Slow your roll
Have those decoy police SUVs parked in medians made you slow down while driving around town? Yes, maybe occasionally? The city knows that, and is also considering bringing back the idea of putting cameras in 'em ($ TNM) to catch speeders. We had a similar "automated enforcement program" that operated for four years before getting shut down in 2013; the plan could encounter the same constitutional questions as did red-light cameras.
No use crying over spilt gas?
Not surprisingly, with oil and gas production way up in New Mexico, spills are up as well. Calculating from data obtained from the state Oil Conservation Division, companies reported about 4.2 spills daily in 2018, according to the Center for Western Priorities' Oil and Gas Spills Tracker. And not only is oil and gas getting wasted; about 91,914 barrels of water were spilled as well.
Whoops, come back
A fugitive from Arkansas was arrested in Hatch this week, but due to a paperwork mishap, he's been released and is now, once again, wanted. Geronimo Medina Espericueta, 47, and another inmate crawled through a ceiling and escaped the Pulaski County Detention Center in Little Rock, Arkansas, about a week ago. They turned up in New Mexico, but an officer at the Doña Ana County Detention Center improperly filed his booking paperwork. Without it, Doña Ana County Magistrate Court Judge Samantha Madrid said Espericueta should be released. He's now on the lam again.
About 5% of Albuquerque public elementary schools' water fountains tested by the state have elevated levels of lead, the Journal found. An Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority spokesman said the problem is with fixtures, not the water supply.
Death in BernCo
A man who was arrested and subsequently died in Albuquerque's Metropolitan Detention Center has been autopsied, and cause of death is homicide. Vicente Villela, 37, had meth and marijuana in his system, which increased his need for oxygen; so, when cops knelt on his limbs and back to hold him down, Villela could not breathe properly and suffocated. A toxicology report says that when a person is restrained in a prone position, "The natural response–struggling for breath–is often perceived as resistance to authority and met with more force. In many cases the result is death by asphyxia."
About a year ago, Heritage Hotels, which operates the Eldorado Hotel, opened up a Starbucks at 329 W San Francisco (on the corner of Guadalupe). Awkwardly hidden behind walls and with little parking, not to mention located only a couple blocks from the popular 106 W San Francisco St. Starbucks, the new shop seemed destined for failure. Well, it was ($ TNM). It opened with a licensing stipulation that one of the locations close soon, and there had been whispers it would eventually be the 106 location. Not so. Heritage reports that it's looking for a local coffee company to take over the space.
On Thursday (that's tomorrow), Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller will reveal new rainbow crosswalks in Nob Hill, in honor of Pride Month. While the new crosswalks may cost more, they last longer. A rainbow crosswalk costs about $30,000 to paint, instead of a white crosswalk that comes in at about $10,000—but the rainbow paint will last about a decade, whereas the white ones need to be re-done about every three years. Plus, the colorful ones are pretty. Win-win-win.
As we mentioned yesterday about the cows near Farmington, the wet weather has had some negative effects; the hefty supply of food for bugs has also led to a proliferation of said bugs. Moths, in particular. Also, just a reminder that harsh extermination chemicals aren't always the best idea; consider some more natural alternatives, if you can.
Thanks for reading! The Word had a particularly gnarly run-in with an insect in her house yesterday. While the brain says many bugs are beneficial, the heart still gets spooked.