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Nov 22, 2020

New Mexico opens alternate care facility for COVID patients
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.


Officials: Southeastern New Mexico roundup nets 100 arrests
ROSWELL, N.M. (AP) — Law enforcement officers arrested 100 people in southeastern New Mexico as federal, state and local agencies conducted a roundup over several days, officials said. U.S. Marshal Sonya Chavez said Friday the arrests made in Chaves, Eddy and Lea counties were part of a national effort to apprehend violent criminals sought on felony arrest warrants. The Roswell Daily Record reported that the 15 participating agencies included the New Mexico State Police, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, Homeland Security, sheriff's departments and the Roswell Police Department. Chavez said three similar operations have taken place in the past 18 months in the Las Cruces and Albuquerque areas.


Some New Mexico essential business close due to virus spike
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Some essential businesses such as grocery stores have been shut down because of a substantial increase in coronavirus cases in New Mexico. A new edict announced Thursday allows the state Department of Health to shut down workplaces for two weeks if they have four or more coronavirus cases in a 14-day period. More than 20 essential businesses across the state were shut down as of Friday, of which nearly half were grocery stores or major retailers. A Department of Health spokeswoman said the current closures are not considered critical because they are in communities with "considerable alternatives." The state on Saturday reported 2,342 additional COVID-19 cases and 25 more deaths.


Teacher vacations one reason to close schools in New Mexico
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.


Panel recommends 4 for appointment to New Mexico high court
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. 


Albuquerque is among finalist locations for Space Command
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.


State Police: Man fatally shot while resisting arrest
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.
Land conservation plan stirs fight over Trump restrictions
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.