TUES: State To Allow Limited Outdoor Dining Starting Wednesday, + More

May 26, 2020

New Mexico To Allow Limited Patio Dining At Restaurants – Associated Press

Limited outdoor dining will be allowed at New Mexico restaurants beginning Wednesday.

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham's office said Tuesday she'll be amending the public health order, clearing the way for patio dining at restaurants as long as it's limited to 50% of an establishment's outdoor seating capacity.

Tables must be placed at least 6 feet apart, no more than six people may be seated at any single table and no bar or counter seating will be allowed.

New Mexico reported an additional 107 positive tests for the coronavirus Tuesday, bringing the statewide total to 7,130.

McKinley and San Juan counties account for more than half of the state's cases. Three additional deaths were reported Tuesday, bringing the state's total to 325. More than 200 people remain hospitalized.

The state Health Department also is reporting new cases among federal inmates being held at lockups in New Mexico. For example, a federal immigration processing center in Otero County has 92 cases while 16 of the federal

Rough Start To The Year For Mexican Gray Wolves, Cattle - By Susan Montoya Bryan Associated Press

One Mexican gray wolf died after being caught in a trap in April. Another was found dead in the wild.

That brings the total to more than a dozen of the endangered predators that have died so far this year in New Mexico and Arizona.

Environmentalists say a combination of lethal management by U.S. wildlife officials and private trapping is making it difficult to recover the species.

But ranchers say they face constant pressure from the wolves. More than two dozen cattle were killed last month.

Officials have started the process of revising their plan for managing wolves in the Southwest. The public has until June 15 to comment on the issues to be considered by officials. So far, nearly 800 comments have been submitted.

Some say it's shaping up to be a deadly year for the wolf following an encouraging survey that found more wolves in the wild last year than at any time since efforts began more than two decades ago to reintroduce wolves along the New Mexico-Arizona border.

Navajo Nation Has 105 New Cases Of Coronavirus, 1 More DeathAssociated Press

Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez says recent data indicates the coronavirus peak for hospitalizations on the vast reservation occurred from April 21-26, a month earlier than initial projections.

During a live online town hall on Tuesday, Nez said initial projections showed the Navajo Nation's COVID-19 surge peak would begin the week of May 24.

Nez says implementing stay-at-home orders and weekend curfews have helped flatten the curve in certain areas of the reservation that covers parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah.

The Navajo Department of Health on Monday reported 105 new cases of coronavirus and one additional death. That pushed the tribal numbers to 4,794 cases and 157 known deaths. 

Coronavirus Cases Rise Past 7,000 Monday With Total Deaths At 320 KUNM

State health officials said Monday there were 93 additional coronavirus cases in New Mexico and three more people have died.

That pushed the total number of cases in the state to 7,026 and the death toll to 320. Most of the new cases were in San Juan and McKinley counties in northwest New Mexico near the Navajo Nation, which is seeing the brunt of the virus.

The three deaths were people in those two counties and McKinley has more than 2,200 cases.

There are also positive cases in 146 people held by federal agencies in four detention facilities and among 43 people held by the New Mexico Corrections Department.

The Department of Health has identified at least one positive COVID-19 case in residents and/or staff in the past 28 days at 29 congregate living and acute care facilities in the state.

New Mexico Governor Blocks Plans To Reopen Drive-In Theater Las Vegas Optic, Associated Press

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has blocked the reopening of a popular northern New Mexico drive-in movie theater.

The Las Vegas Optic reports the governor's office halted a plan to reopen the Fort Union Drive-In Movie Theater amid the COVID-19 pandemic. City leaders said they had the support of state leaders.

But Lujan Grisham's office contacted the San Miguel County Emergency Management Department the day before the scheduled reopening and said they didn't have permission.

Health officials say the state has more than 7,000 coronavirus cases and 320 COVID-19 deaths as of Monday.

Lawsuit: Bernalillo Country Sheriff's Deputy Beat Driver - Associated Press

A new lawsuit says a Bernalillo County Sheriff's deputy used excessive force on a motorist during a traffic stop last year. 

The lawsuit filed in state district court last month alleged that Deputy Jeffrey Bartram punched and elbowed a confused Adrian Avitia in Albuquerque in January 2019. 

According to court documents, Bartram demanded that Avitia let him check his eyes and got mad when Avitia declined. 

Documents say Bartram told Avitia to get out of his car and then attacked Avitia for allegedly not following his commands. 

Avitia reportedly suffered a concussion. 

The Bernalillo County Sheriff's Office declined to comment.

George R.R. Martin Joins Group To Buy Historic Railway - Santa Fe New Mexican, Associated Press

"Game of Thrones" author George R.R. Martin has joined a group to buy the historic Santa Fe Southern Railroad. 

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports Martin, Violet Crown cinema owner Bill Banowsky and National Dance Institute of New Mexico co-founder Catherine Oppenheimer recently purchased the decades-old railway and trains along the 18-mile spur line from Santa Fe to Lamy. 

Passenger excursion trains to Lamy ended in 2012 and some residents have been seeking ways to get them started again. 

Oppenheimer says the trio did not want to see the financially challenged railway fall into further disrepair or just fade away.

Plans not only include repairing the track and bridges between Santa Fe and Lamy, where a small depot still awaits passengers on the Amtrak line that travels from Chicago to Los Angeles and back, but provide an array of entertaining arts and cultural events on train excursions and at nearby stops.

If all goes well, they hope to renew a deal with Amtrak to keep the Southwest Chief line stopping at Lamy and perhaps restore a now-vacant position for a ticket agent at the site.

Heat Wave To Hit The Southwest - Associated Press

The Southwest will experience a heat wave and possibly record-breaking temperatures mid- to late- week. 

The National Weather Service in Las Vegas, Phoenix and Albuquerque, New Mexico, predicts dangerously hot weather starting on Wednesday. 

In Arizona, the temperature on Wednesday could reach 109 degrees and hit 112 by Saturday. 

Albuquerque's weather will go from 80 degrees on Tuesday to 89 the next day, and Las Vegas will see triple-digit temperatures on Wednesday. 

The National Weather Service says some records may be broken or tied.