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Former Navajo Nation vice chairman Edward T Begay dies at 87

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.

Man who carried Confederate flag into Capitol heads to trial

A federal trial is scheduled to start on Monday for a father and son from Delaware charged with storming the U.S. Capitol together. The father was photographed carrying a Confederate battle flag. U.S. District Judge Trevor McFadden will hear testimony without a jury for the trial of Kevin Seefried and his son, Hunter. 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. He has acquitted one Capitol riot defendant of all charges and partially acquitted another after separate bench trials earlier this year.

Most Hispanic US state weighs benefits of language programs

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.

Phoenix, Vegas, Denver post records amid Southwest heat wave

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.

State to help with $150,000 funding to boost Ruidoso tourism

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.

Biden ramps up federal help for New Mexico wildfire fight

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.

Five killed in California Marine aircraft crash identified

MARINE CORPS AIR STATION MIRAMAR, Calif. (AP) — The U.S. Marine Corps has identified five people who died when their Osprey tiltrotor aircraft crashed during training in the California desert. The pilots were identified Friday as captains Nicholas Losapio of New Hampshire and John Sax of California. Also killed were three tiltrotor crew chiefs: Cpl. Nathan Carlson of Illinois; Cpl. Seth Rasmuson of Wyoming and Lance Cpl. Evan Strickland of New Mexico. The MV-22 Osprey went down Wednesday afternoon during training in a remote area in Imperial County. The cause of the crash is under investigation.

Rare wetland plant found in Arizona now listed as endangered

A rare plant that depends on wetlands for survival is now on the federal endangered species list. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service published a decision Friday to list the Arizona eryngo as endangered. The agency also set aside about 13 acres in southern Arizona as critical habitat. The decision comes years after environmentalists petitioned and then sued to gain protection for the plant with cream-colored spherical flower heads. Environmentalists say they decision will boost efforts to protect the San Pedro River, which is the last free-flowing river in Arizona. The wetland plant depends on springs from deep aquifers that nourish the river and is threatened by over-pumping of groundwater.