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Morning Word: Monumental Shift

April 27, 2017, 7:30 am

Land ... no?
A review of national monument designations by the Trump administration threatens a promised-but-not-approved land swap with the State Land Office. Under the proposal, the state would give 65 square miles of land to the feds at the Rio Grande Del Norte National Monument north of Taos and get federal land that could then be used to make money for state schools through mineral leases and the like. Republican Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn has sounded the alarm.

Monumental issues
It's not just state land that's threatened by the review, but two New Mexico national monuments themselves that are threatened. The Rio Grande Del Norte and Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks national monuments are being looked at by the Trump administration. The monuments were touted for beauty and for their likely economic impact on surrounding communities.

Passing the bucks
Santa Fe's City Council passed both its operating and capital improvement budgets last night, with the total cost of funding the City Different next year creeping up toward $400 million. City employees will get 2 percent raises, not the 5 percent hike floated by the mayor just two months ago. There's even a surplus, though that will get socked away to pay the mortgage on the Santa Fe University of Art and Design campus if the city can't find a new tenant.

Casa Solana gets liquor store
One of the last things the Council did last night was narrowly approve—the mayor cast the tiebreaking vote—the transfer of a liquor license for Kelly Liquors from its store at the corner of Cerrillos and Siler Roads to the Casa Solana shopping center, near the La Montañita Co-op. Several neighbors turned out against it, and a few in favor of it, but councilors gave a nod to the state's power to overturn a denial, which it's done in the past.

If you maul off the trail ...
You get back on. At least, you do if you're Karen Williams, who was attacked by a bear last year during a trailrunning marathon in the Valles Caldera. Williams not only led the fight to give state officials more leeway to not euthanize animals that attack humans (a fight that still continues), she's running again. Through the woods. Elizabeth Miller has her story.

Community college emergency
As best the Santa Fe Community College can figure, this is an emergency. The school, like all other higher education institutions in New Mexico, doesn't technically have any funding next year after Gov. Martinez vetoed three quarters of a billion dollars in funding to the state's public colleges and universities. So, the SFCC board declared an emergency and raised tuition. It's not too steep for local students, but out-of-state students will see a 27 percent increase. Even if lawmakers restore funding, the school expects $1 million less from the state than it received last year.

Albuquerque middle school sports are back
Public pressure and a full-court press by the state Education Department have the APS School Board turning over its plan to cut middle school sports in an effort to save money. The sports are back, though students could have to pay more for equipment and other costs.

Grade F prime
New Mexico leads the nation in the share of prime working-age population that's unemployed. That's since 2007. Everything is fine.

Thanks for reading! The Word wonders how much grass in your yard is an irresponsible amount.

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