Not (quite) so fast

It's not exactly a scene from Magic Mike, thank goodness, but the Attorney General's Office saw a lot of lawbreakers sitting up at the front of the UNM Board of Regents meeting in which the school's governing body voted to eliminate four sports and restructure others. The vote was widely criticized, though not universally, as UNM's athletics department sought to bail out its sinking ship that had taken on nearly $5 million in unfunded costs and run afoul of federal gender equity rules. The board is expected to re-vote on the matter and some are hoping for a reprieve.

School shooting training

Investigators believe Siraj Ibn Wahhaj was training a child to commit school shootings at a shabby, makeshift compound in Northern New Mexico. That information came to light during the first court appearance for Wahhaj and four other adults, who are charged with child abuse. Earlier this week, police found the remains of what they believe to be Wahhaj's abducted four-year-old son near the compound. The five have another court appearance today in state District Court on felony charges.

Father speaks

Lucas Morton is the other man who was arrested at the compound. Morton's father was at yesterday's court hearing. He told media outside the courthouse that his son and Siraj Ibn Wahhaj built the compound because they had tried to hold down jobs and live something close to a normal life, "but it just wasn't working." Wahhaj is the son of a noted New York imam who has previously clashed with the federal government, complaining he was profiled by Customs and Border Patrol because of his Islamic faith.

Busy night

Santa Fe's City Council tackled three measures last night that are designed to, by different turns, make city government more responsive to its citizens. The council will ask voters in November to change the city's elections to November of odd-numbered years, matching up with those of other nonpartisan elections. The governing body also passed a measure that will ease what has been criticized as overly strict enforcement of fines for not displaying a blue ADA placard when parking. And after a lenghty public hearing, city councilors and the mayor moved ahead to the planning phase of the SFUAD campus project, while at the same time agreeing to broaden their search for community feedback on the plan.

Be better

A month before a judge told the state's Public Education Department that it wasn't doing enough to ensure Native American and at-risk students were receiving a fair education, the PED told Santa Fe Public Schools that the district was failing its special needs students. In a June report, the state said Santa Fe wasn't notifying parents of special education referrals early enough, nor was it providing enough speech and occupational therapy. The district argues the problem reflects difficulty in hiring staff that is statewide.

Give it back

The chairman of the Regional Coalition of LANL Communities says he'll seek payback ($) of some $51,500 in previously approved reimbursements to coalition members and staffers. That's after a special audit revealed the payments likely violated the coalition's own policies. More than $26,000 of questioned reimbursements went to Andrea Romero, who defeated three-term state representative Carl Trujillo in a June primary. Romero was the coalition's executive director.

Tossed out

Santa Fe District Court Judge T. Glenn Ellington stuck to his decision to dismiss murder charges against a Nambé man because of prosecutorial neglect ($). The judge had agreed to a second hearing to allow lawyers from District Attorney Marco Serna's office to better make their case for prosecuting Robert Mondrian-Powell. He was accused of killing Elvira Segura at her home, which the two were sharing. Serna plans to appeal the decision.

Unclear

A while back, the Environmental Protection Agency told Sunland Park, New Mexico, that it was violating clean air standards. Around the same time, the EPA said El Paso, Texas, which sits not far away over the state line, was not breaking smog rules. Sunland Park says that doesn't make sense and is suing the EPA ($).

Thanks for reading! The Word wishes you clear skies today. Until the storms.

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