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Local and State News

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


SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The New Mexico Supreme Court has rejected a settlement challenge in a lawsuit over an alleged "pay-to-play" scheme dating back to the administration of Democratic Gov. Bill Richardson. The Santa Fe New Mexican reported that former state Educational Retirement Board Investment Chief Frank Foy filed the lawsuit in 2008, claiming the state lost about $90 million in bad investment deals. Neither Richardson nor any member of his administration was charged with a crime. Foy's attorney Victor Marshall opposed the settlement agreement, appealed the lower court ruling and then challenged the denied appeal. Foy can now appeal the case the U.S. Supreme Court. Marshall said he was not able to comment.


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — One of the oldest Roman Catholic dioceses in the United States will again be foregoing Sunday Mass indefinitely as New Mexico marks its latest surge of COVID-19 cases. Archbishop John C. Wester is directing churches within the northern New Mexico diocese to cease regular Mass schedules after Sunday until further notice. He's encouraging Masses to be streamed via the internet or recorded so that they may be accessed by people at home. He's also calling for funeral services and weddings to be delayed. The guidance comes as state officials have been pushing people to stay home and adhere to the provisions of the public health order.


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — More national forests are imposing fire restrictions as New Mexico waits for some much needed rain. The Cibola National Forest is implementing the first stage of restrictions Friday on the Mount Taylor, Magdalena, Mountainair and Sandia ranger districts. That means no campfires or fireworks and smoking is limited to developed recreation sites, barren areas or inside vehicles or buildings. The Carson and Santa Fe national forests also are enacting restrictions. Officials say the risk of unseasonal wildfires across northern New Mexico is widespread. The Gila forest in southern New Mexico also warned of high to very high fire danger.


SILVER CITY, N.M. (AP) — The family of an inmate who took his own life in jail is suing the New Mexico county that held him in custody. The wrongful death lawsuit involving Fernando Rodriguez filed last week in U.S. District Court alleges that Grants County officials failed to properly monitor Rodriguez following his September 2018 arrest over a reported fight about drug use. The lawsuit says Rodriguez had struggled with addiction and was placed in solitary confinement under a suicide watch. But court documents say guards neglected to watch him and the camera in the cell didn't work. Grants County Manager Charlene Webb declined to comment. 


SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The CW-TV series "Roswell, New Mexico" will return to the state it's named after to film its third season. The New Mexico Film Office announced Thursday that the series will begin production this month through April and be filmed in Santa Fe, Las Vegas, Albuquerque, and Madrid. The series follows Liz Ortecho, played by Jeanine Mason, who is the daughter of immigrants. She discovers her teenage crush, who is now a police officer, is an alien who has kept his unearthly abilities hidden. "Roswell, New Mexico" is based on the "Roswell High" book series, written by Melinda Metz.


ROSWELL, N.M. (AP) — A military junior college in New Mexico is under quarantine after reporting more than 60 cadets and employees tested positive for the coronavirus. The quarantine at the New Mexico Military Institute is expected to last until Oct. 29. The closure comes as the state struggles with a surge in COVID-19 cases, with an additional 669 infections reported Thursday. With high spread and positivity rates, health officials say the trend is expected to continue for the next two to three weeks and that more people will likely be hospitalized. The recent surge has resulted in a nearly 150% increase in hospitalizations since Oct. 1.


DZILTH-NA-O-DITH-HLE, N.M. (AP) — Construction has been completed on a water treatment plant that will help provide parts of the Navajo Nation and surrounding areas with a clean and reliable source of drinking water. Years in the making, the project is the result of a settlement agreement over water rights in the San Juan Basin. Construction still is underway on other parts of the system. The federal Bureau of Reclamation will test and monitor the treatment plant and an associated pipeline the next six months while the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority introduces water from the plant into six distribution systems.


CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — A Utah man faces felony charges resulting from alleged attempts to locate a famed treasure on the grounds of a cemetery in Yellowstone National Park. Rodrick Dow Craythorn was accused of digging in Fort Yellowstone Army Cemetery in northeast Wyoming while searching for the Forrest Fenn treasure. Craythorn pleaded not guilty to charges of excavating or trafficking in archaeological resources and injury to U.S. property. Fenn sparked a treasure hunt through several states after the New Mexico art dealer offered clues to a treasure he had hidden. Authorities say the treasure was located in Wyoming in June.