Latest New Mexico news, sports, business and entertainment at 3:20 a.m. MST
- Navajo Nation reports 41 more COVID-19 cases, 1 more death
WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. (AP) — The Navajo Nation on Tuesday reported 41 more COVID-19 cases and one additional death. The tribe had gone without reporting a coronavirus-related death 25 times in the previous 40 days. The latest numbers pushed the tribe's totals to 37,586 confirmed COVID-19 cases from the virus since the pandemic began more than a year ago. The known death toll now is 1,499. Based on cases from Oct. 22-Nov. 4, the Navajo Department of Health on Monday issued an advisory for 56 communities due to an uncontrolled spread of COVID-19. The tribe's reservation is the country's largest at 27,000 square miles and covers parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah.
- Suspect convicted of murder in death of UNM baseball player
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A suspect has been convicted of first-degree murder in the 2019 death of a University of New Mexico baseball player. The 2nd Judicial District Court jury began deliberating shortly before noon Tuesday on the fifth day of the trial before returning with a verdict about 4 1/2 hours later against Darian Bashir. The 25-year-old Bashir also was found guilty of tampering with evidence for allegedly hiding a license plate in an attempt to conceal his identity from police. Prosecutors say Bashir is facing life in prison when he's sentenced at a later date. Bashir was accused of fatally shooting 23-year-old Jackson Weller outside a Nob Hill club. Prosecutors say Bashir drove to club after Weller got into a fight with one of his friends.
- Hopi at crossroads of maintaining language for elected posts
POLACCA, Ariz. (AP) — Members of a small northeastern Arizona tribe are voting Thursday for their next chairman. One of the key differences between incumbent Tim Nuvangyaoma and David Talayumptewa is their stance on maintaining a Hopi language requirement for the job. Nuvangyaoma says he'll push for a change in the tribe's constitution to eliminate it if he's reelected, to draw in younger Hopis to the government. Talayumptewa says the rule should be maintained to promote the language that defines Hopis. The winner in the election can't single-handedly change the 1930s constitution but can help shape proposals through the Tribal Council.
- Policing initiatives in New Mexico attract scrutiny
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Advocates for alternatives to mass incarceration in New Mexico are warning of potential adverse outcomes in a public safety initiative from the governor aimed at reducing crime and violence amid a record-setting spate of homicides in Albuquerque. The New Mexico SAFE coalition warned a panel of legislators on Monday that the proposals could increase the number of people held in county jails who are prone to coronavirus infections, and might initiate or exacerbate over-policing of minority communities. Democratic New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham is advocating for a $100 million effort to hire 1,000 new police officers and place new limits pretrial release programs.
- Gallup site to be studied for Indian Health Service facility
GALLUP, N.M. (AP) — The federal agency that provides health care for Native people has entered into an agreement with the Navajo Nation to assess whether a site on the eastern outskirts of Gallup is the most suitable site for construction of a new medical center. Indian Health Service spokeswoman Jenny Notah said $17 million has been appropriated for planning and evaluation work for the project. Notah told the Gallup Independent that the balance of the projected cost of $615 million awaits congressional appropriation. The agency's current facility in Gallup was built in the 1950s and has been at the center of controversy because it lacks infrastructure and equipment to serve many patients.
- Navajo Nation: No COVID-19 deaths for 25th time in 40 days
WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. (AP) — The Navajo Nation on Monday reported 39 more COVID-19 cases, but no additional deaths for the 25th time in the past 40 days. The latest numbers pushed the tribe's totals to 37,455 confirmed COVID-19 cases from the virus since the pandemic began more than a year ago. The known death toll remains at 1,498. Based on cases from Oct. 22-Nov. 4, the Navajo Department of Health on Monday issued an advisory for 56 communities due to an uncontrolled spread of COVID-19. The tribe's reservation is the country's largest at 27,000 square miles and covers parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah.
- New Mexico considers hourly $15 minimum for state workers
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Momentum appears to be building behind proposals to lift minimum pay in New Mexico state government to $15 an hour for at least 1,200 public workers who make less than that, amid a state budget surplus and national trends toward higher wages. State Personnel Office Director Ricky Serna confirmed that efforts are underway to increase bottom-tier state salaries and boost overall state government payroll for rank-and-file employees at executive agencies. His agency oversees compensation guidelines for nearly 17,000 employees at executive agencies. Lead House budget negotiator Patricia Lundstrom said Monday that bottom-rung pay is hurting state recruitment and retention.
- Asian Americans push for representation via redistricting
CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — Activists are pushing states to ensure growing Asian American and Pacific Islander communities can be equally represented in government during the redistricting process. They're asking lawmakers to draw districts in a way that accounts for population growth and doesn't dilute their political power. Surveys point to some consensus among Asian American and Pacific Islander voters on issues such as taxes, health care and guns. In Nevada, questions over whether to protect incumbents or draw majority AAPI districts may challenge the Democratic-controlled statehouse, where non-Asian members represent districts where the AAPI population is concentrated.