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Associated Press

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico's incoming secretary of state will take office early to replace a temporary appointee to the state's top oversight post for elections and campaign finances. The Secretary of State's Office announced Wednesday that Maggie Toulouse Oliver will take the oath of office on Dec. 9 rather than wait until the start of the new year. Toulouse Oliver was elected as a Democrat to serve out the final two years of a term vacated by Republican Dianne Duran, who resigned in 2015 and was convicted on embezzlement and money laundering charges.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Attorneys for the Albuquerque man charged in a road rage shooting that killed a 4-year-old girl say they have reached a plea deal with prosecutors a day before the trial in the case was expected to begin. Defense attorneys Todd Farkas and Stephen Taylor say their client Tony Torrez will plead guilty to second-degree murder under the plea agreement that calls for him to serve a 16-year sentence. His sentencing hearing is set for tomorrow. Torrez who was arrested a day after the Oct. 20, 2015, shooting had been charged with first-degree murder and assault.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Advocates in southern New Mexico and West Texas say they will hold 100 community forums on immigrant rights from now until the inauguration of Donald Trump. The Border Network for Human Rights and the Reform Immigration for Texas announced Wednesday the forums will be aimed at educating immigrants on their Constitutional rights and how to prepare for possible raids by federal immigration agents. During the presidential campaign, Trump promised to end a program that gave immigrant students living in the country illegal temporary status.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A federal judge has ordered that a man accused of using an explosive device to damage an Old Navy store in Albuquerque remain in jail while awaiting trial. The Albuquerque Journal (https://goo.gl/EXnvBW ) reports that Magistrate Judge Karen Molzen said during a detention hearing Wednesday that prosecutors have a strong case against 28-year-old David Hickman. Defense attorney Alonzo Padilla had requested that Hickman be released to a halfway house so he could receive counseling while awaiting trial.

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — Las Cruces police say a woman is accused of using knives and a chain saw to stab and cut her boyfriend after restraining him inside his car. Police spokesman Dan Trujillo says it's unclear why 30-year-old Kayla Martinez Bailey allegedly attacked the boyfriend, who was hospitalized with wounds reported to not be life-threatening. Trujillo says the victim suffered multiple stab wounds, two bite wounds and two lacerations from being struck with a chain saw during the incident Monday. Trujillo says police reports don't indicate whether the chain saw was running.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A New Mexico judge has found the state's chief public defender in contempt for failing to provide lawyers to defendants who couldn't afford them. The Santa Fe New Mexican reports (http://bit.ly/2gVDBVn ) that Lea County District Judge Gary Clingman also imposed a $1,000 fine in each of five criminal cases in which the public defender's office failed to make an appearance. Clingman told Chief Public Defender Ben Baur that he could purge the contempt findings by following his statutory duty to represent defendants.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The second trial of a man charged in the slayings of an El Rancho family is underway. Opening statements started Tuesday in the trial of Nicholas Ortiz, who is accused is accused of killing Dixie and Lloyd Ortiz and their special-needs adult son, Steven, with a pickax in 2011. The suspect was not related to the Ortiz family. This is Ortiz's second trial, as a jury failed to reach a unanimous decision in June on the three counts of murder.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A Santa Fe woman is charged in her malnourished 18-month-old son's death from head injuries. A criminal complaint charges 27-year-old Miranda Rabago with child abuse and reckless child abuse resulting in death in the Nov. 23 death of Arias Baroz. The Santa Fe New Mexican (https://goo.gl/4GCU8H ) reports that Rabago took her son to a hospital on Nov. 21, telling police she found him unconscious in his crib in their apartment. He died two days later.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A writer tied to the "alt-right" movement and who was banned by Twitter for abusive comments is scheduled to speak at the largest university in the nation's most Hispanic state. The Albuquerque Journal reports (https://goo.gl/tfgoxE ) Breitbart News tech editor Milo Yiannopoulos is slated to speak at the University of New Mexico in January. The campus chapter of Young Americans for Liberty invited Yiannopoulos who is taking part in a national speaking tour.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Forecasters with the National Weather Service say recent snowfall in New Mexico's higher elevations is helping as the state tries to recover from an extraordinarily dry October. Forecasters say precipitation from January through October was nearly two inches below normal and several locations around the state saw record or near-record warm temperatures.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico Public Education Secretary Hanna Skandera says Donald Trump's choice for education secretary is an advocate for strong children and will help the nation's most Hispanic state. Skandera told The Associated Press on Tuesday that she didn't know Betsy DeVos (dih-VAHS') very well but believes her policies won't change New Mexico's overall educational reforms. Trump named DeVos — a wealthy Republican donor and an advocate for school vouchers — his choice for U.S. Secretary of Education last week.

CLOVIS, N.M. (AP) — An Oklahoma woman is dead and a Nevada man in custody after a stolen vehicle crashed in New Mexico following a police chase. New Mexico State Police say 29-year-old Kyle Mawhorter, of Las Vegas, was booked into a Texas jail after being released from a Lubbock hospital Tuesday. They say Mawhorter is accused of homicide by vehicle; reckless driving; aggravated fleeing from law enforcement; receiving or transferring a stolen vehicle; and resisting, evading or obstructing an officer.

ROSWELL, N.M. (AP) — A California pilot forced to land a small plane in New Mexico because of mechanical problems has been arrested after authorities found nearly 118 pounds of marijuana. Roswell police say 37-year-old Michael Armando Teixeira, of Gilroy, is being held at the Chaves County Detention Center on suspicion of distribution of controlled substances. It was unclear Tuesday if he has a lawyer yet. Teixeira landed at the Roswell International Air Center last Friday night.

SANTA FE, N.M. — The New Mexico State Canvassing Board certified election results Tuesday that return control of the state Legislature to Democrats, award a statewide victory to Hillary Clinton and provide Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson with his strongest showing in any state. Board members including Republican Gov. Susana Martinez also initiated automatic recounts in three state legislative races where the margin of victory was less than 1 percent.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico budget officials say state government finances continue to deteriorate as tax collections and other revenues declined sharply during a recent three-month period. The state Legislative Finance Committee released figures Tuesday that show state general fund revenues fell by 9.4 percent to $1.3 billion for the three month period ending in September versus the previous year. Revenues for the month of September were down nearly 12 percent from a year ago. New Mexico state lawmakers and Republican Gov.

SILVER CITY, N.M. (AP) — A 96-year-old World War II veteran will be receiving an honorary degree from Western New Mexico University during this semester's commencement ceremony. The university says Leonard Pritikin is a fixture at every Mustang home basketball and volleyball game. He's always in the front row, wearing a bright yellow jacket and a veteran's cap. He'll be introduced to the entire graduating class when he receives the honorary degree Dec. 9. Pritikin enlisted in the Marines when he was 19 and served from 1940 to 1945.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Authorities say a carjacking suspect in Albuquerque is hospitalized in critical condition after being shot by the driver of the targeted vehicle. Albuquerque police say the driver acted in self-defense and isn't facing charges in Monday night's shooting. Police say officers were called to the scene of the shooting outside an apartment complex around 6:30 p.m. Three men reportedly tried to carjack a couple in a parking lot. Police say the driver shot one of the carjackers, who was taken to a hospital for treatment. His name hasn't been released yet.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New results show most grades for New Mexico school districts remained the same last year despite common core tests and a revamp teacher evaluation system. The report released Tuesday also said more school districts saw improving grades than declining ones. But only six out of 89 school districts earned an "A'' grade. District report cards largely are based on an average of a district's individual school grades. However, they are also other measurements like graduation rates, student achievement, school board member training, and parent surveys.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Federal wildlife officials have agreed to reconsider the status of a grouse found in pockets across the Great Plains as environmentalists fight to return the bird to the list of protected species. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced Tuesday that it will review the lesser prairie chicken in response to a petition filed after the species was removed from the list earlier this year. The removal followed court rulings in Texas and a decision by government lawyers not to pursue an appeal.

DEMING, N.M. (AP) — State transportation officials plan to take steps to reduce hazardous driving conditions created by blowing dust along a highway in southwestern New Mexico. The Department of Transportation plans to use netting and reseeding to promote vegetation growth on a mile-long stretch of U.S. 180 about 15 miles northwest of Deming. The area consists of a denuded pasture located on private and State Land Office property, and the department says blowing dust has caused road closures and accidents. The department has scheduled a public involvement meeting at 6 p.m. Dec.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico's state auditor is calling for a new audit into whether health-insurance companies have been underpaying the premium taxes they owe. The Albuquerque Journal reports (http://bit.ly/2gF8RVI ) that State Auditor Tim Keller on Monday that a new independent accounting firm should be hired under the supervision of his office and that the superintendent of insurance should be removed from any potential settlement negotiations with the companies.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The New Mexico State Canvassing Board is certifying election results that return control of the state Legislature to Democrats, award electoral college votes to Hillary Clinton and provide Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson with his strongest showing in any state. Board members including Republican Gov. Susana Martinez will meet Tuesday to confirm election results and initiate mandatory recounts in three state legislative races where the margin of victory was less than 1 percent.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A southern New Mexico tribe has been awarded federal funding to evaluate the potential of reopening one of its lumber mills. The Mescalero Apache Tribe will use a $99,900 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for a market feasibility study and a forest assessment for the mill once operated by Mescalero Forest Products. Tribal officials have testified before Congress in recent years that the closure of the tribe's two sawmills eliminated jobs for nearly 300 workers.

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — The pecan harvest in one southern New Mexico county is being delayed by warm temperatures. The Las Cruces Sun-News reports (http://bit.ly/2gceRHB ) equipment is sitting idle and farm workers are eagerly awaiting a deep freeze to prep trees and nuts in Dona Ana County. Thanksgiving typically marks the start of the harvest, but this autumn has been the warmest on record. Some farmers say depending on the weather, the start of the harvest could be a couple of weeks away.

SILVER CITY, N.M. (AP) — A 96-year-old World War II veteran will be receiving an honorary degree from Western New Mexico University during this semester's commencement ceremony. The university says Leonard Pritikin is a fixture at every Mustang home basketball and volleyball game. He's always in the front row, wearing a bright yellow jacket and a veteran's cap. He'll be introduced to the entire graduating class when he receives the honorary degree Dec. 9. Pritikin enlisted in the Marines when he was 19 and served from 1940 to 1945.

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