- VIRUS OUTBREAK-NEW MEXICO
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico health officials reported 218 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday and seven additional deaths. The state's has reported a total of 192,152 known COVID-19 cases and 3,949 related deaths since the pandemic began. Bernalillo County, the state's largest that includes metro Albuquerque, had 70 of the new cases Friday—more than any other county. Doña Ana County reported 29 new cases and Sandoval County reported 22 new cases. The number of infections is thought to be far higher than reported because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick.
- DRY SOUTHWEST
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — As several states in the American West face intense drought, water managers say it's shaping up to be a very difficult year for New Mexico farmers because of limited irrigation supplies. Officials with major irrigation districts along the Rio Grande say snowpack and precipitation are below average, spring runoff is trailing and there's no extra water in the state's reservoirs. It's no different elsewhere in the West. The district that provides water to Indigenous communities and farmers on part of the Rio Grande says it hasn't been in a position like this since the 1950s. In southern New Mexico, growers are being told to prepare for a short irrigation season.
- VIRUS OUTBREAK-NAVAJO NATION
WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. (AP) — The Navajo Nation on Friday reported 17 new COVID-19 cases and one additional death related to the disease. The Navajo Department of Health said that since the pandemic began, there have been 30,132 cases and 1,253 known deaths. The number of infections is thought to be far higher than reported because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick. The Navajo Nation covers parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah. Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez urged people who plan to celebrate Easter over the weekend to do so only with those in their immediate household.
- MINNOW-GILA RIVER
TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — A federal judge has ordered the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to consider anew whether a type of minnow that lives in the lower Colorado River's watershed should receive federal protection under the Endangered Species Act. District Court Judge Jennifer Zipps' ruling Wednesday overturned the agency's 2017 withdrawal of a proposed 2015 rule to designate the lower Colorado River basin roundtail chub as a threatened species. The minnow is found in Arizona and a small part of New Mexico in drainage basins of the Bill Williams, Gila, Little Colorado, Salt and Verde rivers. The Center for Biological Diversity had sued to challenge the 2017 withdrawal.
- DEAD HORSES
CLOUDCROFT, N.M. (AP) — An animal advocacy group is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of those responsible for the deaths of five horses found in southern New Mexico. Animal Protection New Mexico announced Friday that the horses appeared to be shot and their bodies left in March in and around the mountainous community of Cloudcroft. The New Mexico Livestock Board responded after getting reports about the dead animals and continues to investigate. Officer Skylar Davis is asking the public to contact the agency right away if they find any more dead horses in the area.
- IMMIGRATION-TODDLER DROP-SNAPSHOT
PHOENIX (AP) — A short, grainy video recently released by U.S. authorities captures the dangers for migrant children at the southern border. In it, a man straddles a 14-foot barrier near Santa Teresa, New Mexico. He dangles one toddler before letting her drop, then does the same to a second, slightly larger child. Then the smuggler and another man run off into the desert. Border authorities say the children are sisters, ages 3 and 5, and from Ecuador. They were found alert, taken to a hospital and cleared of any physical injuries. Thousands of children have come to the U.S. border in recent months. In February it was the largest number in nearly two years.
- VIRUS OUTBREAK-NAVAJO NATION
WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. (AP) — The Navajo Nation on Thursday reported five new COVID-19 cases and five deaths. The tribe had reported no deaths in three of the previous four days and six of the last 11 days overall. Tribal health officials said the latest figures bring the total number of cases since the pandemic started to 30,108 with the known death toll at 1,252. The number of infections is thought to be far higher than reported because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick. The Navajo Nation covers parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah.
- ROSWELL ALIEN EVENTS-CONFUSION
ROSWELL, N.M. (AP) — Tourism officials in New Mexico have raised concerns about people confusing a UFO Festival with downtown alien-related events because of similar domain names searched online. The Roswell Daily Record reported that the Roswell UFO Festival will get a marketing boost from a state pilot program intended to help cultural events recover from the pandemic. However, the state expressed concerns about the messaging since Roswell is also hosting its Alien Fest. City Manager Joe Neeb said the confusion is caused in part by online search results for the UFO Festival that frequently yield a website for Mainstreet Roswell's Alien Fest.