COVID-19 by the numbers
New Mexico health officials yesterday reported 1,708 new cases, bringing the statewide total so far to 89,796; the health department has designated 30,777 cases as recovered. Bernalillo County had 671 new cases, followed by Doña Ana County with 182 and 120 in Sandoval County. Santa Fe County had 84 new cases.
The state also announced 18 additional deaths; there have now been 1,469 fatalities. As of yesterday, 880 people were hospitalized with COVID-19.
Cash for struggling local businesses
Thanks to $3.8 million in CARES Act cash awarded by the state to the City of Santa Fe, Santa Fe County and the Town of Edgewood for small business and nonprofit grants, the county has approved $649,075 for 45 businesses and nonprofits to date and is processing an additional 60 applications. So far, checks have been written for 33 local businesses and the rest are in the process of distribution, but local governments only have until the end of the year to get money out the door. Businesses and nonprofits with under $5 million in annual revenue that have suffered more than 25% revenue loss this year due to the pandemic can qualify to receive up to $25,000 in a one-time grant to cover pandemic-related expenses since March. SFR staffer Leah Cantor compiled this explainer on how to apply, including the long list of documents required.
Remote learning leaves rural students isolated
The closing of schools and online remote learning has been difficult for teachers, students and parents. But those students in the most rural parts of New Mexico—including some families living without electricity or running water—are desperate to get back into the classroom. A network of school buses bring homework, food, art supplies and counselors to students who are struggling with online bullying, abuse, thoughts of suicide or other problems. "Hopefully, hopefully by next semester we'll be going back into school," said Cyliss Castillo, a resident of Cuba. "I don't like online. I like to be, you know, in school, learning. That's just not me. I just find it a lot easier and a lot better than just out here, not doing nothing."
Former jail head accused of stealing inmates' money
Former Fiscal Programs supervisor Kate Aldrich has allegedly stolen more than $15,000 from the Bernalillo County Metropolitan Detention Center's Inmate Trust account since 2016, according to a recently released investigation by the New Mexico state auditor. The account is used for commissary and phone card transactions. Aldrich was put on administrative leave in February 2019 when the allegations first surfaced but she has since retired. "Time and time again, marginalized populations end up getting taken advantage of, and this is another clear example where somebody contemplated that, 'These are inmates at MDC—who's going to notice?'" State Auditor Brian Colón said. The money has since been returned to inmates' accounts.
SFR's podcast Reported is up and running again with its fourth season. In Episode 2, "Multiple Frontlines," host and producer Katherine Lewin highlights Stephanie Solis, a 20-year-old mother, healthcare worker, student and Capital High School grad. Despite living on multiple front lines of the pandemic and taking care of her 4-year-old, Solis has managed to both further her career and her education. Normally, SFR would also publish a collection of essays from the Mother Tongue Project, an organization that creates and supports academic literacy skills specifically for teenage parents like Solis was, but this year, because of the pandemic, only one of those essays will be published on our website.
Youthworks culinary team makes holiday push
On Thursday, the culinary team at Santa Fe YouthWorks and volunteers prepared over 500 meals for those in need this holiday, including 150 turkeys, in the kitchen at El Rancho de las Golondrinas, as photographed by Gabriela Campos. That's a decent amount of birds. The distribution included all the usual fixins, such as stuffing, mashed potatoes and pie. Youthworkshas been increasingly involved in food projects. SFR wrote earlier this year about the partnership with Golondrinas and several farm ventures including on the Santa Fe County La Bajada Ranch.
Navajos apply for COVID-19 financial assistance
Most Navajo Nation residents have applied to the CARES Fund Hardship Assistance Program for financial assistance because of the pandemic. More than 240,000 applications for money from the tribe's 327,000 members have been submitted online or on paper, the Navajo Nation Office of the Controller said. The tribe has about $90 million available, which comes from its share of a federal coronavirus relief package. The average payment would be $454 for adults and $151 for minors.
Maybe some snow
Santa Fe might see snow some today—than again, maybe not. There is a 40% chance of snow showers after 11am with a high near 44 degrees. It will be mostly cloudy, of course, considering the potential snow, with a southeast wind blowing 15 to 20 mph but with gusts as high as 30 mph. Even if it does snow, it will likely be less than half an inch, so don't get too excited.
Thanks for reading! The Word enjoyed this week's New York Times magazine cover story about Libre (an arm of the Koch family's Americans for Prosperity) and its efforts to push conservatism in Hispanic and Latino communities, especially in Georgia.