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

Oct 2, 2019

New Mexico reports season’s first confirmed flu casesSANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Health officials have confirmed the first flu cases of the season in New Mexico.The state health department reports all five cases involve adults: three cases in Sandoval County, one in Santa Fe County and one in Bernalillo County in which a 90-year-old patient died.State Health Secretary Kathy Kunkel says flu can be fatal if left untreated or if a person has a weakened immune system. She’s encouraging people to get vaccinated.Near the end of last season, state officials had said flu activity in New Mexico was higher than the national average and that the rate of hospital admissions among children 4 and younger was particularly high.Officials say young children and older adults are the most vulnerable.The flu season typically runs through the end of April.


New Mexico man accused of biting police dog after ax attackRIO RANCHO, N.M. (AP) — A New Mexico man is facing charges after authorities say he bit a police dog following an alleged ax attack.The Albuquerque Journal reports Chris Gavaldon was arrested last week after Rio Rancho police were called to a mobile home over reports of a fight between a man and a woman.Rio Rancho Police Capt. Andrew Rodriguez says Gavaldon used an ax to batter the woman, causing “significant injury” to her hand.Rodriguez says police sent in their canine Diesel after Gavaldon barricaded himself inside his home. That’s when police say Gavaldon bit the dog.Rodriguez says the bite didn’t break Diesel’s skin but the canine was placed on antibiotics.Gavaldon is charged with aggravated battery with a deadly weapon. It was unclear if he had an attorney.


Virgin Galactic says it’ll fly Italian air force researchersLOS ANGELES (AP) — Virgin Galactic says it has been contracted by the Italian air force for a suborbital research flight aboard its winged rocket ship.The company announced Wednesday that the mission will be flown as early as next year, carrying three Italian specialists who will tend to the experiments while the craft is in space.Virgin Galactic is best known for its plans to carry tourists into the lower fringes of space to experience weightlessness and view the Earth far below.But its spaceships also are designed to carry experiments that require several minutes of microgravity.Virgin Galactic crews have reached space on test flights over California, and the company recently moved staff to Spaceport America in New Mexico to begin commercial launches.


Officials mum after months without Hispanic center leaderALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Months after incoming New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham asked the widely popular leader of the National Hispanic Cultural Center to resign, the search for her replacement continues.And officials are remaining mum on the process.The Albuquerque Journal reports Secretary of Cultural Affairs Debra Garcia y Griego is refusing to give details on whether the three announced finalists are still in the running. The chair of the center's search committee also isn't talking.The uncertainty comes nine months after Rebecca Avitia and other agency leaders were asked to resign. Avitia declined to reapply for the position and was not chosen for another job in the administration.Avitia was widely credited for turning the center around following years of turmoil and high staff turnover.


City: New Mexico house stunk up town, costing thousands(Information from: Hobbs News-Sun, http://www.hobbsnews.com)EUNICE, N.M. (AP) — A house in southeastern New Mexico severely damaged by a sewer backup while vacant is continuing to leave a stench _ financially.The Hobbs News-Sun reports officials in Eunice, New Mexico, want to recoup the previous administration’s expenses on the feces-plagued house and are seeking repayment of more than $34,500 from the current homeowner.Records provided to the News-Sun show sewage from the city’s sewer system backed up sometime around June 2015 into the house. A recent widow who had moved to Roswell owned the uninsured house, so no one had entered it to discover the backup.Tree roots had plugged the sewer line and had not been removed by city workers before significant damage occurred.___


New Mexico streamlines requirements for state ID cardsSANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New application rules for driver's licenses are going into effect in New Mexico that relax identification requirements in some instances.Requirements were streamlined on Tuesday to receive a standard driver's license that will not be valid for boarding commercial airline flights starting in October 2020. The changes are an outgrowth of new legislation and a lawsuit alleging that previous requirements unfairly denied basic identification cards to immigrants, homeless people and others.The Taxation and Revenue Department says requirements are not changing for licenses that are compliant with federal Real ID standards.To receive a so-called standard license, applicants must provide one document that provides proof of identity and age, and two more that prove New Mexico residency. The standard license serves as personal identification at state agencies and private establishments.


New Mexico jury finds ex-deputy guilty of aggravated batteryALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A New Mexico jury has found a former sheriff's deputy accused of kicking a man in the head guilty of aggravated battery.Jurors returned the verdict Tuesday against David Priemazon after deliberating for six hours.Priemazon was a 15-year-veteran of the Bernalillo County Sheriff's Office when prosecutors say he kicked Christopher Lucero in March 2018 following a chase through Albuquerque's South Valley.Sam Bregman, an Albuquerque attorney who represented Priemazon, expressed disappointment over the verdict, saying he believed the jury "got it wrong."Bregman says he appreciates that his client received a fair trial.Priemazon faces up to three years in prison. He will be sentenced Dec. 3.


New Mexico Bowl lands new sponsor with film tiesALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The New Mexico Bowl has a new sponsor.DreamHouse has signed on for a multiyear sponsorship as part of an agreement with the bowl's owner, ESPN Events. The deal with the Albuquerque-based post production studio was announced Tuesday.Officials also unveiled a new logo for the annual post-season contest.This year's game will kick off the collegiate bowl season at noon on Dec. 21 in Albuquerque. The game will include teams from the Mountain West Conference and Conference USA.ESPN Events Vice President Clint Overby says his company will be working with DreamHouse to promote the bowl as well as grow the film industry within New Mexico.DreamHouse CEO Eric Martinez says the partnership will be a great way to kick-start the brand locally and nationally.