‘Let’s be real’

Meetings of the State Canvassing Board—which is made up of the secretary of state, governor and chief justice of the Supreme Court—are usually uneventful. Not yesterday. Gov. Susana Martinez pointedly questioned Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver about the security of online absentee ballot applications ($). That's a new process this year, and the governor wondered about the requirement for a signature on a voter registration application. Republicans appear to be trying to chip away at elected Congresswoman Xochitl Torres Small, who has a narrow lead in the 2nd Congressional District. However, there aren't enough online absentee ballots in that district to make up Republican Yvette Herrell's deficit. Despite the tense meeting, the governor voted to certify the results.

Attacker beaten in prison fight 

Justin Hansen, who attacked then-17-year-old Brittani Marcell with a shovel in 2008 and escaped prosecution for a decade, is back in prison after being treated at a Las Cruces hospital for injuries he got in a fight. Initially, a prosecutor told news outlets Hansen was on life support. That wasn't true.

Shop ’til they drop

What is the cost—the true cost—of free shipping? Who's doing the boxing? The picking? The sorting? In this week's installation of The Interface, SFR's Julia Goldberg speaks with Santa Fe-based consultant and researcher Beth Gutelius, who specializes in the changing nature of employment, urban economic development and, yes, warehouses.

Expanding practice

The New Mexico Supreme Court is considering a rule change that would allow people in New Mexico illegally to practice law. That could include anyone from those who have crossed the border without documentation to Dreamers, as long as they pass the bar. A group of attorneys in Albuquerque proposed the change.

The looming pension problem

This week, lawmakers who will arrive to the Roundhouse in January with likely more than $1 billion in new money to spend heard some harrowing news: The state's pension funds and other retirement benefits are in an $18 billion hole. Legislators have been trying to fix the problem without leaving retirees shortchanged (just look at the picture, where our poor guy only has like $7 and some vaguely European-looking coins to spend). Retirement benefits managers are proposing a series of changes to two of the programs, and likely a third, that could eat up hundreds of millions of that new cash.

Pilot in SF crash identified

Police say Larry Nelson of Wheat Ridge, Colorado, was at the controls of a Mooney M20 airplane when it crashed and caught fire about a mile southwest of the Santa Fe airport Monday night. According to the FAA, the 73-year-old was not in contact with the control tower at the time of the crash. The NTSB arrived yesterday to complete an accident investigation.

Chevel ready

Farmington teen country crooner Chevel Shepherd is among the final 10 contestants on NBC's The Voice ($). She learned earlier this week that she's advanced to the next round, which will take place with a series of performances and eliminations Dec. 3 and 4.

Thanks for reading! The Word is assessing holiday shopping strategies. This is serious business, folks.

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