SELECT title FROM cont_articles WHERE id='' LIMIT 1 Santa Fe Reporter

Morning Word: Supreme Court Asked to Block PRC Vote

Renewable energy advocates present evidence of commissioners’ bias toward PNM

Morning WordTuesday, October 6, 2015 by Peter St. Cyr
After collecting evidence for months, New Energy Economy, a renewable energy advocacy group, has formally asked the New Mexico Supreme Court to recuse or prohibit four Public Regulation commissioners they claim are “too chummy” with PNM to vote on the investor-owned utility’s power replacement plan.

Where’s the Sun?
Meanwhile, El Paso Electric, which supplies electricity to Las Cruces and other southern cities, is being called on the carpet for not including more renewable energy sources, like wind and solar, in their 20-year operational plan.

Energy Efficiency
At least New Mexico consumers are getting high marks for becoming more energy efficient at home, at work and on the road.

Employee Buyouts Proposed
Members of Santa Fe City Council’s Finance Committee are considering the best options to trim the city’s enormous payroll as one way to deal with next year’s projected $15 million budget shortfall. Daniel Chacón reports employee buyouts are possible for people nearing retirement.

Pot Licenses Awarded
Five months after submitting applications to grow medical cannabis in New Mexico, a dozen nonprofit producers have been awarded licenses. New Mexico Health Secretary Retta Ward had put a priority on finding growers willing to set up shop in rural parts of the state, but yesterday changed her mind and awarded licenses to eight groups in the state’s most populous county. Only one Santa Fe group was issued a license.

Profanity Protected 
A Farmington man prone to tossing f-bombs in public has settled a lawsuit with local police for violating his constitutional right to free speech. Cops busted him for disorderly conduct after warning him to stop saying the four-letter word in front of children at a local restaurant.

Guards Sued
The New Mexico Corrections Department and two guards are being sued by a former inmate who claims “they left him and several other shackled prisoners to suffer unattended in a van with inadequate ventilation on a hot summer day.” Matthew Coyte, an Albuquerque attorney who represents the inmate, says he’s worried people could die in the back of transport vans unless something, including the guards’ attitude, doesn’t change soon.

New Standards
US Customs and Border Protection, on the other hand, has issued new standards of care for immigrants in their custody; in the past, they have alleged miserable conditions, including frigid temperatures, poor hygiene, overcrowding and general mistreatment.

Still Mum
Jail administrators in San Juan County aren’t commenting on conditions at their facilities after three inmates died in three months there. Critics say the county has been reluctant to take ailing inmates to the hospital.

Enchanted Drive
We’ve known it for a long time, but Northern New Mexico is one of the best places to see leaves changing in the fall. Now, a national magazine is ranking the Enchanted Circle drive the second best place to see the fall foliage.

Green Flag
This morning’s hot air balloon launch is a go.

Election Day
So is today’s Albuquerque municipal election, although political analysts expect a low turnout.

New Cannabis Growers Selected

Health Department says it has picked 12 nonprofits for new medical cannabis licenses, including one in Santa Fe

Local NewsMonday, October 5, 2015 by Julie Ann Grimm

Santa Fe is home to one of a dozen new medical marijuana businesses approved by the state today. 

But who is running it and where it will set up shop are unknown. The New Mexico Department of Health remained tight-lipped about the identity of licensed non-profit producers in its Medical Cannabis Program when it announced that 12 new licenses have been approved, providing just the counties in which they are located. 

Despite earlier indications that department regulators were looking to help increase supply for patients in rural reaches of the state, eight of the new licenses are for nonprofits in Bernalillo County. Chaves, Taos and Valencia counties are each slated for one new producer. 

In August, the department narrowed a list of applicants from 86 to 17, noting that the short list represented the top 20 percent of total applications submitted. A number of Northern New Mexico applicants got knocked out during that round. A four-member scoring committee recommended to Ward "that she review the 17 highest scoring applications, and that she make her selection from that pool. She adopted that recommendation," the release says. 

Up next, the department plans to conduct site visits with selected applicants. Officials also say they're working on a rule change that would make the names of license holders public. "The DOH anticipates publication of the proposed rule changes, and conducting a public hearing sometime this fall," the release says.


If all the selected applicants complete the process, it would bring the total number of license holders to 35, serving 17,537 patients in the program.

Morning Word: Prison Safety Questioned

Guards say long hours now a public safety concern

Morning WordMonday, October 5, 2015 by Peter St. Cyr
Prisons Called Unsafe
New Mexico prison guards are sounding alarms about the safety of state correctional facilities. Long hours and mandatory overtime, they claim, are putting stress on operations. The guards have launched an online petition urging Gov. Susana Martinez and legislators to address the situation and provide more funding to recruit guards. They’d also like to see their wages, still among the lowest in the nation, increased.

Musical Relief
Speaking of stress, a veterinarian suggests playing music at animal shelters helps the animals cope with being locked up in kennels.

Identity Theft
In case you missed it on Friday night, Secretary of State Dianna Duran now faces another felony count, this time for identify theft, after the man she listed as her campaign treasurer denied he handled any financial transactions for her. Meanwhile, New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas says Duran’s attorney's claim that he has a conflict of interest is way off base. Steve Terrell says the current legal snafus must be déjà vu for former attorney general Gary King, who appointed a special prosecutor to handle former secretary of state Rebecca Vigil Giron’s criminal case.

Think Reform  
After this year’s “capital outlay meltdown” in Santa Fe, Think New Mexico, a nonpartisan advocacy group, wants to see the way big state projects are funded reformed and says lawmakers should focus on priority projects.

Griego Rumors
Phil Griego, the former chair of the Senate Corporations and Transportation Committee, who resigned after an SFR series questioned his ethics, says, despite the rumors, that he’s not planning to seek his old seat, but  he appears to have left the option if he’s drafted to run against Liz Stefanics in the Democrat primary next year.

Reading Bill Battle Brewing ... again
Gov. Martinez plans to push her three-grade reading bill when legislators reconvene in January. Rep. Mimi Stewart says for the sixth straight year, it has no chance of passing, "because it's bad policy." But supporters say kids need to know how to read before being advanced to 4th grade. Robert Nott reports a legislative staff analysis of last year’s bill found about 6,187 third-graders out of 25,462 tested were in the lowest level of reading proficiency and could be held back. But many of them would still be passed on to fourth grade because of the various exemptions.

Outside Money
A municipal election in Albuquerque tomorrow could shift the balance of power in the state’s largest city. For that to happen, Democrats need to pick up one more City Council seat. If they do, they’ll have six seats and would be able to override Mayor Richard Berry’s vetoes, like the one last week decriminalizing marijuana. Meanwhile, it looks like a few outside groups, including one managed by the former chairman of the Santa Fe County Democratic Party, are spending a lot of money in this election.

Director Quits
Gary Camarano, the City of Las Cruces’ economic development director since April 2014, has resigned, but no one is talking about why.

Jumping Line
Foreign nationals willing to invest in New Mexico and pledge to create at least 10 full-time jobs can jump to the front of the immigration line.  It's good for the economy, but what about families who've been waiting for years to get into the country legally?

Class Action
Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Company is facing a legal challenge over the wording on their cigarette packages. Howard Houghton reports a Florida law firm this week filed the first attempt at a class-action lawsuit against the Santa Fe-based company and its parent, Reynolds American Inc. of Winston-Salem, N.C., claiming the cigarette maker’s packaging and advertising are intended to mislead smokers into thinking American Spirit cigarettes are healthier than other tobacco products.

Out of Space
With operations shut down at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant near Carlsbad, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory are running out of space to store their radioactive waste.

Back to Church?
While millions of Americans cheered Pope Francis on during his visit to the United States, Santa Fe Archbishop John Wester says he doesn’t know if the pope’s popularity will be enough to bring people back to the Catholic Church. After all, no church doctrines have been changed.

Critical Perspectives
Lots of guest editorials and letters to the editor over the weekend. Winthrop Quigley is frustrated that there doesn’t seem to be an end to mass shootings. Katie Myers says it’s time for a single payer health care system. Bill McCamley suggests New Mexico should be doing more to prepare for a drier climate.  Media attorney Kevin Goldberg wants more government transparency. The controlled burned approach to forest management, Cate Moses suggests, is too “destructive.” Decades after nuclear tests in New Mexico, others say it’s time to take care of families “decimated” by the blasts.   And Albert Hunt points out that tax cuts for the wealthy and big corporations won’t do anything to trim the national deficit

Improving Conditions
Good news for skiers: A new, 5-million-gallon water tank at Ski Santa Fe means more snow and a longer season. Copper Mountain, in Colorado, started blowing snow on its runs this past weekend.

Lobos Rally
The University of New Mexico blew by intrastate rival New Mexico State on Saturday night, 38-29.

Hoop Dreams
Meanwhile, the Lobo’s Men’s basketball team is looking for more depth and hoping to have a better season than they did under Coach Craig Neal last year.

This Weekend

Yes Yes Yes, it's Beirut!

Weekend PicksFriday, October 2, 2015 by SFR

Garbage Pail Kitsch

Local fringe artists who love dumpster diving utilize that love to create super-cool works of found/created art.

More Info >>


According to this here press release, Re-Op is, "An exhibition of contemporary artworks pushing visual perception's limits with new materials and approaches." Our minds are blown, how about yours?

More Info >>

Collage Party

Come hang out and make collages with Nisa Touchon Fine Art. BYOB and snacks.

More Info >>

Santa Fe Woman's Club Flea Market

The SFWC presents their fabulous flea market.

More Info >>


Santa Fe's own indie sensation returns for a homecoming concert on the Plaza in support of their latest record, No No No.

More Info >>

Santa Fe Community Farm Produce Sale

Shop for locally grown, organic produce from one of Santa Fe's oldest and largest farms.

More Info >>

Get more information about how to spend your fun days when you sign up for the SFR Weekend newsletter, delivered to your inbox each Friday afternoon.

Morning Word: More Campaign Funds Scrutinized

Questions raised about leftover balances

Morning WordFriday, October 2, 2015 by Peter St. Cyr
Finance Issues 
New Mexico In Depth continues to find problems in lawmakers’ campaign finance reports. That, and Sandra Fish is asking former legislators, including Phil Griego, who resigned amid an ethics scandal in March, how they intend to spend the money left over in their accounts.

Inside the Scandal
Political reporter Joey Peters has been looking into allegations that New Mexico Tax and Revenue Department Secretary Demesia Padilla wanted to help a former client get tax donations approved, but (go figure) the department isn’t answering his questions.

On the Move
He’s been attracting the largest crowds, and now Sen. Bernie Sanders is closing the campaign donation gap with Hillary Clinton.

Outside the Guidelines
The New Mexico Human Services Department could face sanctions for improperly denying hundreds of food stamp applicants. Justin Horwath discovered Human Services mistakenly rejected food benefits in 265 cases out of a sample of 525 cases — and improper notices accounted for 41 percent of those errors.

More Crime
FBI reports show violent crime is on the rise in several New Mexico cities. Española had the highest rate in the state because of a relatively high number of aggravated assaults. The stats also show a spike in Albuquerque.

Campus Stalking on the Rise
Stalking and sexual assaults are also way up at the University of New Mexico campus.

CYFD Complaints
Data shows the Children, Youth, and Families Department continues to see a steady increase in complaints regarding day care centers across New Mexico, but few licenses have ever been suspended.

Santa Fe police are looking for clues after recovering a body that had been floating in a city cistern for about two weeks.

Supremacy Clause Saves Trees 
A Lincoln National Forest tree removal program in Otero County has been ruled unconstitutional.

Have a great weekend. Maybe we’ll see you at the Balloon Fiesta.

Clearing the Air

Himalayan Stove Project brings conversation on cooking fire emissions to Santa Fe

Local NewsFriday, October 2, 2015 by Elizabeth Miller

The problem doesn’t seem that big: a small fire, over which dinner is cooked, in billions of homes all over the world. But these domestic cooking fires, which burn in hearths as far away as Nepal and as nearby as the Navajo Nation, fill homes with smoke, increasing health issues and fueling millions of deaths worldwide each year. And when that smoke does disperse outside, it causes still further problems for air quality and climate change. 

One Taos-based nonprofit is among those taking this bite-sized chunk out of climate change, a few cookstoves at a time. The Himalayan Stove Project donates fuel-efficient, clean-burning cook stoves to homes in the Himalayas that previously saw people cooking over rudimentary stoves or open fire pits in their homes. 

“Globally, one of the biggest contributors to climate change, or global warming…is small particle soot, and that comes from diesel engines —thank you Volkswagen— and from primitive cooking,” says George Basch, managing trustee of the Paul Basch Memorial Foundation, which supports the Himalayan Stove Project, and “chief cook” for the project itself. “Three billion people cook over primitive stoves, so this is a global issue, not just in Nepal where we work, but it’s uniform.”

In a report released this year on black carbon—soot, basically—the World Bank’s Climate Business Department urged increasing utilization of tools to reduce black carbon from transportation sources and residential cooking spaces as a short-term win while longer term solutions, which might still need technology and infrastructure adjustments, catch up in efforts to curb climate change.

The US Environmental Protection Agency calls cookstoves and the indoor air pollution they produce “the world’s leading source of environmental death.” Indoor air pollution from cooking fires contributes to 2 million premature deaths annually, according to the World Health Organization. It fuels deaths from lower respiratory infection, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and lung cancer. 

The same home pictured above, minutes after a cookstove was installed.
Basch Photography


Replacing firepits with cookstoves has the potential not only to clean air in homes, according to the EPA, but also to reduce black carbon that finds its way to nearby snowfields and accelerates snowmelt, making it a significant contributor to climate change, particularly in the Arctic and Himalayas. 

The Himalayan Stove Project provides Envirofit Clean CookStoves and chimney systems, which can reduce household air pollution by 90 percent. It still burns wood, just less of it, and it can boil water in six minutes. They’ve delivered more than 3,000 domestic stoves so far.

“Clearly with 3,000 stoves that we’ve distributed, that’s not going to show up on anybody’s meter, but if other people are doing that, then it will make a difference,” Basch says. And other people are doing it. The Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, a public-private partnership hosted by the UN Foundation, has gotten on board, and in their annual report, the Global Alliance stated that the multiple organizations working on this issue have collectively installed nearly 30 million clean cook stoves in the last five years.

“It’s a small part of a bigger solution, but it’s a legitimate point to make,” Basch says.

This summer Verve’s Cause and Effect show, which opened in July and a portion of which remains on display in a smaller viewing room, investigated the effects of climate change and human impact on landscapes. 

“We felt we needed to do this for the community,” says John Scanlan, partner in the gallery with his son Wilson, in a press release. “We feel this is something we can do to raise awareness.”

Paired with that exhibit, the Scanlans ran a series of events to bring in about 10 environmental organizations to speak on their work, and Himalayan Stove Project joined that list. 

Since the earthquake in Nepal, in addition to cookstoves, now targeted to families displaced by lost homes or, in some cases, obliterated villages, the project has sent water purification and solar lighting systems, 20 big cook stoves that can prepare meals for 300 people at a time, and tarps for making temporary shelters. 

“We’re trying to help out where we can in a small way,” Basch says. 

5-7 pm Friday, Oct. 2
Verve Gallery of Photography
219 E Marcy St.

All Aloft

Albuquerque's nine-day Balloon Fiesta starts Saturday

Local NewsFriday, October 2, 2015 by Peter St. Cyr

After the burning of Zozobra, Indian Market and Fiestas, tourism slows down in Santa Fe. One of the last gasps happens when visitors are in the area to watch hundreds of hot air balloon lift off from grassy fields during the 44th Annual Albuquerque International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta.

After eating breakfast burritos and downing hot chocolate during those early-morning mass ascensions, those same out-of-state visitors, according to a 2011 economic report (another survey is being completed this year), are spending at least a day and a half visiting other cities around the state, including Santa Fe.

With more than $117 million in indirect spending on the line, local hoteliers, restaurants, museums and galleries are gearing up to greet the influx in tourists ahead of Saturday’s first big launch. 

Tom Garrity, a spokesman for the Balloon Fiesta, tells SFR the capital city is always a popular destination during the nine-day event. 

And lots of people who live in the City Different will head to Albuquerque. 

Patricia Ann Rudy-Baese is packing her bags and heading south to spend the week volunteering on the Balloon Fiesta’s prestigious competition scoring team.

An avid fan of the lighter-than-air sport, Rudy-Baese, a financial planning consultant in Santa Fe, still remembers her first visit to the world’s biggest balloon event.

Santa Fean Patricia Ann Rudy-Baese is a field judge.
Anson Stevens-Bollen

“I was amazed at how close people can get to the balloons,” she says. “There’s nothing like it in anywhere else in the world.”

Sensing another thrilling year, Rudy-Baese is closing her office and taking a week off. Once she checks in to a hotel, she plans to head to the field, where her scoring team will listen in on daily pilot briefings, interact with launch units (known as zebras) and check morning weather reports.

Once pilots are aloft for the contest, Rudy-Baese and her scorers put out various targets for field and remote competitions. 

With a tape measure in hand, she’s responsible for determining which pilot’s bean bag lands closest to the bull’s-eye.

Rudy-Baese tells SFR she became enamored with ballooning after attending a small rally in Wisconsin, where she lived 30 years ago. After seeing the balloons for the first time, she signed up for a chase crew and soon volunteered to be a competition observer.

After moving to New Mexico, Rudy-Baese didn’t wait long before volunteering here, and she gained more experience at national events and volunteering for the aptly named  “Top Gun” group of competitive local pilots. 

“It’s a lot of work,” she says, adding that a lot of logistics go into competitive ballooning.

The trick, she explains, is in the pilot’s approach, after flying at least a mile away from the field. 

“They usually don’t get a second chance to line up their shot,” she says. “You can’t steer a balloon.”

Still, she says the new racing balloons are a little more nimble than standard balloons we’re more used to seeing.

When she’s not lining up a target this year, Rudy-Baese says she’ll go looking for a food concessionaire from Wisconsin, who she hopes is back with their tasty fried cheese. She also looks forward to running into a group that brings disabled kids to New Mexico to enjoy the fiesta every year.

“They only have enough money for one vacation a year, and they always like coming to see the hot air balloons,” says Rudy-Baese, whose own favorite balloon is the new butterfly.

“When the hot air starts filling the envelope, its wings open just like a real butterfly,” she says.

By the Numbers:

550 registered balloon teams

17 countries represented

7 gas balloon teams competing in the America’s Challenge cross-country race

45 food vendors selling goodies like burritos and bacon-wrapped donuts

20 laser boxes that put on light show demonstrations during morning and evening events

12 acrobats who maneuver through giant inflatable pillars with engine-powered paramotors strapped to their backs. 

New Life for Fund

Money for the Land and Water Conservation Fund has been extended to Dec. 11

Local NewsThursday, October 1, 2015 by Thomas Ragan

Congress has denied the 60-day extension New Mexico's senators requested  to continue the funding for an important land and water conservation fund, responsible for contributing millions of dollars each year to the Land of Enchantment.

But the good news is that the funding will continue anyway, at least until Dec. 11, under a new deadline outlined in a continuing resolution that Congress passed Wednesday to avoid a government shutdown, Jennifer Talhelm, a spokeswoman for Sen. Tom Udall, D-New Mexico, tells SFR late Thursday.

“But we are still are pushing for the reauthorization of the fund. We're not out of the woods just yet,” Talhelm says from the senator's Washington DC office. “While the funding may continue for the next few months, that doesn’t mean it’s going to continue forever. The only way we can accomplish that is through a permanent reauthorization. 

"That way, everybody in New Mexico won’t have to worry about it so much.”

Known as the Land and Water Conservation Fund, the money has been renewed twice, at 25-year intervals, with that third renewal of reauthorization scheduled for Wednesday. But it wasn't to be.

The fund that kicked off in 1965 has helped to preserve national monuments, protect historical battlefield sites, even acquire major parcels of public land for conservation.

But in the last few weeks, the fund has been held up for political reasons, leading a contingency of senators from the Western states, among them Udall and Martin Heinrich, D-New Mexico, to make a fever pitch for its reauthorization. 

Locally, environmentalists as well have tried to outline to the public how important the fund is and how a multitude of parks were built on the money from the funding; even a few salaries among city park employees across New Mexico are funded by it, Santa Fe included.

And so as nonprofits got the word out, Sens. Udall and Heinrich simultaneously doubled up the pressure on Congress, but in the end, there was just this temporary respite, ushered in more to save the government from shutting down as a whole and not so much from their lobbying efforts.

And it's all just a gloomy example of how the federal government is operating these days, says Talhelm.

Just the other day, she notes, Sen. Udall made a very poignant point during a staff meeting, saying that these continuing resolutions that keep the federal government open and the money flowing are "sadly becoming commonplace," considered a normal government procedure due to the gridlock in Congress.

But a few decades ago, if you were to mention the phrase “continuing resolution,” it would do "nothing but cause panic,” Talhelm quoted Udall as saying.

The fund’s revenues are tied to offshore drilling and gas lease royalties, and they are based on the premise that if land and sea are to be drilled for its natural resources, then there should be some sort of mitigation to offset it through conservation practices. 

If the fund is not reauthorized, New Mexico stands to lose up to $14 million for the FY 2016, according Talhelm. 

In all, nearly $261 million has gone to New Mexico since the fund was created. Among the more notable recipients: Bandelier National Monument, the Fort Marcy Recreation Complex, Glorieta Pass Battlefield, San Lazaro Pueblo Archeological Site, El Rancho de las Golondrinas, Hyde Memorial State Park, Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge, Aztec Ruins National Monument, Pecos National Historical Park and Petroglyph National Monument.

Javier Rojo, who's been advocating for the fund's reauthorization for Center of Southwest Culture in Albuquerque, says busting the deadline for the reauthorization was "a monumental mistake" by Congress.

"The most important immediate impact is that starting today, the fund will stop collecting royalties from offshore oil drilling and natural gas, essentially terminating its only source of income," Rojo says. "The royalties will instead go to the general treasury fund. If this continues, and the funds aren't redirected to the fund, the long-term consequence could really be catastrophic for America's public lands."

He says funding to maintain many of the state's national monuments and public parks "would dry up," and thousands of people would eventually lose their jobs. 

2016 Santa Fe Bandstand Now Accepting Applications

Get crackin', bands.

Music FeaturesThursday, October 1, 2015 by Alex De Vore
Despite some weird and unfounded rumors that local non-profit Outside In would no longer be running the annual Santa Fe Bandstand series of musical events that takes place on the iconic Plaza, the show must and will go on in 2016. 

With that knowledge in hand, be aware that the application process is open from now until Dec. 31 at midnight. The process can be started here, but as always there are some things you need to know. 

First, perhaps the most important is that Outside In does not accept physical CD submissions. It's the online age, baby, and YouTube clips of live shows are the preferred method—so get out there and start filming! 

Second, if you've played a bunch of times before, you can definitely still apply, but those who have never appeared are generally given preference. This is of particular importance to local and national youth bands or acts that represent styles that aren't generally included to know as they reportedly rarely apply, if ever. 

Lastly, the whole shebang is generally live-streamed which, while cool, is still something of which to be aware. Further questions can be sent to 

Next year is the 14th for the long-running series and the third year to be organized by Michael Dellheim. Founded in 1995, Outside In provides musical education and outreach to institutions like jails and nursing homes and provides a crucial service to the community in that free live music is about the coolest thing an organization and/or community can provide. Past performances have included Juice Newton, Fiddlin' Doc Gonzales, Venus and the Lion, Manzanares, Lumbre del Sol and so many more. 

Morning Word: Balderas Accused of Personal Vendetta

Motion filed to remove attorney general from secretary of state's criminal case

Morning WordThursday, October 1, 2015 by Peter St. Cyr
Conflict Alleged
A day after Attorney General Hector Balderas said he was going to stop providing legal opinions to the secretary of state’s office, Erlinda Johnson, the criminal defense attorney representing Dianna Duran, filed a motion to boot Balderas from Duran’s criminal case. Johnson alleges Balderas has a “personal vendetta” and conflict of interest due to his past working relationship with Duran. District Judge Glenn Ellington is expected to rule on this motion and others on Oct. 23.

Tit for Tat
Political bickering in Santa Fe isn’t new, but it appears to be heating up ahead of the 2016 elections. Now the State Personnel Office says it won’t assist the state treasurer’s office with employment matters. The governor’s administration claims Treasurer Tim Eichenberg has ignored its advice, made demeaning sexist comments and even remarked about employees' race. Eichenberg denies those claims.

Doña Ana County sheriff’s deputies busted a Sunland Park city councilor on drug possession charges during a council meeting on Monday night. On Sunday, they stopped Sergio Carrillo’s car and confiscated less than an ounce of marijuana.

Up in Smoke
Citing city, state and federal laws, Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry has followed through on his promise and vetoed an ordinance that would have decriminalized possession of small amounts of marijuana. His decision could be overturned, but it’s unlikely five Democrat city councilors can roll even one Republican No vote.

Wiggle Room 
With grass in some of Santa Fe’s parks dying and in other states of decline, city councilors are reconsidering their earlier decision to ban city crews from working on bond-funded projects.

Worse than Spilt Milk 
The number of oil and gas spills in New Mexico is up 61 percent, even though production is only up 23 percent year-over-year.

Crop Busters
US Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-New Mexico, is weighing in on the escalating interstate green chile battles among Colorado, Georgia and New Mexico. He’s concerned that a batch from Hatch could get confused with other inferior crops. At the same time, some folks think the hot stuff south of the border may actually be superior.

Hear It Roar
A few times a year, we hear about animals escaping from one zoo or another and wandering around, scaring residents. We’re not sure chickens are too worrisome, but one appears to be on the loose in White Rock.

Morning Word: Supreme Court Asked to Block PRC Vote

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