Horse race coverage

New Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham received $25,000 from one group hoping to win a license for a race track and casino in Clovis, and $5,000 from another one. The state's Racing Commission is in the process of considering applications for what would be New Mexico's sixth such facility ($). Political plays behind the scenes of the license for the Downs at Albuquerque marred Susana Martinez' early years in office. Lujan Grisham takes control of appointments to the commission in her new role.

The cost of the shutdown

The New York Times traveled to Michigan to profile the impact of the nearly two-week-old government shutdown on Native tribes. The federally funded Indian Health Service is losing funding, putting at risk access to medicine and even food for Native Americans ($). Individual tribes are dumping hundreds of thousands of dollars of emergency money into those services, but in some places, those dollars are close to running out.

Weathered

Meanwhile, here in New Mexico, the National Weather Service has been busy over the holidays as three storms ran through the state, snarling traffic, delaying flights and increasing demand for their expertise, despite the fact that meteorologists and other essential staffers not getting paid ($). The staff says they're guaranteed to get paychecks, the question is when.

Beaten

Did you know some substitute teachers at Albuquerque Public Schools were getting paid $10 an hour? That's less than Santa Fe's minimum wage. APS is remedying that, boosting base pay by three bucks an hour, and pay for substitutes with more education, experience or certification will get up to $18 an hour at the top end. The district has 1,000 substitutes on its list, but wants to add 500 people to it.

Vacation crash

Though it's been widened to four lanes with a little wiggle room at the center line, Highway 550 between Bernalillo and Bloomfield is still a dangerous stretch of road. A 12-year-old Albuquerque boy was killed when the driver of his family's car lost control and crossed the center line south of Cuba, hitting a car headed in the opposite direction. Police say Alexander Madsen was the only person seriously hurt in the crash.

Doing better

In this week's installment of The Enthusiast in SFR, Elizabeth Miller writes of the gains women have made in taking the leap into outdoor activities. Long the domain of men, adventuring outside has become a sexist affair. And while Miller says many women are pioneering access and accomplishment today, there's room to encourage and room to do better.

Land of Disenchantment

That's what's behind the metal rock scene on the Navajo Nation: disenchantment and the resulting empowerment of being on stage, thrashing away and being heard. Loud. Western weekly High Country News caught on to the scene through the audio survey Everything is Stories. See pictures here and video here.

Brrr

The temperature on the ol' weather app showed a lonely, single degree when the Word rose from slumber this morning. This is likely to be as cold as it gets for a while, as the sun will return and temperatures will warm into the weekend. It's still going to be cold today, though, with the western two-thirds of the state barely flirting with highs around freezing.

Thanks for reading! The Word is extra thankful this morning for the plastic wrap and double-sided tape on the window above the bed.

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