Boy’s alleged killer stays in jail
Thomas Ferguson has been able to walk out of jail or prison many times in the past. The accused killer of 13-year-old Jeremiah Valencia will stay there at least until trial. A District Court judge who has seen Ferguson in his courtroom before made the order. Ferguson's attorneys didn't oppose it. Ferguson, who is accused of abusing Valencia to death, was mostly quiet.
To the Senate
The state House of Representatives narrowly approved a plan to pull extra money from the Land Grand Permanent Fund and put it towards early childhood education. The measure has passed the House before, but typically stalled in the Senate among more conservative elected officials who worry taking more money from the fund will eventually shortchange schools in the future. Supporters say they're open to backing off the proposed one percent level, which would generate about $150 million annually.
Sen. Linda Lopez says the state should be able to remove regents for higher education institutions if they violate what are generally considered conflict-of-interest provisions. Just days ago, Lopez voted to kill a measure that some said would have depoliticized the regent appointment process, creating a pool of potential candidates vetted by a bipartisan group. The governor would have to select a regent from that group.
Demographic trends in Santa Fe are putting the squeeze on elementary and community schools to on the south end of town. The school district's recent decision to cap enrollment at Amy Biehl Community School and shunt off students to Piñon Elementary was clear evidence of that. What's not so evident is how to best address the problem. SFR's Aaron Cantú digs in this week, as the school board awaits a new population growth study this spring.
Voters in the Santa Fe Public Schools and community college districts overwhelmingly approved two bond issues that will raise their property taxes. One will fund improvements at the Santa Fe Community College, including sprucing up the fitness center and adding technology, as well as a brand-new building for the automotive tech program. The public schools bond will receive about $11.5 million each year for maintenance and repair on existing school buildings.
Fare thee well … well, maybe not you
Outgoing Santa Fe Mayor Javier Gonzales delivered an at-times tearful, proud and defiant State of the City address last night. The mayor spent most of his time focusing on ways in which the city's disparate elements have come together to solve—or at least face—Santa Fe's challenges over the past four years. He also kicked at longtime political opponent Ron Trujillo (by policy, not by name) and said neighbors owe each other more than just picking weeds in the medians.
Hey, speaking of mayoral hopefuls: Trujillo and others willingly subjected themselves to SFR's Pop Quiz this week. Councilors Peter Ives and Joseph Maestas scored the highest in the five-question affair that veered from water sources to acronyms to how much the city could add to sales tax if it so desired.
Enthused … or amped
After regularly grabbing podium spots at snowboarding events in New Mexico, Santa Fean Malem McDaniel has moved to Colorado to train and, hopefully, get good enough to make a run at the 2022 Winter Olympics. He's 14 years old and the subject of SFR's Enthusiast column this week.
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