Latest New Mexico news, sports, business and entertainment at 6:20 a.m. MDT
- FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — The White House says local, state and federal officials must do more to ensure Native Americans have equal access to voting. The Biden administration released a report Thursday that reiterated the persistent, longstanding and deep-rooted barriers to voting in tribal communities. Native Americans and Alaska Natives vote at lower rates than the national average but have been a key constituency in tight races and states with large Native populations. Absent action from Congress, Biden is seeking changes at the local and state levels. The White House report builds on other work by Native American voting rights advocates.
METHANE EMISSIONS-NEW MEXICO
- SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A pollution survey using sensors on small airplanes to detect methane emissions across a major U.S. oil and natural gas production zone points to higher rates of waste and pollution than previously estimated. Released Wednesday, the study estimated that methane emissions are equivalent to roughly 9% of the overall gas production in the surveyed area. That's more than double the rate in several previous studies of the Permian Basin and national estimates by the U.S. government. The study arrives during a pivot period for efforts by government regulators and industry to measure and rein in greenhouse gas emissions from oilfield infrastructure.
BC-NM-ESCAPED INMATES CAPTURED
- GALLUP, N.M. (AP) — Authorities have released updated information about three inmates who reportedly stole a McKinley County Sheriff's Office transport van before being captured. New Mexico State Police officials had said Monday that the inmates were being transported by a sheriff's deputy who apparently had a medical episode and had to stop the van. But county Undersheriff James Maiorano said Tuesday that it was one of the two male inmates _ 35-year-old Joshua Hall _ who slipped out of his handcuffs, faked a heart attack and overpowered the deputy when he opened the van's door. Maiorano says Hall then drove away in the van with the other inmates still shackled in the back. A lengthy pursuit ended when they were taken back into custody.
CAPITOL RIOT-ELECTED OFFICIAL
- WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal judge has convicted an elected official from New Mexico of illegally entering restricted U.S. Capitol grounds but acquitted him of engaging in disorderly conduct during the riot that disrupted Congress from certifying Joe Biden's presidential election victory. U.S. District Court Judge Trevor McFadden heard one day of testimony without a jury Monday before handing down a verdict Tuesday in the misdemeanor case against Otero County Commissioner Couy Griffin. Griffin's Washington, D.C., trial was the second among the hundreds of federal cases arising from the Jan. 6, 2021, siege. Griffin is among the few riot defendants who wasn't accused of entering the Capitol building or engaging in violent or destructive behavior.
SCHOOL SECURITY GUARD-SEXUAL ABUSE
- LAS VEGAS, N.M. (AP) — A former Las Vegas, New Mexico, school security guard will serve 10 years in prison for sexually abusing a female student. The Las Vegas Optic reports 53-year-old Abran Ulibarri was sentenced Monday at a hearing where the victim, who was 14 at the time, spoke in favor of prison time. Ulibarri pleaded guilty last month to six counts related to sexual abuse. The judge during sentencing said Ulibarri didn't commit an error in judgment but "premeditated, predatory conduct." State investigators found evidence that Ulibarri and the girl, a student at West Las Vegas Middle School, had a sexual relationship for months in 2019.
SEXUAL MISCONDUCT-NEW MEXICO
- SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — An open letter signed by 10 political lobbyists and advocates has called for a Democratic state senator to resign or be removed based on new allegations of groping, sexist comments, and yelling and cursing at women at the Statehouse or over drinks nearby. Monday's letter urges leading Democratic and Republican state senators to move forward with an investigation against state Democratic Sen. Daniel Ivey-Soto related to earlier allegations of sexual harassment. Ivey-Soto says he will participate in the Legislature's procedures for resolving complaints of harassment and misconduct. But he declined to comment on the allegations.
- FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — More than a dozen tribal communities around the U.S. will share $9 million in federal grant funding for renewable energy projects. The U.S. Department of Energy announced the funding grants Monday. Nearly $1.2 million will support a solar and battery storage project in the Navajo Nation community of Kayenta. Tribal officials say the project will provide internet access and electricity to 24 homes on the vast reservation where an estimated one-third of residents aren't connected to the power grid. The grants won't cover the entire cost of the projects. Recipients will have to chip in.