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New Mexico News

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

Strong winds fuel New Mexico wildfires, prompt evacuations

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Strong spring winds are fueling wildfires in New Mexico and prompting evacuations south of Albuquerque where some structures have burned. About 100 firefighters were battling the latest blaze that broke out Monday sent up a large plume of smoke that could be seen for miles in the Rio Grande Valley. A shelter has been set up at a community center in rural Belen. KOAT-TV footage showed at least one residence burning near Rio Communities. In northern New Mexico near Las Vegas, a larger interagency team with more than 170 firefighters assumed command of a prescribed fire that jumped containment lines last week and has burned about a square mile.

FBI offers reward in vandalizing of Santa Fe petroglyphs

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The FBI is offering a reward for information leading to an arrest in the vandalizing of the Cieneguilla Petroglyphs in Santa Fe. The agency announced a $5,000 reward Monday for any details that could help locate a suspect or suspects. Authorities say the spray-painted graffiti was discovered on the petroglyphs back in January. The Bureau of Land Management oversees the property where the petroglyphs are. The petroglyphs, which date between the 13th and 17th centuries, draw visitors yearly. They are considered a precious Native American cultural resource.

New Mexico governor's mother, Sonja Lujan, dies at age 82

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.. (AP) — New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham's mother has died of natural causes. Sonja Lujan was 82. The governor's office issued a statement Monday, saying Sonja Lujan died Sunday. The governor had told reporters last week that her mother's health had declined and that she was in hospice care at the governor's residence in Santa Fe. In a statement, the first-term governor described her mom as "one of a kind." She remembered her as a dedicated advocate for children with disabilities. The governor said she was inspired by her mother's tenacity and determination.

Discovery of radioactive liquid pauses work at US nuke dump

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — An area at the U.S. government's nuclear waste repository in southeastern New Mexico was evacuated over the weekend after workers handling a shipping container discovered a small amount of radioactive liquid inside it. Officials say there was no indication of airborne contamination and that testing of workers' hands and feet turned up no contamination. It wasn't immediately clear where the liquid came from but officials did confirm that the shipment came from Idaho National Laboratory. The repository receives shipments from federal labs and defense-related sites around the country. The waste typically consists of lab coats, gloves, tools and debris contaminated with plutonium and other radioactive elements.

Congress seeks input on election reform in New Mexico

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico's top elections regulator and voting rights advocates have described efforts to combat disinformation and intimidation at the polls and ensure voting access minority groups. Democrats on a congressional subcommittee gathered the testimony Monday to inform their work on election initiatives. The field hearing led by Democratic U.S. Rep G. K. Butterfield of North Carolina highlighted New Mexico as a leader in efforts to expand voter access and as a counterpoint to a wave of restrictive new voting laws in Republican-led states. New Mexico Congresswomen Teresa Leger Fernandez and Melanie Stansbury called for changes to Senate filibuster rules that have been instrumental in blocking voting rights legislation.

New Mexico senator sues fellow senator over retaliatory acts

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico state Sen. Jacob Candelaria is suing fellow Sen. Mimi Stewart, accusing her of retaliation over his criticism of her leadership. The Santa Fe New Mexican reports Candelaria, an independent, believes Stewart, a Democrat, used her authority as president pro tem of the Senate to move his Capitol office and change his seat on the Senate floor. The 35-year-old Candelaria says he is suing out of principle because "any form of reprisal is unlawful." A spokesman for Senate Democrats said Stewart, 75, would not comment on the lawsuit. Candelaria has publicly slammed Stewart for not being open about an investigation of a state administrator accused of making racist remarks.

ABQ Pride votes to not let police join parade, festival

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Organizers of this year's Albuquerque gay Pride festivities have decided not to let the city's police department participate. KOB-TV reports all but one member of the ABQ Pride Board approved a motion Sunday to prohibit police from having a parade float or a booth at Pride Fest. Some cited the history of tensions between police. But other members were unsure about ruling police out completely. Board members also noted that the police did not send any representative to their meeting. Chase Jewell, a police department community ambassador, was not able to attend but he says the department respects the board's decision.

Juvenile is accused of fatal shooting at an Albuquerque park

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Police say a 15-year-old boy has been arrested in connection with a fatal shooting at a southwest Albuquerque park two months ago. Police say the teen is facing a murder charge in the Feb. 26 fatal shooting of 19-year-old Vincent Phuc Loc Le at Westgate Community Park. The suspect was taken into custody Friday and booked into the Bernalillo County Juvenile Detention Center. The boy's name isn't being released by The Associated Press because he's a juvenile. Police say the teen is accused of setting up a fight with another person at the park following a high school basketball game. As a vehicle with four people inside approached the park, police say the teen allegedly fired 17 shots _ killing Le and injuring three other people inside the car.