Morning Word

Tonight: Proposed Midtown Encampment Plan at City Council

Following drama, NM certifies primary election results

Council to ponder proposed Midtown encampment plan

At its meeting that begins at 5 pm tonight, the Santa Fe City Council will hear a presentation on a proposal to create a sanctioned homeless encampment on the Midtown campus, an extension of Consuelo’s Place, the organization that has been operating the Midtown Emergency Shelter. According to the report, the city commissioned a study last year on unsanctioned encampments, which “indicated that many unsheltered people in Santa Fe are frustrated by the current options available and would be open to a supported camp.” In addition to the potential encampment proposal, the city recently issued an Early Neighborhood Notification for a July 14 meeting that will include a summary and highlights of the land development plans for the overall Midtown site. According to a city news release, that meeting will launch the land use approval process that is expected to result in hearings before the Planning Commission on Oct. 6 for approvals of the master plan, land use rezoning, and a general plan amendment. The city says it also plans to issue three Requests for Proposals in August for the rehabilitation and reuse of the Visual Arts Center, the Greer Garson Theatre, and the expansion of the Garson Production Studios. “These projects will transform the site and bring people back to Midtown,” a news release notes. The city also is assessing the possible transformation of the Fogelson Library Complex into a public library and community creativity center. At press time, the city’s Midtown District website could not be accessed. Councilors tonight also will receive an update on the city’s audit situation.

State certifies primary election

“Despite the baseless attempt to disenfranchise NM voters, we certified New Mexico’s 2022 primary election today,” Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver tweeted yesterday, accompanied by a photo of her and Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham putting pen to paper. As noted, the state’s election results remained up in the air shortly after the Otero County Commission initially refused to certify their results, citing disproven conspiracy theories involving the voting machines. The commission ultimately complied on June 17 with a state Supreme Court order requiring it to certify the results. Following the certification, Toulouse Oliver said possible changes to state law could prevent county commissions in the future from interfering with election results. Ultimately, 263,337 ballots were cast in the primary election, representing approximately 25.5% of the state’s voters. Santa Fe County had just over 30% voter turnout.

Applications open for vacant SFPS seat

The Santa Fe Public Schools Board of Education yesterday opened up applications for candidates interested in filling the seat for District 4, vacated by former Board Vice President Rudy Garcia on June 20. Garcia was appointed to the elected board in 2017 after another member resigned, and was re-elected in 2019, the same year he also won a seat on the Santa Fe County Commission. He will also be departing the latter role, after finishing third in a three-way Democratic primary race this month. The SFPS Southside district includes Capital High School, Cesar Chavez Community School, Ortiz Middle School, Nye Early Childhood Center, Ramirez Thomas Elementary School, Nina Otero Community School and Sweeney Elementary School. “The SFPS Board of Education looks forward to hearing from those interested and eager to represent District 4 on Santa Fe’s south side,” Superintendent Hilario “Larry” Chavez said in a statement. Applications must be submitted by noon on July 18; public feedback on the candidates and open interviews will take place on July 26. The new board member will be voted upon before students return to school and board meetings resume in August. Details on the timeline and application process can be found here. Applicants must complete an application and provide a letter of interest, resume and certified documentation of voter registration or voter card as proof of residency. Applications can be emailed to or delivered to the SFPS Educational Services Center at 610 Alta Vista.

COVID-19 by the numbers

Reported June 28:

New cases: 748; 561,665 total cases

Deaths: 13; Santa Fe County has had 314 total deaths thus far; there have been 7,924 total fatalities statewide. Hospitalizations: 199. Patients on ventilators: 19. According to the health department’s most recent report on hospitalizations, as of June 27, 155 people had been hospitalized with COVID-19 in the prior seven days—an 84.5% increase from the seven-day total last week.

Case rates: According to the state health department’s most recent report on geographical trends, for the seven-day period of June 20-26, Sierra County had the highest daily case rate per 100,000 population: 82.5, followed by Los Alamos County at 77.3 and San Juan County at 65.2; Santa Fe County’s case rate was 57.8, considered “red” or high in that report.

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 registrationBooster registration Free at-home rapid antigen testsSelf-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. Vaccines for children: Parents of children ages 6 months to 5 years can now schedule appointments for vaccinations at

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

Listen up

Students from around the world converged in Southern New Mexico last week for the return of an in-person Spaceport America Cup, an intercollegiate rocket engineering competition, after a pandemic hiatus. On the most recent episode of the Las Cruces-Sun News podcast, The Reporter’s Notebook, reporter Algernon D’Ammassa—who regularly covers the Spaceport and Virgin Galactic—and photojournalist Meg Potter discuss their experiences covering the event.

Food road trip

For folks less swayed by the unalloyed allure of the open road, Travel & Leisure sweetens the pot on the summer road trip with a story about Rosecrans Baldwin’s ultra-luxury road trip through Utah, Colorado and New Mexico. Once upon a time, when she lived in New York, Baldwin wasn’t much of a driver. Then she moved to California where she and her wife learned to enjoy exploring the state by car. Enter outfitter Black Tomato, which offers culinary road trips where guests stay at three “distinctive” Auberge Resorts and travel 800 miles in a Mercedes. We won’t spoil the entire trip here, but in New Mexico, unsurprisingly, the trip ends in Santa Fe at Bishop’s Lodge and includes a meal at its at restaurant, SkyFire, where the guests ate “courses inspired by Mexican and New Mexican cuisine: a deconstructed shrimp tamale, roasted quail with chorizo and corn bread.” New Mexico cuisine, Baldwin writes, is probably her favorite regional fare, and the following day includes breakfast burritos from both Posa’s El Merendero and The Pantry; chile-flavored cocoa downtown at Kakawa Chocolate House; and an afternoon cooking lesson at the Santa Fe School of Cooking, where instructor/ chef Michelle Chavez tells the class: “If you’re roasting a chile 500 feet away, they’re going to turn around.”

Enduring satire

The Washington Post highlights eight seminal political cartoons and their creators from the Watergate era, including Santa Fe resident and Pulitzer Prize-winner Patrick Oliphant. Nixon “fascinated” Oliphant, he tells the Post, and he liked to draw him “as a pair of eyebrows, then drop a couple of eyes in—you didn’t need anything else.” In one drawing now on display at the National Portrait Gallery, Oliphant depicts Nixon and Chief of Staff H.R. Haldeman “standing just around a corner as they gauge the appetite of a large ‘Watergate bug.’ The critter has just devoured the political career of acting FBI director L. Patrick Gray, who resigned in April 1973 for his role in the Watergate conspiracy. In the cartoon, Nixon asks: ‘Do you think it’s still hungry … ?’” Ann Telnaes, also a Pulitzer-winning political cartoonist and animator at the Post, says Oliphant “took his caricature to another level as the president’s criminal activities during Watergate were exposed and changed him from a cartoony version to a darker and sinister figure.”

SPF weather

Today will be sunny, with a high near 81 degrees and east wind 5 to 10 mph becoming west in the morning. If you’re wondering when the next rain blast is coming, the National Weather Service forecasts a slight chance for showers Thursday night and 50% chances on Friday.

Thanks for reading! The Word thinks this open-air suite in Switzerland would translate well in Santa Fe.

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