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Latest New Mexico news, sports, business and entertainment at 3:20 a.m. MDT

May 21, 2020
  • Police: Woman with COVID-19 refused to quarantine, charged

ESTANCIA, N.M. (AP) — Authorities say a New Mexico woman who tested positive for COVID-19 is facing charges after she refused to quarantine herself and visited a restaurant. KOAT-TV in Albuquerque reports prosecutors recently charged Gina Peterson with public nuisance and violating the state's health order. According to a criminal complaint, the 67-year-old Peterson walked in the Mama Bear's restaurant in Estancia on April 10, announced she had the coronavirus and refused to leave. Documents say she later came back and stayed in the women's restroom until the town's police chief removed her. Peterson is believed to be the first known COVID-19 patient charged in New Mexico for not quarantining herself.

  • Texas man held without bail in fatal car crash in New Mexico

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — A Texas man is being held without bond as he awaits trial in a vehicle homicide case in New Mexico. Dona Ana County prosecutors say 29-year-old Eric Solis is charged with one count of homicide by vehicle, five counts of great bodily injury by vehicle, one count of aggravated fleeing of a law enforcement officer and driving on a suspended license. Solis, of Odessa, is accused of running a red light in New Mexico's Sunland Park on May 9 and causing a crash that killed an El Paso woman and injured several of her children. Authorities say 32-year-old Danielle Perez died at the scene of the collision that involved four vehicles. 

  • Latina New Mexico governor calls VP speculation 'flattering'

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham says she will help make sure that racial- and ethnic-minority voters know about the potential benefits of electing Joe Biden as president. Asked Wednesday at an online news conference whether she would accept a potential invitation to run for vice president in November, Lujan Grisham said she is completely dedicated to her job as governor but also will provide specialized support in promoting Biden's presidential campaign among minority voters. New Mexico has the nation's highest proportion of Hispanic residents — many tracing their local ancestry to the era of Mexican and Spanish rule. Native American's make up nearly 11% of the state population.

  • New Mexico likely to reopen restaurants, gyms, malls June 1

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham set a June 1 target date to restart dine-in service at restaurants and reopen gyms, hair salons and shopping malls at limited capacity. Those businesses have been shuttered since March to slow the spread of the coronavirus. The governor and top health officials said Wednesday that a seven-day average of daily infections appears to have peaked around the start of the May and that progress has been made on several fronts toward meeting the state's so-called gating criteria for reopening the economy. The governor will call a special session of the Legislature on June 18.

  • Trump administration cuts royalty rates for oil and gas

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — The Trump administration is giving energy companies temporary breaks on royalties and rent they pay to extract oil and gas from leases on public lands because of the coronavirus pandemic, government data shows. The move is drawing criticism as a corporate handout. A Democratic lawmaker asked for an investigation into how the breaks were awarded. Administration officials say the breaks are being granted only for companies that can show lower royalties are necessary for them to continue extracting fuel from public leases. Royalty rate cuts so far have been authorized for at least 76 energy leases in Utah. More reductions, including in other states, are in the works.

  • Navajo Nation casinos remain closed amid COVID-19 pandemic

FARMINGTON, N.M. (AP) — The Navajo Nation's casinos in New Mexico and Arizona are staying closed until at least next month amid the coronavirus pandemic. The decision is in line with the tribe's partial government closure and stay-at-home order that expires June 7. The tribe has three casinos in New Mexico near Farmington, Shiprock and Gallup, and one in Arizona east of Flagstaff. The casinos have been closed since mid-March. Casino officials say employees still are receiving paychecks and have access to mental health and other services.  Meanwhile on Wednesday night, the Navajo Nation reported 100 new cases of coronavirus and two more deaths, pushing the total number of COVID-19 cases now to 4,253 with 146 known deaths.

  • New Mexico's Medicaid enrollment rises during pandemic

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico health insurance regulators say statewide enrollment in Medicaid is on the rise as businesses shed workers in response to the coronavirus pandemic. State regulators said Tuesday that Medicaid enrollment increased by roughly 8,650 people in April over the previous month. Colin Baillio of the insurance superintendent's office says the state can expect to see more people shifting from employer-based health insurance to the federally subsidized plan for residents living in poverty or on the cusp, as unemployment swells. The state's Workforce Solutions Department was providing unemployment benefits to roughly 117,000 New Mexico residents as of last week.

  • GOP Senate hopeful in ad blasts foe for anti-Trump remarks

RIO RANCHO, N.M. (AP) — A Republican U.S. Senate hopeful in New Mexico is blasting one of her opponents in an ad over his previous critical comments about President Donald Trump. Elisa Martinez released Tuesday a new commercial that attacks former television weatherman Mark Ronchetti saying at a climate change event last year that he was a Republican "until the orange one," referring to the president. The Martinez ad comes after Rochetti released his own set of commercials with uplifting messages and promises that America's best days "are ahead of us." In his commercials, Ronchetti said he supports Trump's policies around China and the U.S.-Mexico border wall.