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Local Living

Best of Santa Fe 2010

July 28, 2010, 12:00 am
By

Best New Mexico Politician


1 US Sen. Tom Udall, D-NM
tomudall.senate.gov
So what has US Sen. Tom Udall been up to this summer? Well, he went to a night of Broadway performances at the White House, and he’s launched his own television show, the Udall Update (viewable on his website). Sound like the former US representative for District 3 is getting starry-eyed during his first term in the US Senate? Not to worry. Udall is the same wonkish public official he’s been since he was the state’s attorney general, and his popularity with Santa Feans remains unfettered as he makes his second consecutive appearance as SFR readers’ pick for Best Politician. “Once again, I’m flattered to win this award,” Udall tells SFR. “I love Reporter readers, and they once again have given me a great honor.” Udall has been garnering a fair amount of national press for his proposals to rehab the Senate’s filibuster rules in order to do things like actually pass climate change legislation. Udall’s efforts seem doomed to some, but have also gotten him props from, for example, grist.org, which described Udall in July as “Luke Skywalker in the filibuster rebellion.” Udall also cites as a highlight work he’s done this year on health care reform. “I’m very proud of the fact that many more people in New Mexico will have health care coverage, and I think we’ve laid the groundwork and set the stage for pushing the public option in the next round of health care reform legislation,” Udall says. Udall also believes Congress is “on the eve” of passing significant financial reform laws, and this month was a co-sponsor of the Oil Independence for a Stronger America Act to reduce US dependence on foreign oil. (Julia Goldberg)
2. Gov. Bill Richardson, Democrat, governor.state.nm.us
3. Santa Fe Mayor David Coss, santafenm.gov

Best Santa Fe City Councilor


1 Patti Bushee
District 1
Ask District 1 City Councilor Patti Bushee about the last year of governing, and she’ll honestly say, “Oh my God, it’s a blur.” No doubt. The council has had its share of work cut out for it, particularly in addressing the difficult financial situation of the city in the current recession. For Bushee, being in a reactive mode as a councilor to issues like the recession is less rewarding than pushing forward on new initiatives. Nonetheless, she says there have been a few “bright lights.” These include Bushee’s work as chairwoman on the Bicycle and Trails Advisory Committee to continue making connections for the trails, as well as work on transportation issues in her role on the Regional Planning Authority. She also believes “the Railyard is shaping up nicely,” and that work is proceeding on trails in the Northwest Quadrant. But Bushee also acknowledges that sometimes she stands alone on the council as, for example, she did recently when she voted against appropriating more money for the Santa Fe 400th Anniversary efforts. “I’m the solo on all sorts of things lately,” she says. “I’m not even sure I get this whole problem with the nudity issue,” she adds, referring to city discussions about strengthening its indecent-exposure law. “But it’s my job to speak my voice and try to represent my constituents to the best of my abilities. So I guess it’s OK being the lone wolf.” Bushee was first elected to council in 1994, and this is her second consecutive year as No. 1 in this category. So apparently, her approach is “OK” with SFR’s readers. (JG)
2. Rebecca Wurzburger, District 2
3. Miguel Chavez, District 3

Best Local Political Scandal


1 Gov. Bill Richardson and Pay to Play
Most Best Of winners love it when they get a repeat victory. We’re guessing Gov. Richardson would just as soon not be making an encore appearance in the Best Local Political Scandal category. Maybe he’ll even wonder how he ended up winning in this category again, while grabbing the No. 2 spot for Best New Mexico Politician for the second year in a row (we kind of wonder about that ourselves). In truth, all of the top three scandals seem a little tired to us—hasn’t anything new and upsetting happened this year? What about the Advantage Asphalt investigation? Or the hoopla over closing small schools (actually, the latter received a few votes, just not enough to make the top three). What about the rest of the commissioners on the Public Regulation Commission? Didn’t one of them (Carol Sloan) actually get removed from the PRC after a felony conviction? Anyway, as far as pay to play goes, perhaps it remains lodged in folks’ minds because the controversy is a common refrain in Republican gubernatorial candidate Susana Martinez’ bid to beat Democrat Lt. Gov. Diane Denish in November. For the record, Gov. Richardson has repeatedly stated his innocence in any illegal pay-to-play activities, and various lawsuits and investigations regarding New Mexico investments remain unresolved. Perhaps pay to play will stay No. 1 in our minds until New Mexicans get some real answers. (JG)
2. The Election-Related Indictments of Public Regulation Commissioner Jerome Block Jr. and His Father Jerome Block Sr. Originally indicated in April of last year, some charges were dismissed in February 2010. A trial for remaining charges is still pending.
3. DWI Issues, Especially as Related to Carlos Fierro Fierro was convicted in the fall of 2009 for vehicular homicide in the 2008 death of William Tenorio.

Best Local Nonprofit


1 Kitchen Angels
1222 Siler Road
471-7780
The joys of a home-cooked meal go back as far as the very first piece of meat skewered over a fire. Granted, in those days, things were a lot simpler: There was no Worcestershire sauce, and your meat pretty much always came out either extra crispy or extra bloody. But the values of a decent meal were just as important, even if good nutrition was a thing of the future. Well, that future, as they say, is now. “Nutrition is more and more important across the country,” Kitchen Angels Executive Director Tony McCarty tells SFR. “And from the numbers we’re seeing, it’s a problem here in Santa Fe as well.” The numbers appear to agree with you, Mr. McCarty, which is why Santa Feans voted this year to make Kitchen Angels the No. 1 pick in this category. In its 18-year history, Kitchen Angels has served almost 500,000 meals to homebound individuals who face life-challenging conditions, providing service to 14 percent more clients this year alone. The key, McCarty says, is: “We have 200 volunteers, and we’re passionate about our mission. That’s what makes it work so well.” (Ramón A Lovato)
2. Warehouse 21, 1614 Paseo de Peralta, 989-4423
3. Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northern New Mexico, 1229-C S. St. Francis Drive, 983-8360

Best Local Nonprofit for Animals


1 Santa Fe Animal Shelter & Humane Society
100 Caja del Rio Road
983-4309
We’d like to give a shout out to all our assorted house pets, be they dogs, cats, lemurs, chimpanzees, kimono dragons, Martian razorback slug turtles or even just small children (OK, so maybe not small children). Were it not for the Santa Fe Animal Shelter & Humane Society, many of them (dogs and cats, at least) would not be here. Executive Director Mary Martin tells SFR that the shelter has felt the economic crunch just like everyone else, but that hasn’t stopped it from launching a slew of new programs, which include a kitten nursery for underage (too-young-for-
adoption) kittens, the Look What the Cat Dragged In retail store and a partnership
with Santa Fe Tails Dog Academy & Daycare to rehabilitate troublesome or neglected dogs. “One of my favorite programs right now is the Tuesday-night puppy class,” Martin says. The shelter provides six free class sessions to new adoptive parents to help them deal with any problems. “It’s a design that serves the animals,” she says. (RAL)
2. Española Valley Humane Society, 108 Hamm Pkwy., Española, 753-8662
3. The Wildlife Center, 19 Wheat St., Española, 753-9505

Best Local Environmental Group


1 Bioneers
1607 Paseo de Peralta, Ste. 3
986-0366
With Santa Fe deep in the community-oriented clutches of locavorism, it’s always nice to recognize when a local organization makes a difference on a national scale. That’s certainly the case with SFR readers’ choice of Bioneers for this year’s Best Local Environmental Group. The 2010 Bioneers Conference in San Rafael, Calif., which draws more than 12,000 attendees annually, features workshops and events with such high-profile speakers as chimpanzee-advocate Jane Goodall, Dr. James Hansen of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, National Geographic fellow Elizabeth Lindsey and more. Live portions of the conference are then broadcast to more than 18 satellite locations across the country to educate and spread ideas to organizations that can utilize the ideas in needy communities. Using natural systems as a model, Bioneers seeks solutions to environmental problems by connecting people from different disciplines and backgrounds into an interdependent network of problem solvers. (RAL)
2. Sangre de Cristo Audubon Society, 1413 Second St., Ste. 3, 820-1696
3. WildEarth Guardians, 312 Montezuma Ave., 988-9126

Best Outdoor Public Space


1 The Plaza
If you flag a pedicab in the downtown area and hop in for a ride down to the Plaza, chances are you’ll find something good. On a warm day (and, it being summer, there’s no shortage of those) you can grab a bite at one of the food carts, and enjoy lively music and dance from the colorful buskers who call the Plaza their office. If you’re a history buff or just someone who appreciates good architecture, the pueblo, Spanish and territorial building styles that surround the square are sure to catch your eye. Hopefully you didn’t miss Meow Wolf’s annual Monster Battle or the concurrent Traditional Spanish Market and Contemporary Hispanic Market but, even if you did, fear not. The ongoing Santa Fe Bandstand summer concert series (July 5-Aug. 19), Girls Inc. Arts and Crafts Show (Aug. 7-8), Indian Market (Aug. 21-22) and Santa Fe Fiesta (Sept. 9-12) are sure to be a blast. Anything can happen. (RAL)
2. Santa Fe Railyard Park & Plaza
3. Frank Ortiz Park (aka the Dog Park)

Best Youth Program


1 Warehouse 21
1614 Paseo de Peralta
989-4423
Warehouse 21 turns 15 this year. It’s hard to believe that the substance-free teen center in the Railyard has transformed from the dilapidated warehouse of yore into the colorful, eclectic organization it is today. Part art center, part computing hub and part music venue, Warehouse does a lot with very little. “The world is in a paradigm shift,” Executive Director Ana Gallegos y Reinhardt tells SFR, “and so is Santa Fe, so is Warehouse.” Youths and the community at-large produce all of Warehouse’s shows: Over the last year, 90 different nonprofits put on events, and more than 100 artists and 186 different events have come through the space already this year. What makes Warehouse the best? “Providing a place for kids to create and be unique in their work, allowing them to know that they’re safe is important,” Gallegos y Reinhardt says, “and offering them opportunities, giving them ownership of the space. We’re youth-centric here at Warehouse 21, but we need to wrap them around community. We invite the community to come be creative and help us.” (RAL)
2. Santa Fe Children’s Museum, 1050 Old Pecos Trail, 989-8359
3. Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northern New Mexico, 1229-C S. St. Francis Drive,
983-8360

Best Community Event or Festival


1 Santa Fe Bandstand
Noon-1:30 pm Mondays and Wednesdays
6:30-8:30 pm Mondays-Thursdays
Through Aug. 19
The Plaza
Take one part everything Santa Feans love about the Plaza, add one part live music, one part community spirit and one part summer, and you have the recipe for one rockin’ good time. Live music four days a week covers R&B, rock, jazz, world beat, Latin, bluegrass and more for a whopping 79 concerts this summer. Artists such as New York-based Brazilian/Americana fusion act Nationbeat; Triple Firrre, a trio of 10-year-old triplets from Austin, Texas; New Orleans funk act Papa Grows Funk; the Santa Fe Opera Apprentice Singers; TradiSon from Cuba (the country, not the town); circus acts and bellydancing are just a few of the offerings on this year’s schedule (santafebandstand.com). Did we mention it’s all free? The Santa Fe Bandstand is a project of Outside In Productions, a community-based nonprofit that also brings performances and presentations to people who would otherwise not have access to the arts. (RAL)
2. Zozobra, Sept. 9, 2010, zozobra.com
3. Indian Market, Aug. 21-22, 2010, swaia.org

Best Local Online News Site/Blog Site


1 SFReporter.com
Aw, thanks guys. We’re increasingly happy with our website these days, following a major design and content management system overhaul during the spring. Our new website, built with wehaa.com, allowed us to roll the former SFReporter.com and our blog, SFReeper.com, into one main site, which means all the new content each day is in one place. There’s a lot more opportunity for social-media interaction through Facebook and Twitter, as well as the ongoing ability to follow our content through RSS feeds. There also are special sections for music, art, food and movies, and photo galleries and dynamic listings for restaurants and bars. (And for those of you who just want the paper, there are readable online and searchable versions of the print edition.) What we like the most about the site, though, are the new opportunities it allows for readers to contribute content. In addition to increased comment capabilities, the site allows SFR readers to rate and share stories, as well as submit their own blog posts for consideration. And bands can create their own pages with photos and music tracks. Check us out, and keep the feedback coming to Web Editor Zane Fischer: webeditor@sfreporter.com. (JG)
2. sfnewmexican.com
3. santafe.com

Best Local Radio Show


1 Santa Fe Radio Café, 101.1 FM, KSFR
428-1528
You’re in the car on your way to work, and you switch on the radio to find the cheery voices of Mary-Charlotte Domandi and her guests amid a sea of ambient noise. Domandi, the producer and host of KSFR’s Santa Fe Radio Café, doesn’t broadcast from a soundproof studio; she broadcasts daily from the noisy and bustling Santa Fe Baking Co. “It’s actually really fun,” Domandi tells SFR. “People who aren’t used to talking on the radio, they’re relaxed because it’s like a chat over coffee.” The truth is, you could expect to find just about anyone as a guest on the show. “The Radio Café has something for everyone,” Domandi says, “hardcore politics, science, arts, films, books, the natural world, religions, dogs and cats—and everything from local to international.” Yet despite the variety of backgrounds and themes Domandi incorporates, she specializes in translating them into easy-to-understand ideas. “Good radio is a storytelling medium that engages the listener’s mind without the distractions of the visuals we’re barraged with on TV and digital screens. For me, good radio is grounded in a strong intellect, an open heart and a sense of humor.” (RAL)
2. KSFR At Noon News Program, 101.1 FM, KSFR
3. Live at Second St. Brewery with Gabe Gomez, 6-7 pm, every other Tuesday, 98.1 FM, KBAC

Best Local Wedding Venue


1 Loretto Chapel
207 Old Santa Fe Trail
982-0092
Step inside the historic Loretto Chapel, and it’s easy to see why Santa Feans voted it this year’s Best Local Wedding Venue. Not only is it structurally beautiful, located on Old Santa Fe Trail in the heart of downtown Santa Fe, but it’s also the only Gothic structure in the city. The chapel was commissioned in 1872 by Bishop Jean-Baptiste Lamy in the Gothic Revival style, and its stained-glass windows and massive walls hark back to Santa Fe’s Spanish-colonial roots in the 17th century. Inside stands the legendary Miraculous Staircase. This structural element, which bears no visible supports, is the subject of much speculation. Local legend has it that the staircase was built by St. Joseph, the patron saint of workers, in response to the sisters’ prayer. The chapel no longer functions as a church, but that hasn’t stopped it from becoming Santa Fe’s best place to tie the knot. St. Joseph would be proud. (RAL)
2. Bishops Lodge Ranch Resort & Spa, 1297 Bishop’s Lodge Road, 983-6377
3. La Terraza at La Fonda on the Plaza, 100 E. San Francisco St., 982-5511

Best Place for Free Wi-Fi


1 Santa Fe Baking Co.
504 W. Cordova Road
988-4292
Santa Feans know a good thing when they see it, which is probably why the Santa Fe Baking Co. once again comes in No. 1 as the Best Place for Free Wi-Fi. Come into the bright and lively café on a Friday morning and listen to Santa Fe Radio Café’s (another of this year’s Best of Santa Fe) Mary-Charlotte Domandi broadcast live on KSFR. And rumor has it you can still find actor Gene Hackman frequenting the local hub some Saturdays. “It’s community-oriented,” owner Eric Struck tells SFR, “everyone from lawyers to students to movie stars.” When the recession hit, Struck says, a lot of locals came to support the business. “It’s good to have the support from the rafting companies to the opera,” he says. “We keep trying to offer affordable food.” (The breakfast burritos are awe-inspiring FYI.) “I would like to eventually remodel the place,” he says, and hints at new menu choices and the possibility of evening events. Are you as excited for Santa Fe Baking Co. poetry night as we are? As for the Wi-Fi itself, Struck told SFR last year that the Baking Co. always upgrades to the highest-speed line, and that’s still true. (RAL)
2. Java Joe’s, 2801 Rodeo Road, 474-5282,: 604 N. Guadalupe St., 795-7775
3. Flying Star Café, 500 Market St., Suite 110, 216-3939

 

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