July 31 First News: SF County Commissioners endorse marriage equality. (listen)

  Santa Fe County Commissioners have passed a resolution of support for marriage equality in New Mexico.  They also ask that state lawmakers address inequitable treatment of same-sex marriage that violates the state constitution’s equal protection clause. The move comes as Santa Fe County Clerk Geraldine Salazar finds her refusal to issue a marriage license to a male couple the subject of a lawsuit. The county must defend her actions and hopes the resolution will now signal the courts to provide clear legal standing on the matter.

In other action, the Commission is moving forward on revisions to the county’s drunk driving vehicle forfeiture ordinance. Currently, vehicles can be seized after a 3rd arrest if the owner has two prior convictions. The proposed changes would permit seizure upon 2nd arrest with just one prior conviction. The fees for a hearing on any forfeiture would rise from the current $100 to $165. The County plans a public hearing on the changes before taking a vote though a date has not yet been announced.

Roswell's Valley Meat Company, the enterprise that plans to open its equine slaughterhouse facility next week has been hit with a suspicious fire.  The operation has been the focus of fierce opposition by animal welfare advocates and law enforcement says items found at the scene likely indicate arson. The fire destroyed refrigeration units needed to store the plant's rendered horsemeat.  The owners say they will be replaced but perhaps not in time for Monday's planned opening. The slaughterhouse faces one final legal hurdle on Friday when a court must decide if an environmental impact review is needed.

The Santa Fe National Forest says smoke will likely be visible over the next few days from a 170 acre fire burning some 4 miles west/northwest of Jemez Springs.  Dubbed the Stable Fire, firefighters will be conducting burnout operations on its western edges. They say it’s a low intensity fire, slowly burning fuels along the forest floor.

Santa Fe County hosts a solar celebration this evening as the Tesuque Fire Station unveils its new 6.1 kilowatt photovoltaic array that will supply 100% of the facility's electric needs. The County partnered with non-profit New Energy Economy to bring the project to fruition. The public introduction of the new power system takes place in conjunction with the Tesuque Valley Community Association’s annual barbeque at the fire station, which begins at 5:30 p.m.

Weather for Santa Fe – A modest uptick in monsoonal moisture across the state brings slight chances for afternoon and evening showers.  A 20% chance today with otherwise mostly sunny skies and a high near 90. Slightly better chances for precipitation tomorrow with highs in the mid 80s.