National forest lands reopen for recreation
US Forest Service lands that have been closed to the public for a month due to fire danger are reopening around the state today, including parts of the Santa Fe National Forest, which reopen at 8 am “thanks to the early onset of monsoonal weather patterns,” forest officials wrote in a statement Thursday. “With the termination of both Stage 2 and Stage 3 fire restrictions, visitors are once again welcome to recreate on the SFNF. National Forest System lands, recreation sites, roads, trails and trailheads on the Coyote, Cuba and Española Ranger District as well as areas on the Jemez Ranger District not impacted by the Cerro Pelado Fire will be open to the general public, and campfires will be allowed.” The closure order for the Cerro Pelado Fire area on the Jemez Ranger District will remain in effect. The entire Pecos/Las Vegas Ranger District will also remain under a fire closure order as firefighters continue to work on the Hermits Peak/Calf Canyon Fire. The Carson and Lincoln National Forests also lifted restrictions as of today. Also today, the Cibola National Forest and Grasslands. Bandelier National Monument will reopen all campgrounds, wilderness and backcountry areas and trails except for the Alamo Trail area near the Cerro Pelado boundary. Alcove House will reopen June 26. In the Lincoln, where the McBride Fire kicked off wildfire season by consuming 200 homes near Ruidoso, officials report rainfall of 4-5 inches in the last month has reduced fire danger to “moderate.” “Average rainfall in the summer months ranges between 7.6 and 13.9 inches depending on the location, so the rain we’ve gotten is significant,” said Lincoln National Forest Fuels Specialist Josh DuBoise. “The ongoing rains have actually increased moisture levels to above-average for this time of year, which is why we decided to reopen the forest and lift fire restrictions.”
State keeping Chama afloat amid water problem
A water system leak in the Village of Chama that has left about 1,000 residents without tap water since early June prompted Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham to sign an emergency declaration Thursday funneling more money to Rio Arriba County. The executive order provides $450,000 for the Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management to assist with emergency measures, help prevent additional damages, repair public infrastructure and lessen the overall recovery time, the governor’s office said. While emergency management has been delivering 20,000 gallons of water per day to residents in the area, the state environment department also connected the Chama water utility with contractors who are now working to address the leaking distribution system. Village Councilor Scot Flury told the Albuquerque Journal he worried the disruption would adversely affect tourism-reliant businesses this summer. “These folks only have a few months to make their livelihood, and we don’t know how many will survive,” Flury said. The village water system had been leaking for some time and lawmakers approved an appropriation last year of $800,000 for needed work.
Healing ugly boarding school history
The Senate Committee on Indian Affairs heard support this week from Native leaders who back legislation calling for a commission to begin restoring education, language and cultural practices robbed by the US government’s boarding school programs. “Federal Indian boarding school policies are an ugly part of America’s story. I believe that our nation will benefit from a full understanding of the truth of what took place and focus on healing the wounds of the past,” US Interior Sec. Deb Haaland tweeted after her Wednesday testimony on the department’s Federal Boarding School Initiative and Vol. 1 of its investigative report released last month. As the nation’s first and only Native cabinet secretary, Haaland (Laguna), argues she is in a unique position to advocate for public accountability for the forced assimilation and brutal trauma of the boarding school policies. The proposed law had its first formal congressional hearing last month and would give the new commission a broader scope than Interior’s investigation to seek records with subpoena power, the Associated Press reports.
COVID-19 by the numbers
New cases: 1,450; 557,008 total cases
Deaths: 8; Santa Fe County has had 310 total deaths thus far; there have been 7,899 total fatalities statewide. Hospitalizations: 194. Patients on ventilators: 16.
Vaccines for children: The New Mexico Department of Health announced Tuesday that parents of children ages 6 months to 5 years can now schedule appointments for vaccinations at VaccineNM.org.
Case rates: According to the most recent DOH report on geographical trends for COVID-19, for the seven-day period of June 13-19, Grant County had the highest daily case rate per 100,000 population in the state: 103.1, followed by Los Alamos County at 101.5 and Rio Arriba County at 59.8. Santa Fe County has a rate of 57.7.
Community levels: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s “community levels” tracking system—which uses case rates along with two hospital metrics in combination for its framework—for the seven-day period of June 16-22, six counties show high—or “red”—levels—three fewer than last week. Thirteen counties, including Santa Fe County, are classified as having yellow or “medium” levels. CDC recommendations for individuals and communities based on the community-level rankings can be found here, but include the recommendation for people living in counties with “high” community levels to wear masks indoors and on public transportation. The CDC updates its map every Thursday.
Resources: Vaccine registration; Booster registration Free at-home rapid antigen tests; Self-report a positive COVID-19 test result to the health department; COVID-19 treatment info: oral treatments Paxlovid (age 12+) and Molnupiravir (age 18+); and monoclonal antibody treatments. Toolkit for immunocompromised individuals. People seeking treatment who do not have a medical provider can call NMDOH’s COVID-19 hotline at 1-855-600-3453.
You can read all of SFR’s COVID-19 coverage here.
Santa Fe’s Pride festivities downtown include a parade, music, booths and more on the Plaza tomorrow to honor all things LGBTQ+. As some food for thought during Pride month, the Augmented Humanities podcast’s three most recent 15-minute episodes feature Amanda Regan and Eric Gonzaba, co-creators of the digital history project “Mapping the Gay Guides.” Regan, who teaches history at Clemson University, and Gonzaba, who teaches American Studies at California State University in Fullerton, launched the project to examine history through the lens of Bob Damron’s Address Book, an annual guide for gay people in the US first published in 1964. It includes working with undergrads to create an open-data source to map locations from the guides through 2005.
Partly cloudy for Dark Winds
Earlier this week, this newsletter pointed to some mostly good reviews of the Dark Winds AMC television series based on Tony Hillerman’s Chee and Leaphorn novels. A day later, the network announced it had picked up the show for a second season of six more episodes. The Navajo Times offers a critique in its most recent edition that’s based on real voices from the Navajo Nation who say neither their language nor culture are well-represented in the series so far. Albert Brent Chase, a Diné language and culture teacher, told the Times that while he thought the acting in the film was good, he had other bones to pick. “The pronunciation wasn’t on point,” Chase said. “As a fluent speaker, I was kind of listening harder to understand. Good thing they had captions, because otherwise I wouldn’t have gotten the gist of what they were saying...From there it just went downhill, because I was distraught in trying to understand my own language in the movie. It kind of ruins the enjoyment of a TV show and you start thinking, where were the consultants?” Clarissa Yazzie, who has a popular TikTok account on language revitalization and who voiced Princess Leia in the Diné dub of Star Wars: A New Hope, told the Times, “As far as dialect coaches, there are so many Navajo speaking professionals that they could have reached out to who could have helped with the Navajo speaking roles. They really dropped the ball on that part.” The show was filmed on Cochiti and Tesuque pueblo lands and at the Tesuque Camel Rock Studios.
“A south-of-the-border summer treat is having a moment,” reads the subhead on a New Mexico Magazine story from Molly Boyle, and what a tasty and cool moment it is. Indeed, paletas seem to be all the rage in Santa Fe, with Oasis Ice Cream Shop in the Design Center offering up fresh and icy fruity goodness, a location of ubiquitous The Paleta Bar on Cerrillos Road, and even some high-end paletas on offer at Bishop’s Lodge in the SkyFire restaurant as well from a cart by the resort pool. Boyle reports the restaurant executive chef Pablo Peñalosa spent many family weekends enjoying the paleteros of Mexico City. “We’re excited to play around with all the ingredients and techniques in New Mexico,” he says, noting he prefers local nuts like piñon and pistachio. “I just did a vanilla-and-taro paleta,” the chef says. “But the flavors will change by the season.” The founders of The Paleta Bar opened their first store in 2017 on San Pedro Drive in Albuquerque. “Two more Albuquerque locations followed within a year, all with nearly 20 house-made paletas, an array of toppings, fruit cups, and aguas frescas (fresh juices),” she writes, and then the franchise exploded into more than 30 storefronts, scattered across the Southwest and in Florida.
Sunshine on your shoulders, then rain
While the National Weather Service forecasts a sunny day and a high temperature in Santa Fe today near 81, the weekend will be cooler with a high of 79 on Saturday and 69 on Sunday, with a high likelihood of thunderstorms. There’s a 20% chance of scattered showers and thunderstorms today after noon, with a north wind 5 to 10 mph.
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