Aug. 21, 2017
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Morning Word: What's Behind That Door?

August 9, 2017, 7:30 am

Mental health in crisis
In SFR this week, Aaron Cantú explores tension between Christus St. Vincent hospital and mental health advocates in Santa Fe. It's something of a raw wound following the killing of a mentally ill man by Santa Fe police. Anthony Benavidez, who was living with schizophrenia, had been discharged from the hospital just hours before police shot him after a violent confrontation. Advocates say St. Vincent told them it had a new evaluation room that was designed for mental health crises, but SFR's tour of the facility revealed something different.

Trump ditching elderly patient protection rule
Binding arbitration clauses are a thing in consumer protection these days. You've probably consented to a whole bunch of them as you accept terms of everything from using websites to financial services agreements to buying tickets to concerts. Nursing home patients frequently have to sign them, too. They prevent patients from suing for mistreatment. The Trump administration has decided to abandon a rule that prohibited binding arbitration for facilities that get Medicaid or Medicare money. New Mexico's attorney general says that's a poor choice.

Let's all run for the Council
Santa Fe's next municipal election could be a humdinger. Yes, a humdinger. Two incumbent councilors are not running for reelection, attracting interest to their races weekly, it seems. There are still only two candidates for mayor—current District 4 Councilor Ron Trujillo and former teacher Abigail Fox.

Still no new science standards
New Mexico's public schools are working with an outdated set of science standards first rolled out way back in 1996. While the Public Education Department showed interest in developing new rules for what schools teach and when, progress has ground to a halt. Science advocates say the lag sells New Mexico students short.

Regents to consider new UNM hospital 
The University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center has more than $200 million set aside to build the first phase of a new hospital on the west end of the medical campus. Despite lengthy emergency room waits and an aging main facility, the project has been contentious. The State Board of Finance scuttled it five years ago, but the hospital is pushing its plans, saying its problems have only gotten worse. Regents are scheduled to discuss taking the first steps forward next week.

Land, ho!
The inexorable lure of the job called Commissioner of Public Lands has snared another elected official. State Sen. George Muñoz, D-Gallup, announced he's going to give the race a go. He'll face former commissioner Ray Powell and Santa Fean Garrett VeneKlasen in the Democratic primary. Current Public Regulation Commissioner and former commissioner Pat Lyons has announced he's running from the Republican side. Muñoz is in the middle of his third term as a state senator.

Game of groans
Hackers tapped into HBO's electronic database and email servers recently. They kicked out unreleased episodes of a couple popular series last week after their haul. Now, the coup de grâce: They want $6 million or they'll start spoiling Game of Thrones episodes. Santa Fean George RR Martin wrote the books upon which the series is based.

Dizzying job
Bandelier National Monument is replacing the wooden ladders that lead up to Alcove House. The climb into ruins above Frijoles Canyon is a unique experience, if a bit harrowing. The old ladders have been worn down with age and it's time to upgrade. Work will start next month.

Thanks for reading! The Word is behind on Game of Thrones, so leaks could be devastating. Then again, being somewhere in the middle of season two means we've been living on the edge for so long it just seems normal. The Word: Edgy. And behind on premium television.

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