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Local and State News

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


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Warner Bros. has announced production of a new Clint Eastwood film is set to take place in New Mexico. The Albuquerque Journal reported that the 90-year-old Oscar winner will direct and star in the film "Cry Macho." No other cast member has been announced. The casting agency said production is scheduled from Nov. 4 through Dec. 16 in the Albuquerque area. The film is based on the book of the same name by Richard Nash. Eastwood will play a one-time rodeo star and horse breeder in 1978 who takes a job from a former boss to bring the man's young son home. Extras casting is currently underway for the project.


SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A state senator who fled home because of threatening phone messages after criticizing a protest against coronavirus restrictions says he plans to pursue reforms that make police more responsive to threats against elected officials — including those who may be especially vulnerable to discrimination. Sen. Jacob Candelaria fled his Albuquerque home on Sunday with his husband in response to an abusive caller who threatened to "get you out one way or another." The openly gay legislator said Tuesday evening that an adequate security plan is now in place but that reforms are needed to ensure police respond more readily to heightened dangers to lawmakers.


The United States is barreling toward Election Day in what is believed to be the most litigated race in American history. Even seemingly mundane issues like where poll watchers can stand are turning into legal disputes in some states. Lawsuits by the hundreds already have been filed as both Democrats and Republicans try to settle in court a process that is usually determined by citizens simply casting ballots. The legal action runs along a broad spectrum, from a dispute over whether guns are allowed near polling places to more complicated matters that already have reached the Supreme Court.


In the best of times, it's a massive logistical challenge to get millions out to vote. In 2020, the difficulty has been dramatically compounded: by fear of the coronavirus, by complications and confusion over mail-in ballots, by palpable anxiety over the bitter divisions in the country. As early voting has surged dramatically, advocates behind the scenes have been mobilizing in myriad ways, from volunteer letter-writers to block associations to national movements, from college marching bands to lone violinists, from fleets of minivans to bicycle parades to horseback rides to the polls in Indian Country.


HOUSTON (AP) — Top Trump administration officials have visited Texas five days before Election Day to announce they have nearly completed 400 miles of U.S.-Mexico border wall. They're trying to show progress Thursday on a key 2016 campaign promise. While most of the wall went up in areas with smaller barriers, the government built hundreds of miles of fencing as high as 30 feet in a short amount of time — most of it this year. But crews bulldozed forests and blasted through hills in national wildlife refuges and on American Indian land to do it. And despite President Donald Trump's promises that Mexico would pay, the construction has cost U.S. taxpayers at least $15 billion. 


SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Legislative analysts say many New Mexico public school students are failing classes because remote learning isn't as effective as classroom instruction. In the report made public on Wednesday, a survey of teachers by the analysts found that 20% of students aren't connecting to school at all. The report says 40% are failing to regularly complete classwork. Four out of five middle and high school students are failing one or more classes in the small southern town Hatch. In larger schools districts like Santa Fe, half of middle and high school students are failing. The report recommends adding more days to the school year to make up for lost learning.


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A U.S. judge approved an agreement between environmentalists and federal managers that will clear the way for both forest restoration efforts and logging to resume in the Southwest. The judge's order was filed Wednesday, a day after the parties announced they had reached the resolution. The court had limited timber activities and restoration projects on national forest lands in New Mexico and Arizona last year pending the outcome of a battle over the threatened Mexican spotted owl. The agreement requires federal managers to monitor the owl population and do surveys before disturbing any ground within owl habitat.


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Negotiations between New Mexico's largest electric utility and the Navajo Transitional Energy Co. could determine whether the tribe acquires a stake in one of the Southwest's few remaining coal-fired power plants. Public Service Co. of New Mexico officials say the negotiations over the Four Corners Power Plant are in their final stages. The New Mexico utility would be able to divest itself from the plant as early as 2024 and the Navajo company would get up to $75 million for exiting early. New Mexico regulators must approve any deal between the tribal company and the utility.