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

Nov 29, 2019

New Mexico police to crack down on DWI in DecemberALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico State Police officers will be watching for drunk drivers throughout the month of December.State officials this week announced the sobriety checkpoints and saturation patrols, saying they will occur throughout New Mexico over the next few weeks.Authorities say bringing awareness to the crackdown is part of an effort to change society's attitude about drinking and driving and to ultimately reduce alcohol-related fatalities.Nearly 350 traffic fatalities were reported for the first 10 months of the year. That's higher than the fatalities recorded during the same period in 2017 and 2018, but statistics compiled by the state show the number of alcohol-related fatalities so far this year is far lower than the previous two years.The numbers show 92 traffic fatalities between January and October involved alcohol.


BioPark Zoo, garden to open later on Friday due to weatherALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Albuquerque officials say the ABQ BioPark Zoo, Aquarium and Botanic Garden will open later than usual on Black Friday.The City of Albuquerque says the BioPark facilities will open at 11 a.m. because of the recent snowfall.Officials say the crew on staff for the holiday week need extra to care for the animals and clear pathways throughout the BioPark.Visitors can also check for the latest updates on the BioPark's website and social media.


New Mexico utility stands by plan to close coal-fired plant(Information from: The Daily Times, http://www.daily-times.com)FARMINGTON, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico's largest electric provider says continued operation of a coal-fired power plant using carbon-capture technology wouldn't be in the best interest of customers.Public Service Co. of New Mexico made the declaration in testimony filed with state regulators who are weighing the San Juan Generating Station's pending closure.The recent filing was in response to concerns that the utility had not presented an alternative case for installing carbon capture at the plant. At issue is the economic effects closure will have on the region.The utility is standing behind its proposal to rely on a mix of natural gas, renewable resources and batteries.The utility's modeling shows carbon capture technology would cost slightly less than an all-renewables plan. But overall savings would be less than under PNM's preferred option.___


Trial delayed for New Mexico man accused of killing girl(Information from: The Santa Fe New Mexican, http://www.santafenewmexican.com)SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A federal judge has delayed the trial of a New Mexico man arrested on murder charges in the death of a 5-year-old girl after attorneys on both sides requested more time.The Santa Fe New Mexican reported Wednesday that District Judge William Johnson designated the case "complex" delaying the trial to October to provide additional time.Attorneys say the FBI produced thousands of pages of discovery including medical evidence, about 3,000 images and hundreds of witness interviews.Officials say 26-year-old Malcolm Torres was scheduled to start trial Monday in Albuquerque.Authorities say Torres was arrested Sunday on a second-degree murder charge.Authorities say police discovered the body of Renezmae Calzada in the Rio Grande Sept. 11 following an FBI investigation and three-day search.___


New Mexico man gets over 2 years in Delaware swatting caseWILMINGTON, Del. (AP) — A New Mexico man has been sentenced to more than two years in prison for making bomb threats against an elementary school and a Walmart in southern Delaware.The office of U.S. Attorney in Delaware David Weiss says 29-year-old Stephen Scott Landes was sentenced Wednesday to 27 months in federal prison. Landes earlier pleaded guilty to interstate threats concerning the use of an explosive.Prosecutors say Landes falsely reported in May 2018 that he had planted bombs at the Georgetown school and Walmart while claiming to be a Georgetown resident.Such schemes, which cause police and SWAT teams to respond to fake emergencies, are known as "swatting."Authorities say the incident stemmed from an online feud between Landes and a Georgetown man, who himself is accused of falsely reporting shootings and other emergencies in five states.


New Mexico officials urge shoppers to go small, localSANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico officials are urging residents to shop local.This year's Small Business Saturday tax holiday begins at 12:01 a.m. Saturday and runs through midnight.For 24 hours, the state suspends collections of gross receipts tax on sales of qualifying items at businesses that have fewer than 10 employees and whose primary place of business is in New Mexico.Taxation and Revenue Secretary Stephanie Schardin Clarke says it's a great opportunity to support home-grown New Mexico businesses.In Albuquerque, city officials are using the shopping day to launch Albuquerque Rapid Transit, or ART. The bus service runs through a popular shopping corridor along historic Route 66.In Roswell, Mayor Dennis Kintigh will be reading an official proclamation in support of small businesses to kick off the shopping event.


Navajo Nation to convert methane into hydrogen(Information from: The Salt Lake Tribune, http://www.sltrib.com)SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The Navajo Nation announced this week it has signed a contract with renewable energy companies to convert methane from its oil-producing operations in Utah into eco-friendly hydrogen.The Salt Lake Tribune reports that Navajo Nation Oil and Gas technology officer Bill McCabe announced the plan Monday at the Utah State Capitol.He says the plan will allow the Navajo Nation to take something that was going up in smoke and convert it a "fuel of the future" that has higher economic value.Laura Nelson, who heads the Utah Governor's Office of Energy Development, called it a monumental step toward clean energy and more tribal sovereignty.Missouri-based alternative-energy company H2GO declined to fully explain how the conversion process works.Hydrogen is considered cleaner and can be used in fuel-cell electric cars.


Public land considered for New Mexico cemetery expansionSOCORRO, N.M. (AP) — A small parcel of public land would be used for the expansion of a cemetery in central New Mexico under a proposal being considered by federal land managers.The Bureau of Land Management says the public will have until Jan. 10 to comment on the conveyance of the nearly 3-acre parcel.The agency says it determined the proposed conveyance will have no impact on outdoor recreation access, including hunting and fishing.Federal officials decided that the parcel would be offered through a non-competitive direct sale to the Archdiocese of Santa Fe's San Miguel Parish for no less than the appraised fair market value. They cited the location, the ownership of surrounding lands and the need to expand the existing cemetery.The San Jose Cemetery is just south of Socorro.