Thursday Top Stories
- FDA backs Pfizer COVID-19 boosters for seniors, high-risk
- Isotopes, local distillery launch ‘Watermelon Walk-Off’
- Robber shot, killed at Subway was arrested in 2019 for veterans memorial theft
- ‘Day of Remembrance’ to honor those lost to homicide
- East Mountain Celebration returns in Tijeras
- USPS installs high-speed package sorting machine at Albuquerque plant
Thursday Five Facts
 Balloon community calls for pilot drug tests after toxicology report in deadly crash – A newly released toxicology report shows the pilot involved in New Mexico’s deadliest hot air balloon crash had drugs in his system. Now fellow balloonists are calling for drug testing for pilots. According to the report, balloon pilot Nicholas Meleski had THC and cocaine in his system at the time of the crash that killed himself and four others. Toxicology experts say the levels of the drugs found in his blood were more than enough to cause impairment. Currently, commercial balloon pilots are not required to test for drugs or alcohol.
 New Mexico seeing continued slowing, plateauing of new COVID-19 cases – As New Mexico celebrates a major vaccine milestone, the state is announcing trouble new data about New Mexicans dying from a completely unapproved COVID treatment. More than 70 percent of New Mexicans are now vaccinated against COVID, yet doctors say some are still turning to a drug used to treat horses. Authorities say two New Mexicans have died after using Ivermectin. It’s not clear how many other New Mexicans may have ingested or injected that drug, but Dr. Scrase says it is not safe.
 Monsoon moisture returns Thursday through next week – Thursday morning is dry and cool, with most temperatures in the 40s and 50s. Wear the layers today, because the afternoon will warm back into the 80s across New Mexico. Temperatures will stay warmer than normal through next week, but we will see more clouds and showers. Monsoon moisture arrives Thursday, bringing cloudier skies for all, and some showers to the western high terrain.
 Los Alamos National Lab updates vaccine requirements for staff – The Los Alamos National Laboratory is changing its rule on vaccination exemptions and says it will be sending some employees home starting next month. LANL started mandating vaccines for staff back in April. Starting Oct. 15, people granted religious exemptions will need to go on unpaid leave or take vacation until pandemic conditions improve. Local attorneys say it can be tricky for employers to authenticate religious exemption requests. If employees have not begun the vaccination process or requested exemption by Oct. 1, then the lab will start the termination process.
 City to host Company’s Comin’ neighborhood cleanup ahead of Balloon Fiesta – We are counting down the days to the kickoff of the 49th International Balloon Fiesta, which means the city of Albuquerque’s official clean-up of the metro area will start this weekend. Tens of thousands of people will be here to watch the balloons lift off. Those same eyes will be looking at the sights around Albuquerque. The city’s Company’s Comin’ event helps to organize different neighborhoods to clean up around the streets where they live. Homeless encampments are also getting cleaned up with the help of Family and Community Services, and hundreds of volunteers will head to Balloon Fiesta Park to clean up too.