Wrong way, baby
It's so common here it's almost become normal: Wrong-way drivers on I-25 causing havoc and, in worst cases, death. As a result, a stretch of the interstate near Santa Fe is to be equipped with a wrong-way driver detection system. Reportedly, sometime in the fall, the interchanges at Old Pecos Trail and Highway 285 at Eldorado will receive the systems, thanks to $200,000 appropriated by the Legislature. When it detects someone's getting on an off-ramp, lights and signs will flash to try and alert the driver they've made a mistake. The Department of Transportation intends to expand the system beyond just those two exits, to about 25 exits.
Accusations on campus
Accusations of assault and misconduct are flying at the Institute of American Indian Arts, coming to light last week just before the school's powwow on Saturday (TNM $) and next Saturday's graduation. Students and alums believe that many incidents of harassment and assault have gone unaddressed by the school's administration, and staged a walk-out at May 11's event. The alleged perpetrators have not yet been named in the media.
Humans deserve treatment?
In a landmark ruling earlier this month, a federal judge in Boston said a woman in Maine must be given addiction treatment while incarcerated. Santa Fe County's lockup, however, has banned such treatment, citing contraband issues and not enough staff to properly manage such a treatment program; but emboldened advocates are getting vocal in their disagreement with the policy (TNM $). An advisory panel to the County Commission will examine the issue in light of rulings elsewhere in the country and with New Mexico's opioid epidemic in mind.
When I’m stressed, I just cry…?
In more opioid news, a Las Cruces medical doctor (well, former doctor) has been sentenced to nine years in federal prison for his misconduct in prescribing drugs that led to the deaths of four of his patients. Pawankumar Jain pleaded guilty to prescribing methadone when he knew it was unnecessary in order to collect Medicare payments. His attorney says he did it because he was overburdened and stressed out at his booming "pain management" practice.
Sir Richard Branson, the kajillionaire who does stuff like make commercial spaceships, announced Friday that he's bringing his winged passenger space rocket company and more than 100 employees from California to the Spaceport in Southern New Mexico. Not only does this mean more economic activity in the area near Truth or Consequences, but it also signals that commercial space flights are gearing up to happen for real.
Not a horse show
Bet you didn't know that the beautiful, sprawling School for Advanced Research campus used to be a dog kennel. Not only that, but the dogs being bred for guard work there in the 1940's were massive Irish wolfhounds. Fittingly, this week, the Irish Wolfhound Club of America hosts its annual dog show in our city (TNM $), featuring events at Hipico Santa Fe and Buffalo Thunder Resort & Casino. Events include confirmation (think Westminster-style), lure coursing (where the dogs chase a lure around a track) and rally (like a dog pop quiz and obstacle course); check out a schedule here.
Restaurant news won’t quit
The popular Shelby Street cricket-taco-serving fine-dining restaurant Sazón caught fire on Sunday (TNM $). No one was injured, but the interior of the building flooded and the roof is damaged. Chef and co-owner Fernando Olea says he is not sure how long the establishment will be closed. Now's not a great time to have this added complication, not only due to tourist season ramping up, but because Olea and his business partners are also planning to open an Italian restaurant (TNM $) on Johnson Street soon.
The Albuquerque Journal has a whole slew of opinion pieces that don't mince words about affordable housing. Not about potholes. Imagine that! One writer says that the guesthouse ordinance is not a fix for the housing crisis; we also hear from Jamie Durfee, whose potential eviction incited the whole discussion about the casita ordinance in the first place; and lastly, local housing superhero Daniel Werwath speaks out about the levels of hipocrisy in town, saying that "what we do here is not normal, and it is not sustainable."
Thanks for reading! The Word met two loyal Word readers in the wild on Friday, and was thrilled to have done so. They said they particularly like the weather, so know that today is gonna be warm & beautiful … just like y'all.