University of New Mexico regents chose Garnett Stokes to lead the school into its next era. She's the first woman president in the school's 128-year history. Stokes was at the University of Missouri as the campus melted down during racial tension in 2015. That school has since had to cut some $60 million from its budget and faced declining enrollment—challenges that, for different reasons, UNM has faced, too. She'll earn more than half a million dollars a year in salary, benefits and potential bonuses.
NMSU coaching candidate says heterosexuality cost her a job
Camille LeNoir made the transition from college star to WNBA draftee to pro player and to instructor and finally, she thought, to college coaching. But she says New Mexico State University's former coach retracted a job offer after he saw a 2011 video she posted online saying she was no longer gay. She says Mark Trakh, who's since left NMSU, told her that her view that homosexuality was wrong wouldn't sit well with the women's basketball community. LeNoir is suing the school in federal court.
Gallagher wants out
Santa Fe Police Chief Patrick Gallagher is a finalist for the same job in Las Cruces. Gallagher interviewed in the Southern New Mexico city last week and reports are that city leaders were impressed by Gallagher and his NYPD credentials. There's a new mayor on the way in Santa Fe and a new governor, who may not retain Gallagher's wife, Lynn, as the cabinet secretary for the Department of Health.
State Sen. Peter Wirth took the witness stand yesterday in the public corruption trial of ex-Senator Phil Griego. During floor debate in 2014, Wirth questioned the sale of a state building that landed his colleague more than $50,000 in commission. Wirth and other senators didn't know at the time that Griego had a personal interest in the deal, or that the state wasn't actually on the hook for maintenance of the historic building it was selling. Had he known, Wirth said, he would have slowed the process and asked more questions. But he told Griego's attorney that he couldn't say for certain that he would have changed his vote.
State hopes opioid measures do more than grab attention
New Mexico's overdose death rate rank is expected to drop next year, though it's primarily because other states haven't stopped the wave of deaths stemming from opioid addiction. Lawmakers and policy leaders gathered in Santa Fe to brainstorm the problem that has already spurred innovative measures like shared prescription databases and requiring first responders to carry naloxone, an anti-overdose drug. The state's rate of overdose deaths has plateaued, but the next challenge is getting it to drop.
The much-discussed, long-awaited pedestrian and bike tunnel under St. Francis Drive at the intersection with Cerrillos Road is almost done. The project, which engineers say more closely resembles a bridge than a tunnel, cost about $6 million and is hoped to be a key cog in the city's effort to make itself accessible to more than just cars.
The write stuff
The Word chose the final reminder of SFR's writing contest for its worst headline pun. Be that as it may, you aspiring writers (or skilled sideline scribes) can see your work in glorious newsprint if you're selected as one of the winners in our annual writing contest. The top prizes get not just fame, but up to $100 in cash and also some cool stuff from local businesses.
Thanks for reading! The Word is gonna go through that tunnel so many times! Just back and forth and back and forth. You'll see.
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