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Morning Word: Fanning Folk Art

July 17, 2017, 7:30 am

Folk Art Market rising
Attendance and, most importantly for the artists, sales were up at the International Folk Art Market over the weekend. The festival endeavors to send 90 percent of sales home with artists from scores of countries. Organizers say Saturday sales were up by almost half a million dollars over last year. The market ended yesterday, so traffic downtown and on Museum Hill should be back to normal.

Sex trafficking
The Albuquerque Journal wraps up an important two-part report on sex trafficking in New Mexico. The crime is under-detected and under-reported. Programs to help victims once they are discovered are also under-funded. Authorities and nonprofit groups are trying to stitch together a support network.

A world apart
New Mexico and Colorado have strikingly different laws governing their extractive industries. Colorado's rules limiting the amount of methane that can leak from oil and gas wells served as the model for an Obama-era federal law that's at the center of a dispute. The Trump administration doesn't want to enforce it; an attitude that looks more like New Mexico's take on the matter. Our state rarely clamps down on oil and gas producers who vent methane into the air.

An end to Aamodt
When a water-rights lawsuit has been in federal court for more than half a century, no one will blame you for being a bit skeptical that a final decree is actually final. There can be appeals, after all. Still, a federal judge says water users in the Pojoaque Basin have come to an acceptable settlement over water use, and federal money can start flowing to a water system that will be built to serve users there. The Aamodt case—so named for the first plaintiff in the lawsuit—settles a dispute between four Native Pueblos and non-Native water users.

Drug court funding from feds
Programs that divert drug users who have committed crimes from a typical justice-system experience have been widely studied. They're generally an effective alternative to prison stays, which are far more costly for the public. But funding drug courts has always been a challenge. The feds plan to sprinkle a bit of money around over the next few years. Advocates will still be looking for more.

Trend publisher pleads not guilty to tax evasion
Cynthia Canyon, publisher of the glossy magazine Trend that's spilled about galleries and restaurants around town, pleaded not guilty to 48 counts of failing to pay taxes for the magazine over the past four years. Canyon didn't have a lawyer for Friday's hearing, saying she couldn't afford one and hadn't yet been assigned a public defender. Prosecutors say she owes taxes on $1.5 million in revenue. Canyon is planning a legal defense benefit.

Shifting sands
White Sands, that is. It's in Steve Pearce's congressional district. And that, faithful reader, is how we arrive on this Monday morning at the story of how Roll Call has shifted its prognostication for New Mexico's 2nd Congressional District election from "solidly Republican" to "likely Republican." Democrats love the thought of an open seat, but the publication does a nice job of explaining that an open seat only gets Democrats part way to victory in the solidly conservative district. Republicans are anxious to hold on and Democratic victories in the past have been short-lived.

Nice day
It looks like it'll be one across much of the state. Highs in Santa Fe are pegged for the low 80s. Albuquerque will see a reprieve from the heat, too, topping out in the low 90s. And once again, there's a decent chance of rain this afternoon.

Thanks for reading! The Word hopes your weekend was filled with relaxation and culinary discoveries. Now get to work; we're all counting on you.

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