- PROP FIREARM-SHOOTING
NEW YORK (AP) — Actor Alec Baldwin says any suggestion that he's not cooperating with a probe into last fall's shooting on his movie set that killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins is a lie. He responded via Instagram to stories that discussed why authorities who served him with a search warrant for his phone haven't gotten it yet. Baldwin says the process takes time because it involves two states and clear instructions on what material is sought from the phone. A gun held by Baldwin on the set of 'Rust' went off, killing Hutchins and wounding director Joel Souza, and investigators want to know why it contained a live round.
- FARMINGTON OFFICER SHOT
FARMINGTON, N.M. (AP) — Farmington police say a 25-year-old Farmington police officer is hospitalized in stable condition after being shot and wounded by a DWI suspect who remained at large. A police department statement identified the shooting suspect as 22-year-old Elias Buck and Police Chief Steve Hebbe said Buck was wanted on felony arrest warrants in other cases. According to the statement, Barreto spotted Buck and a woman walking together and saw they matched descriptions of the occupants of a car reportedly involved in drunk driving. It said Buck ran off after producing a gun and firing multiple shots at Barreto, who returned fire and radioed for assistance.
- NMSU PRESIDENT
LAS CRUCES, N.M, (AP) — New Mexico State University President John Floros is stepping down and Chancellor Dan Arvizu is becoming the leader of the university's main campus in Las Cruces and the NMSU system. Floros and Arvizu said Friday in separate letters to the university community that Arvizu decided to reduce what has been their separate posts to one position. The Las Cruces Sun-News repors that Arvizu said it's time for the university "to return to a more common leadership structure." Arvizu said the NMSU Board of Regents were "aware and support this move." Floros said he would help with the transition and then take a yearlong sabbatical.
- EDUCATION FUNDING-NEW MEXICO
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham wants to make New Mexico teacher salaries the highest among neighboring states. Tapping into a glut of oil and gas tax revenue, she's proposing raising educator salaries anywhere from 7% to 20%, depending on their role and level of experience. The cost would be around $275 million. Minimum salaries for entry-level teachers would increase from $41,000 to $50,000. In Texas, starting salaries average around $44,500. However, New Mexico legislators worry that Lujan Grisham's proposal won't be enough to stem the state's teacher shortage.
- VIRUS OUTBREAK-NEW MEXICO
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The New Mexico Department of Health has extended COVID-related orders that include a mask mandate for public indoor spaces. The orders also require health care workers and certain other employees to be up to date on their vaccinations. The extension comes as the omicron variant drives up the case count. Many of the recent positive cases from the highly transmissible variant have been mild infections that haven't required hospitalization. Still, New Mexico's hospitals are operating under standards that prioritize immediate medical emergencies. The state also confirmed that New Mexico is following federal guidelines that lessen the isolation and quarantine timeline.
RIO RANCHO, N.M. (AP) — Computer chip maker Intel plans to pay one of New Mexico's largest water utilities $32 million to build a pipeline to supply its factory with the much needed resource. Millions of gallons are needed at the plant in Rio Rancho each day to produce tiny semiconductors and demands will likely increase as part of a $3.5 billion retrofit that will boost production capacity of Intel's chip-packaging technology. The 6-mile pipeline will connect two wells to the plant just north of Albuquerque. The Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority says construction is expected to begin in April.
- VIRUS OUTBREAK-NAVAJO NATION
WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. (AP) — The Navajo Nation reported 270 new confirmed COVID-19 cases Friday and one death related to the virus. Tribal officials say the number of cases on the reservation now total 42,622 since the pandemic began. The death roll stands at 1,593. The Navajo Nation Office of the President and Vice President held a special online town hall Friday to update residents on the pandemic as the omicron variant pushes case numbers higher. Frontline workers said during the meeting that they are seeing less severe symptoms in patients who have been vaccinated.
- COLORADO RIVER-DROUGHT
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — The city of Phoenix has outlined what it will contribute voluntarily to a regional plan to shore up a reservoir that delivers Colorado River water to three states and Mexico. The river already can't provide seven Western states what they were promised a century ago. Phoenix, the nation's fifth largest city, is among entities that will pitch in to fulfill the so-called 500+ Plan. City officials say they'll leave some water in Lake Mead that straddles the Arizona-Nevada border instead of storing it underground as planned. The plan will be implemented as Arizona, Nevada and Mexico are forced to endure their first-ever mandatory cuts from the river.