Morning Word

Police Seek Vehicle Connected to Muslim Murders

Cerrillos Road constructions starts today.

APD seek vehicle possibly connected to Muslim murders

The Albuquerque Police Department yesterday released photos of a vehicle they say may be connected to the shooting deaths of four Muslim men, and are asking anyone with information to call (505) 843-STOP. The most recent homicide took place Friday night, following a news conference last week in which police said they were examining potential connections between the shooting deaths of three Muslim men over the last nine months, including Española Planning and Land Use Director Muhammad Afzaal Hussain last week. A fourth man, Naeem Hussain, was shot Friday night hours after attending the funerals for Muhammad Afzaal Hussain and Aftab Hussein, who was killed at the end of July. “Now, people are beginning to panic,” Tahir Gauba, the director of public affairs with the Islamic Center of New Mexico, told the Albuquerque Journal following the fourth shooting on Friday night. Police also have created an online portal through which the public can upload videos and photos they believe will help police find the perpetrator(s) of the homicides, and have shifted their schedules to ensure a police presence in the city’s Muslim community, and state police also will have an increased presence.

In a news conference yesterday, Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller and Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham both decried the attacks, with Keller describing the situation as “one we never expected or thought would ever happen in Albuquerque” and “a frightening time for many. We have members of our Muslim communities [who] are afraid to participate in their daily activities that they should never be afraid to do.” Lujan Grisham said she had been in communication with Muslim leaders in the state and described herself as “incredibly angry about this situation. Every New Mexican should stand up and against this kind of hatred. It has no place in this city and it has no place in our state.” As the killings made the national news, President Joe Biden released a comparable state describing himself as “angered and saddened,” and saying “these hateful attacks have no place in America.” The Muslim advocacy and civil rights organization Council on American-Islamic Relations on Saturday raised its reward for information to $10,000 and called on the Biden administration to take a direct role in responding. “This tragedy is impacting not only the Muslim community—but all Americans,” CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad said in a statement. “We must be united against hate and violence regardless of the race, faith or background of the victims or the perpetrators. We urge anyone with information about these crimes to come forward by contacting law enforcement.”

Cerrillos Road construction starts today

Today isn’t just any old Monday. It’s the Monday the City of Santa Fe kicks off an approximate month-long construction project on Cerrillos Road. The streets division will begin repaving work between Camino Carlos Rey and Cielo Court with work hours taking place from 7 am to 7 pm on Monday through Friday, featuring lane closures and, the city says, potential delays (we say: Count on it). Sidewalks adjacent to the construction will not be affected. “When commuting and traveling through the construction zone, please drive carefully and allow extra time to arrive safely at your destination,” a news release advises. This week also heralds implementation of the city’s revised junk vehicle ordinance, which goes into effect tomorrow (you can read the amendments here, but basically any motor vehicles visible from any private or public place are subject to enforcement procedures and penalties as outlined by the Nuisance Abatement Ordinance, which can be up to $9,000 for continued noncompliance). Finally, Monday, Aug. 15, kicks off the city’s new four-day trash and recycling schedule. The changes come as a result of a route optimization study the city embarked upon with tech company Rubicon You can read all the reasons for the shift to a four-day schedule here but, in a nutshell, the city says it will be more efficient. You can look up your new collection day here.

State launches wildfire assistance for businesses

Over the weekend, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced a new program aimed at helping businesses impacted by wildfires. The temporary $1.5 million New Mexico Wildfire Business Assistance Grant, through the state Economic Development Department, will provide aid when government assistance falls short, the governor’s office said. To qualify, businesses need to be within the boundaries of the Presidential Disaster Declaration for the Big Hole, Calf Canyon/Hermit’s Peak, Cooks Peak and McBride fires and can then qualify to receive between $5,000 and $20,000. “The Hermit’s Peak/Calf Canyon Fire has caused unimaginable destruction to our life-giving watersheds and the communities many call home,” Ralph Vigil, chairman of the New Mexico Acequia Commission and owner of Molino de la Isla Organics in Pecos, said in a statement. “I have seen the destruction. I have heard many stories of hardships and pleas for assistance. Knowing that there is additional assistance to help mitigate the losses for so many brings a huge sigh of relief to communities that have been affected.” The new program arrives as US Senate Democrats pass the climate change/ health care/ tax bill, the Inflation Reduction Act, which includes—among other provisions—$5 billion for wildfire protections and to address the catastrophic wildfires growing as a result of climate change according to US Sen. Ben Ray Luján, D-NM. “This legislation will be the most transformative action that Congress has ever taken to tackle the climate crisis,” Luján said in a statement, but noted: “Passing this bill is only the beginning—I will work hard, alongside my colleagues, and President Biden and his administration, to ensure these programs are successful, and that they align with New Mexico’s challenges and opportunities.” The bill now heads to the US House.

COVID-19 by the numbers

Reported Aug. 5

New cases: 1,042; 596,599 total cases

Deaths: nine; Santa Fe County has had 331 total deaths; there have been 8,282 total fatalities statewide. Statewide hospitalizations: 160. Patients on ventilators: six

Case rates: According to the state health department’s most recent report on geographical trends for the seven-day period of July 25-31, McKinley County had the highest daily case rate per 100,000 population: 68.2, followed by Roosevelt County at 66.8 and Doña Ana County at 55.2; Santa Fe County’s case rate was 42.2, a decline from 46.6 the prior week. The state recorded 6,300 total cases statewide over the seven-day period, a 5% decrease from the previous week.

Community levels: The CDC’s most recent update for COVID-19 “community levels,” which updates on Thursdays, shows some improvement from the week before. The CDC framework combines case rates with two hospital metrics and shows eight counties—three fewer than last week—have “red” or high levels for the seven-day reporting period. Santa Fe County remains “yellow” or medium. Seven counties—the same as last week—have “green” or low 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

Friends of History, which raises funds and awareness for the New Mexico History Museum, offers a free lecture on the first Wednesday of the month on—you guessed it—a topic relating to New Mexico history. In the most recent talk, “Revolution, Converging Tradition and Innovation,” world-renowned Cochiti artist Virgil Ortiz discusses the process he uses to create his art—rooted in Pueblo pottery tradition he learned from his grandmothers—and the story of Pueblo culture his work tells through a blend of “sci-fi, fantasy and apocalyptic themes.”

Float like a butterfly

“I felt in opera I could freely integrate—to twist and to turn, to create all the drama with the music.” So says composer Huang Ruo, in a recent interview with the New York Times about M.Butterfly, which recently had its world premiere in the Santa Fe Opera’s 2022 season (only three performances remain!). M. Butterfly adapts opera librettist David Henry Hwang Tony-award winning play, which itself responds and inverts Puccini’s Madame Butterfly to explore issues of race and gender. “I saw several versions of the play, and I often felt it needed to be told in musical form because it was so related to Puccini and to the reversal of Madama Butterfly.” Ruo says. “Some plays should never be touched or turned into opera, but I felt this was one of the rare cases where it could work.” Ruo also explains specifically how he references Puccini musically in his score, saying he reversed Puccini’s motif and made it “quasi-pentatonic, to make it more Eastern. And then I have an opera gong, crash cymbal and all these instruments go along with it. So it’s quite unrecognizable if you don’t know the Puccini well, but I felt that in that way it’s related to the Puccini, and it also became new, just like M. Butterfly itself.” The Times’ opera reviewer seemed underwhelmed by the opera itself. SFR loved it.

No place like home

Travel Awaits rounds up 10 “inviting” rentals in Santa Fe, some of which are something else. Santa Fe’s “local flavor,” the story proclaims is “a potent mix of rich spices prepared with boldness and virtuosity.” Where better to taste them than, for example, an “adobe mansion atop a hill,” complete with “a rich collection of art going back to Florentine masters of the 16th century,” not to mention a saltwater swimming pool and hot tub? All for $1,995 per night, no less. For an average of $913 a night, guests can bed down at Casa Junipero, apparently a former boarding school, which features both tetherball and a pool table (among other amenities). The Hobbit House appears a little less deluxe and is in walking distance to Maria’s (a bonus if one plans to drink more than one Maria’s margarita) and is described as “an admirably eccentric amalgam, the sort of thing you only see in out-there cities like Santa Fe. The house has a number of strange and wonderful features, including circular portals, arboreal frescos, and a number of mosaic inlays found on doors, table tops, and elsewhere.”

Rainy Monday

The National Weather Service forecasts an 80% chance for precipitation today, with showers and thunderstorms mainly after noon—some of which could produce heavy rain. We will have a high temperature near 82 degrees and a 50% chance for more rain tonight.

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