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


New Mexico governor signs state House redistricting measureSANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has signed legislation to redraw election boundaries for seats in the New Mexico House of Representatives. The Democrat signed the measure Wednesday, calling it a "sound map that is representative and respectful of New Mexico's varied communities of interest." Republicans disagree. They have argued that the maps approved by the Democrat-led Legislature are partisan and far from fair representation. They say the voices of rural residents, conservative Democrats and independents will be marginalized. The House map is expected to give Democrats an edge in about 45 of 70 seats. Democrats currently hold a 45-24 advantage in the chamber.


Woman arrested on arson charge in fire at Islamic CenterALBUQURQUE, N.M. (AP) — Albuquerque police have arrested a woman sought on a warrant charging her with arson in a Nov. 29 fire at the Islamic Center of New Mexico. The arrest warrant for Isela Camarena was issued Monday and she was arrested and jailed Wednesday. According to court records, she's charged with arson involving damage over $2,500. Local media reported that security video showed a woman setting a trash can's contents on fire, then pouring the burning trash on the ground and spreading the burning material. Court records didn't list a defense attorney for Camarena who could comment on the allegation against her.


New Mexico storm expected to cause severe driving conditionsALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Forecasters say a winter storm is expected to produce severe driving conditions Friday and Saturday due to high winds and drifting snow with heavy snow accumulations in the mountains. The National Weather Service said widespread and significant impacts to holiday travel are expected. While temperatures Friday will be low enough for valleys to get rainfall, the weather service said colder air will arrive after midnight and allow any rain to change over to snow through Saturday morning. Forecaster say strong winds will combine with bitterly cold temperatures Saturday and Sunday to produce dangerously cold wind chills.


Storm damage prompts emergency declaration for Taos CountyTAOS, N.M. (AP) — Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has declared a state of emergency in Taos County. The northern New Mexico county was hit Dec. 15 with a snow squall and heavy winds that blew down large swaths of trees, damaged homes and businesses and knocked out power to some areas. The emergency declaration provides up to $750,000 for the state Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management to support recovery efforts organized by local officials. Communities also could be eligible for other state assistance. At the time, forecasters had reported a few inches of snow in Taos and wind gusts of 60 mph.


Navajo Nation reports 74 new COVID-19 cases, five new deathsWINDOW ROCK, Ariz. (AP) — The Navajo Nation is reporting 74 new confirmed cases of the coronavirus and five additional deaths. Wednesday's numbers pushed the cases on the vast reservation to 41,262, including 67 delayed reported cases. The death toll rose to 1,588. Tribal leaders continued to push for residents to take precautions to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, including mask wearing, social distancing and washing hands. The omicron variant has not been detected in samples on the Navajo Nation, but tribal leaders say that doesn't mean it's not there.


New Mexico advocates renew push for juvenile justice billALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Advocates are renewing their push for legislation that would abolish life without parole for juveniles sentenced as adults in New Mexico. The proposed "Second Chance" bill would make juveniles sentenced as adults eligible for parole after serving 15 years in prison. Denali Wilson is an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico and represents Michael Brown, who was sentenced as a violent youthful offender when he was 16 for the stabbing death of his grandparents. Wilson estimates that Brown is one of 75 people in New Mexico serving long adult prison sentences for crimes they committed as children.


Albuquerque chief pleas for hit-and-run driver to surrenderAlbuquerque's police chief wants a hit-and-run driver who is accused of striking a man and his young son earlier this month to surrender. The little boy, Pronoy Bhattacharya, was killed. Chief Harold Medina released a video on Wednesday saying Sergio Almanza chose to drink and drive and speed and ended up killing the 7-year-old boy. Medina urged Almanza to turn himself in, saying police know he too has young children and would want justice if one of them were injured. Almanza was allegedly driving an off-road vehicle on Des. 12 when he ran a red light and struck the boy and his father before fleeing. 


Rural New Mexico school buys Starlink internet for studentsSANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A school district in northwestern New Mexico is announcing a $1.2 million deal to provide hundreds of families with high-speed internet. Cuba schools superintendent Karen Sanchez-Griego says installations of SpaceX's Starlink receivers at students' homes started in November. She says her students can't wait any longer for quality internet access, which state and nearby tribal authorities never completely provided, even during the pandemic. The school district plans to install 450 units, which cost $500 each. Funding to pay monthly internet subscription fees will eventually run out. Sanchez-Griego hopes state officials will cover the tab when that happens.