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Latest New Mexico news, sports, business and entertainment at 11:20 a.m. MST


Al Unser, one of only four drivers to win the Indianapolis 500 a record four times, died Thursday following years of health issues. He was 82. Indianapolis Motor Speedway says Unser died at his home in Chama, New Mexico. Unser was part of an elite club of four-time winners of "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing." Unser won in 1970, 1971, 1978 and 1987, and is the only driver with both a sibling and a child who also won the 500. His son, Al Unser Jr., is a two-time winner. The Unser family combined for a record nine wins in the Indy 500. 


RIO RANCHO, N.M. (AP) — Authorities say a 2-year-old child is dead following a shooting at the Rio Rancho home of the family of a Santa Fe police officer. Responding Rancho Rio Police Department officers on Wednesday found the child with a gunshot wound and live-saving efforts by officers and paramedics were unsuccessful. No identities were released and no additional information was immediately available on circumstances of the incident. The Santa Fe Police Department said it was aware of the "tragic death of a young child" involving a department employee and said the incident was being investigated by the Rio Rancho Police Department.


CHILCHINBETO, Ariz. (AP) — Work crews from the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power are partnering with the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority to extend powerlines to homes in several tribal communities including Chilchinbeto, Kayenta, Chinle, Kaibeto and Coppermine. At a project site in Chilchinbeto, crews are working to extend a nine-mile stretch of powerlines. As of Thursday, the partnership has successfully connected 29 homes since the crews arrived from Los Angeles in late November. Tribal officials say the goal is to connect as many homes as possible to the electric grid within six weeks.


NEW YORK (AP) — Another key accuser at the sex-abuse trial of British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell has testified Maxwell and Epstein forced themselves on her during a 1996 visit to the financier's New Mexico ranch when she was just 16. Annie Farmer testified Maxwell fondled her breasts and Epstein climbed into bed with her without her permission. Unlike three other accusers who previously testified using either pseudonyms or first names only to protect their privacy, Farmer testified using her real name. The 59-year-old Maxwell has denied charges she groomed teenagers to give Epstein sexual messages.


WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. (AP) — The Navajo Nation on Thursday reported 78 more COVID-19 cases, but no additional deaths for the fourth time in the past five days. The latest numbers pushed the tribe's total cases since the pandemic began to 40,334. The known death toll remains at 1,557.  Tribal 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.


SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Efforts to shore up Native American political influence in New Mexico through the redistricting process are getting a boost as legislators advance a state Senate map that incorporates consensus recommendations from an array of Indigenous communities. A Senate redistricting bill from Democratic state Sen. Linda Lopez of Albuquerque cleared its first hurdle Thursday with a 6-3 committee endorsement. The map includes recommendations by a Native American coalition. Meanwhile, two Native American communities voiced opposition to a congressional redistricting plan that would extend the New Mexico's traditionally Democratic northern 3rd District into a conservative oil-producing region of the state.


SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A New Mexico state senator says he has tested positive for COVID-19 and will quarantine at home with a special legislative session underway on political redistricting. Democrat Bobby Gonzales of Taos told The Associated Press on Thursday that he tested positive for the coronavirus the previous day through a rapid test. He informed Senate leadership out of concern for anyone who might also have been exposed through close contact. Gonzales said was tested Saturday with a negative result before meeting that day with Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham. He underwent a test again on Wednesday under health protocols for the governor's office in anticipation of another meeting with Lujan Grisham that did not occur.


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — It will be up to New Mexico regulators to clear the way for the state's largest electric provider to transfer its shares in one of the Southwest's remaining coal-fired power plants to a Navajo energy company. A hearing examiner with the Public Regulation Commission presented his recommendations to commissioners during a meeting Thursday, saying it would benefit customers and the Navajo Nation. Environmentalists have concerns. Under the proposal, Navajo Transitional Energy Co. would take over Public Service Co. of New Mexico's interest in the plant, becoming the second largest owner of shares in the facility. The majority owner is Arizona Public Service Co. The commission is expected to make a final decision soon.