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Local and State News

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

  • INFRASTRUCTURE-NEW MEXICO

Governor polls local mayors on infrastructure prioritiesSANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico's Democratic governor is polling local politicians on their infrastructure priorities as the state decides how to dispense federal pandemic relief money and spend from a multibillion-dollar budget surplus. Breaking with past routines, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has delayed annual infrastructure recommendations to hold an online summit Friday with mayors from across the state. They'll discuss their priorities on construction projects ranging from high-speed internet to senior centers, water systems and roadways. The deliberations are a prelude to decisions on how to spend New Mexico's share of a roughly $1 trillion infrastructure package signed by President Joe Biden in November.

  • STREAM ACCESS-NEW MEXICO

Another Game Commission member gone amid stream access fightALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has dismissed another member of a state commission that oversees wildlife conservation and hunting and fishing regulations as a dispute simmers over public access to streams and rivers that flow through private property. Jeremy Vesbach was among those on the state Game Commission who voted last year to deny several landowners permits to restrict access to waterways that crossed their property. Lujan Grisham has been careful to walk the line on the issue publicly, and some critics point to political campaign contributions by wealthy landowners as the reason. The governor's office denied that Vesbach's dismissal was related to matters of stream access.

  • VIRUS OUTBREAK-NEW MEXICO

Federal lab in New Mexico pauses vaccine mandateALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — One of the federal government's national laboratories in New Mexico is pausing a vaccine mandate that was set to go into effect this month. The associate director of mission services at Sandia National Laboratories told the Albuquerque Journal that the lab's decision comes amid an ongoing lawsuit that was filed by a handful of unvaccinated employees. Lab officials contend the vaccination requirement was aimed at creating a safe work environment. The latest data from the New Mexico Department of Health shows vaccinated people made up nearly 40% of the new COVID-19 cases over the last four weeks. State data shows about 82% of people hospitalized are unvaccinated.

  • FARMINGTON OFFICER SHOT-REWARD

$10K reward offered in shooting of Farmington police officerFARMINGTON, N.M. (AP) — Authorities are offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of a man sought in the Friday night shooting of a Farmington police officer. The U.S. Marshals Service is offering the reward for information regarding Elias Buck. The 22-year-old is charged with aggravated battery upon on a police officer in the Friday night shooting in which Officer Joseph Barreto was wounded. Farmington police say Barreto has been released from the hospital and is at home recovering. According to police, the shooting occurred when  Barreto tried to detain Buck after seeing Buck and a female companion walking after a car had been reported as possibly being involved in drunken driving.

  • NUCLEAR WASTE SHIPMENTS-NEVADA

US acknowledges shipping Idaho radioactive waste to NevadaLAS VEGAS (AP) — The federal government is acknowledging it has been shipping mixed radioactive waste from a nuclear cleanup site in Idaho to Nevada for disposal. In a statement following a protest letter from U.S. Rep. Dina Titus, the Energy Department said about enough material to fill five Olympic-sized swimming pools has been sent since 2009 from a former dump at the Idaho National Laboratory to the Nevada National Security Site. The Energy Department says the Nevada state Division of Environmental Protection participates in pre-disposal documentation and review of the material. The state and federal government have clashed in the past over shipments of radioactive materials to the vast former government nuclear test site in Nevada.

  • ALBUQUERQUE HIGH SCHOOL-SHOTS FIRED

Police: Shots fired outside high school basketball gameALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Authorities in New Mexico have launched an investigation after responding to reports of shots fired outside a high school basketball game on Tuesday. No injuries were reported. The Albuquerque Police Department says the shooting occurred at about 8:30 p.m. in the parking lot of Valley High School, north of downtown Albuquerque. The men's varsity basketball team was competing against Atrisco Heritage Academy High School. Authorities say casings were found in the parking lot. No other details were immediately made available. 

  • EX-NAVAJO PRESIDENT-AWARD

Former Navajo president receives lifetime achievement awardTWIN ARROWS, Ariz. (AP) — Peterson Zah, a former Navajo chairman and president, has received a lifetime achievement award from a Flagstaff-based environmental group. The award given Tuesday by the Grand Canyon Trust recognized Zah's role in promoting Navajo language and culture, inspiring youth, strengthening tribal sovereignty and protecting the land. Zah says it's work he couldn't have done alone and credited a team effort that included his wife, Rosalind Zah. Navajo voters chose Zah as their first president in the early 1990s after the tribe restructured the government under three branches. Zah has been praised for his visionary leadership and love for the Navajo people.

  • VIRUS OUTBREAK-NAVAJO NATION

Navajo Nation: 93 more COVID-19 cases, 1st death in 4 daysWINDOW ROCK, Ariz. (AP) — The Navajo Nation on Tuesday reported 93 new confirmed COVID-19 cases and one death, the first in four days. The latest numbers pushed the tribe's totals since the pandemic began to 43,241 cases with 1,594 known deaths. Based on cases from Dec. 24-Jan. 6, the Navajo Department of Health issued an advisory for 61 communities due to the uncontrolled spread of the virus. This week, tribal President Jonathan Nez issued an executive order mandating all employees to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination booster shot by Jan. 24. If an employee is not fully vaccinated and doesn't get a booster shot, the employee is required to submit a negative COVID-19 test result at least once every 14 days.