Latest New Mexico news, sports, business and entertainment at 11:20 a.m. MDT
- BC-NM-OBIT-FORMER NAVAJO NATION OFFICIAL EDWARD BEGAY
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Edward T. Begay, who was vice chairman of the Navajo Nation in the 1980s, died Sunday, according to his family. He was 87. No cause of death was given by Begay's family, but they say he died in Albuquerque surrounded by family members. Begay was head of the legislative branch during some key moments in tribal government. He also presided over the Navajo Nation Council when the tribe incorporated traditional, natural and customary laws into its government system. Begay, who grew up in New Mexico, Begay represented the Churchrock and Breadsprings Chapters on the tribal council from 1971-83. As vice chairman from 1983-87, Begay worked closely with the council to renegotiate mineral, coal, oil, and gas leases with major energy companies.
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The most heavily Hispanic state in the U.S. has added to the number of dual language programs for public school students since the start of the pandemic. With New Mexico students having significant access to Spanish and English education programs, it will be up to state lawmakers to address the challenges of boosting participation. Legislative analysts are expected this month to release a report on the programs. Bilingual and multicultural programs are seen as a way for students to have academics tailored to their needs and to maintain their cultures. Despite recent gains, such programs in the state aren't being used by many of the students who most need them.
- SOUTHWEST HEAT
Phoenix, Las Vegas, Denver and California's Death Valley have all posted record temperatures as dangerous heat sweeps over the American Southwest. The National Weather Service in Phoenix reported a temperature of 114 degrees Fahrenheit on Saturday, tying the record high for the date set back in 1918. Las Vegas tied a record for the day set in 1956, with temperatures soaring to 109 F. In Colorado, Denver hit 100 F (38 C), tying a record set in 2013 for both the high temperature and the earliest calendar day to reach 100 F. Excessive heat warnings and heat advisories were also issued for parts of Northern California through the Central Valley and down to the southeastern deserts.
- RUIDOSO-TOURISM FUNDING
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — More than two months after being impacted by a huge wildfire, the Village of Ruidoso is looking to make a tourism comeback. The Albuquerque Journal reported Friday that Ruidoso and the state Tourism Department are jointly earmarking $150,000 to help lure visitors to the southern New Mexico community. Ruidoso is still recovering from the so-called McBride Fire that destroyed more than 200 homes and killed two people in April. The blaze became fully contained a month ago. The funding will focus on tourists in west Texas, a source of the most travelers to Ruidoso. Town officials say there is still a lot of scenery to enjoy.
- CAPITOL RIOT-BENCH TRIAL
A federal trial has started for a father and son from Delaware charged with storming the U.S. Capitol together. The father was photographed carrying a Confederate battle flag. During the trial's opening statements Monday, defense attorneys said Kevin Seefried and his son, Hunter, never intended to interfere with the Electoral College vote count at the Capitol. U.S. District Judge Trevor McFadden is hearing testimony without a jury. The Seefrieds waived their right to a jury trial, which means McFadden will decide their cases. The judge has criticized prosecutors' handling of Capitol riot cases. The charges against both Seefrieds include a felony count of obstruction of an official proceeding.
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — President Joe Biden says he is escalating federal assistance for New Mexico as it faces its largest wildfire in recorded state history. The fire began with prescribed burns that were set by the U.S. Forest Service to clear out combustible underbrush. But the burns spread out of control, destroying hundreds of homes across 500 square miles since early April. Biden visited an emergency operations center in Santa Fe on Saturday and met with local, state and federal officials. He was returning to Washington from Los Angeles, where he had attended the Summit of the Americas.