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


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Albuquerque police are launching a crackdown on off-road vehicles being driven on streets and highways. Police officials announced Monday that officers are being instructed to cite and tow all off-road vehicles being driven illegally, with no exceptions. Police noted that a 7-year-old boy was killed when struck by an off-road vehicle on a city street earlier this month as his family used a crosswalk. An arrest warrant has been issued for a 27-year-old man in that case. Deputy Chief Mike Smathers said police have noticed an increase in off-highway vehicles being driven on city streets over the past year. 


BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — U.S. officials have approved two solar projects in California and are opening public lands in three other Western states to potential solar development — part of the Biden administration's effort to counter climate change by shifting from fossil fuels. The two projects in Riverside County east of Los Angeles combined would generate enough power for about 132,000 homes. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management also Tuesday published a call to nominate land for development within "solar energy zones" in Colorado, Nevada and New Mexico. Democratic President Joe Biden's promotion of renewable wind and solar power marks a shift from Republican President Donald Trump's emphasis on coal, oil and gas.


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The University of New Mexico is adding coronavirus vaccination rules to a mask requirement for fans entering the Pit arena in Albuquerque starting after the Christmas weekend. In a statement on Monday, officials cited surging COVID-19 numbers and the emerging threat of the omicron variant. The directive starts with women's and men's basketball games Dec. 28. Everyone 12 and older entering the 15,000-seat arena will need to show proof they're fully vaccinated or show a recent negative COVID-19 test. New Mexico becomes the sixth school in the 11-member Mountain West Conference to set a vaccine rule for home arenas.


SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico's Democratic governor is renewing calls for legislators to approve requirements for fuel producers to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said Monday in a statement that state lawmakers should pass a clean fuel standard during the upcoming legislative session. The governor of the major oil producing state has discretion over which nonbudgetary initiatives are heard during a 30-day legislative session that starts Jan. 18. Earlier this year, a Democrat-sponsored bill to impose low-carbon fuel standards stalled in the state House of Representatives after wining Senate's endorsement on a party-line vote with Republicans in opposition. California and Oregon already have similar programs.


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The driver suspected of hitting and killing a 7-year-old Albuquerque boy is now considered a fugitive. Police said Monday that they served a warrant at the home of 27-year-old Sergio Almanza and he appears to have gone on the run. Investigators identified Almanza as the suspected driver of the off-road vehicle involved in Dec. 12 incident. Authorities say Pronoy Bhattacharya and his family had just left the River of Lights display at ABQ BioPark when an all-terrain vehicle struck the boy and his father. The child died. The father suffered serious injuries but is expected to recover. Police say they suspect the driver was drunk.


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Albuquerque police are planning to address the issue of illegal all-terrain vehicles traveling on city streets in the wake of a boy's hit-and-run death. Police along with officials from New Mexico Game and Fish will address the issue with a news conference mid-day Monday. Off-road vehicles are illegal to use on Albuquerque streets. But residents say that hasn't stopped people from violating the law. Concerns have turned into outrage after the death of 7-year-old Pronoy Bhattacharya earlier this month. The boy and his family had left River of Lights at ABQ BioPark on Dec. 12 when a man on an ATV hit him and his father. 


LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — Organizers say the annual Chile Drop will return to Plaza de Las Cruces this year for an in-person celebration to ring in 2022. event coordinator Russ Smith tells the Las Cruces Sun-News it's going to be a "robust street party." The celebratory event was held virtually last year as COVID-19 spread during the winter months. It was prerecorded and aired Dec. 31 for viewers. This year, live music, food and entertainment will be offered starting at 9 p.m. New Year's Eve in downtown Las Cruces. Main Street will be blocked off around the plaza so the event will be pedestrian friendly.


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Bernalillo County Sheriff's officials say they are investigating a pedestrian death in Albuquerque. They say the vehicle involved left the scene of the fatal collision Saturday, but was later located and a suspect now is in custody. Authorities say the driver is suspected of DWI. The names of the victim and the driver haven't been released yet.