COVID-19 by the numbers
New Mexico health officials reported 138 new positive COVID-19 test results yesterday, which brings the total caseload since the pandemic's inception past 10,000 to 10,065.
As of today, 161 people are hospitalized and the health department has designated 4,351 cases as recovered. The state also announced five new deaths, including a third inmate who was in federal custody at the Otero County Prison facility. Sierra County, which only has four cases, also reported its first death. New Mexico has now had 452 fatalities.
The new cases include 38 new ones at the Otero County Prison Facility, 30 among people held by federal agencies and eight New Mexico Corrections Department inmates. Both Bernalillo and McKinley counties had 20 new cases each, followed by 18 in Doña Ana County.
Santa Fe County had six new cases, bringing the total here to 182, with 108 designated as recovered. Testing in Santa Fe County also has been steadily increasing. The state reports a total of 17,169 tests had been performed by yesterday in the county—more than 500 more than were reported the day prior.
Santa Fe Mayor wants monuments removed
Santa Fe Mayor Alan Webber yesterday said he intends to call for the removal of the obelisk on the Santa Fe Plaza, as well as one that names Kit Carson outside the federal courthouse downtown. He says he also wants the Don Diego statue in DeVargas park removed and "put, perhaps, in a safe place, while we look for its proper home" In a Facebook Live announcement, the mayor said it's his belief that "we must take these steps now because it is the right thing to do. It is a moment of moral truth."
The mayor's declaration followed a meeting he and city councilors had with activist group Three Sisters Collective, who will host a gathering at 5 pm today on the Plaza in support of the monuments' removals, and who sent a letter to Webber and the council yesterday positing "it matters who we elevate and celebrate, and celebrating racism and attempted genocide needs to end." City councilors tell SFR they have mixed feelings about removing the obelisk, with some wholeheartedly supporting the decision and others believing the issue needs more review (contemporary calls for the obelisk's removal date, by the way, to at least 1973). Today's protest is still scheduled to occur, and the mayor intends to attend but cautions that armed militia—who were in the mix at the Albuquerque's anti-Oñate protest that turned violent earlier in the week—are not welcome. "We don't want you here, we don't want you on the Plaza. Please respect our wishes," Webber said.
Charges amended against accused protest shooter
The Second Judicial District Attorney's office dropped shooting charges against Steven Ray Baca, accused of shooting protester Scott Williams in Albuquerque Monday night at a protest against that city's Juan de Oñate statue. While additional charges may be filed later, prosecutors amended the complaint to include aggravated battery, a felony, two petty misdemeanor counts of battery and the misdemeanor crime of unlawful carrying a deadly weapon without a concealed carry permit. The shift comes amid concerns that the Albuquerque Police Department mishandled the investigation and a request to reassign that investigation to the State Police. An APD spokesman says the department supports an independent investigation.
Black Lives Matter
Thousands of people have taken to the streets of Santa Fe in recent weeks to protest the murder of George Floyd, police brutality and the racist history of this country. For SFR's cover story this week, four black locals share their perspectives on the current moment. Activist Loveless Johnson III discusses the new group he helped create, the New Mexico Justice Alliance, and his visions for a new kind of activism. Writer Darryl Lorenzo Wellington delves into his experiences with Santa Fe and asks if the city is ready for BLM. Alexandria Taylor, deputy director at the New Mexico Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs and a recent appointee to the governor's new Council for Racial Justice, unpacks what a commitment to addressing systemic racism requires. And Santa Fe Art Institute Works Manager and activist Kourtney Andar writes personally and movingly about the need for perseverance in the fight for justice: "In spite of my weariness, I must continue to fight for my own life and those of my black brothers and sisters," he states. "I must continually seek healthy and constructive community, as an expression of my desire to live life as if it matters."
Episode 76 of "Your New Mexico Government" delves into criminal justice reform, from policing to prisons. Guests include: YNMG Executive Producer Marisa Demarco discussing the Albuquerque protest earlier this week; Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller and the city's Chief Administrative Officer Sarita Nair; Jeff Proctor from the Santa Fe Reporter and New Mexico in Depth on COVID-19 in New Mexico prisons (and for a primer on the fight to disclose police records, check out Proctor's recent Twitter thread); and Albuquerque City Council President Pat Davis. The discussion comes as the Legislature readies to meet today for a special session that will include police reform, among other topics. "Your New Mexico Government" is a collaboration between SFR, KUNM and New Mexico PBS.
GC3 reopens in July
The City of Santa Fe announced yesterday some of its pandemic-plans going forward. Among them: the Genoveva Chavez Community Center will partially reopen on Monday, July 13. The facility lap pool, fitness center, indoor track, and racquetball courts will reopen and will follow all state COVID protocols. The recreation pool, therapy pool, fitness classrooms, basketball courts and ice skating rink will remain closed. The city says it will evaluate the GC3's reopening before it decides whether to open the Bicentennial Pool. Fort Marcy and Salvador Perez will remain closed. Libraries will continue curbside service and city meetings will continue to be held virtually. As of now, city buildings will remain closed through Sept. 4, with offices remaining open virtually.
A Santa Fe server’s POV
Veteran restaurant employee Jen Stillions recently penned her thoughts on how it felt to return to restaurant work during the pandemic as an at-risk person (she has asthma), specifically focusing on the challenges servers face when encountering unmasked or reluctantly masked patrons. SFR picked up that piece for last week's Fork newsletter and followed up with an interview with Stillions in this week's paper. Stillions tells SFR she's asking patrons to keep their masks on while she's at the table. People have been nice about it, she says, "but everybody wants to chit-chat. They've been locked in their houses for two-and-a-half months. And my voice is also muffled behind my mask—they can't hear me, plus there's no standing six feet back and going over specials and what kind of tequila we have." People want to go out to eat and our restaurants welcome the visit, but Stillions' advice is pretty easy to follow: "Keep your mask on. Be patient. The more you have to call your server to your table for piddly shit, the more chances of exposure there are."
Smoke in the air
Today's forecast includes "patchy smoke" before 9 am—from wildfires over Arizona and southwest New Mexico—after which it will be sunny with a high near 87 degrees and north wind 5 to 10 mph becoming southwest in the afternoon. We'll have some more patchy smoke after midnight and a low around 54 degrees.
Thanks for reading! The Word hadn't given much thought to the physics required for taking down a statue, but Popular Mechanics did and tapped a mechanical engineer and a chemist for some tips. Spoiler alert: There's math involved.