Wednesday Top Stories
- Repeat offender accused of sexually assaulting UNM campus staffer
- APS discharges former Rep. Williams Stapleton
- PED affirms suspension of Los Lunas School Board
- South Valley Respite Center to provide support to seniors, caregivers
- Texas Heartbeat Bill could make things harder for women to have abortions
- In Ida’s aftermath, no quick relief in sight for Louisiana
Wednesday Five Facts
 State looking at ways to speed up the COVID-19 testing process – The state’s health department says it’s trying to work fast to fix an issue that could make it more difficult to control COVID outbreaks. As the number of COVID cases in the state continues to go up, more and more people are getting tested but they’re waiting days for the results. In the last 30 days, the state conducted more than 312,000 tests. That is 175,000 more than the previous 30 days. The department of health and other in-state lab services now say they’re ramping up their test intake to address this problem. They also say they’re working on expanding testing services at public health offices.
 Maine lawmaker says NM should be wary of Avangrid, others welcome the merger – A proposed merger for New Mexico’s power system is causing a divide. There have been commercials highlighting a merge between PNM and Avangrid, a renewable energy giant. Lawmakers in Maine are sending a warning to New Mexico, saying Avangrid bought a small, local company there 17 years ago and it resulted in high bills, record-breaking outages, and the worst customer service. Proponents say they’ve looked critically at what occurred in Maine, and are still on board with the merger, adding they believe Avangrid has more capital resources to modernize the grid quicker than PNM, and it will create 150 high-paying jobs. There still needs to be a vote on the proposed merger.
 Rainy day Wednesday for most of New Mexico – Western New Mexico and the Rio Grande Valley are seeing rain early Wednesday morning, while the eastern half of the state is waking up mostly dry. Numerous showers and storms will move through New Mexico and southern Colorado today thanks to abundant moisture being funneled north/northeast between high and low pressure.
 New report ranks Albuquerque sixth for auto thefts – Albuquerque has started to move down on a list the city is often near the top of. The city is now the sixth-worst metro area for auto theft, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau. The report shows there were 5,800 auto thefts in 2020, down from about 7,000 in 2018. APD says working with other agencies including state police and the insurance superintendent has made a big difference.
 Series to be based on Hillerman novels set on Navajo Nation – Production of a new series based on a popular novel is underway in the state. “Dark Winds” by author Tony Hillerman follows two Navajo Police officers as they search for clues in a double murder case in the Four Corners region. The series will shoot in several sports around Santa Fe, Espanola, the Navajo Nation, and other locations. George R.R. Martin will serve as an executive producer on the show.