Mural homeowner plans to appeal

Santa Fe homeowner Guthrie Miller plans to appeal the City of Santa Fe's order that he remove a controversial mural from a wall at his Camino Lejo home. Yesterday, the city gave Miller 10 days to remove the art, saying it doesn't conform to historic district standards. The mural, which depicts the conflict between Palestine and Israel, has been described alternatively as pro-Palestinian or anti-Israeli, and has provoked the type of strong emotions one might expect from a mural exploring that subject. Miller says he will appeal the city's decision in order to bring more attention to Palestinians.

Interim city manager wants job

Santa Fe's Interim City Manager Jarel LaPan Hill has unexpectedly applied to permanently take over the position ($TNM). According to a city spokeswoman, 52 people have applied for the job and the city anticipates having a decision at the end of the month. LaPan Hill, previously the mayor's chief of staff, stepped into the role at the mayor's request. LaPan Hill's $155,000 salary as interim city manager matches former City Manager Erik Litzenberg's salary. The city paid LaPan Hill approximately $88,400 as chief of staff.

Sen. Martinez released from jail

State Sen. Richard Martinez, D-Ojo Caliente, was released from Santa Fe County jail yesterday, having served four days for aggravated drunken driving and reckless driving charges ($TNM). Martinez was sentenced to five days, but received a one day credit for the time he served after his arrest last summer. The state Attorney General's Office had recommended the maximum 180-day sentence for Martinez. Instead, Martinez is out in time for the legislative session starting Jan. 21; although he has given up some of his leadership roles at the Legislature, he has defied Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham's call for his resignation. Martinz also will have 85 days of probation, be required to attend DWI school and have an ignition interlock in his car.

ACLU NM sues Allsups for discrimination

ACLU New Mexico and lawyer Richard Rosenstock yesterday filed a lawsuit in the First Judicial District against a Santa Fe Allsups, alleging a store clerk discriminated against a customer because he was black. According to an ACLU press release, Jordan McDowell, an African American pre-med university student from New Orleans, was visiting Santa Fe in August, 2018 and went to the Allsups one evening to buy snacks. One of the employees called McDowell "suspicious and sneaky" and then called 911, saying she wanted McDowell removed from the store because he was "arrogant and black." The ACLU says the New Mexico Human Rights Bureau investigated the situation and found probable cause for discrimination. "People have a right to enter stores and other public accommodations without fear that they will be discriminated against or endangered because of the color of their skin," said Leon Howard, ACLU of New Mexico legal director. "With this lawsuit, we're putting all public accommodations in our state on notice that incidents of blatant discrimination will not go unanswered."

Sanders and Biden lead for NM Dems

A new national poll shows New Mexico Democratic primary voters—who head to the polls on June 2—are split between US Sen. Bernie Sanders at 28% and former Vice President Joe Biden at 27%. Emerson Polling also reports that 52% of voters say they could still change their minds. The poll, conducted Jan. 3-6, shows entrepreneur Andrew Yang at 10%, US Sen. Elizabeth Warren at 8% and former Mayor Pete Buttigieg at 7%. Demographically, Sanders is strongest with younger voters, taking 44% of the vote from those 18-29, and 36% from those 30-49. Among voters 50-64, Sanders takes 22% of that vote and only 7% for those over 65. Biden, on the other hand takes 17% of the vote from those under 50, and 37% of the vote with those over 50.

NM receives forestry grant

The National Science Foundation has awarded $5 million to three New Mexico forestry programs for a forestry research center. The funding will allow Highlands University's forestry program in the Natural Resources Management Department, the New Mexico Forest and Watershed Restoration Institute and New Mexico State University's John T. Harrington Forestry Research Center to address forest resiliency before and after forest fires. The grant money also will be used to involve students in the research work. "The partnership supported in this grant provides novel, science-based solutions for private, tribal, state and federal forest managers faced with the twin threat of catastrophic fires due to overgrown forests and the inability of plant communities to naturally regenerate after a forest fire," said lead researcher Kent Reid, director of the New Mexico Forest and Watershed Restoration Institute.

Cormac McCarthy on SFI

Want to know more about the work at Santa Fe Institute? National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize winner Cormac McCarthy, an SFI trustee, explains SFI's work in a video in which he says he helped "spruce up" the institute's mission statement. McCarthy says he pitched the original mission statement in the trash and instead offers his take on SFI's work, which he describes as "pushing creative to its practical limits." You can listen to McCarthy's full mission statement here.

Winter returns tonight

Today will be mostly sunny, with a high near 49 and northwest wind 5 to 10 mph becoming south in the afternoon. Tonight, we're looking at a 30% chance of precipitation between 11 pm and 2 am, along the lines of snow showers and freezing rain. Tomorrow, there is a 90% chance of precipitation in the form of snow showers, with two to four inches possible.

Thanks for reading! The Word already listens to Honey Harris on KBAC, but now she's tuning in for the new 39 Sakes in 39 Days contest from Ten Thousand Waves' restaurant Iznami. Yum!