Latest New Mexico news, sports, business and entertainment at 3:20 p.m. MST
- REDISTRICTING-NEW MEXICO
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Democratic legislators advanced a plan to overhaul New Mexico's three-seat congressional map and reshape a southern district traditionally dominated by Republicans. The map proposal from Democratic Sen. Joseph Cervantes of Las Cruces would bolster a Hispanic majority in New Mexico's southern 2nd Congressional District by extending its boundaries into Albuquerque, the state's largest metro area. The map also would break up a conservative stronghold in the state's southeastern oil production zone that's currently part of the 2nd District in to multiple districts — a change condemned emphatically by Republicans. The plan holds implications for New Mexico's slate of three first-term congresswomen, including Republican U.S. Rep. Yvette Herrell.
- ALBUQUERQUE CITY COUNCIL
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Democrat Tammy Fiebelkorn and Republican Renee Grout were winners in Tuesday's runoff election that settled the last two positions on the Albuquerque City Council's nine-member legislative body. Grout and Fiebelkorn will join four previously elected Democrats and three Republicans. According to unofficial results, Fiebelkorn defeated Lori Robertson by a wide margin to represent District 7 and will succeed fellow Democrat Diane Gibson. Gibson decided not to seek reelection after serving two terms. Grout earned a narrow victory over Democrat Rob Grilley in District 9. She will take over from Don Harris, a Republican who is stepping aside after four terms in office. The Democrats' current 6-3 advantage will slip to 5-4 when the new council is seated in January.
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — The U.S. has reached a COVID-19 milestone of 200 million fully vaccinated people, but cases and hospitalizations are still spiking, even in highly immunized pockets of the country like New England. The situation is not as dire as last year's post-holiday surge before the public had any access to vaccines, but experts say the roughly currently 60% vaccinated U.S. population is not enough to prevent hotspots. And the winter weather, Thanksgiving holiday and pandemic fatigue are all playing a role. At the same time questions remain about the role of the new omicron variant.
- DRY NEW MEXICO-PECOS RIVER
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico's top water official has outlined a plan for dealing with future shortages on the Pecos River in southeastern New Mexico. State Engineer John D'Antonio in a recent order called the situation urgent. Water managers have been augmenting supplies in the region by pumping groundwater. That has allowed farmers to irrigate crops and New Mexico to make good on its water-sharing agreement with Texas. But officials are warning that pumping might not be enough in the years to come given the persistent drought. The latest outlook shows much of the Southwestern U.S. can expect drought to stick around at least through February.
- CRASH-DOT WORKED KILLED
ARTESIA, N.M. (AP) — State Transportation Department Secretary Mike Sandoval says his entire department is grieving following the death of a 58-year-old longtime employee in a crash in southeastern New Mexico. Officials say Artesia resident Mittie Ryan was fatally injured Monday when a tanker truck smashed into a work site on U.S. 285, hitting her pickup and pushing it into another. Two other DOT workers jumped into one pickup's bed as the crash occurred but both were injured. The tanker's driver wasn't injured. Only Runyan's identity was released. The crash is under investigation but the State Police said it didn't appear alcohol was a factor.
- FATAL SHOOTING-BERNALILLO COUNTY
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The Bernalillo County Sheriffs Office says one of its deputies fatally shot a domestic violence suspect. A sheriff's office statement said the shooting occurred Tuesday night after deputies went to an apartment complex in response to a report of a domestic violence incident that occurred earlier at a gas station. According to the statement, deputies were speaking with the victim at the apartment complex when the suspect arrived. The statement said deputies chased the suspect when he ran away and the shooting occurred during an ensuing altercation. No additional details were provided such as what led to the shooting and no identities were released.
- REPLACEMENT SHERIFF
ESPANOLA, N.M. (AP) — The Rio Arriba County Commission has chosen a new sheriff to fill a vacancy created when James Lujan resigned last week after being sentenced to prison on two felony convictions. County Sheriff's Maj. Billy Merrifield was sworn in as sheriff on Monday after the commission approved the appointment during a special meeting. Lujan was sentenced to three years in prison on convictions of aiding a felon and intimidating a witness stemming from a 2017 incident in Espanola.
- VIRUS OUTBREAK-NAVAJO NATION
WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. (AP) — The Navajo Nation on Tuesday reported 35 more COVID-19 cases, but no deaths for the third consecutive day. The latest numbers pushed the tribe's total cases since the pandemic began to 40,171. The known death toll remains at 1,551. Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez has again called for everyone on the vast reservation to get a booster shot and wear masks. The reservation covers 27,000 square miles (70,000 square kilometers) and extends into parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah.