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

May 14, 2021

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico is now administering the Pfizer vaccine for COVID-19 to children ages 12 to 15. The move follow authorizations this week by the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The New Mexico Department of Health is encouraging families to register children on the state's vaccine website. The expanded availability applies only to the Pfizer vaccine, which until now was only available to people ages 16 and older. The Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are authorized for people 18 and older. State officials say more than 50% of eligible residents are now fully vaccinated.


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico State Auditor Brian Colón has announced his candidacy for the office of state attorney general. The Democrat wants to follow in the footsteps of friend Hector Balderas, who is wrapping up his second term as New Mexico's top prosecutor and consumer advocate. They worked at the same law firm. Colón became the first person Thursday to enter the race for the open seat. Colón said he sees this as an opportunity to "take the next step." He said he is motivated by growing up poor in New Mexico and a desire to serve his community and protect families. Public safety is among his priorities.


ROSWELL, N.M. (AP) — The trial of a man accused of murdering his wife and four daughters in 2016 has begun in Roswell, New Mexico. Juan David Villegas-Hernandez faces five counts of first degree murder in the shooting deaths of his wife, Cynthia Villegas, and four daughters Yamilen, Cynthia, Abby and Ida. They were found with gunshot wounds to the head inside their home in July 2016. The prosecution at the trial Tuesday said that Villegaz-Hernandez killed his wife and children after learning that she wanted to divorce him. Villegas-Hernandez's attorney called the crime horrific and heartbreaking, but he argued his client had no motive and prosecutors don't have the evidence to implicate him.


WASHINGTON (AP) — Republicans have vaulted Rep. Elise Stefanik into the ranks of House leadership. The upstate New York Republican was elected to the party's No. 3 post on Friday. She's an ardent defender of former President Donald Trump. The party hopes Stefanik will help them calm their searing civil war over the deposed Rep. Liz Cheney and her unremitting combat with the former president,  who remains potent within the GOP. Stefanik is a moderate turned Trump loyalist and advocate of many of his false claims about election fraud. She is taking the leadership job that Cheney had held for over two years. 


President Joe Biden is scheduled to meet Friday with six immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children who benefited from an Obama-era policy that protected them from deportation. The Oval Office meeting comes as Biden looks to press Congress to pass legislation codifying the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that then-President Barack Obama instituted by executive action in 2012. President Donald Trump tried to phase out DACA during his administration, but the Supreme Court ruled he didn't properly end the program. The DACA recipients Biden is scheduled to meet with include teachers, a medical resident and a nursing home aide.


BOSTON (AP) — A year after the pandemic canceled most proms, school districts around the country are considering whether they can once again hold the formal dance for seniors. Striking a balance between safety and fun, districts are requiring masks and booking outdoor venues like baseball stadiums or setting up tents. Some are requiring a negative test while others are encouraging attendees to get vaccinated. Still, there are plenty of districts that concluded proms remain too risky. School districts in Miami and El Paso cancelled their proms. In response, some parents and students are forging ahead anyways and organizing their own dances.


Illegal drag racing has exploded in popularity across the U.S. since the coronavirus pandemic began, with sometimes deadly consequences. Officials have reported a dangerous uptick from Oregon and New Mexico to Georgia and New York. Experts say TV shows and movies glorifying street racing had already fueled interest in recent years. Then shutdowns associated with the pandemic cleared normally clogged highways and gave those with a passion for fast cars more time to modify them and show them off. Police in many cities are now stepping up enforcement. And some states are fighting back with harsher punishments.


LA JOYA, Texas (AP) — While asylum-seeking families and children dominate public attention, single adults represent a growing number of encounters with U.S. border agents. They made up nearly two of every three Border Patrol encounters in April. They are less likely to surrender to authorities than families and children, making them less visible. Single adults drove border encounters to the highest level in more than 20 years. But the figures aren't directly comparable because so many are quickly expelled from the country under federal pandemic-related powers. April was also the second-busiest month on record for unaccompanied children encountered at the border, following March's all-time high.