Latest New Mexico news, sports, business and entertainment at 1:20 a.m. MDT
NEW MEXICO ELECTION-DOMINION
Building anger in rural New Mexico erupts in election crisis
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Behind the raw public frustration and anger over election security that has played out this week in New Mexico was a hint of something deeper — a growing divide between the state's Democratic power structure and conservative rural residents who feel their way of life is under attack. In the state's vast, rural stretches, frustration over voting and political representation has been building for years. Residents have felt marginalized and overrun by government decisions that have placed limits on their livelihoods. Tensions have been mounting for years as Democrats in New Mexico have consolidated control over every statewide office and the Supreme Court.
Screams, threats as New Mexico counties certify vote
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Commissioners in all New Mexico counties have certified the results from their primary election, after one county had sparked a standoff over election integrity that was fueled by conspiracy theories about the security of voting equipment. Otero County commissioners opted 2-1 on Friday to certify the results during an emergency meeting as New Mexico counties faced a deadline for certification of the vote. The commissioners earlier had refused to certify the results, prompting the state's top election official to seek court intervention. The developments in New Mexico can be traced to far-right conspiracy theories over voting machines that have spread across the country over the past two years.
Official in election standoff avoids prison in Capitol riot
WASHINGTON (AP) — An elected official who was a central figure in a New Mexico county's refusal to certify recent election results based on debunked conspiracy theories about voting machines has avoided more jail time for joining the mob that attacked the U.S. Capitol. Couy Griffin was sentenced Friday to 14 days behind bars, which he has already served. The founder of the political group Cowboys for Trump, who is a member of a county commission in a remote part of New Mexico, entered a restricted area outside the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, but didn't go into the building itself.
US adds $103M for wildfire hazards and land rehabilitation
BOISE, Idaho (AP) — The U.S. is adding $103 million this year for wildfire risk reduction and burned-area rehabilitation throughout the country as well as establishing an interagency wildland firefighter well-being program. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland made the announcement Friday while touring the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho. About $80 million will be used to speed up work removing potential wildfire hazards on more than 3,000 square miles of Interior Department lands. The firefighter well-being program that includes the Forest Service will address mental health needs of seasonal and year-round wildland firefighters. More than 30,000 wildfires have scorched 4,600 square miles this year, well above the 10-year average.
DEPUTIES-FATAL SHOOTING PROBE
AG to probe of Chaves County fatal deputy-involved shooting
CHAVES COUNTY, N.M. (AP) — The New Mexico Attorney General's office is taking over the investigation into the shooting death of a suspect by Chaves County deputies. Attorney General Hector Balderas said in a statement Friday that District Attorney Dianna Luce asked for the review because of a conflict of interest in her office. Deputies were called to a dairy in southern Chaves County on March 22 about a man behaving erratically. The two deputies tried subduing 34-year-old David Aguilera with a taser several times. Police body camera footage shows Aguilera in the driver's seat of a police vehicle. A deputy opens fire on him after he refuses to get out of the car.
MINE SPILL-NEW MEXICO
New Mexico reaches $32M settlement over 2015 mine spill
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico and the U.S. government have reached a $32 million settlement to address claims stemming from a 2015 mine spill that polluted rivers in three western states. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and other state officials announced the agreement Thursday. The spill released 3 million gallons of wastewater from the inactive Gold King Mine in southwestern Colorado. The bright-yellow plume of arsenic, lead and other heavy metals flowed south to New Mexico, the Navajo Nation and Utah. Water utilities were forced to shut down intake valves and farmers stopped drawing from the rivers as the plume moved downstream. Colorado and the tribe also have reached multimillion-dollar settlements.
Warm, dry, breezy weather to challenge fire crews in Arizona
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — Crews battling a pair of wildfires in northern Arizona were expecting some growth Thursday because of warm, dry and breezy weather. Both blazes were moving through grass, brush and pine trees on the northern outskirts of Flagstaff. The larger fire has burned more than 38 square miles and was 27% contained Thursday. A smaller fire is burning in the same region. The forecast calls for chances of showers and thunderstorms starting Friday and through the weekend, which could help suppress the wildfires. Flooding and dry lightning are also concerns. The largest wildfire in the U.S. is burning in northern New Mexico.
Summer rainy season sets up across Four Corners region
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — As the summer rainy season known simply as the monsoon started Wednesday, concerns grew for neighborhoods below mountains that have burned repeatedly in northern Arizona. The monsoon runs through September. It can bring relief to scorching desert cities but also carries the threat of flooding. The outlook this year calls for equal chances of below, above and normal precipitation in the Four Corners region. Climatologists say that could change when a new seasonal outlook is released Thursday. Already, conditions are setting up for moisture to move into northern Arizona later this week, which could help firefighters battling two blazes on the outskirts of Flagstaff.