Morning Word

FBI issues report on “Rust” shooting, says trigger was pulled

NM updates COVID-19 public health order to match CDC

FBI reports Rust gun trigger pulled

A new FBI report in the Rust shooting case made its way to the ABC newsroom over the weekend, though officials have yet to release the document to local news organizations. No criminal charges have been filed against Alec Baldwin, who held the weapon that killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and wounded director Joel Souza last fall at the Bonanza Creek Ranch, or against anyone else on the movie set, although the state environment department is seeking to fine the production. Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza’s office issued a statement Thursday announcing the New Mexico Office of the Medical Investigator had completed its report using forensic data from the FBI, but Mendoza did not make the document publicly available or respond to a request from SFR to do so. According to ABC, the FBI concluded “accidental discharge testing determined that the firearm used in the shooting—a .45 Colt (.45 Long Colt) caliber F.lli Pietta single-action revolver—could not have fired without the trigger being pulled...With the hammer in the quarter- and half-cock positions, the gun ‘could not be made to fire without a pull of the trigger.’” Baldwin has previously told investigators and said in a television interview he believed the gun was an unloaded prop and that he did not pull the trigger. First Judicial District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies said earlier this month she had appointed a special prosecutor to assist her team’s review and was awaiting reports including from the OMI and from the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office in New York, which seized Baldwin’s phone after a judge granted a search warrant. ABC also obtained the report from the OMI, which it quotes as reading, “Death was caused by a gunshot wound of the chest. Review of available law enforcement reports showed no compelling demonstration that the firearm was intentionally loaded with live ammunition on set...Based on all available information, including the absence of obvious intent to cause harm or death, the manner of death is best classified as accident.”

Choppers drop seed and mulch on burn scar

Helicopters flying over the area of the Hermits Peak/Calf Canyon Fire have a new mission. Rather than dropping water or fire retardant, as of Sunday, choppers are now dropping mulch and seed: 138 and 5,440 tons of it, respectively. The US Forest Service awarded a contract to Rampart Helicopter Services, which will work closely with the Santa Fe National Forest Burned Area Emergency Response team. The team has identified priority treatment areas within the fire perimeter with moderate to high soil burn severity and said in a news release the seeding of native plants and barley, plus the mulching will help intercept rainfall and increase on-slope storage of water and sediment. The treatment also helps stabilize hillsides impacted by the fire to reduce post-fire runoff and mitigate erosion, as well as retain moisture to help vegetation recover more quickly. “While this treatment will provide positive impacts to the ecological health of the impacted watersheds, heavy monsoonal rains are still expected in the fire area and flooding is still possible,” the agency wrote. The contractor will deploy aerial seeding treatments on up to 8,120 acres on Forest Service lands, and mulching with seeding treatments on up to 1,280 acres north/northwest of Las Vegas. The fire burned 341,735 acres and is considered 98% contained as of last night’s data.

NM aligns public health order with CDC

The New Mexico Department of Health updated its COVID-19 public health order Friday to align with recommendations issued Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and to “adapt to the evolving nature of the virus and the effective tools we have today along with shifting management to the federal government and reducing state regulations,” according to a news release. The new order, in effect through Aug. 26, lifts the weekly testing requirement for health care workers whose vaccine status is not up to date and directs all facilities licensed or certified by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to report directly to CMS and adhere to its requirements on vaccines, masking and other topics. Employees and volunteers working in state correctional facilities are required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 unless they qualify for an exemption, and all facilities are advised to evaluate CDC community transmission levels and adopt more stringent precautions, if needed. “It’s clear by the CDC’s recommendation yesterday which moves away from restrictive measures that we’re in a different place in this pandemic than we were two years ago,” said Acting Department of Health Secretary Dr. David Scrase in a statement Friday. “Over the past eight months we have excelled in implementing the tools to minimize the spread of COVID-19 such as: vaccines, boosters, home testing and oral treatments that have helped reduce hospitalizations and deaths.” New Mexicans are “strongly encouraged” to use the CDC quarantine and isolation calculator.

COVID-19 by the numbers

Reported Aug. 12

New cases: 813; 601,422 total cases

Deaths: four; Santa Fe County has had 334 total deaths; there have been 8,312 fatalities statewide. Statewide hospitalizations: 184. 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.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s most recent update for COVID-19 “community levels”—which updates each Thursday for the prior seven-day period using a framework that combines case rates with hospital metrics—five more counties now have green or low levels compared to the week prior (a total of 12). On the other hand, 11 New Mexico counties now have “red” or high levels—three more than last week. Santa Fe County remains “yellow” or medium. The community levels site has accompanying recommendations at the bottom of the page.

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

We’re a little late to the party, but KHFM (95.5 FM in Santa Fe or online at has been broadcasting the Santa Fe Opera’s 2022 season (live performances) on Monday nights. This evening, tune in at 6 pm MT for Giuseppe Verdi’s Falstaff. Next Catch Tristan und Isolde on Aug. 22 and M. Butterfly on Aug. 29.

Native cinema returns to Indian Market

Santa Fe’s population will surge this week as Indian Market finally arrives with the big Best of Show announcement scheduled for Friday, Aug. 19 and the market open on Saturday, Aug. 20 and Sunday, Aug 21. In conjunction with the market produced by the Southwestern Association for Indian Arts, the Smithsonian Museum of the American Indian hosts the Native Cinema Showcase beginning Thursday and running through Sunday with free, first-come, first-served seating for all screenings at the New Mexico History Museum and the Saturday night family-friendly feature at Santa Fe Railyard Park. “After two years away from the Santa Fe Indian Market, the museum gives thanks for the opportunity to hold Native Cinema Showcase, gather in person and celebrate Indigenous filmmakers,” museum Director Cynthia Chavez Lamar (San Felipe Pueblo/Hopi/Tewa/Navajo), said in a statement. “While these films resonate with Native and Indigenous people, they also speak to shared, human experiences.” The 35 films (five features and 30 shorts) represent 30 Native nations in eight countries. Watch the trailer here. But wait! There’s more. The Sundance Indigenous Program is also supporting screenings, a panel with actors from Prey and more at the Pathways Indigenous Festival at Buffalo Thunder Casino and Resort in Pojoaque, including a 2 pm showing Saturday of Our Quiyo: Maria Martinez, a documentary about the famed potter by Charine Gonzales (San Ildefonso Pueblo).

Take out the papers on a new day

Ah, the soothing sounds of refuse and recycling containers rolling across stones in the early morning. Get ready to hear them on a different day, and maybe even get your own cans to the curb on the correct day with Santa Fe’s new residential trash and recycling pickup schedule going into effect today. Use an interactive map to learn how your address might be affected. Then, some weeks you can keep calculating the right day, as the city will no longer collect on holidays and on those weeks will shift the collection schedule (Monday on Tuesday, Tuesday on Wednesday, etc., through Friday, which will be both Thursday and Friday). This also seems like as good a time as any to remind residents about what can and can’t go in the recycling bins. Yes, plastics tubs and bottles. No, paper cups. Yes, aluminum pie pans. No, pizza boxes. Find a list of drop-off locations for glass here. You’re welcome.

Warm and (possibly) wet

After weekend temperatures were higher than predicted in Santa Fe, the National Weather Service forecasts a 40% chance of scattered showers and thunderstorms after noon with warm weather again. Partly sunny, with a high near 86 and north wind 5 to 10 mph becoming south in the afternoon.

Thanks for reading! The (Substitute) Word has had a particularly buggy experience in the last couple weeks, and believes a reported case of West Nile Virus in Bernalillo County on Friday is a good reminder to dig out the DEET.

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