State Senate passes ban on guns at polling places
Legislation prohibiting weapons within 100 feet of a polling location (except for law enforcement) passed the state Senate yesterday and will now be considered by the House. Lawmakers debated the measure—which creates the same standard for all polling places that already exists at schools operating as polling places—ultimately approving it after a long debate (starts right around the 1:44 mark) on a 28-9 vote, and rejecting 23-13 a Republican-backed amendment to exempt weapons carried under a concealed-carry permit. “I think given where we are in our political discourse, I would say elections and firearms really don’t mix,” bill co-sponsor Senate Majority Leader Peter Wirth, D-Santa Fe, said upon its introduction. And speaking of political discourse, the Senate Judiciary also delved into gun issues yesterday, with an opening presentation from officials at the Giffords Law Center and the National Rifle Association on the topic of: “The Second Amendment: 1791 or 2023?”
Lastly, on the crime legislative beat, the Albuquerque Journal reports the Senate Health and Public Affairs Committee tabled 4-3 a bill to revamp the state’s pre-trial detention system and shift the burden from prosecutors to defendants. “There’s nothing that shows this statute is actually going to make us safer than what’s happening now,” retired law professor state Sen. Antoinette Sedillo Lopez, D-Albuquerque, said. Although tabled, the bill to create a rebuttable presumption—backed by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, Bernalillo County District Attorney Sam Bregman and others—could be reconsidered or recast, and other bills proposing changes to the pre-trial detention system remain afloat in this year’s session. As SFR noted in its legislative preview, multiple studies have shown the shift Lujan Grisham advocates would not significantly reduce crime.
NMSU: Men’s basketball coach fired for cause
Following the termination of New Mexico State University men’s basketball coach Greg Heiar on Tuesday in the wake of hazing allegations on the team, NMSU officials yesterday held a news conference conference during which Chancellor Dan Arvizu described himself as “disgusted” and “angry” by what had occurred: “We have looked and conducted an expansive review of our programs, and everything that I have learned is that our men’s basketball program has been infected by a culture of bad behavior,” he said. Arvizu suspended the program last Saturday when the allegations first came to light and then ended the season the following day following the release of a redacted NMSU Police report providing more details about the hazing incidents, which include allegations of criminal sexual conduct, false imprisonment and harassment. The season’s cancellation and Heiar’s termination follow last November’s fatal shooting by NMSU forward Mike Peake of University of New Mexico student Brandon Travis. Arvizu yesterday also revealed Heiar hired his own attorney in the aftermath of the November shooting and skipped an interview with investigators working for the university this week (the Albuquerque Journal has a timeline of the Aggies’ season of disarray). NMSU fired Heiar, salaried at $300,000, for cause and did not enter a settlement, the Journal reports.
City solicits feedback on new Southside trail
Construction of a paved trail for Southside students to replace the dirt path they currently traverse could begin as soon as this fall using Community Development Block Grant funding from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development. According to a news release, the city, Santa Fe Metropolitan Planning Organization and Santa Fe Public Schools will be collaborating to transform a dirt trail connection into an all-weather paved route to El Camino Real Academy for students and community members living in the Cottonwood Village Mobile Home Park. Officials will deliver a presentation in English and Spanish on the project and take comments from 6 to 7 pm tonight at the El Camino Real Academy gym (2500 South Meadows Road). Comments also can be sent to Romella Glorioso-Moss at firstname.lastname@example.org. The city says the new trail connection would provide a 0.4-mile paved route to school “without major street crossing for students living in the area,” and coincides with Santa Fe’s Safe Routes to School Program, launched in the fall of 2021 by the Santa Fe Conservation Trust, in which El Camino Real Academy has been an active participant. The city also has an open request for bids for “on-call roadway and trails construction services.”
New Netflix series filming in Santa Fe
A few weeks back, Netflix announced the full cast for its new limited series, American Primeval, starring Taylor Kitsch as Isaac, “a traumatized man struggling to overcome his demons.” Other cast members include: Jai Courtney as county hunter and trapper Virgil Cutter; Kyle Bradley Davis as trapper Tilly; and Dane DeHaan as Jacob Pratt, “a Mormon leading his family across the frontier to join other settlers in Utah.” The show, “a raw, adventurous exploration of the birth of the American West” will depict “the sacrifices that must be made to enter a lawless and untamed wilderness,” Netflix says. “Prepare for violent collisions of cultures, religions and communities as men and women fight and die for control of this new world—and for a land they truly believe is their destiny.” And it will begin filming this month in and around Santa Fe, the New Mexico Film Office announced yesterday, and is the newest production from Netflix Studios in Albuquerque. According to the news release, American Primeval will employ more than 4,000 New Mexicans: 3,420 as background talent, 750 as crew members and 20 principal actors. “American Primeval is another high-profile series calling New Mexico home,” Film Office Director Amber Dodson said in a statement. “But that’s no accident. With partners like Netflix, a universe of skilled local film professionals, diverse business partners and a sophisticated ecosystem that can sustain large productions over many seasons, there is no doubt New Mexico will benefit from this production and feel the positive economic impacts on the film workforce to local businesses and beyond.” The state Film Office yesterday also announced eight new “qualified” production facilities in the state, including two in Santa Fe: Santa Fe Midtown Studios and Stanley Ranch. Qualified production studios meet criteria set by the Film Office for film production and are eligible for a 5% tax credit on qualifying expenditures.
COVID-19 by the numbers
Reported Feb. 15: New cases: 200; 667,148 total cases. Deaths: 0; Santa Fe County has had 396 total deaths; 9,007 total fatalities statewide. Statewide hospitalizations: unavailable at press time. Patients on ventilators: unavailable at press time
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s most recent Feb. 9 “community levels” map shows one county—Guadalupe County—at “yellow”—medium risk—for COVID-19 as last week (down from four the week prior). The rest of the state—including Santa Fe County—is green, aka has low risk. Corresponding recommendations for each level can be found here.
Resources: Receive four free at-home COVID-19 tests per household via COVIDTests.gov; Check availability for additional free COVID-19 tests through Project ACT; CDC interactive booster eligibility tool; NM DOH vaccine & booster registration; CDC isolation and exposure interactive tool; COVID-19 treatment info; NMDOH immunocompromised tool kit. People seeking treatment who do not have a medical provider can call NMDOH’s COVID-19 hotline at 1-855-600-3453. DOH encourages residents to download the NM Notify app and to report positive COVID-19 home tests on the app.
You can read all of SFR’s COVID-19 coverage here.
Native New Mexican writer, realtor and cancer survivor Bunny Terry loves her home state and she’s not afraid to say so. (And, SFR readers loved her enough to give her memoir third place in last year’s Best of Santa Fe poll.) Her I Love New Mexico podcast builds on her blog of the same name by featuring New Mexicans from all walks of life—artists authors, business owners and more. On the most recent episode, Terry talks to some of Madrid’s newest residents: Charlie Overbey and Vanessa Dingwell of Lone Hawk Hats and Honeywood Vintage.
After the fall
Artnet News interviews artist Eric-Paul Riege (Diné) via video from Riege’s home studio in Gallup in advance of his Feb. 18 performance at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, happening in conjunction with the final days of his Hammer Projects exhibition: “Hólǫ́llUllUHIbI [duet],” which includes a series of 10-feet tall hanging soft sculptures and is named after the Diné word “Hólǫ́,” defined in the story as “a ceremony which recognizes the first time a child laughs,” and the word “lullaby,” written the way Navajo words are spelled in English. As the story notes, last November, during a five-hour performance at the museum, Riege fell and broke his ankle—the first time he’d ever broken a bone. “When you perform, your mind goes to different places,” Riege says. “But when I fell, I had to focus on my body.” Riege’s work interweaves fiber arts and performance (here’s a clip of one of his Santa Fe performances at SITE Santa Fe in 2018). Breaking his ankle, he tells Artnet, prompted thoughts on the connections therein: “When you think about weaving and fiber and it is in its amorphous stage, it is so delicate and soft. But then when you weave it together, it becomes so strong, which is, in a lot of ways, similar to how our bodies work—to the weave of our skin and bone and muscle.”
Look at this
Between its adobe architecture, technicolor sunsets and dramatic geology, New Mexico attracts photographers from all corners of the earth. But the winners of SFR’s annual photo contest shied away from usual fare of churches, festivals and pets. For 2023, our contest instead focused on faces, places, objects in motion and overall oddities to deliver striking and unusual images across the board. Take the first place winner in our “movement” category: the first-ever drone-captured image in our contest’s history, with videographer Nate Reininga piloting a craft high above Conchas Lake to catch a jet ski making a spiral on the surface of the water. Reininga, a Santa Fe native who recently moved back home from a stint in Brooklyn, tells SFR he became interested in drone videography approximately seven years ago and loves that it combines his obsession with flying and appreciation of the outdoors. You can peruse all the first and second-place winners online and in print this week. You can also come out tonight to see large-format versions in person as the SFR Photo Show returns after a two-year hiatus tonight at Violet Crown. The event also features a silent auction to support student internship programs from our sister nonprofit, the New Mexico Fund for Public Interest Journalism. We’ll be in the Violet Crown community room starting at 6 pm this evening; bids close at 7:30 pm.
This cold night will turn us all to fools and madmen
The National Weather Service forecasts a slight chance of flurries after 11am today, but otherwise it will be mostly sunny, with a high temperature near 25 degrees and wind chill values as low as -10. North wind around 10 mph will become west in the afternoon. Wind chill values could drop as low as -13 tonight.
Thanks for reading! If The Word had to pick one location to visit from Architectural Digest’s 2023 “Wow” list, she would likely choose Maison Owl in Ube, Japan…or maybe House of Music Hungary in Budapest.