Sept. 20, 2017
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Morning Word: Loboland

September 5, 2017, 7:30 am

Cherry and silver, and the politics thereof
It's not every day you see an article that quotes a former University of New Mexico regent as saying the governor had a crush on the school's former basketball coach. But today is not every day. Over at NM Fishbowl, Daniel Libit looks at how and why Gov. Martinez extended her reach deep into UNM—a level of interest a former cabinet secretary calls unfortunate "micromanaging."   

Nursing home crackdown
Citing inattention to quality-of-care standards, the federal government has told Santa Fe's Casa Real nursing home that it can't bill Medicaid and Medicare for new residents. It also set a deadline for one month from today to get the place up to acceptable levels of care. If that doesn't happen, the nursing home could be cut off from federal payments. That would be a huge blow to Santa Fe, because Casa Real and the Santa Fe Care Center are both owned by the same company—and happen to be the only two nursing homes in the city that accept money from Medicaid and Medicare. 

Whistle blown
The state paid a six-figure settlement to a former Health Department official who complained of low staffing levels at her agency, which was responsible for overseeing conditions at nursing homes, hospitals and various health facilities. She alleged she was retaliated against for doing so. Amber Espinosa-Trujillo, who happens to be the wife of Santa Fe City Councilor Ron Trujillo, received a $103,000 settlement. She works for a different state agency now.

Longtime Santa Fe Rep. Varela passes
Lucky Varela died over the weekend. The 82-year-old Santa Fean spent decades at the Roundhouse and became known as a budget expert. Varela (his given name was Luciano, but we never heard anyone but the Clerk for the House of Representatives call him that) was always quick with a handshake and a wink for reporters and other familiar faces.

Do you see it?
SFR dug to the bottom of an odd, now-deleted Facebook post claiming a piece of art featuring a street-punk rat drawn for last year's Halloween party at Meow Wolf may have ties to the Illuminati. Because we know you demand answers, Alex DeVore got them. Further through the looking glass, Meow Wolf's founder says city politics may be behind the post that seemed designed to stir up online outrage.

Waters back at SFIFF
The Santa Fe Independent Film Festival is bringing back indie director, author, playwright and showman John Waters for its October Festival. Waters is the man behind Hairspray and other notable successes. He made an appearance at the festival four years ago and plans a performance of his own one-act play during his time in Santa Fe. 

Wrong (Effing?) Effigy
Well, this one's new. The British Broadcasting Corporation apparently used a photo of Zozobra in an online article about a death at Nevada's Burning Man festival. The organizers of Zozo weren't pleased, and tweeted at the BBC, which has since corrected the image.

Say do you remember
We are full-on into September, which means the moderating of temperatures, the changing of leaves and the recalling of Earth, Wind and Fire. It should be a lovely week. And while we can't promise never a cloudy day, it should be a pleasant mixture of afternoon clouds and storms and temperatures in the upper 70s and low 80s.

Thanks for reading! Easy now; the Word reminds you that this is a short week. You can do it.

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