- VIRUS OUTBREAK-NEW MEXICO
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico hospitals face a capacity crunch due the coronavirus outbreak so the state on Friday opened an alternate care facility for COVID-19 patients in a renovated former hospital in Albuquerque. The state Department of Health said the Gibson Medical Center will serve adults who don't require acute care. The facility won't have an emergency hospital, intensive care unit or surgical suite. It initially will provide 25 beds for patients needing nursing care and an additional 25 beds for isolation or quarantine. Capacity can be expanded to up to 180 beds. The department said the facility will alleviate some of what it called "the immense pressure" now taxing hospitals in the state.
- SPACE COMMAND-NEW MEXICO
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The city of Albuquerque has announced that it is being considered as a place to permanently locate the U.S. Space Command, the latest of 11 unified command under the U.S. Department of Defense. The U.S. Air Force narrowed down its final options to Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque and bases in Florida, Nebraska, Alabama and Texas. Its current temporary headquarters at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado is also a finalist. The Department of Defense said Albuquerque was one of 31 cities originally considered. A final decision is expected in January after the department conducts virtual and in-person site surveys.
- POLICE SHOOTING-LOS LUNAS
LOS LUNAS, N.M. (AP) — The New Mexico State Police says an officer fatally shot a man allegedly trying to grab an officer's gun during an encounter following a chase. A State Police statement said the incident occurred Thursday in Los Lunas on the Manzano Expressway. The statement said the shooting occurred a short time after a State Police officer tried to conduct a traffic stop on the expressway, prompting a pursuit that a supervisor terminated due to road conditions and traffic. The statement said two officers minutes later were sent to a location where a man reportedly was trying to stop traffic and that the man was shot while resisting arrest. The man's identity was not released immediately.
BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — U.S. officials say proposed land conservation purchases in dozens of states would preserve natural areas and increase access to tourist destinations. The announcement Friday comes as lawmakers from both parties push back on Trump administration restrictions on how the money can be spent. The $125 million in congressionally authorized spending would buy up private property inside the boundaries of places including Alaska's Glacier Bay National Park, Kentucky's Green River National Wildlife Refuge and Florida's Everglades region. Some senators are objecting to a recent order from U.S. Interior Secretary David Bernhardt that empowers local and state officials to block the purchases.
- WITNESS TESTIMONY STANDARD
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The New Mexico Supreme Court on Thursday upheld a man's first-degree murder convictions in the 2014 killings of two Santa Fe teens as the justices set a new standard for courts to consider eyewitness testimony identifying a criminal suspect. The justices upheld Ricardo Martinez's convictions in the 2014 shooting deaths of 18-year-old Venancio Cisneros and Cisneros' 13-year-old girlfriend, who the ruling identified only by initials. The new standard precludes admission of eyewitness identifications produced by "unnecessarily suggestive" police procedures. The ruling said the eyewitness testimony was properly admitted at trial both under the newly adopted state standard and a federal rule it replaced.
- COLORADO-HUMAN REMAINS FOUND
DENVER (AP) — A 26-year-old man sought by police after the remains of three people were found near a rural town in southern Colorado was arrested Thursday at a motel in New Mexico. The Colorado Bureau of Investigation says Adre Jordan Baroz was arrested without incident in Gallup and is facing charges of first-degree homicide, first-degree assault and second-degree kidnapping. His warrant remains sealed, and no additional information was available Thursday. Searches last week uncovered the skeletal remains of three people on two properties near Los Sauces, a tiny community more than 200 miles south of Denver. The remains haven't been identified.
- OIL WELL-CLEANUP
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The New Mexico State Land Office that oversees thousands of oil and natural gas development leases in a major U.S. petroleum-production basin is expanding environmental enforcement efforts to ensure that oilfield sites get cleaned up and restored as leases expire. At an online news conference Thursday, the agency announced enhanced reviews at oil-lease sites that pose immediate environmental concerns. Officials say the initiative already has resulted in completed environmental reclamation efforts at sites spanning roughly 11 square miles (28 square kilometers), and the plugging of nine oil wells within the Permian Basin in southeastern New Mexico.
SAN DIEGO (AP) — U.S. border authorities stopped people entering the country illegally from Mexico more than 69,000 times in October, the sixth straight monthly increase and the highest level since July 2019. Mark Morgan, acting Customs and Border Protection commissioner, said deteriorating economic conditions were driving more people to come to the United States. The percentage of people caught who had tried crossing the border at least once in the previous year was 37% for those expelled from March through September. The numbers offer a likely scenario of what President-elect Joe Biden will inherit upon taking office in January.