- PRETRIAL DETENTION-NEW MEXICO
SANT FE, N.M. (AP) — A clash over New Mexico's no-money pretrial detention system has reached the state Supreme Court. Prosecutors say community safety is being compromised in the release of an 18-year-old ahead of his trial who authorities accuse of a string of residential burglaries beginning in July 2020. Some allegedly involved stolen cars and juvenile accomplices. Arguments by video conference between prosecutors and the state Law Offices of the Public Defender are scheduled for Friday morning. The case against releasing Jesse Mascareno-Haidle is the latest challenge by law enforcement to New Mexico's no-money bail system. It was initiated by statewide vote in 2016.
- CHILD WELFARE-TRANSPARENCY
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department has stopped using a secure messaging app. That's in response to concerns that material might not be preserved for investigations and for disclosure under the state's public records law. The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that Cabinet Secretary Brian Blalock said Thursday the department stopped using the Signal app in late April. Blacklock said CYFD started using Signal early in the pandemic after officials realized they lacked a safe and secure platform for working remotely. Blaclock said CYFD has preserved the records as required but dropped use of Signal to avoid weakening the public's trust in the agency.
- PRESERVATION-FRONTIER TOWN
LINCOLN, N.M. (AP) — A major preservation project is underway in southern New Mexico. The state Department of Cultural Affairs says the work is focusing on an area that was once the stomping grounds of Billy the Kid and Sheriff Pat Garrett. The Lincoln Historic Site is home to some of the most significant Territorial Period structures in the state, many of which are under the protection of New Mexico Historic Sites. One of the six buildings included in the project is the Lincoln County Courthouse, best known as the location of Billy the Kid's final escape in April 1881. The total cost for the work is $395,000.
- XCEL ENERGY-SOLAR OPTION
ROSWELL, N.M. (AP) — Xcel Energy says customers in New Mexico now have the option to purchase electricity from a new solar power plant near Clovis. A typical residential customer would pay about $10.80 a month more to participate in the utility's solar program. The charge includes the cost of the energy delivered from the solar facility, the cost to integrate that energy into the grid and the cost to market and administer the program. Customers also would get a credit for the avoided energy costs from using traditional fossil fuels. Xcel has a goal to serve customers with 100% carbon-free electricity by 2050.
- VIRUS OUTBREAK-NAVAJO NATION
WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. (AP) — The Navajo Nation on Thursday reported 13 new confirmed COVID-19 cases, but no deaths for the fourth time in the last five days. Tribal health officials say the total number of cases since the pandemic began more than a year ago now is 30,565 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.
- DRY NEW MEXICO
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico's reservoirs are shrinking because of a persistent drought, and that has forced the State Parks Division to close boat ramps throughout the state. Officials said Thursday water levels at many state park lakes are extremely low and ramp closures are in place to address public safety concerns and to prevent property damage during the launching and loading of boats. People are still allowed to hand launch paddle craft or small vessels from the shorelines. The latest drought map shows much of the southwestern U.S. mired by the worst categories of drought, including Mew Mexico.
- MIDDLE SCHOOL EVACUATED
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Police in Albuquerque say a report that a student was seen entering a middle school with a gun has proved to be inaccurate. The Tony Hillerman Middle School was evacuated classroom by classroom Thursday morning while police canvassed the campus. Police say no weapon was found and it's been determined that a gun was not brought to school. According to police, three students were speaking in a courtyard when one student pointed a cell phone at the others as though he was holding a gun. A teacher reportedly saw the encounter and believed she saw the student holding a gun. The school went on lockdown and police from several agencies responded.
- OIL AND GAS-OZONE POLLUTION
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Oilfield equipment that emits smog-causing pollution would be targeted by New Mexico environmental regulators under a new proposed rule. The state Environment Department released the proposal Thursday, marking the next step in a process that started nearly two years ago to curb emissions across the oil and natural gas sector. State oil and gas regulators adopted separate rules earlier this year to limit venting and flaring as a way to reduce methane pollution. New Mexico Environment Secretary James Kenney touted the rules as the most comprehensive in the U.S. New Mexico is home to part of the Permian Basin — one of the world's most productive oilfields.