local government and
public-interest reporting

T or C water department director mum on possibly major problems with city’s well field

by Kathleen Sloan | February 25, 2021
8 min read

The director’s candid remark about the need for a new well to be built on the northside of town to provide “redundancy” launched a Sun investigation into the adequacy and condition of T or C’s water supply. Chief reporter Kathleen Sloan has uncovered a troubling lack of city and state oversight of our existing southern well field, where biofouling and murky water, possibly caused by polluted runoff from the nearby waste transfer station, have required two wells to be taken out of operation. No one seems to know or is willing to say whether the rest of the well field is in danger of contamination.

French drain during construction of T or C's waste transfer station
Need to Know
Need to Know
Sierra Del Rio Golf Course in Elephant Butte

Elephant Butte’s second-quarter financial report shows the city is holding its own, despite still subsidizing golf course

by Kathleen Sloan | February 23, 2021
3 min read

The General Fund has received 55 percent of expected revenue, and the city has spent 48 percent of those funds, according to the state’s quarterly performance review. This represents underspending of about 7 percent at mid-year.

Sierra Vista Hospital CEO Eric Stokes

Sierra Vista Hospital ends general surgical services for now

by Kathleen Sloan | February 16, 2021
2 min read

The hospital’s new CEO made the decision after twice having to cancel procedures when spikes in pandemic cases forced the governor to prohibit elective surgeries statewide.

Rio Hamilton visits his mother at her nursing home

“The court has plans for you”

by Dillon Bergin | February 19, 2021
13 min read

The system of adult guardianship is intended to protect vulnerable elders. Instead, it’s lining the pockets of lawyers and guardians. A Searchlight New Mexico investigation

mountain view market co-op

A food co-op for Sierra County

by Heather Rische | February 25, 2021

An effort is underway to open a grocery store that will feature locally grown and produced foods, organic and natural foods and other sustainable products. The twist is that it will be owned by the community.

sunrise over turtleback

Rite of Spring

by Ann Sage | February 22, 2021

The moment when the sun forcefully announced its reappearance from winter’s blear

graphic illustration the multiple points of view offered by a diverse search committee

The public must have a strong say in the selection of T or C’s city manager

by Diana Tittle | February 24, 2021

To ensure robust public participation in the vetting and selection processes, the search committee should be chaired by an outside individual with deep knowledge of government administration, who, as a first step, would select qualified T or C residents to serve on the committee. The next step would be to organize a virtual workshop at which residents could ask questions of the committee’s short list candidates and rank their preferences.

"Chile Peppers" book cover

Chile Peppers: A Global History

by Rhonda Brittan | February 22, 2021

Travels with the fiery plant that changed the world

the late Vincent Distasio

Last Rights

by Michael Benanav | February 12, 2021
13 min read

A bill that will legalize the decision to end one’s life is under consideration by the New Mexico Legislature. The Elizabeth Whitefield End-of-Life Options Act would allow doctors to prescribe medication to “bring about a peaceful death” for patients with a “disease or condition that is incurable and irreversible and that . . . will result in death within six months.” A special report by Searchlight New Mexico

Of Recent Interest
Of Recent Interest
Alicia Keyes, secretary, New Mexico Economic Development Department

Legality of GRT spending on Spaceport operations and other financial irregularities left unsettled by AG

by Kathleen Sloan | February 19, 2021
10 min read

The AG’s decision not to offer clear legal guidance requested by Alicia Keyes, Spaceport America Authority’s board chair, leaves the Authority board and the other public board that oversee Spaceport expenditures struggling to redefine their fiduciary powers and responsibilities largely on their own.

Morris Madrid

City Manager Madrid resigns after two years in office amidst signs he may have been pushed

by Kathleen Sloan | February 11, 2021
8 min read

Morris Madrid’s resignation, effective March 5, came as unexpected and unwelcome news to two T or C city commissioners. Other clues suggest he may have been pushed out by the commissioner who regularly questioned his judgment and decision making.

dow whitlock

Ethics Commission directs its general counsel to investigate remaining Whitlock v. Dow allegations

by Kathleen Sloan | February 8, 2021
4 min read

The New Mexico Ethics Commission last Friday, Feb. 5, notified state Representative Rebecca Dow (R-District 38) and her Democratic general election opponent Karen C. Whitlock that its general counsel will investigate allegations against Dow filed by Whitlock that fall within the commission’s jurisdiction.

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