Get out your rankin’ pens

A decade after voters approved ranked-choice voting through an amendment to the city charter, the city is finally set to use the system—albeit against its own will. Judge David Thomson ruled the language that has let the city put off implementing ranked-choice voting has been met. Since the system is available, affordable and able to handle incorrectly marked ballots, he ordered the city yesterday to begin preparations to use it in the March 2018 municipal elections. The city hasn't decided if it will appeal.

SFHS threat letter-writer to head home

Aaron Encinias will soon be going home to a different sort of life. The 14-year-old has been charged with writing a letter that contained a plot for a mass shooting at Santa Fe High School. He's been held at a juvenile justice facility, but prosecutors, his attorney and a judge agreed on a plan to let him live at home on 24-hour electronic monitoring. He'll enroll in online classes and the plan is for him to have strict adult supervision.

And then there were none

A city judge has tossed the remaining charges against a group of people who protested the Entrada during Fiestas. Once again, Judge Pro Tem Ann Yalman said the police complaints against the protesters were too vague. The city can refile, though attorneys for the protesters say Yalman told a city attorney to think "long and hard" before doing so.

Mexican wolf recovery

The federal government has finalized a recovery plan for the Mexican wolf, and it seems few people are happy about it. The goal is to ensure genetic variation in the pool of 520 wolves—320 of which will be in the US and another 200 in Mexico. The wolf population is currently too small to escape a dangerous level of inbreeding. If the population can sustain itself, the Mexican wolf could be taken off the Endangered Species List.

Backing down 

The city of Santa Fe is poised to back away from financial disclosure rules that force dark money groups to disclose donors if they spend money on campaign advocacy efforts for ballot measures. The city has been sued by the Rio Grande Foundation and the Goldwater Institute over its $250 threshold for disclosure. City attorneys think the case is a loser for Santa Fe and the city could get stuck with attorneys' fees, so the council is set to vote on a bill that would completely eliminate the disclosure rules.

She’s in charge

Albuquerque's only family-owned major TV station just named a new general manager. Michelle Donaldson, former news director at KOB, will take charge of the NBC affiliate. The station is part of a group owned by the Hubbard family out of St. Paul, Minnesota.

Just wait … again

Ski Santa Fe has pushed back its opening date yet again, as Mother Nature has provided neither snow nor temperatures reliably cold enough to sustain robust snowmaking. It's a problem for resorts across the Southwest, as a La Niña weather pattern settles in. Compounding that, people are hitting the slopes less and less as the ski and snowboard industry rethinks how to reverse the trend.

Not so fast

State Sen. Bill Sharer, R-Farmington, says he'll back away from a private business opportunity that would have cashed in on new regulations for the payday lending industry. That's after a colleague reminded him that he voted for the bill that authorized the regulations. Sharer, who has generally opposed such measures, said his vote was unintentional. Meanwhile, the state says it's not going to have new rules for payday lenders in place until months after the new law goes into effect.

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