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

Mar 25, 2020

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Health officials are confirming New Mexico's first death related to the coronavirus in a patient who died earlier in the week and later tested positive for the virus. Health officials say the man in his late 70s was hospitalized in Artesia on Sunday and died the same day. The state Health Department said Wednesday that he had multiple underlying conditions. Confirmed infections have climbed past 100 with schools shut down and a stay-at-home order in effect. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham says the death marks a tragic day and urged residents to take precautions to limit the spread of the COVID-19 disease. 


SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The Santa Fe New Mexican has announced nearly a dozen layoffs, salary reductions and a shortened workweek amid an economic downturn caused by the spread of COVID-19. Publisher Tom Cross said Tuesday the moves are intended to keep the family-owned newspaper, its website and other operations as healthy as possible while the media outlet deals with a decline in advertisement. Under the plan, New Mexican managers will see reduced salaries and staff will have reductions in hours worked. The newspaper will publish seven days a week and will continue its commercial printing operations. The newspaper has been in business since 1849.


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico Rep. Patricia Roybal Caballero, who has been dogged by allegations that she doesn't live in the state, is facing criticism for promoting a Texas cafe during coronavirus restrictions. The Albuquerque Democrat recently plugged on her personal Facebook page the El Paso-based Desert Moon Cafe and its menu. She also has publicized the cafe's move to curbside delivery in the Texas city. 


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Another historic Route 66 motel in New Mexico is set to undergo a major renovation. The Albuquerque Journal reports the Monterey Motel in Albuquerque is being demolished and developer Chad Rennaker says the new motel will have more rooms and an additional building with hostel-like rooms. Rennaker says the Monterey Motel will be restored to resemble what it looked like when it was built in the 1930s. Rennaker expects the project to be completed by June, and guests will be able to start renting rooms in July. Many of the motels located on Route 66 in cities and towns across the country fell into disrepair after it was decommissioned as a U.S. highway in 1985.


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The University of New Mexico is postponing its spring commencement due to the coronavirus pandemic.  The university said President Garnett Stokes will seek student input as she considers when to reschedule the commencement that had been scheduled for May 16 and how it will be conducted. Stokes said the decision to postponement is regretable and that she knows its a memorable part of graduates' university experience.  The university is holding classes remotely and Stokes said the faculty is working on how grading will be conducted for the current term.


TAOS, N.M. (AP) — Volunteers and veterans are helping lead an effort to build a Veterans Memorial Park in Taos. The Albuquerque Journal reports the nonprofit group Not Forgotten Outreach Inc. is taking the lead in a coalition that plans to begin work this spring. Earlier this year, the nonprofit received a $23,000 grant from the Christopher & Dana Reeves Foundation. The grant will underwrite the construction of an Americans with Disabilities Act-accessible walking trail crossing over a spring-fed drainage waterway. Taos County, which includes the Taos Pueblo and Picuris Pueblo, has a population of more than 3,000 veterans.


LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — The family of a boy is suing a police officer who mistakenly fired his weapon inside a southern New Mexico middle school and nearly hit the student. The Las Cruces Sun-News reports the family recently filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court against officer Francisco Estrada and the Las Cruces Police Department. According to court documents, the bullet came within inches of striking a 13-year-old student. The lawsuit says the bullet came so close that the boy's hearing was damaged. Las Cruces police spokesman Dan Trujillo says Estrada is still with the department. He says police couldn't comment on pending litigation.