Here’s the problem

Judge Sarah Singleton has released a whopping 600-page order detailing the state's shortfalls in providing a sufficient education to its public school students ($). The tome arrives just as lawmakers get set to pump hundreds of millions of dollars into New Mexico's public education system to satisfy a court order that stemmed from a lawsuit filed on behalf of several groups of students. Singleton pointed to pre-kindergarten funding and reading skills programs as two problem areas, among many.

Different kind of contest

On Monday, failed Republican congressional candidate Yvette Herrell announced she wouldn't contest the results of the 2nd Congressional District election. Tuesday, Herrell announced she planned to run against Xochitl Torres Small in 2020 ($). The move is interesting not just because of the timing, but because there's been wide speculation that Steve Pearce will try to reclaim the seat he vacated to run for governor.

‘Political shenanigans’

New Mexico's Oil Conservation Commission has suspended a decision made late last year that allowed Texas-based Hilcorp Energy to double the density of its oil and gas wells in a 1.3 million-acre part of the San Juan Basin. With a new governor come new appointees to the commission, and a new outlook on what's considered acceptable for the industry. Hilcorp's attorney called the suspension "political shenanigans."

Taos judge to retire

Judge Sarah Backus plans to step down from the bench at the end of the month. Last summer, Backus endured death threats after ruling prosecutors hadn't presented enough evidence to hold suspects from a remote compound in Taos County in jail pending trial on child abuse charges.

Christmas gift

Former Gov. Susana Martinez' publicly paid private lawyer, Paul Kennedy, has appealed a court's ruling that the state should pay nearly $400,000 in attorney's fees after SFR successfully prevailed in several public records claims against the governor. He's also withdrawn from the case, which sits in the lap of the new governor. A judge rejected Kennedy's claims that the governor had actually won the case, and said he spent almost a year on the novel legal argument, running up costs to SFR's attorneys as he did so.

New gig

Debra Garcia y Griego's commute is probably exactly the same length as it's been, but the former director of the Santa Fe Arts Commission is now the head of New Mexico's Department of Cultural Affairs. Her first unofficial proclamation is to let everyone know that state museums, monuments and historical sites are open during the federal government shutdown. She also tells SFR she's eager to work with other departments like tourism to boost the state's cultural profile.

Trapped

A Northern New Mexico man is using the horrific death of his dog, Roxy, to rally support for legislation to ban trapping on public land. Dave Clark tried in vain to save his dog from choking to death in an illegally set snare trap on a trail near Santa Cruz Lake. State law currently allows trapping on public land, with some restrictions. Past efforts to pass a ban have stalled in committee.

Sake clinic

SITE Santa Fe has invited sake sommeliers to share and pair their favorite sakes with food from Izanami, the restaurant at Ten Thousand Waves. It's $30-$35 for the 6 pm event, which aims to give you a bit more knowledge of what you like the next time you decide to have Japanese food.

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