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Albuquerque resident Eleanor Chavez was driving by the 98th and Central early voting site on Saturday, Oct. 17 when she passed a caravan of flag-waving Trump supporters who drove through the parking lot. Hours later, she went back and saw a man with a Trump flag on the back of his truck yelling at voters before the police arrived.

“Who does that? I’ve been voting for a hundred million years, and I’ve never seen anything like that,” Chavez said.

Chavez said she was planning to vote that day but decided to wait because of the activity she observed, which she called “threatening.”

With Election Day just over a week away, President Donald Trump’s odds are looking grim.

In national polling averages, Joe Biden led by 9.2 percentage points as of the evening of Oct. 25. Traditionally red states like Georgia and Arizona have turned into fierce campaign battlegrounds. Biden signaled his confidence in a tweet on Oct. 19, telling his supporters “let’s finish strong” while Trump publicly mused about the likelihood of his defeat at a campaign rally just days earlier.

Project ECHO, the University of New Mexico School of Medicine’s tele-mentoring initiative for medical providers, has been awarded $237 million dollars in federal funding.

An award of this size is unprecedented. In comparison, all of the Health Sciences Center’s awards for the 2020 fiscal year totaled $202 million, according to Mark Rudi, an HSC spokesperson.

The program is designed to provide “remote-infection control training and technical assistance,” according to a press release from the UNM Health Sciences Newsroom.

GPSA announces support for graduate worker union

University of New Mexico graduate student workers are organizing a union called United Graduate Workers of UNM, with the support of UNM Graduate and Professional Student Association (GPSA), as was announced to all graduate students via email on Monday.

Pay, benefits and working conditions, all of which would presumably be the focus of union contract negotiations, “are of material importance to the ability of our graduate and professional students to access a high-quality education, maintain good standing in their graduate programs and complete their degrees in a reasonable timeframe,” the GPSA email said.

Medical abortion available to New Mexico women through telehealth

New Mexico residents can now obtain abortion medication through the mail.

Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains (PPRM) is now participating in a study known as TelAbortion, which provides telehealth medical abortion services.

The process is the same through TelAbortion as that of a regular medical abortion, but does not require patients to physically enter an abortion clinic.

Campus organizations lobby for $12.6 million in student fee funding

The University of New Mexico’s Student Fee Review Board (SFRB) held its first of two student forums on Thursday, Oct. 15, with close to 50 attendees and board members participating via Zoom.

This year, 30 programs have applied for recurring funding, with six asking for an increase of more than $100,000 over what the board recommended last year.

The SFRB is a student committee — consisting of five undergraduate and two graduate student leaders — that meets annually to draft recommendations on how approximately $12.6 million in student activity fees should be allocated.

COVID-19 jail outbreak jeopardizes vulnerable populations

The Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) on the far west side of Albuquerque has seen a dramatic spike in COVID-19 cases this month. Between Oct. 12-15, the jail reported 139 new cases.

In response, public defenders are calling for police to cite people rather than arrest them when possible. MDC bookings show that over the past week, dozens of people have been jailed for minor, nonviolent crimes like possession of a controlled substance, driving with a revoked license and criminal trespassing.

Trespassing is a charge often leveled against unhoused people, as the Daily Lobo previously reported in July.

Operation Legend leaves behind a cloud of ambiguity

ALBUQUERQUE — U.S. Attorney for New Mexico John C. Anderson appeared alongside U.S. Attorney General William Barr at a press conference Wednesday about the status of the Operation Legend task force.

In a statement released in July by the Department of Justice, Barr said Operation Legend aimed to “combine federal and local resources to combat the disturbing uptick in violence by surging federal agents and other federal assets into cities.”

Barr praised the actions of the 40 Operation Legend federal agents in Albuquerque.

“Violent crime is solvable. It’s not something people have to live with at the levels they’re living with,” Barr said.

Haaland aims to make outdoors more accessible

U.S. Reps. Deb Haaland and Grace Meng have introduced legislation highlighting the issue that many Black, Indigenous, people of color (BIPOC) and low-income families don’t have equal access to outdoor activities and economic opportunities.

“Equal access to natural areas and open lands is a right that everyone holds. However, low-income communities across the U.S. are consistently denied access to these natural treasures and the benefits that public lands provide,” said Haaland, the vice chair of the House Committee on Natural Resources in her introduction of the Environmental Justice in Recreation Permitting Act.

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