- Wildfires put Republican meteorologist candidate in hot seat
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Political clashes about the role of climate change in catastrophic West Coast infernos are spilling into a U.S. Senate race in New Mexico, where a Republican meteorologist is campaigning for an open seat. U.S. Congressman and Democratic Senate nominee Ben Ray Luján accused rival Mark Ronchetti on Monday of engaging in dangerous climate denialism. Ronchetti responded Monday with an acknowledgement that climate change needs to be addressed and that both "human activity" and drought are responsible for the vicious wildfires. In a visit to California, Trump ignored the scientific consensus that climate change is playing a central role in historic West Coast wildfires.
- Plan to remove colonialism monuments in Santa Fe stalls
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The fate of monuments linked to Spanish colonialism and violence against Native Americans in Santa Fe remains unclear months after the city's mayor called for their removal. The Santa Fe New Mexican reports a proposed Truth and Reconciliation Commission has yet to form and two monuments still stand but are surrounded by plywood. Mayor Alan Webber said in a statement the City Attorney's Office is reviewing unspecified "legal issues" involved with the statues and monuments. Earlier this year, a statue of Spanish conquistador Don Diego de Vargas was taken down on the eve of a planned protest over fears it would spark violence.
- New Mexico taps federal funds to install ballot drop boxes
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico is prepared to spend millions of dollars in federal recovery funds to install drop boxes for absentee ballots as election regulators encourage voters to participate in the general election in ways that minimize human contact and reduce the risks of COVID-19 transmission. The secretary of state's office spokesman Alex Curtas on Monday said the agency is encouraging the state's 33 counties to install ballot drop boxes while offering reimbursements from a $6 million reserve of federal funds that also pay for personal protective equipment and publicity about voting. Many counties — though not all — have shown interest in drop boxes.
- 3 Mexican wolf pups cross-fostered into an Arizona pack
PINETOP, Ariz. (AP) — Game and Fish Department biologists say three Mexican wolf pups have successfully been cross-fostered into a pack in northeastern Arizona. They say biologists used remote trail cameras on Aug. 26 to document eight Mexican wolf pups in the Hoodoo Pack in the Apache Sitgreaves National Forest. In April, Arizona Game and Fish and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service cross-fostered four genetically valuable wolf pups into the Hoodoo Pack from a litter in captivity at the Sedgwick Zoo in Wichita, Kansas. After cross-fostering was completed, there were five wild Mexican wolf pups and four cross-fostered pups in the litter. Biologists will begin fall trapping efforts later this month to document cross-fostered wolves that have survived.
- New Mexico reports 81 new confirmed COVID-19 cases
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico health officials have announced 81 new confirmed COVID-19 cases. State officials said Monday that the new cases bring New Mexico's total to 26,842. Officials also reported no new deaths related to the novel coronavirus. The number of deaths of New Mexico residents related to COVID-19 remains at 823. there are 60 individuals hospitalized in New Mexico for the virus. This number may include individuals who tested positive for COVID-19 out of state but are currently hospitalized in New Mexico. There are 14,470 cases designated as having recovered by the New Mexico Department of Health.
- American Airlines holding off decision to cut some flights
FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — American Airlines is holding off on its decision to cut flights to Stillwater, Oklahoma, and Roswell, New Mexico. But the airline is warning that slumping demand and profitability in some markets are forcing the company to consider "difficult decisions to right-size our airline." The Fort Worth, Texas-based airline announced last month it was planning to drop flights to 15 smaller U.S. cities when a federal requirement to serve those communities ends. But the company said in a statement Monday they are deferring its decision on Roswell and Stillwater while conversations are ongoing with local officials.
- Luján: Virus bill may keep me away from more Senate debates
RIO RANCHO, N.M. (AP) — Democratic U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján says work on a potential COVID-19 relief bill may keep him away from an early October U.S. Senate debate against Republican challenger Mark Ronchetti. Luján's campaign told The Associated Press on Sunday that his work in Congress to pass a coronavirus relief package and rescue the U.S. Postal Service may prevent him from joining a scheduled October 5th debate on KOB-TV. Luján has agreed to two debates with Ronchetti but has not agreed to the KOB-TV debate. The station said it would still hold the debate with an empty podium for Luján. Ronchetti has accused Luján of hiding.
- Lordsburg firefighters resign en masse amid pay dispute
LORDSBURG, N.M. (AP) — Firefighters in a southwestern New Mexico city have resigned en masse following a pay dispute with the officials. The Las Cruces Sun-News reports the entire volunteer department of Lordsburg resigned last week amid a fight over how the city was paying the department. The city said Wednesday that the firefighters were required to fill out W-4 forms to report stipends paid to them by the city. That's a change from previous practice in which the chief would pay them and seek reimbursement from the city. Lordsburg Finance Officer Martha Salas has said that previous practice did not conform with the law.