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Morning Word: Monumental Mystery

August 25, 2017, 7:30 am

Zoinks! Zinke!
US Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke is the nation's top mystery writer at the moment. His report full of recommendations on whether to shrink or close any of 27 national monuments is a secret. Two New Mexico monuments are among those being reviewed. The four-month process has so far resulted in a lot of "we heard this, but we also heard that" talk from the Department of the Interior, but the government is keeping secret everything but a one-and-a-half page summary. Critics say it's more Scooby Doo than Sherlock.  

Ooh! Me! Me!
Speaking of government secrecy (and exclamation points), Spaceport America in Southern New Mexico is getting in on the act. As the website finishes its week-long look at the gorgeous facility that has a penchant for sucking tax dollars into its gravitational pull, they've found the spaceport insists on keeping things like rent payment amounts secret. It's interesting, because some companies say that's not proprietary information that would hurt business if it became public.

Cult clash
The number of religious sect members arrested at their western New Mexico compound has grown to eight, police say. The FBI is interviewing 11 children about their experience at the Aggressive Christianity Missions Training Corps in Cibola County. KOB-TV managed to get an interview with the group's leader. 

The informant
As you know, we like to use the weekend as a chance to tout SFR cover stories, and this is yet another one that's getting national attention. A woman is sitting in the Santa Fe jail right now, accused of being one of the "worst of the worst" in Albuquerque. The ATF* used one of five traveling, well-paid informants to catch her calling her old dealers to sell drugs to the informant. She and others say he posed as her boyfriend, was often high and convinced her to end a run of sobriety.

Garrey's army
Support for New Mexico State University Chancellor Garrey Carruthers continues to grow. Student leaders and more people from the business community in Las Cruces want him to stay on as head of the university. Carruthers says regents told him earlier this month that his contract won't be renewed. The governor, who appoints regents at state universities, has denied orchestrating the ouster.

Suite deals
The luxury suites at the University of New Mexico's basketball arena, colloquially known as The Pit, aren't bringing in the money projected by the school. When the state spent $60 million to upgrade the facility a while back, the luxury suites were to have footed most of the bill. But less than half of them brought in outside revenue. Many were purchased by or given to other UNM entities, which means they were paid for by simply shuffling school money from one account to the next. Two of them were given to former athletic director Paul Krebs and the basketball team.

Santa Fe, in the midst of an affordable housing crisis, is trying to figure out what to do about abandoned or foreclosed homes that sit moldering and vacant. People who live next to the homes say they're eyesores, dangerous and that the city's process to deal with them moves too slowly.

All wet
The National Weather Service's drought monitor shows no areas of extreme dryness in the state for the first time in nearly two decades of its existence. A robust monsoon season deserves a lot of the credit. Of course, that's not the only measure of drought and a dry spell may be just around the corner.

Thanks for reading! The Word gently reminds you we still live in the high desert. Have a great weekend!

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*This story has been corrected to reflect the misidentification of a federal agency. It is the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, not the Drug Enforcement Agency. The error is the Word's.


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