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Local and State News

Latest New Mexico news, sports, business and entertainment at 6:20 a.m. MDT


WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. (AP) — All Navajo Nation executive branch employees will need to be fully vaccinated against the virus that causes COVID-19 by the end of September or face regular testing. Tribal President President Jonathan Nez announced the new rules on Sunday. They apply to full, part-time and temporary employees, including those working for tribal enterprises like utilities, shopping centers and casinos. The tribe reported just 30 news cases on Sunday and no new deaths. It has been hard hit by the virus and tallied 32,252 COVID-19 cases and 1,397 deaths.


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Hundreds of farmers who rely on the water from the irrigation district that channels water along the Rio Grande in central New Mexico face a second straight year of early cutoffs. The Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District board voted Friday to end deliveries for irrigation a month early because of low water availability. The Oct. 1 shutoff means winter crops are at risk. The board said the shutoff is necessary because of long-term drought and a large water debt owed to southern New Mexico and Texas.


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico's mask and vaccine requirements are drawing more fire from parents and officials. Members of the public spoke to the Las Cruces school board for more than an hour this week, with most parents railing against the district's masking policy. In Carlsbad, citizens and elected officials demanded that the school district fight for control and do away with mask and vaccine requirements. There are similar concerns in Albuquerque, Aztec and Torrance County, where commissioners recently passed a resolution supporting local control and the authority of school boards to make decisions in the best interest of their students, staff and parents.


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Albuquerque police say an officer shot a parolee who used his car to ram police vehicles in a bid to evade arrest and wielded a rifle while trying to get a driver out of a nearby car in the city's southwest. Police Chief Harold Medina said Friday the man who was shot was hospitalized and no officers were injured in the incident. The suspect was not immediately identified. Medina said he was sought on a parole violation and was a suspect in vehicle thefts and an Albuquerque homicide investigation. The shooting was the third involving Albuquerque police in the past six days.  


SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Santa Fe Mayor Alan Webber is confronting local fraternal organizations with accusations of campaign finance violations for unreported spending on political attack ads in coordination with a rival candidate, as he seeks a second term in office in November elections. The complaint responds to yard signs, newspaper ads and social media spots that criticize the mayor's handling of public tensions over historical monuments and tributes to the region's Spanish colonial and territorial past. The complaint from Webber's campaign alleges campaign finance violations by an advocacy group for Spanish-colonial heritage and pride. The groups says the mayor is retaliating and out of touch.


SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Dozens of health care workers and state employees are protesting New Mexico's mandate that they get a COVID-19 vaccine. Nurses, hospital clerical workers and state prison guards joined about 150 people at the state Capitol on Friday to demonstrate against the requirement. Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham ordered state workers to get vaccines earlier this summer. A public health order issued this week expands the mandate to private industry workers in sensitive areas such as hospitals, nursing homes and schools. Under the order, only certain workers can decline vaccines if they submit to weekly COVID-19 testing. Some unvaccinated hospital workers say their employers will fire them in the coming weeks.


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A felon from California has been charged with opening fire on Albuquerque police officers after they responded to a robbery. One officer who was shot in the neck remained in critical condition Friday. Three others are recovering from other injuries suffered in Thursday's gunfight on the city's northeast side. A criminal complaint identifies the suspect as 27-year-old James Ramirez of Los Angeles. He's charged with three counts of aggravated battery against a police officer as well as armed robbery, possession of a firearm by a felon and resisting an officer. Ramirez was shot and is recovering at the hospital. Court records show an attorney has not yet been appointed to represent him.


PHOENIX (AP) — An endangered Mexican gray wolf that was roaming near Flagstaff has been captured and relocated. State wildlife officials say the male wolf had ventured into housing developments, raising concerns that it might get shot or struck by a vehicle. The Arizona Republic reports that the wolf was captured a week ago in the Coconino National Forest. It has since rejoined other wolves near the Arizona-New Mexico border. Environmental groups had been hoping it could stay north around Flagstaff, even if it was beyond the northern boundary of the designated wolf recovery zone. Mexican gray wolves are North America's rarest subspecies of gray wolf.