Latest New Mexico news, sports, business and entertainment at 3:20 p.m. MST
- CHACO CANYON-OIL AND GAS
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Members of New Mexico's congressional delegation are putting more pressure on U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland to take administrative action to prohibit oil and gas development outside the boundaries of Chaco Culture National Historical Park. They sent a letter to Haaland this week. While there have been numerous short-term protections granted for the area over the years, they say an administrative withdrawal of federal mineral rights would provide long-term certainty pending legislation that calls for permanent protections. Haaland is from New Mexico and is the first Native American to be appointed to a cabinet position. She has yet to announce any decisions about the Chaco area.
- IMMIGRATION COURTS-SPEEDY DECISIONS
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.
- VIRUS OUTBREAK-NEW MEXICO
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Some of New Mexico's largest hospitals are being overwhelmed by the latest wave of patients. While most patients are not dealing with coronavirus infections, officials say the ability to grow the capacity that was built over the last year due to the pandemic is now limited by space and the availability of health care workers. Presbyterian Healthcare Services and University of New Mexico Health announced Thursday they are activating crisis standards of care. That means the hospitals will be focusing on patients who need care the most. Officials say they won't be denying care, but non-medically necessary surgeries will be delayed.
- VIRUS OUTBREAK-NAVAJO NATION
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.
- PROP FIREARM-SHOOTING
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.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Members of a union representing film and television crews begin voting Friday on a tentative contract with Hollywood producers. Bread-and-butter issues of wages are important, but longtime concerns about dangers for film and TV workers have taken on increased urgency with the recent tragedy on the "Rust'' set. Some members of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees point to the now-closed New Mexico set where cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was fatally shot as a factor in their vote. Crew member Brandy Tannahill says her vote decision is bolstered by the shooting and recent labor actions. On the table is a three-year agreement reached by the union and a trade group representing producers.
- NEW MEXICO ECONOMY
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.