Flu

Four people have died from influenza in New Mexico this season, making the state one of the most hard-hit by the virus. As kids go back to school and cold weather has kept many people inside more often, the chance of spread ticks up. Doctors say it's not too late to get a flu shot. Even if it doesn't stop the virus, it can shorten the illness, which can last up to two weeks.

More in store

The state's change to the permit for the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant near Carlsbad means it can potentially store more low-level nuclear waste in the salt caverns. But watchdogs worry it could lead to mission creep ($) and storage for waste that's more radioactive. The governor's office says Michelle Lujan Grisham will review the late-December decision by the Martinez administration.

Plume

A toxic plume of chemicals from an old drycleaning business in Santa Fe is spreading near the site of the city-owned Midtown campus. The state Environment Department says it's not a major concern, though it's concerning enough to the property owner that the company has volunteered to remediate the plume in an effort to absolve itself of liability ($). The City Council may draft a letter to the new non-Susana Martinez-appointed secretary of the department just underscore its concern.

A step further

Albuquerque could soon ban plastic grocery bags. And plastic straws. And non-reusable plastic to-go containers. Take that, Santa Fe. Four city councilors drafted the proposal after a presentation by students arguing for the eco-friendly move. It will be introduced at tonight's City Council meeting.

Oh SNAP

The US spends roughly $4 billion a month on Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program benefits. That's what many people still call food stamps. But about $1 billion won't be available because of the government shutdown. That works out to an average of $90 a month for families who rely on the program.

Resolved

Once again, SFR has tromped out into the community to ask Santa Feans what their hopes are for the new year. And once again, we got responses that were funny, poignant, thoughtful and whimsical. If you're the kind who makes resolutions, or if you always wonder what others want for themselves in the new year, dig in.

Sweet harmony

Speaking of New Year's resolutions, maybe you're looking to get involved. Maybe you sing. Maybe you have a thing for four-part harmony. Join a barbershop chorus (ladies are welcome, too). The Santa Fe Harmonizers are getting their act together in 2019. Rehearsal starts tonight at 6:30 pm at the Zia United Methodist Church.

What do you mean ‘normal’?

After what seems like an unsettled couple weeks of weather, we're actually back to normal temperatures today. It's still slick out there this morning after snow and freezing rain moved through much of the northwestern part of the state. A number of schools near Gallup and on the Navajo Nation are closed or running two hours late today, as are several places (like courts and schools) in Santa Fe.

Thanks for reading! The Word has a hard time believing we're already one week into 2019.

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