Morning Word

Feds Extend NM’s Disaster Declaration

Mag Judge Anaya Jr. will retire before term ends

Feds extend NM’s disaster declaration

The Federal Emergency Management Agency yesterday approved extending New Mexico’s emergency disaster declaration. President Joe Biden originally granted the declaration in May for 90 days in response to the early and devastating start of the state’s wildfire season. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham recently requested the extension in response to the ongoing flooding occurring in the burn scar area; the disaster declaration will now be in effect through Sept. 6. The state’s congressional delegation also requested the extension; both the governor and delegation have asked the federal government to waive 100% of total eligible costs. Lujan Grisham has also written to US Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack requesting the USDA provide funds to New Mexico ranchers, farmers and landowners impacted by wildfires, including those fires caused by federal planned burns. “While USDA has disaster programs available, these programs are taking far too long to access and will not cover 100 percent of producer and landowner losses,” the governor’s letter says. “These producers and landowners cannot and should not be required to fill gaps in federal support with loan programs and pay interest on loans they did not require until the federally-caused fire. Reuters recently reported on New Mexicans being required to pay for a share of recovery on private land impacted by the Hermits Peak/Calf Canyon Fire, despite President Biden’s assurance the federal government would cover 100% of the cost, given the US Forest Service’s culpability in the fires.

Containment of the fire, as of yesterday, had reached 96%. In response to the increased precipitation from the monsoons, State Forester Laura McCarthy rescinded state fire restrictions enacted in April and applicable to non-municipal, non-federal and non-tribal lands. “While the monsoon is bringing relief, we are not out of danger,” McCarthy said. “Parts of the state continue to be very dry, and we encourage New Mexicans and visitors to use caution with any use of fire, including fireworks, and to follow all local, federal, or tribal restrictions that remain in place.”

Magistrate Judge Anaya will retire before term ends

Santa Fe County Magistrate Judge George Anaya Jr.’s last day on the bench will be Aug. 31. “I am proud of the work I’ve done for the court, both on and off the bench,” Anaya, who was first elected in 1986 and has served continually since 2000, said in a statement yesterday announcing his retirement. “I work diligently to make sure every person who comes before the court is treated with respect and dignity. It has been a true honor to serve the citizens of Santa Fe for the past 30 years. I will treasure my time working for the Judiciary of New Mexico for the rest of my life.” Among the accomplishments cited in a news release announcing his retirement, Anaya cites his work bringing automation to the court’s management system and his implementation of mediation for civil cases in his first two terms. He has served as president, vice president and secretary-treasurer of the New Mexico Magistrate Association and is a past member of the National Association of Latino Elected Officials. The governor will appoint Anaya’s successor to serve the remainder of Judge Anaya’s term, which expires at the end of December. The general election will determine who fills the judgeship for a new four-year term. Democratic primary winner Dev Atma Khalsa faces no opposition in the race, although one of his opponents from the primary election recently filed a complaint against him questioning Khalsa’s county of residence.

Court touts NM eviction diversion program

Supreme Court Chief Justice C. Shannon Bacon is scheduled to speak about New Mexico’s eviction prevention program during a White House summit on the topic, which will be held virtually at 10:30 am today. “The Eviction Prevention and Diversion program offers help to tenants and landlords, lessening the risk that financially vulnerable New Mexicans will lose their housing,” Bacon said in a statement. “At the outset of an eviction case, the program works with people to seek emergency rental assistance. Those who applied with the help of the program had a nearly 80% success rate in receiving some form of housing assistance, and this was before the program was fully implemented in all 33 counties of New Mexico.” Bacon will speak on a panel titled, “Visionary Court-Led Eviction System Reform,” which includes representatives from Michigan and Louisiana courts, as well as the US Department of Justice. The summit also will feature a variety of speakers, including Matthew Desmond, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of EvictedUS Rep. Maxine Waters, D-CA, who chairs the House Committee on Financial Services; and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, among others. In other housing-related news, the state Children, Youth & Families Department recently announced it is partnering with the New Mexico Mortgage Finance Authority to provide financial assistance to landlords who participate in the Landlord Collaboration Program, designed to incentivize property owners and managers to lease to older youth and young adults who who face challenges securing rental housing.

COVID-19 by the numbers

Reported Aug. 1

New cases: 2,001 (includes the weekend and is close to 14% lower than last week’s three-day total); 593,026 total cases

Deaths: 11; Santa Fe County has had 329 total deaths; there have been 8,257 total fatalities statewide. Statewide hospitalizations: 138. Patients on ventilators: nine

Case rates: According to the state health department’s most recent report on geographical trends, published last 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 improvement from the week prior for the state overall. The CDC framework combines case rates with two hospital metrics and shows, for the seven-day period of July 21-27, 11 counties—six fewer than last week—have “red” or high levels. Santa Fe County remains “yellow” or medium. Seven counties—three more than last week—now have “green” or low levels. 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.

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

“Two hitmen in a depressed rust belt town struggle with a job gone wrong. A girl witnesses a horrifying accident and carries it with her for the rest of her life. Medical students bring a severed foot to a college party.” These are some examples of the stories in prolific author Joyce Carol Oates’ new story collection, Extenuating Circumstances, which contains 22 stories of crime and suspense (originally published in long out-of-print volume). Oates will discuss the book with author David Morrell (First Blood) at 6 pm in an in-store event at Collected Works Bookstore, which will also stream on Zoom. Register for the link here.

Stay for the art

Historic Hotels of America recently released its 2022 list of 25 hotels in the US with the most “magnificent” art collections, with La Fonda on the Plaza making the cut. The hotel’s art collection, which dates to the hotel’s start in 1922, and “every piece has a connection to the people who designed, built, and owned the hotel,” the write-up notes. Works include 10 canvases by Gerald Cassidy “depicting life in the frontier West, plus a map of the Southwest that still hangs in the New Mexico Room”; murals by Paul Lantz “depicting life in a Mexican village”; “striking panels of Native America situated in the Mezzanine level overlooking La Plazuela dining room” by one-time resident Vladan Stiha; and hand-painted motifs of Ernest Martinez throughout. In its early years, the hotel acquired paintings by “the best Pueblo artists,” a tradition maintained by former owners Sam and Ethel Ballen, as well as Board Chair Jenny Kimball, “all supporting Santa Fe’s famed Indian Market and acquiring work by Native Americans and other artists for the hotel.”

Another Netflix show hunkers down in ABQ

Obliterated, a new Netflix series, has begun filming in New Mexico and will continue through October. According to a news release from the state Film Office, the movie—will be produced and directed by Jon Hurwitz, Josh Heald and Hayden Schlossberg, who created Cobra Kai. “We are so excited to be making our next project in Albuquerque, where many of our friends have had an excellent experience filming,” the producers said in a statement. “Obliterated is a high-octane action-comedy that we’ve been planning for over a decade. We look forward to working with our mostly New Mexico-based crew to bring our vision to life.” The producers describe the show as a one-hour action comedy that “tells the story of an elite special forces team that thwarts a deadly threat to Las Vegas. After their celebratory party, filled with booze, drugs, and sex, the team discovers that the bomb they deactivated was a fake. The now intoxicated team has to fight through their impairments, overcome their personal issues, find the real bomb, and save the world.” Obliterated will employ approximately 350 New Mexico crew members, 25 New Mexico principal actors, and approximately 2,000 New Mexico background talent.

Dry off

Keeping in mind the vagaries of weather, today looks to be mostly sunny and rainless with a high near 89 degrees, north wind 5 to 15 mph becoming northwest in the afternoon. The National Weather Service forecasts a return to the monsoons starting tomorrow and straight on through the weekend.

Thanks for reading! The Word thinks she would make an excellent barefoot bookseller.

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