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Morning Word: La Frontera's Future Uncertain

Arizona behavioral health firm considers New Mexico exit

Morning WordWednesday, April 1, 2015 by Peter St. Cyr
More groups want the governor to call a special session. That, plus a behavioral health provider from Arizona is still figuring out whether to stay or go. Plus, we've got more news by the numbers and the obligatory April Fool's Day spoofs, which we promise includes no rotten banana peels.

It's Wednesday, April 1, 2015

The status of one of those Arizona-based outpatient mental health and substance abuse service providers is still uncertain. Officials at La Frontera plan to decide their future operational plan here later this week.

Read more at the Las Cruces Sun-News.

Services have already been cut back in Chaves County after another Arizona company, Turquoise Health and Wellness, closed. New Mexico Public Health Project reporter Marisa Demarco has details on how the state is filling the void there.

Listen to her report here. 

KUNM’s call-in show tomorrow will have panelists on to discuss how difficult it can be getting health care to rural New Mexicans and how telemedicine and the Internet are helping to solve the problem.

Read a preview here. 

Three bills that will protect children and victims of violent crime will become law after clearing Gov. Susana Martinez’ desk. 

Read it at the Santa Fe New Mexican 

Business groups and the Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce are encouraging Martinez to call a special session to approve capital outlay money and a new tax package. 

Read more at Albuquerque Business First. 

U.S. Border Patrol agents working close to the Columbus Port of Entry have rescued a 12-year-old girl from a group of immigrant smugglers who were holding her against her will.  
The incident began late Saturday when agents from the Deming Station were notified of possible activity seven miles east of the Columbus Port of Entry. Camera operators observed a group of individuals as they made their way north across the International Boundary.

Agents quickly responded to the area and located the group as they attempted to hide in the brush. Agents questioned the subjects and determined that five of the subjects being smuggled were from Honduras, while the other two were from El Salvador. All the individuals were placed under arrest and transported to the Deming Border Patrol Station for processing.

The Deming Headlight has more on the rescue.

News by the Numbers: 

4 Bosque Fires 
Albuquerque firefighters scrambled to put out four fires in the bosque on Tuesday. The suspicious timing and space between those tiny fires raised some questions Tuesday night about what (or who) started them. Officials were reminding people that camping, open flame cooking and smoking restrictions remain in place year-round. [KOB]  

Not 1 
District Attorney Kari Brandenburg says the Albuquerque Police Department hasn’t forwarded her office one police officer-involved shooting to review in months. 
The delays outlined in Brandenburg’s letter offer fresh evidence of APD leaders’ unwillingness to cooperate with her office on sensitive cases since the four-term DA decided to proceed with murder charges against SWAT officer Dominique Perez and then-detective Keith Sandy in the shooting death of James Boyd last March. 
Jeff Proctor has a list of the cases Brandenburg is still waiting to be sent to her office. [KRQE

4-Year Extension 
The US Department of Education has granted New Mexico a four-year extension to its “No Child Left Behind” waiver. The governor says the feds recognize her efforts to help struggling students. New Mexico joined Virginia, Minnesota, North Carolina and Kentucky in receiving this fast-tracked waiver extension. [Los Alamos Daily Post

$9.75 Electric Bill Bump 
If the Public Service Company of New Mexico gets its 16 percent residential rate increase, customers will pay, on average, $9.75 more a month for their energy. The Public Regulation Commission still has to approve the deal, but a renewable energy group and the Albuquerque water utility want regulators to require PNM to resubmit their rate case due to math errors and lack of details. [Associated Press

10 Top Santa Fe Water Guzzlers 
Justin Horwath has the annual list of the top water users in Santa Fe. [SFR

$165 Million Jury Award 
Yesterday, attorneys for FedEx and the relatives of a family killed by a delivery truck on I-10 haggled over details of the state’s largest jury award. The shipper told District Judge Francis Mathew they plan to post a bond on the total amount while it appeals the verdict. [Albuquerque Journal

7,700 Acres of  Green Chile 
The green chile war with Colorado may be escalating, but New Mexico’s hot stuff still rules. Stuart Dyson found out the US Department of Agriculture doesn’t even count Colorado chile production, and Colorado’s own state Agriculture Department treats it like a garden vegetable, not a crop. Dyson reports that consumers who want the authentic stuff should look for the official New Mexico Green Chile label on their packages. [KOB

28 Percent Less Gas 
As part of a global treaty aimed at preventing the worst effects of climate change, the US will pledge to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by up to 28 percent. [USA Today

523 Years Late 
Spain is about to offer citizenship to 2.2 million descendants of Jews expelled from the country in 1492 because they wouldn’t convert to Catholicism. [TIME

It’s April Fool’s Day, and political blogger Joe Monahan has all the spoof news you can stand.

Read all the silliness here. 

Free Money

News BriefsTuesday, March 31, 2015 by Joey Peters

Santa Fe is continuing its recent tradition of dropping money onto what it hopes will be the next big thing. Budding entrepreneurs have until April 16 to get their ideas to BizMix, an award program sponsored by Santa Fe’s Economic Development Division.

“Coaching will be available, consultation will be available, not to mention up to $50,000 in grant money from the city that will go directly to businesses,” says city spokesman Matt Ross.

That’s $20,000 more than what was offered last year.

It’s not clear yet how the money would be divided among four winners. To qualify, applicants must be in the “pre-revenue” stage of their idea. They also must be willing to see their idea through.

Ross says that the city’s involvement in BizMix is, at this point, tried and true enough to keep it going. “Dozens of businesses have benefited from this,” he notes.

Whether previous winners were the city’s next big thing is up to the eye of the beholder. But they include niche eateries like Cheesemongers of Santa Fe, which sells bread, cheese from all over the world and dried meat from a Marcy Street storefront. The eatery received a $5,000 grant from the city, which owner John Gutierrez says offset the cost of a walk-in fridge that he’s planning to install by this winter.

“For the vast majority, everything I did with the city worked really well,” Gutierrez says.

Indian restaurant Paper Dosa and Santa Cidra Hard Cider also won BizMix awards last year. Those interested in applying should visit mixsantafe.com/bizmix.


Parks Gone Wrong

News BriefsTuesday, March 31, 2015 by Justin Horwath

What’s City Hall’s spin on a scathing audit of Santa Fe’s 2008 parks bond program? That the practices revealed by the audit are a “departure from the way the city had traditionally managed capital improvement projects.”

That’s what City Finance Director Oscar Rodriguez said in a March 24 letter to the Albuquerque company commissioned to look at what happened with $30 million in construction bonding money set aside to improve parks, trails and open spaces from 2008 to 2014. Voters had approved a property tax levy to pay for the bonds in the March 4, 2008, municipal election.

Instead of contracting private companies to complete the projects, the usual practice, Santa Fe used public employees to complete them. That hastily created system led to cost overruns and incomplete work. The auditing company, REDW, said it found instances where projects were not “materially implemented” and unapproved changes to that plan.

The city is responding with “decisive action,” claims a city press release.

“This system was put in place with the original intent of saving livelihoods in an ugly economic situation,” City Manager Bryan Snyder says in a statement. “While it accomplished that goal, this audit makes clear that there were real issues with the ad hoc system as it was set up, and it’s our responsibility to make sure those problems get corrected.”

Bette Booth, chair of the city’s Parks and Open Space Advisory Commission, says the audit raises questions about the city’s lack of accounting for the bonding money. Plus, she says auditors still didn’t get all the information they needed to investigate.

“My summary is: misdirected, mismanaged, missing,” she tells SFR.


3 Questions

with Jim Ruland

3 QuestionsTuesday, March 31, 2015 by Red Cell

Author and columnist Jim Ruland has written in punk rock publications for more than 20 years, is the author of the short story collection, Big Lonesome, and has been featured in every issue of Razorcake to date. Local author James Reich conducts an interview with Ruland about his new book, Forest of Fortune, at Collected Works this Friday.

Did you spend much time in casinos in order to research your new novel?
I spent five years working in an Indian casino, and the novel draws from that. To leave a big city and work on a reservation, it’s culture shock. I felt very isolated, and I was doing a lot of things I shouldn’t be doing. The Pemberton character is probably the most autobiographical of the characters, and my own experiences inform Pemberton’s to a certain extent. But, his experiences don’t mirror mine. He’s not punk at all, but he has a punk rocker’s affinity for partying and drugs and alcohol.

Addiction and affliction seem to be the underlying theme throughout the book. Is this something you have a personal interest in?
Right in the middle of working at the casino, I got clean and sober. There are three characters in the book, and addiction and control, or the lack of it, plays a major role. When I got sober, it really opened up my eyes to a lot of the things going on in the casino and the way it operated. It was probably not the best place to go and get sober, but it gave me a lot of empathy for the people who were there.

Your book has the attitude of a crime drama in the vein of Raymond Chandler or Dashiell Hammett. Was the hard-boiled genre an influence on your writing?
Yes, absolutely! When I got out of the Navy and college, I wanted to be a writer, but I had no idea how to go about doing it. I really didn’t feel like I learned how to write in school. I started reading crime novels by Jim Thompson and David Goodis, and a lot of pulp writers that were published in Barry Gifford’s Black Lizard series. Then, I moved to LA, and I worked in a coffee shop and had no money, so I would scour used bookstores for paperback pulp novels like Hammett and Chandler, and even grittier stuff.


Street View

04.01.15

Street ViewTuesday, March 31, 2015 by SFR
One can procure all kinds of goods and services at the corner of Water Street and Don Gaspar Avenue.

Send shots to streetview@sfreporter.com or share with #SFRStreetview for a chance to win free movie passes to the CCA Cinematheque.

7 Days

04.01.15

7 DaysTuesday, March 31, 2015 by SFR
1

NO ONE SHOWS UP TO TALK ABOUT COUNTY TAX HIKE

Santa Fe cares more about its weekend mountain hikes.

2

DESERT ACADEMY STUDENT WINS STATE SPELLING BEE FOR SECOND TIME

We’re proud that you can help us forget that whole Bachelor mess.

3

GAME OF THRONES PREMIERE FEATURES VISIT FROM WOLF

George RR Martin knows how to throw a party.

4

REPORT SAYS TRAINS DON’T ADD TO TRAFFIC WOES

Free Zia Station.

5

LOCAL ARRESTED FOR THROWING BANANA PEEL AT DAVE CHAPPELLE

Cultural tourism folks now plan campaign on the lost art of heckling with food.

6

RAILYARD VIOLET CROWN CINEMA PLANS GRAND OPENING

But will there be any live predators?

7

LAST WEEK WE ERRED IN CALLING HOASCA A ‘SHROOM

It’s actually a psychedelic tea made from two Amazonian plants. Still, this makes church more fun. Happy Easter!

Lots of Bodices, No Heavy Breathing

'Effie Gray' is an effective portrait of an oppressive relationship

OkTuesday, March 31, 2015 by David Riedel

If you’ve heard of Effie Gray, that’s probably because you’ve heard about its legal history. Two writers, separately, claimed screenwriter Emma Thompson (who appears, delightfully, as Lady Eastlake) plagiarized this story about Euphemia Gray’s life, and the film’s release was held up for the better part of three years.

Thompson was vindicated—and the closing credits have a card that reads “Original screenplay by Emma Thompson” as a quiet but pointed “Fuck you” to the other writers—but the movie has suffered. There has been little to no publicity, and its opening was pushed back several times from its first intended release. Now the film will have an invisible asterisk hovering next to it.

Pity. In many ways, Effie Gray is a smart, sharp feminist film, and it deserves to be seen by as many people who can see it.

Of course, you have to be open to watching the story of an unconsummated love triangle unfold over the course of nearly two hours. There is much heaving and heavy breathing—just not of the bodice type.

Effie Gray (Dakota Fanning) falls in love with her former teacher, the much-older art critic John Ruskin (Greg Wise), and they marry in 1848. As history tells it, as does the movie, Ruskin is disgusted with Effie’s body when he sees it on their wedding night, and he storms off in a snit.

If there is a better way to garner empathy for Effie, I’m not sure what it is. We're right there with her as she tries to make way in the Ruskin household, which is run by Ruskin’s overbearing mother (Julie Walters) and simpering-one-moment-nasty-the-next father (David Suchet). (What one would give for Freud’s opinion of these two, but we’re a number of years too early for that.)

Effie spends the next five years going in and out of depression. Her husband’s dislike of her grows with each passing day, and he is completely unsympathetic. At several points, Effie takes ill and is bedridden, and one doctor (an effective Robbie Coltrane) tells Ruskin, “For you, I prescribe sharper eyes and a keener ear. In my opinion, there’s nothing wrong with your wife that simple love and affection will not cure.”

Simple advice, but it goes unheeded. Ruskin is, bluntly put, an asshole. (He’s gone down in history as a celebrated writer and asexual twit.) Greg Wise has the ability to play the assholishness quietly to the hilt, with a clipped speaking manner and a gaze that makes him look as if he just can’t believe Effie would find her life anything less than perfect.

But Effie is quietly, brutally oppressed. And this being a time when women had no rights, she’s stuck. Even when she meets and eventually falls in love with Everett Millais (a strong Tom Sturridge), she—and they—know better than to carry on an affair.

Fanning does the best she can, but there isn’t much for her to do but look tired. How does one play a defeated soul but to look defeated? The other actors are all sharp as tacks. Thompson makes the most of her three or four scenes, breathing life into them when otherwise the movie (correctly) lacks vigor. Effie Gray isn’t an easy viewing experience, but it has the goods for a patient audience. It will stay the dragons awhile.



EFFIE GRAY
Directed by Richard Laxton
With Fanning, Wise, and Thompson

Jean Cocteau Cinema
PG-13

108 min.


Some of My Lies Are True

'An Honest Liar' is an honest portrait

YayTuesday, March 31, 2015 by David Riedel

James Randi has two careers. First, he is, for lack of a better term, a magician. Second, he is a debunker of people who claim to be psychics, or say they talk to God, or claim to do things of a supernatural nature that can’t possibly be true.

Randi says on more than one occasion in An Honest Liar that he hates liars, and he made a point of telling audiences that his job was to trick them (and therefore to avoid being caught in a lie). Such is the irony, then, that he spent most of his life concealing two large secrets.

Anyone raised in the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s probably knows what those secrets are, but it’s essential to the documentary that they be revealed on their own terms (pity; I love spoilers!). Randi makes a fascinating figure, with his slight stature, boundless energy and mischievous but warm smile.

Directors Tyler Measom and Justin Weinstein balance well stories of Randi’s personal and professional lives and make this short-ish movie rush along at a pleasant clip. It’s all rather delightful, and the human drama is touching. How could it not be? Any movie with the name An Honest Liar has to be good.

 

AN HONEST LIAR
Directed by Tyler Measom and Justin Weinstein
With James Randi
CCA Cinematheque
NR
92 min.


Classic Cocktails: Negroni

Kiss My GlassWednesday, April 1, 2015 by Natalie Bovis

In Italy, in the mid-1800s, a mixture of Campari and sweet vermouth became fashionable. Over the following decades, the drink was topped with sparkling water, garnished with a slice of orange and called the “Americano” because of its popularization by American tourists. This low-alcohol sipper is still a deliciously refreshing treat.


However, around 1920, the infamous Count Camillo Negroni visited the Bar Casoni in Florence. The story goes that the count had spent a few years in the United States, where he satisfied an appetite for pre-Prohibition drinking, gambling and adventure. He had also spent time in England, where he developed a taste for gin. So, when he bellied up to the barman in Florence, he explained that he fancied something like an Americano but slightly stronger. He requested gin instead of sparkling water, and—presto!—the Negroni cocktail was born.

The Negroni is one of those classic drinks that anyone studying mixology (the history of spirits and classic cocktails) will learn to make—and love—early on. It’s a remarkable blend of equal parts gin, sweet vermouth and Campari (a bright red, bitter Italian liqueur). The ratios can be slightly adjusted to suit an imbiber’s personal taste of stronger, sweeter or more bitter, if necessary.

This style of drink is stirred with ice, never shaken. (General rule: A drink with all spirits is stirred, while one with dairy, egg or citrus is shaken.) The Negroni can be strained and served up in a cocktail glass, or on the rocks. It is garnished with a flamed orange peel.

How to flame an orange peel: Slice a round piece of orange peel, about 1 inch in diameter. Hold the circular peel over the surface of the drink with one hand, the outer skin closing, facing a lit match held in the other hand. Quickly squeeze the orange peel to release the flammable natural oils, resulting in a burst of flame, adding drama and subtle flavor to the drink.

 

Natalie’s Negroni

Like chefs, bartenders with a strong education in classic recipes sometimes experiment with creative twists on established drinks, without losing the integrity of the original. One of my favorite home versions of the Negroni resulted from pulling back slightly on the sweet vermouth and adding a little freshly squeezed grapefruit juice (amazing with both Campari and gin). Returning full circle, I topped it with a splash of sparkling water, giving a nod to the Negroni’s predecessor, the Americano.

  • 1 ounce gin
  • 1 ounce Campari
  • ¾ ounce sweet vermouth (keep opened bottle refrigerated)
  • ¾ ounce freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
  • splash Perrier Pink Grapefruit sparkling water
  • Garnish: slice of grapefruit

Build this drink in a tall, ice-filled Collins glass by pouring in all ingredients, and give a quick stir to mix.


Paper Chasin’

Popular pop-up gets own digs

Food WritingWednesday, April 1, 2015 by Rob DeWalt

Before chef Paulraj Karuppasamy and his partner in life and work Nellie Tischler began offering the chef’s South Indian cuisine around town about a year ago, a lot of Santa Fe diners didn’t have a clue what a dosa was, and very few had ever seen one on a local menu.

In short order after their arrival, though, the edible wares of the married couple’s Paper Dosa catering company were in high demand for dinner parties, big private gatherings and special community events. Paper Dosa also began to take advantage of the lingering pop-up-restaurant phenomenon with a months-long Monday-night residency at Café Fina and appearances at other local restaurants. In August 2014, Paper Dosa was awarded the BizMIX Big Impact Award for its business plan, which also included more than $10,000 for startup costs and accounting services.

Chef Karuppasamy and Tischler have now moved Paper Dosa (551 W Cordova Road, 930-5521) into a brick-and-mortar space by Maria’s New Mexican Kitchen, in a building once occupied by Mail Call. All signs of the former mailing-service business have been replaced with subdued matte-gray walls, India-inspired painted-pattern accents, comfortable soft-seat dining chairs and a few smartly chosen furniture pieces, which bring a subtle slice of New Mexico into the cozy mix. If you like to be near the cooking action, take a seat at the slick, poured-concrete bar, which provides a window seat to the kitchen (as well as better lighting under which to see your food). The large patio, when in use, is well protected from the nearby traffic noise.

Dosas—large South Indian crepes made from a batter of fermented rice and lentils—obviously form the restaurant menu’s center of gravity. There are a couple of ways to try them here. Some, such as one of two available masala dosas ($9), come loosely folded on a plate with the fillings tucked inside, allowing for crisp edges to form on the crepe as it cools slightly. Others are rolled a bit tighter à la burrito and have a softer consistency.

The traditional filling for the masala dosa—soft potato and spices—may sound fairly bland at first, but chef Karuppasamy and his kitchen staff know their way around Indian spices. The cornerstone of any decent Indian or South Indian cuisine is an array of toasted aromatic spices and the ability to blend them without favoring one ingredient over another. Paper Dosa succeeds in doing this with many of its dosa fillings and, in the case of the masala, elevates the potato to something much more intriguing than simple filler for curries and kormas.

A gently seasoned filling of peas and chopped, delicately acidic paneer (fresh, un-aged farmer’s cheese) adds a pleasant spongy, almost meaty texture to one of the restaurant’s most popular rolled dosas ($11), but if it spends too much time sitting on the plate, the rolled crepe tends to fall apart or get soggy.

All dosas are served with sides of slightly crunchy, subtly sweet coconut chutney, a tangy tomato chutney and a South Indian vegetable stew known as sambar. The tomato chutney and sambar are packed with flavor, but much of it is lost after the second bite beneath a cook’s heavy hand with the toasted cumin. It’s an easy spice to overuse, even for those who use it all the time.

Listed as a starter, a bowl of dahi vada ($8) adds a cooling counterpart to the orgy of spices to be found in Paper Dosa’s various entrée-sized curries, dosas and uttapam (South Indian rice-lentil pancakes with fillings cooked into the batter). Consisting of crunchy lentil fritters covered with tangy yogurt and chutneys, I would order it as a light lunch. If you like things puckery, order a small side of the housemade pickled lemons ($1) to go along with it.

About eight wines by the glass and eight wines by the bottle are reasonably priced, and all selections are smart fits for the food. Try pairing the paneer and peas dosas with a glass of Van Duzer rosé from Oregon ($10). Beers are also carefully selected. Mango lassi, South Indian chai, Aroma coffee and herbal and black teas are also available.

Karuppasamy and Tischler bring a passion to their work that has obviously been passed down to the service staff. Because the menu offers little if any description as to what most of the food items are, servers, bartenders and others on the floor must be ready to describe each dish to diners clearly and, I imagine as a newly opened joint, pretty often. They do it with a level of patience, positivity and enthusiasm missing from more than a handful of established restaurants in town that are three times as costly. 


At a Glance
Open:
Weekdays 5:30-9 pm Tuesday-Sunday, closed Mondays.
Best bet:
Masala dosa
Can’t miss:
Dahi vada


Morning Word: La Frontera's Future Uncertain
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