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Local and State News

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

  • Proposed New Mexico utility merger spurs numerous concerns

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.

  • Bernalillo County sheriff to run for Albuquerque mayor

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.

  • Navajo Nation reports no COVID-19 related deaths for 9th day

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. (AP) — The Navajo Nation has reported finding no new COVID-19 related deaths for the ninth consecutive day. The tribe on Monday reported four new confirmed coronavirus cases, but no additional deaths on the vast reservation that covers parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah. The latest numbers bring the Navajo Nation's pandemic case total to 30,371 with the death toll remaining at 1,262. Tribal officials say nearly 16,500 people have recovered from COVID-19 thus far. The tribe had been easing into reopening but that slowed somewhat after coronavirus variants were confirmed on the reservation. Tribal officials urged residents to stay vigilant.

  • Cowboys for Trump founder appeals recall bid to high court

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Cowboys for Trump founder Couy Griffin has filed an appeal with the state Supreme Court as he seeks to fend off an effort to recall him from office as a county commissioner in southern New Mexico. Griffin filed a notice of appeal Monday with the high court that contends he was deprived of due process rights. A district court has found good cause for a recall petition, but Griffin says a hearing took place unjustly at the same time as a county commission meeting. Separately, Griffin is defending himself against criminal charges in connection with the siege on the U.S. Capitol in Washington.

  • High court seems ready to send virus funds to Alaska Natives

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."

  • Police: Drug activity caused Albuquerque 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.

  • New migrant facilities crop up to ease crowding, again

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.

  • State Police: Gun-brandishing man fatally shot after pursuit

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.