Sad story grows more sad
Santa Fe Police say the 59-year-old woman killed in a fire over the weekend may have set it herself ($TNM). SFPD yesterday identified the woman as Gloria Lucero Buschman, whose body was found in her second-floor apartment in the Los Piñones Apartment Homes, 825 Calle Mejia, early Saturday morning. Lucero Buschman reportedly left a suicide note; the fire's official cause has yet to be determined. Other Los Piñones residents say they suspected the woman had mental health issues. Firefighters discovered her body after extinguishing the fire, which destroyed two out of eight apartments, damaged six and displaced numerous residents.
Gov wants ICE intervention
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham yesterday called on the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency to investigate conditions ($TNM) at the Otero County Processing Center in southern New Mexico following attempted suicides by three Cuban men in its custody. "That these reports identify, as victims, vulnerable individuals who have come to this nation desperately seeking help, only to find themselves imprisoned and distraught to the point of suicidal contemplation, is all the more cause for concern and immediate action," Lujan Grisham wrote in a letter to US Department of Homeland Security Inspector General Joseph Cuffari.
Yesterday, the state of New Mexico awarded Wexford Health Sources a contract to provide medical services to inmates ($TNM), despite ending a previous contract in 2007 and rejecting another bid in 2016. The contract is worth approximately $246 million over the next four years. Gov. Bill Richardson ended Wexford's contract in 2007 following a five-month investigation by the Santa Fe Reporter detailing subpar care under its supervision. Numerous inmates filed suit against the company even after its contract ended. Reporter Dan Frosch, who authored the investigation and now is a reporter for The Wall Street Journal, won several awards for his reporting on Wexford.
Politics in the courts
US Magistrate Judge Kevin R. Sweazea has removed his name from consideration for the US District Court seat in Las Cruces following withdrawal of support from Democrats and US Sens. Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich. Both submitted Sweazea for consideration to President Donald Trump two years ago. In a statement, Udall and Heinrich's spokespeople noted: "The senators informed the White House counsel's office and Judge Sweazea that despite his qualifications, it became clear that Judge Sweazea's confirmation would face serious hurdles in the Senate." Sweazea says he plans to remain a magistrate judge.
Fewer crashes in 2018
Motor vehicle crashes in New Mexico declined last year, according to new statistics from the state Department of Health. According to the department, 58 New Mexico youth and young adults between the ages of 15 and 24 died in a motor vehicle crash in 2018 versus 65 in 2017. Admissions to hospitals resulting from a motor vehicle crashes also were down last year: 165 versus 190 in 2017. However, the number of crashes in 2017 were the highest they had been in five years. Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death nationally among 15-to-20-year-olds.
ICYMI, this week's Reporter chronicles the 15-year history of the Santa Fe Literary Review, founded at Santa Fe Community College, and excerpts works from its latest edition—including an interview with Pultizer Prize finalist Tommy Orange. SFLR also is accepting submissions for its 2020 magazine, and the Nov. 1 deadline is approaching fast. Click here for details on submitting your creative nonfiction, dramatic writing, fiction or poetry.
Winter hath no fury
Sunny, windy and cold today, with a high of 49 and northwest wind 5 to 10 mph becoming southwest 10 to 15 mph in the afternoon. If that sounds cold, prepare mightily for Wednesday, when Santa Fe is forecast to experience a high of 29 and overnight lows of 13 (tonight's balmy overnight low is expected to be 17 degrees). That cold front will clear on Wednesday, but the nighttime temps will stay brisk ($TNM), so consider a Halloween costume that allows for long underwear.