Check this page for the Daily Lobo's updated testing and confirmed case data for the COVID-19 outbreak in New Mexico, thanks to the COVID Tracking Project. This page will be updated daily as more data is produced and reported.

New Mexican lawmakers are reacting to the galvanizing calls for police reform around the country by introducing legislation to clean up the state’s law enforcement academy regulations. The legislation focuses on transferring and creating deadlines for some of the New Mexico Law Enforcement Academy’s (NMLEA) responsibilities.

The NMLEA currently has two primary responsibilities: training officers and suspending or revoking certification to serve as a peace officer.

Representative Antonio “Moe” Maestas, D-Albuquerque, highlighted the clear contradiction of those responsibilities, noting that misconduct often goes unreported or without a hearing. 

After July 31, an affordable housing agreement for Navajo students at the University of New Mexico’s Rainforest building will end, leaving 118 residents of the downtown apartment complex looking for alternative — and undoubtedly more expensive — accommodations.

Former Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye signed an agreement on Jan. 3, 2018 that provided housing for Navajo students on the fifth and sixth floors of the Rainforest building at a discounted rate of $945, or $189 a month, per fall and spring semester.

Since the Navajo Nation decided not to renew the agreement, it will end after its originally scheduled end date this summer.

On Thursday, Jan. 21, University of New Mexico President Garnett Stokes released her pre-recorded 2021 State of the University address, reflecting on last year’s major events like the pandemic and community protests.

“We have endured one of the most disruptive eras in our nation’s history, from a global (sic) pandemic to a summer of social unrest to a recent shocking assault on the seat of our government,” Stokes said. “The past 12 months have challenged all of us and have further exposed the divisions and inequities in our society.”

Stokes covered the University’s response to the summer’s protests and counter-protests, COVID-19 and the resulting financial crises in which the University found itself.

Vaccine supersite opens at The Pit

New Mexicans took to The Pit Wednesday morning as University of New Mexico Health officials began distributing the first round of COVID-19 vaccinations.

The Pit, normally packed at this time of the year for an evening basketball game, saw empty stands as a large crowd of masked residents lined up outside. 

The Department of Health, the UNM Health system and UNM Athletics coordinated to distribute about 1,700 vaccines on Jan 20. Their goal is to replicate that for the next three weeks.

State money for child care available to graduate students

As a full time PhD student, with one child at the University of New Mexico’s Children’s Campus half-time, Naomi Ambriz used to pay $568 a month in child care. With newly available child care assistance from the New Mexico Early Childhood Education and Care Department (ECECD), her copayment is now only a third of that amount.

Ambriz, a fifth year American studies graduate student and the student parent advocate at the Women's Resource Center, said she first learned about the temporary eligibility rule change that made graduate student parents eligible for child care assistance through the UNM Graduate Studies listserv.

‘Wishful recycling’ leads to trash taking long, expensive route to the landfill

The ubiquitous blue recycling bins seen around Albuquerque are being filled improperly, and city and community leaders are trying to correct course to a more sustainable future.

According to the City of Albuquerque’s Solid Waste Department, 32% percent of what residents currently attempt to recycle is trash. This is worse than prior audits, where only 20% of the items placed into recycle bins was unrecyclable.

The contamination of trash in United States recycling caused China — a major importer of recyclables — to completely stop accepting recyclables from the U.S. in 2018. The decision had a direct impact on how much recyclables are worth, according to Sarah Pierpont, the executive director of the New Mexico Recycling Coalition.

UNM files to block graduate student union’s right to organize

On Dec. 9, graduate student employees at the University of New Mexico officially filed for union recognition with the state Public Employees Labor Relations Board (PELRB).

The grad student employees submitted signed cards from a supermajority (60%) of all UNM fall 2020 graduate student workers, and on Dec. 11 the executive director of the PELRB issued a letter finding the petition was “facially valid” and was “supported by a sufficient showing of interest.”

In response, UNM filed a petition blocking the unionization request on two grounds: 1) that teaching, research and other graduate “assistants” are not actually employees and 2) if they are in fact employees, then their individual job descriptions are so vastly different that they cannot function as one bargaining unit.

State Police, National Guard troops patrol Roundhouse in response to FBI warnings

New Mexico State Police and National Guard troops stood watch over the seat of New Mexico’s government in Santa Fe, New Mexico on Jan. 16.

The increased security came in response to warnings of potential violence from the FBI ahead of the presidential inauguration on Wednesday.

Following the deadly insurrection at the United States Capitol on Jan. 6, the FBI cautioned that state capitols across the nation could see “armed protests'' in the days leading up to President-elect Joseph R. Biden’s swearing in, according to an internal bulletin obtained by ABC News.

Alabama selected over New Mexico for Space Command HQ

ALBUQUERQUE — On Wednesday afternoon, Air Force officials announced the location of the permanent headquarters for the United States Space Command. Unfortunately, New Mexico’s Kirtland Air Force Base (KAFB) was not chosen.

Sherman McCorkle, board member of the Kirtland Partnership Committee, told the Daily Lobo that Alabama’s Redstone Army Airfield was chosen as the site for the headquarters.

Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller isn’t giving up on the project, however.

“By showcasing our space technology expertise and long history of government contracting, Albuquerque made it into the small group of finalists, but it’s no surprise the outgoing administration would make a politically-motivated decision on their way out the door,’ Keller said.

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