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

Feb 11, 2020
  • Oil from US government leases tops 1 billion barrels in 2019

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — U.S. officials say oil production from federally-managed lands and waters topped a record 1 billion barrels last year. That's up more than 13 percent from 2018 as shorter permitting times and technological advances drive development in new areas. The Associated Press obtained the figures in advance of a planned Tuesday announcement by the Department of Interior. Critics charge that the gains being made by energy companies come at the expense of the environment, with fewer safeguards to protect the land and wildlife from harm. Oil production royalties collected by the government increased to $7.5 billion in 2019.

  • Proposal seeks to draw tourists to historic Hispanic trail

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A New Mexico proposal seeks to draw tourists to a historic Hispanic and Native American trail that once linked early Spanish settlers from Mexico City to an area just north of Santa Fe. A bill sponsored by state Rep. Andrés Romero would erect landmarks from Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo to southern New Mexico connected to a route that linked the regions for hundreds of years. The El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro is part of the U.S. National Park Service's National Trails system. Still, it lacks many markers and infrastructure to make it a tourist attraction in New Mexico. 

  • WNMU students to provide income tax filing assistance

SILVER CITY, N.M. (AP) — Western New Mexico University students are set to offer tax help to seniors and low-income families in the southwest corner of the state. The school announced the students this week will begin the local Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program. The free service is for people whose household income is $56,000 or less and for those who are 65 years or older. The volunteers — university business and accounting students by day — are certified by the Internal Revenue Service and are trained to help taxpayers identify tax credits.

  • Report: Man impersonated a deputy to an undercover officer

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A New Mexico man is facing charges after authorities say he tried to impersonate a sheriff's deputy to an undercover police officer. A criminal complaint said Daniel Mitchem was arrested Saturday following a high-speed chase in Albuquerque. According to police, the 46-year-old Mitchem had approached an undercover detective during an auto theft operation and told the officer he was a sheriff's deputy and showed a gun. The complaint said that when the detective said he was an officer, Mitchem fled in his Chevy Tahoe. Police say he was eventually arrested and charged with impersonating a peace officer and felon in possession of a firearm.

  • Trump campaigns as a 2nd Amendment warrior

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump is fully embracing the mantle of gun rights champion as he makes his pitch for reelection. In a campaign appearance Monday night in New Hampshire, Trump framed the right to bear arms as being as precious as the rights to privacy, free speech and religious freedom. It's a stark turn from earlier moments in his presidency when he toyed with pushing Congress to enact stricter gun laws after mass shootings. Trump's campaign advisers believe the Republican president can draw a sharp contrast on gun rights with the eventual Democratic presidential nominee. 

  • Trump pays tribute to 2 soldiers killed in Afghanistan

DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del. (AP) — President Donald Trump traveled Monday night to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware to pay respects to two U.S. soldiers killed Saturday in Afghanistan when a soldier dressed in an Afghan army uniform opened fire with a machine gun. The Defense Department has identified the dead American soldiers as 28-year-old Sgt. Javier Jaguar Gutierrez and 28-year-old Sgt. Antonio Rey Rodriguez. Trump saluted and Vice President Mike Pence placed his hand over his heart as transfer cases containing the remains were carried out of a plane and transferred to a transport vehicle.

  • Lawmakers advance package of criminal justice initiatives

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The New Mexico House has endorsed a bill that combines penalty enhancements for felonies involving firearms with helping emergency first responders manage stress and funding local law enforcement to pursue community policing strategies. The bipartisan proposal was co-sponsored by Albuquerque-based legislators including Republican Rep. Bill Rehm and Democratic Reps. Dayan Hochman-Vigil and Marian Matthews. New Mexico had the nation's second-highest violent crime rate and its highest property crime rate in 2018, according to federal crime statistics released last year.

  • New Mexico lawmakers begin push for tuition-free college

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Adults who return to school to pursue professional certificates and two-year degrees are getting top priority under a proposal to provide free tuition to in-state students at New Mexico public colleges and universities. A panel of House legislators advanced a bill Monday that fulfills a pledge by Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham. The approach would begin after existing state scholarships are used up and before federal grants and military aid kick in. That should allow students to stretch public funding to pay for rent, food and clothing.