Latest New Mexico news, sports, business and entertainment at 11:20 a.m. MST
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The U.S. Department of the Interior says oil and gas leasing within 10 miles of Chaco Culture National Historical Park in New Mexico will be prohibited for the next two years. The temporary moratorium announced Monday will allow time for the agency to consider a proposal that would withdraw federal land holdings from development in northwestern New Mexico for 20 years. The announcement comes as environmentalists, some tribes and Democratic politicians pressure Interior Secretary Deb Haaland to take administrative action to protect areas outside the park's boundaries. Haaland is the first Native American to hold a cabinet position and is from Laguna Pueblo in New Mexico.
- WALMART FIRE
EDGEWOOD, N.M. (AP) — A Walmart store in Edgewood is closed until further notice after a massive fire. Santa Fe County Fire officials say the blaze at the store near I-40 was reported around 8 p.m. Sunday. It took crews nearly three hours to gain control of it. KRQE-TV reported flames could be seen shooting up from the building miles away. Firefighters from multiple agencies including Bernalillo County Fire, Edgewood Fire and Albuquerque Fire and Rescue assisted. No injuries were reported. Authorities have not determined the cause of the blaze but they suspect it may have been arson.
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden says his administration will help improve public safety and justice for Native American communities. The administration will also pursue a 20-year ban on oil and gas drilling in Chaco Canyon, an ancient heritage sight in northwestern New Mexico. At the first tribal nations summit in four years, Biden signed an executive order tasking the Justice, Homeland Security and Interior departments with working together to combat human trafficking and crime on Native lands. Native Americans experience violent crime at rates more than double the national average.
- VIRUS OUTBREAK-NAVAJO NATION
WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. (AP) — The Navajo Nation has reported 89 more confirmed cases of COVID-19 and one additional death. The tribe released its latest coronavirus-related figures Sunday. Due to a technical issue, Navajo health officials did not have a new total for the number of cases. But at last count, there have been 38,479 new cases. The known death toll is now 1,514. On Sunday, Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez visited the Indian Health Service COVID-19 vaccination site in Chinle, Arizona. He thanked health care workers who administered vaccines and booster shots. Other vaccination opportunities are available at health care facilities on the reservation that stretches into New Mexico and Utah.
- ALBUQUERQUE-100TH HOMICIDE
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Police in Albuquerque say they are investigating the city's 100th homicide case so far this year. Police say officers responded to a shots fired call around 4:30 a.m. Saturday. They found a car that looked like it crashed into someone's yard and the person inside had at least one gunshot wound. Police say that person died on the scene. No other information on the victim has been released yet. Albuquerque Police Chief Harold Medina says "hitting 100 is a grim reminder of the violence that's occurring in the city." He says Albuquerque "won't get anywhere without the community working together" and a cultural change is needed to stop the violence.
NEW YORK (AP) — Despite his suicide, disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein will still be put on trial in a sense in the coming weeks by a proxy: his former girlfriend, Ghislaine Maxwell. The 59-year-old Maxwell is to go before a federal jury in Manhattan later this month on charges she groomed underage victims to have unwanted sex with Epstein. The British socialite has vehemently denied any wrongdoing. Over 600 potential jurors will be brought to court this week for questioning by the judge to weed out bias. A panel of 12 jurors and six alternates will be picked just before opening statements start on Nov. 29 at her highly anticipated trial.
- TRAPPING ACQUITTAL-NEW MEXICO
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A northern New Mexico man has been acquitted of illegal trapping charges stemming from an incident that caused a dog's strangulation death and prompted a new state law prohibiting trapping on public land. A jury on Wednesday acquitted 44-year-old Marty Cordova of Chimayo of several crimes regarding trapping fur-bearing animals, including trapping within 25 yards of a public road. Cordova was charged after an 8-year-old heeler mix named Roxy died at Santa Cruz Lake as the dog's owner tried to free it from a snare trap. The new law banning use of traps, snares and wildlife poison on public lands takes effect next April.
- DETAINED MAN-DEATH
SHIPROCK, N.M. (AP) — Navajo Nation police say a body found Friday in a Shiprock canal is that of a man who disappeared after being detained by police while highly intoxicated over two weeks earlier. A police statement said 21-year-old Jevon Descheenie disappeared Oct. 25 after being seated on the rear step of a transport van outside the police station in Shiprock while the officer who had detained Descheenie went to a nearby police vehicle to get gloves to clean up vomit in that vehicle's passenger compartment, According to the statement, "when the officer returned to the rear of the transport van, Descheenie was gone."