Latest New Mexico news, sports, business and entertainment at 6:20 a.m. MST
- VIRUS OUTBREAK-NAVAJO NATION
WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. (AP) — The Navajo Nation on Thursday reported 103 more COVID-19 cases, but no additional deaths for the 26th time in the past 42 days. The latest numbers pushed the tribe's totals to 37,876 confirmed COVID-19 cases from the virus since the pandemic began more than a year ago. The known death toll remains at 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 (70,000 square kilometers) and covers parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah.
- VETERANS HOME-FUNDING
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has vowed to request $59 million in capital funding during the upcoming legislative session to finance improvements at the troubled New Mexico State Veterans' Home. She announced the plan during a ceremony Thursday at the New Mexico Veterans Memorial in Albuquerque. She said veterans deserve respect and support, including in their later years. A recent report by legislative analysts turned up numerous concerns about the facility in the city of Truth or Consequences. The governor's office also noted that the main building — constructed in 1936 — includes cramped resident rooms, inadequate ventilation and restrooms that do not comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 some of the same challenges as similar 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. Roughly 35 immigration judges are assigned to the docket in New York, Boston, San Francisco and elsewhere.
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.
- 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.