COVID-19 by the numbers
New Mexico health officials yesterday reported another surge of new COVID-19 cases: 1,132, compared to 630 the day prior. The new cases bring the statewide total so far to 267,909. DOH has designated 237,421 of those cases as recovered.
Bernalillo County had 283 new cases, followed by San Juan County with 169 and Doña Ana County with 98. Santa Fe County had 37 cases.
The state also announced seven additional deaths; there have now been 4,973 fatalities. As of yesterday, 379 people were hospitalized with COVID-19—14 more than the day.
Currently, 81.4% of New Mexicans 18 years and older have had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 72% are fully vaccinated. Among that demographic, 6.5% have had a booster shot. In the 12-17-year-old age group, 53.8% people have had at least one dose and 62.2% are fully inoculated. In Santa Fe County, among those 18 years and older, 92.3% have had at least one dose and 82% are fully vaccinated.
You can read all of SFR’s COVID-19 coverage here.
Alec Baldwin fires prop gun on set, killing one person
A tragic shooting on a local film set yesterday sent waves of shock and grief through both the local and national film community. The Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office says actor Alec Baldwin fired a prop gun on the set of Rust at the Bonanza Creek Ranch, hitting Director of Photography Halyna Hutchins, 42, who died after being airlifted to the hospital. Baldwin also hit the film’s 48-year-old director Joel Souza who, as of last night, was undergoing treatment. The Albuquerque Journal reports the investigation remains open with ongoing witness interviews; no charges had been filed as of press time against Baldwin, who was reported by the Santa Fe New Mexican as appearing “distraught and in tears” in the wake of the shooting.
In a statement reported by the New York Times, Rust Movie Productions said it had halted production on the film for an undetermined amount of time. “The entire cast and crew has been absolutely devastated by today’s tragedy, and we send our deepest condolences to Halyna’s family and loved ones,” the statement read. “We will be providing counseling services to everyone connected to the film as we work to process this awful event.” Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists President Fran Drescher and National Executive Director Duncan Crabtree-Ireland also issued a joint statement last night saying “We are devastated by this tragic news. Our hearts go out to the family of Director of Photography Halyna Hutchins who has passed away, and to Director Joel Souza who is injured and hospitalized. This is still an active investigation and we do not yet have all the facts. We will continue to work with production, the other unions, and the authorities to investigate this incident and to understand how to prevent such a thing from happening again.” A statement from local film union IATSE Local 480 offers support and assistance, reading: “We are working closely to support all of our IATSE members through this shocking and devastating time.” The shooting follows IATSE’s ongoing negotiations for safe and fair working conditions.
Council candidate would need pardon to serve
If elected, District 4 Santa Fe City Council candidate Rebecca Romero would require a pardon from Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham to serve, according to the Santa Fe New Mexican. Romero pled guilty to numerous felony charges of embezzlement, forgery and credit card in 2006, disqualifying her under state law from holding public office without a pardon. It’s too late to remove her name from the ballot and, with early voting underway, some voters may have given their votes to Romero, who is running against Amanda Chavez for the seat being vacated by mayoral candidate JoAnne Vigil Coppler. Romero said she only became aware recently she would require a pardon and is “working” on it. Santa Fe County Clerk Katharine Clark says her office recommends not certifying elections where candidates don’t meet the requirements and, rather, leaving the position vacant and an appointee could potentially fill the position. The city attorney says Romero, if elected, could potentially become eligible between the November election and the start of the term in January.
Cannabis committee seeks new members
Want to help shape policy for New Mexico’s new cannabis industry? The New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department yesterday opened applications for two newly open positions—resulting from the passing of member Chase Gentry and by member Miguel Santistevan stepping down—on the Cannabis Regulatory Advisory Committee. The open positions are for a person with expertise in small business development and a person with experience in environmental science. “We are moving quickly to fill these positions to ensure that the Cannabis Regulatory Advisory Committee can continue its important work to support the medical and adult-use cannabis industries in New Mexico,” Regulation and Licensing Department Superintendent Linda Trujillo said in a statement. The Cannabis Regulation Act established the committee to advise the new Cannabis Control Division on rules covering a variety of topics, including best practices, the promotion of economic and cultural diversity in the industry, and protection of public health and safety. You can apply online through 6 pm, Oct. 27 at the CCD website.
The Los Angeles Times’ podcast turns to New Mexico, specifically the piñon pine, which the Times describes as “tall, bushy, spiny and fragrant…a beloved feature of the Mountain West—and not just for its beauty.” Yes, we love our piñon nuts, but the episode is not just paean to the piñon but, rather, a look at climate change’s impact on the piñon harvest. Host Gustavo Arellano (no stranger to New Mexico; here’s an interview with him from SFR’s archive) talks with New Mexico native and Albuquerque resident Axios race and justice reporter Russell Contreras, along with his Rio Rancho neighbor, 77-year-old John Muniz, who notes: “The piñon, when there’s a good crop, there’s a lot of it…Unfortunately we haven’t had the water here for the piñon to come out this year and they only come out every seven years anyway, six or seven years, so hopefully next year we might have a good winter, we might have some piñon next year. I’ve never seen it this dry. I’ve never seen it where you can cross across the Rio Grande.” Native New Mexican and Smithsonian Institution American Women’s History Initiative Director Tey Marianna Nunn also joins the podcast to talk about the nut’s culinary heritage.
Party at Midtown
The long-term picture for the Midtown campus may remain murky, but the imminent future is clear: It’s time to party. The Midtown Block Party, sponsored by the City of Santa Fe with funding from both the city and the National Endowment for the Arts, will include food trucks by BBQ Dunn Right, La Loncherita Salvadoreña and ¡Youthworks!; live music by Edición de Rancho, Lone Piñon, Los Primos Melódicos and Frontera Bugalú; a community mural workshop; a tenant rights clinic; film screenings; a “round robin” community filmmaking workshop; a pumpkin patch; artist booths; raffles; bike giveaways; and other events that “engage the community in sharing ideas about the past and future of Midtown.” There will also be a site-wide scavenger hunt. Numerous organizations involved with public outreach for the future of the campus will cohost and play a role at the event, including: the Santa Fe Art Institute, Chainbreaker Collective, Earth Care, Littleglobe, and ¡YouthWorks!. Additionally, there are four Midtown Activation Partners, Fathers of New Mexico, Friends of the Santa Fe Public Library, La Familia Medical Center and the Santa Fe Indigenous Center, which will be participating. You can find the detailed schedule for the block party here. BTW, the block party is one of SFR’s picks for the week; you can find more suggestions on how to spend your free time in the coming hour/days here.
Bold as brass
PBS News Hour spotlights renowned Santa Fe Symphony and New Mexico Philharmonic principal tubist Richard Antoine White, and the incredible journey that led him from the streets of Baltimore to concert halls around the world. Earlier this month, White published his memoir, I’m Possible: A Story of Survival, a Tuba, and the Small Miracle of a Big Dream. Born to an alcoholic mother, White spent his earliest years homeless on Baltimore’s West side. “My routine was, look in the gutter, try to find some coins, figure out how I was going to get some chicken gizzards or chicken wings for the day, and then off to find my mom, if we weren’t together,” White tells PBS journalist Jeffrey Brown. “That was my normal.” He gravitated toward tuba—which he calls an “underdog” instrument—in middle school and kept going, eventually becoming the first Black America to earn a doctorate in tuba performance. Today, he teaches at the University of New Mexico and is one of just two Black tenured tuba professors in the US. He’s also helped build the 10-year-old New Mexico Philharmonic. “I have never been in a place with so much potential that hasn’t quite achieved it yet,” White says. “I want to be a part of the potential. I could have auditioned for other orchestras, but I think there’s a sense of building something, growing something, and saying, man, I was here from the beginning.”
We head into the weekend with T-shirt weather on the horizon. Today’s forecast from the National Weather Service calls for sunny skies a high near 71 degrees and north wind around 10 mph becoming southwest in the afternoon. The whole weekend should be sunny with temps in the low 70s (tomorrow) and high 60s on Sunday.Thanks for reading! The Word would probably see Jagged Little Pill if given the chance but, in the meantime, she enjoyed the Tiny Desk Concert from the cast, who just returned to Broadway.