Morning Word

St. Mike’s Starbucks Workers File to Unionize

SFPD: Ragle Park Shooting victim entered through broken gate

St. Mike’s Starbucks workers file to unionize

Starbucks baristas and shift supervisors who work at the St. Michael’s Drive location in Santa Fe filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board yesterday to unionize. According to the NLRB case file, 22 employees signed the petition. In a letter to Starbucks’ interim CEO Howard Schultz, the employees say they have previously tried to communicate with Starbucks leadership about the challenges employees face: “We have been without proper support and management, and our ability to serve and connect with our customers has suffered for it. Amidst an ongoing pandemic, we have been asked to choose between our health and our paycheck. We have been asked to carry the workload of two or more people on back-to-back shifts.” The letter, which is signed by seven employees as well as “others whose names have been omitted for fear of retaliation,” says while employees “are not ungrateful” for Starbucks’ benefits, “we believe that the company as a whole can do better.” The Santa Fe Starbucks’ employees union effort follows one by 31 employees at an Albuquerque Starbucks in July. The union initiatives in New Mexico reflect a larger surge of such efforts across the US. Reuters reports employees at 216 of the 9,000 Starbucks’ locations have voted to join the union compared with none a year ago (46 have voted against unionizing). Starbucks, earlier this week, accused the NLRB, which oversees union elections, of manipulating results and asked it to suspend all union elections pending an investigation. Allegations of union busting have emerged across from numerous Starbucks’ locations, with dozens of pro-union employees reporting they were fired in retaliation.

Broken gate at Ragle Park provided entry to shooting victim

A broken gate at Ragle Park allowed Samuel Cordero, 60, to enter the parking lot after hours. Police found his vehicle there after Cordero was shot and killed in the early morning hours on Aug. 10. The gate to the parking lot off Yucca Street, intended to deter entry after 10 pm, had been broken for months. Santa Fe Police Department Capt. Aaron Ortiz says officers are aware the gate isn’t functioning and try to patrol parks as calls for service allow. Ortiz concedes the barrier would have prevented Cordero from entering the lot, but says “it’s hard to say” whether it would have prevented his death. Ragle’s gate, however, is just one of several across the city needing attention, according to Parks Operations Manager Skyler Nielsen. General E Franklin Miles Park’s gate also isn’t working, and many of the barriers at the city’s older parks are battered from car collisions or vandalism. The two broken gates have been out since Nielsen began working with the city five months ago, he says. Police have yet to identify a suspect in Cordero’s killing; Crime Stoppers (505) 955-5050 has offered a $1,000 award.

Officials release plans for drought-stricken Colorado River

New Mexico does not face any immediate water cuts as a result of the drought crisis facing the Colorado River system. But those could well be coming. The US Interior Department yesterday announced actions to protect the Colorado River system, and released the Colorado River Basin August 2022 24-Month study, which sets the annual operations for Lake Powell and Lake Mead in 2023 in light of critically low reservoir conditions. “Every sector in every state has a responsibility to ensure that water is used with maximum efficiency,” Assistant Secretary for Water and Science Tanya Trujillo said in a statement. “In order to avoid a catastrophic collapse of the Colorado River System and a future of uncertainty and conflict, water use in the Basin must be reduced. The Interior Department is employing prompt and responsive actions and investments to ensure the entire Colorado River Basin can function and support all who rely on it.” Arizona, Nevada and Mexico all face cuts as a result of the plan released yesterday. But more cuts could be in the offing for residents in all seven Western states reliant on the Colorado River, where officials have failed to meet a federal deadline for reducing water use by 15%. In turn, the Associated Press reports, federal officials have yet to hold states to a new deadline, leading to criticism from regional water advocates. “They have called the bureau’s bluff time and again,” Kyle Roerink, the executive director of the Great Basin Water Network, said regarding Colorado River basin states. “Nothing has changed with today’s news—except for the fact that the Colorado River system keeps crashing.”

COVID-19 by the numbers

Reported Aug. 16

New cases: 542; 603,450 total cases

Deaths: three; Santa Fe County has had 334 total deaths; there have been 8,321 fatalities statewide. Statewide hospitalizations: 181. Patients on ventilators: 11

Case rates: According to the state health department’s most recent report on geographical trends for the seven-day period of Aug. 8-14, McKinley County had the highest daily case rate per 100,000 population: 54.6, followed by Grant County at 52.8 and Lea County at 50.0; Santa Fe County’s case rate continues to decline and was at 26.3, compared with 34 the prior week. The state recorded 4,500 total cases statewide—based on reported cases—over the seven-day period, a nearly 15% 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. 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

Santa Fe Indian Market officially starts tonight with an invitation-only event heading into this weekend’s free and open market (find the full schedule here). To commemorate the 100th event from the Southwestern Association of Indian Arts, the New Mexico History Museum presents Honoring Tradition and Innovation: 100 Years of Santa Fe’s Indian Market 1922-2022 (through Aug. 31, 2023), an exhibition that traces the history of the market, while also examining the impact of federal policies on the Native American art world. On the most recent episode of the Cline’s Corner podcast, host Lynn Cline speaks with Curator Cathy Notarnicola about putting together the exhibit (no small feat).

GRRM will read, stock, sell Rushdie’s work

Game of Thrones author George RR Martin writes in a blog post this week that while he has never read Salman Rushdie’s work (and doubts Rushdie has ever read his), that has not kept him from admiring Rushdie, who is reportedly recovering after being stabbed at a literary event last week. Martin writes that he admired Rushdie’s “courage, compassion and grace” during his decade in hiding after Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a fatwa against him. In more recent years, when Rushdie began appearing more in public, “he emerged as one of the world’s leading defenders of free speech, which only deepened my admiration for him,” Martin writes. “Freedom of speech is a central pillar of our democracy, and every other democracy in the world. There is nothing, but nothing, that I believe in more strongly.” Freedom of speech needs defenders, Martin continues, particularly these days, “for when I look around, I find it under attack everywhere.” Thus, in response to the attack on Rushdie, Martin says, he has ordered copies of several of Rushdie’s books for himself and instructed the managers at his bookshop, Beastly Books, to order copies of every Rushdie book in print (Beastly Books isn’t a general interest store and primarily only stocks autographed copies of Martin’s books and those of authors who have appeared at the store and the Jean Cocteau Cinema for events over the years). “Rushdie’s books would not previously have been on our shelves, no more than those of thousands of other writers who we have never hosted,” Martin concludes. “But that’s changing, as of today. From here on, we will be stocking everything Rushdie wrote…The man who rushed on stage in Chautauqua with knife in hand wanted to do more than murder Salman Rushdie. He wanted to silence him. Well, fuck that. I say, let his voice be heard. I hope that all of you reading this will join me.”

Season Two of The Cleaning Lady underway in NM

Season two of The Cleaning Lady has begun filming in and around Albuquerque and will employ approximately 256 New Mexico crew members, six New Mexico principal actors and approximately 2,384 New Mexico background talent, according to the state Film Office.”We had such a great experience filming season one in New Mexico that there was never any doubt we would return for season two,” Executive Producer Melissa Carter said in a statement. Season 2, which premiers on FOX on Sept. 19, continues the story of a doctor (Élodie Yung) who comes to the US for a medical treatment to save her ailing son. “But when the system fails and pushes her into hiding, she refuses to be beaten down and marginalized. Instead, she becomes a cleaning lady for the mob and starts playing the game by her own rules.” The drama is based on the Argentine series La Chica Que Limpia. In an interview last June with The Hollywood Reporter, Young, Carter and Executive Producer Miranda Kwok discussed how they incorporated Young’s background into the character of Thony De La Rosa, a Cambodian-Filipino doctor, as well as tackling issues such as undocumented immigration and health care in a crime drama.

Make hay while the sun shines

Santa Fe has a slightly increased chance for scattered showers and thunderstorms today, according to the National Weather Service, which forecasts a 50% chance for rain today and tonight. Otherwise, the day should be mostly sunny with a high near 81 degrees.

Thanks for reading! The Word is enjoying watching the bears enjoy the end of summer at Katmai National Park.

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