In this week’s Chile Street:
Political rhetoric about "learning loss" ignores the fact that New Mexico students are living, and learning, during a pandemic
Fabian Gonzales sentenced for role in murder of Victoria Martens
Candidate downplays ties to Oath Keepers
Man shoots himself in the derrière with stolen gun
New Mexico popular with tourists
Good morning! Today is Friday, Nov. 4. Here’s a look at the past week in New Mexico news.
Political rhetoric is high this time of year, and nationwide, it’s common to attack leaders for decisions made at the beginning of the covid-19 pandemic.
This is true in New Mexico as well, of course, especially in the close and often-heated race for governor between Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and her Republican challenger Mark Ronchetti. Education, and low test scores in particular, have recently moved to the forefront of political attacks against the incumbent governor, especially as New Mexico is ranked last in reading in math scores.
In its endorsement of Ronchetti, the state’s largest newspaper wrote that “learning loss” was an inevitable outcome as “prolonged remote learning made a bad situation worse.” Ronchetti set this tone by accusing Gov. Lujan Grisham of failing public school students “consistently.” And the Republican Governors Association blamed learning loss on Lujan Grisham’s “covid lockdowns,” Austin Fisher of Source New Mexico reported.
While many blame low scores on school closures and remote learning, others want schools open so we can “return to normal.” But both of these camps ignore one of the most important pieces missing from almost all discussion of learning loss in the United States: the fact that hundreds of thousands of children have lost a parent or primary caregiver to covid.
And in New Mexico, a study found that students in the Land of Enchantment had the third highest rate of caregiver loss to covid in the entire country. Native children here lost caregivers to covid at a rate 10 times higher than white children.
Read Fisher’s entire story here (no paywall): sourcenm.com/2022/11/03/new-mexico-students-dont-have-learning-loss-theyre-living-in-a-pandemic/
Fabian Gonzales sentenced for role in Victoria Martens' death — Fabian Gonzales was sentenced to 37 1/2 years in prison for his role in the 2016 strangulation and dismemberment of 10-year-old Victoria Martens, KOB-TV reported.
Watch or read the KOB story here (no paywall): kob.com/new-mexico/fabian-gonzales-sentenced-to-37-5-years-for-role-in-victoria-martens-death
Victims of fire say feds are withholding detailed imaging of NM fire damage — A Chacon man says an agency within U.S. Department of Agriculture has a high-resolution image of the Hermits Peak-Calf Canyon Fire burn scar, one paid for by taxpayers, but the agency won’t give him a copy, Patrick Lohmann of Source NM reported.
Read Lohmann's story here (no paywall): sourcenm.com/2022/11/01/the-feds-have-detailed-imaging-of-nm-fire-damage-but-they-wont-hand-it-over-victims-say/
FBI investigates threatening letter sent to Conservation Voters NM — The FBI is looking into a threatening letter received at the Santa Fe office of the Conservation Voters New Mexico that contained a chemical substance, Patrick Lohmann of Source NM reported.
Read the story here (no paywall): sourcenm.com/2022/10/28/fbi-investigating-after-conservation-voters-of-nm-gets-letter-with-threats-and-substance/
House candidate downplays ties to Oath Keepers — A southern New Mexico state House candidate who lists on his campaign website that he is a member of the far-right extremist group the Oath Keepers said he doesn’t know much about the group, Dan Boyd of the Albuquerque Journal reported.
Read Boyd's story here (paywall): abqjournal.com/2544048/nm-house-candidate-downplays-ties-to-oath-keepers-ex-says-he-is-acti.html
Police in Las Vegas say a man shot himself in the buttocks with a gun reported stolen in ABQ — A Las Vegas man is facing charges after allegedly buying a stolen gun that later discharged a round into his buttocks. He said he showed the pistol to a friend before he tossed it onto the seat of his truck, then heard “a loud bang” before feeling pain in his buttocks, Ryan Lowery reported for the Las Vegas Optic.
Read Lowery's story here (no paywall): lasvegasoptic.com/news/crime/police-man-shot-himself-in-buttocks-with-stolen-gun/article_5d33e814-5b91-11ed-b905-eb8c4c909cb7.html
What's more annoying: Those constant extend car warranty robocalls, or political flyers, calls, and texts?
Well, at least one will end this Tuesday!
We at Chile Street feel there should be a way to stop these ads early by showing proof that you've voted. Once you show proof, the ads stop immediately!
At any rate, come Wednesday morning, the ads will stop whether you vote or not. But we still think you should vote!
Tons of voter resources can be found on the Secretary of State's website here: sos.state.nm.us/voting-and-elections/voter-information-portal/
NM Tourism at Record High
The secret is out. New Mexico is awesome!
Millions of people visited the Land of Enchantment last year, and spent billions of dollars in the process, Matthew Narvaiz of the Albuquerque Journal reported.
An analysis of of tax collections and other data showed that nearly 40 million people traveled to the state last year. That mass influx of traveling, which includes international visitors and “those who came from a distance greater than 50 miles and deviated from their normal routine,” also led to $7.2 billion in spending with businesses across the state.
Read Narvaiz's story here (paywall): abqjournal.com/2543856/record-number-of-domestic-visitors-came-to-nm-last-year.html
That’s it for now. Have a great weekend!
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Who’s responsible for Chile Street? The culprit is Ryan Lowery, a New Mexico journalist living in Albuquerque.