Latest New Mexico news, sports, business and entertainment at 9:20 p.m. MDT

May 19, 2020

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico regulators say they've started crafting rules aimed at cracking down on methane emissions by the oil and gas industry and expect to make public a draft later this summer. The rules will be the culmination of a dozen meetings, hours of discussion and technical presentations by scientists, environmentalists and experts in the industry. Officials with the state environment and energy departments said during a meeting Tuesday that the goal will be striking a balance between reducing pollution and giving the industry the flexibility it needs to operate efficiently. Industry officials and regulators agreed there's no one-size-fits-all solution.


SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham defended her response to the coronavirus pandemic amid calls by Republican lawmakers who want her to remove enforced business restrictions. In a letter Tuesday, Lujan Grisham responded to 13 state senators who want the governor to provide only safety guidelines. The first-term Democratic governor says demands for an immediate, full-scale reopening of the economy are reckless and only serve to inflame misinformed public opinion and risk further illness and death. Lujan Grisham recently eased an emergency health order and allowed many businesses to reopen to customers at a fraction of capacity. 


GALLUP, N.M. (AP) — A night of revelry before bars and restaurants shut in New Mexico appears to have led to an outbreak in a detox center and homeless shelter in the city of Gallup, on the fringes of the Navajo Nation. The outbreak would combine with the local hospital's ill-fated staffing decisions and its well-intentioned but potentially overly ambitious treatment plans to create a perfect storm. The hospital became overwhelmed and now sends all of its critically ill coronavirus patients to other facilities. Doctors, nurses and hospital executives disagree about who is to blame.


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A national aerospace and defense contractor has confirmed plans to pack up operations in New Mexico and move to Arizona and elsewhere. The Albuquerque Journal reports Raytheon Technologies Corp. will close its office in Albuquerque, where it employs about 200 people. The company says it's looking to streamline its capabilities with pursuits and programs located at other sites around the country. Raytheon's Albuquerque division has worked closely in recent years with the Air Force Research Laboratory at Kirtland Air Force Base to develop laser and microwave weapons. That work will now be transferred to Raytheon Missiles and Defense headquarters in Tucson.


SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico is embracing absentee balloting like never before in advance of the state's June 2 primary. The secretary of state's office on Tuesday released statistics on voting and requests for absentee ballots that indicate a major increase in remote voting by mail compared to the 2016 presidential primary. Voting by absentee ballot outpaced early in-person voting by a ration of nearly 3-1 with two weeks to go before Election Day. Election regulators and Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham are urging eligible voters to cast ballots by mail to reduce the risk of coronavirus transmission.


BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (AP) — A 74-year-old South Korean man has died of apparent suicide at a U.S. immigration detention center in California after advocates said they unsuccessfully sought his release. The advocates had said the man was at high being infected with the coronavirus. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement says Choung Woong Ahn was found unresponsive in his cell Sunday at the Mesa Verde ICE Processing Center in Bakersfield. The preliminary cause of death is self-strangulation but the case remains under investigation. Advocates say Ahn had diabetes, hypertension and heart-related issues. ICE said Ahn became permanent U.S. resident in 1988 and was convicted in 2013 of attempted murder.


ROSWELL, N.M. (AP) — Authorities in New Mexico are searching for a suspect who fled after causing an explosion at a gas station that ended a police pursuit and injured a woman. The Roswell Daily Record reported that Chaves County Deputy Jeremy Parmer declined to release the name of the male suspect. Roswell police say the pursuit began Monday when authorities attempted to stop a stolen truck. The pursuit ended when the driver crashed into the pumps at a Roswell gas station. The resulting explosion left a gas station employee with third-degree burns. The driver fled the scene and remains at large.


LOS ALAMOS, N.M. (AP) — The National Park Service is implementing additional fire restrictions at four park sites in northern New Mexico due to an increasing risk of wildfires in the region. The additional restrictions apply to Bandelier National Monument and Valles Caldera National Preserve near Los Alamos and to Fort Union National Monument near Watrous in Mora County and Pecos National Historical Park in San Miguel County. The restrictions prohibit, among other things, all fires involving campfires, charcoal grills and coal and wood stoves.