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Morning Word: New Mexico Badly Managed

Morning WordWednesday, December 7, 2016 by Peter St. Cyr
"Worst-Run State"
For the second year in a row, 24/7 Wall St. ranked New Mexico, with its high poverty and unemployment rates, as the worst-run state in the country.

Smith Urges Bipartisanship in New Year
Ahead of New Years, Sen. John Arthur Smith, the chairman of the Legislative Finance Committee, wants lawmakers to resolve to work together “to solve this budget crisis and put New Mexico on sound financial footing for the future.”
New Mexico has never been a state of luxury or indulgence. With the politically influenced special session resulting in only band-aid solutions and with no way to solve these problems quickly, lawmakers will be forced to scramble through another solvency plan during the regular legislative session in January.
500 Jobs on the Line at UNM Hospital
The University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center chancellor told state lawmakers Tuesday that budget cuts will likely lead to the elimination of 500 positions, including 33 doctors, 174 nurses, 167 hospital staffers and 132 academic positions, at the state’s leading health care system. The reduction will probably not include layoffs, and will instead be accomplished by eliminating planned staff expansions.
"This is more than just doctors and nurses losing their jobs,” [Dr. Paul Roth] said. “People may be losing their lives. Our kids are not going to receive the quality of medical care they need. Our parents may not have access to health care.”
Congressional Panel’s Tactics Scrutinized
Joey Peters reports, “A controversial congressional panel investigating abortion practices in New Mexico and the across the country is under scrutiny for its tactics and mission from some of its own members.”
In a report released this week titled “Setting the Record Straight: The Unjustifiable Attack on Women’s Health Care and Life-Saving Research,” Democratic members of the House Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives skewered the majority in the committee for using "McCarthy-era tactics" to conduct "an end-to-end attack on fetal tissue donation and women’s health care."
Untested
A special report released Tuesday by State Auditor Tim Keller reveals that New Mexico, with 254 per 100,000, has the highest number of untested rape kits per capita in the nation.

Teacher Job Vacancies Increase
There’s a good chance your public school student is being taught by a long-term substitute teacher this year. A new report from New Mexico State University’s Education Department shows the number of teachers retiring early has increased and that’s led to hundreds of vacant teacher positions.
Researchers looked at vacancy data from all 89 public school districts in the state through mid-October and found nearly 600 open positions. While the majority of those were teaching jobs, the report also found vacancies for counselors, social workers, speech therapists and administrators.
NMSU Won’t Be Sanctuary Campus
New Mexico State University Chancellor Garrey Carrthuers says the school will not declare itself a sanctuary campus or ban federal law enforcement officials from campus despite a petition being circulated by students and faculty. Heath Haussamen reports:
In a Friday memo to employees and students, Carruthers wrote that NMSU aims to be diverse and inclusive and has several policies in place that aid that goal. NMSU doesn’t require proof of citizenship for admission or discriminate on the basis of immigration status. The university doesn’t disclose student information without consent or unless required by law. NMSU offers in-state tuition and state-funded financial aid to “qualifying undocumented students” and discounted tuition to students from Mexico.

Associate English professor Elizabeth Schirmer said in a news release that SOS appreciates Carruthers’ “affirmation of NMSU’s commitment to diversity.” But the university needs to do more, she said.
Santa Fe Opera Recording Earns Grammy Nominations
This is very cool: The Santa Fe Opera has clinched Grammy nominations for the first time in its 60-year history for a recording of Cold Mountain in 2015.
“This is a very happy day for us,” said Santa Fe Opera’s general director Charles MacKay, reached by phone in Chicago. “It is a tribute not only to the leading singers, Isabel Leonard and Nathan Gunn, but really to the whole wonderful ensemble, the apprentices who made up the chorus, and of course our magnificent orchestra.”

Ruffled by Raffles

With the pending sale of SFUAD delayed, students are still mostly in the dark

Local NewsWednesday, December 7, 2016 by Kim Jones

Writers feverishly revise their final portfolios, photographers scour their surroundings for mid-day standalones and theater majors prepare for upcoming shows. The semester at Santa Fe University of Art and Design is trudging towards an end, but the future of the college remains unclear.

Laureate Education, a multinational private education corporation, announced plans this spring to sell the college to Raffles Education, a Singapore-based company which has a portfolio of 26 institutions, mostly art and design schools in Asia. The pending sale, however, is moving more slowly than initially predicted.

Students tell SFR they are nervous over the uncertainty surrounding the transition. Will my degree be legitimate? Will I be taken seriously by future employers? Am I wasting my time and money?

Others are hopeful. Some are unaware. Most are suspicious.

Interim President Maria Puzziferro wrote a statement released on Dec. 1 reassuring students that Laureate and Raffles “remain committed to this process” and that the school’s accreditation through 2026 will not be impacted by the delayed change in control. The Higher Learning Commission, a regional accrediting agency, won’t make a decision about the proposal until at least February, she wrote.

Students say they’re not getting the message. Some told SFR they did not see the emailed notice from Puzziferro until a faculty member posted it on a private Facebook group.

Puzziferro tells SFR that “technical difficulties” kept some information from reaching students as intended. Her office sent two emails to students and faculty shortly after the Thanksgiving break and only later learned many of the intended recipients had not received them.

She says she is looking forward to Raffles and what it will bring to SFUAD. “Raffles really is a leader in global art and design education,” says Puzziferro. “Raffles opens up a lot of possibilities for students to study abroad; the potential is just unlimited.”

Questions about whether students at the school would continue to qualify for financial aid are part of the change in control process, she explains, and if Raffles can’t enable students to earn federal financial aid, the sale won’t be approved.

Asked about an earlier SFR report that focused on Raffles’ problems in other countries, including in Vietnam, where the school faced sanctions over offering degrees despite only having authorization to issue vocational diplomas, she says she’s not concerned.

“You have to be careful, especially in understanding Raffles’ history with other schools, in countries where we don’t understand their regulatory environment,” she says.

Puzziferro says SFUAD’s accreditation will remain in good standing regardless of whether the sale goes through and she is working with SFUAD’s spokeswoman, Rachael Lighty, to organize a forum in early January to communicate with students.

"I learn information about a school I pay so much for from local newspapers and friends. "
       -Alison Gamache, student

That would be welcome to senior creative writing major Alison Gamache.

“I have not received one email about what the hell is going on,” Gamache tells SFR. “I learn information about a school I pay so much for from local newspapers and friends.”

But not everyone is pessimistic about the proposed change. Nicholas Thomas, president of Student Voice, a campus advocacy group, says Raffles is a better fit to run SFUAD than Laureate, the Baltimore-based company that doesn’t typically operate arts schools. Thomas tells SFR he’s frustrated with the rumors SFUAD will lose its accreditation under new ownership.

He notes that the Higher Learning Commission, the accrediting agency, wouldn’t approve the sale if it would threaten students’ degrees. “We aren’t going to lose our accreditation,” Thomas says. “Not gonna happen.”

Junior contemporary music program major Joseph Gordon says he’s been annoyed with Laureate’s lack of investment in his personal educational priorities. He hopes Raffles will spend big bucks on new music equipment.

Gordon wants a career in music technology—mixing, editing and recording—but it’s not a major offered at SFUAD.

“I hope that Raffles, a very rich corporation, will put a lot of money into the infrastructure of our school,” says Gordon. “We can’t even have some classes because all of our technology is breaking.”

Another music major, sophomore flutist Sammi Gilbert, is hopeful for the future but wary of the administration’s miscommunication. Early on, she says, representatives from Raffles seemed to be responsive to what students want.

“I’m optimistic about the future of the school,” resident advisor and student life advocate Emily Curley tells SFR. Curley is a junior technical theater major in the performing arts department with a specialization in sound design. Although Curley is pleased with her program, she wants a course specific to sound design and hopes Raffles can provide that for the technical theater department now and in the future.

“I don’t feel like the changes will occur while I’m here. … I’m really close to graduating and don’t expect changes within a year,” Curley says. She prefers the Higher Learning Commission, Raffles and Laureate take their time ensuring a positive future for the school.

Santa Fe city officials in September met with representatives from SFUAD and Raffles, as well as the Higher Learning Commission. Mayor Javier Gonzales did not attend.

In a letter to the accrediting agency’s executive vice president for governmental affairs, however, Gonzales wrote, “Especially at this critical time, as we launch plans to redevelop the St. Michael’s Avenue [sic] corridor at the geographic heart of this community and with SFUAD as its western anchor, losing this partnership would be a significant step backward, for the young people we serve and the community as a whole.”

SFR reported in October that Raffles failed to follow education regulations in at least three countries, leaving students with degrees that are unrecognized in their own countries. Laureate has its own legal issues, including a recently settled lawsuit claiming that the company stretched out the degree process, forcing students to pay more money.



Kim Jones is a junior at SFUAD who is interning in the SFR newsroom.


From Jail to Grave

Woman’s death after detention prompts civil rights lawsuit

Local NewsWednesday, December 7, 2016 by Steven Hsieh

Breanna Vasquez died of spinal meningitis at Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center on November 11, 2014, two days after becoming unresponsive at the county jail. The Santa Fe woman was 22.

Now, Vasquez’ family is suing the city Police Department for her death, saying officers who arrested her on a warrant should have taken her to the hospital before booking her at the Adult Detention Center.

According to the civil rights lawsuit filed last month, Vasquez’ mother warned officers that her daughter had just been released from the hospital the night before they arrested her for violating probation on misdemeanor charges.

Santa Fe police officers Michael Dimas and Lukas Wakefield executed a warrant at 8:42 am at Vasquez’s home. At the time of her arrest, Vasquez showed obvious signs of illness, according to the lawsuit. She was still wearing her hospital bracelet.

Before taking Vasquez to jail, the two officers assured her family that guards would safely monitor Vasquez until her release, according to the lawsuit. Her bond was set at $2,360.

“The poor girl sat in jail for a long time,” says Doug Perrin, one of the family’s attorneys.

The lawsuit claims the Santa Fe Police Department and two unnamed officials “breached their duty to properly train and supervise” Dimas and Wakefield. The complaint also names the two individual officers for acting “with deliberate indifference” to Vasquez’ civil rights, under the Fourth, Eighth and 14th Amendments.

“Despite knowledge of her medical condition requiring treatment, Officers Dimas and Wakefield did not provide medical treatment, took no steps to secure medical treatment and did not transport Ms. Vasquez to the hospital for medical clearance before incarceration,” the lawsuit states.

Both Dimas and Wakefield still work for the department and are in good standing, according to police spokesman Greg Gurulé. The city attorney’s office did not respond to an inquiry about the case.

The pending US District Court lawsuit against the city follows a $400,000 settlement agreement entered in April between Vasquez’ family and Santa Fe County, the entity that operates the jail. A tort claims notice alleged a jail supervisor failed to provide medical attention to Vasquez before she became unresponsive.

Her death occurred amid a rash of deaths during or after stays at county-run correctional facilities. Months before, 17-year-old Desiree Gonzales overdosed at the Youth Development Program, the juvenile lockup, shortly after being discharged from Christus St. Vincent.

An ongoing federal civil rights lawsuit says jail administrators booked Gonzales despite her showing signs of withdrawal, and that medical staff ignored her as she struggled to breathe. The lawsuit also claims the hospital acted negligently by discharging the teen too early.

Another inmate, Thomas Pederson, died of heart complications last year at the adult jail three days after he was arrested for driving with a blood alcohol level six times the legal limit.


So Long, Farewell

The world has changed. Do we mourn? Or love what’s still here?

FeaturesWednesday, December 7, 2016 by Laura Paskus

It’s a crisp, late fall morning in Santa Fe. Larry Rasmussen, a Lutheran lay minister, and I sit side-by-side at his kitchen table. Sometimes we look at one another. But mostly we both look out the picture window. The sky is an iconic cerulean blue, and songbirds flit about the backyard: Birdfeeder to fence post to birdfeeder and hop, hop, around and around again.

More than a decade ago, Rasmussen retired from New York City’s Union Theological Seminary. He and his wife now live off Old Pecos Trail. From this window, they can watch a forest in transition.

Nowadays, that’s how we talk about trees that are dying. Trees that smell like vanilla when you press your face close in warm sunlight. Trees whose sticks and split trunks have been fed for generations into cooking fires and wood stoves. The juniper and piñon wood smoke that wafts through cities and towns today is the same that’s filled the air since Pueblo people settled along the Rio Grande centuries ago.

As the world keeps warming, not all those species will survive. Scientists keep saying this, and even drive-by tourists can see the waves of young oak trees spreading across burned slopes that conifers once dominated. I can’t help but wonder how differently the land will smell when our children’s children inhale; I can’t help but wonder if they’ll ache for something they don’t know is missing.

Scientists say southwestern pine forests will disappear by 2100. Hotter, larger wildfires are partly to blame.
Laura Paskus

“What do you do with your grief? What do you do with your loss?” Rasmussen asks. “What do we do with species going extinct? What do we do with nude mountains?” We both look out the window again. He’s talking about a wildfire that ripped through the Jemez Mountains a few years earlier.

When the fire ignited on a Sunday in late June, a massive cloud erupted like a thunderhead into the sky above the mountains. Visible more than 50 miles away, that trickster cloud fooled me into thinking the summer’s monsoon season had arrived. In an Albuquerque driveway, my young daughter and I looked north and cheered for the blessing of rain in the dry mountains.

I was wrong.

Rather, there was a fire burning so hot that it had created its own weather above the mountains. When heat rises so fast that winds can’t push the air away, wildfires form a cloud—what’s called a pyrocumulous cloud.

From a distance these sometimes look like mushroom clouds. And they put firefighters, and anyone nearby, in danger. If the columns collapse, the falling air hits the ground and then spreads wildly, pushing the fire in new directions.

Through their Santa Fe kitchen window, Rasmussen and his wife, Nyla, watched the mountains burn. At night, the hulk of the mountains—normally just a crouching dark blankness swallowing the pinpoints of stars—flamed orange.

It’s not that Southwestern forests aren’t supposed to burn. But this fire was different. In its first 14 hours, the Las Conchas fire burned through about one acre a second.

Close your eyes and count to 10. During that time, flames devoured 10 acres. Think of the ponderosa pines and Steller’s jay nests, fox burrows and salamanders obliterated in the time it takes to draw and exhale two breaths.

All told, the fire burned 156,000 acres the summer of 2011.

That was the state’s largest wildfire in recorded history. Until the next year when the Whitewater-Badly Fire burned nearly twice that amount, 297,000 acres, of the Gila National Forest.

In our warmer world, ponderosa pine stands don’t necessarily come back. Instead, they give way to Gambel oak and New Mexico locust. Piñon and juniper trees die off, their hard carcasses thronged by wavy leaf oak and mountain mahogany.

Scientists say Southwestern pine forests will disappear by 2100, and that half the conifers in the Northern Hemisphere will have died by then.

How do we mourn nude mountains?

At my father’s funeral more than three years ago, I realized how much I missed those ceremonies we wrap ourselves in during times of grief or confusion.

At the time, I was 39 years old and had lived more than 2,000 miles from my parents for nearly 20 years. But I’d never been to a funeral without my father. I’d never watched the casket enter a church or sat through a eulogy without placing my hand inside his. Even if we’d argued on our way to the church, I’d position myself next to him during the service, then hang around him and his pals—fellow cops, oftentimes—during the meal afterwards. They’d stand around outside. Tug loose their ties and insult one another. Another ritual.

Is there a way to mourn a river, too?

The Rio Grande runs dry every year when agricultural irrigators divert water.
Laura Paskus

Two decades ago, two US Fish and Wildlife Service biologists sat behind their office in Albuquerque. Surrounded by boats, trailers, tanks, waders, and all the accoutrements of fisheries biologists, they realized the fate of an entire species rested with them.

"Is there a way to mourn a river, too?"

Historically, the silvery minnow had lived throughout the Rio Grande and its tributary, the Pecos River. About 2,400 miles of habitat. By the time it was protected under the Endangered Species Act, the minnow survived only in a 174-mile stretch of the Rio Grande.

Like many species, the minnow’s demise was linked to human cleverness. In the 20th century, people had tamed, tapped, and engineered the Pecos and the Rio Grande to prevent flooding and deliver water. Their work was so effective that watersheds and riverbeds bowed before miraculous engineering feats. Ecosystems changed. Species disappeared.

The silvery minnow loses habitat every year.
Laura Paskus
Feeling the tug of moral responsibility for an entire species, the two men convinced their bosses to let them try something different. They started collecting eggs from the river and then raising the fish in a hatchery.

They did that because New Mexico’s largest river could no longer keep a two-inch long fish from going extinct.

Today, the river still dries. And the wild fish population declines.

What do you do with your grief?

At the end of my father’s wake, no one rushes me. Friends and family and police officers look away. They’re ready to walk with the casket from the wake to the church.

But I’m not ready to leave the casket. Not ready for the lid to seal shut. I kneel, pressing my head against the cool metal, and then recoiling at the smell of rot and chemicals.

By the time the pallbearers carry the flag-draped coffin up the steps and into the church, I’ve lost track of whether he’s head or feet first. Incense. Words. Stained glass windows and gold on the altar.

From the church’s front pew, I stumble to the altar in heels and a dark-colored dress, then choke through a reading. At the cemetery, uniformed men and women fire the requisite number of rifle shots. Someone hands my mother the folded American flag. The ancient driver of the hearse blows into a trumpet. In the back of the limousine, I hold my brother’s hand.

For months afterwards, I wonder about decomposition. I imagine that the blue eyes I passed along to my daughter no longer exist within his face. The lips and mouth that look like mine are surely gone. His hand must be desiccated by now.

I keep the rifle shells in a wooden box. But I still don’t know where to put my grief.

Back in Albuquerque, I visit with a biology professor at the Museum of Southwestern Biology at the University of New Mexico. I’m curious about the Latin American hummingbirds whose evolution he studies.

After talk of jungle mountains, lungs and tiny hearts, Christopher Witt walks me to the back of the museum and slides open a wide, shallow drawer.

There are passenger pigeons, Carolina parakeets, Ivory-billed woodpeckers, dusky seaside sparrows and Eskimo curlew.

They have no descendants somewhere, preening or molting, blinking their eyes against the rain or singing a morning song. These species are all extinct.

Taxidermied threatened Mexican spotted owls lie next to their extinct cousins in the Museum of Southwestern Biology at the University of New Mexico.
Laura Paskus

Another drawer holds a tray of threatened Mexican spotted owls, their downy white eyelids closed. There are also boxes of Northern aplomado falcons, which were nearly extirpated from the United States by the 1950s. I peer at the tag tied to one falcon’s foot: “Falco Femoralis Septentrionalis. Fort Bayard, New Mexico.” Collected by F Stephens on August 8, 1875.

My eyes water and I look down in shame. I jot notes I can’t actually read. How do you mourn a drawer full of birds?

My father has been dead two years when I return to Connecticut for three summer weeks. After living for almost 20 years in the Southwest, I scoff at the green. The trees crowd out my necessary horizon; I anticipate ticks. But I love getting to know my cousin’s children. I’m secretly pleased when my daughter, brazen like I never was, mouths off to me, then runs into the backyard with her kin.

In the woods beyond my mother’s house, my childhood fort is gone. It’s not that someone scattered the brush and stones and pieces of metal I’d collected and piled. The hillside is gone.

More than a decade ago, a developer blasted the mica-flecked bedrock. When he ran out of money, he abandoned the subdivision. And a backhoe. Now, water fills empty foundations. There are cattails and frogs that disappear in a croaky ripple. An old Christmas tree lies across the road; televisions and suitcases flank it. I poke assorted weird shit with a stick.

Beyond the mess, the forest is thicker than it was decades ago. There are foxes and turkeys, deer and species of birds I don’t remember seeing when I ran around the woods as a kid, tracing stone walls, forever hopeful I’d discover a gateway into another world. That other world might be magical, it might be sinister. Either way, I was ready, pocket knife filched from my dad’s collection.

During one of those last summer nights in Connecticut, I stare up at the stars around the edges of the trees and hear a sound that’s familiar to me only from the West.

Coyotes. At first I think I’m dreaming. I hold my breath and listen. The syncopated stutters carry across the forest from a hillslope away. Past the road cut and powerlines.

When I first started writing about climate change, maybe a decade ago, a scientist told me I shouldn’t worry for the planet. It’s humans who will suffer, he said. The Earth will remain. Species will blink out, evolve, or emerge. Ecosystems will shift. The same geological processes that have been churning the Earth for eons will still shape tomorrow’s landscapes.

The selfish grief I felt over losing my father, and any chance he and I had for understanding one another, has dissipated. In its place, a fiercer love has emerged. For my daughter and my mother. My brother and his family; dear friends and ready allies. For the world we still have. Looking back, I realize that I twisted nostalgia and hope into inaction and despair.

A door has opened on a new world that awaits our children.
Laura Paskus

Perhaps healing requires grief and mourning. But both those emotions seem like indulgences. And there’s no time for that.

So instead, I wonder about the coming world. Which trees will grow, which birds will have survived. The meaning of shifting cloud formations. I wonder what the world will smell like. Because now, even though it’s been decades since I stopped looking for that gateway in earnest, the door to that new world has opened. And there’s no going back.


Laura Paskus is an independent journalist based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Earlier this year, she completed a year-long reporting project on climate change for New Mexico In Depth.


SFR Picks | Cinema Paradiso

The Santa Fe Film Festival gets rolling tonight

PicksWednesday, December 7, 2016 by Elizabeth Miller

Though we have access to numerous film festivals here in Santa Fe, two big ones stand out above the rest. And with the Independent Film Festival behind us (and quite a success from what we hear), it’s time to gear up for the original Santa Fe Film Festival (SFFF), now entering its 16th year. For five solid days, SFFF will take over the Jean Cocteau Cinema, The Screen at Santa Fe University of Art & Design and the Center For Contemporary Arts’ Cinematheque to screen well over 150 full-length, short, indie and documentary films created all over the globe and representing all styles and genres. “One thing I wanted to add to the fest this year was a line of action-sport films,” creative director Rich Henrich tells SFR. “We’ve also got a spotlight on Latin American films and documentaries, we’ve got Native films, and we also tried to include programming that was maybe a little lighter … like comedies. … We’re continuing that line of showing top-tier films.” SFFF also boasts a number of parties, a Canyon Road arts crawl led by a mariachi band, numerous panels and workshops and an art opening from artist Grant Kosh of lifelike airbrush portraits featuring famous faces from throughout the history of film. (That’s on Wednesday evening at Gerard Vachez Gallery, 418 Montezuma Ave.)

Basically, there’s something for everyone—even people who hear the term “film festival” and picture some snooty, artsy affair accessible only to film snobs and jerks in top hats.

“One of the challenges we’ve had is to create programs that are diverse enough so that everybody has something that’s going to fit their individual cinematic tastes,” Henrich adds. Nearly 80 percent of the filmmakers behind the movies will be on hand as well to discuss their works, and individual screenings are completely affordable. Flip to page 31 for some reviews of films showing during the fest. The five days kick off with a party at Cowgirl tonight (9 pm, $10. 319 S. Guadalupe St.) featuring live music from Golden General and Felecia Ford. (Alex De Vore)



Santa Fe Film Festival
Wednesday-Sunday, Dec. 7-11. $10-$299.
Various locations;
visit santafefilmfestival.com for complete listings.


Queer as Film

Courtesy Jean Cocteau Cinema
The Santa Fe Film Festival (SFFF)—which just so happens to be running as we speak—presents eight micro-documentaries from indie filmmakers that explore the experiences of LGBTQ people from around the world in Queer Lives. The shorts showcase woes and wins in the day-to-day for gay men, lesbians, and those who identify as trans or gender non-conforming, as well as people of color. “These are ordinary LGBTQ citizens—by ordinary, I mean, not celebrities,” says SFFF programmer Aaron Leventman. “There are many different pockets of queer communities that we don’t think of.” And we need to. (Kim Jones)



Queer Lives Shorts:
7 pm Friday Dec. 9. $10.
Jean Cocteau Cinema,
418 Montezuma Ave.,
466-5528


American Love Story: Motel

Steve Fitch

Romance is alive on the two-lane highways that meander through the rolling hills and empty deserts of America. There is nothing so satisfying as taking off on the open road, and part of that nostalgic glory lives in the vintage paint and light bulbs of motel signs. Photographer Steve Fitch banks on your attachment to the iconography of Americana in his solo exhibit, American Motel Signs, 1980-2008. Featuring photographs taken around the country, each image includes regional differences (like palm trees or tall cacti) that orient the viewer in the space of our vast nation. (Maria Egolf-Romero)



American Motel Signs, 1980-2008:
3-5 pm Saturday Dec 10. Free.
photo-eye Bookstore and Project Space,
376 Garcia St.,
988-5152


Book ‘Em

Selfie
Most people don’t immediately click to the concept of book clubs when they picture an afternoon visit to the Santa Fe Botanical Garden, but that’s going to change thanks to Adult Education Coordinator Shawna Jones. “We actually have this super-awesome library and the biggest collection of botanical books in Santa Fe,” Jones says. ”And it’s not just going to be books about how to garden.” The current title up for discussion is Simon Winchester’s The Map That Changed the World, the real-life story of an 18th-century canal digger who discovered how to chart the innards of the earth. Woah, right? Right. (ADV)



Botanical Book Club:
1 pm Tuesday Dec. 13. Free.
Santa Fe Botanical Garden office,
715 Camino Lejo,
471-9103


Climbing Higher

Nonprofit launches to expand the reach and benefits of climbing to underserved communities

The EnthusiastWednesday, December 7, 2016 by Elizabeth Miller

Amanda Burkybile saw first in her children that rock climbing wasn’t just a way to burn some energy, but that it taught them to focus, set goals and work hard, even to communicate—all in ways that few activities inspire.

“You can see immediately how kids are drawn to climbing—they’re little monkeys,” she says. “They want to climb on everything, so if you can give it to them in a venue where it’s actually appropriate and teach them how to be safe about it, and address their risk-taking in a positive way … you can just see them flourish.”

On a Wednesday afternoon, she gently coaxes her 3-year-old daughter as she stretches her fingers from one plastic hold to the next in the new building for the Santa Fe Climbing Center (3008 Cielo Court, 986-8944), which Burkybile’s husband, Andre Wiltenburg, owns.

Their 3-year-old is one of about 10 kids at the gym, lining up to for a belay from their adult coaches on the climbing wall and swiftly ascending a free-standing boulder.

“I like it because I can have fun,” says 7-year-old Zoey Davis, who says she started climbing when she was 4 and now climbs with the gym’s kids program once a week. “I can hang out with friends, and make new friends.”

Her coach, Rich Strang, helps her tie the rope to her harness, and she turns and clambers up a route with a small overhang.

“It’s a good sport for them—it keeps them busy,” Strang says. “It gives them good problem-solving and discipline to figure out the move and fight fears.”

These kids are all part of preschool climbing classes and recreational climbing teams, but for years, Burkybile and Wiltenburg have been talking about how to reach people who might not immediately think to try climbing. With the new facility open, now seemed as good a time as any for Burkybile to launch Elevate Santa Fe, a nonprofit dedicated to increasing and diversifying the opportunities for people to participate in rock climbing.

“We’re trying to make it reality for some people who would like the opportunity but would not necessarily be able to get there or afford it on their own,” she says.

The goal isn’t to recruit lifelong climbers as much as it is to spark curiosity and exploration.

“Rock climbing is just the vehicle to deliver the opportunities to people and to provide encouragement, to show people they can do things that maybe they didn’t think they could do before,” she says. “It’s more about saying, ‘Try this. You might like it,’ and if this isn’t your thing, maybe you have the courage to try something else that you’re thinking about.”

Kids are the first group they aim to work with, though veterans and adaptive athletes are on the list as well. They’re aiming to start a three-week-long pilot program early next year for elementary school kids. A former teacher herself, Burkybile’s goal is to take care of all the logistics and the expense, so teachers only need to make themselves and their students’ time available. Gear and instructor time, among other expenses, costs about $50 per student, so she’s fundraising to provide these free for students.

Research shows that, beyond the health benefits that can alleviate childhood obesity and diabetes, regular physical activity reduces anxiety and depression for children, and has been correlated to better concentration in the short term and improved skills in mathematics, reading and writing.

They’re starting with third-graders in part because that’s the age at which standardized testing begins to ramp up; this program, Burkybile contends, offers not just a different focus, but a means to progress mentally, physically and socially.

“It’s not a multiple choice test measuring their worth based on their score on this thing graded by a computer,” she says. “It’s just a whole other way of encouraging kids to grow and showing them that you can’t always see your growth on a piece of paper. Sometimes it’s in how you feel.”

In climbing, sometimes that can mean one more hold, or just getting off the ground for the first time; each step, each gain, shows they’re getting better, and getting stronger, and that now is not the time to give up.

For more information, visit elevatesantafe.com.



The Enthusiast is a twice-monthly column dedicated to the people in and stories from our outdoor sports community. Send feedback and story ideas to outdoors@sfreporter.com


Savage Love

Husbandry

Savage LoveWednesday, December 7, 2016 by Dan Savage

I’m a 37-year-old gay man who just got out of an abusive relationship. We were together five years, moved to Portland together, got married three years ago, yada, yada, yada. He suffered a traumatic injury earlier this year, which led to PTSD, which led to a nervous breakdown, which led to our savings being depleted, which led him to leave me in October. He moved back to the other side of the country, and I’m broke and on my own in a strange city. I saw your dirty film festival when it played here, and it made me realize something: At my age, I should still be enjoying myself and evolving sexually. I was unhappy in my marriage for the last two years, but sexually I was unhappy for a long time. Recently, I had a decent one-night stand. It was a drunken, stoned hot mess, but it got the job done—and there was no guilt on my part, which to me signifies that it really is over with my ex. But I can’t help feeling like I’m starting over. Not just dating, but starting over with my sex life and my writing. My ex had me switch from LGBT media—which I am very good at—to copywriting, which sucks but is “steadier.” The point is: I want so much sexually, because I’ve been starved physically and psychologically, but I don’t know where to begin. I feel like my marriage eviscerated me sexually. Not just the sex part of it, but the parts of my homosexuality that felt important to my personality, not just my turn-ons. Help.

-Grieving And Yearning Man Asking Nicely

You’re not too old to enjoy yourself and evolve sexually, GAYMAN—you’re never too old to enjoy yourself or evolve, sexually or otherwise. But it takes time to bounce back after a committed LTR ends traumatically. So don’t rush yourself. But as soon as you can—sooner than perhaps it feels right—you’ll need to get out there. You’ll need to actively and intentionally reconnect to your homosexuality and the ways in which it shaped and continues to inform your personality, your perspective, and your joy.

And now some random tips…

I’m not being look-ist or body-fascist here—this isn’t about having Instagrammable abs or the best torso Grindr—but join a gym, GAYMAN. Or take up a sport that kicks your ass, cardio-wise. Forcing your body to outrun your brain is a good way to get back in touch with yourself physically, emotionally, and sexually. And exercising—again, I’m not talking abs here—is good for us. It’s a natural antidepressant. It gets blood pumping into our extremities. (Your dick is an extremity.) And it gets us out of our heads. It also creates a social space, if you do it regularly, where you can make friends and connections without booze or drugs or the scourge of dance music.

If the gym isn’t for you, ride a bike. If biking isn’t for you, run. If running isn’t for you, walk. Just get your ass moving.

Go volunteer somewhere, anywhere. Like someone or other once said, it’s hard to feel sorry for yourself when you’re making yourself useful. Go volunteer at the ACLU or Planned Parenthood, do some copywriting for an LGBT civil-rights organization, find out what orgs are working with immigrants in your community and ask them what kind of help they need.

Please don’t succumb to meth or any of the other stupid drugs. Pot and alcohol—in moderation—aren’t stupid drugs.

Reach out to friends you lost touch with over the last five years, apologize for letting these relationships go, and ask if they’d like to reconnect. Not all will, GAYMAN—some might be too angry to reconnect right now (you may hear from them later), some might not have any extra friendship bandwidth right now (ditto). Focus on friends who want to reconnect, and don’t be bitter about friends who don’t.

Masturbate. A lot. And don’t use porn every single time—try using your imagination, flip through the ol’ solodex. Be open to new experiences. Ask yourself where you’ve always wanted to go. Pick a big gay event you’ve always wanted to attend—gay days at Disneyland, International Mr. Leather in Chicago, the World Series of Beer Pong in Las Vegas—and start setting money aside so you’ll have that trip to look forward to.

Good luck, GAYMAN.


I’m a 44-year-old married gay male. I recently found out my 30-year-old husband has been sending dick pics to randoms on Grindr. He says he doesn’t remember who he sent pics to, or why, other than I was working late and he was drunk and pissed at me. I want to be mature about this, but I’m really hurt. We’ve been together more than four years and married six months. We have a closed, monogamous relationship. He says he’s been faithful, and I believe him. I’m struggling to trust him, however. Am I overreacting?

-Help Understanding Relationship Trauma

Which would you rather have, HURT: This particular husband (aka the man you married) or a husband (a generic husband) who wouldn’t, couldn’t, and didn’t send dick pics to randoms on Grindr? Given a choice between a perfect, flawless, blameless but imaginary husband and the imperfect, flawed, living, breathing husband you’ve got, which would you pick?

Personally, I recommend choosing actual-and-flawed husbands over perfect-and-imaginary ones. (I’m not telling you to do anything I haven’t done and that my own husband hasn’t done.)

With that said, HURT, and hopefully with that choice made, your husband needs to drop the “I was mad at you for working late” bullshit and take responsibility for his actions. Drunk may have played a role, as booze is the great disinhibitor, but swapping dick pics isn’t something reasonable dick-having people do in response to run-of-the-mill annoyances. Your husband sent those pics because he enjoys showing off the goods. Your husband has an exhibitionistic streak.

So what to do about it? You could forbid it, HURT, but creating a little space in our marriages for pleasures we may not share or fully understand—making accommodations instead of issuing threats—can make our marriages stronger, not weaker, less contentious and therefore less brittle. If swapping pics makes your husband feel desirable, and he plows that sexual energy into you… not only aren’t you being betrayed, you’re benefiting.

If I were you, HURT, I would grant him this small zone of erotic autonomy.


I’m a Canadian gay man, married eight years to a man with a thing for men spitting in his face. It’s a degradation thing (of course), and I would do it for him but it can’t be me. It can’t be someone he loves, someone who loves him, it has to be someone he doesn’t know, someone who regards him with contempt. He finds guys to do this for him on the hookup apps, and I don’t have a problem with it. I do have a problem leaning in for a kiss when his face reeks of some other man’s spit. He likes the “lingering scent”—I do not. He says I’m kink-shaming him when I recoil and ask him to go wash his face. He’s agreed to abide by your ruling, Dan. Should he wash his damn face?

-Smelling Patooey Irks This Spouse

You’ve accommodated your husband’s kink. He needs to return the favor and accommodate your nose. He should wash his damn face—and get his damn flu shot.



SPEAKING OF HUMP!: My porny film festival’s 2017 tour kicks off in January. For cities, info, and tickets, go to humpfilmfest.com


mail@savagelove.net
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3 Questions

with Crystal Bowersox

3 QuestionsWednesday, December 7, 2016 by Alex De Vore

Some folks may know singer-songwriter Crystal Bowersox as an American Idol contender from the show’s 9th season, and others might know her as a performer who tours constantly, writes songs, like, all the time and has collaborated with hometown hero Jono Manson. However you know her, you might want to know she’s recording a live album at Jono’s Kitchen Sink Studio over a series of performances this week (Wed. Dec. 7 at 6 pm and 8:30 pm and Thurs. Dec. 8 at 8 pm, $40, 528 Jose St., 699-4323) and that she sure would like you to come because she’s into the live show energy. Us too.

How did you get connected with Jono?
I met him through John Popper of Blues Traveler. ... It was a few years back and I did some recording at his studio when it was at a different location. He’s just a such a nice, good-hearted guy; good-hearted to the core. When I thought of doing a live album, he was the very first person to pop into my mind.

How do you stand out in a sea of similar singer-songwriters?
Y’know, I don’t really think of it that way. I’m not comparing myself to anyone or competing against anyone, I just write my own songs that come from my heart. I’m trying to create good songs, just doing my thing. I’m still touring seven years after being on a show like American Idol, so ... some folks come because they saw me on the show, others didn’t know I was on the show and discovered me through a friend, and that’s pretty validating.

I’m glad you brought up American Idol. Do you think a show like that was a good thing or a harmful thing?
It’s different. I would never say harmful. It wasn’t the route I dreamed I would take, I kind of did it out of desperation and necessity and wanting to give my son a better, more stable life. No harm in that.

What Ales, You!

A new taproom/restaurant gives the people what they want: Beers!

Food WritingWednesday, December 7, 2016 by Gwyneth Doland

Rowley Farmhouse Ales (1405 Maclovia St., 428-0719) specializes in the kinds of beers that European farmers historically made from the grain, hops and yeast they grew and had at hand. And so, on a blustery fall day, I met a foodie friend for lunch at this little gastropub off Cerrillos Road. At first glance it doesn’t look like much: A small bar/dining room area that leads out to large tented patio. A row of tall red chairs line the long bar while a handful of tables sit against the wall. Wooden farm and kitchen implements hang on the earth-tone walls.

Beer is what probably draws most people here. Owner John Rowley is a chemist who came to New Mexico to work at Los Alamos National Labs, but whose real passion is beer. He’s been an active home brewer for seven years and is the president of the Sangre de Cristo Craft Brewers. At Rowley Farmhouse Ales, he specializes in rustic, sour ales that are a delight to connoisseurs and something of a novelty to those who’ve never tried them.

My foodie friend, I came to find, doesn’t drink beer. I ordered a sample of a recommended sour ale, which was bright, crisp, grapefruity and, yes, sour. It struck me as an adventure better taken on a hot summer day. My dining companion gave it a whiff and his face reminded me that sour ales are indeed an acquired taste.

Luckily, Rowley has a couple dozen offerings on tap, many of them unusual, and the rotation includes some familiar local brews like a lager from Bosque Brewing, La Cumbre’s Dank IPA and a pale ale from Marble Brewery. I took one look at the dark clouds outside and ordered a dark, chocolatey breakfast stout. Perfect.

Maybe this is a brilliant marketing plan, to serve a carefully curated list of unusual beers, and maybe Rowley will find a broader appeal with a few more safe bets on tap. My preference would be for a more approachable beer list, but the market will decide.

For me, the food is more of a draw.

Jeffrey Kaplan is the man behind Rowley’s ambitious gastropub fare and it goes beyond what we’ve come to expect from beer halls. Kaplan is a California native—and graduate of the California Culinary Academy—who has been working in restaurants and hotels for ages. He came to Santa Fe a few years ago to work for the Castle Ranch (a since-closed steakhouse), but at Rowley, he’s focused on food that goes with beer and he’s got great ideas. Some of them are perfectly executed and some could use a little improvement, but there’s much to be excited about here.

Kaplan’s chicken wings ($7) are Korean-style, which means fried to crispy perfection, then tossed in a tangy, sweet glaze and garnished with ground peanuts and green onion. They are fantastic. A big bowl of sweet, salty and spicy pecans, peanuts, almonds and cashews ($6) is addictive and huge—I loved them but couldn’t even finish the bowl.

The savory popover ($5) is a brilliant match for beer. This thing is the size of a man’s fist, and it has the light, airy interior one wants in a popover. It can be a challenge to deliver popovers to the table at their peak, though, and this one was was a little dry, a little tough. The Gruyere cheese sauce that came with it was the perfect match, although it was a little too thin to cling to the popover.

The braised flat iron poutine ($12) is a haystack of house-cut fries in a little cast iron skillet, studded with steak and Old Windmill Dairy cheese curds. I love this idea! But the meat is the weak link. Flat iron steak is just terrible, a crummy cut of meat that used to be ground into hamburger until some genius decided to give it a fancy name. But it’s so often gristly and off-tasting that it should just be ground into hamburger. Given a better cut (brisket even?) and thicker gravy, this could be a real winner.

My dining companion was very disappointed by the marrow and mushroom bruschetta ($13), which sounded so great and arrived with a striking presentation: a long bone cut in half to expose the creamy marrow. I love marrow, but I agreed this version was rather more jiggly than creamy, and the whole thing needed more seasoning.

I wish I had an auxiliary stomach so I could have tried more of the menu, like one of the BLTs made with Kyzer Farm crispy pork belly or with bacon and fennel pollen-dusted salmon. The “Duck Me? Duck You!” sandwich, with duck paté and roasted duck breast, is very tempting, as are the chicken and waffles, burgers and mac and cheese.

Rowley Farmhouse Ales has only been open a couple months and deserves a little time to work out these minor kinks. Assuming it does, it could become one of my favorite spots for a pint and a snack.



Rowley Farmhouse Ales at a Glance
11:30 am-10 pm daily
1405 Maclovia St., 428-0719
Best Bet:
Chicken wings
Don’t Miss:
Spicy nut bowl


The Gateway Drug to Art

Fashion and recycling join forces to resurrect and inspire

Art FeaturesWednesday, December 7, 2016 by Maria Egolf-Romero

The Recycle Santa Fe Arts Festival turned 18 this year, and with it came a huge assortment of fine arts created from discarded materials. A particular highlight each year is the Trash Fashion and Costume Contest, which showcases wearable recycled arts on the catwalk in a juried show (this year it was held on Dec. 2). Victorious designs are then featured in an exhibit at Winterowd Fine Art one week later at an exhibit titled Creme de la Creme.

When an SFR staffer heard about the event, she asked, “Are they going to actually be cool clothes, or, like, a bunch of old bottle caps?” This is probably close to what many of you are now thinking. It’s hard to hear “recycled” and not think “trash,” but that is something the festival’s coordinator Sarah Pierpont wants to change.

“I really think it’s one of those things that you have to come and see to believe,” she says. “You look at the art and think, ‘I’d like to have that in my living room,’ and only when you look closer do you realize it’s made of discarded materials.”

Artists working in this medium are the embodiment of the age-old adage about one man’s trash being another man’s treasure. “Unfortunately, our society has so many things that get thrown away or recycled or that are no longer wanted,” Pierpont tells SFR, “and these artists have an eye for that.” One such artist recently inherited a heap of treasure in the form of a junkyard; others search roadsides and garbage bins for broken coffee mugs or discarded sheet metal.

Participating artists work in an array of mediums, resurrecting things like car door handles as intricate figures of birds, or turning discarded books into 3D sculptural figures. “It can be welding, it can be sewing or painting; a fine art painter may paint on old ceiling tiles or things from demolition waste,” Pierpont notes. “There’s just no limit, really.”

This is how fashion blends particularly well with recycled art. As the second-most pollutive industry on the planet (right behind oil), fashion needs to turn an eye toward environmental issues. “You want to be conscientious of where materials come from, and textiles can have a pretty big social and environmental impact,” Pierpont cautions. “So, greening the idea of fashion and textiles is a great part of recycled art.”

This year, one contestant created a gown made completely from used postage stamps. Another designed a sundress from the heavy cardboard that covers rolls of newsprint. Someone even used torn umbrellas to fashion a garment. “There’s a lot of cool fabrics,” Pierpont says, “if you kind of just open your eyes to it.”

Liza Doyle, a senior at Santa Fe Prep, has won the competition several times and her previous designs have graced the festival’s runway since she was 6 years old. This is her 11th time designing for the show, and she says her lifelong participation has molded her into the artist she is today. “My focused interest in the arts really came from this show,” Doyle says. “Every year I had this event to look forward to, and it kept me thinking about designing all year long.”

Doyle also paints, draws and regularly designs her own non-recycled garments, yet she has an affinity for salvaged fashion. “I love that the materials are found and that they have been forgotten,” she says. “It gives you a chance to evaluate the story that each of those materials tells, and that really influences what kind of dress I make out of them.”

As for Pierpont, she likes that the fashion show component attracts budding artists. “I think it’s especially great for young and emerging artists,” she says. “It can be a way to start. … They are interested in fashion, whether it’s designing stuff or putting things together—it can happen in a lot of different ways, and it may be their gateway drug to art.”



Creme de la Creme
4-6:30 pm Friday, Dec. 9. Free.
Winterowd Fine Art,
701 Canyon Road,
992-8878


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