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Local and State News

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


NEW YORK (AP) — Nearly six months ago, U.S. immigration courts established a fast-track docket for families who recently crossed the border. They go to the front of the line with the idea that others will be less likely to migrate knowing a backlog of more than 1.4 million cases will no longer buy them at least a few years in the United States. While it's still early, the effort faces the same kinds of complaints and challenges as prior programs under Biden's two predecessors. As of mid-September, the Biden effort was handling nearly 16,000 cases, and just over 100 had been decided by an immigration judge.


FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — A pilot program to help reduce bison at Grand Canyon National Park by shooting them has wrapped up with four of the animals killed. More than 45,000 people applied this spring in a lottery for 12 spots to help cull the herd and make the bison uncomfortable at the park. Up to 500 bison are roaming the far northern reaches of the park. Officials say the bison are trampling resources and spoiling the water. The park also captured 36 bison and sent them to Native American tribes in Oklahoma and Nebraska. Critics had urged the park to consider relocating the animals targeted for lethal removal.


WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. (AP) — The Navajo Nation on Wednesday reported 126 more COVID-19 cases and eight additional deaths. The tribe had gone without reporting a coronavirus-related death 25 times in the previous 40 days before reporting one on Tuesday. The latest numbers pushed the tribe's totals to 37,737 confirmed COVID-19 cases from the virus since the pandemic began more than a year ago. The known death toll now is 1,507. 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.    


LOS ANGELES (AP) — The head of lighting on the film "Rust" has sued over Alec Baldwin's fatal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the New Mexico set of the Western. The lawsuit filed in Los Angeles court Wednesday alleges widespread negligence that Serge Svetnoy says caused him "severe emotional distress" that will haunt him forever. The lawsuit names nearly two dozen defendants including Baldwin, the assistant director who handed him the gun, and the armorer who was in charge of weapons on the set. The defendants didn't immediately reply to requests for comment on the lawsuit. 


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico economic development officials are ready to put into action a 20-year strategy for diversifying the state's economy. They announced Wednesday that the federal government has awarded the state another $1 million for the effort. The latest grant will be used to implement the strategy. Economic Development Secretary Alicia J. Keyes outlined the plan during a luncheon with business leaders in Albuquerque. She called it a springboard for what can happen in New Mexico. Part of the work includes improving access to capital and economic recovery resources. The plan also calls for assessing the availability of start-up resources and creating an online dashboard to track their impact.


SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Hospitals in northwestern New Mexico are grappling with a surge in coronavirus cases that has left only a handful of intensive care beds available and led to a rationing of care. State health officials said Wednesday that New Mexico's health care system overall remains heavily burdened with high rates of COVID-19 hospitalizations. Hospitals across the state had just eight intensive care beds available. But the situation is particularly concerning in the state's far northwest, where hospital administrators recently invoked crisis standards of care to focus resources on critical patients. Federal and state authorities have dispatched medical and support personnel to shore up services.


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.