Latest New Mexico news, sports, business and entertainment at 3:20 p.m. MDT
- ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The U.S. government has finished another environmental review of a proposed multibillion-dollar transmission line that would send wind-generated electricity from rural New Mexico to big cities in the West. The U.S. Interior Department also announced Thursday plans to review two other projects designed to funnel renewable energy across parts of Utah and Nevada. The regulatory steps come a day after the Biden administration announced a $2.5 billion initiative to make the nation's power grid better able to withstand catastrophic disasters caused by climate change. The project in New Mexico has been more than a decade in the making. A final decision is expected this summer.
POLICE SHOOTING-NEW MEXICO
- SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Authorities say a man fatally shot by a New Mexico State Police officer during an April 16 encounter along Interstate 40 was a North Carolina resident sought in a homicide in that state. A New Mexico State Police statement released Thursday said the shooting occurred near Prewitt during a struggle after the officer was dispatched to check on the welfare of a man seen slumped over a car's steering wheel. The statement said 26-year-old Oliver Ashley Toledo Saldivar got out of the car and charged and tackled the officer, who then shot Saldivar. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
- ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — More of the dry, windy weather that helped fan spring wildfires from New Mexico to Nebraska is threatening to test the progress firefighters have made in controlling fires. Forecasters are warning that the volatile weather expected in the southwestern U.S. could create the same sort of conditions that sent blazes racing across the landscape last week. In drought-stricken New Mexico, flames jumped a line built to corral the northwestern perimeter of a fire that has charred 97 square miles and burned homes. Some of the nearly 1,000 firefighters battling that fire were trying Thursday to prevent it from reaching another small community.
- WASHINGTON (AP) — The Department of Homeland Security has launched a new panel to tackle disinformation. DHS is stepping up its effort to counter disinformation coming from Russia as well as misleading information that human smugglers circulate to target migrants hoping to travel to the U.S.-Mexico border. DHS said Wednesday in announcing the Disinformation Governance Board that the spread of disinformation can affect border security, Americans' safety and public trust in democratic institutions. The board will be led by disinformation expert Nina Jankowicz, who has researched Russian misinformation tactics and online harassment. The board will monitor and prepare for Russian disinformation threats as this year's midterm elections near.
ELECTION 2022-VOTER PARTICIPATION
- SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Recent changes in New Mexico election law are making it easier for unaffiliated voters to participate in the June 7 primary election if they chose to affiliate with a major party — even briefly. Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver on Wednesday highlighted the opportunity for voters who are affiliated with a minor party or decline affiliation to participate in the statewide primary by picking a major party affiliation on site at election-day polling places and county clerks' offices. New Mexico remains a "closed primary" state that requires affiliation with a major party in order to vote in a primary.
ALBUQUERQUE PUBLIC SCHOOLS
- SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A report from the New Mexico Legislature recommends that the state's largest school system prepare to close schools and cut education jobs. That's despite an influx of state and federal cash and nearly 700 unfilled school worker positions at Albuquerque Public Schools. The Legislative Finance Committee report delivered Wednesday says the district must plan major cuts because of declining enrollment exacerbated by the pandemic. It says the district has a mismatch of teachers and students and that special education students don't have enough trained educators. District superintendent Scott Elder has acknowledged that the district needs to cut some staff positions, but says closing schools could hurt communities and increase bussing costs.
- SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The New Mexico sheriff investigating the fatal film-set shooting of a cinematographer by actor Alec Baldwin described complacency, disorganization and neglected safety measures in the making of the low-budget movie "Rust." The vast trove of newly released law enforcement files include lapel camera video of the mortally wounded Hutchins slipping in and out of consciousness as an evacuation helicopter arrives. Witness interrogations, email threads, text conversations, inventories of ammunition and hundreds of photographs round out the collection of evidence. The sheriff says he is waiting on a forensic analysis before turning the 6-month-old case over to prosecutors to decide whether criminal charges will be filed.
- ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A bird that is inextricably linked to the piñon and juniper forests that span the Western United States has seen its numbers decline over the last half century. Environmentalists announced Tuesday that they're petitioning the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to protect the pinyon jay under the Endangered Species Act as a way to save the species and the trees. A very social bird, the jay is known for stashing away piñon seeds, a habit that helps propagate the next generation of trees. Piñon and juniper forests across the West already have been effected by climate change, hotter and drier conditions and more severe wildfires.