Morning Word

COVID-19 Cases Among Unvaccinated New Mexicans Continue to Rise

City clerk approves four council candidates for public financing

COVID-19 by the numbers

New Mexico health officials yesterday reported 478 new COVID-19 cases, the highest number since February, in an increase driven in part by 94 cases among people being held by federal agencies at the Torrance County Detention Facility. There have now been a total of 211,970 cases; the health department has designated 197,142 of those cases as recovered.

Bernalillo County had 132 cases, followed by Eddy County with 54 cases and Doña Ana County with 30. Santa Fe County had eight new cases.

The state also announced one additional death: a male in his 60s from Eddy County who had been hospitalized; there have now been 4,415 total fatalities. As of yesterday, 180 people were hospitalized with COVID-19—nearly 22% more than the day prior.

According to the health department’s most recent epidemiology report, since Feb. 1, 94% of the state’s new cases, 93.2% of hospitalizations and 98.1% of deaths have been among unvaccinated people. New Mexicans who receive a vaccine dose this month are eligible for a $100 incentive payment.

Currently, 73.4% of New Mexicans 18 years and older have had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 65.1% are fully vaccinated. In the 12-17-year-old age group, 50% have had at least one dose and 39.1% have been fully vaccinated. In Santa Fe County, among those 18 years and older, 83.6% have had at least one dose and 74.9% are fully inoculated.

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

Four candidates approved for public $

City Clerk Kristine Bustos-Mihelcic says four council candidates in the Nov. 2 municipal elections—one from each district—met the requirements for public funding: Brian Gutierrez in District 1; incumbent District 2 Councilor Carol Romero-Wirth; Lee Garcia, a District 3 contender against incumbent Roman “Tiger” Abeyta; and Amanda Chavez in District 4. Another District 4 candidate, Rebecca Romero, also applied for public financing, but fell short of collecting 150 $5 contributions from people in the district, according to Bustos-Mihelcic, although she did collect enough names on her nominating petition to appear on the ballot. The other four will receive $15,000 from the public campaign finance fund and are eligible for an additional $7,500 based on the amount of private funds raised by others in their races, which the city matches up to $3,750. Four other council candidates and all three mayoral candidates will run privately funded campaigns. Mayor and Council candidates not seeking public financing have until Aug. 24 to submit their nominating petitions to the clerk, which must have signatures from one-half of one percent of the registered voters in the city or district, respectively, to qualify.

Meow Wolf Denver installation revealed

Meow Wolf unveiled the name and opening date for its Denver installation yesterday (a date previously foreshadowed). Convergence Station will open Sept. 17, and tickets are now on sale. As attendees at Santa Fe’s House of Eternal Return and Las Vegas’ Omega Mart might expect, the Denver site will include wormholes, portals and a backstory. To wit: “Twenty-five years ago, a freak cosmic event merged four worlds from different universes, erasing the memories of all residents and spawning the mystifying disappearances of four women. The Quantum Department of Transportation serves as the gateway to these diverse worlds: kaleidoscopic cathedrals, Corinthian catacombs, lush alien habitats and dazzling and gritty cityscapes. In this hotbed of interplanetary cohabitation, memories serve as both currency and the key to unlocking the story behind the women’s disappearances and cause of the convergence—as do multimedia clues that reveal themselves to all of the senses.” A news release on the project says it involved more than 110 Colorado-based collaborating artists and more than 200 internal artists working over the course of three years. Meow Wolf Denver Executive Creative Director Chadney Everett says the exhibit “will truly change the way you look at art. This exhibition is unlike anything you’ve ever seen...from The Swamp to The Cathedral—there’s a strong narrative to be uncovered should you choose, alongside truly mind-bending art from the many talented creatives that have worked so hard to bring the vision to life. We can’t wait for everyone to explore.”

Former county commissioner, journalist Moreno dies at 67

Former Santa Fe County Commissioner Edward Moreno, died July 27 at home from a brain tumor, according to his obituary. He was 67 years old. Moreno stepped down from his position serving District 5 in 2020 after three and a half years, citing health concerns. Born in Mexico City, Moreno began his career as a journalist, working for the Santa Fe New Mexican in 1980, and then spent a decade at the Associated Press covering the state capitol, where he earned numerous awards for his work. From there, he joined the New Mexico State Land Office as assistant commissioner for public affairs and, in 2005, went to work for the Keystone Policy Center, an organization that looks for common ground on entrenched issues in areas such as the environment, education and health. An obituary for Moreno describes him thusly: “Possessed of an inquisitive mind, abundant intelligence and a sparkling wit, he could carry on an interesting conversation with anyone on any topic. Being with Ed was easy, fun and often enlightening as you explored topics ranging from politics, the environment, history and justice to dogs, cats, travel and family.”

Other New Mexicans paid tribute to Moreno yesterday, with New Mexican Opinion Editor Inez Russell Gomez on Twitter calling Moreno “a generous colleague, helping young me when I had questions at the Roundhouse and always taking my calls when he became a public policy guy. He was a force at the Roundhouse.” Former New Mexican reporter Steve Terrell said Moreno’s columns in the paper “were inspiring to me as I was beginning my career.” State Rep. Matthew McQueen, D-Galisteo, described Moreno as “typically quiet and calm, always thoughtful and committed. I got to know Ed before either of us ran for office, and I always appreciated his company.” A remembrance event will be held at 3 pm, Sept. 18 at Rivera Funeral Home on Rodeo Road.

Listen up

Being the city’s poet laureate doesn’t come with a strict list of responsibilities, but it does come with the opportunity to spread the power of poetry. That’s the tack the city’s new Poet Laureate Darryl Lorenzo Wellington plans to take. In an interview about his work, Wellington tells KSFR he plans to do a lot of readings. “As many as I can,” he says. “I’m very easily able to be contacted through the city, and I’ll go any place that invites me, at no expense to you. And I also teach a workshop.” As for the nature of his work, he describes it as “eclectic,” adding, “I think it is a limitation to be exclusive, so much, very up to your neck in one style.” (You can also read Wellington’s essays for SFR here).

NM announces 2021 arts awards

Two Santa Feans are among the five New Mexicans receiving individual recognition in the 2021 Governor’s Awards for Excellence in the Arts, announced yesterday: painter Susan Contreras, known her for her masked figures, and composer Dave Grusin. Other artists include Santa Fe New Mexican cartoonist Ricardo Caté (Santo Domingo Pueblo) and sculptor Kathleen Wall (Jemez Pueblo). Edward “Gus” Foster of Taos received recognition for his support of the arts, specifically the Harwood Museum, as did organizations gallupARTS and Spencer Theater for the Performing Arts in Alto. “Artists didn’t stop last year, even when most everything we love was cancelled or postponed by the virus,” Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said in a statement announcing the awards. “So many incredible artists rose to meet the moment, finding great inspiration in challenging times, tapping into a wellspring of creativity and resilience that reflects the best of us, reminding us that the darkest moments are often where we find what we’re made of and discover and re-discover what we are capable of as a people.” A virtual awards ceremony will be held Oct. 22.

Marsha Mason recalls her NM years

After 20 years in Abiquiu, four-time Oscar nominee Marsha Mason decamped New Mexico in 2014 for New York and, recently, set up digs in Washington, Conn., in what the New York Times describes as her Act Three (because she wants to focus on theater, directing in particular). Act Two, however, happened in New Mexico, where Mason built a 7,000-square-foot house and an “art barn,” while also starting a business specializing in organic medicinal herbs. Mason sold her 247-acre property when she left the state. She has fond memories of New Mexico, though, telling the Times: “When I moved to New Mexico, the movie business was changing. It was getting very youth-oriented, and roles weren’t coming as much as before. I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life. In some ways, I was having a little bit of an identity crisis. What Abiquiu was about was me maturing and becoming a full-blown human being, in that I had my show-business work and a lot of other, different work.” And she had some fun too: “It was an interesting place during all those years,” Mason says. “Gene Hackman lived there while I was there. Jane Fonda lived there. And my friend Shirley MacLaine lived up a mountain across the road. She’d come down to my house for Christmas dinner on a golf cart dressed as Santa.”

The sun will come out

The National Weather Service forecasts another 50% chance of showers and thunderstorms today, primarily after noon, on an otherwise mostly sunny Wednesday with a high near 79 degrees and east wind 5 to 15 mph becoming west in the morning. That could be the last of the rain until next week, and temperatures should rise back into the high 80s tomorrow.

Thanks for reading! Try though she might, The Word can’t understand wanting a 40-year-old piece of wedding cake, regardless of its provenance.

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