Coalition wants Ivey-Soto removed from subcommittees
More than two dozen advocacy organizations are calling on lawmakers to remove state Sen. Daniel Ivey-Soto, D-Albuquerque, from interim legislative committees pending resolution of sexual harassment claims against him. This week’s request follows the organizations’ open letter last February in which they urged legislative leaders to investigate allegations from lobbyist Marianna Anaya. The groups subsequently called for Ivey-Soto’s removal when more accusations from other women emerged. In this week’s letter, the groups say it is their understanding interim committees are currently “meeting with some of the subjects” of Ivey-Soto’s harassment who are testifying on committees of which Ivey-Soto is a member. “As a committee member,” the letter says, “[Ivey-Soto] has the power to cross examine, embarrass, and even intimidate the very same advocates who have accused him of harassment. He can also influence the outcome of the bills brought by these women.” As such, the letter says, “fairness and decency demand” Ivey-Soto be removed from the interim committees. “As you know we believe Ivey-Soto should not remain in the Senate at all given his record of abusive behavior and uncontrollable temper,” the letter says, before noting that only the full state Senate “is empowered to make that decision.” The groups also call on the Senate “to swiftly complete its internal process and release the full report to the public.” Ivey-Soto tells the Albuquerque Journal in a statement he hasn’t mistreated anyone during interim committee meetings and deserves to be treated as innocent until proven otherwise. The status of Anaya’s complaint isn’t clear, the Journal reports, but Senate President Pro Tem Mimi Stewart, D-Albuquerque, says a legislative ethics subcommittee working on the matter hasn’t finished yet and, until it does, “we must follow the procedures, confidentiality and due process required by policy.”
“CHIPS” bill includes major bucks for NM labs
A bill passed by the US Senate intended to help the US remain competitive in its production of semiconductors includes billions for the country’s national laboratories—including Los Alamos and Sandia National labs. In a news release, US Sen. Ben Ray Luján, D-NM, said the CHIPS and Science Act of 2022 “includes numerous victories for New Mexico and our country that I fought hard to secure.” Those provisions include: $17.6 billion for DOE Science and Innovation, including $16.5 billion “based on an amendment Luján authored to strengthen DOE’s research and development efforts in 10 key technology focus areas”; $14.7 billion for national lab infrastructure and modernization; $125 million for the Leveraging our National Laboratories to Develop Tomorrow’s Technology Leaders Act (which Luján authored and introduced when he was in the US House). That bill supports an early research and development entrepreneurial program. “Through these historic investments, our National Labs will continue their leadership in developing cutting-edge technology, maintaining our national security and global competitiveness while creating more skilled, good-paying jobs in New Mexico and across the nation,” Luján said in a statement.
ABQ Museum returns Indigenous art to Mexico
The Albuquerque Museum Foundation yesterday held a small ceremony to mark the repatriation of a dozen ancient sculptures to Mexico. “We appreciate and recognize actions taken by the Albuquerque Museum Foundation to voluntarily return these archaeological pieces back to the Mexican nation,” Consul of Mexico Norma Ang Sánchez said in a statement. “They are important elements of memory and identity for our native communities, and we are pleased they will be recovered.” Foundation President and CEO Andrew Rodgers says the process to determine the origins of the sculptures began more than five months ago when they were found in a box sitting in storage labeled “pre-Columbian.” An investigation and authentication process ensued before officials contacted the Mexican consulate. The museum’s return of the pieces comes amid a wide-scale reckoning about museums’ roles in cultural appropriation. “This experience has especially given us exposure to this world and a better understanding,” Rodgers said. “So I think we’re certainly much better prepared to make sure that we never accept anything we shouldn’t.”
COVID-19 by the numbers
New cases: 1,150; 588,805 total cases
Deaths: 17; Santa Fe County had 328 total deaths; there have been 8,224 total fatalities statewide. Statewide hospitalizations: 201. Patients on ventilators: five
Case rates: According to the state health department’s most recent report on geographical trends, published this week, for the seven-day period of July 18-24, Roosevelt County had the highest daily case rate per 100,000 population: 67.5, followed by Cibola County at 67.2 and McKinley County at 61.1; Santa Fe County’s case rate was 46.6, an increase from 44.3 last week. The state recorded 6,642 new cases total in the last seven days, comparable to last week.
Community levels: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s most recent update for COVID-19 “community levels,” updated every Thursday, shows more than twice as many New Mexico counties now have red or “high” levels compared with last week. The CDC framework combines case rates with two hospital metrics and shows, for the seven-day period of July 14-20, 17 New Mexico counties—10 more than last week—now have “red” or high levels. Santa Fe County remains “yellow” or medium. Only four counties now have “green” or low levels—down from nine last week. The CDC’s recommendations include indoor masking for people living in counties with high community levels. The community levels page has accompanying recommendations at the bottom of the page. The CDC also provides a quarantine and isolation calculator. The CDC will update its map later today.
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. Vaccines for children: Parents of children ages 6 months to 5 years can now schedule appointments for vaccinations at VaccineNM.org.
You can read all of SFR’s COVID-19 coverage here.
ICYMI, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham appeared on the New Yorker radio hour recently to talk about the country’s abortion landscape following the US Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, and her executive order protecting both health care providers and people seeking abortions here from other states’ potential legal threats against them. In its decision, the governor said, the US Supreme Court has “discriminated against women and other populations, including LGBTQ populations, and they are limiting health care access: chilling, outrageous, discriminatory, and we should do everything in our power to do something about it.” But the court’s decision has also “teed up” states to engage in political and legal fights with one another, which she called the most “disgusting and despicable aspect of this particular decision.”
Wes Studi discusses his first romantic role, career
Santa Fe resident and actor Wes Studi (Cherokee) talks with the Associated Press about being cast for the first time—at the age of 74—as a romantic co-lead. That role comes via the indie drama A Love Song, co-starring Dale Dickey—the film opens in select theaters this week; here’s a review from The Hollywood Reporter. Studi, who also has a guest role on Reservation Dogs, (the second season starts Aug. 3 on Hulu and another Santa Fe resident, Cayuga actor Gary Farmer, also will return as Uncle Brownie), was the first Native American actor to receive an Academy award when he received an honorary Oscar in 2019. He said he hopes the growing opportunities to play a wider range of characters reflect “a better understanding of Native people by the general public,” noting that the misconception still exists “that we were all killed off and we don’t exist anymore as peoples.” He didn’t start acting until his late 30s—in theater: “I still get the feeling of: Will I ever work again? That’s always been a part of it,” Studi tells the AP. “On the other hand, things have worked out that I have continued to work. I don’t take that lightly. I’m especially grateful that I’ve been able to buy a home and stay in a good car for an extended period of time.”
The winning groan
Presumably, anyone appearing before 2nd Judicial District Judge William Parnell would be alarmed if he began loudly groaning in court. But his emotive moans won over judges at the recent auditions for the new voice of Zozobra, in which nearly 60 people vied in two rounds of auditions for the chance to voice Old Man Gloom at the Sept. 2 burning. Parnell replaces Santa Fe Opera baritone Anthony Michaels-Moore, who stepped in for 2020 and 2021. “You have to have feeling in your voice,” Parnell told KOAT. “You have to be able to get that feeling across.” This won’t be Parnell’s first time participating in Zozobra. His band, Lawyers, Guns, and Money, performed in the ‘80s at the foot of Zozobra. (Parnell, a native New Mexican appointed as district judge in 2007, still plays harmonica with the Incredible Woodpeckers). Two Zozobra voice alternates also were chosen: Actor/model/drummer/singer and DJ Elmer “Butterfly” Garcia from Ohkay Owingeh/ Zuni; and actor/voice actor/comedian Evan Galpert, a founding member of Wayward Comedy in Santa Fe. And don’t forget: Zozobra is a little over a month away; you can buy tickets, merchandise and submit online glooms here.
Weather the storm
The National Weather Service has New Mexico under a flood watch from noon today through late Friday night as an active monsoon pattern continues (here’s video from the overflowing Rio Tesuque in Pojoaque yesterday and here’s the radar view of what yesterday’s storm over Santa Fe looked like). Santa Fe’s forecast includes showers and thunderstorms today, mostly after 4 pm, with a 60% chance for rain this afternoon and a 70% chance tonight. Today will otherwise be partly sunny with a high near 85 degrees. Some of the storms could produce heavy rain, so be careful out there.