New school leader

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has appointed Ryan Stewart, a nonprofit exec and former teacher most recently based in Philadelphia, to head up New Mexico's Public Education Department. Stewart has worked with Partners in School Innovation, a national nonprofit dedicated to helping low-income students of color, since 2017. When it comes to why he's here, Stewart said, "The governor made the incredible case that when you come to New Mexico, there is an opportunity to take a state that hasn't yet fulfilled its potential but that's investing in it." ($TNM).

Deming slowdown

While the massive tide of migrants has slowed considerably since May, Deming is still working to help those who find themselves in New Mexico after fleeing violence in their home countries. The Wall Street Journal reported on Deming's efforts ($) in May, and by June even more national media outlets had trained their sights on the small town. Now, the Albuquerque Journal reports that the migrant shelter there houses about 60 to 80 people a day.

More gun control in New Mexico?

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham offered a teaser about gun control at the press conference in which she introduced her new education secretary. Lujan Grisham said that expanding background checks was an idea worth considering, reports the New Mexican ($), but would not comment further other than to say, "I'm seeing members of our state and folks around the country talk about background checks that could apply to sellers."

The bug bites back

New Mexico has its first confirmed human case of West Nile Virus this year in a 42-year-old Doña Ana County woman. The mosquito-transmitted disease causes symptoms like headache, fever, muscle and joint aches, nausea and fatigue, so get rid of nearby standing water and get to the doctor if you're feeling ill.

Change our ways?

The World Resources Institute reports that New Mexico is the only US state under extremely high baseline water stress, and that we withdraw more than 80% of our available water every year. It should be noted that measuring water stress looks more at demand than drought, and Stacy Timmons, a hydrologist with the New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources and a new member of the Interstate Stream Commission, pointed out, "Especially when you consider climate change, the quantity of water needed to grow [crops] and do what we need to do does not match up with our water supply."

Health care research funded

A pair of University of New Mexico researchers has snagged a $3.5 million grant to study kidney disease in Native Americans in the Southwest, in hopes of creating more equity in healthcare and serving a segment of the population largely left out of national studies. Native Americans have higher rates of fatal kidney disease than people of other races, but the reasons aren't well understood; researchers Raj Shah and Mark Unruh will work to understand the disparity with partners like First Nations Community Healthsource and Zuni Pueblo.

Water, water everywhere

A little good news about water in our state: Groundwater levels in Albuquerque are on the rebound after a 20-year effort to restore them. This isn't a sign we should build more pools or water more golf courses, of course, because we still do live in a dang desert, but it's a promising sign that intelligently led conservation efforts can pay off.

Cling, like the peach

More dry 'n' hot today. Santa Fe is staring down a temp of 89, and ABQ is looking at 93. These nights sure have been heavenly, though, haven't they? Let's cling to that.

Thanks for reading! The Word advises you to be careful of snails, and not to step on them and then walk across your carpet. Not like we know from experience or anything.