Silent fight

The University of New Mexico's Athletic Department has had a miserable year. The recent national championship by the women's cross country team—just the third national title in any sport for the school—should have the state's flagship university crowing. Instead, it's shoveling tens of thousands of dollars at an investigation that the attorney general says is troubling in its secrecy, relying on oral communication to potentially sidestep public records law. Just yesterday, the website NMFishbowl.com reported the school is spending more money on a Chicago law firm to continue a probe of Bob Davie, the head football coach—though the language of the agreement with the attorneys is mind-numbingly broad.

Statehouse sexual harassment 

Both big daily papers gave Sunday treatment to how New Mexico plans to deal with sexual harassment among lawmakers, lobbyists, staff and citizens at the Capitol. The sexual harassment policy at the Roundhouse hasn't been updated in almost a decade and many women say it's constructed in a way that makes it too easy to ignore. Both the secretary of state and the Senate majority floor leader plan new training.

The big reveal

Meanwhile, in Santa Fe, lawmakers will get the latest consensus revenue estimate today. That's the multi-agency economic outlook that's used to plan spending for the next budget year. New Mexico has seen a boost in revenue lately that's widely been attributed to the oil and gas industry.

Hunt for Block

Santa Fe police suspect former Public Regulation Commissioner Jerome Block, Jr of stealing a watch, cash, gift cards and an iPad from a downtown time-share complex managed by his mother. Police say guests reported the items missing and that surveillance video shows Block committed the robbery. He's not just a former elected official, he's a felon who has struggled with drug addiction for years.

Farewell to the Masters

It's not often we link to obituaries here in the Word, but Steve Terrell's remembrance of Tommy and Gloria Masters, local counterculture icons, is a history lesson and fascinating read about a part of Santa Fe and Northern New Mexico most folks only saw in Easy Rider. The Masters hung out with Janis Joplin and worked for Bob Dylan. Santa Fe said goodbye over the weekend.

Stick to hiking

The Santa Fe National Forest says a bunch of makeshift teepee-like structures crafted from dead trees near easily accessible hiking trails like Aspen Vista aren't cute impromptu art installations or a way to commune with nature, they're fire hazards. A forest spokeswoman says the seasoned, dry wood used to build them is basically kindling for what could be a catastrophic forest fire.

Aggies are bowl-bound

New Mexico State University's football team is headed to its first bowl game since Ike was in the White House warning us against the military-industrial complex (what did he know, anyway?). The Aggies, 6-6, will meet Utah State in the Arizona Bowl in Tucson on Dec. 29.

Water, water nowhere

Down in Albuquerque, it's been 59 straight days without measurable precipitation. That's not normal. The mountains haven't fared much better, though they did get a dusting in spots over the weekend. It'll be windy today and then it gets cold. Santa Fe's highs will be in the 40s and upper 30s through the bulk of the week.

Thanks for reading! The Word is finally pulling out the hat and gloves.

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