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

  • Navijo Nation COVID-19

 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 bill

ALBUQUERQUE, 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 surrender

Albuquerque'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 students

SANTA 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. 

  • New Mexico tribes concerned about plan to power nuclear lab

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico Indigenous leaders are concerned about a proposed multimillion-dollar transmission line that would cross what they consider sacred lands. The transmission line would bring more electricity to one of the nation's top nuclear weapons laboratories as it looks to power ongoing operations and future missions that include manufacturing key components for the U.S. nuclear arsenal. The line would stretch more than 12 miles, crossing national forest land in an area known as the Caja del Rio and spanning the Rio Grande at White Rock Canyon. The All Pueblo Council of Governors has adopted a resolution to support preservation of the Caja del Rio.

  • Ghislaine Maxwell convicted in Epstein sex abuse case

NEW YORK (AP) — The British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell has been convicted of helping lure teenage girls to be sexually abused by the late Jeffrey Epstein. The verdict announced Wednesday capped a monthlong trial featuring accounts of the sexual exploitation of girls as young as 14. Jurors deliberated for five full days before finding Maxwell guilty of every count except one. She faces years in prison. It's an end long sought by women who spent years fighting to hold Maxwell accountable for abusing them. Her lawyers said she's being used as a scapegoat for crimes committed by Epstein, who killed himself in 2019.

  • New Mexico utility adds electric vehicles to fleet

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico's largest electric provider has received a few more electric vehicles this week as part of a commitment to building its fleet over the coming years. Public Service Co. of New Mexico announced Wednesday that it has 38 electric vehicles with three more on order. Spokeswoman Shannon Jackson says the utility would have more but supply issues with vehicle manufacturers has been a limiting factor. About 8% of PNM's fleet is now electric, with plans to grow that annually by 5%. PNM also recently joined the National Electric Highway Coalition, which plans to build fast-charging ports along major U.S. travel corridors.

  • New Mexico sees drop in COVID-19 hospitalizations

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Fewer people are being hospitalized now in New Mexico due to COVID-19. State health officials reported Tuesday there were just over 460 coronavirus patients in hospitals around the state. The Albuquerque Journal reports that the number marks a drop of more than one-third since Dec. 9. That's when the state hit an 11-month peak that topped 700 patients. New Mexico also ranks in the bottom half of states when it comes to cases per capita over the last week. The state also reported 22 additional deaths Tuesday. Just seven of them happened in the last 30 days and 13 were in their 70s or older.