Democratic members of Congress toured the Alamogordo border station yesterday where Felipe Alonzo Gomez died in Border Patrol custody. The 8-year-old immigrant was the second child to die in federal custody in three weeks when he died on Christmas Eve. Democratic Rep. Xochitl Torres Small called the tour a factfinding mission. Federal officials have ordered health screenings for all immigrant children, though Torres Small says more medical equipment is needed in far-flung facilities along the border with Mexico.
Herrell backs down
In a lengthy press release after weeks of media silence following her defeat in New Mexico's 2nd Congressional District, Yvette Herrell has conceded the race ($). Yesterday was her deadline to challenge the election's results. In the days after the close election in which now-Rep. Xochitl Torres Small took the lead as absentee ballots were counted, Herrell made vague accusations that the vote count was tainted. The Republican never found evidence to that effect.
No contest in Martens murder
Jessica Kelley has pleaded no contest to several felony charges in the death of 10-year-old Victoria Martens. The girl's body was found dismembered and burning in an Albuquerque apartment in August of 2016. A judge rejected an earlier guilty plea, saying prosecutors hadn't presented enough evidence to prove guilt in one of the charges. The no contest plea—essentially Kelley agreeing to the narrative of investigators—gets around that.
The government shutdown continues to pummel Native American health care clinics across the country, including here in New Mexico. Tribal members used to getting care in their community have been forced to hit the road as funding for services runs out. SFR discovered the government anticipated some tribally managed health care systems wouldn't be able to wait out a lengthy shutdown.
Cash for cops
In an effort to stop a leak of officers to the beleaguered-but-higher-paying Albuquerque Police Department, Santa Fe Mayor Alan Webber has offered a $4,700 retention bonus to cops who sign on for another six months on the job. That's roughly when the city's next contract with the police union will go into effect. The union has been pushing a narrative that Santa Fe will be made progressively more unsafe with each officer who transfers to Albuquerque.
A Cloudcroft company has signed a pilot deal with the Navajo Nation to keep stock tanks filled with water through a solar-powered remote monitoring and pump system. If it works as planned, the system will promote more even, widespread grazing by cattle and eliminate the need for Navajo ranchers to drive many miles to physically check on the stock tanks' levels.
A Rose in winter
You won't have time to read Thomas Christopher's In Search of Lost Roses before the Santa Fe Botanical Garden's monthly book club meeting at the Udall Center on Museum Hill from 1-2:30 pm, but you don't necessarily have to do that to go. Get a taste of how the green thumbs handle winter and see what's growing in next month's fertile literary soil.
Why don’t you take a picture?
No, seriously. SFR's next contest is upon us. It's our annual photo competition. As usual, the winners appear in the paper and are featured at our celebratory bash, which doubles as a silent auction to benefit nonprofit journalism. Comb through your best pics from the year and get the details here.
Thanks for reading! The Word has fallen off the pizza wagon rather hard.
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