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Local and State News

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


SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The Republican nominee for a vacant congressional seat in New Mexico is bringing an unusual perspective to the national discourse over pandemic restrictions and federal relief. Mark Moores is a state senator from Albuquerque and the co-owner with his wife of a Roswell-based medical testing business that has been on the front lines tracing the spread of the coronavirus. The business received nearly $850,000 in federal aid to avoid layoffs. Moores is criticizing the state's gradual approach to reopening the economy and says that businesses don't want handouts. It's still unclear whether his company, Pathology Consultants, will repay the federal loan.


SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Paleontologists say they have given a more formal name to the ancient shark fossil dubbed "Godzilla Shark" after it was discovered in New Mexico in 2013. Researchers say in a recently published paper the Hoffman's Dragon Shark was a distinct species that prowled the shores of eastern New Mexico 300 million years ago  when much of North America was covered by a sea. Discoverer John-Paul Hodnett says the name of the newly identified species honors the Hoffman family, which granted him and other paleontologists permission to dig on their land in the Manzano Mountains east of Albuquerque.


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The head of New Mexico's labor agency says he's stepping down. Bill McCamley's last day as secretary of the Department of Workforce Solutions is Friday. McCamley told employees this week that he's proud of their work and that their efforts amid the pandemic have been "nothing short of heroic." The agency has been grappling over the past year with record jobless claims resulting from the pandemic's economic tolls. McCamley did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment about his departure. A former state lawmaker from Las Cruces, McCamley had focused on curbing wage theft and boosting workforce training initiatives.


LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — A high school in New Mexico returned to remote learning on Friday as the school district investigates an off-campus "secret prom." Officials said the event in Las Cruces violated state mandates intended to curb the spread of the coronavirus. A school district statement says a complaint submitted to the governor's office said hundreds of Mayfield High School students may have attended the unsanctioned prom held April 10. A school district spokeswoman says students who attended could face repercussions ranging from academic suspensions to being barred from attending school events such as graduation. The district said Mayfield would be on remote learning through April 26. 


WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. (AP) — The Navajo Nation has reported 20 new confirmed COVID-19 cases, but no additional deaths for the fifth consecutive day. The latest numbers released Thursday brought the pandemic totals on the tribe's reservation to 30,338 cases and 1,262 known deaths. Tribal officials had ordered a lockdown last weekend over fears that a new variant could drive another deadly surge. The Stay-At-Home order required all Navajo Nation residents to refrain from unnecessary travel to help limit the spread of the virus, including a new and more contagious strain.  So far, nearly 16,500 people on the Navajo Nation have recovered from COVID-19.


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Federal water managers have released their annual operating plan for the Rio Grande, and it doesn't look good. Flows have been meager so far this year because of below-average snowpack and precipitation. The Rio Grande is one of North America's longest rivers and a major water source for millions people and thousands of square miles of farmland in New Mexico, Texas and Mexico. The Bureau of Reclamation warned Thursday that a stellar monsoon season would be the only saving grace, but the odds of that happening are slim. That means there will be less water for farmers this growing season, and the river could possibly go dry through Albuquerque.


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Lee Howard Marmon, a self-taught photographer from Laguna Pueblo whose photographs are in galleries and museums around the world, has died at age 95. The Albuquerque Journal reported Thursday that Marmon died March 31 of natural causes at a veterans home in Albuquerque. The newspaper says a private funeral has already been held and Marmon was buried at the Santa Fe National Cemetery. Marmon's images of Native Americans, many taken on the Laguna reservation, helped to chronicle life in the community where he grew up. Among Marmon's numerous honors is a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Southwest Association of Indian Arts.


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico Health Secretary Dr. Tracie Collins says the state has tapped into a network of community health providers, faith leaders and other local organizers to share information as officials look to boost the number of people who are vaccinated. Collins testified Thursday before a congressional subcommittee on the challenges of combating misinformation surrounding the coronavirus pandemic and the vaccination campaign. She said New Mexico has been a leader in distribution. She said the early adoption of a registration site, regular news conferences by top state officials and town halls and social media messaging in multiple languages have resulted in the state's high vaccination rates.