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

  • Las Cruces mulls changing street name with a derogatory term

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — The city of Las Cruces is considering whether to change a street name that contains a word that's used as a slur toward Indigenous women. Las Cruces Sun-News reports that City Councilor Johana Bencomo recently proposed to change the name of Squaw Mountain Drive. Last week, U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland formally declared "squaw" a derogatory term and said she was taking steps to remove it from federal government use and to replace other derogatory place names. Bencomo raised the issue of the street name during a council discussion on earlier this month.

  • Navajo Nation reports 72 new virus cases, 9 deaths

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. (AP) — The Navajo Nation has reported 72 new COVID-19 cases and nine deaths as of Wednesday evening. The tribe is urging residents on the vast reservation to limit in-person gatherings to help prevent the spread of the virus during the Thanksgiving holiday. In all, 39,158 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 1,536 deaths from the virus have been reported by the tribe since the pandemic began. The reservation covers 27,000 square miles (70,000 square kilometers) and extends into parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah.

  • Native American leaders say Chaco prayers being answered

CHACO CULTURE NATIONAL HISTORIC PARK, N.M. (AP) — A stillness enveloped Chaco Canyon in northwestern New Mexico as Native American leaders gathered under a warm sun. They made the trip to Chaco Culture National Historic Park on Monday to celebrate a recent decision by U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland to begin the process of withdrawing federal mineral interests from development around the park for 20 years. The Indigenous leaders from New Mexico and Arizona are optimistic the needle is moving on cultural preservation now that one of their own holds the reins of the federal agency that oversees energy development and tribal affairs. Haaland is from Laguna Pueblo, one of the communities that traces its roots to Chaco.

  • Art critic Dave Hickey, known for book 'Air Guitar', dies

Dave Hickey, a prominent American critic whose essays covered topics ranging from Liberace to Norman Rockwell, has died. The brash style and mixing of high- and low-brow culture that characterized his work earned him legions of fans and leaves a lasting influence on a generation of artists and critics. Art historian Libby Lumpkin says her husband died Nov. 12 at home in Santa Fe, New Mexico, after years of heart disease. He was 82. Hickey, who won a MacArthur "Genius" grant in 2001, wrote prolifically about topics ranging from Norman Rockwell paintings to basketball player Julius Erving.

  • Police arrest 29-year-old man in October road-rage shooting

ALBUQUEQUE, N.M. (AP) — Albuquerque police have made an arrest in connection with an October shooting during an alleged road-rage incident in Old Town. Police arrested 29-year-old Joshua Butler on Wednesday. They say witnesses saw a road-rage incident involving a minivan and Chevy pickup. They say the minivan stopped in the road, the driver got out and threw a piece of drywall that hit the pickup's driver's side door. Witnesses then heard a gunshot and the man fell to the ground. Nelson Gallegos was pronounced dead at the scene. KRQE reports the criminal complaint says detectives received a tip that Butler was driving the pickup. Butler declined to comment to KRQE and it was not clear if he had an attorney. 

  • VIRUS OUTBREAK-NEW MEXICO

Visiting New Mexico's Capitol? Bring vaccine proof, not gunsSANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexicans can attend the upcoming Legislative sessions, but only if they are vaccinated. Security officials at the state Capitol announced Tuesday that members of the public will have to show proof of vaccination to enter the Roundhouse, the building that houses legislative chambers and the governor's office. The mandate doesn't apply to lawmakers. The new virus restrictions also prohibit festivities common before the pandemic, including musical performances, lobbying booths and massage tables. Separately, Democratic lawmakers have banned firearms in the building, and visitors will have to go through metal detectors starting Dec. 6. Legislative meetings will continue to be broadcast online.

  • Appeals court: Albuquerque ordinance violates 1st Amendment

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A federal appeals court on Wednesday upheld a lower court's ruling that an Albuquerque ordinance aimed at curbing panhandling in certain places wasn't sufficiently narrow to avoid violating First Amendment rights. The ordinance prohibits pedestrians from congregating close to a highway entrance or ramp, occupying a median considered unsuitable for pedestrians or having an exchange of any kind with somebody in a vehicle in a traffic lane. City officials said the restrictions address pedestrian safety concerns and were narrowly tailored to not restrict speech more than necessary. The ordinance was challenged by panhandlers, protesters and people who pass out items to the needy. 

  • Judge: DA office off case because cops recorded lawyer call

FARMINGTON, N.M. (AP) — A New Mexico judge has ruled that a district attorney's office must be replaced as prosecutors in a homicide case in which Farmington police violated the defendant's constitutional rights by recording him talking with his attorney. However, state District Judge David Pederson declined in his Nov. 5 ruling to also dismiss charges against John "Johnny" Marlowe Davidson in the 2020 fatal shooting of Justin Tapaha. Pederson said doing would be too harsh as it could deprive the victim's family of justice. Davidson is charged with second-degree murder and of shooting at or from a motor vehicle and causing great bodily harm.