- New Mexico to preserve historic sites from Billy the Kid era
LINCOLN, 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 customers
ROSWELL, 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.
- Navajo Nation reports no COVID deaths for 4th time in 5 days
WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. (AP) — The Navajo Nation on Thursday reported 13 new confirmed COVID-19 cases, but no deaths for the fourth time in the last five days. Tribal health officials say the total number of cases since the pandemic began more than a year ago now is 30,565 on the vast reservation that covers parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah. The known death toll remained at 1,282. Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez said more than half of the reservation's adult population has been vaccinated, but people still need to stay home as much as possible, wear masks and avoid large gatherings.
- Persistent drought makes New Mexico parks shut boat ramps
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico's reservoirs are shrinking because of a persistent drought, and that has forced the State Parks Division to close boat ramps throughout the state. Officials said Thursday water levels at many state park lakes are extremely low and ramp closures are in place to address public safety concerns and to prevent property damage during the launching and loading of boats. People are still allowed to hand launch paddle craft or small vessels from the shorelines. The latest drought map shows much of the southwestern U.S. mired by the worst categories of drought, including Mew Mexico.
- Albuquerque police: No gun brought onto middle school campus
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Police in Albuquerque say a report that a student was seen entering a middle school with a gun has proved to be inaccurate. The Tony Hillerman Middle School was evacuated classroom by classroom Thursday morning while police canvassed the campus. Police say no weapon was found and it's been determined that a gun was not brought to school. According to police, three students were speaking in a courtyard when one student pointed a cell phone at the others as though he was holding a gun. A teacher reportedly saw the encounter and believed she saw the student holding a gun. The school went on lockdown and police from several agencies responded.
- New Mexico proposes more rules to curb oil and gas emissions
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Oilfield equipment that emits smog-causing pollution would be targeted by New Mexico environmental regulators under a new proposed rule. The state Environment Department released the proposal Thursday, marking the next step in a process that started nearly two years ago to curb emissions across the oil and natural gas sector. State oil and gas regulators adopted separate rules earlier this year to limit venting and flaring as a way to reduce methane pollution. New Mexico Environment Secretary James Kenney touted the rules as the most comprehensive in the U.S. New Mexico is home to part of the Permian Basin — one of the world's most productive oilfields.
- Public land agencies begin implementing fire restrictions
SPRINGERVILLE, Ariz. (AP) — Public land management agencies in Arizona are beginning to impose fire restrictions due to hot and dry weather conditions and an increase in fires caused by people. The Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests announced that campfire and smoking restrictions take effect Friday. The forests' restrictions include allowing campfires only in designated campgrounds. Meanwhile, the state Department of Forestry and Fire Management it is prohibiting campfires and implementing other so-called Stage One restrictions beginning Friday on land owned and managed by the state in Apache and Navajo counties. Lands covered by the state's restrictions include state parks, state trust lands and wildlife areas outside incorporated municipalities.
- Biologists find disease-causing fungus on New Mexico bats
ROSWELL, N.M. (AP) — Federal land managers say a disease-causing fungus has been found on hibernating bats in two eastern New Mexico caves. The fungus that causes white-nose syndrome also was found on the walls of the caves during routine surveillance conducted last month in De Baca and Lincoln counties. The Bureau of Land Management says a team of biologists observed a white powdery growth consistent with the fungus on numerous bats. Laboratory testing confirmed their suspicions. White-nose syndrome has been confirmed in 36 states, including neighboring Texas and Oklahoma, and several Canadian provinces.