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Local and State News

Latest New Mexico news, sports, business and entertainment at 11:20 a.m. MDT


OTERO, N.M. (AP) — A top-tier management team and additional tankers and ground crews have been assigned to a wildfire burning in the Sacramento Mountains of south-central New Mexico. The fire near the Three Rivers Campground and west of the Ski Apache ski resort had burned 6,100 acres with no containment around its perimeter as of Tuesday morning. That's according to a statement posted by fire officials. It said the fire was reported Monday and its cause was under investigation. No injuries or structure damage has been reported. Fire officials' statement said smoke was blowing into the communities of Alto, Capitan, and Ruidoso.


SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A new estimate shows that successive rounds of federal economic relief since the outset of the  coronavirus pandemic will deliver an estimated $18.9 billion in money and services to New Mexico. The Legislature's budget and accountability office published the estimate on Monday. A broader analysis will be presented to lawmakers later this week. The aid to one of the nation's poorest states dwarfs New Mexico's annual general fund spending of $7.4 billion. The tally of federal aid includes supplemental unemployment benefits, forgivable loans to businesses to support payroll, payments to healthcare providers, support channeled through the Federal Emergency Management Agency and more.


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The 2020 census results show New Mexico's population grew by 2.8% over the last decade. It had the second slowest growth rate in the West, outpacing only Wyoming. Officials with the Census Bureau said Monday that overall, the national growth rate of 7.4% between 2010 and 2020 marked the second slowest in U.S. history. In New Mexico, the results put the resident population at just over 2.1 million, or about 58,000 more people than a decade ago. New Mexico last spring launched a multimillion-dollar campaign in an effort to ensure an accurate census count of its heavily Hispanic and Native American population.


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Weather forecasters and forest managers are warning that warm, windy and dry conditions are combining to boost fire danger around New Mexico. The National Weather Service in Albuquerque says critical fire weather is expected to shift Tuesday to the eastern part of the state, while much of central and southern New Mexico would see unsettled weather by Wednesday and Thursday. Fire restrictions will take effect Tuesday on the Gila National Forest, where Forest Supervisor Adam Mendonca said there has been an increase in abandoned campfires. On the Lincoln National Forest, a fast-moving wildfire has forced evacuations in Lincoln County.


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The medical care provider for Bernalillo County's jail is walking away more than a year before its contract is up. The Albuquerque Journal reported Monday that Centurion Detention Health Services abruptly notified the county it will end its service in six months. The health care provider has faced heavy criticism after nine people died over the course of a year while at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Albuquerque. The newspaper reported six of those involved inmates who were detoxing or were in medical units. Bernalillo County officials say the county initially asked Centurion to address concerns it had. But the company is legally allowed to leave.


SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The Archdiocese of Santa Fe is expected to sell off hundreds of properties by this summer in order to fund settlements of sex abuse lawsuits. The Santa Fe New Mexican reported Sunday the archdiocese, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2018, plans to part with more than 700 properties. Nearly 400 claims of abuse have been filed. Court documents indicate church officials have hired an auctioneer firm out of Florida to oversee the sale of 732 properties by July 21. A lot of the properties are vacant lots no bigger than a couple of acres. The archdiocese is accused of hiding properties by transferring ownership to parishes.


SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico's Supreme Court has ruled that certain criminal defendants including some convicted of child abuse are entitled to release pending appeal. The ruling Monday was prompted by deliberations over the incarceration of two women as they awaited an appeal on charges of reckless child abuse linked to deadly events in which two young children were left in a hot car outside a Portales day care center. Convictions of reckless child abuse ultimately were upheld against defendants and day care center owners Mary and Sandi Taylor. The new ruling outlines the legal framework for courts in considering requests for release pending appeal, highlighting provisions of current state statute.


WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. (AP) — The Navajo Nation is reporting 26 new confirmed COVID-19 cases and 10 additional deaths. Tribal health officials released figures combining new cases found over the weekend. This brings the total number of virus-related deaths on the vast reservation that covers parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah to 1,273. More than 30,000 cases have been documented. The Navajo Department of Health on Monday is expected to loosen some virus-driven restrictions on restaurants, parks, casinos and other public places.  Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez says more than half of the reservation's adult population has been vaccinated.