SELECT title FROM cont_articles WHERE id='' LIMIT 1 Santa Fe Reporter
backMenu

Leather Lo Mein

Harris News plans to open lady biker clothing store at former Mu Du Noodles location

Local NewsFriday, July 21, 2017 by Aaron Cantú

And here endeth the mystery.

Harris News Inc., a company that purchased the deed to the former location of Mu Du Noodles at 1494 Cerrillos Road, will transform the location into a store specializing in clothing for women, particularly leather “for women who fancy themselves as motorcycle riders.”


Company president John Coil says Cruisers Boutique will not feature private booths or adult theater screenings, nor will it sell adult DVDs. Instead, he says, the store will specialize in women’s leatherwear, shoes and lingerie, as well as party and adult novelties.


By Coil’s telling, it sounds like Cruisers will be something of a spicier, more eclectic version of the chain store Spencer's Gifts. 


Cruisers could be open within a few weeks.


“There will be very few men coming in the store as customers,” Coil tells SFR. 


Coil’s announcement on Friday ended weeks of speculation—featured in the July 19 issue of SFR—about what kind of business was moving into the former Cerrillos Road digs of Mu Du Noodles, an Asian restaurant.


Coil says Harris News employs about 350 people and operates 60 stores east of the Mississippi River in multiple states, many in small towns. Only four of them have “Sexually Oriented Business Licenses,” including Arcade News on Cerrillos Road in Santa Fe. However, Coil acknowledges that some of his businesses selling adult material do not have such licenses.


At publication time, a phone call to city of Santa Fe officials seeking comment had not been returned. 

The Golden Cockerel Review

Poshlost at its best

OperaFriday, July 21, 2017 by John Stege
Poshlost: a virtually untranslatable and highly uncomplimentary Russian noun signifying banality, vulgarity, triviality, stupidity and, well—you know. Like 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. It’s the sort of thing that Rimsky-Korsakov and his librettist, Vladimir Belsky, were sending up, only more so, in their strange and wonderful 1907 opera, The Golden Cockerel.
Part edgy fairy tale, part satiric attack on Tsar Nicholas II and his awful political misadventures, part proto-surrealist depiction of a world gone wrong, Cockerel can be by turns savage, outrageous, absurd and hilarious. Think SNL on steroids. Or stop thinking, please, and just let Rimsky’s glorious melodic score carry you away.
Which it surely does in the Santa Fe Opera’s delirious, delicious new production of Rimsky’s final opera. Oliver Prezant, pre-performance lecturer par excellence, calls much of the score “slippery,” especially where it bears upon the exotic Eastern tonalities describing the world of the Queen of Shemakha. She’s the femme fatale who seduces infantile, idiotic Dodon, Tsar of all the Russias, into sacrificing his kingdom and his life—a fatal attraction with its “bloody outcome” as described by the mysterious Astrologer in the opera’s epilogue.
Leading the SFO’s exemplary band, Emmanuel Villaume coaxes every sinuous thread from that slippery score. Rimsky wrote the book (literally) on orchestration, so you’ll hear all those caressing woodwinds, boisterous brasses and silken strings familiar from the composer’s kaleidoscopic orchestral warhorse, "Scheherazade."
As that mad, bad and dangerous-to-know Queen of Shemakha, Russian soprano Venera Gimadieva owns the second act and in this production steals the finale as well. The well-known “Hymn to the Sun,” in her creamy, impeccably phrased reading, is the stuff that dreams are made of. Another voluptuous dream—her casting aside garment after filmy garment to tease the fatuous Tsar into paroxysms of adolescent lust—makes Salome look like Mother Teresa.
As that grotesque dodo,Tsar Dodon, baritone Tim Mix struts and mugs his ignoble way across the stage in fat-suited red long-johns, proving that this Emperor indeed lacks clothes. The role really demands a blacker, weightier bass, but Mix’s agility and comic instincts carry the day. Singing Polkan, supreme general of the feckless Tsarist armies, Kevin Burdette and his magnificent mustachios sustains his SFO command of the sublimely ridiculous.
Meredith Arwady, about the darkest, deepest contralto going these days, gobbles up the succulent part of Amelfa, Dodon’s bossy housekeeper. As the Astrologer, the show’s sort-of emcee and resident brujo, Barry Banks parades his stratospheric “tenor altino,” an uncanny vocal presence that raises the neck-hairs.  
SFO’s apprentice program provides plummy character roles for Richard Smagur as dumb Prince Guidon and Jorge Espino as even dumber Prince Afron. Kasia Borowiec cock-a-doodles the off-stage Cockerel with focused finesse, and Susanne Sheston molds her singers into a convincing imitation of Russian choral style.
We all cherish Jim Henson’s invention of Big Bird. Now, out of director Paul Curran’s imagination, flaps the Biggest Bird—the Astrologer’s gift to Dodon, that eponymous cockerel that pecks the Tsar to death after Dodon has seemingly murdered its master. Curran creates a storybook kingdom of technicolor pageantry, packed with pertinent allusions galore.
His Dodon is a sharp take on Jarry’s Ubu Roi. The Queen’s va-va-voom entrance entourage, all glitter and ostrich feathers, seems straight out of Vegas. The Cockerel itself exists simply as a dynamic, brilliant projection, suggesting the insubstantiality of both Dodon’s world and the Astrologer’s gift. The savage satiric spirit of Gogol presides over all.
Scenic/costume designer Gary McCann’s gleaming skeletal set recalls the work of Constructivist artist Vladimir Tatlin, and those flamboyant costumes, photo representations of historic fabrics, pop the eye. Paul Hackenmueller does the lights; projection designer Driscoll Otto offers a complex palette of visuals, notably a mocking sequence of grotesque, distorted masks suggestive of James Ensor’s disturbing paintings.
Another of Curran’s bright ideas is, near the finale, to present Dodon in a bloated pin-stripe suit with red tie, accompanied by the Queen in a sleek white Milanese trouser ensemble. Not a particularly subtle allusion, perhaps, but—hey—we take our poshlost where we find it.

Raising Hell in the Halls of Power

Activist Medea Benjamin doesn’t stop working long enough to reflect much on her long career

Democracy in Crisis Friday, July 21, 2017 by Baynard Woods

Medea Benjamin, the firebrand activist and author of a dozen-odd books, looks surprisingly small in the midst of the lunchtime crowd jostling one another in the basement cafeteria of the the Dirksen Senate Office Building. Her pale face is framed by straight-cut bangs that are pretty darn close to pink in color.

I was surprised at her size because I’ve seen her twice at recent protests, and on both occasions she seemed to rise up and loom over the people around her, as if a projection of sheer will made her appear positively gargantuan.


But hunkered down at the long table, where she often sets up a makeshift office with other members of Code Pink, the radical feminist-oriented activist group, she seems almost invisible. That’s probably a good thing for someone who has made a career out of making trouble.


Across from her are an assistant and an intern working on laptops. A Code Pink sticker glowing on the back of one of their gleaming Macs reads “Make Out Not War.”


It’s hard to keep track of what they are talking about, there are so many projects and issues to deal with: a trip to Cuba, a book on Iran, mobilizing against the Senate health care bill, fighting the proposed increase in the Pentagon’s budget, and advocating for a bill that would halt arms sales to Saudi Arabia.


“We were here running up and down in the halls all day yesterday and all night until the police kicked us out,” Benjamin says with a sly grin.


Benjamin, who is also the president of the Benjamin Fund, which reported a value of more than $12 million in 2013, started her career as an activist nearly 50 years ago, when she was in high school.


“My sister had a boyfriend who was sent off to Vietnam and about six months later sent her home the ear of a Viet Cong as a necklace to wear,” she says. “I was so disgusted by that, I remember throwing up and saying I’m going to become an anti-war activist.”


That was when Medea Benjamin was born. Before that, she was Susan. “I was studying Greek mythology right after I finished high school. I thought as soon as I was 18, I wanted to change my name,” she says.


At first she just liked the way the name sounded. Over the years, people who didn’t know she chose the name have always asked why someone would name their child after the queen who, in Euripides, kills her children when her husband leaves her. But Benjamin read about a different version of the myth where Medea didn’t actually kill her children—but was blamed for it because she was a powerful woman in a patriarchal society. She liked it.


She did not legally change her name, which gives an activist of her notoriety another kind of invisibility. That could come in handy for someone who estimates that she’s been locked up somewhere around 80 times.


“When I was doing work more on the economic issues, getting arrested outside a store or embarrassing a company would have almost immediate results. It was quite remarkable,” she says. “I would do a lot of work around the sweatshop issues and we would do demonstrations and get arrested outside the stores of The Gap or Nike.”


Global Exchange, which Benjamin founded with her partner, Kevin Danaher, helped organize the protests against the World Trade Organization, and she was arrested in Seattle in 1999. “We slowed down that entire global governance infrastructure,” she says.


In 2000, when she announced plans for demonstrations outside 30 different Starbucks to protest conditions in coffee fields, the company approached her before the demonstrations even happened and created a fair-trade certification program.


The government, she says, has been harder to sway. “They don’t have a brand they want to protect because there are so many interests at play.” She ran for the US Senate herself in 2000, on the Green Party ticket, but says she isn’t interested in trying that again.


In an effort to stop the Iraq War, Benjamin and other activists founded Code Pink, a radical women-led group that uses costumes, satire, and direct action to fight against militarism and defend human rights. When the group protested the confirmation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions earlier this year, two members dressed as Klan members and greeted Sessions like an old friend. They were arrested, and maybe expected to be. Desiree Fairooz, a librarian who was sitting beside Benjamin in the gallery, was also arrested during the hearing—for inadvertently laughing.


Code Pink is more radical than many of the groups, such as Indivisible, that have arisen in the wake of Trump’s election. Benjamin finds hope in the new wave of activists, but she has been around long enough to be a little skeptical. “You scratch beneath the surface of some of these organizations, you’ll find the Democratic party,” she says. She doesn’t mind working with Democratic activists, but fears they will fall away when the Democrats regain control in Washington.  


Benjamin does light up a little bit when Senator Bernie Sanders walks into the cafeteria to buy lunch, but it’s more like she’s recognized a friend than spotted a star.


And then it is cheerfully back to work, going over details of a video with Code Pink intern Kristina Brunner. Brunner, who lives in the Code Pink house in DC, seems really, really excited about the work. But Benjamin, who has been fighting for so long, seems equally enthusiastic about, say, what they can do with Facebook Live.


Wondering how she maintained such passion for so long, I asked Benjamin about self care, a common topic among a younger generation of activists. Did she have any advice?


Her privilege, she says, requires her to keep working.


“Don’t stop long enough to get depressed. Don’t stop long enough to think you need self care,” she says. “I just keep going, because I learned really early on that it’s a luxury to feel like you’re so burned out you might have to stop.”


This is an installment of the syndicated column Democracy in Crisis. Woods is the editor-at-large of Baltimore City Paper, reporting from DC. Get more at @demoincrisis and @baynardwoods on Twitter; contact Baynard at baynard@democracyincrisis.com.

Weekend Picks: April (or July) Showers

Weekend PicksFriday, July 21, 2017 by SFR

Rain, glorious rain: Our gardens survive, we can wear a comfy hoodie, the populace stops turning on one another ... it's good. We are all, in fact, much calmer with the recent moisture in the air and think we deserve a treat in the form of cultural bad-assery! Behold—your weekend picks!

Angel Wynn: Adelita, Women Soldiers of the Mexican Revolution

Wynn presents a body of work honoring the legacy of the exceptional women soldiers of the Mexican Revolution who followed their husbands, brothers and fathers to war. Through Aug. 9.

More Info >>

Ashley Raines with Jake Stanton and Vanessa Aricco

Raspy Americana out of Kansas City, Kansas.

More Info >>

Platinum Music Awards: A Celebration of New Mexico Music

This awards show honors six major musicians who are rocking the local scene. See New Mexico’s musical talent perform live and stick around to celebrate the winners. Proceeds benefit the New Mexico Music Commission's Music in the Schools Program and the Solace Crisis Treatment Center.

More Info >>


Evarusnik & Woven Talon

Seating is limited for this concert brining together the eclectic five-piece orchestra Evarusnik with an opening acoustic performance by Woven Talon.

More Info >>

Cabaret

The scene is a nightclub in Berlin in late 1920’s. The Master of Ceremonies welcomes the audience to the show and assures them that, whatever their troubles, they will forget them at the Cabaret.

More Info >>

The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs

Jobs is a household name, and he changed the world. While connecting the world, he maintained walls between himself and others and arguably lost his humanity to his visionary genius. This opera, written by Mason Bates and Mark Campbell, makes its world premiere at the Santa Fe Opera this season starring Sasha Cooke and Edward Parks.

More Info >>


Love Letter to Frida

Local musician and cantadora Nacha Mendez, with other local readers, presents a spoken-word and musical tribute to Frida Kahlo.

More Info >>

Entreflamenco: 2017 Summer Season

Antonio Granjero, Estefania Ramirez and Antonio Hidalgo Paz co-direct this summer series featuring Granjero and Ramirez performing original choreography.

More Info >>

Aspen Santa Fe Ballet presents Compagnie Hervé Koubi

Marvel at the combination of ballet with modern dance and acrobatics to the tune of Bach and Hamza El Din & the Kronos Quartet.

More Info >>

Get more information about how to spend your fun days when you sign up for the SFR Weekend newsletter, delivered to your inbox each Friday afternoon.

Morning Word: A Brief Reprieve

Morning WordFriday, July 21, 2017 by Matt Grubs

Health insurers slow rate hikes
Chances are, most of us didn't get a 6 percent raise last year, let alone a 20 percent one. But in the world of health insurance premiums, those seem like relatively sane rate increases. That's especially true when compared to the 85 percent premium hikes some insurers were requesting for next year. With the Republican health care plan on the ropes, insurers in the state have eased off proposed rate hikes, the state's insurance regulator says.  

Meow Wolf opens its books
As part of a federal filing connected to its recent fundraising, the Santa Fe-based arts collective told regulators that while it took in $5.5 million last year, it netted just $39,000. The startup recently raked in more than $1 million from investors in the first three days of a fundraising campaign. Meow Wolf says costs associated with building its House of Eternal Return interactive art exhibit ate up much of its revenue.

A moral choice
SFR's cover story this week features a rare interview with Curtis Boyd. The Albuquerque doctor is one of the nation's only health care providers who will do third-trimester abortions. With the Supreme Court's ideological balance teetering, Boyd, a Christian, reflects on his career in Santa Fe and Albuquerque and what's to come in a Trump administration. 

Española chief under investigation
Police Chief Matthew Vigil lives in Taos, and police there are investigating allegations of domestic violence. The Rio Grande Sun got ahold of a heavily redacted police report on the investigation into the matter that happened late last fall. It's a glimpse both into how police investigate fellow law enforcement officers, and into the legal gymnastics some departments will go through to avoid releasing public records.

State of the forest
Guess how many paid law enforcement officers will be patrolling the Santa Fe National Forest this summer? Did you guess one? The forest relies on volunteers and the public to police themselves as its budget shrinks and managers reconsider where the land can sustain recreation at its current levels.

Santa Fe pay
It's not great. Despite the city's robust living wage ordinance that sets the floor for hourly pay at more than $11, wages for professionals lag the rest of the nation. In some cases, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics found, Santa Fe lags not just the nation, but the rest of the state in what it pays highly trained professionals. 

Gimme my money
Congressman Steve Pearce is suing New Mexico Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver over her decision on how much federal money he can transfer to his state race for governor. Pearce has more than $1 million in his congressional campaign account, but Toulouse Oliver says he can only transfer $11,000 to his state accounts. Pearce says that flies in the face of previous campaign finance decisions, including one that let former governor Bill Richardson shift his federal campaign money into a state race.

Wet weekend
New Mexico could see significant storms over the next couple of days as a moisture-rich weather system hangs out over the state. Temperatures will cool a few degrees, but the potential for flooding jumps up with the storms.

Thanks for reading! The Word is curious about those newfangled hiking poles. Do they work?

Subscribe to the Morning Word at sfreporter.com/signup.

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets Review

Space jams and the power of love

Movie ReviewsThursday, July 20, 2017 by Alex De Vore

If there’s one thing we know Fifth Element director Luc Besson can pull off, it’s wildly fun over-the-top sci-fi, and he does not disappoint with Valerian—to a point. Whereas the world-building and CGI hits that utterly gorgeous sweet spot, Besson, who also helmed 1994 fan-fave Léon: The Professional, becomes mired in mediocre writing, a few goofy missteps and an almost-tired story about how big ol’ government entities are always stepping on the little guy.

Valerian is adapted from the French serial comic Valérian and Laureline (which debuted in 1967) wherein we follow a brash young soldier named Valerian (here played by A Cure for Wellness’ Dane DeHaan) and his underling partner Laureline (Cara Delevingne of Suicide Squad)—with whom our hero happens to have fallen in love. As the partners are swept up into the world of military buffoonery and action-packed space missions in and around the space station Alpha (a sprawling interstellar city that hosts living creatures from a thousand planets), they begin to question their superiors and step way outside protocol to right the wrongs of their people’s past. Y’know, because they’re good guys like that.

Alpha itself is gorgeous, a bizarre mix of Bladerunner and anime that almost hits video game territory in terms of scale and style, but still feels like a living, breathing metropolis. Diplomatic relations are tense, but Valerian and Laureline are, of course, not sticklers for the rules. They know right from wrong, which would grow tedious were it not for some stunning sequences that not only fall into ain’t-it-cool territory, but show off Besson’s imaginative ideas of future tech, aliens, etc. Sadly, however, the running time starts to push things, and a baffling mid-film music video featuring Rihanna (yes, that Rihanna) fails to recall the likes of that brilliant Fifth Element opera scene and instead feels like some confused film exec insisted on inserting more sex into the thing. An inter-dimensional market chase, however, is clever and original in a Futurama-like vein right down to an appearance from John Goodman’s voice.

Regardless, for those seeking a fun time at the movies, this oughta do just fine if you don’t go looking for anything deep or groundbreaking. Lasers are fired, the aliens look cool and the opening sequence to the tune of David Bowie is perfect. Perhaps Valerian doesn’t become a giant leap for mankind, but it does hit the dizzying highs of space intrigue, and that’s just how we like it.

+Beautiful, exciting
- Love, schmove

 8

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
Directed by Besson
With DeHaan, Delavigne and Rihanna
Violet Crown, Regal, PG-13, 137 min.

The Fork

Try Our Recipes!

The ForkThursday, July 20, 2017 by Michael J Wilson

Have any of you tried the recipes we printed in the Reporter? We did pommes Anna and summer pudding most recently. We'd love to hear your thoughts on format and ease of the recipes, or if there's anything you'd like to see us tackle. Tag #SFRfoodies and @sfreporter on Instagram with your experiments with our recipes!

Let's FORK!


The second Farms, Films, Food: A Santa Fe Celebration event is Aug. 2 at the Center for Contemporary Arts (1050 Old Pecos Trail, 982-1338).

Presented by CCA, the Street Food Institute, and the Santa Fe Farmers Market Institute, the free event celebrates Santa Fe’s unrivaled love of great food, local agriculture and world-class cinema. There will be food samples from a cooking demonstration by local chefs or farmers, tours of Muñoz Waxman Gallery, presentations from community partners, affordable meals from the Street Food Institute and Kebab Caravan, and two free screenings designed for food lovers and families.

The featured speaker, Don Bustos, and food demo chef, Chef Michelle Chavez, will both be addressing the importance of heirloom and land race varieties as we work to maintain a vast diversity of vegetables in our gardens and on our tables.

Food trucks featured include the Street Food Institute, Kebab Caravan and Freezie Fresh. Axle Contemporary will be on hand with their latest art show. The movies for this event are My Neighbor Totoro and Food Evolution.

WHEN: 5-9 pm Wednesday Aug. 2
WHERE: Center for Contemporary Arts, 1050 Old Pecos Trail, 982-1338
COST: FREE


A light week. I just learned that Pete's Frites shut down their food truck. And with Bang Bite's conspicuous absence I'm starting to wonder if the food truck fad never really found a hold here in Santa Fe. Thoughts? Do you truck? What's your favorite?

Have a great week,
Michael


What news do you want to see in this newsletter? We want to hear from you! Let us know! Email thefork@sfreporter.com


Morning Word: Dig Deep, Taxpayers

Morning WordThursday, July 20, 2017 by Matt Grubs

Taxpayers will share Questa mine cleanup costs
It's a mine-waste cleanup job that's expected to cost $1 billion, and yesterday, a federal Court of Appeals ruled the government will have to share that cost with the mine's owner, Chevron. The feds owned part of the site of the shuttered molybdenum mine and helped finance it, too. Molybdenum is a steel-hardening agent and the government encouraged its extraction in the 1950s for military-grade steel. A lower court will decide who owes what in the coming months.

Wet noodles
There's a new business going in to the old Mu Du Noodles spot on Cerrillos Road. And it seems like it might be adult-themed. The owners, SFR found, also run several adult stores like the Big Eye in Albuquerque. They're also affiliated with Arcade News, the adult store next to Cheeks strip club. Neighbors are worried it's at the edge of a residential neighborhood and too close to two nearby schools. The city isn't sure what's going on.

Stabbing call ends with police shooting
New Mexico State Police are investigating the shooting of a stabbing suspect yesterday. Police say the Santa Fe Police Department's SWAT team responded to the Tuscany at St. Francis apartments near Zia Road and St. Francis Drive yesterday. After neighbors say they negotiated for an hour with the suspect—something police haven't confirmed—at least one officer fired at least one shot, killing the suspect. The stabbing victim was taken to the hospital, but is okay.

Grayed anatomy
New Mexico leads the nation in the percentage of doctors age 60 or over. It has for the past two years. As an updated study of the physician workforce is due this fall, SFR looked at what the medical care community has been doing to try to attract younger doctors before the older ones decide it's time to retire.

Easy ridin', hard mortgagin'
Taos County—home to rivers and mountains and great food and etched in the minds of many as the backdrop for the counter-culture movie classic Easy Rider—is one of the least affordable places to live in the US, according to a study by an internet company. The median income is less than $37,000 and the median home price is more than $240,000. Meanwhile, Los Alamos is on the other end of the spectrum, with a median income over $100,000 a year and relatively affordable places to live on that salary. 

Home of 'The Brave' ... and the chilly
Two new productions are going to be shooting in and around Santa Fe, including the independent feature film Icebox, which will be in production through August in Albuquerque and Española. The first season of an NBC drama called The Brave will start shooting this month in Santa Fe and Albuquerque and continue through the end of the year.

Accidentally Awesome
Jude Sparks was 9 years old when he tripped over something in the Las Cruces brush last November. It was a fossilized Stegomastodon that had a few years on him. Like, 1.2 million of them. Jude and his family called New Mexico State University and the rest of it makes for a pretty neat story in the New York Times

Storms again
It's going to be a hot one again, with a chance of storms to cool us off in the late afternoon (that applies to the western half of the state). That chance will kick up on the weekend as it cools down a little to boot. Do your outside stuff in the morning ... just as soon as you're done with the Word.

Thanks for reading! The Word likes your pluck.

Subscribe to the Morning Word at sfreporter.com/signup.

Morning Word: Mural, Mural Off the Wall

Morning WordWednesday, July 19, 2017 by Matt Grubs

Massive cover-up at City Hall
Actually, it's kind of on City Hall. A mural on the outside of the seat of city government, called "Spiritual Warrior Within," was stuccoed over by contractors who were working on project to restucco all of City Hall. The city says miscommunication between several departments, boards and commissions is to blame, but the mural may be permanently lost—or turn into an expensive restoration project.

Dunn gonna run
State Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn is going to take another shot at Congress. Dunn announced yesterday that he'll pass up the chance for reelection to his current post to instead pursue the 2nd Congressional District seat being vacated by Steve Pearce. He's the second Republican into the race, after Alamogordo Rep. Yvette Herrell. So far, four Democrats have announced a run, though all announced before Pearce made his decision and none have held elected office before.

Whistleblowers say state silenced them
Three women who filed a lawsuit against Presbyterian Healthcare Services for underpayment of taxes say they raised the issue with their bosses at a state agency two years ago, only to be silenced. The women work at the Office of the Superintendent of Insurance and say they identified issues with the insurer in 2015. They filed a lawsuit under the Fraud Against Taxpayers Act, which lets private individuals prosecute government waste cases, but also lets the attorney general intervene, which Hector Balderas did last week. 

A deeper story
New Mexico in Depth continues its post-mortem examination of the behavioral health care crisis that began in 2013, when the Martinez administration accused 15 providers of Medicaid fraud, froze payments to them and forced many out of business. Its most recent look at the mess examines how the state took three years to investigate a Las Cruces business that had a letter from state prosecutors explaining it had already self-reported billing problems and been cleared in a review that covered the vast majority of the payments in question.

Feds officially pass on charges for Boyd officers
Though it was reported years ago, the Department of Justice has now made it official: Keith Sandy and Dominique Perez will not face charges for killing homeless camper James Boyd in 2014. The bar for those charges, which involves a determination that the APD officers willfully deprived Boyd of his civil rights, is one of the hardest to meet for prosecutors.

State board grills UNM over new hospital
The hospital at the University of New Mexico's Health Sciences Center is old, overcrowded and, despite being the only place in the state that can treat certain conditions or traumatic injuries, had to turn away 1,000 people last year. The Health Sciences Center has been trying for years to build a new facility on land it owns, with money it already has, but Gov. Martinez has been skeptical of the project. The State Board of Finance shelved the plan five years ago and spent three hours debating its merits yesterday. No vote is scheduled. The plan can't move forward without it.  

Truck stop drama
The latest public meeting for a proposed truck stop at the I-25/Highway 14 interchange featured as much hissing and screeching as, well, a truck stop itself. Angry residents of the Turquoise Trail and Rancho Viejo developments say the 24/7 business has no place near their homes. The land Pilot Flying J wants to buy is generally zoned for commercial use, thought the county would have to approve modifications.

How unique is the Lobo?
A federal spending plan for the US Department of the Interior would require genetic testing of the Mexican gray wolf to determine if it is a distinct subspecies. If it isn't, protections for the wolf could be weakened or removed. Supporters say it's a responsible approach, which wolf advocates say it's a thinly veiled plan to stop wolf reintroduction in its tracks.

Thanks for reading! The Word reminds you that there's a certain length after which jean shorts are no longer acceptable.

Subscribe to the Morning Word at sfreporter.com/signup.

The State of the Forest

If anyone is going to save the national forests, it’s going to be the people who own them: everyone

Local NewsWednesday, July 19, 2017 by Elizabeth Miller

This summer, only one law enforcement officer will patrol all of the Santa Fe National Forest. Rangers spotted in wilderness areas are likely there on a volunteer basis, or at best compensated with a per diem to cover their lunch.

Horseback volunteers are taking existing maps, GPS units and aerial photos into the San Pedro Parks Wilderness to update those maps to reflect the current trail system. Restoration of the Glorieta Baldy Lookout is underway in the hands of Friends of the Santa Fe National Forest, a 501(c)(3) organization gathering donations, grants and volunteers for the job, a task expected to come with a price tag just under $100,000.

Volunteer crews will likewise be responsible for all trail maintenance work. Where’s the greatest need? Drop your finger on the map, one staffer jokes. It’s everywhere.

“The only way we’ll be able to provide sustainable recreation opportunities into the future is to continue to increase our partnerships with local trail crews,” says James Melonas, forest supervisor.

The public doesn’t just own the Santa Fe National Forest; they’re responsible for its upkeep, too. How it’s managed for decades to come—what areas become wilderness, where trails are built, and which of its many uses guide maintenance—is up for discussion right now in the years-long process of drafting a new forest plan.

Santa Fe National Forest’s lone law enforcement officer hikes hikes a road near where illegal off-road vehicle use has been reported.
“Our forest plan revision work … is really charting the course for the future of the Santa Fe National Forest and how it fits into the community and how we move forward with our restoration on the forest,” Melonas says. “A big piece of that is our recreation program—how do we make sure that we have a good framework and a blueprint for how we’re going to provide sustainable recreation going into the future? It’s a big deal.”

The areas around the Jemez Ranger District and the Jemez National Recreation Area, the popular hiking trails in the Sangres just outside Santa Fe, as well as the Pecos River corridor are all being particularly scrutinized for the impact of recreation and whether the approach needs to shift.

“We want to be able to have different kind of tools in the tool box for how we are working with our partners and the community to be thoughtful about recreation, trails and maintenance,” he says.

The plan is supposed to guide how the service manages its forests, grasslands and riparian areas, maintains resiliency in ecosystems, and balances the wants and needs of various stakeholders (like ranchers and recreationalists). The strategies in the existing 30-year-old plan are now out of date, given current science and technology, including those enabling new forms of recreation (mountain biking of the 1980s, for example, aligns only in spirit with biking today). In particular, the agency is examining which of the tens of thousands of acres inventoried as potential wilderness could be added to the Pecos, Chama River Canyon, or San Pedro Parks wildernesses. A patchwork halo of inventoried acres surrounds each of those wilderness areas, but any recommendation the Forest Service makes is just a recommendation, and would require Congressional action to finalize.

The Forest Service has hosted roughly 126 meetings to discuss the plan and its various components with the public.

“There is less conflict than you might believe because people are openly talking about what their interests are,” says Bill Zunkel, president of Friends of the Santa Fe National Forest, a nonprofit working on projects to help support the forest, of his experience at meetings to discuss the plan. “A lot of people carry around ideas in their head about what ‘those people’ are like—what the ATV people are like or what horse people on trails are like or what the people who want to cut trees for lumber or mine or graze are like. And once they get into a room and see each other as humans, it decompresses that.”

Which is not to say that the various interested parties don’t still see this as a high-stakes game—ask the mountain bikers concerned about trails closing to them if wilderness areas expand.

Comments on the Forest Service’s draft on focus areas jointly filed by Western Environmental Law Center and water conservation organization Amigos Bravos point out that climate change exacerbates the existing impacts to these landscapes from ecological and community stressors such as poorly managed roads and livestock grazing. The forest, they say, should function as a carbon sink; whether it achieves that hinges on how these acres are managed.

The leading goal for the Forest Service, Melonas says, is in returning fire to the landscape before catastrophic wildfires occur, and restoring riparian areas to preserve water resources. The agency also aims to transition to a model that recruits multiple partners and tackles a series of projects that address landscape-wide issues: The Southwest Jemez Collaborative Landscape Restoration Project is billed as an example of the kind of work they hope to do. Partners from the Forest Service, Valles Caldera National Preserve, Jemez Pueblo, the Forest Guild, the Wildlife Federation, the Nature Conservancy, Trout Unlimited and WildEarth Guardians are working together to address the needs of 210,000 acres in the upper Jemez River watershed, which include thick understories, erosion and invasive species.

“We want to take that model of Southwest Jemez, and take what we’ve learned from that and apply to other parts of the forest,” Melonas says. “What we want to get away from is kind of doing these one-off, small projects here and there, because the stressors and issues we’re dealing with are working at a much broader scale.”

A partnership model is similarly being deployed to address the Greater Santa Fe Fireshed, a 110,000-acre area that’s being treated to reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfire.

“One of the purposes of the coalition is to not just plan, but to find places to actually implement things that are ready to go,” says Sandy Hurlocker, Española district ranger. Those tasks will likely start with two smaller-scale projects near the Tesuque Pueblo and Hyde Memorial State Park.

Hurlocker’s district includes Ski Santa Fe, and this year, he’s once again dealing with cattle moving from their neighboring grazing allotment onto the ski area, where they’re not supposed to be.

“We’re kind of at a loss for figuring out how they’re getting there, because the fence is up and the cattle guards we think are working,” he says. “It’s just one of those deals where the cattle know how to get around, especially when they have something as munchable as the grass up in the ski area. … We don’t have a great solution right now.”

Pecos/Las Vegas District Ranger Steve Romero was in the field recently following up on reports of illegal off-road vehicle use near the watershed boundary.

“The public pointing out some of these issues to us [helps], because obviously, we can’t be everywhere at once,” he says.

He’s pinpointing issues and identifying hotspots for the law enforcement officer who will start covering his district late this year, one of two new to the Santa Fe National Forest. The tricky part then is catching violators in the act.

Citizen reports have called attention to cattle crossing into forbidden territory, and to the trees cut to create backcountry ski runs near Ski Santa Fe. The cattle can be moved back to their range, but the tip about illegal logging came too late.


“By the time we really got tipped off, it was a pretty cold trail,” Hurlocker says. “The closer to real time, the better.”

A draft of the plan is due out in early 2018; public meetings and a comment period will follow.


Leather Lo Mein
Close

© 2017 Santa Fe Reporter. All Rights Reserved.
Powered by WEHAA.COM
Regular Site