Midtown campus land swap
A proposal to transfer approximately 48 acres of city property to the state was approved yesterday by the Santa Fe City Council's Public Works Committee. That land includes the New Mexico Department of Public Safety headquarters. In exchange, the city would receive nearly 20 acres bordering the Midtown campus that is slated for redevelopment, as well as $4.6 million. The Santa Fe City Council still needs to approve the plan, as do various state officials. Interim City Manager Jarel LaPan-Hill told the state's Facilities Management Division director that the city wants the property "in order to maximize development potential for the project and for better access to transportation infrastructure on Siringo Road."
Bundle of energy
Hearings will continue today over the plan to decommission the San Juan Generating Station near Farmington and transition the state to cleaner energy sources. The Public Regulation Commission's deliberations on the shutdown could impact portions of the signed Energy Transition Act. Democratic lawmakers, including Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, have accused the PRC of overstepping its authority in the matter, although the state Supreme Court has twice refused to intervene on behalf of various groups. Yesterday, the governor, legislators and Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez again petitioned the court ($TNM) to intervene and accused PRC members of perpetuating "a regulatory atmosphere of uncertainty and risk."
Triad National Security LLC, a group of nonprofits that runs Los Alamos National Laboratory, had 19 violations of its state permit, according to the annual report on hazardous waste violations ($TNM). Those violations include losing track of 250 barrels of waste heading to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in Carlsbad. Another contractor, Newport News Nuclear BWXT Los Alamos, had 29 violations of its permit to manage hazardous waste at the lab, for which it has a $1.4 billion contract. Those errors included various mislabeled waste containers, as well as ones that were improperly sheltered from the elements and covered in rain and snow.
Santa Fe Public Schools Superintendent Veronica García ordered the removal of a banner featuring First Judicial District Attorney Marco Serna hung at Santa Fe High's Toby Roybal Gymnasium, following a complaint from the public ($TNM). Serna is running in the Democratic primary for the 3rd Congressional district. Although the banner doesn't mention the race, García said it violates the district's policy barring political advertisements on school grounds. The Santa Fe New Mexican does not appear to have spoken to Serna about the removal of his banner, but did speak with Serna's twin brother/campaign manager, who said the candidate had made a personal donation to the school for the banner, but had not used campaign funds. He also said the banner featuring his brother's face (which arguably also looks like his face) did not seem political to him. Booster club member Andrea Serna Probst, who solicited the banner ad, said she was unaware of the policy and reached out to Serna because she had known him a long time.
Preserving Native languages
The US House yesterday passed the Esther Martinez Native American Languages Programs Reauthorization Act, a bill designed to protect Native languages. Martinez, who died in 2006, was an Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo traditional storyteller and Tewa language advocate. The bill reauthorizes and amends an existing 2006 law, extending two federal Native American language programs at the Administration for Native Americans until 2024; expanding eligibility for those programs to smaller-sized Tribal language programs; and allowing both programs to offer longer grant periods. US House Assistant Speaker Ben Ray Luján, D-NM, introduced the bill, which was co-sponsored by New Mexico US Reps. Xochitl Torres Small and Deb Haaland. The Senate version, authored by US Sen. Tom Udall, D-NM, passed earlier this year.
Season 2 of SFR's podcast Reported kicks off this week with some of the winners from our most recent writing contest. They include Brendan Shepherd, who had a conversation with almost-president Al Gore that changed her life forever; Raven Callaway-Kidd, a teenager with a heart and mind consumed with the consequences of our changing and warming plane; and Kristin Goodman, who takes listeners into a dark world where no one is a victim—even victims themselves.You can listen here, on Spotify, iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts.
Live from outer space
The University of New Mexico and The Children's Hour radio show will host a live chat today with astronaut Christina Koch, who is currently aboard the International Space Station. The free-to-students event will take place from 10:30 am to 12:30 pm at UNM's Student Union Building Ballroom. The event also will feature NASA experts and activities. UNM will live-stream the event for space enthusiasts, as will NASA TV.
Remember yesterday when it was supposed to be mostly sunny but then it was more partly sunny but also cloudy and a little bit rainy? That's modern meteorology for you, folks. Today, meteorologists forecast sun with a high near 44. North wind 5 to 10 mph becoming northwest in the afternoon. Tonight should be mostly clear with a low around 23.
Thanks for reading! The Word has become inexplicably obsessed with reading about the drama at the Away luggage company.