One of the largest coal-fired power plants in the U.S. West is winding down operations.The Navajo Generating Station near the Arizona-Utah border has been producing electricity since the 1970s. One unit already has shut down and the other two are scheduled to go offline by the end of the year.Others in the region are on track to shutter or reduce their output in the next few years.Those shifts are upending the livelihoods of people across the area. That includes hundreds of mostly Native American workers who mined coal from tribal land, loaded it from a roadside silo and helped produce electricity.The Navajo Nation and the Hopi Tribe now are hard-pressed to replace the losses, including money for student scholarships and coal as a heating source.
- JAIL ESCAPE-SENTENCING
CLOVIS, N.M. (AP) — A Clovis man who escaped from jail with a detention officer's help has been sentenced to 30 years in prison.The 9th Judicial District Attorney's Office says 26-year-old Ricky Sena was sentenced Wednesday on convictions for felony escape from jail and other crimes in his 2018 escape with two other inmates from the Curry County Detention Center.Detention Officer Sarina Dodson is serving a nine-year sentence after pleading guilty to assist escape from jail.Sena's sentence will run consecutively to an 11-year term for other convictions.Authorities said the inmates with Dodson's help were able to walk out an unlocked jail door.The escapees were taken into custody after being located four days later hiding in a Clovis residence, and the other two inmates also are now serving prison terms.
- SERIAL ROBBERY SUSPECT
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Albuquerque police say detectives have arrested a couple suspected in more than 20 robberies in recent weeks.Police say 31-year-old Mathis Laau and 20-year-old Jasmine Montoya were arrested Thursday on suspicion of multiple counts of crimes that include armed robbery and conspiracy.Laau and Montoya remained in jail Saturday and online court records don't list defense attorneys who could comment on their behalf about the allegations.
- NUCLEAR PLANT-FUTURE
PHOENIX (AP) — Managers of a three-reactor Arizona nuclear plant that went online in the 1980s are exploring whether production of hydrogen gas will be part of its future.The Arizona Republic reports that an idea being explored for the Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station is to use seasonally surplus electricity from the plant located in the desert west of Phoenix to separate water into oxygen and hydrogen gas.Uses for the gas could include powering fuel-cell cars and trucks and providing to nearby natural-gas plants that generate electricity.The contemplated production of hydrogen stems from increased availability of solar power, which means Palo Verde's electricity production isn't needed as much during mild spring and fall weather as during the summer when air conditioners run full throttle.
- STUDENT LITERACY GRANT
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico is getting a $40 million federal grant to improve student literacy.Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham's office announced the U.S. Department of Education's grant award, saying it will be paid out over five years.The announcement by Lujan Grisham's office says aid research clearly shows that a "high-quality, literacy-rich environment beginning in a child's early development" is a key factor in outcomes such as high school graduation, workforce readiness and success in higher education.
- STATE PATROL-SHOOTING
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Authorities say a New Mexico State Police officer shot and killed a 22-year-old man during a traffic stop after the driver attacked the officer with a knife.State police say the officer shot Benjamin Diaz on Friday morning west of Alamogordo. Police say Diaz had emerged from his vehicle with the knife before the officer opened fire.Police say the officer was treated at a hospital for stab wounds and released. Chief Tim Johnson did not provide details on the officer's injuries.Johnson says Diaz was pulled over after driving nearly twice the speed limit in a 60 mph zone.Diaz is from Las Cruces and died at El Paso University Medical Center.Police say they'll turn over their investigation to a prosecutor when it's completed.
- NEW MEXICO-GOVERNMENT SPENDING
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico likely isn't getting the best bang for its buck since it lacks the personnel and technology needed for its purchasing division to adequately track nearly $2 billion in government spending.Legislative analysts have found that some state agencies are unnecessarily buying high-end vehicles, computers, drones and other goods and are forgoing bulk purchasing and additional negotiations that would otherwise result in discounts.The findings were presented Thursday to a panel of state lawmakers.The report also points to instances in which some agencies are taking advantage of loose rules that have resulted in lucrative contracts with former staff and the hiring of high-priced consultants without seeking other options.Among the recommendations, the analysts say the state purchasing division should require its specialists to conduct analyses of all spending.