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Local and State News

Latest New Mexico news, sports, business and entertainment at 1:20 a.m. MDT


SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The state Republican Party on Friday criticizing the conduct of a Democratic state senator in an encounter with state police as the legislator sought help regarding telephone message threats. Republicans made public lapel camera video of the visit by several state police officers to the home of Sen. Jacob Candelaria in which the senator raises his voice with police and asks them to leave. Candelaria said he has thanked and apologized to the officers who came to his home for not treating them with the necessary respect and decorum. Candelaria has been critical of the overall police response to threats against him as an openly gay, Latino legislator in the current political climate.


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico has marked a grim milestone, as deaths related to the coronavirus have topped 1,000. The statewide toll grew Friday with the addition of 13 more deaths. The tally came as New Mexico struggles with increasing rates of spread and record daily case totals and hospitalizations. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham ordered flags to fly at half-staff starting Monday for a week of mourning. She called it "an unfathomable tragedy." State health officials are urging people to stay home. Nationally, the U.S. is averaging just over 800 coronavirus deaths a day, up about 14% over the past two weeks.


SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Election administrators and Republican Party election challengers are clashing about oversight of the absentee balloting process in a southern New Mexico county. State elections regulators and the Republican Party say four GOP-affiliated election challengers were removed from a warehouse in Dona Ana County where absentee ballots are being processed. State Elections Director Mandy Vigil said her office received reports that Republican-appointed challengers were removed for disrupting and intimidating the county's absentee precinct board. The Republican Party said the challengers were rightfully doing there job. 


TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — The U.S. Air Force says residents of parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Texas can expect to see and hear additional military flight activity in the coming week, including some at night. Officials said the 355th Wing will conduct an exercise that will include airplane and helicopter operations. The exercise will be done at locations between Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Arizona, on the west and the Army's Fort Bliss outside El Paso, Texas, on the east. Officials said the exercise dubbed Dynamic Wing is intended to prepare personnel for rapid deployments for "attack and rescue missions in austere environments." The 355th is based at Davis-Monthan.


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The University of New Mexico football team will be moving its practices to Las Vegas, Nevada, as it prepares for an upcoming game. UNM Athletic Director Eddie Nunez says the Lobos are relocating because training is currently restricted to groups of five at a time due the prevalence of COVID-19 in Albuquerque and mandates spelled out by a state public health order. The Albuquerque Journal reports that the team could end up staying through November as New Mexico is dealing with a surge of coronavirus cases. According to the team, there have been no positive tests among players and coaches this past week.


SHIPROCK, N.M. (AP) — The Navajo Nation is suing nearly three dozen people, accusing them of illegally growing hemp or marijuana on the reservation. The lawsuit filed earlier this week in the Shiprock District Court in northwestern New Mexico says the operations are contaminating the tribe's water, land and other natural resources. It's the second such lawsuit the tribe's Department of Justice has filed this year. The tribe does not have a regulatory system for industrial hemp on the vast reservation that spans parts of Utah, New Mexico and Arizona. 


YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, Wyo. (AP) — Wolves have repopulated the mountains and forests of the American West with remarkable speed since their reintroduction 25 years ago. They've expanded to more than 300 packs in six states. Now voters in Colorado are poised to give the predators another boost in their rebound from extinction in the region last century. A Nov. 3 ballot initiative seeks to reintroduce them to the western half of the state, where cattle ranchers and hunting guides see the return of wolves as a threat. The Trump administration on Thursday stripped wolves of government protections across most of the U.S. That puts their future in the hands of state wildlife agencies.


SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The U.S. Supreme Court isn't the nation's only judicial battleground. The high courts in a number of states are on the ballot Tuesday in races that will determine whether Republicans or Democrats have a majority, and the stakes are high for both sides. This year alone, state supreme courts have been thrust into the spotlight to decide politically charged cases over voting rights, race and governors' coronavirus orders. Next year, it could be abortion, health care and redistricting. State supreme court races have become increasingly partisan in recent elections and often attract millions of dollars in campaign spending.