COVID-19 by the numbers
New Mexico health officials yesterday reported 103 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the statewide total so far to 203,919. The health department has designated 191,490 of those cases as recovered. Bernalillo County had 20 cases, followed by Doña Ana County with 14 and Santa Fe County with 10, five from the 87507 ZIP code, which ranked second in the state yesterday for the most new cases.
The state also announced three additional deaths, two recent; there have now been 4,295 fatalities. As of yesterday, 100 people were hospitalized with COVID-19.
Currently, 66.6% of New Mexicans have had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 57.2% are fully vaccinated. In Santa Fe County, 75.2% have had at least one dose and 65.2% are fully inoculated.
Tomorrow, the City of Santa Fe, health department, Christus St. Vincent and the Chainbreaker Collective will host a community bicycle and vaccine event from 10 am to 3 pm at the Southside Library on Jaguar Drive. Residents 12 and older will be able to walk-up and receive their vaccine. Between 10 am and noon, a limited number of bikes will be given away as well.
City Council nixes outdoor swimming
The city’s only outdoor pool, Bicentennial, will remain closed this summer following a City Council vote on Wednesday. A May memo from Public Works Director Regina Wheeler said the pool, which was built in 1976 and has had no major renovations since then, had been leaking approximately 130,000 gallons per month. Due to the pool’s popularity—the memo notes it serves approximately 200 people per day during between Memorial Day and September—Wheeler’s memo says staff immediately engaged contractors to fix leaks and began the process of securing a quote for larger repairs. One potential plan would have delayed opening the pool until some repairs were made; Wheeler said she thought it was safe to do so. Nonetheless, citing concerns about drought and lifeguard shortages, and despite its popularity and status as the city’s only outdoor pool, the council voted not to reopen this season. “This is such a tough vote,” Councilor Signe Lindell said. “We don’t have a pool in this city for kids to splash around in this summer. It has just been such a painful vote for me to support. Kids are supposed to be in a pool splashing around and playing with each other.” Councilor JoAnne Vigil Coppler said she would like an estimate of whether it would be more cost effective to build a new pool rather than repair Bicentennial (the city resolution about the pool indicates repairs of the gutters, identified as the main source of leakage, will run about $222,000). Residents petitioned the city to open Bicentennial last summer, which it did in August.
City land use director departs
City of Santa Fe Planning and Land Use Department Director Eli Isaacson, appointed in 2019, is leaving the position—and the state—to go work for the City of Santa Barbara. Until his position is advertised and filled, Assistant Land Use Director Jason Kluck will be appointed interim director. According to a city news release, Isaacson oversaw the nearly 5,000 new residential units underway in the city; administered changes to the city’s short-term rental ordinance; and implemented an electronic permitting system in response to COVID-19. In a statement, Isaacson said he was confident “that as the City grows to meet its current and future needs, it will do so sustainably and in ways that connect growth to infrastructure, jobs, transit, and amenities—while preserving the unique Santa Fe quality of life.”
Back to the Plaza
Native vendors will return to the Palace of the Governors portal this weekend, reinstating a program that has been in place since the 1930s and on hold since last March. According to the New Mexico History Museum, which operates the Native American Artisans Program, all vendors will wear masks separated from one another by at least 6 feet, with one-way pedestrian traffic under the portal from west to east. Because of that increased spacing, vendors will also operate along Washington and Lincoln Avenues. The portal opens at 10 am daily closes at 3 pm, although vendors may stay later. “The portal program is important as a special program of the history museum because it’s an opportunity for Native artisans to share their traditions with the public,” museum Executive Director Billy Garrett tells SFR. “It’s not just about showing their traditional work, but is also an opportunity for members of the public to talk to the artisans and learn more about their traditions—it’s an exciting program.”
Back to the (city) races
SFR continues its early look at mayoral and City Council candidates running in the Nov. 2 election, talking with Brian Gutierrez, who is running for District 1, creating a three-way race with incumbent Councilor Sig Lindell and Joe Hoback (the most crowded race so far). Gutierrez says he became interested in city volunteer work after participating in Santa Fe’s charter review process in 2013; from there, former Mayor Javier Gonzales appointed Gutierrez to the Planning Commission, where he now serves as chairman. “Being on the Planning Commission opens your eyes to things that are happening in Santa Fe,” he says. Education, housing and water rank among his priorities. He also has experience as a city contractor: The city uses his tow company, Mr. G’s Pro Tow. Gutierrez intends to pursue public financing, so he’s preparing a seed contribution as well as collecting signatures for his nominating petition before he must submit them to the Office of the County Clerk on July 19. For details about registration, voting and more, be sure to check out SFR’s Santa Fe City Elections FAQ page.
If you’re celebrating spring by bringing home a new puppy, first off: Congrats! Secondly, be sure to check out the Santa Fe Animal Shelter & Humane Society’s training series, which this week kicked off the first of a three-part program focused on puppies. Trainer Robyn Strong provides helpful hints for both preparing your home for puppy madness, as well as starting to train your puppy. Next week’s video will focus on house training. Spoiler alert: Even if you don’t have a new puppy, the video includes a very cute one, and there’s plenty more where that came from.
Travel mag hypes Bishop’s Lodge
Bishop’s Lodge makes Condé Nast’s list for “The Coolest US Hotels Opening This Summer,” with the magazine touting the newest property in Auberge Resorts Collection: “Auberge has a knack for creating luxury retreats that feel perfectly of place and Bishop’s Lodge is sticking to that successful script,” the magazine says. A historic property since the 1860s, Bishop’s Lodge “has been totally reimagined, but its heritage shines through with stucco walls and exposed ceiling beams, Navajo-inspired rugs, and kiva fireplaces.” The magazine gives extra props for the 12-bedroom bunkhouse, which it envisions working for a family reunion or other type of larger event. There’s also the environs, which provide trails for hiking and horseback riding just a few minutes from Santa Fe’s art offerings. Apparently, rooms start at $589 per night.
Climate task force seeks feedback, plans future
The state’s Climate Change Task Force wants the public to participate in a new survey as the state seeks input to guide ongoing climate work. “Our work will be most impactful if all New Mexicans are represented in our climate plans,” Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department Cabinet Secretary Sarah Cottrell Propst said in a statement. Propst and Environment Secretary James Kenney co-chair the task force. According to a news release, the task force continued its work during 2020, creating subgroups to consider future initiatives, and cites passage of the Energy Transition Act; new solar market development tax credits for homeowners and businesses; and adoption of modern statewide building codes among its accomplishments thus far. The survey results will be used to help the Climate Change Task Force prioritize new climate strategies over the next five years, along with climate equity principles developed by community leaders and experts. The task force will be holding interactive virtual outreach sessions with community-based organizations by request. The survey is open through July 15, and will be available in English and Spanish.
Calling NM poets
A forthcoming poetry anthology, co-edited by New Mexico Poet Laureate Levi Romero and Albuquerque Poet Laureate Emerita Michelle Otero, is now accepting submissions from any resident who has lived in New Mexico for at least three consecutive years. Submit up to three original and unpublished poems by July 1 for consideration in the New Mexico Poetry Anthology: Vol. 1; submissions will be reviewed anonymously by the editors. “We celebrate poets, authors, and the written word, all of which enrich our lives and make our state a wonderful place to live,” State Librarian Eli Guinnee said in a statement. “We are thrilled to open up this new anthology to all New Mexicans and I hope we will see several unpublished poets included.” The anthology will celebrate the state’s “people, cultures, languages, traditions and querencia that express the uniqueness, complexity and wonders of New Mexico,” and will be published by the Museum of New Mexico Press in 2022. Additional guidelines available here.
Drop it like it’s hot
The National Weather Service forecasts patchy smoke before 9 am today and otherwise sunny, with a high near 92 degrees and north wind 5 to 10 mph becoming southwest in the afternoon. Weekend temps will remain in the low 90s tomorrow and potentially reach 94 degrees on Sunday (and 97 degrees on Monday...but let’s not think about that right now).
Thanks for reading! Though not normally interested in Vikings per se, The Word appreciated the snark in this Danish PSA for bicycle helmets.