On the heels of other groundbreaking lawsuits against drug makers and marketers accused of dishonestly promoting harmful medications that fueled the opioid crisis, seven New Mexico counties have filed a lawsuit against Purdue Pharma ($) and other manufacturers of addictive drugs like Oxycontin. Opioids have long caused a public health crisis in New Mexico, and Cibola, Valencia, Catron, Sierra, Curry, Lincoln and Socorro counties have joined the swell against the corporations that aided their rise. Socorro County Manager Delilah Walsh says that perhaps 75% of that county jail's inmates are there due to opidoid-related offenses.
CYFD on the mend?
The New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department (CYFD) has long been maligned for either intervening too late, or causing strife with stringent and inappropriately applied restrictions. New Mexico Political Report writes that the department is rolling out a new risk assessment tool, using a point system to help in decision-making about whether a child should be removed from a home.
A University of New Mexico baseball player was shot and killed outside a nightclub in Albuquerque's Nob Hill early Saturday morning. This comes just after Mayor Tim Keller sent letters to high-schoolers, urging them to stay in or come to the city, despite its well-known crime problems. A few hundred miles away, State Police have confirmed an officer-involved shooting in Angel Fire; police reportedly went to a home that was on fire where they encountered a man with a knife, and fired at him. He died in the ambulance. His name has not been released by authorities.
Over the weekend, SFR published an interview with New Mexico United founder Peter Trevisani, in which he talked about his lofty goals for the soccer team: unity, pride and better community in our state. The good karma served the team well in a game against San Antonio this weekend; they won, putting them in first place in the Western Conference. Now they just have to win 24 more times to stay at the top. More than 15,000 people attended the Cinco de Mayo game.
Get your sushi while you can
Downtown Japanese institution Shohko Café is closing for good on May 11. The eatery has been a favorite for its 40-plus-year lifetime, having placed first in SFR's Best of Santa Fe competition from 2009-2016, but the Fukuda family says with the retirement of 78-year-old head chef and founder Shohko Fukuda, it just isn't right to go on. As far as factors in the closing go, they did not cite an "honest mistake" of $58,000 in unpaid wages, which they were ordered to pay in February.
These are the drones you’re looking for
Central New Mexico Community College students are teaming up with the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science to use drones to map dino footprints in Clayton Lake State Park, which reportedly contains hundreds of tracks about 100 million years old. In other drone news, students in Southern Colorado are mapping the location of a WWII-era Japanese internment camp, as part of a push to record US history regarding its treatment of people of color; though local journalists often hit on it, this would be a cool idea for Santa Fe, were the Casa Solana area got developed over the site of the camp here.
We love the love
Your friends here at SFR are humbled but proud to announce that we've earned some accolades from the Society of Professional Journalists' Top of the Rockies competition. Our opponents were formidable (competing papers included Denver's Westword, the Salt Lake Tribune, Boulder Weekly and more), but here's a list of our honors, announced over the weeked: first place for website design by digital manager Brianna Kirkland; first-place front page design for the "Dark Window" illustration by Anson Stevens-Bollen; first place for arts and entertainment feature for "The Outsiders" by Alex De Vore; third place for ag and environment enterprise reporting for "Making It Go Boom" by Elizabeth Miller; and Acting Out as third-best arts and entertainment column and "All Hands on Rez" for second-place solutions journalism feature, both by Charlotte Jusinski (hey! that's the Word!). Here's a spreadsheet of all the winners.
Car comes home
Auto enthusiast Leo Martinez was arrested in 2009 for DWI, and his classic car, a beautiful red 1970 Chevy Chevelle, was impounded. Martinez admits wrongdoing, but lamented that the state kept his work of art. He has searched for the car since, and recently discovered it, only slightly worse for wear, in an impound lot; this is after it was ruled illegal for the state to seize and keep cars of drivers not yet convicted of crimes, by the way. Martinez got his car back this week and says he and his buddies will restore it together.
Thanks for reading! The Word couldn't sleep last night. Something was buzzing in the cosmos.