Changing economy

The Four Corners job situation took another hit just before the holidays, as PNM's San Juan Generating Station shuttered two of its four units. The company is phasing out the coal-fired plant by 2022, and while that's welcome news to many, the economic impact is real. Kevin Robinson-Avila at the Albuquerque Journal looks at the effort to transform the economy in the San Juan Basin.

Santa Fe’s $3 million weed-whacking plan 

Most of Santa Fe's medians aren't pretty, especially when the monsoons roll through and weeds pop up. The city plans to spend $3 million to rethink its median maintenance nightmare ($) by starting fresh with some medians and landscaping with plants that crowd out weeds that are more difficult to control.

Cops say pair stole vehicles from SFUAD

It was a New Year's Eve caper that apparently started when somebody showed up to a party at the Super 8 with keys to company vehicles at the soon-to-be-shuttered Santa Fe University of Art and Design. It ended with police accusing two 26-year-olds of trying to steal four vehicles ($) from the school … and probably someone who had access to keys soon to be looking for a new job.

Government-style payday loans

A state senator wants to head off the business of payday lenders, which can charge up to 175 percent on personal loans, when it comes to state employees. Sen. Bill Tallman, D-Albuquerque, has introduced a bill that would create a lending system for state workers to have access to personal loans. It would cap interest at 30 percent and limit payback amounts to 12 percent of a check. No word on whether the governor might add it to the agenda for the session.

New year for chile

The Dallas Morning News turned loose venerable Mexico correspondent Alfredo Corchado (a Lannan talks alum) upon Hatch this holiday season. Shrinking farmland and increasing competition from similar strains of chile peppers are putting the squeeze on the industry. Growers have teamed with scientists at New Mexico State University to focus on heirloom varieties of chile. The article features both spellings of chile … though we couldn't quite figure out how the Morning News decided which to use.

Soaps threaten O’Keeffe paintings, other masterpieces

A reaction between fats and the pigment used in paint is creating tiny soaps in the rich hues of some Georgia O'Keeffe paintings. The overall effect can be a noticeable darkening of a painting. Through a grant by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum is working with art preservationists in Chicago to try to better understand and slow the process. Artnet News looked at the problem back in May, noting that other older masterpieces such as some by Rembrandt have been affected as well.

‘A bunch of damn morons’

That's one of more than a few choice quotes in Robert Nott's dispatch from Storrie Lake ($) and the annual polar bear plunge there for the New Mexican. A few dozen brave, crazed, adventurous souls jumped into the lake, which was relatively balmy this year.

A tale of two halves

Most of us are in the warmer one, as western and central New Mexico remain warmer than normal. It's cold in the eastern half of the state, though, with highs 20 degrees below average in Clovis and Portales. Santa Fe can expect a relatively normal high in the mid-40s. If you have a few extra minutes to watch the National Weather Service's year in New Mexico weather video, you should … it'll remind you what snow looks like.

Thanks for reading! The Word hopes you loaded up on black-eyed peas yesterday. We can use all the help we get in 2018.

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