- New Mexico university to offer industrial hemp certificate
LAS VEGAS, N.M. (AP) — Regents at New Mexico Highlands University have approved a new program that will offer students a certificate in industrial hemp entrepreneurship. Approval came earlier this month, but school officials say the program must still go through any required state and accreditor reviews. The Higher Learning Commission must also sign off. Industrial hemp production was legalized in New Mexico in 2019. The university's program will have two tracks — one for students focused on the business of industrial hemp and another for students interested in the science of plant production. The certificate curriculum will include six courses for 18 credits.
- New Mexico counties in the 'red,' virus spread remains high
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico's daily count of confirmed COVID-19 cases has been trending down over recent days from the record highs reported earlier this month. But nearly every county remained deep in the red zone Friday as the state was days away from launching its new "red to green" system for reopening. State officials say the transition to the tiered county-by-county risk system will begin Wednesday. Counties will be able to shed burdensome public health restrictions as soon as they meet key metrics related to positivity and spread rates within their boundaries. However, only Los Alamos County was even close to meeting the benchmarks.
- Pumping aims to boost Pecos River amid drought losses
CARLSBAD, N.M. (AP) — Managers are pumping water from state reservoirs into the Pecos River in southeastern New Mexico to account for drought losses. The move is meant to augment supplies for users and water rights holders along the river while maintaining deliveries to Texas required by a 2003 settlement. About one-third of New Mexico is dealing with exceptional drought — the highest designation under which fire danger increases, no surface water is available for agriculture and large rivers run dry. Most of Eddy, Lea and Chaves counties are in that category, while drought in the rest of the state is classified as either severe or extreme.
- Audit: Money stolen from New Mexico inmates' accounts
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — An independent audit has found that more than $15,000 was stolen from inmates' accounts at the Bernalillo County jail over a four-year period. The forensic audit recently made public by the state auditor's office alleges that a former fiscal supervisor at the jail tapped into inmate trust accounts and issued fraudulent debit cards. The account is used for commissary and phone card transactions. State Auditor Brian Colón says there was a breakdown of internal controls that resulted in possible embezzlement and fraud. A criminal investigation by Bernalillo County authorities is ongoing.
- Police: Men shot by officers in New Mexico were holding guns
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Authorities in New Mexico have announced that the two men who were shot by police in separate incidents within four days of each other last month were each holding a gun when they died. The Albuquerque Journal reported that Albuquerque Police Lt. Hollie Anderson of the Violent Crimes Division released details on the fatal shooting of 52-year-old Matthew Montoya in a neighborhood driveway on Oct. 12 and the shooting of Jason Edward Galliart at a motel on Oct. 16. The status of the officers involved in both shootings was not immediately known.
- New Mexico food banks prepare to buy millions of meals
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico food banks say they will be able to provide more meals for thousands of families. They will be getting an infusion of $5 million in funding as part of an economic relief package approved by state lawmakers Tuesday and signed Wednesday by the governor. Officials at The Food Bank in Santa Fe said that along with unemployment, the need for emergency food assistance has increased during the pandemic. The Food Bank and its nonprofit partners moved about 7.8 million pounds of food in the first nine months of the year. In Albuquerque, the city is served 500,000 meals to seniors since March.
- Some snow expected as next storm moves over New Mexico
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Forecasters with the National Weather Service in New Mexico say a storm is expected to cross over the state Friday through Saturday morning and could effect some post-holiday travel. The upper-level low pressure system will bring with it snow and strong winds for some areas. However, forecasters are warning the drought-stricken state not to expect too much moisture out of the system. About half of the state is dealing with exceptional drought — the highest designation under which fire danger increases and large rivers run dry. That marks a significant change even since the previous week.
- Navajo school, students fight to overcome amid COVID-19
PINON, Arizona (AP) — On the Navajo Nation, a high school senior spends six hours most days doing homework in a car next to a school bus turned Wi-Fi hotspot. It's the only way to get assignments to teachers. COVID-19 has brought one of the greatest challenges yet to these young people. Across the Navajo reservation, victims of COVD-19 include parents and grandparents, sole guardians and providers, mentors and teachers. Without them, some students have lost their way or, quite literally, fallen off the map.