- Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham 'the virus is winning'
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham is warning that an unprecedented surge in COVID-19 infections is likely to strain the state's health care system as confirmed cases set a new one-day record at 672. State health official said that intensive care units are full at two major hospitals out of three in Albuquerque as infections accelerate and that the trend could end up constraining other medial services. Lujan Grisham has already limited gatherings to five people or less, reduced hotel capacities and a set 10 p.m. closing time for restaurants. Health officials responded in one week to 611 reports of infections at businesses and other institutions.
- Black scholars form effort to fight trolls, disinformation
RIO RANCHO, N.M. (AP) — A group of U.S. Black scholars, activists and writers has launched a new project to combat misleading information online around voting, reparations and immigration. The recently launched National Black Cultural Information Trust seeks to counter fake social media accounts and Twitter trolls who often discourage Black voters from participating in elections. Project founder Jessica Ann Mitchell Aiwuyor says some dubious accounts behind the social media American Descendants of Slavery movement tell Black voters to skip the presidential election. She says some accounts also use the movement's ADOS hashtag to flame divisions between African Americans and Black immigrants.
- 3 key Trump policies teed up for Supreme Court action
WASHINGTON (AP) — Controversial Trump administration policies on the census, asylum seekers and the border wall, held illegal by lower courts, are on the Supreme Court's agenda Friday. The most pressing case before the justices when they meet privately by telephone is the administration's appeal to be allowed to exclude people living in the U.S. illegally from the census, which will be used to allocate seats in the House of Representatives. The administration wants the court to hear arguments in December and decide the case before Trump's Jan. 10 deadline to send the figures to Congress. The justices could reveal their plans as early as Friday.
- Gov's chief of staff on leave to aid Biden transition team
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham's chief of staff John Bingaman has taken a leave of absence to help with Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden's transition team. Lujan Grisham was recently named as one of the co-chairs of Biden's transition committee and asked Bingaman to assist with the potential transition. A spokeswoman for Lujan Grisham, Nora Meyers Sackett, says Bingaman took a leave of absence starting last week because his duties relevant to the Biden campaign are not within the scope of state government affairs. Bingaman has been the governor's chief of staff since she took office in Jan. 2019.
- New Mexico utility, tribe to break ground on solar farm
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico's largest electric utility is breaking ground on a 50-megawatt solar field that will provide power to large users that have signed on to a new program officials hope will serve as a cost-effective model for boosting access to renewable energy. Officials said Thursday the third-largest solar project on tribal land in the U.S.will be capable of producing enough electricity to power the equivalent of about 16,000 average homes for a year. Tribal officials gathered on the Jicarilla Apache Nation in northern New Mexico for a ceremony ahead of the groundbreaking.
- Close congressional race in southern New Mexico draws eyes
RUIDOSO, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico is on the verge of electing the nation's largest U.S. House delegation made up entirely of women of color, but the close race the state's southern district is grabbing the most attention. Democratic U.S. Rep. Xochitl Torres Small is seeking to hold her traditionally GOP-leaning seat against Republican challenger Yvette Herrell in a rematch of 2018 that will be decided by turnout. Meanwhile, Democratic U.S. Rep. Deb Haaland, one of the nation's first Native American females in Congress, is facing re-election against Republican challenger Michelle Garcia Holmes for the Albuquerque seat. Democrat Teresa Leger Fernandez and Republican Alexis Johnson are vying to represent New Mexico's Democratic-leaning northern district.
- Navajo Nation lowering flags to honor late tribal president
WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. (AP) — All flags on the Navajo Nation will be flown at half-staff through Monday in honor of former tribal President Thomas Atcitty. The 86-year-old Atcitty died Sunday in New Mexico. Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez and Vice President Myron Lizer issued the proclamation for the flag lowering that is set to begin Friday morning. Atcitty was the tribe's vice president from 1995-1998 and served as president for five months in 1998. He also served seven terms as a New Mexico state representative from 1980-1994. From 1972-1977, Atcitty was the president of Navajo Community College, the first tribal college on a Native American reservation. It later became Diné College. The Navajo Nation extends into parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah.
- Navajo Nation reports 31 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths
WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. (AP) — Navajo Nation health officials on Thursday reported 31 new confirmed cases of COVID-19, but no deaths for the second consecutive day. The latest figures bring the total number of cases to 10,819 including 14 delayed reported cases. The known death toll remained at 571. Tribal health officials say 114,515 people on the vast reservation that covers parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah have been tested for COVID-19 since the pandemic started and 7,360 have recovered. A shelter-in-place order, mask mandate, daily curfews and weekend lockdowns remain in effect on the Navajo Nation. Most people experience mild or moderate symptoms with the coronavirus, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks.