COVID-19 by the numbers

New Mexico health officials yesterday reported 81 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the statewide total thus far to 26,842 cases. The health department has designated 14,470—approximately 54%—of those cases as recovered. Bernalillo County led with new cases: 22 of them, followed by Luna County with 15 cases and Santa Fe County with 11. The New Mexico Corrections Department also reported 11 new cases among inmates at the Lea County Correctional Facility

No additional deaths were reported; there have been 823 total fatalities. As of yesterday, 60 people were hospitalized with COVID-19.

You can read all of SFR's COVID-19 coverage here. If you've had experiences with testing or the virus, we would like to hear from you.

SFPD arrests parents for neglect of child with cancer

Santa Fe Police on Friday arrested and charged Ramiro Miranda-Quinonez and Maria Urias-Astorga with child abuse resulting in death after their 14-year-old son died from untreated cancer. Staff at Presbyterian Hospital in Albuquerque, where he was taken last Thursday, alerted police due, in part, to the advanced stage of his untreated cancer—the boy had a tumor that took up almost his entire left side and had stopped eating three weeks before he was hospitalized. Court documents say the parents didn't seek medical care for their son for the past two years. Presbyterian Hospital in Santa Fe, which saw the child Sept. 7, did not alert police. The mother, Urias-Astorga, told police she didn't take her son to the doctor because they don't have Medicaid. Both parents told the police they gave their son herbs when he was sick. "He will die from this because his family didn't bring him to care," one doctor wrote, according to the court documents. "It's hideous and atrocious. His mother has killed him."

Voters may have ballot drop-off boxes

New Mexico's secretary of state is encouraging all 33 counties to install indoor and outdoor ballot drop boxes for the Nov. 3 general election. The state is ready to spend some of its $6 million in federal recovery money to reimburse counties that install those boxes, which can be used by voters to drop off their absentee ballots. "We are definitely seeing that many but not all counties are interested in that," SOS spokesman Alex Curtas said. In New Mexico, absentee ballots must reach their destination by 7 pm on election day to be counted. In-person voting locations will be limited, under a public health order, to four people per location or 25% of the building's capacity, whichever is greater.

Meow Wolf hires people person

Meow Wolf has hired a "chief people officer"—which we believe is a top human resources employee—who will be responsible for creating "a productive and healthy workplace environment, including diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives and continuing to drive the company towards an equitable future." Erin Hirsch, who began yesterday at the arts and entertainment company, previously worked as vice president of human resources at DFS Group Limited in Hawaii, prior to which she was chief human resources officer at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. The new hire follows employees' recent announcement of union formation; the company's three CEOs say they began the search for this position a year ago and it is unrelated to the union. For its part, organizers for the Meow Wolf Workers Collective said in a statement they are "excited to work with our new chief people officer and we hope they will welcome the workforce's desire to unionize and find our collective voice…We ask Meow Wolf to recognize our union and to commit today to spend no company resources on fighting our legally-protected right to organize." Hirsch said, in a news release, she intends to put "people plans together in the radically collaborative Meow Wolf way."

Listen up

NASA's Perseverance Rover is en route to Mars, hoping to find signs of life. Scientists now think perhaps overlooked Venus also may harbor life. But what exactly are we looking for when we search for life? This might sound like a question better left to a freshman philosophy class, but is in fact also a high-level scientific inquiry, as well as the focus of a recent Santa Fe Institute Complexity podcast featuring SFI Program Postdoctoral Fellow Natalie Grefenstette, who works on the NASA-funded Agnostic Biosignatures Project. Grefenstette talks with show host Michael Garfield about how astrobiological research may help science finally define the nature of living systems, and where and how to find them in the cosmos, You can find the podcast and background reading here.

Building America

Building the American Dream, a new VOCES/PBS documentary, looks at the impact the construction boom in the Southwest—Dallas, Houston, Phoenix and Hobbs, New Mexico—has had through the stories of the workers: often exploited Latino immigrants. Director Chelsea Hernandez, who has been working on the film since 2009, says it reflects the larger exploitation such workers face nationally. "It's something that came organically and by talking to the workers I met," said Hernandez, a third-generation Mexican American filmmaker from Austin, Texas. The film begins airing on PBS today as part of Hispanic Heritage Month.

Full court press

Last Saturday, filmmakers aired Part 1 of Once Upon a Time in Santa Fe, a documentary that follows the rivalry between local high school basketball teams the Santa Fe High Demons and Capital High Jaguars during their 2016-2020 seasons. The film was made by University of New Mexico sophomore film student Dillon Tiger Abeyta, nephew of Joe Abeyta, who owns and operates the community sports streaming company Sports Primo, which is airing the documentary on its YouTube channel. One of the Demons' players, of course, was Fedonta "J.B." White, who would have begun playing for the Lobos this fall but was shot and killed at a party over the summer. Abetya told the Albuquerque Journal in a recent story, White's murder made him even more determined to tell these teams' stories. "Once we heard of the tragic news about J.B. White, I didn't want the tragedy to overlook the accomplishments, and everything he did and everything Santa Fe really did. You can hear more from Abeyta on a recent Sports Primo podcast. Part 2 of the documentary airs at 6 pm on Sept. 19.

Another day in paradise

Today's forecast calls for a sunny day with a high near 80 degrees and northwest wind 5 to 10 mph.

Thanks for reading! The Word already loved actor Mandy Patinkin, but now does even more after reading about his campaign to get out the vote.