- VIRUS OUTBREAK-NEW MEXICO
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico hospitals face a capacity crunch because of the coronavirus outbreak, so the state on Friday opened an alternate care facility for COVID-19 patients in a renovated former hospital in Albuquerque. The state Department of Health said the Gibson Medical Center will serve adults who don't require acute care. The facility won't have an emergency hospital, intensive care unit or surgical suite. It initially will provide 25 beds for patients needing nursing care and an additional 25 beds for isolation or quarantine. Capacity can be expanded to up to 180 beds. State health officials on Friday reported 2,993 new positive COVID-19 tests and 23 related deaths.
- BC-NM VIRUS OUTBREAK TEACHER VACATIONS
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The documented community spread of the coronavirus is the main reason cited by school officials for scaling back efforts to provide in-person schooling. There's another reason, too: Many school districts anticipate their staff and students will travel out of state. With teachers coming back from Thanksgiving or Christmas vacations, they will have to quarantine for 14 days under Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham's current health order. The governor says she is "really disappointed" to learn that teachers and public servants are traveling. She's vowing to investigate state employees, who don't include teachers, for unapproved travel and other violations of the public health order.
- SUPREME COURT NOMINEES
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Three current judges and one retired judge have been nominated for appointment to fill a New Mexico Supreme Court vacancy. A nominating commission on Thursday met remotely to evaluate seven candidates for the vacancy being created by the Dec. 1 retirement of Justice Judith K. Nakamura. The four nominees include state Court of Appeals Judges Julie J. Vargas and Briana Hope Zamora, state District Court Judge Jennifer Ellen DeLaney and retired District Court Judge James Waylon Counts. DeLaney sits on the Sixth Judicial District Court in Deming. Counts recently retired from the 12th Judicial District Court in Alamogordo. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham will appoint Nakamura's replacement.
- SPACE COMMAND-NEW MEXICO
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The city of Albuquerque has announced that it is being considered as a place to permanently locate the U.S. Space Command, the latest of 11 unified command under the U.S. Department of Defense. The U.S. Air Force narrowed down its final options to Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque and bases in Florida, Nebraska, Alabama and Texas. Its current temporary headquarters at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado is also a finalist. The Department of Defense said Albuquerque was one of 31 cities originally considered. A final decision is expected in January after the department conducts virtual and in-person site surveys.
- POLICE SHOOTING-LOS LUNAS
LOS LUNAS, N.M. (AP) — The New Mexico State Police says an officer fatally shot a man allegedly trying to grab an officer's gun during an encounter following a chase. A State Police statement said the incident occurred Thursday in Los Lunas on the Manzano Expressway. The statement said the shooting occurred a short time after a State Police officer tried to conduct a traffic stop on the expressway, prompting a pursuit that a supervisor terminated due to road conditions and traffic. The statement said two officers minutes later were sent to a location where a man reportedly was trying to stop traffic and that the man was shot while resisting arrest. The man's identity was not released immediately.
BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — U.S. officials say proposed land conservation purchases in dozens of states would preserve more natural areas within tourist destinations. The announcement Friday comes as lawmakers from both parties push back on Trump administration restrictions on how the money can be spent. The $125 million in congressionally authorized spending would buy up private property inside the boundaries of places including Alaska's Glacier Bay National Park, Kentucky's Green River National Wildlife Refuge and Florida's Everglades region. Some senators are objecting to a recent order from U.S. Interior Secretary David Bernhardt that empowers local and state officials to block the purchases.
- WITNESS TESTIMONY STANDARD
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The New Mexico Supreme Court on Thursday upheld a man's first-degree murder convictions in the 2014 killings of two Santa Fe teens as the justices set a new standard for courts to consider eyewitness testimony identifying a criminal suspect. The justices upheld Ricardo Martinez's convictions in the 2014 shooting deaths of 18-year-old Venancio Cisneros and Cisneros' 13-year-old girlfriend, who the ruling identified only by initials. The new standard precludes admission of eyewitness identifications produced by "unnecessarily suggestive" police procedures. The ruling said the eyewitness testimony was properly admitted at trial both under the newly adopted state standard and a federal rule it replaced.
- COLORADO-HUMAN REMAINS FOUND
DENVER (AP) — A 26-year-old man sought by police after the remains of three people were found near a rural town in southern Colorado was arrested Thursday at a motel in New Mexico. The Colorado Bureau of Investigation says Adre Jordan Baroz was arrested without incident in Gallup and is facing charges of first-degree homicide, first-degree assault and second-degree kidnapping. His warrant remains sealed, and no additional information was available Thursday. Searches last week uncovered the skeletal remains of three people on two properties near Los Sauces, a tiny community more than 200 miles south of Denver. The remains haven't been identified.