secretary has refused to delay a land-use plan that opponents say will lead to drilling thousands of new oil and gas wells. The Farmington Daily Times reported U.S. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt says the Bureau of Land Management and the Bureau of Indian Affairs will go forward with the plan for the Greater Chaco region. A public comment period ended last month after being extended from May because of the coronavirus pandemic. Opponents say the health conditions have not changed and further action should be paused until in-person meetings can resume.

  • Farmington teen gets 2-year sentence in fatal shooting

FARMINGTON, N.M. (AP) — Prosecutors say a teen will serve two years in juvenile detention for fatally shooting another Farmington teenager with a rifle last December. Farmington police said an investigation showed the weapon discharged while a group of teenagers was inside a vehicle. They say 16-year-old Elijah Chavez was shot in the torso and died in his bed at home. The Farmington Daily Times reports the then-15-year-old suspect was arrested in December 2019 for involuntary manslaughter and negligent use of a deadly weapon. He was convicted during a three-day trial in August at Farmington District Court and was sentenced to no more than two years by a judge last month. 

  • FBI agent, federal prosecutor assigned to monitor election

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 in Albuquerque 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. 

  • New Mexico governor self-isolates after staff gets virus

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.

  • Bitter US Senate contest dwells on crime, coronavirus

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 has an all-Democratic delegation to Washington, D.C. Ronchetti is defending his standing as a science-minded Republican, while Luján says he'll never vote as a Democrat to defund the police.

  • Tourist sites on Navajo Nation to remain closed through 2020

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 11 new cases of the coronavirus on Monday and no additional deaths, bringing the total number of cases on the reservation to 10,454 with 559 known deaths.

  • Police: Doña Ana deputy shoots man after crash in Las Cruces

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. 

  • Arizona tribe members settle education claims in lawsuit

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.