Morning Word

NM Issues Proposed Rules for Retail Cannabis

Mayor Alan Webber and City Councilor JoAnne Vigil Coppler go head to head in last night’s debate

COVID-19 by the numbers

New Mexico health officials yesterday reported 613 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the statewide total so far to 251,384. DOH has designated 221,839 of those cases as recovered. Bernalillo County had 135 new cases, followed by McKinley County with 82 and San Juan County with 65. Santa Fe County had 11 new cases.

The state also announced 12 additional deaths; there have now been 4,776 fatalities statewide. As of yesterday, 301 people were hospitalized with COVID-19, 28 more than the day prior.

Currently, 79.9% of New Mexicans 18 years and older have had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 70.5% are fully vaccinated. In the 12-to-17-year-old age group, 63.7% people have had at least one dose and 54.2% are fully inoculated. In Santa Fe County, among those 18 years and older, 90.9% have had at least one dose and 80.9% are fully vaccinated.

Acting Health Secretary Dr. David Scrase, Deputy Secretary Dr. Laura Parajón and state Epidemiologist Dr. Christine Ross will provide an update on COVID-19 at 2 pm today on the NMDOH Facebook page.

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

State solicits comments on new cannabis rules

The state Cannabis Control Division of the Regulation and Licensing Department is now accepting public comments on proposed manufacturing, retail and courier rules for cannabis. The state posted the proposed rules yesterday and will accept comments, online and by mail, in advance of an Oct. 28 public hearing. “The mission of the Cannabis Control Division is to support a strong, thriving and safe adult-use and medical cannabis industry in New Mexico,” RLD Superintendent Linda M. Trujillo said in a statement. “With these latest rules, drafted in consultation with the Cannabis Regulatory Advisory Committee, we are continuing our important work to help businesses, entrepreneurs and communities maximize the economic opportunities presented by this new industry.” The cannabis division issued emergency manufacturing rules earlier this month that went into effect immediately; according to a news release, the manufacturing rules posted yesterday update those rules with additional emphasis worker safety. The state’s rules for cannabis producers were set in August and more than 1,500 producer license applications have been initiated via the department’s online application system. By law, adult-use cannabis sales to consumers will start no later than April 2022.

Webber, Vigil Coppler go head to head

Only two of the three mayoral candidates participated in last night’s mayoral forum hosted by the Democratic Party of Santa Fe County: the ones registered as Democrats. Incumbent Alan Webber and City Councilor JoAnne Vigil Coppler attended last night’s event, but Republican Alexis Martinez Johnson withdrew from participation shortly before it began. In theory, the candidates’ political affiliations have no bearing given the election is non-partisan. Martinez Johnson, however, submitted a statement regarding her decision not to participate, citing Santa Fe Police Chief Andrew Padilla’s Monday retirement announcement and what she described as “a hyper-partisan debate whereby political gain supersedes the voice and safety of Santa Feans.” Padilla has said the pending election played no role in his decision to retire. Democratic Party Chairwoman Bernadette Vadurro reportedly said Martinez Johnson would have received the same level of respect as Webber and Vigil Coppler, although she did not read the candidate’s complete statement regarding her decision not to participate and, rather, said Martinez Johnson had “chickened out.” For their part, Webber and Vigil Coppler discussed a variety of topics, including the city’s audit; cleanliness; planning and city services. Two more forums will take place Oct. 4 and 5 at the Lensic Performing Arts, these ones hosted by the Santa Chamber of Commerce and the Santa Fe Coalition for Affordable Housing, and will focus on economy and business the first night and housing issues on the second.

Helping Afghan refugees

Two Santa Fe women with longstanding familial ties to Afghanistan have launched an initiative to help refugees who might want to resettle here. Sadaf Rassoul Cameron, co-founder and executive director of the Santa Fe-based Kindle Project, was born in Santa Fe in 1979 and grew up here after her mother fled the Russian invasion of Afghanistan in 1978. Her cousin Ariane Mahmud-Ghazi, a somatic psychotherapist, clinical social worker and trauma consultant, has a private practice in Santa Fe and has worked in Afghanistan with various organizations. Both spoke with SFR recently about the connections between Santa Fe and Afghanistan. “People are drawn here because of the similarity of the high desert and these colors,” Mahmud-Ghazi said, “this landscape.” This week, they announced a new Santa Fe Afghan Resettlement Coalition, which they hope will unite community members who wish to help refugees. “We are cousins of Afghan origins who are moved to ensure a smooth transition for the displaced Afghans who’ve already experienced such turmoil as they resettle to Santa Fe,” they write in a joint statement, “a community we love and where we are deeply rooted. There are lots of ways you can help. The greatest need is finding housing for Afghan arrivals. We have a critical need for funding to secure temporary accommodations as well as more permanent housing to ensure stability for arriving individuals and families.” A detailed list of how people can help, along with contact information for both Cameron and Ghazi, is available here.

Listen up

Tony Hillerman’s fans are legion and, according to Publishers Weekly, will want to take a look at Santa Fe author James McGrath Morris’ forthcoming biography of the Southwest’s most famous mystery writer. Podcast host Lynn Cline speaks with Morris on the most recent episode of Cline’s Corner about the book, which publishes next month (a pre-publication event will take place Oct. 12 at Collected Works Bookstore). Morris has previously written biographies about figures such as John Dos Passos, Ernest Hemingway, Ethel Payne and Joseph Pulitzer, to name a few. “All of my share one trait,” Morris tells Cline. “They are people involved with the art of writing, reporting, literary matters. The more important thing from a biographer’s point of view: Is it a subject you can live with? Because it is an all-consuming task.”

Math and morality

The Santa Fe Institute and Violet Crown will present a one-night only screening at 6:30 pm tonight of Adventures of a Mathematician in its North American premiere (the film will be widely released to the general public on Oct. 1). The film tells the story of Jewish-Polish mathematician Stanislaw Ulam, as he “struggles with wartime loss and moral dilemmas at the dawn of the nuclear age.” Ulam escapes Poland with his brother on the eve of the Nazi invasion and eventually becomes a US citizen, ultimately recruited to work on the Manhattan Project, where he is conflicted about contributing to nuclear weaponry and “haunted by the fate of the family he left behind in Poland.” Following the screening, SFI President David Krakauer will moderate a Q&A with the film’s writer and director, Thor Klein, and the film’s producer, Lena Vurma. “Stan Ulam’s ideas and curiosity exemplify the kind of science that SFI seeks to pursue,” Krakauer says in a statement, “rigorous, boundless, playful and consequential. We name our flagship lecture series after Stan in honor of his expansive mind and the place he called his home.” Tickets for this one time only event can be reserved here.

NM’s complex heritage

ABC News takes a look at New Mexico as part of its coverage of Hispanic Heritage Month (which runs through Oct. 15). After all, New Mexico, according to the most recent US Census, has the most people in the US identifying as Hispanic or Latino. That being said, ABC notes, in New Mexico “this population can’t be so easily defined.” As writer Denise Chavez says, “We see ourselves as multicultural: Mexican, American, Latino, Chicano, Indigenous—We’re what we call ‘mestizaje,’ a mixture of blood and culture. There’s no place quite like it.” The story notes New Mexico’s “turbulent history of colonialism,” which created “diverse traditions, a blend of cultures” and “a complicated clashing of identities.” Discussing the state’s history of Spanish conquest and Indigenous cultures, New Mexico State Historian Rob Martinez tells ABC: “It’s never pleasant to be on the receiving end of conquest and colonization. I like to tell people: Our culture and our history are brilliant, they’re magnificent, but history is also violent and scary, and you have to be brave to study your history.” The state’s diverse culture can be seen in its art and cuisine, but also in the tensions that underlie certain events, such as Hispanic Heritage Month. “There’s always some tension between the Indigenous communities and those who are celebrating the Spanish and the conquest into New Mexico,” Patricia Marie Perea, the Hispanic and literary arts educator at the National Hispanic Cultural Center, says. “It’s such a hard thing to contend with.”

In a fog

Santa Fe may experience some patchy fog before 9 am today, but otherwise it will be mostly sunny with a high near 68 degrees and west wind 10 to 15 mph. The National Weather Service currently forecasts a 20% chance for overnight rain and a 100% chance for rain tomorrow, although we’ll see how those odds hold up.

Thanks for reading! The Word has previously shared her love for designer Christine Rhee’s Instagram series of fake book covers, but is particularly tickled by Rhee’s nascent “Fake Books for Women” lineup (especially this Kerouac one) and her “Fake Books for Men” (this Joan Didion one is kinda sublime). You can read more about both series in this LitHub story.

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