COVID-19 by the numbers

New Mexico health officials yesterday reported 196 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the statewide total so far to 200,232. The health department has designated 185,385 of those cases as recovered. Bernalillo County had 68 new cases, followed by San Juan County with 29 and Doña Ana County with 18. Santa Fe County had six new cases.

The state also announced three additional deaths; there have now been 4,111 fatalities. As of yesterday, 113 people were hospitalized with COVID-19—28 fewer than the day prior.

Currently, 60.1% of New Mexicans have had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 48.2% are fully vaccinated. In Santa Fe County, 70.8% have had at least one dose and 56.9% are fully inoculated.

The health department announced yesterday it will be partnering with New Mexico United and Western Sky Community Care to provide COVID-19 vaccinations at every home game starting at the May 15 season opener at Rio Grande Credit Union Field at Isotopes Park. Vaccinations will be available for up to 150 ticket holders in the New Mexico United tailgate lot. Western Sky Community Care will dispense the Pfizer vaccine, and ticket holders receiving their first COVID-19 vaccinations will also receive vouchers for a free ticket to a future New Mexico United match. Attendees can pre-register for their vaccination ahead of time at VaccineNM.org, but no appointment is necessary.

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

Council renews drought restrictions, mulls Midtown

If the dry earth and dearth of snow or rain heading into the summer has you worried, you’re not alone. The Santa Fe City Council last night passed a resolution recognizing the obvious: Santa Fe is in an extreme drought. City councilors also imposed restrictions on fires, prohibited the sale of fireworks for the second time this year and prohibited campfires, bonfires, charcoal grilling on public land, smoking in parks and burning trash, among other fire dangers. The US Drought Monitor actually declared extreme drought conditions for Santa Fe County on March 23, and the city adopted its first extreme drought resolution last month. Now, under state law, the council must confirm restrictions monthly until the drought ends, aka possibly forever. According to a recently released City of Santa Fe 2020 Annual Water Report, precipitation in Santa Fe last year was less than 60% of the 10-year average, and the city measured only 8 inches in snowmelt and rainfall in the Santa Fe Municipal Watershed. “That 8 inches that we measured in 2020 was the least that we’ve seen since we have been measuring rainfall at that location [in 2006],” Water Division Director Jesse Roach said.

The council also heard the latest on the Midtown campus, via a staff presentation regarding which buildings on the former Santa Fe University of Art and Design/College of Santa Fe might be demolished and which ones the city hopes to keep and restore. Fogelson Library, Greer Garson Theatre, Greer Garson Studio and the campus Visual Arts building are among those the city proposes preserving.

State Auditor announces AG run

State Auditor Brian Colón, 51, has announced his bid for state attorney general to succeed Hector Balderas, who is wrapping up his second term and can’t run again. Balderas also served as state auditor prior to his stint as AG. Colón is the first candidate to announce for the race, whose primary will take place in June, 2022. Colón tells the Associated Press his motivation for running stems from growing up in New Mexico and taking care of his mother and siblings after his father died. “We can’t have prosperous communities until we have safe communities,” he said. While Colón is the first to announce, 2nd Judicial District Attorney Raúl Torrez also has been a rumored contender in the race. Both Colón and Torrez were among the best funded candidates as of last month’s financial filings, each with more than $300,000 in their campaign accounts heading into the 2022 election cycle.

Calling all candidates

The City of Santa Fe sent out reminders yesterday that it’s not too late to run for the city council or the mayor in the upcoming November election (interest in both has been kinda sluggish to date). The first step requires picking up candidate packets, which include nominating petition forms and public campaign financing documents; you can make an appointment to do so by calling 505-955-6521 or emailing xivigil@santafenm.gov. As for the mayor’s race, only District 4 City Councilor JoAnne Vigil Coppler and former Republican Congressional candidate Alexis Martinez Johnson have stepped in to challenge Mayor Alan Webber. SFR takes the pulse of Webber’s term so far, weighing his administration’s actions against the candidate’s former promises, sussing up the public’s perception and, finally, grading him across a variety of civic metrics, including gender equity (A), police (C-) and equal access to government (D-).

Listen up

If you haven’t tuned in to the bi-weekly rewatch/critical theory Buffering the Vampire podcast yet, you should—at least if you liked the TV version of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and also appreciate thinking about popular culture through a feminist/queer/anti-racist lens (and don’t mind a little profanity). The podcast has received a great deal of national acclaim and also usually has nothing to do with New Mexico, so we normally wouldn’t mention it, but today we can! That’s because yesterday the show discussed Season 6, Episode 13: “Dead Things,” an episode particularly centered on sexual violence, and then had an afterward discussion with Jess Clark, prevention manager at Santa Fe’s Solace Crisis Treatment Center, about how the Trio (short story: geeks turned villains) “is specifically positioned to help us examine toxic masculinity, incel culture, and (of course) the patriarchy.”

Looking up

Outside Magazine delivers up 48 reasons to feel optimistic, even if one is mired in the languishing effects of the past year. Among those reasons, Mary Turner writes: Dustin Berg’s plans to make New Mexico’s mountain-biking trails accessible to adaptive athletes this summer. An avid angler and camper, Berg was paralyzed from the waist down following a motorcycle accident. He subsequently started Go Unlimited in 2005 to provide people with disabilities access to adventure sports, using off-road handcycles made by Colorado-company ReActive Adaptations. New Mexico also provides another reason for optimism in the form of former Congresswoman Deb Haaland’s appointment as Interior Secretary.

Big Write

The Santa Fe Public Library continues its NEA Big Read initiatives today at 6 pm with a Zoom poetry workshop led by City of Santa Fe Poet Laureate Elizabeth Jacobson. The workshop is open to all ages—you can register here. The workshop might help if you’d like to enter the library’s poetry contest for teens (ages 13-18) and adults (ages 19+), also part of the Big Read. To enter: Submit an original poem in any poetic style that is inspired by the NEA Big Read selection: Into the Beautiful North by Luis Alberto Urrea. One submission per poet, and submissions must be one page and no longer than 30 lines with cash prizes in the offing. Deadline: May 31. Email your submission to library@santafenm.gov  with your full name, phone number and age category (teen or adult). Also: The City is taking applications for its next poet laureate (deadline May 17). Lastly, SFR recently spoke with the city’s new youth poet laureate: Oz Leshem.

Head for the sun

Today should be sunny with a high near 69 degrees and east wind 10 to 15 mph becoming west in the afternoon. If you’re wondering when it might rain again, the answer is Saturday. It might rain on Saturday.

Thanks for reading! All this talk of poetry workshops and poetry contests inspired The Word to read a little poetry.