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Morning Word: Bitter End for Sugary-Drink Tax

May 3, 2017, 7:30 am

The bitter end
It wasn't even close. In a citywide election more popular than even the last mayoral race, Santa Fe voters rejected a proposed tax on sugary drinks, with 58 percent of ballots going against it. The money raised would have funded an estimated 966 pre-kindergarten seats in the community. Many voters liked the idea of more early-childhood education, but balked at the plan to pay for it. All the Election Day action is chronicled here.

Need a lift?
Raymond Lopez' prison-escape story keeps getting more bizarre. The inmate at the minimum-security part of the state penitentiary found some civilian clothes on Monday, put them on, then walked out the front door—barefoot. As he was heading away from the prison, two Santa Fe County sheriff's deputies picked him up not to whisk him back to custody, but to give him a ride to homeless shelter. It was during the drive there that the call about an escaped prisoner came over the radio. U-turns ensued.

Almost failing
Christus St. Vincent Medical Center, long Santa Fe's only hospital, recently received a D grade from a national hospital watchdog group. It scored in the bottom 7 percent of health care facilities nationwide, with particularly troublesome scores on patient communication and medication records. The hospital says it's made changes to many practices, including trying to stop infections often caused by errant fecal matter.

City mum on names in police shooting
The city of Santa Fe still won't release the name of an officer who killed a suspected car thief after a lengthy chase and apparently life-threatening encounter in a driveway near Eldorado on Saturday night. The city is also not identifying the man the officer shot. Open government experts say such information is not protected by state public records laws, though the city and the Department of Public Safety claim that it is.

UNM set to announce athletic facility naming rights
After the University of New Mexico asked local pizza chain Wise Pies to step away from the table and its deal to name the iconic Pit basketball arena, speculation began as to what local company would buy the rights for not just The Pit, but other athletic facilities on campus. Rumor has it that it's a local remodeling company, Dreamstyle Remodeling.

Schools survive
Two Santa Fe elementary schools tagged for closure just a few months ago will stay open. Last night, as the city watched the sugary-drink tax election results, the Santa Fe Public Schools Board of Education decided to ditch a plan to save money by shuttering EJ Martinez and Nava elementary schools. The board still has to deal with an estimated $1.78 million shortfall next school year.

Breaking terrible
In this edition of life imitating art, a former middle school science teacher has pleaded guilty to manufacturing meth. It doesn't appear John Gose was quite as successful as Breaking Bad's anti-hero and drug kingpin Walter White, though he [SPOILER ALERT] also avoided White's fate.

Draining the water district dry
The state auditor says a former office manager appears to have stolen $850,000 from the Otis Mutual Domestic Water Consumers and Sewage Works Association in rural Eddy County. Some of the money was taken via cash advances at casinos. 

Thanks for reading! The Word drank kind of an incredible amount of Orange Crush last night, just in case the price was about to skyrocket. Now this ... This is what regret feels like. And for what? Nothing.

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