SFPD: Evidence Room Clean-Up Will Cost Nearly Half Million

SFPD evidence room cleanup underway

The City of Santa Fe expects to spend $467,000 toupgrade the Santa Fe Police Department's evidence room and another $400,000 for four new full-time positions ($TNM). Problems inSFPS' evidence room came into focus following a critical review last month by an independent consulting firm. The city's Public Safety Committee last night approved contracts for a security system and the evidence tracking software.The proposals move next to the Public Works Committee on Feb. 24 and the full City Council on Feb. 26. SFPS also says it needs $57,500 to hire temporary employees to clean up unnecessary items in the room. The city released an update on its corrective plan earlier this week, and says it will continue to do so.

Drink up and burn him

The Kiwanis Club of Santa Fe says it's considering selling alcohol at the next annual burning of Zozobra."If people are going to drink, we'd rather have some control over it than no control whatsoever," event organizer Ray Sandoval told the Santa Fe New Mexican ($). Apparently, he noted, people are already sneaking alcohol into the event: Last year, the Kiwanis' club countedseven 20-gallon garbage bags filled with empty booze bottles, up from two in previous years. The proposalwhich would only include beer and wineis nascent, Sandoval said, and will depend on input from officials and the public.

Public housing grants

The USDepartment of Housing and Urban Development recently announced$9.4 million in grant funding to New Mexico organizations to improve public housing. The local awards are part of$2.7 billion awarded nationally.The money can be used by public housing authorities to build, repair and renovate properties. Rural housing authorities inBayard, Clayton, Cuba, Raton, Wagon Mound and Tucumcari all received grants, as did ones in Albuquerque. Santa Fe Civic Housing Authority received $464,328.

PRC stands for now

A billthat would have significantly shifted the duties of the state Public Regulation Commission died yesterday, when theSenate Corporations and Transportation Committee voted 5-3 to table the proposal ($TNM). Over the weekend, the stateHouse of Representatives had approved the bill, which would have shifted much of the PRC's work to other agencies, and provided Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham authority to appoint the agency's chief of staff. Senatorssaid the proposal was premature, as a constitutional amendment on November's ballot will allow voters to decide whether to revamp the PRC into an appointed versus an elected body.

Is there life on Mars? Stay tuned.

The Very Large Array radio telescope, located near Socorro, will be helping researchers at the SETI Institute as they search forextraterrestrial intelligence elsewhere in the universe.The National Radio Astronomy Observatory, which runs the VLA, has struck an arrangement with SETI that will allow it to install equipment at the array to capture its data."We will continue to do exactly the same thing we've been doing, which is taking proposals from astronomers, looking at objects in the sky and providing the astronomers with the raw data they need to produce an image," VLA spokesman Dave Finley tells the Albuquerque Journal. "The SETI Institute will now be able to take that same data before it goes into our processing system and put it through a processing system that they are building and funding." The new system is called the Commensal Open-Source Multimode Interferometer Cluster Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, or COSMIC SETI.

Listen up

In Episode 22 of"Your New Mexico Government," a podcast devoted to the 54th Legislature, SFR writer Julia Goldberg discusses
House Bill 118, which would expand the state's Business Corporation Act to allow businesses to voluntarily identify as benefit corporations. Broadly speaking, a benefit corporation takes the public goodstakeholders' concernsinto account along with making a profit for its shareholders. As SFR recently reported, numerous local businessesas well as thousands worldwidehave embraced the growing trend toward businesses focused on social good. State Rep. Zach Cook, R-Ruidoso, put forward this bill for at least the fourth time this session. It passed last night and now heads to the governor's desk.

Shape the future

Yesterdaywas a good day for early childhood education supporters. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed House Bill 83 into law, creatingthe New Mexico Early Childhood Trust Fund. And Early Childhood Education and Care Department Secretary Elizabeth Groginsky announced the creation of the department's new advisory council, which was created during last year's legislative session. Eligible members include: early childhood care providers;community organizations; educators; employee representatives; and staff from the Legislative Finance Committee and the Department of Finance and Administration. Members will develop a plan to monitor outcomes for children and families receiving child-care assistance; goals and objectives; and a workforce development plan, among other tasks. The council will meet four times prior to submitting a plan to the Legislature and the governor by the end of the year. Anyone interested in applying should fill out thisformby 5 pm, March 6.

Bard call

The tint of the sky between sunset and night. So begins the evocative poem "February Snow" byFrancisco Aragn, poem of the day at the Poetry Foundation. Start your day as the Word often tries to do by reading a poem and then go ahead and write one. And then (yes, this is getting a little bossy), be sure to enter SFR's annual poetry contest. Entries ($5 fee each)are open through midnight, Feb. 29.Winners' work publishes in an SFRcover story, and the judge's first-place choice earnsa prize package from local businesses worth $100. Second and third place winners receive $50 and $25 packages. You can read all the deets for entry here. You can read last year's winners here.

Head in the clouds

Today will be mostly cloudy, with highs near 54 degrees, and southeast winds 5 to 10 mph becoming west in the afternoon. Tomorrow will be partly sunny but chillier, with a high near 41. Plus it will be hella windy: southeast winds 15 to 20 mph. That snow the weather folks were yakking about for today has been delayed to the weekend and is now predicted to manifest as rain.

Thanks for reading! The Word recommends this Grist magazine article, published today, that examines why "being Green comes naturally to US Latinos."