SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The Federal Communications Commission has granted broadcast licenses to dozens of rural tribal governments. The commission said Friday an initial 154 licenses of 2.5 gigahertz were awarded to Native American communities. That includes about 20 in New Mexico and Arizona. The spectrum had long been reserved for educational institutions. Tribes fought to be first in line for a new batch of licenses for the wireless technology that is ideal for sending high-speed internet wirelessly. Around 400 tribes applied for the permits as internet access becomes crucial for health and education during the coronavirus pandemic.
- STATE INVESTMENT LAWSUIT-CHALLENGE
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The New Mexico Supreme Court has rejected a settlement challenge in a lawsuit over an alleged "pay-to-play" scheme dating back to the administration of Democratic Gov. Bill Richardson. The Santa Fe New Mexican reported that former state Educational Retirement Board Investment Chief Frank Foy filed the lawsuit in 2008, claiming the state lost about $90 million in bad investment deals. Neither Richardson nor any member of his administration was charged with a crime. Foy's attorney Victor Marshall opposed the settlement agreement, appealed the lower court ruling and then challenged the denied appeal. Foy can now appeal the case the U.S. Supreme Court. Marshall said he was not able to comment.
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Joe Biden has said the quiet part out loud on climate change. The Democratic presidential candidate spelled out for voters in Thursday's final debate that staving off the worst of global warming will require a "transition away" from the oil and gas industry over time. It's the same thing Biden has said in written climate plans. But the GOP has moved quickly to use Biden's statement against Democrats in down-ticket races. While polls show Americans are concerned about climate change, it's not clear if Biden's explicitness on the causes — oil, gas and coal — will hurt him Nov. 3.
- VIRUS OUTBREAK-NEW MEXICO
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — One of the oldest Roman Catholic dioceses in the United States will again be foregoing Sunday Mass indefinitely as New Mexico marks its latest surge of COVID-19 cases. Archbishop John C. Wester is directing churches within the northern New Mexico diocese to cease regular Mass schedules after Sunday until further notice. He's encouraging Masses to be streamed via the internet or recorded so that they may be accessed by people at home. The guidance comes as state officials have been pushing people to stay home and adhere to the state's public health order. New Mexico on Friday reported an additional 797 cases and seven deaths related to the virus.
- DRY NEW MEXICO
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — More national forests are imposing fire restrictions as New Mexico waits for some much needed rain. The Cibola National Forest is implementing the first stage of restrictions Friday on the Mount Taylor, Magdalena, Mountainair and Sandia ranger districts. That means no campfires or fireworks and smoking is limited to developed recreation sites, barren areas or inside vehicles or buildings. The Carson and Santa Fe national forests also are enacting restrictions. Officials say the risk of unseasonal wildfires across northern New Mexico is widespread. The Gila forest in southern New Mexico also warned of high to very high fire danger.
- INMATE DEATH-LAWSUIT
SILVER CITY, N.M. (AP) — The family of an inmate who took his own life in jail is suing the New Mexico county that held him in custody. The wrongful death lawsuit involving Fernando Rodriguez filed last week in U.S. District Court alleges that Grants County officials failed to properly monitor Rodriguez following his September 2018 arrest over a reported fight about drug use. The lawsuit says Rodriguez had struggled with addiction and was placed in solitary confinement under a suicide watch. But court documents say guards neglected to watch him and the camera in the cell didn't work. Grants County Manager Charlene Webb declined to comment.
- TV-ROSWELL-NEW MEXICO
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The CW-TV series "Roswell, New Mexico" will return to the state it's named after to film its third season. The New Mexico Film Office announced Thursday that the series will begin production this month through April and be filmed in Santa Fe, Las Vegas, Albuquerque, and Madrid. The series follows Liz Ortecho, played by Jeanine Mason, who is the daughter of immigrants. She discovers her teenage crush, who is now a police officer, is an alien who has kept his unearthly abilities hidden. "Roswell, New Mexico" is based on the "Roswell High" book series, written by Melinda Metz.
President Donald Trump said during Thursday's final debate with Joe Biden that Texas saw a "big spike" in the coronavirus that has since stopped. But in the border city of El Paso, COVID-19 is the worst it's been since the pandemic began. El Paso-area health officials reported 969 new coronavirus cases Friday, leading to more than 10,000 active cases in the region as numbers soared over the past week to record highs. Hospitalizations increased by 107 over Thursday, bringing the total to 678 total, with 195 of those people in intensive care. At least 571 people in the area have died.