School Board rejects closures

The Santa Fe Public Schools Board of Education rejected by a 3-2 vote a plan to close Acequia Madre, E.J. Martinez and Nava elementary schools last night, following a three-hour hearing and testimony from more than 60 attendees opposing the closures. Board President Kate Noble, Rudy Garcia and outgoing member Steve Carillo, who was defeated in Tuesday's election, voted against the closure proposal from outgoing member Maureen Cashmon and board Vice President Lorraine Price. Cashmon had amended her proposal to allow for its overturn by incoming members Carmen Gonzales and Sarah Boses, both of whom have said they oppose the closures. The board also voted, along the same lines, to approve Noble's proposal directing Superintendent Veronica Garcia to create a plan for the district to adopt the National School Boards Association's definition and commitment to equity.

Medical malpractice law hits state Supreme Court

The state Supreme Court heard arguments yesterday from opposing sides regarding the legality of the 1976 New Mexico Medical Malpractice Act. The crux of the argument lies on whether the law's $600,000 cap—enacted by the Legislature in the 1990s—on compensatory damages for lost wages, pain and suffering violates plaintiffs' rights to jury verdicts. The case stems from a $2.6 million judgment awarded to Susan Siebert of Placitas. In that case, State District Judge Victor Lopez denied the defendants' motion to limit the payout to caps as specified in the Medical Malpractice Act.

It’s a family affair

State Senate President Pro Tem Mary Kay Papen, a Las Cruces Democrat, says she doesn't support Republican daughter Susan Vescovo's bid for the Senate seat in District 39, currently held by Democrat Liz Stefanics ($TNM). "I love her dearly, but I don't approve of what she's doing and I don't support her," Papen said. Vescovo, a hypnotist, former state racing commissioner and previous state president of the National Alliance on Mental Illness in New Mexico, says her decision to run was primarily driven by her views on abortion (against). "Senator Stefanics and I have very different opinions," Vescovo told The New Mexican. "I believe in protecting and valuing life." District 39 includes parts of Santa Fe County, as well as portions of Torrance, Valencia, Bernalillo and San Miguel.

New early childhood secretary

Yesterday, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced her appointment for the state's first early childhood secretary. The new Early Childhood Education and Care Department was created in the 2019 legislative session. Its new leader, Elizabeth Groginsky, has been assistant superintendent of early learning for the District of Columbia since 2014. In a press release on the appointment, Lujan Grisham said, "As we interviewed terrific candidates, Elizabeth clearly stood out as an innovator with experience leading a large organization with goals similar to ours. She was unequaled in both experience and passion and has a demonstrated record of getting results. I am confident she will deliver on putting our youngest on the path to success."

Create at Chaco

If spending next October in Chaco Culture National Historic Park working on your art sounds like a dream come true, be sure to apply by Nov. 15 for next year's residency. The opportunity is open to artists working in any medium and includes living quarters suitable for a single artist or a couple, as well as a $1,000 stipend. The artist in residence will be granted a venue for at least one Public Presentation of a workshop, lecture or concert. Hyperallergic profiles some of the artists who have taken advantage of this program in the past, such as Dawnja Burris, who says of Chaco: "I refuse to call them ruins," she said. "The place is very much alive." The article also discusses the legacy of arts in the national parks, and the role artists might play in helping to preserve these natural environments in the face of threats, such as oil and gas drilling.

Film boom

Noting New Mexico's current status as a "formidable contender" among states for film and TV productions, The Hollywood Reporter interviews New Mexico Film Office Director Todd Christensen this week. Christensen, whom Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham appointed to the position in May, spoke with THR about the new legislation that raised incentive caps for productions, Breaking Bad's impact on the state, and the backlash against Georgia for its passage of a highly restrictive abortion law ($NYT). "We welcome people with open arms," Christensen said. "With their decisions to leave those places [because of] the draconian laws that were being put in place, my point of view was, 'Come to New Mexico. Make your film here.'"

Once upon a time

This year's fiction theme for SFR's annual writing contest is the Darkest Timeline. And … tomorrow is the deadline for said writing contest! Irony? Nope, just useful information loosely stitched together to make a point. This year's nonfiction theme, A Climate of Change, asks for essays exploring topics related to internal, external and planetary changes. You'll find all the information you need to enter right here. A grand prize winner in each category gets $100 cash, and other published pieces earn food and drink at local businesses. We can't wait to read you.

Happy Jason Silverman Day!

That's today, following Mayor Alan Webber's designation of Nov. 7 as the day to celebrate Center for Contemporary Arts' Cinematheque director. The proclamation notes that Silverman "…has created programs for our region that have served more than 800,000 people, including festivals celebrating African, Latino and Native American culture, partnerships with dozens of our region's schools and organizations, and innovative education programs serving thousands of local students." Ever humble, Silverman said "to get recognized in Santa Fe, which is one of the greatest cultural centers of the universe, by a city government that is trying to be in-tune with the community, is pretty deep."

Weather here and there

The National Weather Service offers these specific breakdowns of this morning's weather:  "Patchy" snow showers along with "freezing drizzle" before 8 am, along with some "patchy freezing fog"; a chance of presumably un-patchy rain and snow showers between 8 and 11 am; a chance of rain showers after 11am. Mostly cloudy today, with a high near 44. South wind 10 to 15 mph. Chance of precipitation overall: 40%. Tonight's low around 32. Tomorrow is predicted to be a more sunny, aka less patchy day with a high of approximately 58.

Thanks for reading! The Word doesn't think she's one of those women who lacks odor-detecting brain cells, but read this New Scientist article anyway wondering if it would provide an explanation about why a dear friend of hers is so into smelling things. It did not.