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Local and State News

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

  • Police: 4 Albuquerque officers wounded responding to robbery

By SUSAN MONTOYA BRYAN Associated Press
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) —

Three Albuquerque police officers were shot and another was injured while responding to a robbery. Police Chief Harold Medina said one of the officers was hit in the chest above his vest and was in critical condition. One officer was shot in the arm, while another was saved by his bullet-proof vest. The fourth officer was injured by shrapnel or glass. The chief said multiple people have been detained and police were still looking for at least one more suspect. Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller called it a horrible scene and asked for residents to pull together for the officers. The city has been struggling with a record-setting spree of homicides this year.

  • UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE-NEW MEXICO

New Mexico charts transition for unemployment benefits
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico has rebuilt its unemployment trust fund to its pre-pandemic level thanks to federal relief money. Enrollment has tapered off in the payment program for people who lost their jobs. The state Workforce Solutions Department that oversees unemployment benefits is briefing a panel of state legislators about the trust fund on Thursday. New Mexico had the nation's highest June unemployment rate and is bracing for the September expiration of federal unemployment payments that boost the amount laid off workers get weekly. State labor agency briefing material shows that the number of residents getting unemployment payments has declined to about 68,000, from a high of 148,000 in June 2020.

  • VIRUS OUTBREAK-NAVAJO NATION

Navajo Nation reports 60 new virus cases, 2 more deaths
WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. (AP) — Officials on the Navajo Nation are asking residents who live on the vast reservation to do their part in helping to curb the spread of the coronavirus as cases rise. The tribe reported 60 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday and two more deaths. Those figures bring the total number of cases to 32,068 and deaths to 1,392. Tribal President Jonathan Nez is urging residents to wear masks, get vaccinated and limit in-person gatherings with family and friends until the cases decline consistently. He says the Delta variant is of particular concern. 

  • PUBLIC SAFETY-NEW MEXICO

Republicans want emergency legislative session on crime
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Leading Republican state legislators are calling for immediate reforms to enhance sentences for violent crime and place new limitations on pre-trial release from jail. The push is in response to violent crime in Albuquerque. The lawmakers urged Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham to call a special legislative session to send a strong signal that criminals will be held responsible. A letter from House Republicans including minority leader James Townsend calls for reconsideration of 11 GOP-sponsored bills on public safety that were rejected in 2020 and 2021 by the Democrat-led Legislature. Lujan Grisham wants public safety reforms high on the agenda when the Legislature convenes in January 2022.

  • ENERGY SECRETARY

Top US energy official 'all ears' as experts outline needs
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The head of the U.S. Energy Department is hearing from industry officials about what it will take to boost renewable energy development in New Mexico and across the nation. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm took notes during a roundtable discussion Wednesday on her two-day swing through the Western state. Developers and policy experts say that without more transmission infrastructure and a cohesive grid, renewable energy will be stranded, along with opportunities for economic development. They said there are some helpful provisions in the multibillion-dollar infrastructure bill pending in Congress. But they pointed to tax incentives as being a key driver for more development.

  • VIRUS OUTBREAK-NEW MEXICO

New Mexico State Fair vaccine mandate spurs concern
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A requirement for everyone attending the upcoming New Mexico State Fair to show proof of vaccination is drawing criticism. The mandate was announced Tuesday by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham as part of a new public health order that also requires vaccines for health care workers and others. She also is reinstating a statewide mask mandate for indoor spaces. An official with the New Mexico Cattle Growers Association said the vaccine requirement for the fair comes with short notice and may cost some juniors a year of work if they can't get vaccinated in time and aren't allowed to exhibit and sell their animals. 

  • ALBUQUERQUE-SCHOOL SHOOTING

New Mexico school shooting suspect to remain in custody
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A 13-year-old New Mexico boy accused of shooting and killing a classmate will remain in custody pending trial. A Children's Court judge agreed with prosecutors Tuesday and ordered the boy to remain at the Bernalillo County Youth Services Center. He's charged with an open count of murder and unlawful carrying of a deadly weapon on school premises. The shooting happened during the lunch hour Friday at a middle school near downtown Albuquerque. Police have said the victim was trying to protect another boy who was being bullied. The suspect's lawyer raised issues of the boy's competency, saying he needs counseling and treatment for mental health issues.

  • BIDEN-COAL-MORATORIUM

Climate impact of coal sales from US lands scrutinized
BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — U.S. officials have launched a review of climate damage from coal mining on public lands as the Biden administration expands scrutiny of government fossil fuel sales that contribute to greenhouse gas emissions. Interior Department officials said Thursday that their review also will look at whether companies are paying fair value for coal extracted from public reserves in Wyoming, Montana and other states. Burning coal accounts for about a quarter of U.S. electricity generation and it's a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions. Demand for coal has plummeted in recent years as many utilities switched to natural gas or renewables to generate power.