Lipstick on a kid

The state's Public Education Department is touting gains in standardized test scores, but holy cow are they still low ($). In Santa Fe, not three in 10 kids in grades 3-11 were proficient on the English test. For math, one of about every six students scored as proficient for grade level. Statewide, the rates are just above 31 percent proficiency in English and about 22 percent in math. The state also says it's working to improve how it gives the tests, including doing a better job of notifying parents, having shorter test windows and faster score releases.

Building up or tearing down 

SFR's cover story this week jumps into the multifamily housing crunch that's faced the city for years. With both affordable and market-rate rentals citywide at virtually full occupancy, there's pressure to build as quickly as possible. But without a clear plan for doing so, the city risks being further splintered along racial and economic fault lines.

Working on a plan

Santa Fe is one step closer to knowing what the future holds for the city-owned campus near St. Michael's Drive and Cerrillos Road. The city released its planning guidelines for the old arts school campus yesterday. After a few months studying community priorities and conceptual designs, the city expects to finalize a set of guidelines late this month. There are five top priorities and 10 lesser preferences.

APD promises better detectives

After a formal grilling by the city's Police Oversight Board, Albuquerque Police Chief Mike Geier admitted the department's process for choosing detectives has some holes. APD has been criticized for botching two recent investigations into high-profile crimes against children. The chief said the department considers becoming a detective a lateral move and that certain training for detectives is not mandatory. Meanwhille, a woman who reported suspected child endangerment to APD on Wednesday is miffed the department hadn't checked out the call a full day later.

Then we gambled

Police say Crystal Loera and Jamie Muñoz were at the Isleta Resort and Casino south of Albuquerque late Tuesday night. The couple arrived at 10:40 and gambled until nearly one in the morning, when they were paged back to their car. It seems someone had noticed that Loera's 1-year-old son was in the car and sweating. The infant is in state custody, as is the couple, which will be held without bond until a detention hearing later this month.

The Y is open

Young man! Nope. Different Y. This one is an intersection of two major highways in Carlsbad that handles tons of traffic. It sits above a giant cavern that is used not for tourists and actually not for anything, anymore. It's the old brine well and there's a danger it could collapse. The company that pumped the brine for oilfields didn't remediate the well, so the state and local governments are spending millions to do it. A NMDOT engineer says the state has found a way to keep traffic open during the two-year project by shifting the roads instead of closing lanes.

Drilling down

Meanwhile, Santo Petroleum has signed roughly 3,000 leases to drill for oil below the city of Carlsbad. The Artesia-based company, headed by somebody with the last name of Yates (where have I heard that before?), says its two largest mineral leases are with the city and the local school district. The leases are for five years. Santo says it doesn't have a timeline for when drilling would begin. Drilling would go two miles deep, which is past the city's water table, and potentially two miles horizontally. Adrian Hedden of the Current Argus checks in with a second contribution today.

Scattered to widespread

It only sounds like an order at the Waffle House. Really, it's a forecast from the fine folks at the National Weather Service that refers to the chance of showers on Saturday. It's decent across the state, with higher elevations sneaking into 70 percent territory. Even the sweltering east and southeast parts of the state have a 30 percent chance of rain. Expect typical monsoon weather through the weekend statewide with normal high temperatures in the mid-80s for Santa Fe and a little warmer where it's usually a little warmer.

Thanks for reading! The Word is actually feeling pretty good about this Friday the 13th. Ohhhhhh. He's behind me, isn't he.

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