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


SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A New Mexico House committee is advancing a $500 million bill that would direct federal funding toward broadband projects and road infrastructure. Additional spending items were added to the measure Friday, including $50 million for a rural hospital. While a location for the hospital has yet to be determined, some legislators are leaning toward building it in Valencia County. The legislation also includes $2 million for teaching scholarships. The state is trying to fill some 1,000 teacher vacancies, and legislators are calling the shortage "acute." The largest spending categories in the bill include $123 million for internet infrastructure and $142 million for roads.


SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Bills that would redraw congressional and state House boundaries in New Mexico are advancing toward crucial floor votes in the state Legislature. A Senate committee on Friday endorsed adjustments to an overhaul of the state's three congressional districts proposed by Democratic state Sen. Joseph Cervantes and Rep. Georgene Louis, clearing the way for a possible Senate floor vote. The proposed congressional map now closely resembles a redistricting plan promoted by the progressive-leaning Center for Civil Policy that promotes greater representation for disadvantaged communities. A proposed state House map would shore up Native American voting majorities in six districts.


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The University of New Mexico is requiring all employees and students to get a COVID-19 booster shot by Jan. 17. The university said Wednesday the new requirement applies to all individuals eligible for booster shots but that some religious and medical-based exemptions may be granted. The university said individuals who are eligible for booster shots are those who received their second vaccine dose of Pfizer or Moderna on or before June 15, or their single dose of Johnson & Johnson on or before Oct. 15. UNM President Garnett Stokes said the university's vaccination rates for students, faculty, and staff are well over 90 percent.


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) — Prosecutors at the trial of Ghislaine Maxwell have completed presenting their case against the British socialite accused of sexually abusing teenage girls with her late companion, financier Jeffrey Epstein. Earlier Friday, key accuser Annie Farmer testified that Maxwell and Epstein forced themselves on her during a 1996 visit to Epstein's sprawling New Mexico ranch when she was just 16. Maxwell has denied charges she groomed underage girls for Epstein, who killed himself in jail in 2019. Her lawyers say the government is making her a scapegoat for alleged sex crimes committed by her onetime boyfriend and moved immediately for a judgment of acquittal Friday afternoon.


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.