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Local and State News

Latest New Mexico news, sports, business and entertainment at 3:20 p.m. MDT


DEMING, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico's state police agency says one of its officers has been killed in a shooting along a highway. The agency announced the shooting death in a Twitter post Thursday that also said a "suspect is deceased." Multiple agencies responded to the confrontation along Interstate 10 in southern New Mexico. A state police spokesman was not immediately available for comment. The Las Cruces Police Department closed the interstate near the shooting scene and told drivers to use a different route until the investigation has been completed. No other information was immediately available.


SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico's largest teachers union is opposing legislation that would extend the school year to make up for learning that was lost during the coronavirus pandemic. They say they support state funding for 10 to 25 extended learning days but disagree with requiring all districts to participate next year. School administrators say staffing has been the largest barrier to increasing instruction time, which has been shown to increase learning. Union leaders say their members need a break after a stressful year and don't want districts cutting into vacation time.


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The largest school district in New Mexico has delayed the vote on how to move forward with schools reopening. It has planned to revisit the discussion at a coming meeting. The Albuquerque Public Schools Board of Education met Wednesday to discuss a plan presented by Interim Superintendent Scott Elder that would have allowed kids to return in phases starting Feb. 22. Elder is now expected to present a different plan that would likely focus on small groups of students. The district's next meeting is scheduled for Feb. 17. 


ALBUQUERQUE, NM. (AP) — A U.S. Air Force court-martial panel sentenced a 22-year-old Kirtland Air Force Base airman to five years in a military prison on convictions stemming from a 2019 crash in Albuquerque that killed a pedestrian. Airman 1st Class Calvin Cooper was sentenced Wednesday after being convicted Tuesday of involuntary manslaughter, negligent homicide and reckless driving in the death of Angelica Baca. The 39-year-old woman was standing in a median and waiting to finish crossing a street when she was killed instantly when struck by Cooper's speeding car.  Baca's mother, Rhonda Henson, said the conviction and sentencing would provide some closure.


SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Jailed Cowboys for Trump founder Couy Griffin is seeking a second judge's opinion on whether he must remain incarcerated pending trial in connection with the siege of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. In court filings Wednesday, attorneys for Griffin say a magistrate judge denied pre-trial release for reasons not cited by prosecutors and in violation of due process rights. They also argue that incarceration without bail is heavy handed considering Griffin never entered the Capitol building.


WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. (AP) — Navajo Nation health officials on Wednesday reported 70 new COVID-19 cases and six more deaths. The latest numbers raised the totals to 28,544 cases and 1,038 known deaths since the pandemic began. On Tuesday, tribal officials said they received word that U.S. President Joe Biden had signed a long-awaited major disaster declaration for the Navajo Nation. It will provide more federal resources and prompts the release of federal funds for the reimbursement of emergency funds expended to address the COVID-19 pandemic on the Navajo Nation which covers parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah. The tribe has tribe extended its stay-at-home order with a revised nightly curfew to limit the spread of COVID-19.  


SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — State health officials sounded an optimistic note Wednesday about progress in containing the coronavirus pandemic amid a gradual increase in federal vaccine supplies to New Mexico and a downward statewide trend in infection rates, deaths and hospitalizations. State Health Secretary Tracie Collins announced Wednessay that nearly 9,000 people are receiving immunization shots each day statewide. The state's federal allotment of vaccine doses is increasing from 56,000 this week to 59,500 next week. State health officials say they are redoubling efforts to distribute vaccines in an equitable way to people at the greatest risk of severe health consequences.


BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A judge says U.S. officials downplayed climate change impacts and other environmental costs from the expansion of a massive coal mine near the Montana-Wyoming border. The judge ruled Wednesday that under former President Donald Trump, officials played up the economic benefits of the Spring Creek Mine expansion but failed to consider the society-wide impacts of climate change. Spring Creek is Montana's largest coal mine. A representaive of Navajo Transitional Energy Company, which owns the mine, said it believes federal officials already met their obligations to review the project and will weigh its legal options. The U.S. Office of Surface Mining was not commenting on the case.