- MIDDLE SCHOOL EVACUATED
Albuquerque police: No gun brought onto middle school campusALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Police in Albuquerque say a report that a student was seen entering a middle school with a gun has proved to be inaccurate. The Tony Hillerman Middle School was evacuated classroom by classroom Thursday morning while police canvassed the campus. Police say no weapon was found and it's been determined that a gun was not brought to school. According to police, three students were speaking in a courtyard when one student pointed a cell phone at the others as though he was holding a gun. A teacher reportedly saw the encounter and believed she saw the student holding a gun. The school went on lockdown and police from several agencies responded.
- OIL AND GAS-OZONE POLLUTION
New Mexico proposes more rules to curb oil and gas emissionsALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Oilfield equipment that emits smog-causing pollution would be targeted by New Mexico environmental regulators under a new proposed rule. The state Environment Department released the proposal Thursday, marking the next step in a process that started nearly two years ago to curb emissions across the oil and natural gas sector. State oil and gas regulators adopted separate rules earlier this year to limit venting and flaring as a way to reduce methane pollution. New Mexico Environment Secretary James Kenney touted the rules as the most comprehensive in the U.S. New Mexico is home to part of the Permian Basin — one of the world's most productive oilfields.
- FIRE RESTRICTIONS-ARIZONA
Public land agencies begin implementing fire restrictionsSPRINGERVILLE, Ariz. (AP) — Public land management agencies in Arizona are beginning to impose fire restrictions due to hot and dry weather conditions and an increase in fires caused by people. The Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests announced that campfire and smoking restrictions take effect Friday. The forests' restrictions include allowing campfires only in designated campgrounds. Meanwhile, the state Department of Forestry and Fire Management it is prohibiting campfires and implementing other so-called Stage One restrictions beginning Friday on land owned and managed by the state in Apache and Navajo counties. Lands covered by the state's restrictions include state parks, state trust lands and wildlife areas outside incorporated municipalities.
- FUNGUS-NEW MEXICO BATS
Biologists find disease-causing fungus on New Mexico batsROSWELL, N.M. (AP) — Federal land managers say a disease-causing fungus has been found on hibernating bats in two eastern New Mexico caves. The fungus that causes white-nose syndrome also was found on the walls of the caves during routine surveillance conducted last month in De Baca and Lincoln counties. The Bureau of Land Management says a team of biologists observed a white powdery growth consistent with the fungus on numerous bats. Laboratory testing confirmed their suspicions. White-nose syndrome has been confirmed in 36 states, including neighboring Texas and Oklahoma, and several Canadian provinces.
- VIRUS OUTBREAK-NEW MEXICO
New Mexico officials says 60% vaccination goal within reachALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Top state health officials say New Mexico is on track to meet its goal of a 60% vaccination rate for people 16 and older by the end of June that would allow the economy to reopen fully. The statements Wednesday come amid new strategies aimed at breaking through hesitancy toward immunization. About 57% of eligible New Mexico residents have received at least a first vaccine shot. The University of New Mexico may require students and staff to be vaccinated for COVID-19 to return to campus in the fall.
- VIRUS OUTBREAK-NAVAJO NATION
Navajo Nation reports no COVID deaths for 3rd time in 4 daysWINDOW ROCK, Ariz. (AP) — The Navajo Nation on Wednesday reported seven new confirmed COVID-19 cases, but no deaths for the third time in the last four days. Tribal health officials said the total number of cases since the pandemic began more than a year ago now is 30,550 on the vast reservation that covers parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah. The known death toll remained at 1,282. Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez said more than half of the reservation's adult population has been vaccinated, but people still need to stay home as much as possible, wear masks and avoid large gatherings. MARIJUANA-NEW MEXICONew Mexico to end taxes on medical pot, revise grow limitsSANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico cannabis regulators says they will stop charging taxes on limited amounts of medical marijuana and begin revising tight caps on pot cultivation come June 29. That is the first deadline under a new law that legalizes recreational marijuana possession and, eventually, public sales. Two Cabinet secretaries made the announcement in a letter Wednesday to licensed medical marijuana business that have voiced concerns about a potential run on pot supplies and shortages. Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham enacted legislation last month that outlines the oversight, licensing and taxation of the recreational cannabis sector and sets an April 1, 2022, deadline for the first nonmedical marijuana sales.
- MEDICAL MARIJUANA-NEW MEXICO
Judge: New Mexico medical cannabis rules overstep state lawSANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A judge has ruled that the New Mexico Department of Health overstepped intentions for a medical cannabis program by limiting who can get marijuana in the state. The Santa Fe New Mexican reported that the ruling by Judge Matthew Wilson on Monday came after a complaint was filed by New Mexico Top Organics-Ultra Health. It's the state's largest medical cannabis producer. The state statute allows people withauthorization in medical cannabis programs in other states the ability to buy medical marijuana in New Mexico. Ultra Health argued that more than 5,000 people mostly from out of state were wrongly denied access.