White Thanksgiving with a side of freezing rain?
"Things are going to be hazardous," is the ominous word from meteorologist Daniel Porter, given the storms heading New Mexico's way ($TNM), and their potential to disrupt travel. Storm No. 1 is on track to arrive this afternoon or evening from the Baja California Peninsula, bringing snow and freezing rain. That storm might miss Santa Fe all together. The second storm, also arriving from California, will hit tomorrow, bringing more snow than freezing rain—as much as 4 to 6 inches in Santa Fe, perhaps.
The weather already has already impacted travelers elsewhere. More than 1,000 people slept in the Denver airport last night after flights were cancelled, as heavy winds and snow shut down highways there and in Wyoming. A "bomb cyclone" weather phenomenon dumped snow, knocked out power and took down trees in California and Oregon. On the bright side, Ski Santa Fe has confirmed opening day for tomorrow, with a 20-inch base of natural and man-made snow.
A scary lesson
A student hoax led to lockdowns yesterday afternoon at Santa Fe High School, Milagro Middle School and Early College Opportunities High School after a caller warned of an unknown man on these campuses with a gun. SFR reporter Leah Cantor witnessed the lockdown, where a ring of law enforcement vehicles blocked traffic around both schools while officers swept the campuses for a threat, reporting that at Milagro, "two officers with rifles stood guarding the entrance and fire departments and ambulances waited in nearby parking lots ready to jump into action if need be." According to the Santa Fe Police Department, a juvenile student is facing charges of "interference with the educational process" related to the incident.
Follow the money—if you can
New Mexico's Secretary of State's Office has not yet completed reviews of at least 10% of state and local candidates' campaign and committee finance reports from 2018, as required by state law. Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver says the delay is partially due to her office's lack of resources, and State Elections Director Mandy Vigil says the office is trying to hire additional staff to help with the reviews. When such reviews turn up potential problems, the SOS refers them to the Attorney General's office; starting next year, the new seven-member State Ethics Commission also will have jurisdiction over campaign finance. Former Secretary of State Dianna Duran had a backlog of campaign finance report complaints when she resigned in 2015 prior to her conviction for embezzlement and money laundering.
Nothing ventured, nothing gained
Yesterday, New Mexico's 11-member State Investment Council voted to infuse $200 million into a program to benefit local startups. Specifically, the SIC will invest up to 9% of New Mexico's $5.5 billion Severance Tax Permanent Fund into the Private Equity Investment Program—that's the maximum amount it's allowed to invest in state businesses. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, who chairs the council, praised the decision, saying: "By targeting strategic investments in our own backyard, we can achieve positive financial returns while also creating jobs and new industries here in New Mexico."
Until we meet again
New Mexico Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management Secretary Jackie Lindsey submitted her resignation yesterday, effective immediately. In a statement from the governor's office, Lindsey cited her family and health as reasons for her resignation. Deputy Secretary Kelly Hamilton will serve as acting secretary, and a search for a permanent replacement is set to begin immediately.
Light it up
Ten-thousand lights. Blow-up penguins, snowmen and polar bears. Hot chocolate and cookies. That's right: It's almost time for one of Santa Fe's quintessential events: Holiday Lighting on the Plaza, from 3-8 pm, Friday, Nov. 29. City crews have spent the last month hanging those lights around the Plaza and, based on decades upon decades of observation, it will be spectacular when they turn them on. Also on the schedule: the Clauses (Santa Fe and wife) arriving via vintage fire truck and an official countdown led by city officials.
This is a story about kittens
Not just any kittens, mind you: two Ocelot kittens, one of each gender, and the first ever born at ABQ BioPark Zoo. Each weighed two pounds at their last examination on Nov. 13. Neither has been named. Their first-time parents, 5-year-old Lucy and 2½-year-old Dale, were recommended to breed by the Ocelot Species Survival Plan of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Ocelots, apparently, have a hard time getting pregnant (Lucy was artificially inseminated). Lucy, in fact, did not show signs of being pregnant, so the kittens were a surprise. "This is an important milestone for the BioPark and we're happy to report that mom and kittens are doing great," mammal curator Erin Flynn said. "It's a big deal for a first-time mom to have two kittens and be taking such good care of them." Here are some more photos of the kittens, and some more info from the zoo. They are not available for public viewing yet.
Things will be great when you’re downtown
New Mexico MainStreet and the state Economic Development Department announced yesterday $4 million in funding to spruce up 11 different communities' downtown areas following a competitive application process (Santa Fe is not one of them, but the Word has no idea if Santa Fe even applied and can't really find out right now because it's 5 am). According to NMMS Director Daniel Gutierrez, "We work with local communities to identify and develop catalytic economic development projects that use a holistic approach and build off of the community's existing assets."
More weather with your weather
The National Weather Service in Albuquerque delivered up the top three wind speeds yesterday in the state: The highest gust was 89 mph SSE of Magdalena; Clovis came in second at 68 mph; and NNE of Encinoso, wind was clocked at 66 mph. Fun! Anyway, as mentioned, two storms are on the way. Here in Santa Fe, current forecasts call for a 20 percent chance of snow after 2 pm, with a 90% chance of snow tonight: two to four inches possible. Highs today near 34 degrees; low tonight around 26.
Thanks for reading! The Word will be functionally wordless for the rest of the week, but will be back with you bright and early Monday morning, Dec. 2.