Latest New Mexico news, sports, business and entertainment at 4:20 p.m. MDT

May 8, 2021

New Mexico releases list of applicants for marijuana panelSANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico officials have released the names of dozens of people who are vying to be appointed to the state's new Cannabis Regulatory Advisory Committee. The list of 161 people was posted online Friday. State officials said they're committed to ensuring a transparent process as the state prepares for recreational marijuana sales. Under state law, the advisory committee needs to be established no later than Sept. 1. The panel will be charged with advising the Cannabis Control Division on the development of rules covering best practices and the promotion of economic and cultural diversity when it comes to licensing and employment opportunities.


Many Las Cruces municipal employees back to in-person workLAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — Many municipal employees of New Mexico's second most populous city who have worked remotely during the pandemic are back at their regular work sites. Most city workers were deemed essential and worked on site during the pandemic, but up to 40% of the work force had been working remotely. The Las Cruces Sun-News reports that changed in the past week when employees were ordered to return to in-person work under a phase-in approach that has returning employees working on site at least three days a week. The city cited Dona Ana County's declining daily coronavirus case numbers and increasing vaccinations.


High court upholds no-bail release in serial burglary caseSANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The state Supreme Court has upheld a lower court decision allowing the no-bail release of an 18-year-old with no prior criminal history who is accused of a string of residential burglaries in Albuquerque. The Friday ruling rebuffs public prosecutors who say risks to the community can't be mitigated by electronic tracking devices and supervision. Justice Michael Vigil announced the court's decision following oral arguments and brief private deliberations. Prosecutors say community safety should be a higher priority in New Mexico's no-cash bail system. The case against releasing Jesse Mascareno-Haidle is the latest challenge by law enforcement to that system. He has pleaded not guilty.


New Mexico regulatory staff seeks hearing on utility mergerALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The staff of New Mexico's Public Regulation Commission is calling for a hearing on a proposed merger between the state's largest electric utility and a U.S. subsidiary of global energy giant Iberdrola. The staff reiterated their concerns in a filing Friday, saying the hearing should be scheduled for June 1 so regulators can hash out whether the deal is in the public's interest. The filing notes that significant opposition still exists. Some critics have said a proposed agreement between PNM Resources and Connecticut-based Avangrid doesn't go far enough when it come to customer benefits or funds to support economic development in the state.


State agency drops use of messaging app that raised concernsSANTA FE, N.M. (AP) —  The New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department has stopped using a secure messaging app. That's in response to concerns that material might not be preserved for investigations and for disclosure under the state's public records law. The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that Cabinet Secretary Brian Blalock said Thursday the department stopped using the Signal app in late April. Blacklock said CYFD started using Signal early in the pandemic after officials realized they lacked a safe and secure platform for working remotely. Blaclock said CYFD has preserved the records as required but dropped use of Signal to avoid weakening the public's trust in the agency. 


New Mexico bust nets fentanyl, other illicit drugsALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — An Arizona man is facing charges in New Mexico after authorities found a cache of illicit drugs while serving a search warrant. The Bernalillo County Sheriff's Office said Friday that Terry Ingram of Phoenix is accused of violating parole and has been charged with multiple counts of trafficking and possession. Authorities say deputies and members of an FBI task force seized about 18,000 fentanyl pills along with meth, heroin and other substances after getting a tip that Ingram regularly traveled from Arizona to New Mexico with narcotics and would distribute them in the Albuquerque area. Court records indicated an attorney has not yet been appointed for Ingram.


New Mexico to preserve historic sites from Billy the Kid eraLINCOLN, N.M. (AP) — A major preservation project is underway in southern New Mexico. The state Department of Cultural Affairs says the work is focusing on an area that was once the stomping grounds of Billy the Kid and Sheriff Pat Garrett. The Lincoln Historic Site is home to some of the most significant Territorial Period structures in the state, many of which are under the protection of New Mexico Historic Sites. One of the six buildings included in the project is the Lincoln County Courthouse, best known as the location of Billy the Kid's final escape in April 1881. The total cost for the work is $395,000.


Xcel Energy offers solar option for New Mexico customersROSWELL, N.M. (AP) — Xcel Energy says customers in New Mexico now have the option to purchase electricity from a new solar power plant near Clovis. A typical residential customer would pay about $10.80 a month more to participate in the utility's solar program. The charge includes the cost of the energy delivered from the solar facility, the cost to integrate that energy into the grid and the cost to market and administer the program. Customers also would get a credit for the avoided energy costs from using traditional fossil fuels. Xcel has a goal to serve customers with 100% carbon-free electricity by 2050.