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Local and State News

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

  • Legislators grapple with new virus exposure in committees

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The state Legislature won't revert to remote, online proceedings despite close encounters with the resurgent coronavirus and at least one new infection among lawmakers. Leading state lawmakers on Monday weighed whether it was still prudent for legislative committees to hold in-person hearings across the state in the waning days of summer and early autumn. Members of a health policy committee were compelled to quarantine after coming into close contact with a coronavirus-exposed presenter at a public hearing in Las Vegas, and at least one legislator is grappling with infection. 

  • Pot grower gears up for recreational market in New Mexico

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Cannabis provider Ultra Health says it has completed the purchase of a former bakery and adjacent land in southern New Mexico that will open the way for a large-scale marijuana growing and manufacturing campus. The property purchase in Alamogordo takes place as New Mexico prepares for the start of recreational marijuana sales by April 1, 2022. Regulators are putting the finishing touches on the licensing process for an array of marijuana businesses. On Monday, Ultra Health Chief Marketing Officer Marissa Novel said the property deal at Alamogordo was nearly two years in the making.

  • US boarding school review prompts calls for trauma support

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Some members of Congress want protections put in place to address ongoing intergenerational trauma as more information comes to light about the troubled history of Indigenous boarding schools in the United States. A group of 21 Democrats sent a letter last week to the Indian Health Service. They're asking that culturally appropriate support services be put in place, such as a special hotline and mental and spiritual programs. The federal agency said Monday it's reviewing the request and discussing what steps to take next. Advocacy groups say additional trauma resources for Indigenous communities are more urgent than ever.

  • US authorities warn against flying drones over national lab

LOS ALAMOS, N.M. (AP) — Drone pilots, beware. Authorities at one of the nation's top nuclear weapons laboratories issued a warning Monday that airspace over Los Alamos National Laboratory is off limits. As the birthplace of the atomic bomb, the lab has reported that recent unauthorized drone flights have been detected in restricted airspace in the area. Officials said if you fly a drone over the lab, you likely will lose it. The lab has a system for intercepting any unauthorized flights, but officials would not release any details about how the system works, citing security protocols. They also would not say how many unauthorized flights have occurred in recent months.

  • Nine women now serving as governors in US, tying a record

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul is beginning her term in office with plenty of challenges. But she also is starting with an historic opportunity as the first woman to hold one of the most prominent governorships in the U.S. When Hochul took over Tuesday for resigned Gov. Andrew Cuomo, she became the ninth woman currently serving as governor. That ties the previous record, first set in 2004 and then matched in 2007 and 2019. Hochul already has said she will run for a full four-year term next year. Women also have a chance to make gains in 2022 in several states where governors are term-limited.

  • Las Cruces man pleads not guilty to killing son's neighbor

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — A Las Cruces man has pleaded not guilty to fatally shooting his son's neighbor in his driveway. The Las Cruces Sun-News reports Santiago Rascon entered the plea Monday during his arraignment on charges of first-degree murder and evidence tampering. His attorney says he wants Rascon to undergo a psychiatric exam. Authorities say in December, the 71-year-old Rascon walked up to 29-year-old Edgar Segovia, who was sitting in his car, and fired off multiple rounds. When questioned, Rascon said he wanted revenge for his son's death. Police have not said how Rascon's son died. But the victim had once called animal control on his son.

  • Santa Fe police say fire that burned sculpture was arson

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Authorities in Santa Fe are searching for a suspect who set fire to a sculpture over the weekend. Fire officials say someone deliberately committed arson against a 21-foot tall sculpture late Saturday night outside of the Form & Concept gallery downtown. Police Chief Andrew Padilla told the Santa Fe New Mexican investigators are reviewing surveillance footage in hopes of identifying a suspect. The newspaper says a photo from a bystander showed a red gas can by the destroyed sculpture. The gallery said in a statement the sculpture, titled "The Solacii," was created by Tigre Mashaal-Lively. It described it as an "undeniable act of violence" against an artist of color.

  • Navajo Nation issues vaccine mandate for tribal workers

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.