- BORDER PATROL-CHIEF
CALEXICO, Calif. (AP) — The chief of the Border Patrol says he is leaving his job after less than two years in a position that lies in the crosshairs of polarizing political debate. Rodney Scott wrote to agents that he will be reassigned. The career agent was appointed chief in January 2020 and enthusiastically embraced then-President Donald Trump's policies, particularly on building a border wall. President Joe Biden has canceled wall construction, one of his predecessor's top priorities. The Department of Homeland Security didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.
- POLICE SHOOTING-SANTA FE
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — One person has been shot to death by city police officers in downtown Santa Fe after authorities responded to reports of a fight and gunfire at a public park. The Santa Fe Police Department says its officers responded Wednesday to a call about a fight in progress at a park and reports from emergency dispatchers that one person had been shot, with the shooter running away. In a news release, the Santa Fe Police Department says that its officers searched the area, confronted an armed person and shot the person to death. No other injuries were reported. An investigation by state police is underway.
- DRY NEW MEXICO
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Legislative analysts say many New Mexico communities are behind the curve when it comes to investing in drinking water infrastructure as drought threatens supplies across the arid state. New Mexico provided roughly $876 million for water projects over a five-year period. But analysts told lawmakers Wednesday that communities aren't doing enough to leverage federal and local dollars. They also said the state's system for financing projects is fragmented and tracking outcomes is difficult, leaving it unclear what taxpayers are getting for their money. Questions also were raised about whether the state can efficiently spend its share of federal relief aid and infrastructure funds to address some of the needs.
- WILDFIRES-FOREST CLOSURES
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — National forests in Arizona are the go-to spots in the summer as people look to escape sweltering desert temperatures. The options for cooling off are limited now. Nearly all the national forests in the state will be fully closed this week as firefighting resources run thin and fire danger remains high. Wildfires burning across Arizona already have forced rural residents out of their homes and sent motorists on detours. Portions of forests in other states also are off-limits, but the shutdowns in Arizona are the most widespread. The closures are altering vacation plans for campers, anglers and mountain bikers ahead of the July 4 holiday.
- STATE INVESTMENTS-SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Custodians of New Mexico's two multibillion-dollar financial trusts that underwrite public education and infrastructure spending are weighing whether to give greater weight to issues of social responsibility and sustainability in investment decisions. The State Investment Council on Tuesday kicked off deliberations about its investment strategies and a possible policy change that could give greater consideration to a host of environmental, societal and governance concerns, from climate change to issues of racial injustice. The conversation takes place as giant asset managers such as BlackRock have placed greater emphasis on the risks and rewards of environmental, social and governance issues, often challenging the direction of company executives.
- VIRUS OUTBREAK-NEW MEXICO
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The University of New Mexico has helped lead a national study of hesitancy surrounding COVID-19 vaccines. The school announced Wednesday researchers with the UNM Center for Social Policy joined a coalition of groups to conduct the American COVID-19 Vaccine Poll. The poll encompassed 13,000 people from across various racial and ethnic communities. Among them were more than 2,000 New Mexico residents from underserved Latino, Native American, African immigrant and Black communities. According to the survey, roughly a third of New Mexico residents who haven't been vaccinated don't intend to do so. Furthermore, 15% of New Mexicans who got a first shot don't plan on getting the second one.
- MARIJUANA-NEW MEXICO
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A major business in New Mexico's burgeoning market for marijuana wants the state to refund millions of dollars in taxes that were levied in recent years on sales of medical marijuana but not against most prescription medications. Integrated cannabis provider Ultra Health said Tuesday that it has asked the state Supreme Court for the opportunity to provide arguments in a legal dispute between another medical marijuana company and the state Taxation and Revenue Department. New Mexico lawmakers and cannabis regulators made clear this year that limited personal supplies of medical cannabis will be available tax-free starting June 29.
- BOSQUE FIRE
LOS LUNAS, N.M. (AP) — Firefighters are working to contain a bosque fire in Los Lunas. Fire officials say the blaze began Tuesday night and has grown to about 7 acres. It has yet to reach any degree of containment. According to authorities, the fire is burning north of the village's Main Street bridge and east of the Rio Grande. There are several homes that are at risk but no evacuations have been ordered. Crews from the Valencia County Fire Department, Los Lunas Fire Department and Bosque Farms Fire Department are all working to put out hot spots. The cause of the fire has not been determined.