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

Nov 27, 2019

Former school basketball coach pleads guilty to sex chargesLAS VEGAS, N.M. (AP) — A former high school assistant basketball coach in New Mexico has pleaded guilty to multiple felony sex charges against two female students at Pecos High School.Authorities say 30-year-old Dominick Baca was charged with criminal sexual penetration and criminal sexual contact of a minor.The students told investigators Baca had sex with them in 2017 and 2018 when they were age 14 and 17.Court officials say sentencing is scheduled for January after a psychological examination.Officials say Baca would be required to register as a sex offender and faces up to three years in prison and up to 20 years of probation.The New Mexico Public Schools Insurance Authority agreed to pay the older of the two girls $290,000 to reach a settlement with Pecos Independent School District.


New Mexico to invest more in local businesses, startupsALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico will be investing more money in state-based businesses and startup companies as it attempts to spur development and diversify the economy.The State Investment Council voted Tuesday to adopt recommendations that will target a greater number of commitments to New Mexico and nationally-based venture capital firms actively investing in the state.Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham is the council's chair. She says by targeting investments in New Mexico's own backyard, the state can achieve positive financial returns while creating jobs and new industries.The council previously funneled only 5% of the state's $5.5 billion severance tax permanent fund to local investments due to historically lower returns and higher risks.The decision to increase that to 9% — the most allowed under state law — comes after months of analysis.


New Mexico braces for more wind, wintery weatherALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Road crews are preparing for wintery conditions that will move across New Mexico over the next couple of days.Forecasters with the National Weather Service in Albuquerque say precipitation will increase across the state Wednesday into Thursday with some parts seeing rain, snow, sleet and freezing rain.East central to southeastern areas will likely see a mix of precipitation, leading to slick and treacherous travel conditions.Gusty winds were reported around the state Tuesday.In New Mexico's most populated area, Bernalillo County officials say road crews will be on-call during the Thanksgiving holiday. Officials also are urging residents to prepare for the inclement weather.The state's largest electric provider, PNM, is encouraging people to put together emergency kits with snow removal tools, coats, hats, gloves and blankets.


2 senators back revoking Wounded Knee medals for US soldiersFARGO, N.D. (AP) — Two Democratic senators plan to introduce a companion bill to a U.S. House measure to revoke Medals of Honor for soldiers who participated in the 1890 Wounded Knee massacre on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota.Medals of Honor were given to 20 soldiers for participating in the massacre that killed an estimated 250 Native Americans, many of whom were women and children.Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Jeff Merkley of Oregon announced Wednesday they will sponsor the Remove the Stain Act. It was first introduced in the House by Democrats Denny Heck of Washington and Deb Haaland of New Mexico and Republican Paul Cook of California.Republican Sen. Mike Rounds of South Dakota has said he does not support the effort because "we're now guessing" about the roles of individual soldiers.


Albuquerque Fire Rescue: 2 dead after house fireALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Authorities say two people are dead following a house fire in southwest Albuquerque late Tuesday night.A third person was taken to a hospital. That person's condition wasn't released and no identities were released.Albuquerque Fire Rescue say crews responding to a report of a fire in the residence with victims trapped inside found smoke and flames when they arrived.Cause of the fire is under investigation.


Albuquerque zoo welcomes baby ocelotsALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Albuquerque's zoo is celebrating the births of two ocelots.Officials at the ABQ BioPark announced Tuesday that the kittens were born in October.Mammal Curator Erin Flynn says the births mark an important milestone for the zoo. She says it's a big deal for a first-time mom to have two kittens and be taking such good care of them.Officials say ocelots are notoriously difficult to get pregnant.In 2017, staff artificially inseminated the mother, named Lucy, under the direction of the Association of Zoos and Aquarium's species survival plan. Although Lucy didn't become pregnant at that time, the process made her more receptive to breeding.Officials say Lucy had not shown any signs of being pregnant such as weight gain or behavioral changes, so the babies were a surprise.


Permits on sale to harvest Christmas trees on federal landALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Christmas tree permits are now available at Bureau of Land Management offices around New Mexico.Federal land managers say the $5 permits will be sold in Albuquerque, Socorro, Taos, Farmington and Santa Fe through Dec. 24.For the Rio Puerco and Taos areas, Christmas tree harvesters are able to purchase a permit online.Only piñon and juniper trees are available for harvest as Christmas trees on BLM lands.When transporting a tree taken from BLM public land, officials say the permit must be attached to the tree.


New Mexico's homeland security secretary steps downSANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico Homeland Security and Emergency Management Secretary Jackie Lindsey has resigned, effective immediately.Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham's office announced Lindsey's resignation Tuesday, saying she informed the governor that she wanted to focus on her family and health.Lindsey said she made the decision after careful consideration and that she was honored to have served New Mexicans over the last year.The governor's office says Deputy Secretary Kelly Hamilton will serve as acting secretary to ensure that operations continue as normal as the state braces for wintery weather.A search will begin immediately to fill the role permanently.Lindsey has served as secretary since Lujan Grisham took office at the start of the year. She previously worked as a captain with Albuquerque Fire Rescue, overseeing security and emergency management for that department.