Morning Word

State Reports Economic Growth in Santa Fe County

Post-burn analysis shows half of Pecos River area with little or no soil damage

State reports economic growth in Santa Fe County

Among New Mexico’s 33 counties, Santa Fe County had the second highest year-over-year gain in Matched Taxable Gross Receipts (MTGR) over the year—an increase of 32%, according to the state Economic Development Department. EDD released the latest round of quarterly economic reports on Friday, which encapsulate consumer spending information from the third quarter of fiscal year 2022 (January, February and March). Those reports show 30 counties with MTGR gains; Sandoval County had the highest: 44%. “New Mexico continues to see broad-based economic expansion,” EDD Secretary Alicia J. Keyes said in a statement. “This EDD initiative provides communities more detailed data so they can track their own progress and have the information they need to diversify and build a stronger economy locally.” Torrance, Luna and Guadalupe counties were the only three with losses, with Torrance County’s decline of 53% the steepest statewide. While Santa Fe County’s year-over-year assessment shows gains in MTGR, the latest report also shows a decline from the most recent quarter—the first quarter-to-quarter decline since the third quarter of fiscal year 2021. Retail remains Santa Fe County’s largest contributor to MTGR at 27%, followed by construction at 14% and accommodations and food services at 12%.

Managers release Pecos River post-fire analysis

Burned Area Emergency Response teams on Friday released data for the third phase of soil assessment for the Hermits Peak/Calf Canyon Fire, which analyzed 40,150 acres for the Pecos River, and portions of Cow Creek and Gonzales Arroyo-Pecos watersheds. Maps showing levels of soil burn severity (SBS) show 50% are either unburned or have very low or low SBS; 34% are high; and 16% are moderate SBS. Fire managers will hold a community meeting on the fire at 6 pm today on Facebook. Fire containment remains at 93% (241,735 acres), a news release says, because a western section of the fire located in the Pecos Wilderness is too rugged and steep to be accessible.

NPR’s Weekend Edition on Sunday talked with ecologists about the US Forest Service’s approach to prescribed burns, as the Government Accountability Office launches an investigation into the Forest Service’s controlled burns that became the Hermits Peak/Calf Canyon Fire. That investigation follows the USFS report on those burns, released last month, showing the degree to which fire managers failed to take the impact of climate change into account. This, ecologists say, is indicative of the problems with the Forest Service’s approach to prescribed burns. “A lot of the planning tools that fire managers rely upon for planning prescribed burns were built under a climate that no longer exists,” biologist and professor Matthew Hurteau, who studies the intersection of climate change, wildfire and forest ecosystems at the University of New Mexico, tells NPR. “That’s a systemic problem.”

Speaker Egolf nominates himself for PRC committee

ICYMI, state House Speaker Brian Egolf, D-Santa Fe, on Friday nominated himself to serve on the newly-created Public Regulation Commission Nominating Committee, a bipartisan group of volunteers who will review candidates for a revamped PRC. Voters in 2020 approved a constitutional amendment shifting the PRC from an elected to an appointed body. The seven-member nominating committee will solicit and review applications and produce a list of no fewer than five nominees to serve on the PRC starting in 2023. “I was proud to play a role in the legislation that brought needed modernizations to the PRC and I want to see that process through, so I am volunteering myself for the Nominating Committee,” Egolf said in a statement. “I look forward to joining this bipartisan group and ensuring that we nominate commissioners who are knowledgeable, capable and up to the task of navigating the opportunities and challenges of regulating the utilities on which New Mexicans rely.” Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s administration last week also announced three appointments: Ron J. Lovato, former two-term governor of Ohkay Owingeh; Interwest Energy Alliance Executive Director Rikki Seguin, appointed by Economic Development Department Secretary Alicia J. Keyes; and William R. Brancard, hearings bureau chief for the New Mexico Energy, Minerals & Natural Resources Department, appointed by EMNRD Secretary Sarah Cottrell Propst.

COVID-19 by the numbers

Reported July 1 (DOH should provide a four-day update this afternoon):

New cases: 830; 564,678 total cases

Deaths: five; Santa Fe County has had 316 total deaths thus far; there have been 7,946 total fatalities statewide. Statewide Hospitalizations: 181. Patients on ventilators: 21.

Community levels: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s weekly community levels report, which uses case rates along with two hospital metrics in combination for its framework, for the seven-day period of June 23-29, 10 counties—including Santa Fe County, which was yellow last week—have “red” or high levels (four more than last week). Among other recommendations, the CDC recommends indoor masking for communities with high levels. Nine counties are “green,” aka low, and the rest are “yellow,” or medium.

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. Due to the July 4 holiday, weekly reports will not be updated until July 6.

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

On the most recent episode of the Film Talk Weekly podcast, host Jacques Paisner talks with New Orleans-based film editor Laurent Dupepe—who grew up in Santa Fe—about his film The King of New Orleans, which won a special jury prize at the 2015 Santa Fe Film Festival (and other prizes at other festivals). They also chat about Dupepe’s current project, which continues the story of New Orleans taxi driver Larry Shirt (played by David Jensen), except now he’s a bartender.

Indian Market deep dive

The New York Times previews Santa Fe Indian Market’s 100th anniversary (Aug. 20-21; the event is free, but tickets for the special marquis events went on sale over the weekend), at which “tens of thousands of art collectors, aficionados and spectators” are expected to attend. “People come from all over the world—Germany, Paris, Japan—to see all of our artists in one spot in a single weekend,” Ken Williams Jr., (Arapaho and Seneca) who manages the Case Trading Post sales room at the Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian, tells the Times. “It’s a great thing that this is still going after a hundred years. It’s a great place for the artist to be.” Southwestern Association for Indian Arts Executive Director Kimberly Peone (Colville Confederated Tribes and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians) says this year’s festival will feature more than 800 artists (the market was virtual in 2020 and had about 150 booths last year). The story spotlights several Native American artists who will display at this year’s market, and also looks at the larger economic and cultural impact the market has on Santa Fe. “I always call it Mardi Gras for people that love Native art,” First American Art Magazine Editor and Publisher America Meredith (Cherokee) says.

GRRM as Fanboy

He said it; not us. George RR Martin, in a July 2 blogpost titled “Fanboying,” reviews Sam Raimi’s Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madnesswhich he loved. Raimi is one of his favorite directors; Dr. Strange is one of Martin’s favorite Marvel characters. What could go wrong? Nothing. “This version of Dr. Strange, slipping through portals into surreal dimensions full of floaty things and alternate realities, was the Doctor I fell in love with, way way way back when world was young (and so was I),” Martin writes. The movie also reminded Martin of his first comic-con in 1964 at which he met the late comic artist Steve Ditko. The movie, Martin concludes “woke the sleeping Marvel fanboy in me, and that was a joy.” He did not see the movie at the Jean Cocteau, by the way (because it wasn’t showing there).

Monsoon weather continues

Santa Fe has a 50% chance for precipitation today with scattered showers and thunderstorms after noon, and the potential for some heavy rain. Otherwise, it will be partly sunny with a high near 84 degrees. The National Weather Service also forecasts a slight chance (20%) for isolated showers and thunderstorms this evening before midnight.

Thanks for reading! Had The Word written a newsletter yesterday, she would likely have shared this Tiny Desk concert world premiere performance of excerpts of Washington Women (songs built on speeches and writings about America by women: First Ladies, Secretaries of State, Senators and Supreme Court Justices etc).

Letters to the Editor

Mail letters to PO Box 4910 Santa Fe, NM 87502 or email them to editor[at] Letters (no more than 200 words) should refer to specific articles in the Reporter. Letters will be edited for space and clarity.

We also welcome you to follow SFR on social media (on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter) and comment there. You can also email specific staff members from our contact page.