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T or C’s customers’ past-due utility bills skyrocket during pandemic, but collection problems date back earlier

by Diana Tittle | April 6, 2021
7 min read

A staff report that the City of Truth or Consequences is carrying $700,000 in unpaid utility account fees prompted the city commissioners’ outrage and immediate action to reimpose red-tag procedures suspended during the pandemic.

T or C's utilities office
Need to Know
Need to Know
transmission tower viewed from below

How T or C’s electric utility rate compares to other cities in New Mexico

by Kathleen Sloan | April 7, 2021
5 min read

The question of whether electric utility rates in Truth or Consequences are too high has been raised several times recently on social media. Opinions abound. The Sun did the research to provide a definitive answer and here are the results.

Level II charging station at South Carolina RV Park

City of T or C plans to build electric vehicle charging stations, apparently without market study or cost-benefit analysis

by Kathleen Sloan | April 1, 2021
8 min read

The city will soon enter the electric vehicle charging business, as can be surmised from a publicly unvetted “Request for Proposals” advertised in the Sierra County Sentinel, which specifies that four stations are to be constructed on a site next to the Healing Waters Plaza.

Location of south-side T or C wells and waste transfer station

T or C water/wastewater director responds to well field concerns in a rare public report to the city commission

by Kathleen Sloan | March 19, 2021
12 min read

Biofouling has “nothing to do with human-made waste or anything of the kind”: Second of a two-part series

My Octopus Teacher poster

My Octopus Teacher

by Michael Young | April 9, 2021

This biography of a “common” octopus and the story of her mind-boggling relationship with a human being is told with an intimacy never before seen in a wildlife documentary.

VSS Imagine, Virgin Galactic's newest passenger rocket

VSS Imagine

by Virgin Galactic | April 5, 2021

This may be the quintessential promotional portrait of a new aircraft, but Virgin Galactic’s latest spaceship is not your grandfather’s Cesna 150.

Culture
Totem

Martye Allen, animal spirit- and dog-catcher

by Kathleen Sloan | April 8, 2021

Martye Allen’s influences are Mimbres pottery, Inuit stone sculpture and cave paintings in France and Spain, and, as is true of those tribal cultures, she, too, has a deep connection with animals, the subject of her art.

Misinformation graphic

Reader at Large: March 22–April 2, 2021

by David Goodman | April 5, 2021

This is the inaugural column by the Sun’s Reader at Large, a.k.a. David Goodman, who dedicates his leisure to reading voraciously and eclectically about politics, government, society, culture and literature. Every two weeks or so, the Sun will post for your pleasure and edification the Reader’s digest (pun intended) of some of the best and most thought-provoking articles, books and podcasts that Goodman has recently enjoyed.

Opinions
Opinions
Tesla's Supercharger network map

T or C needs electrical charging stations

by Patty Kearney | April 2, 2021

“I would rather see Level II than none at all, but there are major drawbacks to this choice, and significant advantages to a Level III.”

Gants' Goodies booth

Food and Economic Freedom Close for New Mexico’s Homemade Goods Producers

by Amy Gants | March 31, 2021

New Mexico’s current cottage food regulations are burdensome, hard to interpret and almost impossible to meet. In lifting restrictions, House Bill 177, which awaits the governor’s signature, will allow cottage food producers to more easily meet consumer demand for healthy, fresh homemade goods with known ingredients and no preservatives.

illustrations of three pieces of transformative legislation

Wins and Losses

by Paul Gibson | March 24, 2021

Prior to the opening of the 2021 legislative session, the Sun published a list of proposed bills identified as must-pass legislation by Retake Our Democracy, a Sante Fe advocacy organization of which our guest columnist is director. Paul Gibson returns today with a brief roundup of the fate of these “Transformative Bills.” The Sun will publish Retake’s upcoming Report Card, which will dive more deeply into the “hows” and “whos” involved in both the wins and the losses, as there is much to learn about how sausage is made in Santa Fe.

Aerial view of Copper Flat Mine circa 1982

UPDATE: Adjudication of Copper Flat Mine’s water rights scheduled to begin again

by Daniel Lorimier | March 12, 2021

The New Mexico Court of Appeals in Santa Fe will hear opening oral arguments on April 1 on how much, if any, acre-feet the mine can rightfully claim. Albeit for different reasons, both the mine owner and those who oppose its reopening are appealing a lower court ruling validating the mine’s claim to about 900 acre-feet a year. Here’s why and what may happen after the appeals court rules.

stock photo of a water main break

T or C water/wastewater director responds to issues raised by the Sun in a rare public report to the city commission

by Kathleen Sloan | March 18, 2021
7 min read

“Nothing can be done,” about water main breaks, Director Jesse Cole advised the commissioners, because “you can’t drop 80 miles of pipe into the ground all at once.”

Of Recent Interest
Of Recent Interest
illustration of homes with solar panels

T or C Public Utility Advisory Board continues to limit citizens’ ability to install and benefit from renewable energy systems

by Kathleen Sloan | March 30, 2021
5 min read

The public board voted on March 15 to uphold a restrictive Truth or Consequence ordinance that mandates private solar systems must be sized at 90 percent of the owner’s previous year’s use of electricity and requires owners of newly constructed homes or businesses to wait a year to establish their baseline electricity usage before they can install a system.

headshot of Bruce Swingle

Sierra County Manager Bruce Swingle offered job of T or C city manager

by Kathleen Sloan | March 24, 2021
2 min read

During an hour-and-a-half executive session this morning, the Truth or Consequences City Commission discussed the field of five candidates and emerged to unanimously pass a resolution in open session to hire Swingle.

headshot of Bruce Swingle

Sierra County Manager Bruce Swingle among T or C city manager applicants

by Kathleen Sloan | March 15, 2021
4 min read

The news was broken this morning by the Sierra County Sentinel, owned and edited by Truth or Consequences City Commissioner Frances Luna, one hour after the commission’s executive session to review the job applicants’ resumes. Luna was highly and continuously critical of former T or C City Manager Morris Madrid during the five months their tenures overlapped before Madrid submitted his resignation. For most of Swingle’s six-plus years as county manager Luna worked closely with him as a county commissioner.

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