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Local and State News

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


FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — A U.S. Air Force airman who was convicted of killing a Mennonite woman after kidnapping her in New Mexico and taking her to Arizona will be sentenced next month. An Arizona judge scheduled Mark Gooch's sentencing for Jan. 19. Prosecutors and the defense said during a meeting Tuesday that they were ready to proceed. Gooch was accused of kidnapping Sasha Krause in January 2020 at a church near Farmington, where she was gathering material for Sunday school. Her body was found more than a month later outside of Flagstaff, with a gunshot wound to the head. Gooch faces life in prison. 


SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico's hourly minimum wage is set to increase by a dollar to $11.50 at the start of 2022. The Workforce Solutions Department on Monday issued a reminder to employers and workers of the pending increase. Reforms signed by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and adopted in 2019 gradually raise the statewide minimum wage to $12 by 2023. President Joe Biden has proposed to raise the federal minimum wage requirement for most workers to $15 an hour from $7.25. Higher local minimum wages are in effect in Albuquerque, Las Cruces, Santa Fe and Bernalillo County and Santa Fe County.


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Albuquerque has officially adopted two pieces of legislation focused on its minority communities, including Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. Mayor Tim Keller signed the two bills Monday in a virtual ceremony. One requires government information and services be accessible in languages other than English. The other condemns acts of anti-Asian hate that started with the coronavirus pandemic. Over 67,000 of the roughly 846,000 metro Albuquerque residents speak little or no English, according to the measure. The other measure formally denounces racist rhetoric and hate crimes directed at Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in Albuquerque. City councilors will encourage the city's Office of Civil Rights to investigate anti-AAPI incidents.


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — With authorities logging more than a dozen DWI arrests in the Albuquerque area since Christmas Eve, there are more calls for New Mexico to crack down on repeat offenders. Albuquerque television station KOB-TV reports that many of the cases over the past year involve first time offenses. But officers have seen some familiar faces, including a woman who marked her fifth DWI offense in May after she was stopped for driving 103 mph on Interstate 40. Officials with Mothers Against Drunk Driving and others who have lost loved ones are concerned that there are few consequences to driving while intoxicated.


New Mexico State Sen. Pete Campos is in the hospital and will have to undergo emergency surgery. A spokesman for Senate Democrats told the Santa Fe New Mexican that Campos could have the surgery as soon as Monday. Campos, who is in his 60s, was taken to Presbyterian Hospital in Albuquerque on Sunday for an undisclosed condition. But it is unrelated to COVID-19. Also, Campos expects a speedy recovery and to have no issues with attending the opening of the legislative session next month. Campos said in a statement he looks forward to resuming his duties "for years to come." Campos, of Las Vegas, was re-elected in November 2020.


SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Top Democrats in the New Mexico House have chosen to dissolve a legislative committee that deals with Hispanic land grants, traditional irrigation districts known as acequias and other local government and cultural affairs. The recent decision announced by House Speaker Brian Egolf is spurring criticism from Hispanic lawmakers, including two members of New Mexico's congressional delegation. U.S. Sen. Ben Ray Luján said the representation of land grants, acequias and rural communities must always be at the forefront of New Mexico public policy. He described those constituents as "a critical part of the heart, soul and history of our state."


NEW YORK (AP) — A jury in the sex trafficking trial of Ghislaine Maxwell has completed three full days of deliberations without a sign that a verdict is near. On Monday, the jury requested multi-colored sticky notes, a white board and some trial transcripts. They also asked for the definition of enticement and a question pertaining to the law. The deliberations followed a holiday weekend break after two full days of talks last week. The British socialite is charged with grooming teenagers as young as 14 to be sexually assaulted by financier Jeffrey Epstein. Maxwell's lawyers say she's a scapegoat after Epstein killed himself in 2019 while awaiting a sex trafficking trial. 


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A suspect has been arrested in the shooting of a bear with a bow and arrow near Taos in October. The Albuquerque Journal reports a man was charged in Taos Magistrate Court with unlawful killing of big game by shooting from the road and failing to tag the bear, both misdemeanors. The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish said last month it was investigating the Oct. 29 incident in Arroyo Seco. Bears are a protected species in New Mexico, but bear hunting was allowed in that area at the time of killing. But court documents say the man shot the bear twice then left it behind in a tree.