Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Santa Fe New Mexican

Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico

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New Mexican (Newspaper) - February 16, 2005, Santa Fe, New Mexico THE SANTA FE Localty owned and independent Saving New Mexico for 156 years WEDNESDAY FEBRUARY 16 2005 FIFTY CENTS Ban on samesex marriage blocked by panel By STEVE TERRELL The New Mexican Following an emotional twohour hearing about the issue of gay mar riage Tuesday a House Committee effectively killed a bill that legally would have defined marriage as being between a man and a woman and also placed what opponents said would be severe restrictions on samesex couples The House Con sumer and Public Affairs Committee voted along strict party lines to table House BUI 445 sponsored by Rep Gloria Vaughn R Alamogordo About 60 people crammed into the tiny committee meeting room to hear the bill dis cussion Opponents of the bill outnum bered those who supported it We should not go down this road toward gay mar riage said Robert Gates who identified himself as a licensed professional counselor I dont think its good for But Laurie Knight a Santa Fe lawyer who said she and her female partner went to Vermont to get a civilunion license said gay mar riage is nothing to This isnt a scary she said Were your Reps Gait Beam DAIbuquer que Al Park DAlbuquerque Joni Gutierrez DLas Cruces and Irwin Harrison DGallup voted to table the bill which means the bill is stuck in the committee indefinitely Reps Tom Anderson RAlbuquer Please see BAN Page A8 Inside Arts funding on the block again Governor Poll shows support for PreK program Page A 7 Indian gambling profits still grow By ERICA WERNER The Associated Press WASHINGTON Indian gam bling pulled in billion in 2004 nearly double the take for Nevadas gambling industry as tribal casinos boomed ahead The 10 percent increase extended more than a decade of doubledigit growth for the nations Indian casi nos which have mushroomed since Congress passed a law creating the legal framework in 1988 There now are 411 Indian casinos in the United States operated by 223 tribes in 28 states More than half the 341 federally recognized Indian tribes in the continental United States operate casinos Because tribes are sovereign nations they dont have to pay state or local taxes and are exempt from most zoning and other laws a spe cial status that can cause conflict with neighbors Tribal casinos have encountered opposition from some local communities that dont want the traffic or strain on resources To head off opposition tribal leaders have grown more aggres sive about asserting benefits National Indian Gaming Associa tion officials said Tuesday that tribal gambling has directly or Please see PROFITS Page A8 Judge pleads guilty to charges in DWI crash Jane NRW Mexican State District Judge Tom Fitch 62 of Socorro his lawyer Dan Cron left and Fitchs wife Polly leave Magistrate Court on Tuesday after the judge pleaded guilty to three charges stemming from his alcoholrelated crash Friday in Santa Fe i Fitch apologizes for making irresponsible choice By JASON AUSLANDER The New Mexican A District Court judge who crashed a gov ernmentowned van in Santa Fe County while driving while intoxicated last week pleaded guilty Tuesday to all the charges against him and pledged to immediately check into an alcohol treatment facility Tom Fitch 62 appeared in Magistrate Court with his wife Polly and his lawyer Tuesday afternoon and was sentenced to two days in jail a year of probation and in fines Andras Szantho an assistant district attorney said the sentence conformed with the standard plea offered to any firsttime offender On Feb made the irresponsible choice to drive after I had been Fitch told Judge George Anaya Jr My poor judgment endangered the lives of the public and me T recognize that my behavior was not acceptable and I am doing everything I can to accept Fitch until Monday the chief judge of the 7th Judicial District in central New Mexico drove a minivan registered to the district off the dead end of the frontage road next to NLM 599 about 1 Friday When sheriffs deputies arrived the judge who was wearing a seat belt appeared unstable on his feet had bloodshot watery eyes and slurred speech A deputy later found a large nearly empty bottle of vodka in the crash debris Fitchs breath alcohol content was 17 and 18 more than double the legal limit Fitch was charged with aggravated driving while intoxicated careless driving and having an open container of alcohol in his vehicle Santa Fe County Sheriff Greg Solano had reported that Fitch later suffered a heart Please see FITCH Page A10 Courtesy photo Fitch was driving this latemodel minivan regis tered to the 7th Judicial District Court when he crashed into a barrier and rolled down an embank ment Friday from the 599 service road Anthony Padilla left and Anthony Jaramillo city of Santa Fe employees fill in potholes at Paseo de Peralta and Cerrillos Road on Tuesday afternoon A survey identified 250 potholes on major city streets that officials want to fill before the next storm arrives possibly tonight Kathy De La Torre The New Mexican Crews huny to fix potholes By TOM SHARPE The New Mexican Theres a down side to all that wet weather weve had this winter City and state road crews are scrambling to fill pot holes before the next snowstorm hits Santa Fearea drivers whose tires have hit bonejarring craters dont need to be told but city streets division director Lawrence Orti says a survey of major streets this week identified more than 250 potholes A trio of fourperson crews began fill ing and patching holes in the pavement Tuesday he said Its a fastmoving he said Were hoping to make a lot of headway before we get the next weather system And weather forecasters expected that could come as early as today Potholes are created when precipita tion seeps into cracks then goes through cycles of freezing and thawing aggravated by heavy traffic Although crews can patch small pot holes during late winter and early spring Please see FIX Page A10 INSIDE TODAY Todays obituaries Celestine G Draves Feb 11 Nick L Dantis Feb 11 Irene Gonzales 79 Santa Fe Feb 14 Genievieve Baca Albuquer que Feb 13 Alex Grant 56 E Rancho Feb 14 Doroteo Garcia 65 Santa Fe Feb 11 Edwin S Dahl 70 Owens boro Feb 13 Felipe E Oelgado 50 Santa Fe Feb 14 Please see Page B2 INDEX Annies D7 Business Classifieds Comics Crossword Horoscope Local news 05 M 08 D7 07 Bl Lotteries Movies Opinion B2 B3 A9 Police notes B2 Scoreboard Sports Stocks D2 01 D6 Four sections 36 pages 156th year Issue No 47 Publication No 596440 Feast for all reasons ARTfeast 2005 with events on Saturday and Feb 24 to 27 includes six brunches with artists a wine tasting an art collecting symposium an international dinner and a childrens art exhibition Taste Cl Todays forecast Cloudy and breezy with showers High 49 low 28 Page B2 i Late paper I Classified ads j News tips i Main office 9863000 9863030 9833303