Española has paid more than $800,000 since 2012 to settle more than half a dozen use-of-force complaints against a single officer―Sgt. Greg Esparza—who is still on the force. KRQE-TV reported on Esparza's unique brand of policing, in which he's used his Taser on a paraplegic man at a Sonic restaurant whom Esparza claimed was resisting him. He also used his Taser on a 71-year-old man Esparza apparently couldn't safely overpower as medics treated the man's son for a drug overdose. There's more, of course. The city hasn't said whether it will boot Esparza from the police force, though it's paid for investigations into his behavior. The Rio Grande Sun has reported on Esparza's use of force previously.
Rio Arriba doesn’t make list
If you've lived in New Mexico for more than about six months, you've heard of Rio Arriba County's massive opioid problem. It has one of the nation's highest rates of overdose death. But it's not on a list of 220 counties in which the federal government plans to target opioid addiction with a series of grants. The reason seems to be that the feds are using HIV-related data that skews funding toward white populations.
A groundbreaking assessment of the health of Santa Fe's Native American population and recommend changes to address those findings are now a year old. As SFR's Aaron Cantú reports, the effort has a long way to go, but has revealed some silver linings, like an unexpected jump in the Trump administration's Indian Health Service budget. There's also a new produce-delivery program being explored by the Santa Fe IHS facility, as well as more outreach to connect with patients outside the hospital.
Up to this point, the Democratic gubernatorial primary has been mostly the three candidates telling you how awesome they are. State Sen. Joe Cervantes is now going on the attack, tilting at Michelle Lujan Grisham. Cervantes' new ad pillories the congresswoman ($) for fundraising from out-of-state donors and for a contract her former business won to run a state health insurance pool. Early voting starts Saturday.
Brasher backs off
Michael Brasher, a newly appointed regent at the University of New Mexico, is also a member of the state Board of Finance. That body routinely votes on matters concerning UNM—notably voting down a proposed hospital expansion and yesterday voting for a $35 million rec center facelift—and Brasher says recent news stories have convinced him he should abstain from board votes pertaining to the university. Jessica Dyer and Dan McKay at the Albuquerque Journal have the story.
Remember the scene in Ferris Bueller's Day Off where Matthew Broderick hacks into his high school's computer system to change his attendance record? It's likely not many of the 55 students from Gadsden High School who are accused of stealing a password and changing their grades have seen the 1985 movie, but the technique seems to stand the test of time. The school has suspended five students and 29 may not graduate. School officials aren't talking about the embarrassing episode.
The occasional series on space hosted by everyone's favorite funnyman/astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson is busy filming its second run in New Mexico. The program, "Cosmos," recently sent a crew ($) to the Bisti/De-Na-Zin area to get video of rocks. Sounds perhaps uninteresting, but the program has a way of making that work. The first season filmed extensively in and around Santa Fe.
Sports, but not sports
Some of the greatest moments on the field of play are only tangentially about sports. At their best, they're about being human. So it is with 4-year-old Lio Ortega, who's battling brain cancer, and is also a fan of the UNM Lobos baseball team. Coach Ray Birmingham is, in turn, a fan of Lio, sending Lobos gear his way during chemotherapy. When the Lobos played the US Air Force Academy, Lio was invited to throw out the first pitch and run the bases. Good Morning America has the story.
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