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Latest New Mexico news, sports, business and entertainment at 6:20 a.m. MDT

Jul 30, 2020
  • AP-US-ELECTION-2020-BIDEN-LUJAN-GRISHAM

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Can a Latina running mate help Joe Biden win crossover votes and energize Democrats in November? The answer may rest with New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham. The former congresswoman has led an unflinching response to COVID-19 in the nation's most Hispanic state. Biden has promised to run alongside a woman, and the allure of a Latina candidate is baked into the nation's shifting racial and ethnic demographics as the number of potential Hispanic voters is likely to eclipse the number of eligible Black voters by November. The pandemic has thrust Lujan Grisham into the national spotlight and life-and-death decisions.

  • RACIAL JUSTICE-SPANISH LEGACY

RIO RANCHO, N.M. (AP) — A New Mexico Hispanic activist who demanded the state's largest university remove some Ethnic Studies classes is no longer a leader in the nation's oldest Latino civil rights group. The League of United Latin American Citizens New Mexico Director Fred Baca told The Associated Press that Ralph Arellanes was informed this week he won't be returning as the group's state executive director. Baca says Arellanes then resigned. Arellanes drew anger among LULAC members nationally last week after writing a letter to the president of the University of New Mexico and urging the school to remove any classes that teach that Spanish conquistadors committed genocide against Indigenous populations. 

  • SNAKE PHOBIA-BATTERY

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — A New Mexico man is facing charges after authorities say he became combative with police over a fear of snakes and tried to grab an officer's gun. The Las Cruces Sun-News reports Nathaniel Ryan Ramirez was arrested Saturday following a disturbance at a Las Cruces gas station. According to police, Ramirez complained about snakes and claimed he was bitten. But officers say he had no bite marks. After he was taken into custody, police say Ramirez kicked an officer's vehicle then tried to grab the officer's gun. Ramirez was eventually taken to MountainView Regional Medical Center. It was not known if he had an attorney.

  • AP-US-FEDERAL-EXECUTION-NATIVE-AMERICAN

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — The U.S. government has set an execution date for the only Native American on federal death row. Lezmond Mitchell is scheduled to be put to death in late August. The Navajo man was among the first of a handful of inmates set to be executed after the Trump administration ended an informal 17-year moratorium. Mitchell temporarily was spared by a federal appeals court as his attorneys argued to interview jurors for potential racial bias. The court sided against Mitchell in late April. Mitchell was convicted of the 2001 murder of a Navajo woman and her 9-year-old granddaughter.

  • VIRUS OURTBREAK-NEW MEXICO

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico health officials say the state has 352 new confirmed COVID-19 cases, bring the state's total to 20,136. The state Department of Health said Wednesday that six more people died from the virus and New Mexico's death total is now 632. There are 158 individuals hospitalized in New Mexico for COVID-19. This number may include individuals who tested positive for COVID-19 out of state but are currently hospitalized in the state. In addition, there are 7,817 COVID-19 cases designated as having recovered by the New Mexico Department of Health.

  • RACIAL INJUSTICE-NEW MEXICO

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — U.S. Attorney John C. Anderson is defending a decision to deploy 35 more federal agents to Albuquerque to address violent crime, urging the city's Democratic mayor to embrace the effort. A letter to the mayor Tuesday reiterated that the new agents will augment existing federal task forces in Albuquerque and not target protests. President Donald Trump and U.S. Attorney General William Barr announced last week the new law enforcement deployment, with assurances it would not involve agents in tactical gear like those used to confront protesters in Portland, Oregon.

  • NEW MEXICO ENERGY FUTURE

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico utility regulators have approved a plan for major investments in solar-generated electricity and battery storage to replace a coal-fired power plant. The five-member Public Regulation Commission on Wednesday voted unanimously for a plan that relies almost entirely on renewable energy sources to replace electricity from the San Juan Generating Station as it is retired. Advocates for renewable energy say the investments are in line with goals established by state lawmakers in 2019 for decreasing dependence on fossil fuels and channeling investments toward communities that relied on the coal industry. The city of Farmington and others have been trying to keep San Juan open.

  • ELECTION 2020-HOUSE-NEW MEXICO

RIO RANCHO, N.M. (AP) — U.S. Rep. Xochitl Torres Small of New Mexico has released a new commercial touting her bipartisan work on a COVID-19 relief package. The Las Cruces Democrat unveiled the ad entitled "Accountable" this week that says she worked with Republicans, Democrats and President Donald Trump to get the measure passed. Torres Small says it's now time to hold the federal government and banks accountable for mismanaging relief dollars. Republicans immediately attacked the ad's bipartisan message and said Torres Small voted to impeach Trump. Torres Small faces Republican Yvette Herrell in a closely watched race in southern New Mexico.