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Local and State News

Latest New Mexico news, sports, business and entertainment at 6:20 a.m. MST

  • Investigators track ammunition in fatal film set shooting

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Authorities are pursuing new leads on possible sources of live ammunition involved in actor Alec Baldwin's fatal shooting of a cinematographer on the New Mexico set of a western movie. The Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office on Tuesday searched the premises of an Albuquerque-based firearms and ammunition supplier to the film "Rust." The supplier says he may know where live rounds came from, describing ammunition he received from a friend in the past that had been assembled from parts. Baldwin fired a prop revolver he though was harmless during a "Rust" rehearsal on Oct. 21, killing cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and wounding the director.

  • Navajo Nation reports 41 more COVID-19 cases, but no deaths

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. (AP) — The Navajo Nation on Tuesday reported 41 more COVID-19 cases, but no additional deaths for the second consecutive day. The latest daily virus figures brought the tribe's totals to 39,477 cases since the pandemic began. The known death toll remains at 1,542. Based on cases from Nov. 12-25, the Navajo Department of Health on Monday issued an advisory for 65 communities due to uncontrolled spread of COVID-19. Tribal President Jonathan Nez says some public health experts believe the newly discovered omicron variant is already in the U.S. Nez has again called for everyone on the vast reservation to get fully vaccinated or get a booster shot and wear masks.

  • Ancient juniper trees illegally cut in New Mexico monument

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — National Park Service officials say dozen ancient alligator juniper trees have been illegally cut down in the El Malpais National Monument in western New Mexico. They're asking for the public's help to stop the cutting of the tree found in the Southwest. Alligator junipers grow very slowly and are known for unique furrowed bark that resembles alligator skin. The initial discovery of the illegal tree cutting was reported in 2020. Park law enforcement officials have been monitoring the area and over the past year have reported additional illegal cutting of the trees. The latest incident happened in October.

  • Navajo police chief leaves for same job in hometown in NM

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — The police chief on the Navajo Nation is stepping down to oversee a much-smaller police department in the town where he grew up. Phillip Francisco took over the Navajo Nation Police Department in 2016 after the position had been vacant for several years. He said Tuesday he's leaving at the end of December to become police chief in Bloomfield, New Mexico. Navajo President Jonathan Nez credited Francisco with re-establishing the tribe's police academy in Chinle, advocating for higher salaries and maintaining a police force that's severely understaffed. Francisco says his new role will put him closer to retirement. Daryl Noon will take over as Navajo police chief.

  • Navy medical team heading to New Mexico to help with COVID

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The U.S. Navy is sending a 20-member medical team to New Mexico to help the San Juan Regional Medical Center cope with a staff shortage for treating COVID-19 patients. The military team is being deployed at the request of the Federal Emergency Management Agency and is scheduled to arrive at the Farmington hospital on Sunday. Officials say New Mexico is one of seven states where military teams are deployed or soon will. According to a U.S. Army North spokeswoman, Dr. Nicole Wieman, the teams "are there to decompress the burden of treating COVID patients."

  • Police: Tree branch murder weapon in fatal Albuquerque brawl

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A man in Albuquerque is charged with murder after he allegedly killed an acquaintance in a drunken fight. Police say the man admitted to hitting the victim in the head with a tree branch. Police say the 50-year-old suspect is being held in an Albuquerquerque jail after being arrested after the attack on Monday. Police didn't immediately identify the male victim of the attack. According to a police report, the suspect told police he knew the victim and that the two had physical fights in the past, and that the pair had been drinking alcohol together before things got violent.

  • New Mexico State to drop parking citations for peanut butter

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico State University is offering anyone with a campus parking citation the chance to get out of their jam with some peanut butter. University officials said they will accept at least 80 ounces of peanut butter _ the equivalent of five-six small jars _ as payment for a citation for parking without a permit. Donations will be accepted through Friday at the parking and ID card services office on the Las Cruces campus. But donated peanut butter will only cover one citation per person. It does not apply to other parking citations and violations. All the peanut butter will go to campus food pantry Aggie Cupboard.

  • New Mexico sees lower costs worker's compensation insurance

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico insurance regulators are reducing a key component in rates for workers' compensation coverage that should help employers spend less, starting next year. The Superintendent of Insurance Office on Monday announced a 5.5% reduction in "loss costs" for insurance policies that are renewed or issued on or after Jan. 1, 2022. Workers' compensation is a no-fault system of insurance aimed at protecting workers and employers financially from on-the-job accidents as well as job-related illness. Insurance regulators said that compensation claims are being filed less frequently than in the past, reflecting a commitment to safety.