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Morning Word: Peace Rallies and Open Carry at City Hall

August 10, 2017, 7:30 am

Peace to power
Last night's City Council meeting featured the debut of an activist group formed to counter the presence of Santa Fe Power and the appearance of a potential council candidate who decided to open carry a 9mm handgun (legally) to the meeting. Shoulder 2 Shoulder organizers say they created the group to denounce racist social media posts by Santa Fe Power leaders. Roger Rael, who has been aligned with Santa Fe Power, said he wore his gun to the meeting to remind councilors that voters have rights protected by the Constitution.

Approved!
Despite everything else that was going on, the City Council did take care of city business last night, including the approval of $104,000 in landscaping around the intersection and new pedestrian/bike tunnel at St. Francis Drive and Cerrillos Road. The public wondered about whether the city was getting a fair deal on trees included in the project and Councilor Signe Lindell said the plan's lack of an irrigation system had her worried the plants would dry up from lack of attention.

Zinke Sabinoso
It's neither a Spanish film star from the 1930s, nor a colorful goalie from a La Liga soccer team—no, it's a reference to the fact that US Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has said he supports accepting the donation of private land to open up access to the federally designated Sabinoso Wilderness in Northern New Mexico. The wilderness is public land, but it's surrounded by private property. After riding around the place on horseback in a white hat—with US Sens. Heinrich (he wore a ball cap) and Udall (also white hat)—last month, Zinke said the move makes sense.

Light attack
The US Air Force calls its less expensive, more maneuverable and, yes, less heavy fighters its light-attack planes. In an era of billion-dollar airplanes and massive military budgets, it might make sense to look for something that's cheap and reliable. Ergo, the US Air Force is at Holloman Air Force Base this week testing proposed light-attack aircraft. The tests include experimental planes and also retrofitted cropdusters—seriously.

Feds approve NM education plan, teacher evals 
To the surprise of potentially no one, the US Department of Education approved New Mexico's five-year plan for educational progress. The green light means Common Core standards are here to stay for a while. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos also praised the state's teacher evaluation plan. A shiny nickel to you* if you can guess how teachers' unions feel about both of those things.

Southern New Mexico city, county sue feds over groundwater
A plume of contaminated groundwater nearly two miles long and half a mile wide under the city of Las Cruces and Doña Ana County is at the heart of a new lawsuit. The local governments say the National Guard dumped degreasing chemicals in the soil and that the feds haven't paid for enough of the cost to clean up the Superfund site.

Budget cuts threaten NM Special Olympics
The annual contest says it took a $310,000 hit in state funding this year as lawmakers slashed budgets to state agencies and programs to bring the state's finances back in line. Organizers are scrambling to find a way to cover the shortfall in the next couple weeks. If they can't, they say this year's Special Olympics may have to be canceled.

Still summer
It's going to be a little hot today as the recent storm system clears out of the state. That's especially true if you're in Albuquerque. There is, of course, a chance of storms this afternoon, but likely not severe or widespread. As for the weekend, the monsoonal pattern remains in effect. 

Thanks for reading! In a former life, The Word rode in one of those cropduster planes. It's all engine and we may or may not have nearly passed out on a tight turn. But, man, we felt ALIVE!

*This promise will not be honored in any way, shape or form. 

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