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

Jan 10, 2020

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Health officials in New Mexico have confirmed the first death of a child due to the flu this season. The state Health Department says the 1-year-old boy was from Roosevelt County. Officials have recorded a total of 52 pneumonia and flu-related deaths since the start of the season in October. The health department is warning that flu is still spreading in all regions of the state and that peak activity hasn't been reached. The agency says this season is already unusual for how early the illness became widespread and vaccinations are recommended.


SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Legislators will consider changes to the state's sex offender registration policies in response to revelations that deceased financier Jeffrey Epstein was allowed to avoid registering locally as a sex offender following a guilty plea a decade ago in Florida. Epstein was accused of abusing young women at his New Mexico ranch before his death last year. A Democratic state representative says he has filed a bill that would require people who are registered as sex offenders in another state or U.S. territory to also register in New Mexico if they spend 20 days in the state during a calendar year. 


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Members of an Iranian American group in New Mexico say state Homeland Security recently asked them if they have seen any suspicious activities. Iranian Cultural Society of New Mexico President Azadeh Mehrnoush says the agency asked the group to report unusual episodes to authorities amid tensions between the U.S. and Iran. The Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management said they wanted to make sure they were engaged with community representatives in case any issues develop around threats or hate crimes. But Mehrnoush says she felt the email was an attempt to seek information about actions by Iranian Americans.


LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — The governor of New Mexico has hosted about 30 executives in the aerospace industry at a closed-door summit to reportedly collaborate on strategies promoting business development in the state. Las Cruces Sun-News reported Thursday that Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham spoke Wednesday to leaders from Spaceport America, Virgin Galactic and multiple laboratories and businesses at the Space Valley Summit held at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces. Officials say technical experts and industry leaders planned to use the four-hour summit to discuss and refine concepts and strategies that develop the state's aerospace economy.


MORUYA, Australia (AP) — The U.S., Canada and New Zealand have sent hundreds of firefighters to Australia to help local crews battle its deadly wildfires. The firefighters have come as part of a reciprocal deal which has previously seen Australians posted in North America. Many of the firefighters have specialized skills such as managing air operations or logistics. The visiting firefighters say there have been challenges and surprises since they arrived, including figuring out how to pronounce Australian place names that can be a mouthful.


COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — A Colorado judge has sentenced a man to 74 years in prison for the random shooting death of a U.S. Army officer in 2018. The judge said in handing down the sentence on Friday that Gilberto Chavez Jr. had killed 28-year-old Capt. Daniel Chamberlain Lehman for "fun." Lehman, an officer at Fort Carson from Santa Fe, New Mexico, was shot in downtown Colorado Springs while walking home in September 2018. Officials say Chavez was under the influence of drugs and bragged about the shooting afterward. A jury rejected Chavez's self-defense argument and convicted him of second-degree murder.


SOCORRO, N.M. (AP) — Lou Ferrigno, the actor in the CBS television series "The Incredible Hulk," is slated to become a sheriff's deputy in New Mexico.  Socorro County Sheriff William Armijo is scheduled to deputize Ferrigno next week at a special ceremony. Officials say Ferrigno will bring decades of law enforcement experience to the department and be instrumental in recruiting for the department and the county. The 68-year-old Ferrigno has served as a reserve sheriff's deputy in Los Angeles County and a member of the volunteer sheriff posse in Maricopa County, Arizona. Ferrigno played the Hulk in the 1970s television series. 


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The agency that oversees the United States' nuclear arsenal says it doesn't need to do a broad environmental review of a proposal that calls for ramping up production of plutonium triggers at federal installations in New Mexico and South Carolina. A key component of every nuclear weapon, most of the plutonium cores in the stockpile were produced in the 1970s and 1980s. The National Nuclear Security Administration has released a supplemental analysis related to the production project, saying the determination was made after reviewing documentation and public comments.  Nuclear watchdogs and other critics argue that the decision skirts requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act.