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Latest New Mexico news, sports, business and entertainment at 11:20 a.m. MDT

  • PARTISAN AUDITS-NEW MEXICO

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A Republican-led county commission in southern New Mexico is seeking to change the way ballots are collected and counted in the run-up to the November mid-term election. The commission voted unanimously Thursday to recount ballots from this week's statewide primary election by hand, remove state-mandated ballot drop boxes that facilitate absentee voting and discontinue the use of vote tabulation machines in the general election. The initiatives were proposed by commissioner and Cowboys for Trump cofounder Couy Griffin. He ascribes to unsubstantiated theories that the former president won the 2020 election.

  • BC-NM-WATER COMPANY-DISCHARGE FINE

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The New Mexico Environment Department has fined El Paso Water $1.2 million for allegedly discharging more than 1 billion gallons of raw sewage into the Rio Grande in Sunland Park. The state compliance orders issued Thursday also require El Paso Water to fix the problems that caused the illegal diversion and clean up the impacted areas. Authorities say El Paso Water illegally discharged up to 10 million gallons of raw wastewater daily into the river just upstream of the Courchesne Bridge since last August. They say sewage traveled downstream along the New Mexico-Texas border for nearly 2 miles and the illegal discharge didn't stop until January.

  • ALBUQUERQUE MAYOR-COVID

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller has tested positive for COVID-19 and has canceled his attendance at upcoming events. Keller's office said Thursday that he is experiencing typical symptoms. He had planned to attend weekend events in Albuquerque, including a Pride festival and Summerfest. His office says he also planned to visit Saturday with President Joe Biden who is scheduled to make a quick stop in New Mexico to be briefed on wildfires and recovery efforts. Keller's office says he's looking forward to returning to in-person duties once it's safe. Coronavirus cases are on the rise again in New Mexico, but health officials say infections are becoming more mild.

  • BC-NM-HUMAN REMAINS IDENTIFIED

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Authorities say human remains found last month in Sandoval County has been identified as those of a 20-year-old woman reported as an endangered missing person in April. Bernalillo County Sheriff's officials say the Office of The Medical Investigator identified the remains as 20-year-old Yasmin Marquez, who was reported missing on April 15. There was no immediate word on a possible cause of death and it was unclear why Marquez was considered to be in danger. Sheriff's officials say her remains were located in an open field on May 26. They say homicide detectives, missing person unit detectives and crime scene investigators responded to the scene and began their investigation. Sheriff's officials say the investigation into Marquez's death is ongoing.

  • ELECTION 2022-NEW MEXICO-GOVERNOR

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Republicans have picked a seasoned TV broadcaster to take on New Mexico's incumbent Democratic governor. Mark Ronchetti won the Republican primary for governor on Tuesday in a five-way race to challenge incumbent Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham. Ronchetti's campaign has emphasized concerns about crime, security along the U.S. border with Mexico, high rates of unemployment and underperforming schools. The November election for New Mexico governor will be a test of Democratic resolve in an oil-producing region with a strong culture of gun ownership and evolving opinions on abortion access. Albuquerque-based District Attorney Raúl Torrez won the Democratic nomination for attorney general. He'll compete against Republican Jeremy Michael Gay.

  • ELECTION 2022-NEW MEXICO ATTORNEY GENERAL

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Raúl Torrez has won the Democratic primary for attorney general in New Mexico to challenge Republican attorney and U.S. Marine veteran Jeremy Michael Gay of Gallup. The Albuquerque-based district attorney defeated State Auditor Brian Colón to vie for the state's top law enforcement post as Attorney General Hector Balderas terms out of office. Torrez has portrayed himself as a seasoned courtroom attorney and prosecutor of crime and corruption. He has pledged to expand the state's capacity and expertise to handle consumer-rights litigation and prevail in a prolonged legal battle with Texas over management of Rio Grande waters amid a decades long drought.

  • SOUTHWEST HEAT

Scorching temperatures are in store for the southwestern U.S. over the next several days. Cities like Phoenix, Las Vegas and Palm Springs in California are expected to top 110 degrees. Heat is part of the normal routine of summertime in the desert, but weather forecasters say that doesn't mean people should feel at ease. Excessive heat causes more deaths in the U.S. than other weather-related disasters, including hurricanes, floods and tornadoes combined. Officials are advising people to limit time outdoors, drink plenty of water and seek shade if they must be outside.

  • VIRUS OUTBREAK-NEW MEXICO

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico's top health officials say COVID-19 cases are on the rise again but public health mandates are not likely to be imposed going forward. State Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. David Scrase said Wednesday that the pandemic is very different than it was just six months ago and that more tools and treatments are now available to handle infections. Despite New Mexico's uptick in confirmed cases, the state reported that fewer people are becoming severely ill or dying. Health officials acknowledged difficulty in gathering data because many positive tests done at home go unreported.