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

  • VIRUS OUTBREAK-NAVAJO NATION

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. (AP) — The Navajo Nation on Thursday reported 103 more COVID-19 cases and five deaths. It marked just the 13th time in the last 36 days that the tribe has recorded a coronavirus-related death. The latest numbers pushed the tribe's totals to 37,154 confirmed COVID-19 cases from the virus since the pandemic began more than a year ago. The known death toll now us at 1,493.Based on cases from Oct. 15-28, the Navajo Department of Health issued an advisory for 58 communities due to uncontrolled spread of COVID-19. The tribe's reservation is the country's largest at 27,000 square miles (70,000 square kilometers) and covers parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah.  

  • NUCLEAR REPOSITORY-VENTILATION

CARLSBAD, N.M. (AP) — State environmental regulators have cleared the way for work to continue on a multimillion-dollar project at the federal government's underground nuclear waste repository in southern New Mexico. Officials at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant say the shaft will address ventilation problems stemming from a 2014 radiation release that forced a nearly three-year closure of the facility and prompted numerous policy changes. With more airflow, officials have said that more employees can be in the underground space working on mining and waste operations simultaneously. The shaft will be a key element of the repository's revamped ventilation system.

  • VIRUS OUTBREAK-NEW MEXICO

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico already has among the highest U.S. unemployment rates and the state's Republican legislative leaders fear President Joe Biden's plan to require vaccinations or COVID-19 testing for large employers could cause more damage to job market. State Senate Republican Leader Greg Baca said Thursday that the mandate is sowing more distrust of the federal government. He urged Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham to push back against what he called federal overreach. He pointed to a significant worker shortage in New Mexico. The governor's office said it's focused on getting as many people vaccinated as possible and will continue with its education efforts.

  • VIRUS OUTBREAK-NEW MEXICO

FARMINGTON, N.M. (AP) — State and federal health agencies are sending 70 caregivers to San Juan Regional Medical Center due to a surge in COVID-19 patients in northwestern New Mexico. San Juan County reported 3,657 positive cases in October, more than the previous four months combined. The number of COVID-19 patients being treated at the hospital had been steadily climbing for weeks but rose dramatically between Oct. 27 and Nov. 3. New Mexico officials say cases statewide are increasing and they're pushing for more people to get vaccinated or get booster shots if eligible. The vaccination rate among adults in San Juan County is higher than the statewide rate at 74%.

  • PROP FIREARM ARMORER

The woman in charge of weapons on the movie set where actor Alec Baldwin fatally shot cinematographer Halyna Hutchins said Wednesday night that she had inspected the gun Baldwin shot but doesn't know how a live bullet ended up inside. "Who put those in there and why is the central question," Hannah Gutierrez Reed, the armorer for the movie "Rust" said in a statement issued by one of her lawyers. The statement adds that she inspected the rounds before handing the firearm to assistant director David Halls "by spinning the cylinder and showing him all of the rounds and then handing him the firearm."

  • BC-US-MIGRATION-BIDEN'S-BORDER

McALLEN, Texas (AP) — President Joe Biden knew migration flows would spike if he dismantled Donald Trump's border policies, but arrivals exceeded expectations soon after he took office. Children traveling alone shattered previous highs in March. The Border Patrol encountered migrants in South Texas more often than ever in June and July. And about 15,000 mostly Haitian refugees were camped under a bridge in a Texas border town in September. Some issues couldn't have been predicted, and major structural problems predate Biden. But a review of the past year by The Associated Press and AIM Media Texas shows how an administration stacked with seasoned immigration advocates was unprepared for the huge increase in people seeking refuge at the border. 

  • VIRUS OUTBREAK-NAVAJO NATION

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. (AP) — The Navajo Nation on Wednesday reported 80 more COVID-19 cases, but no coronavirus-related deaths for the 23rd time in the past 35 days. The latest numbers pushed the tribe's totals to 37,043 confirmed COVID-19 cases from the virus since the pandemic began more than a year ago. The known death toll remains at 1,487. Based on cases from Oct. 15-28, the Navajo Department of Health issued an advisory for 58 communities due to uncontrolled spread of COVID-19. The tribe's reservation is the country's largest at 27,000 square miles (70,000 square kilometers) and covers parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah.  

  • ELECTION 2021-ALBUQUERQUE SCHOOL BOARD

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The teachers union in New Mexico's largest city will have fewer friends on the school board next year after three candidates won elections without their support. The Albuquerque branch of the American Federation of Teachers usually picks winning candidates, including six of the seven current school board members. Only one candidate managed to raise more money and get more votes relying on the union. The school board oversees a $1.6 billion budget in a district serving 74,000 students. Courtney Jackson won without union support and says teacher interests are important but already well represented. She says the "board of education should be the kid's union"