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

Nov 6, 2019

New Mexico's last dry countries vote to allow alcohol salesPORTALES, N.M. (AP) — Two of New Mexico's last dry countries have voted to allow the sale of alcohol.Unofficial results show residents in Roosevelt and Curry counties approved measures to allow the sale, service and consumption of alcohol in its unincorporated areas. Only residents in Roosevelt's Portales and Curry's Clovis — two of the region's largest cities — could legally buy alcohol until Tuesday's vote.Results show 53.5% of Roosevelt residents voted to approve the alcohol measure while Curry voters approved that county's proposal by 63%.Supporters of the measures said the counties were missing out on sponsorships from alcohol companies.


2 dead, 14 injured during Navajo ceremony in New Mexico(Information from: KOAT-TV, http://www.thenewmexicochannel.com/index.html)ALAMO, N.M. (AP) — Navajo authorities have confirmed two people died and 14 others were injured during a traditional religious ceremony.KOAT-TV reports Christina Tsosie with the Navajo Police Department says the 14 injured people were treated for smoke inhalation.Tsosie says the ceremony lasts throughout the night and involves an open fire pit burning inside a hogan, a traditional Navajo structure typically built out of logs and earth.Tsosie says Alamo first responders performed CPR on the two people, but attempts were unsuccessful. Their causes of death have not been determined.Police say the ceremony began Saturday in a hogan on the Alamo Navajo Reservation in Socorro County.Police say a woman reported finding an unresponsive man and woman Sunday on the floor inside the hogan.___


New program seeks to lure nurses in New Mexico rural areasALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Presbyterian Healthcare Services and the University of New Mexico are teaming to lure nurses into some of the state's most rural areas.The Albuquerque Journal reports the two health care organizations recently collaborated to land a $3.2 million grant to develop a residency program for nurse practitioners in 10 New Mexico cities and towns.The four-year grant from the national Health Resources and Services Administration will help nurses and midwives relocate and stay in remote areas.Officials say the program also will focus on mental health.Presbyterian Director of Clinical Education and Professional Development Johanna Stiesmeyer says New Mexico's rural counties have a wide nurse-to-resident ratio.The first group of nurses and midwives will be selected in the first half of 2020.


New Mexico pension reforms would increase contributionsSANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Legislators are holding their first open discussion of suggested pension reforms from the governor's office to address a roughly $6 billion unfunded liability at the New Mexico retirement plan for state and local government employees.The Legislature's pensions-oversight committee meets Wednesday to discuss ways to shore up the fund overseen by the Public Employees Retirement Association.A pension solvency task force appointed by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has suggested a combined 4% increase in pension contributions by the state and most employees. Annual cost of living adjustments on pension payouts would be linked to investment returns on pension assets.State Senator George Munoz, chairman of the pension oversight committee, said Tuesday that it will be hard to approve a pension reform bill during next year's rapid-fire, 30-day legislative session.


Police: Drunk woman dropped cig, crashed into parked cars(Information from: Las Vegas Optic, http://www.lasvegasoptic.com)LAS VEGAS, N.M. (AP) — A northern New Mexico woman is facing charges after police say she crashed into parked cars while driving drunk and searching for a dropped cigarette.The Las Vegas Optic reports Savana Romero was arrested last week following an accident in Las Vegas, New Mexico.According to police, officers found an abandoned Nissan that had rear-ended the parked car. Police say the force of the impact also pushed the parked car into another parked vehicle.The Nissan was registered to the 23-year-old Romero. She later told police she fled the scene because she had three beers before driving. Romero also told police she crashed after reaching down to retrieve a cigarette.She was charged with criminal damage to property over $1,000 and driving while impaired. It was not known if she had an attorney.___


New Mexico governor withholds 2020 endorsementSANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico's Democratic governor is staying out of the political fray as her party decides on a presidential candidate ahead of the 2020 election.Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham declined Tuesday to name a favored presidential candidate for the Democratic nomination. She pledged to "robustly" support the party's eventual nominee.On issues of taxation and health-care finance roiling the presidential primary race, Lujan Grisham says that she supports greater tax parity between the ultra-wealthy and middle class.The first-year governor and former congresswoman says she is more interested in prescription drug reform to lower consumer costs that a comprehensive health care overhaul. She says single-payer, universal health care is worthy of consideration.New Mexico holds its presidential primary on June 2. Hillary Clinton won New Mexico's Democratic primary in 2018.


Judge denies New Mexico GOP's request to halt absentee votesALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A state district judge has denied an emergency injunction filed by New Mexico Republicans to halt the counting of absentee ballots in a southern county.Third Judicial District Judge James Martin ruled Tuesday that the state Republican Party and Las Cruces mayoral candidate Mike Tellez failed to provide evidence the Doña Ana County Clerk was causing harm by the way it was tallying absentee ballots.GOP officials claimed the state Secretary of State and the Doña Ana County Clerk were ignoring a 2019 law over for absentee voting requirements. Republicans say the law calls for absentee voters to provide names, addressed, and years of birth.State Republican chairman Steve Pearce says the injunction decision didn't change the validity of a lawsuit seeking to clarify how New Mexico counts absentee ballots.


US victims in Mexico attack from Mormon offshoot communityMEXICO CITY (AP) — The nine women and children killed by cartel gunmen in northern Mexico lived in a farming community known as La Mora, where experts say residents identify as Mormons but consider themselves independent and separate from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.The community's roots lie in the church's banning of polygamy in the late 19th century, when families established colonies in remote northern Mexico to continue the practice.Cristina Rosetti is an expert in Mormon fundamentalist groups and said Tuesday that today some La Mora residents still practice polygamy while others do not. Residents believe in the main Mormonism tenants, but there is little organized religious practice.Gunmen killed three women and six children traveling in three vehicles from La Mora on Monday.The victims were U.S. citizens.