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Local and State News

Latest New Mexico news, sports, business and entertainment at 6:20 a.m. MDT

  • State senator pivots from fugitive to reformer

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.

  • Taking a stand has new meaning in heavily litigated election

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.

  • Letters, texts, caravans, parades: Advocates mobilize voters

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.

  • Report: Remote learning fails many New Mexico students

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.

  • Judge approves agreement to end dispute over threatened owl

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.

  • Navajo energy company in talks over coal-fired power plant

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.

  • New Mexico pueblo leadership council gets new chairman

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A leadership council that represents Native American pueblos across New Mexico has a new chairman. The All Pueblo Council of Governors announced Tuesday that Wilfred Herrera Jr. of Laguna Pueblo will serve as chairman after J. Michael Chavarria of Santa Clara Pueblo submitted his resignation. Chavarria cited personal reasons for his decision to step down but didn't provide any details. The council is considering whether to hold a special election early next year to fill the remainder of Chavarria's two-year term. During his time on the council, Chavarria has been outspoken about issues ranging from education to the protection of cultural sites.

  • Navajo Nation seeks more paper applications for virus funds

FARMINGTON, N.M. (AP) — The Navajo Nation says it's working to release more paper applications for a tribal hardship assistance program after application shortages caused challenges for chapters and tribal members. The Navajo Nation Office of the Controller made applications available Monday to enrolled members of the tribe who are 65 and older or who have disabilities. The Navajo Nation CARES Fund Hardship Assistance Program applications are open to all other enrolled tribal members starting Nov. 2. However, the department said only 3,000 applications were printed over the weekend and distributed to the Navajo Nation's 110 chapters. Controller Pearline Kirk said 200,000 more applications will be made available to the chapters.