Morning Word

SFPD Investigates Ragle Park Homicide

State awards $150,000 to Santa Fe cremated remains startup

SFPD investigate new homicide

Santa Fe Police are investigating the death of 60-year-old Samuel Cordero of Santa Fe, whose body was found yesterday morning in Ragle Park dead from a gunshot wound. The Office of the Medical Investigator pronounced Cordero dead at the scene after the SFPD Criminal Investigation responded to a “man down” call at approximately 4:37 am and SFPD identified Cordero later yesterday afternoon. That unit is investigating the death as a homicide and, as of yesterday afternoon, had no suspect information. Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective Rebecca Hilderbrandt at 505-955-5265. The Santa Fe New Mexican reports Cordero worked as a caregiver at MorningStar Assisted Living & Memory Care on Pacheco Street—not far from where his body was discovered—and was the oldest of six siblings. His mother Yvonne Cordero, who lived with her son, described him to the paper as “a very loving” and dependable person. “I don’t know anybody that would want to do this to him,” she said. “He would never even think of hurting anybody unless he was protecting somebody.” Cordero’s death marks the city’s third homicide of the year.

Accused ABQ shooter had history of violence

Albuquerque’s Islamic Center of New Mexico asked Muhammad Syed, the 61-year-old man charged with killing two Muslim men over the last month, to leave the mosque in 2020 after video surveillance showed him slashing the tires of another attendee’s car. More than a year and a half later, the Albuquerque Journal reports, someone shot the brother of the woman who brought the initial complaint about the tires. No arrests have been made yet in that shooting of 62-year-old Muhammad Zahir Ahmadi. But Syed has been charged in the murders of Aftab Hussein on July 26 and Muhammad Afzaal Hussain on Aug. 1 and is under investigation for both Muhammad Zahir Ahmadi and the Aug. 5 fatal shooting of Naeem Hussain. While speculation continues regarding the rumors of sectarian motivations, Syed’s criminal history includes charges of domestic violence, all dropped by prosecutors when the victims—Syed’s family members—wouldn’t testify, according to the New York Times. Federal prosecutors yesterday also charged and arrested Syed’s son, Shaheen Syed, with using a false address to purchase a gun last year.

State awards $150,000 to Santa Fe startup

The state of New Mexico yesterday announced a $150,000 Local Economic Development Act grant to Santa Fe startup Parting Stone to allow the company to grow from 20 to 109 employees over the next five years. When founder and CEO Justin Crowe launched the company in 2018, he hoped to find appropriate technology to transform cremated remains into solids to provide people who lose their loved ones a better alternative. He swiftly won numerous business accelerator pitches, grants and angel investor buy-in and now has contracts with 600 funeral homes across the US and Canada. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced the LEDA award—which will be accompanied by a $25,000 City of Santa Fe grant pending City Council approval—at a news conference at Parting Stone’s Southside headquarters, sharing her own story of struggling after her first husband’s death in 2004 and his subsequent cremation. A service like Parting Stone’s, she said, “would have made a difference.” For his part, Crowe said starting a company during the COVID-19 pandemic had presented challenges but credited support from the state, local government and community for helping Parting Stone succeed. “New Mexico is woven into the DNA of Parting Stone,” Crowe said.

COVID-19 by the numbers

Reported Aug. 10

New cases: 797; 599,757 total cases

Deaths: six; Santa Fe County has had 332 total deaths; there have been 8,303 total fatalities statewide. Statewide hospitalizations: 164. Patients on ventilators: seven

Case rates: According to the state health department’s most recent report on geographical trends for the seven-day period of Aug. 1-7, Roosevelt County had the highest daily case rate per 100,000 population: 73.9, followed by Quay County at 61.3 and McKinley County at 57.9; Santa Fe County’s case rate continues to decline and was at 34, a decrease from 42.2 the prior week. The state recorded 5,274 total cases statewide—based on reported cases—over the seven-day period, an approximate 16% decrease from the previous week.

Community levels: According to the CDC’s most recent update for COVID-19 “community levels,” a framework that combines case rates with hospital metrics, eight New Mexico counties have “red” or high levels for the seven-day reporting period (the map updates on Thursdays). Santa Fe County remains “yellow” or medium. Seven counties have “green” or low levels. The community levels site has accompanying recommendations at the bottom of the page. The CDC also provides a quarantine and isolation calculator.

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

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

Listen up

If you’re a cat owner (aka a cat servant), you’re going to want to tune in to the most recent episode of Pet Chat with hosts Murad Kirdar, public information officer from the Santa Fe Animal Shelter and Humane Society, and Bobbi Heller, executive director of Felines & Friends New Mexico. Kirdar and Heller talk with cat expert Molly DeVoss, host of Cat Talk Radio and a Fear Free Certified Trainer. As such, DeVoss works with cat guardians and veterinarians to alleviate the stress pets associate with vet visits and shares tips (such as how to get your cat into the detested cat carrier).

Music to one’s ears

Wall Street Journal opera critic Heidi Waleson considers the “high notes” of the Santa Fe Opera’s 2022 season, starting with the most recent, composer Huang Ruo and librettist David Henry Hwang’s M.Butterfly, which Waleson describes as “an absorbing new incarnation” of Hwang’s play, with accolades for each aspect of the performance. Reviews of the rest of the season are somewhat mixed. Waleson offers praise to Tristan and Isolde for soprano Tamara Wilson, “a powerful Isolde with ringing top notes…whose tender ‘Liebestod’ was worth the wait to the end of the evening” and for mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton as Brangäne; and bass-baritone Nicholas Brownlee as Kurwenal. She was less thrilled with the production overall, which she described as taking “abstraction to boring extremes.” Staging in Falstaff and Quinn Kelsey in the title role receive rave reviews, but Waleson describes Director Stephen Barlow’s Barber of Seville as “antic” and trying “too hard for comedy” (We disagree). As for Carmen, which opened the season, some of Director Mariame Clément’s “resonated,” Waleson writes. “Others felt incoherent.” While Isabel Leonard as Carmen “sang the music well and even played the castanets skillfully,” Michael Fabiano’s “explosive Don José dominated the show.” The SFO season runs through Aug. 27 and includes the Aug. 14 and Aug. 21 Apprentice Scenes, featured in this week’s SFR Picks.

New rooms with a view

ICYMI, come fall, Meow Wolf’s House of Eternal Return will debut three new permanent installations, including renowned Native American artist Virgil Ortiz’s Sirens: Secret Passkeys & Portals, which will feature a cast of characters from Ortiz’s dystopian Revolt 1680/2180 saga. Adapting the work for an immersive installation “opens up many possibilities,” Ortiz said in a statement. “It has challenged me to adapt to the idea of having people interact with the displays, decode patterns, listen to the soundtrack and wander around it all.” Los Angeles-based artist Squidlicker, also known as Lauren YS, will have their installation, The Ancestral Crypt, in a two-story room accessed through a round portal from the exhibition’s central forest. Modeled off of Asian prayer spaces, the room is where viewers “can go with our queer ancestors on the ancestral plane,” according to the artist. Lastly, New York-based artist Jacob Fisher’s until I see you again “will be located in the depths of the exhibition space shrouding Space Sphere, the giant interstellar traveling ball.” As one enters, the artist says, “shape, structure, color, detail and light grasp your attention. The environment diverts your consciousness away from the comings and goings of the outside world, and towards sensation of the physical–the present moment. My hope is that, for a moment, in this odd beautiful world, you forget your efforts to order the chaos of the everyday. For a moment you are filled with tranquility.”

Chasing rainbows

Today should be quite a bit cooler than of late with a high temperature near 73 degrees and mostly sunny skies. As per usual, look for scattered showers and thunderstorms after noon. The National Weather Service forecasts a 40% chance for precipitation today and a 20% chance tonight with isolated showers and thunderstorms before 9 pm.

Thanks for reading! The Word thinks she would like to know what spiders’ dreams look like (maybe?).

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