COVID-19 by the numbers

New Mexico health officials yesterday reported 137 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the statewide total so far to 207,701. The health department has designated 196,254 of those cases as recovered. Bernalillo County had 57 new cases, followed by Eddy County with 21 and Sandoval County with 10. Santa Fe County had seven new cases.

The state also announced four additional deaths, one recent and three from more than 30 days ago; there have now been 4,387 total fatalities. As of yesterday, 98 people were hospitalized with COVID-19.

Currently, 72.1% New Mexicans 18 years and older have had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, with 64.1% in that age group fully vaccinated. Among those 12-17 years old, 44.8% have had at least one dose and 36% are fully vaccinated. In Santa Fe County, 82.5% are partially vaccinated and 73.9% are fully vaccinated. You can register for a vaccine here and view available vaccine events by area here.

You can read all of SFR’s COVID-19 coverage here.

Defense biz announces $60 mil investment in NM complex

“Modern warfare” company BlueHalo announced yesterday it will be building a new 200,000-square-foot New Mexico campus at Albuquerque’s MaxQ site, consolidating its existing operations that include 260 jobs and creating an additional 64 jobs with an average salary of $90,000. Funding for the project includes: a $60 million capital investment from BlueHalo and $2.25 million from the state’s Local Economic Development Act job-creation fund. Pending approval from the Albuquerque City Council, the company will also receive $250,000 from its Economic Development Department’s LEDA fund and, potentially, an industrial revenue bond. According to a news release, the new space includes an office complex, laboratories, manufacturing facilities, test areas and secure spaces, from which BlueHalo will manufacture several products in support of space; directed energy; and air and missile defense for the government and commercial customers.”We are excited about the selection of the MaxQ site for our new franchise technology campus in Albuquerque,” BlueHalo Chief Executive Officer Jonathan Moneymaker said in a statement, noting that the site represents the company’s “long-term commitment” to the state, and will also serve as one of the company’s major hubs “to fuel future innovations to solve some of the most complex technology problems.” Local leaders heralded the announcement of the new campus, with US Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-NM, characterizing the state’s “growing role as a leader in emerging defense and space technologies” as one that has made it an ideal place for companies such as BlueHalo, and Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham saying the project’s economic impact—estimated at $3.2 billion over the next 10 years—is “the kind of economic expansion and partnership that New Mexicans can get excited about.” The new complex is expected to be completed in October 2022.

SFPS hosts job fair today

Depending on how you view the calendar, today is either the middle of summer or two weeks away from the start of the fall semester. Students, parents, teachers and other employees in the Santa Fe Public Schools district likely fall into the latter category, given SFPS’ early start date for the 2021/2022 school year: Aug. 6. Today, from 3 to 6 pm, the district will host an educator job fair in the Toby Roybal Gym at Santa Fe High School. The district has a variety of openings, and hopes to recruit candidates interested in teaching or substitute teaching with information about its alternative licensure program (and, ostensibly, people interested in outdoor recreation, based on this recruitment video). “Our main focus for the job fair [is] to get people to apply through our alternative licensure pathway,” Sabra Romero, volunteer and event coordinator for the district, tells the Santa Fe New Mexican. “We’re really looking for degreed professionals who maybe want a change in career or they’re looking for a new outlet.” More than 70 teachers left the district following last year’s school year; the district plans to conduct a survey to learn more about their reasons for doing so.

We’re grrreat!

Santa Fe made Time magazine’s 2021 list of 100 of “the world’s great places” (natch), which the magazine headlined as a “monument to the Southwest” (presumably Time’s editors were not thinking about the fate of the city’s actual monuments when they wrote the headline). The short paean to Santa Fe includes a shout-out to the newly reopened Bishop’s Lodge and the hotel group that now owns it (Auberge Resorts Collection), along with deserved recognition for the Railyard and some of its inhabitants, such as the new Bosque Brewing and Opuntia Cafe (featured in a photograph). The magazine also recognizes Santa Fe Fat Tire Society’s work building a 5-mile loop at Galisteo Basin Preserve. The story’s original version also got the city’s age wrong by a couple hundred years, but who’s counting?

Listen up

The Resilient New Mexico podcast, hosted by Sandra West and Peter Heald, focuses on “climate-related stories, highlighting our commonalities and exploring our capabilities for building a sustainable and socially just future.” The most recent episode features Heidi Honegger-Rogers from the University of New Mexico’s School of Nursing and Sustainable Studies, who talks about how health is impacted by climate change, both in New Mexico and nationally, and provides tips for preparing for these impacts.

Them apples

Santa Fe photographer Esha Chiocchio spent 2020 documenting Gordon Tooley’s work on his orchard in Truchas, a project recently featured in High Country News. Tooley moved to Truchas in 1991 and discovered half of what had once been 14,000 different variety of apples had been lost. He and his wife now rescue varieties from across the Southwest and cultivate them in their orchard on their 15-acre farm. “I can’t think of very many species that can afford to lose half of their genus,” Tooley tells High Country News. Chiocchio was drawn to the project in large part due to the regenerative agriculture component Tooley applies. “When I look at all the different climate solutions,” she says, “I keep coming back to regenerative agriculture as not only a solution for climate, but for land and food issues.”

Dog days

Here at The Word, we are somewhat partial to news releases that arrive with photos of dogs attached (happy dogs, to be clear). And so it was, yesterday, when we learned the First Judicial District Attorney’s Office has partnered with Assistance Dogs of the West and now has a courthouse facility dog named Judge. According to the news release, courthouse facility dogs are “highly trained and skilled assistance dogs who specifically work with special victims—children and youth—and witnesses of crime.” Training for courthouse dogs last 18 to 24 months, at which point they do everything from “providing non-judgmental support and comfort during forensic interviews to accompanying witnesses during trial proceedings.” Thus far, ADW has placed more than 50 dogs in criminal justice settings throughout Arizona, California, Indiana, New Mexico and Texas, but this is the first dog placed in the First Judicial District (Several years ago, PBS News Hour profiled ADW’s Courthouse Facility Dog program’s use in San Bernadino, California). Here is Judge again with DA Mary Carmack-Altwies (who apparently bought all his toys and supplies); her wife Jo; his DA handlers Irene Melendez and Norianna Quinones; and ADW members.

Right as rain

Santa Fe is looking at a 40% chance of showers and thunderstorms today after noon (and 30% tonight) on an otherwise mostly sunny day with a high temperature near 80 degrees and southeast wind 5 to 10 mph becoming west in the morning.

Thanks for reading! The Word recommends these photos of the climate crisis from the Guardian, but if you’re not up for it, or need cheering up afterward, this Bhangra version of “Pump Up the Jam” should do the trick.