Court sides with state cop who shot at mom, kids in van

In a story that weaves its way back to 2013, then-New Mexico State Police Officer Elias Montoya acted reasonably when he drew his gun and shot three times at a fleeing Oriana Farrell and her kids as they sped away from a traffic stop in her minivan. That's according to a federal appeals court in Denver. The mother had argued the shooting was excessive force.

Santa Fe GOP sues city over mayor's salary

Santa Fe's next mayor will be the first to have an official full-time job leading the city and is set to earn a six-figure salary for the work. But the county Republican party has sued the city ($), arguing the commission set up to determine a mayoral salary didn't have any authority to boost the pay from the $74,000 rate sold to voters who approved the change. Nine citizens are party to the suit as well.

Merry Christmas! Care for some punch?

A Texas woman says an irate Santa Fean punched her in the face during the annual farolito walk on Christmas Eve. Shannon Rankin told police she was walking with some friends along Canyon Road when a woman, later identified as Scarlett Twocrow, called her a neo-Nazi and punched her in the face ($). Police detained Twocrow as she tried to walk away, but didn't arrest her—it didn't seem to have been much of a punch and Rankin didn't ask for medical assistance.

Regent review

A bipartisan pair of state senators wants to change the way the state appoints regents for its universities. Sens. Jeff Steinborn, D-Las Cruces, and Mark Moores, R-Albuquerque, say creating a commission to review and submit names for vacancies would take some of the politicization out of the process and provide more steady leadership for the state's schools. It's not a move the governor is likely to want, but because it's an amendment to the state constitution, it doesn't need her approval to make it onto next November's ballot.

New Mexico true

The problem with the Tourism Department's great tagline—New Mexico True—is that, because it relies on authenticity, it can be appropriated for all sorts unflattering stuff. Like people getting their stuff jacked while they stay in a New Mexico hotel. That's apparently what happened to actress Jamie Alexander, who reported a bunch of cash, prescription drugs and other items missing from her room at the swanky La Posada de Santa Fe. Police say the hotel's management was on it and quickly identified employee Desiree Sandoval as the thief. Reports say she had not just Alexander's stuff, but credit cards from other people, too. True.

Holiday heartbreaker

Santa Fe police have released surveillance video from the Dunkin Donuts store in town, hoping to find a man whom they say dumped a pregnant dog there. The dog had a sign on her that said "I'm free. I'm having babies." She's now at the Santa Fe Animal Shelter, where police say the man should have brought her in the first place. He faces a charge of abandonment of an animal. The shelter took x-rays, but says they're not certain if she's actually pregnant.

Bonnie Hearne

Bill and Bonnie Hearne have been playing country and western music together since before many of us were born. Bonnie died this week ($) after complications from an infection. The Texas transplants have called Santa Fe home for more than a quarter century, bringing a true Western sound to venues that are still around and ones they outlasted by many years. Blind since childhood, Bonnie's voice, musicianship and smile were much-loved locally and by country music icons like Lyle Lovett. She was 71.

Holiday cold snap, take two

New Mexico stayed surprisingly warm for Christmas, as the arctic air mass looming to the north refused to sink to our level. Apparently, it's reconsidering for New Year's Eve. Especially in the eastern part of the state, high temperatures will plummet on the weekend after notching near record-high temperatures on Friday. It's expected to stay dry in Santa Fe and most other places. Highs are predicted to drop about 10 degrees between now and then.

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