- VIRUS OUTBREAK-NEW MEXICO
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexicans will have extra time to file and pay their taxes as the state looks to ease the economic hardships brought on by the coronavirus. The number of infections statewide increased Friday to at least 43 with positive tests in the Gallup and Las Cruces areas. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has put limits on public gatherings as restaurants have moved to pick-up or delivery service only and casinos have closed. Prosecutors also are seeking more protections in courtrooms. And the state's largest electric and natural gas utilities announced the shutdown of in-person payment centers after suspending service disconnections and credit collections for nonpayment.
- JAGUARS-HABITAT FIGHT
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A federal appeals court is ordering a New Mexico judge to reconsider a case involving a fight over critical habitat in the U.S. Southwest for the endangered jaguar. Ranchers had sued, arguing that a decision by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to set aside thousands of acres for the cats violated the statute that guides wildlife managers in determining whether certain areas are essential for the conservation of a species. The appellate court this week overturned an earlier ruling that had sided with federal officials. At issue is more than 170 square miles that span two desert mountain ranges along the Arizona-New Mexico border.
SAN DIEGO (AP) — U.S. officials are expected to announce new restrictions on the southern border Friday as they try to halt the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. The U.S. and Mexico have been working on plans to halt much of the cross-border travel without disrupting trade. Officials on both sides of the border say the plan is expected to look much like restrictions already announced on all-but-essential travel and trade between the U.S. and Canada. Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf says, "We want to make sure that cargo continues, trade continues, heath care workers continue to be able to traverse that border. But tourism, some recreational activities and other things" need to stop during this crisis.
RIO RANCHO, N.M. (AP) — A new online project seeks to bring the lessons of the U.S. civil rights movement to students. The Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University unveiled Selma Online this month. It's a free, online teaching platform that aims to transform how the civil rights movement is taught in middle and high schools. It uses footage from the 2014 movie "Selma" about the beating of peaceful demonstrators in Alabama and attempts to show students how events in 1965 shaped voting rights. Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. says the project will engage students who are at home because of the coronavirus.
- ENDANGERED WOLVES-DEATH
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — U.S. wildlife managers are investigating the death of a Mexican gray wolf found last month in Arizona. Officials with the wolf recovery team announced the death Thursday but didn't provide any details about how the endangered animal might have died or exactly where it was found. The latest death follows three others that were reported in January, all of which were in Arizona. A subspecies of the Western gray wolf, Mexican wolves have faced a difficult road to recovery that has been complicated by politics and conflicts with livestock. The latest survey documented at least 163 wolves in the wild in Arizona and New Mexico.
- HUNTERS-PUBLIC RECORDS
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The New Mexico Game and Fish Department has been ordered to release information about hunters as part of two separate court cases. A state district judge is ordering the agency to turn over the names and addresses of those who won big game draws between 2015 and 2019 to a Los Alamos resident who had sought the records. Meanwhile, the state appellate court ordered the agency to turn over the email addresses of individuals who applied for hunting licenses between 2015 and 2016 to former Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn. Officials say the courts concluded that information collected from the public in connection with the administration of the agency's public duties are subject to disclosure.
- TEEN SHOOTING-ALBUQUERQUE
ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — Albuquerque police say a 19-year-old man fatally shot his teenage cousin while retrieving a shotgun he intended to take home for protection amid the coronavirus public health emergency. Authorities say Anthony Padilla told detectives he recently purchased the gun and was storing it at his cousins' home because his mother didn't allow him to have guns at home. Padilla told police he pulled the trigger once and nothing happened so he racked the gun and pulled the trigger again. It fired and struck the 13-year-old boy. Padilla is facing an open count of murder. It wasn't immediately clear if he had an attorney.
- NEW MEXICO ENERGY FUTURE
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico regulators are close to deciding whether to approve an application by the state's largest electric provider to abandon its interest in a major coal-fired power plant in 2022. The Public Regulation Commission plans to issue its order April 1. If commissioners approve it, Public Service Co. of New Mexico can recover investments in the San Juan Generating Station by selling bonds that will be paid off by utility customers. PNM also would impose an energy transition charge on monthly bills to cover the debt service payments. Some commissioners say the final order should include protections for customers.