Overwhelmed with dozens of claims of priestly sexual abuse, the Archbishop of Santa Fe, John C Wester, announced yesterday that the archdiocese will file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and reorganization next week. The archdiocese has been dealing with, and settling out of court, sexual abuse cases for close to three decades. The attorney general has begun investigating the church's handling of accused priests. There may be as many as 40 active claims against the archdiocese, which will become the 20th Catholic diocesan organization to file for bankruptcy nationwide. The church says a fund will be set aside for claims by current and future victims.
After a July court ruling that said New Mexico doesn't equitably provide education for all its students, especially Native learners and special education students, a group of educators, parents and advocates has come together to craft changes to state law. They'll present the proposal to lawmakers ahead of the legislative session, which starts Jan. 15. A significant part of it will focus on culturally appropriate education.
NMSU approves hemp rules
Regents at New Mexico State University voted yesterday to approve rules for the industrial cultivation of hemp ($). They're the final hurdle for a legalized program. Gov. Martinez vetoed the bill that authorized the program two legislative sessions ago, but the Supreme Court ruled she did so unconstitutionally. The rules go into effect next month.
Padilla pleads not guilty
A former state tax secretary has pleaded not guilty to charges she used online bank and credit card accounts to embezzle more than $25,000 from a former client in her accounting practice, then abused her position as the head of the department that would audit the business. A judge decided earlier this month that prosecutors had enough evidence to send Demesia Padilla to trial. Jury selection for her case will be next spring.
The state Department of Health has OK'd new rules for crisis triage centers, part of legislation approved in the last session. The department says the triage centers will act as a mental health safety net and provide behavioral health evaluations, outpatient services and short-term residential stays for people who admit themselves voluntarily.
It's the holidays, so people who steal packages from front steps, stoops and porches are up to their dastardly deeds. With the advent of more doorbell cameras, we're getting a better look at these people, even if all it does is frustrate us.
Return of the devils
Santa Fe's strange tradition of including devils turning away Joseph and Mary during the annual Los Posadas is back. Last year, the New Mexico History Museum, which puts on the popular pageant that winds its way from the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis to the Palace of the Governors, banned the devils. The museum pointed out that it was innkeepers who turned away the holy couple in the Christmas story. But after a local outcry, the museum decided to return the tradition. Steve Terrell's dispatch for The New Mexican begins with this sentence: "There's room at the inn for Satan this year."
Expect snow, wind and rain to show up today, then reappear Saturday night into Sunday. Roads could be slick tonight on the way home from work, especially in the north and western parts of the state.
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