TAOS, N.M. (AP) — Country singer Kylie Rae Harris was one of two people killed in a three-vehicle crash in northern New Mexico.Harris' publicist confirmed her death Thursday, saying family and friends of the 30-year-old Texas native were heartbroken.Harris was on her way to Taos when the crash happened Wednesday night along State Road 522. She was scheduled to take the stage Thursday afternoon at the annual Big Barn Dance Music Festival.The Taos County Sheriff's Office says one of the other drivers — a 16-year-old girl — also was killed. The third driver escaped injury. Authorities did not release their names.The sheriff's office says alcohol is suspected as a factor in the crash but they did not release details.Harris released her self-titled album earlier this year.
- BORDER WALL-ARIZONA
PHOENIX (AP) — Construction on a Pentagon-funded portion of border fence began this week near Yuma, Arizona.It comes just as federal officials revealed a list of Defense Department projects that will be cut to pay for President Donald Trump's wall.The exact details of the Yuma project are unclear. But it appears it will consist of about 5 miles of fencing along the Colorado River in a section of the border that has seen a huge increase in migrant families over the past year.Apprehensions have dropped steeply over the past two months because of the hot summer and a clampdown on migrants by the Mexican government.Locals and environmentalists oppose the border wall, saying it will irrevocably damage wildlife habit and water resources.
- TEACHERS-INSURANCE PREMIUMS
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Thousands of New Mexico educators will see their health insurance premiums jump next month after state lawmakers handed out big raises.KRQE-TV in Albuquerque reports the New Mexico Public Schools Insurance Authority, the agency insuring more than 30,000 educators statewide, is raising insurance premiums on both its medical and dental plans in October.For "low" tier medical plans, premiums will rise 3.1%, costing an additional $5 to $16 per month depending on how many people are covered by the plan.For "high" tier plans, premiums will rise 5.9%, costing an additional $7 to $41 per month.Dental plan premiums will also be increased by 5%.Albuquerque Teachers Federation union president Ellen Bernstein says she has already heard from educators who are concerned about premium price hikes.
- WILDLIFE KILLING CONTESTS
PHOENIX (AP) — Arizona has banned organized contests where hunters try to kill the most coyotes or other wildlife predators for prizes such as cash or hunting equipment.The Governor's Regulatory Review Council voted 6-0 Wednesday to approve a rule initiated by the Arizona Game and Fish Commission.The measure will take effect in 60 days.The commission voted unanimously in June to ban contests that require registration and a fee and award prizes for killing the most coyotes or other fur-bearing animals or predators.The Arizona ban doesn't apply to lawful hunting of predators or other fur-bearing animals.Wildlife-killing contests have drawn the ire of activists in recent years.New Mexico banned the contests in April and several other states reportedly are considering similar rules or legislation.
- MAN ROBS MOM
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A northern New Mexico man is facing charges after police say he robbed his mother for drug money then stole her car.The Santa Fe New Mexican reports 43-year-old Cecilio "Leon" Vigil was arrested Sunday following a high-speed chase in Espanola, New Mexico.According to a criminal complaint, Vigil's mother called police saying that her son had taken her purse and her white 2006 Hyundai Sonata.Police say the suspect led police through a high-speed chase until he crashed his car.Police say a sergeant used a stun gun to subdue Vigil.Vigil was charged with robbery, aggravated fleeing of a law enforcement officer, motor vehicle theft and resisting officers.It was not known if he had an attorney.
- JEFFREY EPSTEIN-NEW MEXICO-THE LATEST
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The state land commissioner is canceling grazing land leases at deceased financier Jeffrey Epstein's secluded ranch in central New Mexico that she says were used to cast a veil of secrecy.Land Commissioner Stephanie Garcia Richard on Wednesday notified holding company Cypress Inc. that leases have been canceled on two state trust land parcels at Epstein's Zorro Ranch near the town of Stanley.Epstein killed himself in a New York jail cell Aug. 10 while awaiting his sex trafficking trial and inquiries continue into whether his alleged crimes were abetted.Garcia Richard says access to inspect a state holding within the private ranch was refused repeatedly in August. She also cites misrepresentations in the lease application process that include appraisements signed by former Epstein girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell.
- OVERDOSE DEATHS-NEW MEXICO
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico health officials say the number of drug overdose deaths in the state increased in 2018, largely due to methamphetamine use.The Health Department reported Wednesday that overall drug overdose deaths among residents rose more than 9% from 491 in 2017 to 537 in 2018.That marked the second largest number of overdose deaths recorded in the state. There were 540 deaths in 2014.Officials say methamphetamines were the driver for last year's overdose death rates. More than one-third of overdose deaths involved methamphetamine in 2018, up from 31 percent in 2017 and 12 percent in 2012.Health Secretary Kathy Kunkel says her agency's work to address drug use is evolving and that the focus will include meth use as well as ongoing efforts aimed at prescription drug abuse.