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

May 11, 2021

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico is joining several other states that have reinstated the work search requirement for people who receive unemployment benefits. Starting this week, state labor officials say people seeking the payments must verify that they have made at least two work search contacts per week in order to continue receiving the money. The requirement was waived during the pandemic as unemployment rates surged due to businesses closures and cutbacks. The change comes as all but two New Mexico counties now operate in public health safety categories with the least COVID-19 restrictions. The latest state data also shows 48% of residents over 16 are fully vaccinated.


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The track record of global energy giant Iberdrola's U.S. subsidiary Avangrid has sparked concerns among utility regulators and others as the company seeks approval for a multibillion-dollar merger with New Mexico's largest electric provider. A hearing examiner with the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission said during a meeting Tuesday that utilities owned by Avangrid have been assessed a total of $25 million in penalties and disallowances for poor customer service in Maine, Connecticut and New York in just the last 16 months. The official said Avangrid failed to provide information about the enforcement actions as New Mexico regulators consider Avangrid's proposed merger with PNM Resources.


SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico public health officials say they're investigating multiple outbreaks around the state of a highly contagious disease often called the stomach flu. The Department of Health said precautions such as frequent handwashing are advised to prevent norovirus infection. The department noted that hand sanitizer does not work against norovirus. According to the department, it's important that precautions be taken around the very young, the elderly and those at any age with weakened immune systems because those people are at risk for more serious illness from norovirus infection. The department said norovirus can spread easily among people and symptoms include nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.


The Biden administration is holding tens of thousands of asylum-seeking children in an opaque network of some 200 facilities. The Associated Press has learned that those facilities are spread across two dozen states and include five shelters with more than 1,000 children packed inside. Confidential data obtained by the AP shows that the number of migrant children in government custody has more than doubled in the past two months and that this week the federal government is housing around 21,000 kids, from toddlers to teens. A facility at U.S. Army post Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas, had more than 4,500 children on Monday.


SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Republican congressional candidate Mark Moores went on the attack against a Democratic opponent in a final pair of network television debates ahead of the June 1 election to fill an open seat based in the Albuquerque area. Moores on Monday denounced a "radical agenda" from Democratic congressional nominee Melanie Stansbury on immigration, policing, the minimum wage and more. Stansbury rarely engaged in direct retorts as she defended her support for a $15 minimum wage, reforms to address police misconduct and systemic racism, and a more humanitarian approach to immigration. In his only televised debate opportunity, independent congressional candidate Aubrey Dunn Jr. cast himself as an alternative to partisan bickering.


SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico transportation officials say roadside litter is an issue so they're reviving the "Toss No Mas" campaign. State Transportation Secretary Mike Sandoval says his agency has nearly 900 boots on the ground picking up trash and debris year-round. The day after a stretch of road is cleaned, he says new trash shows up. He says the problem seemed to get worse during the pandemic. The campaign will include the message "Tie it. Tarp it. Pick it up." Officials say they found that the largest litter accumulations come from people not tying up their garbage bags, tarping their loads or picking up dropped debris or litter.


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — One of Ted Turner's ranches in southern New Mexico will be home for a pair of Mexican gray wolves and their pups. The Ladder Ranch is teaming up with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for the project. It will mark the first time a translocation of the endangered wolves has been done on private land. Officials say the aim is to boost genetic diversity among the wild population roaming parts of New Mexico and Arizona. Federal officials had faced a deadline this month for rewriting the rules that govern management of the species. However, a federal judge has agreed to give them more time.


SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico's state government will receive $1.75 billion in pandemic relief from the federal government under the Biden administration and Congress' economic recovery plan. The Treasury Department on Monday announced new details of the the relief along with new guidance on eligible expenses. The funds can be delivered to New Mexico on a faster schedule than most states to counteract lingering unemployment. Specifically, the guidance allows states to replenish unemployment insurance trust funds to pre-pandemic levels. New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham wants to rebuild the state's unemployment trust fund, add revenue for state agencies and spend more on behavioral health, broadband and the hospitality industry.