H-board OK with museum plan

Yesterday, the City of Santa Fe's Historic Districts Review Board expressed approval with the state's redesign of the Vladem Contemporary art museum ($TNM). The proposed structure on Guadalupe and Montezuma previously drew consternation because of its height, as well as the state's plan to remove a decades-old Multi-Cultural mural on the historic Halpin building. The state says two experts concluded the mural, painted by Chicano artist Gilberto Guzman and others in the 1980s and '90s, is too damaged to preserve. However, a plan to project a digital version of the mural on the wall was met with enthusiasm by board members. "It's very sad about the mural, but I accept what the experts say," H-board member Frank Katz said. "But I think projection of the mural…is fascinating."

New year homicide?

Santa Fe may have had its first homicide of 2020 following the discovery yesterday of a deceased man in his 40s in the 1500 block of Paseo de Peralta. Santa Fe Capt. Anthony Tapia tells SFR that "evidence at the scene is leading" law enforcement to believe it was a homicide, although he would not elaborate on that evidence. Homicides in Santa Fe have been on the rise over the last few years, as have both violent and property crimes.

State Supreme Court upholds seizure

Yesterday, the state Supreme Court upheld Mikel Martinez' 2015 conviction for drug trafficking and other drug-related charges. The case stemmed from Martinez' 2014 arrest following a surveillance operation by the Region V Drug Task Force. During that arrest, police officers executed a search warrant and found approximately 5.7 grams of methamphetamine, a digital scale and various drug paraphernalia in Martinez' car. After a one-day trial, a Curry County jury found Martinez guilty in two hours. Martinez appealed the conviction, arguing that he had been stopped unlawfully and the evidence against him, therefore, also had been found unlawfully.

The state Appeals Court, In 2017, agreed and reversed the decision, calling police's decision to search Martinez' car based on an "unparticularized hunch." The state Supreme Court yesterday upheld the District Court's conclusion that the evidence was obtained lawfully. "We conclude that the officer who stopped Martinez was not operating upon a hunch but had 'a particularized and objective basis' to suspect that Martinez was engaged in criminal activity," the Court wrote in an opinion by Chief Justice Judith K. Nakamura.

Sunport construction hits year three

If it seems like the Albuquerque International Sunport has been under construction forever, it's because the airport has been under construction for almost three years. That puts it 1½ years behind schedule and approximately $2.5 million over its initial budget. According to the 20th change order, the contractor, Flintco, has until the end of February to finish. Albuquerque Director of Aviation Nyika Allen says the problems were due to inadequate scoping of the job and issues with Flintco's electrical subcontractor. Nonetheless, she says the construction hasn't impacted access in the airport. "No one likes to see the ceiling open, that's for sure," she told the Albuquerque Journal. "But otherwise we've been 100% open."

Resolutions? Try predictions.

SFR forewent worrying about resolutions for 2020 and instead focused on desires and predictions for the new year. We rounded up folks from all walks of Santa Fe life to chime in with their two cents. Given the political climate, some of these are a bit dark. For example: "2020 is overshadowed by battles. They're not the typical military wars. They're the mental and emotional conflicts which people deal with by being couch potatoes," says KSFR's Merrylin LeBlanc. Others brim with very specific optimism: "My predictions for 2020 are: Colombia is going to win the American Cup for soccer, the US is going to have a better president, and Capital High School DECA [club] is going to win one category in the state competition in Albuquerque," according to Capital High School teacher Juan Acevedo.

Eat your words

Also on the prediction front, SFR's food writer Zibby Wilder weighs in with the notion that food trends will become their own form of activism in 2020, and in the years to come. This includes greater consumer scrutiny of the ingredients in meat alternatives; an increased focus on non-dairy dairy (such as nut-based cheeses, almond-based yogurts and cashew-based butter); and zero-proof drinks such as hopped tea, non-alcoholic IPAs and ales, and "sparkling waters that taste just like the hard stuff." If you're not quite ready for the new year yet, not to worry: SFR's food newsletter The Fork takes a look back this week with interesting food stats from 2019, as well as the usual round-up of Santa Fe eating news.

The Santa Fe experience

"The farolitos that bathe Santa Fe in an ethereal evening glow throughout December may be gone, but this is still a magical city to visit in the winter." So says Forbes contributor Amber Gibson in her Jan. 2 piece, "A Weekend in Santa Fe." The Word is fairly certain Gibson missed out on the glorious experience of Cerrillos Road during a snowstorm given that the piece is focused on having a relaxing Santa Fe weekend. To this end, Gibson recommends staying at The Inn of the Five Graces and partaking of its spa. As for food, Iconik Coffee Roasters, Dolina and Sazón all receive shout-outs, as do several other local businesses and attractions.

Water woes

Los Angeles Times environmental reporter Anna Phillips takes a look at the impact President Trump's Environmental Protection Agency plans to roll back clean water rules will have on New Mexico's waterways ($). According to regulators, the rollbacks "could leave 96% of the state's waterways and wetlands unprotected from pollution from coal mines, factory waste, pesticide runoff and other sources." This makes New Mexico the most vulnerable of all the western states. Loss of protection means tributaries such as the Santa Fe River would face increased likelihood of pollution.

Good day, sunshine!

Yup, the sun is back. Look for sunny skies today with highs in the mid 30s, and sunny skies throughout the weekend, with highs in the mid 40s. The days will remain "breezy" with 10 to 15 mph winds. Overnight lows in the 20s.

Thanks for reading! The Word thinks everyone should read this Wall Street Journal series on Indian Health Services ($), and special shoutout to WSJ reporter Dan Frosch, a long-ago SFR staff writer.