Ballot tango 

Seven of New Mexico's 33 counties have jumped into the straight-party voting debate after Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver made the surprise announcement last month that the longtime practice would return to the state's ballots. Straight-party voting allows a person to select only a political party on the ballot and have a vote cast for each of the party's nominees. It's generally thought to favor Democrats in New Mexico. Doña Ana County voted to oppose it yesterday ($), though it's unclear if such votes are anything other than symbolic. Republicans have challenged the Secretary of State by asking for a hearing before the state Supreme Court.

Secret filings

Lawyers for the US Attorney's Office and Federal Public Defender have been filing untold numbers of documents under seal, effectively keeping them secret and in apparent violation of the court's own rules, which state a judge has to decide to shield documents from the public. New Mexico in Depth reviewed several cases in which attorneys made such filings. The attorney in one case is asking the court to unseal documents so he can mount an effective legal defense for his client.

Charged

The five Amalia compound defendants were charged in federal court with firearms and conspiracy-related crimes. Those charges were filed before the weekend by the US attorney in New Mexico. A judge will hold both detention and preliminary hearings today in Albuquerque.

Guad’s work

Businesses in Santa Fe's Guadalupe District shopping and dining area have seen sales plummet in the past couple of years. Construction, parking and an unintentional shuttle bus route oversight have combined to make it hard for some to keep the doors open. SFR looks at how the district's businesses hope to generate foot traffic where it once was plentiful.

Police arrest deputy

Santa Fe police claim Santa Fe County Sheriff's Deputy JD Lujan was fighting a sheriff's sergeant at a Santa Fe bar when they responded to a call early Tuesday morning ($). Police say Lujan was combative and resisted arrest as they tried to sort things out. Lujan's now on leave while his department investigates.

Clearing hits a snag

The Forest Service's plan to thin trees from 1,800 acres off Hyde Park Road near the Black Canyon campground skipped an environmental review stage. The agency says that's allowed under exemptions in the Healthy Forest Restoration Act. Longtime Santa Fe forest activist Sam Hitt says the project will create roads in a uniquely roadless part of the forest that's just minutes from downtown. Elizabeth Miller reports for SFR.

Next in line

On the Navajo Nation, voters are deciding between two candidates for president. They've just picked running mates, but Joe Shirley Jr. had to dig a little deeper because his first choice, Peter Deswood, was purged from voter rolls along with 40,000 others and is ineligible. Shirley chose Buu Nygren, who was on hand to celebrate. Shirley faces Jonathan Nez in the November election.

You ghosting me?

Tonight, we are. The synth, electronic, avant garde sounds of Smomid, Tone Ranger and The Free Associates will haunt your mind at Ghost performance space Wednesday night. The show starts at 8 pm and entry is based on a donation of $5-$10.

Thanks for reading! The Word played a video of Howard Dean's Iowa yell yesterday in the office. Aside from general laughter, the best response was "What was that guy's name again?"  

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