COVID-19 by the numbers

New Mexico health officials yesterday reported 82 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the statewide total thus far to 26,923. Bernalillo County led with 17 new cases, followed by McKinley County with 12 and Chaves County with nine. Santa Fe County had three new cases.

New Mexico's statewide effective rate of transmission remains at 0.9—below the targeted rate of 1.05 set as the gating criteria—according to yesterday's weekly modeling report. The rate of transmission has, however, risen to 1.0 in the northeast region, of which Santa Fe is part, and the southeast.

The state also announced seven additional deaths yesterday, including the fifth death from Santa Fe County: a man in his 70s who was hospitalized. There have now been 830 deaths. As of yesterday, 59 people are hospitalized with COVID-19.

Scientific American takes a look at New Mexico's approach during the pandemic in a recent story, noting that Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham's aggressive testing strategy and other public health mitigation efforts helped New Mexico avoid the severe outbreaks of neighboring states Arizona and Texas. "Whatever they were doing in May and June looks like it worked a lot better than in Texas and some of these Sunbelt states," says Lauren Ancel Meyers, executive director of the University of Texas at Austin COVID-19 Modeling Consortium (one of the scientists SFR profiled in a cover feature on epidemiology modeling last spring).

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.

Gun used in White shooting may be MIA

Investigators may still be searching for the gun used to shoot Santa Fe High School basketball star Fedonta "JB" White, 18, Aug. 1 at a party in Chupadero. Documents indicate as such, while also portraying a chaotic gathering with drinking and numerous fights. Accused shooter Estevan Montoya, 17, purportedly discarded the gun in the area, but it wasn't recovered, according to newly released public documents. Investigators also didn't find the gun at his mother or grandmother's homes, but did seize cell phones they say may include evidence of the shooting. A Santa Fe County Sheriff's spokesman did not return phone inquiries regarding the status of the gun. Montoya will be charged as an adult with first-degree murder; he remains in custody until his trial.

SFCC enrollment drops

Loss of in-person fitness and art classes during the pandemic contributed to Santa Fe Community College's steep enrollment drop, according to President Becky Rowley. SFCC's enrollment has dropped 28% since last year, with many part-time students who take such classes and who comprise 80% of the school's attendees, deciding not to return. The college's Governing Board voted last May to raise tuition for in-state students by 22% to offset projected declines. Rowley says she doesn't think that contributed to loss enrollment, as many students who left don't pay full-price for their credit hours.

Alibi sale kaput

Albuquerque City Council President Pat Davis' plan to purchase the Weekly Alibi has fallen through and, instead, Davis and former Alibi staffers plan to launch a new paper called…wait for it: The Paper. "Circumstances beyond our control, as the buyers, prevented the sale from going through," Davis explains, "but we recognize Albuquerque needs a strong weekly, so some of the key reporters and key staff have joined us to launch a new weekly starting in October." As for the Alibi, political blogger Joe Monahan reported Tuesday morning the paper is folding; Davis declined to comment, and SFR was unable to reach Alibi owner Christopher Johnson for comment.

Listen up

The two most recent episodes of KUNM's Augmented Humanity podcast—"Art, Activism and Archives"—feature Ryan Flahive, archivist at the Institute of American Indian Arts; Flahive also teaches archive studies and oral history at IAIA's museum studies department. Part one focuses on patron-driven digitization and part two on the digitization and preservation of "Seeing Red," a New York-based radio program hosted by activist Suzan Shown Harjo (Cheyenne and Hodulgee Muscogee) and her late husband Frank Harjo (Muscogee) from 1968-1975.

NM grants first outdoor equity awards

New Mexico's new Outdoor Recreation Division yesterday announced the recipients of its first Outdoor Equity Awards: 25 organizations winnowed down from 84 applications. The awards are part of a commitment by the new division—part of the state Economic Development Department—to create equitable access to outdoor experiences. "We were blown away by the 84 incredible applications we received for the inaugural Outdoor Equity Fund grant cycle," ORD Director Axie Navas said in a news statement. "The tribes, Pueblos, municipalities, counties, and nonprofits who applied developed so many creative ideas to introduce young New Mexicans to the state's lands and waters in engaging, COVID-safe ways." Among the recipients, Santa Fe organizations Mountain Kids! received $8,800 for its proposal to support Santa Fe Public School K-8 students and teachers in a pilot program to create local outdoor learning environments on school grounds and in local communities, which eventually will scale up to a district-wide framework.

Fair game

The New Mexico State Fair kicked off Monday and runs through Sept. 20, and by kicked off we mean launched online. Yes, it's hard to eat funnel cake and pet baby goats virtually (which is what we normally do at the state fair). However, plenty of other activities translate somewhat to this realm. For example: a virtual livestock show; competitions galore (cake decorating, floral arranging and photography, for example); and several 4H and Future Farmers of America competitions. Participatory activities for this year's fair (themed "Home is Where the Fair Is") include an online Battle of the Salsas vote; try-this-at-home science experiments; and, as ever, shopping.

Cloud cover

Today's forecast calls for "increasing clouds." That's it. Plus some wind of the northern variety at 10 to 20 mph becoming east in the afternoon. Look for a high of 81 degrees.

Thanks for reading! The Word just finished her back-to-back Curtis Sittenfeld reading spree (Rodham and American Wife…for some reason) and was looking for something new, and so was happy to see the Booker Prize shortlist announced yesterday.