July 3 First News: NM ACLU files charges against store for its language policy. (listen)

The American Civil Liberties Union has filed charges against Whole Foods Market with the New Mexico Human Rights Bureau for allegedly discriminating against Spanish speaking personnel.  Two Hispanic employees at an Albuquerque Whole Foods were admonished last month for speaking to each other in their native language. They have alleged that the store’s “English-only” policy is in effect a “No Spanish” policy as some other workers routinely speak in their first language without criticism.

The winter companion event of Santa Fe's famed annual summer Spanish Market is changing its location to Albuquerque. The lower-drawing Winter Market, which has typically been held in December at Santa Fe's Community Convention Center, will instead hit the Duke City at the end of November. Market organizers decided to relocate after canvassing sentiment of the participating artists. The City of Albuquerque will provide $2500 in marketing support.  More in today's New Mexican.

The Santa Fe National Forest has received funding for implementing measures, on national forest system lands, to reduce the impacts of the Tres Lagunas Fire which burned thousands of acres near Pecos.  With the coming monsoon season and the potential for heavy rains at times, flooding, erosion and debris flows now pose significant safety risks for the area.  The Burned Area Emergency Response Team will coordinate treatments prioritized to protect human safety. They'll conduct aerial seeding efforts for reforestation and will also be clearing channels, culverts and ditches.

New numbers just released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show New Mexico with a slight uptick in unemployment for the month of May. That held true for our state's four largest metropolitan areas, too. In Santa Fe, unemployment was pegged at 5%, up slightly from April's 4.9%.

State and local leaders across New Mexico are urging citizens to forgo lighting their own fireworks for the 4th of July and instead partake of public displays. Governor Martinez has issued a similar call, noting that there are five currently active fires in our state that have burned  more than 136,000 acres. State law does not allow the governor to ban fireworks through executive order. Martinez has asked for legislative authority to issue such bans but measures to do so have failed the past three sessions of lawmakers.

Santa Fe County says its CADDy program will offer $1 cab rides home for tomorrow's 4th of July observance. It's part of their stepped-up anti-DWI activities for the long holiday weekend. The rides are routinely offered for bar patrons and revelers on Fridays and Saturdays. Those partaking of the service pay just one dollar for taxi fares up to $25.

Tomorrow brings the 38th year of a Santa Fe charitable tradition for the Fourth of July -- Pancakes on the Plaza. The annual breakfast falls under the umbrella of the Rotary Club, with proceeds given to not-for-profit organizations that meet Rotary criteria. The main event runs from 7AM to noon on Thursday, with entertainment and other events continuing into the afternoon hours.

A reminder that all federal, state, city and county offices will be closed for the 4th of July. The RailRunner train will follow a Saturday schedule, but all public busses will be out of service. City trash and recycling pick-up will maintain regular schedules.

Weather for Santa Fe – partly sunny skies today through the July 4th holiday and weekend. Temperatures will be slowly rising, from the upper 70s today to the mid 80s by Friday. Still some chances for afternoon and evening showers throughout the period though not as likely as in the past few days.