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

Mar 26, 2020
  • VIRUS OUTBREAK-NEW MEXICO

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico's has its first coronavirus death. Health officials said Wednesday the man in his late 70s was hospitalized in Artesia on Sunday and died the same day. The state Health Department said he had multiple underlying health issues and his condition deteriorated rapidly. Infections have climbed to 112 in the state, with schools shut down and a stay-at-home order in effect. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham says the death marks a tragic day and urged residents to take precautions to limit the spread of the virus. She also issued two new orders designed to address the shortage of protection equipment for health care workers. 

  • MARIJUANA-NEW MEXICO-ISRAEL

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A New Mexico medical marijuana company has begun exporting cannabis-based medicine to Israel. The Albuquerque Journal reports Ultra Health spokeswoman Marissa Novel says the company started exporting earlier this month through a partnership with Israeli pharmaceutical group Panaxai. The medicine was created using hemp grown in Bernalillo County. Ultra Health is believed to be one of the first U.S. companies to export medical marijuana to Israel. Ultra Health CEO and president Duke Rodriguez says New Mexico officials played a crucial role in getting the export effort started.

  • CARLSBAD CAVERNS-SHOOTING

CARLSBAD, N.M. (AP) — Authorities say a Colorado man was shot and killed near Carlsbad Caverns National Park following a physical altercation with a National Parks Ranger. The Carlsbad Current-Argus reports Eddy County Sheriff Mark Cage said Wednesday that Charles Gage Lorentz was shot by the ranger after being stopped for erratic driving on Saturday. Eddy County Sheriff's Office spokesman Capt. Matt Hutchinson says he was shot during the altercation that ensued and pronounced deceased at the scene by the Office of the Medical Investigation. The ranger, whose name was not released by officials, was not injured.

  • BACKYARD SHOOTING

HOBBS, N.M. (AP) — A 19-year-old facing charges for killing three people at a southeastern New Mexico backyard party is moving closer to trial. The Hobbs News-Sun reports Bishop Henderson III is scheduled this week to face a judge for a preliminary hearing in the deaths of 18-year-old Khalil Carter and 24-year-old Kristal Avena, both of Hobbs, and 22-year-old Lamar Lee Kane Jr. of Washington, D.C. Four others were taken to a hospital with gunshot wounds. Hobbs police say the three were killed when Henderson opened fire at a Hobbs party in August. Henderson's defense attorney says the backyard attack began as a drive-by shooting. 

  • SOLAR DIRECT PROJECT

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico utility regulators have approved a program that will allow local governments and large businesses to subscribe to a universal solar field to be built by the state's largest electric provider. Public Service Co. of New Mexico says the cities and businesses can make a 15-year commitment to match their energy use to the solar field's output. The utility says the arrangement will help cities and businesses meet their sustainability targets. The 50-megawatt facility will be built on Jicarilla Apache Nation land in northern New Mexico. Officials say it will be the first tribally owned, utility-scale solar project in the nation.

  • NEW MEXICAN-LAYOFFS

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The Santa Fe New Mexican has announced nearly a dozen layoffs, salary reductions and a shortened workweek amid an economic downturn caused by the spread of COVID-19. Publisher Tom Cross said Tuesday the moves are intended to keep the family-owned newspaper, its website and other operations as healthy as possible while the media outlet deals with a decline in advertisement. Under the plan, New Mexican managers will see reduced salaries and staff will have reductions in hours worked. The newspaper will publish seven days a week and will continue its commercial printing operations. The newspaper has been in business since 1849.

  • MOBILE APPS-PRIVACY

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A U.S. district judge has rejected an effort to derail New Mexico's lawsuit against Twitter, Google and other companies that develop and market mobile gaming apps for children. The judge concluded in a ruling Tuesday that the court has jurisdiction over the case, clearing the way for it to proceed. New Mexico's top prosecutor filed the lawsuit in 2018, alleging that the mobile apps violated state and federal laws by collecting personal information that could compromise privacy. The case was initiated as public concerns escalated about whether information on online interests, browsing and buying habits were slipping into the hands of data brokers without their consent.

  • ELECTION 2020-EMBATTLED LAWMAKER

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico Rep. Patricia Roybal Caballero, who has been dogged by allegations that she doesn't live in the state, is facing criticism for promoting a Texas cafe during coronavirus restrictions. The Albuquerque Democrat recently plugged on her personal Facebook page the El Paso-based Desert Moon Cafe and its menu. She also has publicized the cafe's move to curbside delivery in the Texas city.