by Margaret Wright —
- After severe low temperatures hit parts of of the state, a shortage of propane has prompted Gov. Susana Martinez to declare a state of emergency this week. The move will put a temporary hold on regulations that limit driving hours for fuel tank truck operators, with the intention of speeding up the delivery process. New Mexico isn’t the only state hard-hit by a deep freeze and a fuel squeeze. Governors in Arizona, California and Nevada have also declared states of emergency, and high demand in Utah and Colorado could prompt action in those states. Propane is commonly used for home heating in mobile homes and rural areas, with 15 percent of New Mexicans dependent on the fuel to stay warm. People who encounter problems with their propane service can refer to this tip sheet for help.
- Benjamin Franklin’s birthday came and went on Jan. 17, but festivities in his honor continue in the state capital this week. New Mexico History Museum will host a series of interactive events to commemorate the many forms of Franklin’s ingenuity, including a Sunday performance by Corrales resident Mayling Garcia on an ethereal glass armonica—an instrument Franklin invented and completed in 1761 that’s purported to occasionally cause madness and conjure spirits of the dead. He was also an expert and prolific printer who would appreciate the Palace of the Governors Print Shop, which will also host visitors and special activities. Don’t miss the shop’s exquisite collection of historic presses, book arts specimens and rare, hand-bound print volumes.
- Taos Pueblo government officials are making progress in implementing the 2011 Taos Pueblo Water Rights Settlement (a.k.a. the Abeyta case), which awarded the pueblo $88 million for a comprehensive water use plan to include restoration of sacred wetlands. The water rights deal was intricate and involved extensive hydrological study and negotiations between pueblo authorities, surrounding community and acequia associations, and the Town of Taos, among others.
- Law enforcement who use lie detectors in several state agencies just wrapped up training from the Homeland Security Department to help make sure polygraph test results can be used in federal court prosecutions. The training could be especially key because, like many forensic tools, polygraph tests aren’t always accurate. In 2002, the National Academy of Sciences cautioned the federal government against relying on the tests as a means of protecting national security.