Morning Word

Gov. Lujan Grisham: Net Zero Emissions for NM by 2050

New Mexico passes 5,000 deaths in the COVID-19 pandemic

COVID-19 by the numbers

New Mexico health officials yesterday reported 2,335 COVID-19 cases for the three-day period of Oct. 22-25, bringing the statewide total so far to 271,212. DOH has designated 240,277 of those cases as recovered.

Bernalillo County had 592 new cases, followed by San Juan County with 422 and Doña Ana County with 266. Santa Fe County had 77 cases.

The state also announced 15 additional deaths, 14 of them recent, including a male in his 70s from Santa Fe County who had been hospitalized. Santa Fe County has now had 168 total deaths. Statewide, as of yesterday, there have been 5,002 fatalities since the pandemic began. The state health department acknowledged the grim milestone as deaths ticked past the 5,000 mark, with Acting Health Secretary Dr. David Scrase issuing a statement noting that “These aren’t just numbers—they are our family members, friends and neighbors, and we grieve for them and their families.”As of yesterday, 339, were hospitalized with COVID-19—13 fewer than Friday.

Currently, 81.8% of New Mexicans 18 years and older have had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 72.2% are fully vaccinated. Among that demographic, 8% have had a booster shot. In the 12-17-year-old age group, 62.4% people have had at least one dose and 54.1% are fully inoculated. In Santa Fe County, among those 18 years and older, 92.8% have had at least one dose and 82.3% are fully vaccinated.

New Mexicans can register for a COVID-19 vaccine here and check eligibility for a COVID-19 vaccine booster here.

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

Gov calls for zero carbon emissions by 2050

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham intends to push for state law in the January 2022 legislative session that would commit the state to net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The governor announced the ambitious climate change initiative yesterday during her remarks at the state’s first Climate Summit, a joint two-day conference sponsored by the office of House Speaker Brian Egolf, D-Santa Fe, and numerous environmental advocacy organizations. Lujan Grisham said her agenda for next year’s Legislature will also include clean fuel standards, as well as the introduction of a hydrogen hub act, intended to help decarbonize the transportation sector. “For a small state with some pretty interesting challenges, we are in fact leading the country in any number of environmental strategies, policies and statutory frameworks at reducing our emissions and increasing our reliance on renewable energy,” Lujan Grisham said in her opening remarks, giving credit to many of the attendees for their work on the state’s Energy Transition Act and other conservation efforts. “My money is on the scientists, the advocates and the champions in this state,” she said. The governor will be representing New Mexico at the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference (Oct. 31-Nov. 12) in Scotland.

The conference’s first day also included keynote talks on equity and climate change from Maite Arce, president & CEO of the Hispanic Access Foundation, who spoke on the topic of equity and climate change; and from Andrew Baumann of Global Strategy Group, who discussed the role of public opinion on climate change policy. The state’s congressional delegation also joined to discuss federal policy, amid numerous other talks and panel discussions. The conference continues today, kicking off at 8:30 am at the state Capitol with keynote speaker Dr. Elena Krieger with Physicians, Scientists, and Engineers for Healthy Energy on “Equity and Climate Change Mitigation Strategies,” along with a discussion on the challenges and opportunities facing tribal nations. While registration for in-person attendance has closed, events will be broadcast on Facebook here in English and here in Spanish.

Officials report strong growth in medical cannabis program

Between September 2019 and last month, New Mexico’s medical cannabis program grew by 72%, Dominick V. Zurlo, the program’s director, told lawmakers on the Legislative Health and Human Services Committee yesterday. That growth constitutes approximately 52,000 patients. While some predicted a decline in medical cannabis patients as the date for adult recreational sales grows closer (April 2022), Zurlo noted “what we have seen so far is that patient enrollment has continued to steadily increase over the past two years.” People can enroll in the program if they suffer from 28 different conditions. The top three most commonly enrolled, Zurlo said, are Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, with just under 68,000 people; severe chronic pain, nearly 38,000 people; and cancer, with slightly more than 6,000 patients. Fewer than the remaining 13,000 patients qualified with one of the other 25 conditions. For people suffering from PTSD, Zurlo told lawmakers, cannabis “is something that calms them and relaxes them to move on with their day.” The program has also implemented an online patient portal, he said, which “has been a very important tool during the pandemic.” So far, it’s in use by more than 2,235 patients and 36 medical providers.

DA, Sheriff to provide update on Rust shooting Wednesday

Veteran prop master Neal W. Zoromski tells the Los Angeles Times he turned down a job on the film Rust after several days of discussion with the movie’s producers. “There were massive red flags,” he tells the Times, adding that after he sent the email declining a position on set, “I felt, in the pit of my stomach: ‘That is an accident waiting to happen.’” Questions continue to mount regarding the Oct. 21 shooting at Bonanza Creek Ranch, which killed 42-year-old cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and wounded director Joel Souza. “We were all pretty shocked,” actor Jeffrey Wright told the Associated Press. “I don’t recall ever being handed a weapon that was not cleared in front of me—meaning chamber open, barrel shown to me, light flashed inside the barrel to make sure that it’s cleared. Clearly, that was a mismanaged set.” Actor Ray Liotta reiterated Wright’s assessment, saying: “They always—that I know of—they check it so you can see.” According to witness testimony provided in Santa Fe County Sheriff search warrants, actor Alec Baldwin misfired a gun handed to him by Assistant Director Dave Hall, chosen from a cart of weapons prepared by the film’s armorer. Sheriff’s deputies collected three black revolvers, 14 swabs of suspected blood, at least six boxes of ammunition and nine spent casings from the scene, but have not yet disclosed what type of projectile was in the fired weapon. Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza and Santa Fe District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies will conduct a joint news conference at 10 am tomorrow, Oct. 27 to discuss the case. That news conference will stream live on the sheriff’s office Facebook page.

Listen up

Animal Protection New Mexico’s Teach Me How to Vegan podcast has just about everything you’d want to learn to transition to and maintain a plant-based diet, with hosts Tony and Mickey Quintana sharing their experiences, both personal and professional. One recent episode, “Pumpkin Everything,” pretty much covers all things in the pumpkin canon. Perhaps more pressingly, check out “Veganizing Hallowing,” which identifies vegan candies (spoiler alert: lots of peanut butter cups) and treats; vegan Halloween-themed foods; and resources for shopping and further reading. Each episode also includes useful resource lists and recipes.

Native storyteller chosen to highlight Gallup

Jaylyn Gough (Navajo) is one of three storytellers chosen by the Washington Post Creative Group and Marriott Bonvoy as part of a “strategic search for underrepresented travelers to explore generative travel trends.” Each will create an interactive travel story “exploring a travel trend that benefits local communities, economies and the environment.” Gough grew up on a reservation in New Mexico and, in 2017, founded Native Womens Wilderness “to bring Native women together to share our stories, support each other and learn from one another as we endeavor to explore and celebrate the wilderness and our native lands.” For her project for the Post vertical, Gough will return to Gallup and, through photography, 360-degree video and photogrammetry, will “document her homecoming, part of her ongoing journey to strengthen her connection to her heritage, as well as showing how to visit public lands with respect for their meaning in Native cultures.” The other two storytellers are Charlotte Simpson, aka the “Traveling Black Widow,” (she has traveled solo since her husband’s death), who will visit Buffalo, New York; and Jeff Jenkins, founder of the online community Chubby Diaries, who advocates for plus-size travelers and will visit the Florida Keys.

Spicy oatmeal

Jalapeños in oatmeal? Yes, New Mexico writer Joel Wigelsworth says in his recent contribution to Bon Appétit’s “A Skeptic Tries” column. Wigelsworth set out to conquer his breakfast nemesis—oatmeal—to rid himself of some extra pounds acquired after years of desk jobs and stress eating. “The pandemic, along with a heap of other personal and professional circumstances, landed me in a phase of existential revelations and a commitment to realign my life to better nurture my authentic self,” he writes. “Plus, I had become too pudgy to fit into all my Bauhaus and Sex Pistols T-shirts.” But Wigelsworth wasn’t interested in any of the sweetening hacks for oatmeal, as he lacks a sweet tooth and they seemed antithetical to dieting. The savory recipes, though more enticing, were “lavishly decorated with far too much bacon, cheese, fried eggs and oil to fit into my diet plan.” Enter his Southwestern palate. Wigelsworth, who grew up in Albuquerque, added Caldo de Tomate to the water in which the oatmeal cooked, which made it more pleasantly savory. But something was still missing and, after a few minutes of brainstorming, he went and picked jalapeños and green onions from his garden. “The diced green onions provided a freshness that cut through the starchy and salty porridge, and the sliced fresh jalapeño built upon that brightness and added an invigorating burn.” After all, he notes: “I was raised in New Mexico and pain is one of our most-cherished flavors.”

Winter watch

New Mexico and Santa Fe have some weather on the way, according to the National Weather Service: Look for scattered showers and thunderstorms—with a 30% chance for precipitation—mainly between noon and 3 pm. Otherwise, today should be mostly sunny with a high near 60 degrees, which sounds nice, except it will also be stupid windy: a south wind 10 to 20 mph becoming west 20 to 30 mph in the morning, with winds gusting as high as 40 mph. Bundle up tonight, when the low will drop to 29 degrees.

Thanks for reading! The Word only just saw this amazing limb-centric hand-off ceremony for the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games and the 2024 games in Paris from choreographer Sadeck Waff. She will probably watch it 100 more times.

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