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Local and State News

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


ALAMOGORDO, N.M. (AP) — Holloman Air Force Base in southern New Mexico will temporarily will house Afghan refugees. The U.S. Department of Defense made the announcement Friday. The base near Alamogordo joins others in Virginia, Texas, Wisconsin and New Jersey that will provide housing, along with medical and other support for up to 50,000 refugees. They are coming to the U.S. under the Special Immigrant Visa program. Refugees will undergo medical screening, including testing for the coronavirus, before arriving at the military installations. The Defense Department didn't say how many refugees would be sent to Holloman or when they would arrive.


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico is flush with cash due mostly to the infusion of federal pandemic aid and higher than expected gross receipts tax revenues as consumers are spending again. A faster than expected recovery by oil and gas markets also has helped to boost the state's projected revenues to record levels for the coming fiscal year. Top state finance officials and legislative analysts briefed a key panel of lawmakers on the outlook Thursday. They're expecting nearly $1.4 billion in new money for the 2023 fiscal year. Still, officials warned lawmakers to be cautious since the pandemic remains a risk factor for continued economic recovery.


ROSWELL, N.M. (AP) — The New Mexico Youth Livestock Expo is relocating to Roswell over Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham's State Fair vaccination mandate. The expo will be held in Roswell from Sept. 14-17. Lujan Grisham's most recent health order mandated vaccinations for all eligible individuals at the New Mexico State Fair in Albuquerque. The result of the mandate was the exclusion of 4-H and FFA children who did not want the vaccine or did not have time to complete the two-dose vaccine cycle before the fair.


EL PASO, Texas (AP) — A man who drew worldwide sympathy and support after his wife was killed in the 2019 mass shooting at an El Paso Walmart is being remembered as kind and thoughtful but unable to get over the loss of the woman he loved. Funeral services were Friday for Antonio Basco, who died of cancer on Aug. 14. His wife, Margie Reckard, was among 23 people who were fatally shot on Aug. 3, 2019. Reckard's 2019 funeral drew thousands of people from as far away as California after Basco said he was alone and invited the world to join him in remembering his companion of 22 years. A capital murder case against Patrick Wood Crusius is pending trial in Texas. Crusius also has been charged with more than 90 counts under federal hate-crime and firearms laws.


WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. (AP) — The Navajo Nation on Thursday reported 55 new COVID-19 cases and one more death. The latest numbers pushed the tribe's totals to 32,430 coronavirus cases and 1,400 known deaths since the pandemic began more than a year ago. The vast Navajo Nation spans parts of New Mexico, Utah and Arizona. Tribal President Jonathan Nez has said 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 be required to submit to regular testing. The new rules apply to full, part-time and temporary employees, including those working for tribal enterprises like utilities, shopping centers and casinos.  


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico is seeing soaring numbers of deadly overdoses from fentanyl and methamphetamine. Legislative analysts said in a report released Thursday that preliminary figures show fentanyl-related deaths increased by 129% between 2019 and 2020. That percentage is expected to climb even higher as the data for last year is still coming in. The trend mirrors what's happening nationally. The report says the pandemic contributed to the surge in overdoses by disrupting outreach to treatment and increased social isolation. It also highlighted the anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts and burnout that people have been experiencing since the pandemic began.


SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico schools have started spending the $1 billion in pandemic relief funding that was promised to them this year. Because of the extra federal funding, all children in many rural schools now have tablets or to laptops to use at their homes. School districts also spent the money to buy masks, upgrade air filters and to provide other COVID-19 protections. The Associated Press analyzed data published or provided by states and the federal government. The data shows that the spending of federal money in New Mexico is expected to range from $100 to $15,000 per student depending on the school district. More funding goes to areas with higher concentrations of low-income students. 


SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico children spend less time in school. That's despite the millions of dollars in state funding available for school districts to pay teachers for more teaching time. But the voluntary programs haven't won support from school districts this year, despite the months of learning time lost because of the pandemic. School superintendents say parents and teachers don't want to shorten the summer holiday. They have asked the legislature to mandate extra school days. New Mexico is one of the few states in the U.S. that doesn't mandate at least 180 school days per year.