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Local and State News

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


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham is reinstating a mask mandate for all public indoor spaces. She also announced Tuesday that more people will be required to get vaccinated, including hospital employees and those who work at nursing homes and correctional facilities. All workers at schools in New Mexico must also get vaccinated or submit to weekly testing, and proof of vaccination will be required for anyone attending the state fair this year. State health officials also reiterated warnings that vaccinated people can still become infected and spread the virus, making masking and other precautions even more important.


SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — State labor and workforce training officials are bracing for the end of a $300 weekly federal bonus in unemployment benefits that also bolstered income for the self-employed and gig-economy workers in response to the pandemic. New Mexico officials used an online forum Tuesday to direct people on unemployment toward resources for job postings, career training, mock interviews and even free desk space and phones at Workforce Connection offices. Supplemental unemployment benefits expire Sept. 4 across New Mexico as related federal programs come to a close. Workforce Solutions Secretary Ricky Serna said benefit changes predominantly affect the self-employed, contract workers and other so-called gig workers.


WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration is proposing changing how asylum claims are handled. The aim is to reduce the backlog of cases from the U.S.-Mexico border that's left people waiting years to find out whether they'll be allowed to stay in America. Under the proposal, routine asylum cases no longer would automatically be referred to the overwhelmed immigration court system managed by the Justice Department. Instead, they'd be handled by asylum officers from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services,. That's seen as a way to help people with legitimate claims for protection while allowing officials to more quickly deal with people who don't qualify for asylum or are taking advantage of the long delay to stay in the United States.


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The family of an Albuquerque man killed in a car crash made a gruesome discovery when they went back to the scene to grieve. Relatives told KRQE-TV on Monday they found body parts that belong to 18-year-old Hector Sanchez, including his right hand and nose. New Mexico State Police say Sanchez was killed Aug. 8 after a crash on I-40 east of Laguna involving a semi. The family says they're upset with State Police for improperly taking care of the scene. Authorities say they have turned the found hand to the medical investigator's office to positively identify it as Sanchez's. 


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — It will be up to Albuquerque voters to decide whether they want to foot the bill for a new soccer stadium. The City Council on Monday voted 7-2 to put the bond question on the Nov. 2 ballot. If approved, the city would borrow $50 million for the project. City officials say that would give them enough to build a "bare bones" stadium, and they would have to find additional money for something better. The Albuquerque Journal reports that the issue sparked a two-hour debate. Some critics have questioned the push for a stadium, saying the city should put more money into public safety and address violent crime. 


SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Two hundred gallons of contaminated water spilled at the Los Alamos National Laboratory nearly a month ago after a worker failed to close a cooling valve. The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that the July 19 incident at the lab's plutonium facility caused some of the liquid to flow into an air vent and an inactive glove box used for handling radioactive materials. The lab said workers discovered mildly radioactive water on the facility's first floor near a pump room and a small amount of water in the basement and that there was no risk to employees or the public. 


RED VALLEY, Ariz. (AP) — A return to in-person classes at a Navajo Nation school will be on hold indefinitely because of a unknown radiation levels, likely caused by decades of uranium mining. A Navajo Nation education official said Monday the presence of radioactive hotspots inside Cove Day School in Red Valley near the Arizona-Utah border recently came to their attention. It's one of dozens of schools operated by the U.S. Bureau of Indian Education. The tribal council's Health, Education, and Human Services Committee met with other agencies to discuss why they were not discovered earlier. The school's 44 students and 13 staff were already working remotely. The Navajo Nation has more than 500 abandoned uranium mines.


RENO, Nev. (AP) — Sen. Dianne Feinstein is calling on federal land managers to conduct an investigation to determine how many of the wild horses captured on public lands in the West end up at slaughterhouses. The California Democrat is urging the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to reevaluate the $1,000 cash payments it offers those who adopt the mustangs. Horse advocates say the money provides an unintended incentive to obtain the mustangs then illegally resell them for slaughter. The agency announced last month it's tightening protections to guard against illegal resales. But critics say they've documented resales for slaughter for decades. They say the problem will continue until the cash payments end.