COVID-19 by the numbers
New Mexico health officials yesterday reported 168 additional positive test results for COVID-19, bringing the statewide total thus far to 12,147. Bernalillo County led in new cases with 36, followed by McKinley County, which had 28 and then Doña Ana County, which had 21. Santa Fe County had three new cases and has now had a total of 237, of which 129 have been designated as recovered.
The Otero County Prison facility had five new cases among New Mexico Corrections Department inmates, bringing the total number of state prisoners at that facility to 443.
Statewide, as of today, 127 people are hospitalized and the health department has designated 5,393 COVID-19 cases as recovered. The state also announced four new deaths from Luna, McKinley and San Juan counties; there have been 497 total fatalities.
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and other state officials will provide an update on COVID-19 today at 3:30 pm live on the governor's Facebook page.
Although Santa Fe Public Schools administrators say they will wait on parent and student feedback for returning to school in August, the district released its provisional plan yesterday, in which students would be divided into two groups for in-person learning: one attending on Mondays and Tuesdays, the other attending on Thursdays and Fridays. During their at-home days, students would engage in remote lessons. The plan follows guidelines for hybrid learning recently released by the state Public Education Department; districts must submit their specific plans to the state by July 15. State education leaders held a virtual forum yesterday to answer questions about their guidelines, of which there were many. Also on the education front, Gov. Lujan Grisham yesterday signed the state budget passed by legislators in a recent special session, but eliminated numerous spending cuts for education and other items.
Police release downtown vandalism video
Yesterday, Santa Fe Police released surveillance videos they say feature three downtown vandalism suspects caught in the act. The June 22 videos show people riding bicycles on the streets near the Plaza just before 2 am. One video, apparently shot from under the portal along San Francisco Street, captured far-away figures spray painting the monument. Santa Fe Crime Stoppers is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the person or persons involved in the vandalism, which police believe is related to severe damage the same night at India Palace restaurant a few blocks away. There's also a $1,000 reward in that case. Tips can be submitted at santafecrimestoppers.org or by calling 505-955-5050. Police also released body-camera video from a June 7 police shooting at the Big R farm and ranch store, in which Officer Brandon Deets shot knife-wielding Joseph Galassini three times after Galassini ignored orders to drop his weapon and approached officers. The involved officers have returned to work; Galassini was released from the hospital, booked into jail and awaits trial.
Tributes for Rudolfo Anaya
Famed New Mexico author Rudolfo Anaya died Sunday at the age of 82 at his home in Albuquerque. In 2015, President Barack Obama awarded the author of the best-selling "Bless Me, Ultima" a National Humanities Medal, and the White House citation noted the award was for his "pioneering stories of the American southwest. His works of fiction and poetry celebrate the Chicano experience and reveal universal truths about the human condition—and as an educator, he has spread a love of literature to new generations." The novel, published in 1972 and set in 1940s New Mexico, finally made it to the big screen in 2013. As news of Anaya's death broke yesterday, accolades for the author dubbed the "godfather" of Chicano literature poured in. "Rudolfo Anaya, perhaps better than any other author, truly captured what it means to be a New Mexican, what it means to be born here, grow up here and live here," Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said on Twitter.
The editorial board for the Daily Lobo—the University of New Mexico's student newspaper—recently called out what it described as "journalism's problematic love affair with objectivity." The piece argues mainstream white-led news media frequently perpetuates racism and "actively sides with the oppressor," and one way in which reporters do that is by unquestioningly repeating police narratives. Daily Lobo News Editor Lissa Knudsen spoke with KUNM News Director Hannah Colton about how she says a dedication to the notion of objectivity can lead reporters to obscure the truth.
Latino parents fear police violence
Hundreds of Hispanic and Latino families in New Mexico have used the video of Minnesota police murdering George Floyd as an opportunity to talk to their children about racism, according to data from a survey by the research firm Latino Decisions. The same survey found 77% of parents worry their children might experience excessive force from law enforcement at some point in their lives, and 89% of caregivers and parents agree they empathize with Black communities' pain because they have also experienced excessive force via law enforcement. At a virtual news conference yesterday, Latino Decisions researcher Gabriel Sanchez, an associate professor of political science at the University of New Mexico, said the survey shows "optimism" that future generations will look at tragic experiences like Floyd's death and "make sure they don't have to deal with it as they age into adulthood."
Santa Fe Botanical Garden lays off president
The Santa Fe Botanical Garden announced yesterday it was immediately eliminating the position of president and chief executive officer, in addition to cutting hours for remaining staff as a result of COVID-19's impact on its finances. Santa Fean Clayton Bass had served in that executive position since 2013; Jim Moore, vice-president of the garden's board of directors, will step into an interim executive director position. In an email sent to SFR, Board Chair Scott McIntyre says while the organization started 2020 in a place of financial strength, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic left no other choice but cuts. Additionally, a federal PPP loan that had covered payroll for two months came to an end. "Leading the Santa Fe Botanical Garden for almost eight years has been an extraordinary professional experience," Bass said in a statement. "The Garden is a place of profound beauty and learning for the community, featuring living collections and educational programs for all."
Thanks for reading! The Word took a short break from reading about COVID-19 to read this story about a rabbit virus, primarily because New Yorker writer/altweekly veteran Susan Orlean wrote it and it includes sentences like, "In the universe of human-animal relations, rabbits occupy a liminal space."