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

Jan 9, 2020

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico State University is preparing to host the world's largest conference dedicated to chile peppers. The 2020 New Mexico Chile Conference will run Feb. 3-4 at the Las Cruces Convention Center. The university's Chile Pepper Institute has been organizing the annual conference for about three decades. It draws experts in breeding, processing, pest management and overall sustainability of the industry. Students also will present their pepper-related research during the two-day gathering. Chili has long been one of New Mexico's signature crops. It's the state vegetable and the basis for the official state question: "Red or green?"


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The head of New Mexico's largest Catholic diocese has issued directives aimed at protecting parishioners during flu season. Archbishop John Wester cited the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, saying New Mexico is one of the states experiencing widespread flu outbreaks. He's urging people not to shake hands or hug when they attend Mass. Parishioners also are being asked not to hold hands while reciting the Our Father and those who are ill should stay home to avoid spreading the virus. Wester said in his message to parishioners that the directives will be revoked when the situation improves.


SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Sheriffs across across much of New Mexico are opposed to a legislative proposal from Democratic lawmakers that would allow police or relatives to petition a court to temporarily take away guns from people who might harm themselves or others. Sierra County Sheriff Glenn Hamilton says the New Mexico Sheriffs' Association wants to ensure due process protections remain in place for gun owners and that no compromise has been reached with state lawmakers drafting "red-flag" legislation for the session that begins Jan. 21. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Wednesday threw her political weight behind red-flag proposals. 


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico is suing the state's largest school district over a 2018 incident where a teacher allegedly cut the hair of a Native American student during class on Halloween. The teacher is also accused of asking another student if she was dressed as a "bloody Indian." The ACLU filed the complaint Wednesday. It targets Albuquerque Public Schools, contending the teacher created a hostile learning environment and acted in a discriminatory way. The school district at the time apologized and told parents that the teacher would not return to school. School officials declined to comment on the lawsuit.


SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico congressional candidate and former CIA operative Valerie Plame is wading into the discussion about President Trump's rationale for ordering the killing of a top Iranian general. Plame on Wednesday questioned Trump's justification for ordering the attack and said the lives of thousands of American troops are at risk. She expressed her belief that Trump is willing to ignite a war to boost his reelection chances and warned that White House descriptions of secret intelligence assessments can't be trusted. Plame is running for the Democratic nomination in a northern New Mexico district. Trump says the killing stopped attacks on Americans


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — County officials in New Mexico have appointed a retired lawyer and educator to fill the seat in the state House of Representatives after the former representative passed away Christmas Day. The Albuquerque Journal reported Tuesday that Bernalillo County commissioners appointed Democrat Marian Matthews to replace Rep. Bill Pratt. Officials say Pratt represented House District 27, which includes part of northeast Albuquerque. Officials say Matthews' term will run until Dec. 31, 2020. Matthews' says she was a former prosecutor who represented children removed from their homes and wants to address Albuquerque's violence and crime in her new position.


ROSWELL, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico authorities have started the search for a boy and his father after his mother was found dead in a southeast Roswell home. Authorities say the boy is believed to be with his 32-year-old father Jorge Rico-Ruvira and possibly headed to Mexico. Authorities say the death of 27-year-old Isela Mauricio-Sanchez Tuesday was ruled a homicide. New Mexico State Police officers say the boy is missing and believed to be in danger. Authorities say the pair are believed to be traveling in a 2003 maroon GMC Yukon SUV. Authorities urge anyone with information to contact the Roswell Police Department or call 911.


(Information from: Carlsbad Current-Argus, http://www.currentargus.com/)LOVING, N.M. (AP) — A company is seeking to build a multi-mile conveyor belt system that could bring sand for hydraulic fracturing from West Texas to southeast New Mexico. The Carlsbad Current-Argus reports the Atlas Sand Company is hoping to erect a 16.5-mile covered overland conveyor belt system to carry the sand from an offloading facility in Loving County, Texas, to a proposed facility near Loving, New Mexico. The company is seeking a permanent, 70-foot-wide right of way across federally managed land.