And then there was one

Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver announced yesterday afternoon she is ending her bid for US Senate. For now, that leaves US Rep. Ben Ray Lujan, D-NM, as the sole candidate in the 2020 Democratic primary to replace outgoing US Sen. Tom Udall, who is not seeking re-election. Toulouse Oliver also offered her support to Lujan's campaign, saying in a press statement: "I know that New Mexico will be in good hands if Ben Ray Luján is our next US Senator. We need Ben Ray in the Senate to stand up for New Mexico and to move our progressive vision forward." There's still time for other candidates to jump in the race: New Mexico's preprimary convention designation candidate filing day is Feb. 4, 2020, and all other major party candidates filing day is March 10, 2020.

Chaco vote today

The US House of Representatives is scheduled to vote today on legislation that would protect land near Chaco Canyon from drilling. The Chaco Cultural Heritage Area Protection Act withdraws federal lands around Chaco Canyon from further mineral development. US Rep. Ben Ray Lujan, D-NM, who co-sponsored the bill with other members of New Mexico's congressional delegation, says he's confident the bill will have bipartisan support.

Free to be

Yesterday marked the first day of a new law allowing for gender neutral designations on birth certificates. The occasion was marked by the Transgender Resource Center, which accompanied people to the Vital Statistics bureau to change their birth certificates. Senate Bill 20, passed by last year's Legislature and signed by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, amends the Vital Statistics Act and designates "X" for those who don't identify as male or female, or who use an "unidentified" gender. New Mexico is the fifth state in the US ($TNM) allowing for third-gender designation on birth records.

To your health

Open enrollment for New Mexico's online health insurance exchange begins on Friday, with rates similar to last year's ($TNM). BeWellnm, the state's network created through the federal Affordable Care Act, will be holding events for the next few weeks to help provide information for New Mexicans who plan to use the exchange. Open enrollment continues through Dec. 15.

Catch as catch can

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has created a new law enforcement unit that will help round up folks with outstanding bench warrants or missed court appearances. This Fugitive Apprehension Unit will include at least seven State Police officers and seven Corrections Department employees. According to the New Mexico Administrative Office of the District Attorneys, there are more than 1,600 outstanding bench warrants for people charged with violent crimes across the state. The new unit will make monthly reports to the governor's office.

American landscape

A half-sized reproduction of the sign for Española's Arrow Motel—depicting a Native American man in headdress with a pointed bow and arrow—is on display at the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington DC. The sign is part of the exhibit Americans, which includes hundreds of objects that incorporate American Indian themes. In the case of the Arrow Motel, the exhibition notes: "The Arrow Motel has been shuttered for years, yet the sign remains, a landmark in a small town's main intersection. What does a motel have to do with Indians? It is both strange and unremarkable. It doesn't make sense, but somehow it does. Why? One reason is that Indian names and imagery are familiar. They are authentic. They are American." The City of Española demolished the Arrow Hotel in January, 2018.

Paper to pen, people!

The Nov. 8 deadline approaches for SFR's annual Writing Contest, in which each grand prize winner receives $100 cash, and other other published pieces earn food and drink at local businesses. This year's fiction theme is the Darkest Timeline. In non-fiction, send us your essays on a Climate of Change. You can find the full details here.

Cold comfort

High of 36 degrees today, becoming sunnier as the day progresses. Low of 12 tonight. Temperatures will creep up the remainder of the week, with a high of 47 for tomorrow, but a low of 18 overnight on Thursday, aka Halloween. Thanks, record-cold airmass. Consider some of these warm-weather Halloween costume ideas, and scope these cold-weather safety tips. And don't worry: The weekend is slated to reach the high 50s and low 60s. Winter isn't totally here…yet.

Thanks for reading! The Word plans to bundle up and visit the goats in the Railyard ($TNM),