- FUNGUS-NEW MEXICO BATS
ROSWELL, N.M. (AP) — Federal land managers say a disease-causing fungus has been found on hibernating bats in two eastern New Mexico caves. The fungus that causes white-nose syndrome also was found on the walls of the caves during routine surveillance conducted last month in De Baca and Lincoln counties. The Bureau of Land Management says a team of biologists observed a white powdery growth consistent with the fungus on numerous bats. Laboratory testing confirmed their suspicions. White-nose syndrome has been confirmed in 36 states, including neighboring Texas and Oklahoma, and several Canadian provinces.
- VIRUS OUTBREAK-NEW MEXICO
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Top state health officials say New Mexico is on track to meet its goal of a 60% vaccination rate for people 16 and older by the end of June that would allow the economy to reopen fully. The statements Wednesday come amid new strategies aimed at breaking through hesitancy toward immunization. About 57% of eligible New Mexico residents have received at least a first vaccine shot. The University of New Mexico may require students and staff to be vaccinated for COVID-19 to return to campus in the fall.
- VIRUS OUTBREAK-NAVAJO NATION
WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. (AP) — The Navajo Nation on Wednesday reported seven new confirmed COVID-19 cases, but no deaths for the third time in the last four days. Tribal health officials said the total number of cases since the pandemic began more than a year ago now is 30,550 on the vast reservation that covers parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah. The known death toll remained at 1,282. Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez said more than half of the reservation's adult population has been vaccinated, but people still need to stay home as much as possible, wear masks and avoid large gatherings.
- MARIJUANA-NEW MEXICO
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico cannabis regulators says they will stop charging taxes on limited amounts of medical marijuana and begin revising tight caps on pot cultivation come June 29. That is the first deadline under a new law that legalizes recreational marijuana possession and, eventually, public sales. Two Cabinet secretaries made the announcement in a letter Wednesday to licensed medical marijuana business that have voiced concerns about a potential run on pot supplies and shortages. Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham enacted legislation last month that outlines the oversight, licensing and taxation of the recreational cannabis sector and sets an April 1, 2022, deadline for the first nonmedical marijuana sales.
- MEDICAL MARIJUANA-NEW MEXICO
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A judge has ruled that the New Mexico Department of Health overstepped intentions for a medical cannabis program by limiting who can get marijuana in the state. The Santa Fe New Mexican reported that the ruling by Judge Matthew Wilson on Monday came after a complaint was filed by New Mexico Top Organics-Ultra Health. It's the state's largest medical cannabis producer. The state statute allows people withauthorization in medical cannabis programs in other states the ability to buy medical marijuana in New Mexico. Ultra Health argued that more than 5,000 people mostly from out of state were wrongly denied access.
- INDIGENOUS-MISSING AND MURDERED
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Family members, advocates and government officials gathered across the U.S. on Wednesday to commemorate a day of awareness for the crises of violence against Indigenous women and children. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland attended an event in Washington. Female motorcyclists took to the streets in Phoenix. Family members and other gathered in Helena, Montana. And advocates used social media to raise their voices. As part of the Washington ceremony, a red memorial shawl with the names of missing and slain Indigenous women was draped across a long table to remember the lives behind what Haaland called alarming and unacceptable statistics. More names were added Wednesday.
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — Sixty years after Alan Shepard became the first American in space, everyday people are on the verge of following in his cosmic footsteps. Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin company used Wednesday's anniversary to kick off an auction for a seat on its first crew spaceflight in July. Elon Musk's SpaceX will use its newly returned capsule to launch a billionaire in September, along with a pair of contest winners and a hospital worker. Shepard rocketed from Cape Canaveral on May 5, 1961. To date, 579 people have flown in space. That number is expected to soar with upcoming tourist flights.
- VIRUS OUTBREAK-NAVAJO NATION
WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. (AP) — The Navajo Nation on Tuesday reported 12 new confirmed COVID-19 cases and one additional death. Tribal health officials say the total number of cases since the pandemic began more than a year ago now is 30,543 on the vast reservation that covers parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah with 1,282 known deaths. Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez said more than half of the reservation's adult population has been vaccinated, but people still need to stay home as much as possible, wear masks and avoid large gatherings.