Latest New Mexico news, sports, business and entertainment at 6:20 a.m. MDT
- LAGUNA NIGUEL, Calif. (AP) — Wildfires in the West are on a furious pace early this year. Wind-driven flames tearing through vegetation that is extraordinarily dry from years-long drought exacerbated by climate change has made even small blazes a threat to life and property. A fast-moving blaze in Southern California is the latest example, where 20 multimillion-dollar homes lay in smolders Thursday. In New Mexico, the largest blaze burning in the U.S. has now consumed an area bigger than Dallas. That fire east of Santa Fe has churned through mountainous forests for more than a month. Nationally, more than 2,000 square miles already have burned this year. That's the most at this point since 2018.
- FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — A first-of-its-kind federal study of Native American boarding schools that for over a century sought to assimilate Indigenous children into white society has identified more than 500 student deaths at the institutions so far. But officials expect that figure to grow exponentially as research continues. The Interior Department report released Wednesday expands to more than 400 the number of schools that were known to have operated across the U.S. for 150 years. They emerged in the early 19th century and continued in some cases until the late 1960s. The agency says a second volume of the report will cover burial sites and the boarding schools' impacts on Indigenous communities.
- SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A film production company is contesting sanctions by New Mexico officials for alleged workplace safety violations on the set of "Rust," where actor and producer Alec Baldwin fatally shot a cinematographer in October. In a filing made public Wednesday, Rust Movie Productions is challenging a $137,000 fine against the company by state occupational safety regulators who say production managers failed to follow standard industry protocols for firearms safety. Rust Movie Productions says misfires prior to the fatal shooting did not violate safety protocols and corrective action was taken. In October 2021, Baldwin was pointing a gun at cinematographer Halyna Hutchins during setup for filming when the firearm discharged.
ELECTION 2022-PRIMARY-NEW MEXICO
- SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Early voting has started across New Mexico ahead of the June 7 primary Election Day to determine the Republican nominee for governor. Election officials on Tuesday began mailing absentee ballots to voters and county clerks' offices opened their doors to in-person voting. Five Republicans are vying for the nomination to challenge incumbent Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham. Democrats are seeking their party's nomination in open races for attorney general, state auditor and treasurer. Recent changes in New Mexico election law make it easier for unaffiliated voters to participate in the primary election by affiliating with a major party.
EDUCATION LAWSUIT PLAN
- SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico education officials have released a draft plan to address a lawsuit brought by underprivileged students nearly a decade ago. The lawsuit is named Martinez-Yazzie after two plaintiffs who sued on behalf of their children and won a favorable ruling against state officials in state court in 2018. The ruling finds that the state has fallen short of its constitutional duties to provide an "adequate" education for groups that account for 70% of K-12 pupils, including low-income, disabled, English learning, and Native American students. The draft plan outlines targets for improving the diversity of teachers, increasing graduation rates by 15% and increasing academic proficiency by 50% by 2025.