Latest New Mexico news, sports, business and entertainment at 3:20 p.m. MDT
- NEW MEXICO UTILITY MERGER
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Consumer advocacy groups, environmentalists and the New Mexico attorney general's office are raising concerns about a proposed multibillion-dollar merger of the state's largest electric utility with a U.S. subsidiary of global energy giant Iberdrola. The groups have filed testimony with state regulators ahead of hearings that begin next month. It will be up to the Public Regulation Commission to determine if the merger provides meaningful benefits to Public Service Co. of New Mexico customers and if it would be in the public interest. Some groups say PNM shareholders will benefit from the proposed transaction and that it could end up stifling competition for renewable energy development in New Mexico.
- SHERIFF-MAYORAL RUN
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Bernalillo County Sheriff Manny Gonzales is making a pitch to be Albuquerque's next mayor. Gonzales declared his candidacy in an official online campaign video Monday. The sheriff, who was born in Albuquerque, says Mayor Tim Keller has failed to improve the city. Gonzales says the violent crime rate has soared above the national average. He says he will release proposals in the coming weeks to address issues such as homelessness and help for small businesses. Gonzales, a Democrat like Keller, was re-elected to a four-year term as sheriff in 2018. Keller announced last month that he would run for mayor again. The mayoral election will take place in November.
- VIRUS OUTBREAK-NAVAJO NATION
WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. (AP) — The Navajo Nation is finding no new COVID-19 related deaths for an eighth consecutive day. The tribe on Sunday afternoon reported seven new virus cases but no additional deaths on the vast reservation. The latest numbers bring the Navajo Nation's pandemic case total to 30,366 with the death toll remaining at 1,262. Tribal officials said 16,477 people have recovered from COVID-19 thus far. The tribe slowed its reopening process somewhat after coronavirus variants were confirmed on the reservation, which stretches into New Mexico, Utah and Arizona. Tribal officials have urged residents to stay vigilant. They say a recent cluster was due to a family gathering with no masks.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court seems inclined to say that hundreds of millions of dollars in coronavirus relief money should benefit Alaska Natives, rather than be spread more broadly among Native American tribes around the U.S. The justices were hearing arguments Monday in a case involving the massive pandemic relief package passed last year and signed into law by then-President Donald Trump. The $2.2 trillion legislation earmarked $8 billion for "Tribal governments" to use to cover expenses related to the pandemic. The question for the court is whether Alaska Native corporations, which are for-profit corporations that provide benefits and social services to more than 100,000 Alaska Natives, count as "Indian tribes."
- APARTMENT EXPLOSION
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Authorities say a man accused of manufacturing drugs in an Albuquerque apartment was injured in an explosion. Albuquerque police say the suspect was transferred to a burn unit in Texas on Sunday with critical injuries. Police spokesman Gilbert Gallegos Jr. said reports of an explosion and unexploded pipe bomb at the Rio Volcan Apartments came in Sunday evening. All residents were evacuated. A police bomb squad determined that the explosion was caused by the use of butane to make narcotics. There were no other injuries reported. Albuquerque Fire Rescue arson investigators are now leading the investigation. Authorities have not released the suspect's name.
- IMMIGRATION-MIGRANT CHILDREN
U.S. officials are scrambling to handle a dramatic spike in children crossing the U.S.-Mexico border alone. It's led to a massive expansion in emergency facilities to house them as more kids arrive than can be released to close relatives in the United States. Advocates and former U.S. officials say the government failed to prepare for a big increase in children traveling alone as President Joe Biden ended some of his predecessor's hardline immigration policies and decided that unaccompanied kids wouldn't be expelled from the country like the Trump administration did for eight months. So many children are coming that there's little room in long-term care facilities, where capacity shrank during the coronavirus pandemic.
- POLICE SHOOTING-ROSWELL
ROSWELL, N.M. (AP) — Authorities say law enforcement officers fatally shot a 22-year-old Roswell man when he brandished a gun outside a bank as he tried to run away after an attempted traffic stop and vehicle pursuit. The New Mexico State Police said it was investigating the fatal shooting that involved two Roswell city police officers and a Chaves County sheriff's deputy. The state agency identified the man killed Thursday as Victor Ivan Barron. According to a State Police statement, the incident started when a sheriff's sergeant tried to pull over a pickup that then drove off, prompting the pursuit. The statement said Barron was shot after he pulled into a bank's parking lot, got out and started to run.No officers were injured.
- JILL BIDEN-SOUTHWEST VISIT
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — First lady Jill Biden's office announced Saturday that she will visit the U.S. Southwest in the coming week, with stops planned in New Mexico's most populous city and the Navajo Nation's capitol in Arizona. The announcement said Biden will travel to Albuquerque on Wednesday and visit Window Rock, Arizona, on Thursday and Friday. The announcement did not elaborate on the scheduled visit but it said additional information will be forthcoming.