- New Mexico's Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument reopens
MIMBRES, N.M. (AP) — With the threat of a wildfire lessening, the Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument is ready to reopen. Acting Park Superintendent Jerome Flood announced Wednesday that Gila Cliff Dwellings would reopen on Thursday morning. Authorities said a nearby wildfire was cooling down and the risk to the public was minimal. Visitors will be able to view the Cliff Dwellings from the trail in Cliff Dweller Canyon, but won't be able to enter the caves. Cliff Dweller Road and NM Highway 15 to the Gila Visitor Center Parking lot will be open. The Upper and Lower Scorpion Campgrounds, West Fork Trailhead, Woody's Corral and TJ's Corral Trailhead will remain closed due to fire personnel occupying these areas.
- Selection process begins for Supreme Court succession
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The selection process is underway to fill a retirement vacancy on the New Mexico Supreme Court with the departure of Barbara Vigil at the end of June. A bipartisan nominating commission is scheduled on Thursday to interview candidates for the high court post. Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has final say on which nominee to appoint. Applicants include Santa Fe-based District Court Judge T. Glenn Ellington, who last year dismissed a Republican Party lawsuit on the oversight of ballot drop boxes. Appeals Court Judge Briana Zamora of Albuquerque and District Judge Jennifer DeLaney of Deming were nominated previously and passed over by the governor.
- Hispanic group sues Santa Fe mayor over destroyed obelisk
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A Hispanic heritage group in Santa Fe is suing the mayor over the destruction of a U.S. veterans memorial by activists during a demonstration on Indigenous People's Day. The lawsuit seeks to block Mayor Alan Webber's plans to have the monument permanently removed and replaced with a more culturally inclusive one. The 33-foot stone obelisk honored Union soldiers who died fighting Indigenous and Confederate enemies in the 1860s. Its remnants lie at the center of the city's historic plaza, encased in a plywood box. The lawsuit argues that the marker is covered by state law protecting historic places and must be restored.
- Navajo Nation reports three new COVID-19 cases and one death
WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. (AP) — The Navajo Nation on Wednesday reported three new COVID-19 cases and one death. Tribal health officials said the total number of virus-related deaths on the Navajo Nation now is 1,341 with the total number of reported cases since the pandemic began at 30,936. Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez said the mask mandate will remain in place, especially as concern grows over virus variants. More than half of residents on the reservation that stretches into New Mexico, Arizona and Utah eligible to get vaccinated are fully vaccinated. Health facilities are offering vaccines during drive-thru events or by appointment.
- New Mexico gets closer to hitting vaccination goal to reopen
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico is edging closer to a goal of having 60% of residents 16 and older vaccinated. Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham wanted to get there by Thursday so the state could fully reopen in the coming weeks. Vaccinations have been inching up by a couple tenths of a percent daily. State data showed the rate at 58.7% on Wednesday. Officials say more than 20,000 people would need to get their second shots or the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine to hit the mark. The state human services secretary says the data will be reviewed Friday and that officials will be focused on "doing the right thing for the people of New Mexico."
- Heat wave grips US West amid fear of a new, hotter normal
PHOENIX (AP) — An unusually early and long-lasting heat wave has brought more triple-digit temperatures to a large swath of the U.S. West. It's raising concerns that such extreme weather could become the new normal amid a decades-long drought. Phoenix is seeing some of the highest temperatures this week, expecting to hit 115 degrees Wednesday and 117 the next two days. Scientists who study drought and climate change say that people living in the American West can expect more of the same in the coming years. Cooling centers opened in the San Francisco Bay Area, people flocked to a lake in Denver amid expected triple-digit heat, and hot weather made it tougher to fight wildfires in Montana.
- Albuquerque officials hope to bring back traffic cameras
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Officials in Albuquerque hope to bring back automated traffic cameras after the city discontinued a traffic camera system about a decade ago. The Albuquerque Journal reports that a proposed new system, unlike the widely disliked red light camera system previously used by the city, would be mobile and target only speeding vehicles _ although not low-level speeders going a few miles over the limit. Officials say the new system would be put in place to confront speeding and racing on city streets. In 2011, Albuquerque discontinued its association with Redflex Traffic Systems, the Arizona-based company that operates the automated speed cameras, and its camera system.
- New Mexico weighs rules for community solar program
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico utility regulators are working on rules that would govern community solar projects in the state. Under legislation approved earlier this year, the Public Regulation Commission has until April 2022 to finalize the rules. Utilities are reporting being flooded with requests for interconnection from prospective developers. During a meeting Tuesday, regulators approved an order making clear that existing rules regarding interconnections will remain in place until new rules are adopted and that an application's place in the queue doesn't guarantee any priority because the rules have yet to be established. The states largest utility says it has received more than 170 applications related to community solar.