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Local and State News

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

  • Navajo Nation reports no new virus deaths for nearly a week

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. (AP) — The Navajo Nation is nearing a week of reporting no additional deaths of the coronavirus. Safety precautions remain on the vast reservation to help curb the spread of the virus, including a mask mandate and daily curfews. The tribe on Friday reported no new deaths for the sixth consecutive day and 13 new confirmed cases of COVID-19. The latest numbers brought the pandemic totals to 30,355 cases and 1,262 deaths. The tribe had been easing into reopening but that slowed somewhat after coronavirus variants were confirmed on the reservation that stretches into New Mexico, Utah and Arizona. Tribal officials urged residents to stay vigilant.

  • 'Secret prom' puts New Mexico school back on remote learning

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — A high school in New Mexico returned to remote learning 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. 

  • Pandemic fuels business and politics for GOP nominee

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 roughly $1.8 million 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.

  • New Mexico COVID-19 cases tick up as death toll tops 4K

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The number of new COVID-19 cases is ticking up again in New Mexico as the death toll reaches another milestone. State health officials reported Friday that four more people have succumbed to the virus, pushing the total to 4,001 since the pandemic began last year. While the death rate has declined dramatically since peaking in December, state officials continue to push for people to get vaccinated, saying doing so will lessen the chances of severe illness or death. With 1,550 confirmed cases being reported over the past week, the seven-day average for new daily cases remains above the state's target.

  • 'Godzilla' shark discovered in New Mexico gets formal name

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.

  • New Mexico labor leader steps down as jobless claims persist

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.

  • Navajo Nation reports no COVID-19 deaths for 5th day in row

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.

  • US water managers warn of dismal year along the Rio Grande

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.