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Morning Word: Cops Catch Up with Hit-and-Run Suspect

August 7, 2017, 7:30 am

Gorge bridge hit-and-run arrest
Deputies in Taos County have arrested a 22-year-old man after they say he drove his car into a 74-year-old tourist at the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge, possibly severing one of the older man's legs and breaking the other. It happened Saturday afternoon, and while witness reports didn't hang together at first, deputies tracked down the car early Sunday. Juan Rodelas faces felony charges. The victim is in what the sheriff called serious but stable condition.

Constitutional context
State lawmakers and the governor are still suing each other over a string of vetoes she delivered in the waning days of the last regular legislative session. Legislators say the fact that the vetoes didn't arrive with explanations violates the state Constitution. They say it's the same case with vetoes that arrived past the allowable deadline. The governor says she followed the rules. There's a hearing this week on the matter. The bills in question impact horse racing, hemp research, broadband access and other issues.

Read this
School districts in Santa Fe and Albuquerque—and their nearly 100,000 students—were left off the funding list for the governor's Reads to Lead learning program next year. Smaller districts, many in more conservative parts of the state, made out pretty well. This is the fourth time in seven funding cycles that the state has changed the application process for one of the governor's signature reading programs.

Half now, half when you wake up
A new policy at the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center means patients have to clear non-emergency surgeries with the hospital's financial staff before they go under the knife. Low-income health care advocates say the policy is confusing, because the hospital requires a 50 percent payment in some cases. But the hospital says medically urgent cases don't need a down payment and low-income patients are still able to get the procedures they need.

School suit decision looms
After two months of testimony, arguing and evidence, state District Court Judge Sarah Singleton, who is close to a planned retirement, will now dig in on a lawsuit that claims New Mexico's failure to properly educate vulnerable student populations such as Native Americans and English-language learners is unconstitutional. The groups who filed the action say the state refuses to acknowledge the gravity of the problem. The state says low achievement is definitely not a desirable outcome, but it isn't unconstitutional.

New developments
The Camino La Tierra interchange on Highway 599 could look a lot different if the man who developed Las Campanas has his druthers. Lyle Anderson wants to more than double the allowable homes on a 300-acre tract north of the highway. The developer says Santa Fe County changed the land use code on him, and that the project, which also includes planned commercial properties, should get the green light. Opponents say similar developments in Aldea and Rancho Viejo still have store vacancies and plans need to change.

What kind of a sick...
Shooting cattle with a high-powered rifle. What is that? It's wrong, for one thing. If you've lived in New Mexico for any length of time, you know that it happens and that it's cruel to the animals and the families raising them. It's been happening a lot in Eddy County recently and the sheriff down there is wondering if all the shootings this year are connected. 

Poultry excuse
Kenny Grubbs of Portales says West Texas sheriff's deputies arrested him at a private poultry show last month. He faces felony cockfighting charges, though, because deputies say if it was a private poultry show, then it was also a razor blade show. Like the kind you attach to roosters' legs when you fight them. And there were cages and a ring and 100 birds—five of which were dead.

Thanks for reading! The Word thinks that if the US could have found a way to keep Ed Snowden in the Moscow airport, he'd be home right now. Being stuck in an airport is purgatory, but more cruel. That said, we're kinda glad ol' Ed is still sticking it to the intelligence-gathering community.

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