- HAND SANITIZER DEATHS-NEW MEXICO
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico health officials say three people have died, three others are in critical condition and one person is permanently blind after apparently drinking hand sanitizer that contained methanol. The Department of Health said Friday that the cases were reported to the state poison control center. The first case came in early May. The others have occurred since May 29. The health department confirmed that the cases were related to alcoholism. Authorities have noted that people with substance abuse issues, particularly within the homeless community, have been known to use sanitizer and other products as a substitute for alcohol.
- VIRUS OUTBREAK-NEW MEXICO
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico officials say they are heartbroken but that the coronavirus pandemic has forced them to cancel this year's state fair. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham raised concerns Thursday about a recent uptick in COVID-19 infections in the state, indicating that it might be no-go for funnel cakes, turkey legs and the rest of the pageantry that makes up the annual September spectacle. The fair's general manager said Friday in a video message that it was a difficult decision. Other large events including the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, the Gathering of Nations Powwow and Santa Fe's summer art markets also have been canceled.
- BORDER WALL-LAWSUITS
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A federal appeals court has ruled against the Trump administration in its transfer of military money to build sections of the U.S. border wall with Mexico. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Friday that diverting $2.5 from military construction projects to build the wall illegally sidesteps Congress, which gets to decide how to use the funds. The ruling is the latest twist in a legal battle that has largely gone Trump's way. Last year, the Supreme Court allowed the $2.5 billion to be spent while the litigation continued, blunting the impact of the latest appeals court action.
- LUJAN GRISHAM-CLEMENCY
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has granted clemency for 19 people convicted of crimes in the state. The governor's office announced Friday the first pardons of her administration and said the majority of those receiving clemency had been convicted of a non-violent offense. Lujan Grisham's predecessor, Republican Gov. Susana Martinez, pardoned a total of just three people during her term. Those receiving clemency by Lujan Grisham had convictions of forgery, drug possession, burglary, larceny, issuing a worthless check and conspiracy, among others. The office says all of the offenses were at least a decade old.
- INVASIVE SPECIES-BILINGUAL CAMPAIGN
RIO RANCHO, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico has erected its first-ever bilingual Spanish-English billboards at two lakes around invasive species. The state Department of Game and Fish announced this month officials posted two billboards at Elephant Butte Lake and a third at Caballo Lake. The signs inform boaters in English and Spanish to "clean, drain and dry" their watercraft and that watercraft needs an inspection when encountering an open inspection station. Inspecting watercraft is the first defense against accidentally transporting aquatic invasive species like zebra and quagga mussels into New Mexico waters. The bilingual signs are funded by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.
- VIRUS OUTBREAK-NEW MEXICO
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Efforts to open more of New Mexico's economy are on hold because of an uptick in COVID-19 cases in recent days. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said during a briefing Thursday that there's a false sense of security that has developed among Americans and that people are not being vigilant about staying home, wearing masks when they go out and keeping their distance from others. She blamed lax social behaviors for the recent increase in New Mexico and noted the risks presented by the exponential growth in infections in neighboring Arizona and Texas. New Mexico has nearly 11,200 cases.
UPHAM, N.M. (AP) — Virgin Galactic is celebrating the second successful glide flight of its spaceship over Spaceport America in southern New Mexico. The space tourism company announced the completion of the test flight Thursday. Unlike the first glide test in early May, the pilots flew at higher speeds to help evaluate the ship's systems and performance in preparation for the next stage of testing. That will involve rocket-powered flights. While the company is in the midst of final testing and making modifications to the customer cabin, officials have yet to offer a date for the start of commercial flights.
- RACIAL INJUSTICE-COUNCILOR
RIO RANCHO, N.M. (AP) — One of Albuquerque's most liberal city councilors who has made police reform part of his agenda is facing calls to resign over his 2004 shooting of a Black man as a Metropolitan Washington, D.C., police officer. The left-leaning ProgressNow New Mexico demanded Thursday that Pat Davis step down from his council seat and other positions. The call came following a blog post by former Albuquerque Chief Public Safety Officer Pete Dinelli that detailed a 2006 federal lawsuit filed by the African American man that Davis shot. Davis, who is white, dismissed those calls and said the man he shot later pleaded guilty to firearms charges.