- New Mexico expected to have fewer births, fewer students
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico is on track to have fewer young people. Researchers are warning this week that results from the 2020 Census strengthen predictions that the state's meager 2.8% growth rate over the past decade is likely to reach zero, or even go negative. There are likely going to be fewer people in New Mexico with a declining birth rate and more people moving out of the state than in. On average, the state's residents will be older. Kindergarten classes are already shrinking, leaving child care and school leaders wondering how to plan for a future with fewer kids.
- Sheriff's Office: 2 killed in Albuquerque chase ID'd
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Albuquerque officials have identified the victims of a double homicide involving a car chase. The Bernalillo County Sheriff's Office said one of the victims was 22-year-old Anthony Vigil and that the other was a 15-year-old boy. The boy's name was not released. Both were found dead April 19 with apparent gunshot wounds following a roll-over crash in a dark-colored sedan. The Sherriff's office reported witnesses seeing a white sedan occupied by two or three people chasing the other car and also observing shots being fired at the vehicle that crashed in southwest Albuquerque. The office did not release additional information about the circumstances of the chase or shooting, including any possible motive.
- Judge: New Mexico must give at-home students fast internet
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A New Mexico court has ordered education officials to make fast internet available for children still studying in remote learning. District Judge Matthew Wilson says Friday that children without adequate internet speeds or computers who can't go to school in person are "not getting much of an education." The vast majority of schools in the state have opened their doors for in-person learning, but some schools have shuttered again because of virus outbreaks. A few never opened due to tribal lockdown orders. Education advocates believe the ruling could have lasting effects on education, especially for rural and Native American students.
- New Mexico shifts metrics, some virus restrictions relaxed
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Friday marks the start of New Mexico's updated color-coded framework for determining COVID-19 risks in each of the state's 33 counties. State health officials have shifted the metrics, meaning more counties are now at a level at which there are fewer restrictions on commercial and day-to-day activities. In all, 24 counties are at the least-restrictive turquoise level, followed by six at green and three at yellow. The framework was adjusted to accommodate increasing vaccination rates. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said earlier this week that the state is on track to have at least 60% of residents fully vaccinated by the end of June.
- Man arrested in 1980 slaying of 79-year-old California woman
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Police have arrested a 64-year-old man in connection with a 1980 cold case where a woman was found dead in her Southern California apartment. Andre William Lepere was arrested Wednesday in New Mexico on suspicion of the murder of 79-year-old Viola Hagenkord in Anaheim. Authorities determined Hagenkord had been sexually assaulted and she died of asphyxiation. Lepere is being held without bail in New Mexico's Otero County pending extradition proceedings. It was not immediately clear if he had an attorney who could speak on his behalf. The Los Angeles Times reported that homicide detectives reopened Hagenkord's death in September and DNA evidence pointed to Lepere as a suspect.
- New Mexico city ends backlog of untested rape evidence kits
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Officials in New Mexico's largest city say they have cleared a backlog of thousands of untested rape evidence kits as part of an endeavor that has spanned more than three years. Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller was flanked by law enforcement officials and advocates who work with victims of sexual assault as he marked the accomplishment Friday. Overall, millions of dollars have been poured into addressing the backlog statewide. Nearly 75% of the more than 5,400 untested evidence kits in New Mexico were from Albuquerque and surrounding Bernalillo County. Officials said processes and staff are now in place to ensure evidence from rapes and sexual assaults are tested within 90 days.
- Homeland Security to repair damage created by border wall
SAN DIEGO (AP) — The Biden administration says it will begin work to address the risks of flooding and soil erosion from unfinished sections of the wall on the U.S. border with Mexico. It also began providing answers on how it will use unspent money from shutting down one of President Donald Trump's signature domestic projects. The Defense Department says it will use unobligated money for military construction projects for its initial purpose. The repair work will take place in Texas' Rio Grande Valley and in San Diego. Officials in Texas have expressed alarm about flooding risks during the hurricane season from breaches in a levee system.
- Legislature bristles at governor's vetoes of pandemic aid
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — State legislators are bristling at vetoes by New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham that block legislative authority over new federal pandemic aid, and say they may seek a court ruling. Democratic state Sen. George Muñoz of Gallup urged colleagues to seek an opinion from the state Supreme Court on Friday. A spokeswoman for the governor says the appropriation of federal funds falls to the executive branch of state government — though the governor welcomes collaboration with the Legislature. Pandemic relief legislation signed this year by President Joe Biden assigns $1.6 billion in aid directly to New Mexico state government.