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Morning Word: Pete Domenici Passes

September 14, 2017, 7:30 am

Former senator dies at 85
Pete Domenici, who served six terms as a US senator from New Mexico, died Wednesday after complications from surgery at the University of New Mexico Hospital. Domenici was a titan of New Mexico politics, an expert on the federal budget process and a champion of New Mexico's national nuclear laboratories. After he retired in 2009, he warned against the increasingly partisan atmosphere in national politics. He and his wife Nancy raised eight children. In 2013, Domenici also acknowledged he fathered another son with the daughter of a senate colleague. Adam Laxalt has gone on to his own political career in Nevada. National figures of both parties, including former presidents, mourned Domenici's loss.

Report: UNM investigates head football coach
New Mexico Fishbowl is reporting that the University of New Mexico has hired an investigator to look into allegations that head football coach Bob Davie mistreated players and that the program's drug-testing program may have been compromised. UNM confirmed an investigation, but did not confirm Davie or the football program were the target. The online investigative journalism outlet says player exit interviews from this spring spurred the inquiry into Davie. The coach had no comment when asked about the investigation. 

Zozobra producer decides against mayoral run
Saying his commitment to the Kiwanis Club that puts on the annual burning of Zozobra would conflict with being mayor, event producer Ray Sandoval says he won't run to replace outgoing mayor Javier Gonzales. Sandoval says more than 1,000 people reached out to urge him to run.

Wine-no
The Santa Fe City Council has rejected a necessary waiver for a proposed Total Wine & More store on the southern end of Cerrillos Road in the Zafarano commercial development. The store is within 300 feet of land owned by the Praise Tabernacle Freedom Church. There's debate over whether the church uses the land and whether the store needs to get a waiver—the state didn't require one for the location—but the matter will likely now be decided in court.

Lovelace, Presbyterian split
Thousands of Presbyterian Health Plan clients will be impacted next year when Lovelace Medical Group and Southwest Medical Associates stop accepting Presbyterian's insurance plan. No reason for the split has been given, but Lovelace is urging its patients to find another insurer and Presbyterian is urging its clients to find another doctor. The two will formally split on Jan. 1.

Entrada protest leader pleads not guilty
Jennifer Marley, the UNM student arrested and charged with two counts of felony battery of a police officer, pleaded not guilty in her first court appearance yesterday. Marley's attorney promised a vigorous defense, saying, "We're ready to go get them." Seven other protesters face misdemeanor trespassing charges, which Santa Fe's mayor has said he'd like to see dropped.

Hiring the hirers
The State Personnel Board is looking to hire dozens of human resource professionals this week. Under Gov. Susana Martinez, the state has promised to streamline personnel operations, and centralizing those services instead of having many agency HR offices is seen as the way to do it. The state employs some 18,000 people.

Lab safety plan
US Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich want to put language in a spending bill that will require an annual safety assessment of Sandia and Los Alamos labs. The report, compiled by the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board, would be sent to Congress each year and would include an evaluation of what additional safety measures are needed at each lab. 

Thanks for reading! The Word is. It simply is. And what a glorious thing that is to be.

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