Union leader out after harassment suit

Jon Hendry may be New Mexico's most well-known contemporary union leader, but he's no longer the president ($) of the New Mexico Federation of Labor, according to the AFL-CIO's national office. Hendry has been a business agent for a film union as well as a former state Tourism Department official under Bill Richardson. A recent lawsuit accuses him of threatening a public relations employees job and groping her.

Big Tent opens for business

Alan Webber took the oath of office last night and now officially has the job he asked for during his "Big Tent" campaign. The mayor urged Santa Feans to stay involved in their government. He also hinted that he'll work to protect the city's status as a sanctuary for immigrants, regardless of their legal status. Four city councilors were sworn in as well, including three new faces. The first City Council meeting is Wednesday evening.

Bank backlash

Supporters of the Galisteo Basin Preserve are upset with Los Alamos National Bank after the lender began foreclosure proceedings against the nonprofit group that owns the land south of Santa Fe. LANB says the nonprofit owes more than $5 million ($) on a loan. The sale of 275 home sites was supposed to finance that debt, but the group hasn't been able to top 50 sales. The preserve contains dozens of miles of hiking and biking trails west of Lamy.

Boy’s killer could have been in jail

Thomas Ferguson, the accused murderer of Jeremiah Valencia, could well have been in jail instead of beating and torturing the son of his girlfriend, an investigation by the Albuquerque Journal shows. Miscommunication between prosecutors meant Ferguson was out on probation instead of in jail on a violation connected to a domestic violence case in Rio Rancho.

Emergency landing

A Southwest Airlines flight from Phoenix to Dallas was forced down in Albuquerque overnight Sunday after smoke from a likely electrical fire filled the cabin. Passengers say the experience was harrowing, but had kind words for the flight crew.

Oil record

Producers pumped 172 million barrels of oil out of the ground in New Mexico last year. That smashes the all-time record. In December, the state was the nation's third most prolific producer, behind Texas and North Dakota. The rush brings money but also some woes, as you'll see below.

Man camp water worries

The city of Loving is smack-dab in the middle of New Mexico's Permian Basin oil patch. Ergo, it's smack-dab in the middle of an oil boom. That means hundreds of workers needing a place to live locally. Those temporary facilities are dubbed "man camps." And in Loving, locals are worried the extra population—all of whom will need a shower—will tax the town's water supply ($), which is only slightly less precious than oil.

It’s a major award!

Around here, there's a debate about chile. We're not talking red or green. We're talking about putting the state's most famous crop on a license plate with a black background, a pair of red and green pods and some yellow alphanumeric characters. Some folks think it's hideous. But the Automobile License Plate Collectors Association, the acronym of which is probably pronounced like the animal, thinks it's indescribably beautiful. And if ALPCA says it's award-worthy, well then, so be it.

Thanks for reading! The Word is not on board the chile license plate train, due in no small part to the awesomeness of our yellow and blue plates.

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