Region Briefs

Man ID’d in officer shooting in Farmington

FARMINGTON – Authorities have released the name of a Farmington man who was fatally shot by a police officer on New Year’s Day.

Police say 49-year-old Mark Chavez was shot Tuesday afternoon outside a Farmington home after he refused to put down a blunt weapon an aggressively advanced on an officer.

They say Chavez was shot in the torso and leg and later died of his wounds at Sun Juan Regional Medical Center.

Police say they were lured to the scene after a 911 call was made on Chavez’s prepaid cellphone about a woman killed by a man.

Officers searched the home and surrounding area and didn’t find a body.

Vestas welcomes tax-credit extension

Vestas Wind Systems, the wind turbine manufacturer that built four factories in Colorado, on Wednesday praised a one-year extension of the wind-production tax credit, believed to be critical for Colorado wind-power industry.

The extension was passed by Congress late Tuesday night as part of the broader fiscal-cliff budget deal. It would cover all wind projects that start construction in 2013. Companies that manufacture wind turbines and install them sought that definition to allow for the 18 to 24 months it takes to develop a new wind farm.

Fire at old Pueblo packing plant smoldes

PUEBLO – Firefighters in Pueblo say a fire at an old meat-packing plant will likely continue to smolder for several days, and they’re asking people to stay away from the 97-year-old building.

The fire broke out at the abandoned Alpha Beta plant on Sunday night. Fire department spokesman Woody Percival said Wednesday that the building is insulated with very thick cork, and the fire is still burning out of sight behind the corkboards, spreading from room to room.

Firefighters can’t fight the fire inside because conditions are too dangerous, including tons of water that have now turned to ice and the risk of the cork walls and ceilings collapsing. Firefighters say they will suppress the fire strategically as needed.

Ariz. immigration law may hurt conventions

PHOENIX – Arizona’s 2010 immigration-enforcement law is being called a lingering hindrance to Phoenix’s ability to lure gatherings to its convention center.

Convention center bookings are down by about 30 percent from 2009, while guest bookings in cities with comparable convention facilities are gradually increasing or stable, The Arizona Republic reported Wednesday.

The immigration law known as SB1070 is one of several possible factors, with others including the recession and tighter strings on corporate and government travel.

However, other cities with comparable convention facilities have slowly rebounding or relatively flat guest counts, the Republic reported.

Since the law was enacted, courts have overturned much of it, but the U.S. Supreme Court last year let a key provision take effect.

That provision requires that police officers make a reasonable attempt to determine the immigration status of a person stopped, detained or arrested if there is reasonable suspicion the person is in the country illegally.

Utah homicide rate among nation’s lowest

SALT LAKE CITY – With 49 homicides in 2012, Utah’s position of having one of the lowest murder rates in the country remains intact.

The statewide total is down slightly from the previous year, when 52 homicides were recorded, according to a tally kept by The Salt Lake Tribune. There were 45 murders in 2010 and 43 in 2009.

The Tribune’s totals exclude people killed by police in incidents found to be justified use of force.

FBI crime reports show Utah’s murder rate has been among the lowest in the country for years.

The FBI’s state-by-state comparison of homicides for 2012 won’t be available for months, but the Utah 2011 rate of 1.9 murders per 100,000 people was the seventh-lowest in the country.

It also was much lower than rates in neighboring states of Colorado (2.9), Nevada (5.2), Arizona (6.2) and New Mexico (7.5).

Associated Press