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Local and State News

Latest New Mexico news, sports, business and entertainment at 9:20 p.m. MDT

  • Governor urges New Mexicans to avoid Halloween gatherings

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Saturday said the spread of coronavirus is out of control in New Mexico and urged residents to stay home and avoid gathering with others to celebrate Halloween. A Facebook post by the Democratic governor's office urged New Mexicans to protect themselves and their fellow residents "by celebrating a COVID-SAFE Halloween" that included staying home and not gathering with others. State officials on Saturday reported 592 additional known virus cases and 11 additional deaths but said the case data for the day was incomplete due to a technical problem. The state's totals increased to 46,490 cases and 1,018 deaths. 

  • New Mexico report shows progress in climate change efforts

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — State officials say New Mexico has made progress in reducing greenhouse gases and adapting to the effects of climate change, but work remains. The Santa Fe New Mexican reported that a state climate change task force released its second annual climate report. Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham says the state's commitment to fighting climate change has grown stronger as the effects of climate change have been exposed by an extended fire season, severe drought and low water levels. The report outlines steps to curb greenhouse gas emissions and conserve energy including updated building codes that save new homeowners up to $400 annually.

  • GOP says conflict continues on vote count in Dona Ana County

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Clashes continued Saturday between Republican election challengers and absentee ballot handlers in a southern New Mexico county at the center of a congressional swing district race. State Republican Party Chairman Steve Pearce said that a challenger was ejected from the facility as the person tried to get close enough to the ballot tallying machine to take a photograph of vote counts. Challengers are appointed by political parties in New Mexico to be present as county election boards verify and tally ballots and can dispute the veracity of ballots for a variety of reasons. State elections regulators are seeking assurance from the Republican Party that its poll challengers are not being told to disobey election board members.

  • Federal agencies fall short of Trump forest protection goals

Federal agencies have fallen short of President Donald Trump's goals for making forests and rangelands they oversee less vulnerable to wildfires. Trump set targets in 2018 for measures such as removing dead trees, underbrush and other potentially flammable materials. But government data shows the U.S. Forest Service and the Department of Interior treated just over half of the area the president sought. It was only slightly better than their average annual performance over nearly two decades. Trump has blamed poor state forest management practices for the worsening problem of catastrophic fires in the U.S. West.

  • GOP condemns Democratic state senator's conduct with police

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.

  • New Mexico marks grim milestone with over 1,000 virus deaths

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.

  • GOP disputes removal of 4 New Mexico election challengers

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. 

  • Air Force to conduct exercise in Arizona, New Mexico, Texas

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.