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Local and State News

Latest New Mexico news, sports, business and entertainment at 3:20 a.m. MST

  • Risk of quakes caused by oil, gas in New Mexico rising

CARLSBAD, N.M. (AP) — Multiple earthquakes were felt earlier this fall in West Texas, leading regulators in that state to designate a seismic response area and call for less wastewater from oil and gas development to be injected in disposal wells. As more seismic activity was reported closer to the state line, officials in New Mexico have been watching closely and gathering data. While Texas limits the injection of produced water, some officials are concerned that could have affects in New Mexico. The Oil Conservation Division in New Mexico is encouraging operators to recycle and reuse water instead of injecting it.

  • Man arrested in Albuquerque crash that killed 1, injured 4

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Authorities say a 19-year-old Roswell man has been arrested in connection with a multi-vehicle crash in northeast Albuquerque that left one person dead and five others injured. Albuquerque police say Casino Salazar is jailed on suspicion of homicide by vehicle and other charges. Police say the crash occurred around 7 p.m. Saturday and involved three cars and a motorcycle. One person was pronounced dead at the scene. The name, age and hometown of the victim hasn't been released yet. Police say Casino Salazar's SUV allegedly was speeding down a street before crashing into a car with five people inside. Police say they believe Salazar was driving impaired and officers reported finding several containers of alcohol in his vehicle along with guns and marijuana.

  • Navajo Nation reports 87 more COVID-19 cases, 4 more deaths

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. (AP) — The Navajo Nation has reported 87 more confirmed cases of COVID-19 and four additional coronavirus-related deaths. The latest numbers released Saturday pushed the tribe's total to 38,852 cases since the pandemic started and 1,522 known deaths. Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez visited the Pinon Health Center vaccination site Saturday to show his support for health care workers and families receiving the vaccines. He and his wife Phefelia received their booster doses and their 6-year-old son Alexander also received his first vaccine dose at the event. The tribe has maintained a mask mandate through most of the pandemic. The reservation covers 27,000 square miles (70,000 square kilometers) and extends into parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah.

  • Defendant collapses in court; drug, alcohol testing ordered

A Gallup man convicted of DWI homicide was hospitalized after collapsing in court minutes before he was to be sentenced, prompting a judge to delay the proceeding but also to order that the man be tested for drugs and alcohol. Matthew Vargas faces up to 15 years in prison for his April conviction for homicide by vehicle involving DWI in a 2017 fatal head-on wreck. The Gallup Independent reports that after Vargas collapsed in the courtroom Friday and complained of pain while being taken to an ambulance, District Judge Robert Aragon postponed the sentencing but said it will be rescheduled as soon as possible.

  • New Mexico court stays push for grand juries on COVID steps

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The New Mexico Supreme Court has put on hold several citizen requests that used petition drives to call for convening grand juries to investigate Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham's handling of COVID-19. The Albuquerque Journal reports that the state high court on Tuesday granted Lujan Grisham's motion for a stay of requests filed in Eddy, Lea and Chaves counties in southeastern New Mexico pending further court filings. Republican legislators and others have criticized Lujan Grisham's imposition of public-health mandates as overly burdensome and infringing on personal freedoms. She has defended them as necessary to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

  • Interior secretary seeks to rid US of derogatory place names

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland has formally declared the word "squaw" to be a derogatory term. She announced Friday that she's taking steps to remove the term from use by the federal government and to replace other existing derogatory place names. Haaland is ordering a federal panel tasked with naming geographic places to implement procedures to remove what she called racist terms from federal use. Haaland says federal lands and waters should be places to celebrate the outdoors and shared cultural heritage and that they shouldn't perpetuate legacies of oppression. Haaland is the first Native American to lead a Cabinet agency. She is from Laguna Pueblo in New Mexico.

  • Band director among those killed in Texas school bus crash

Big Spring, Texas (AP) — The three men killed in a fiery West Texas crash involving a school bus carrying members of a high school band include the band director. Texas Department of Public Safety Sgt. Justin Baker said Saturday that 53-year-old Andrews High School band director Darin Johns died of injuries from the collision with a pickup truck traveling the wrong way on Interstate 20. Bus driver Marc Elbert Boswell and pickup driver Nathan Haile also died. Baker said the bus was one of three Andrews buses headed to a football game when it was hit by the truck. Two of the 25 students on the bus were hospitalized in critical condition.

  • New Mexico sees TV tech as one fix to K-12 internet divide

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico education officials are partnering with public television providers for a stopgap that could ease students' internet problems. A pilot program starting in Taos this week connects students to their schools through TV transmissions. New Mexico PBS affiliates are using some of their broadcast bandwidth to send files uploaded by local schools. Public Education Department officials say eight Taos families now have a device allowing them to connect their TV antenna to a computer to download those files. Internet access continues to be a problem for rural students. The pilot program will be expanded to Portales and Silver City.