Morning Word

SFPD deploys additional officers to Cerrillos Road corridor

3rd Congressional District candidates debate tonight

SFPD deploys additional officers to Cerrillos Road corridor

Starting today, the Santa Fe Police Department will be deploying additional police officers in the Cerrillos Road corridor between St. Michael’s Drive to Richards Avenue. Titled “Centralized Aid,” the new operation, SFPD says, will include “proactive, targeted and highly visible patrols in the surrounding neighborhoods and business districts.” Officers will be in the area “to identify infractions of the law and to build relationships with the community,” with a focus including, but not limited to, disorderly conduct, illegal camping, criminal trespassing, narcotic violations and traffic Infractions. “The goal of Operation Centralized Aid is to increase the overall quality of life and safety in the focused area,” SFPD said in a social media post yesterday announcing the initiative. Last month, the city resumed enforcement of its ban on encampments, which had been suspended in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. At the same time, The Interfaith Community Shelter at Pete’s Place opened its seasonal overnight shelter; the area around the shelter has been a flashpoint for concerns about crime from neighboring businesses and residents. The new Cerrillos Road-area patrol comes as SFPD reports an increase last month in the average number of motor vehicle thefts and arson. According to September crime statistics SFPD Police Chief Paul Joye is scheduled to present at today’s 4 pm city Public Safety Committee meeting, Santa Fe saw 13 cases of arson last month (compared to one in August) and 55 motor vehicle thefts—nine more than the month before. The 59 burglaries and breaking and entering cases represent a nearly 33% decrease. Assaults remained constant, with 136 last month.

Court bars NM Civil Guard from unauthorized paramilitary acts

Second Judicial District Court Judge Elaine P. Lujan has granted Bernalillo County District Attorney Raúl Torrez’s request for an injunction against the New Mexico Civil Guard. Lujan’s Oct. 7 order forbids NMCG from “organizing and operating in public as part of a military unit independent of New Mexico’s civil authority” without being activated by the governor and from “assuming law-enforcement functions by using or projecting the ability to use organized force at protests, demonstrations, or public gatherings.” In a statement yesterday, Torrez, who is the Democratic candidate for state attorney general in the Nov. 8 general election, called the ruling “a victory for the rule of law and a signal to anyone in this state who believes that they can establish their own private paramilitary or police unit to advance their own political agenda.” Torrez’s July 2020 lawsuit followed NMCG’s armed presence at a June 2020 protest over a Juan de Oñate statue in Albuquerque that ended in a man being shot. Georgetown Law’s Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection acted as co-counsel in the case. “Clear rulings from courts, like this injunction against the New Mexico Civil Guard, send a powerful message to unlawful private paramilitary groups that their efforts to take the law into their own hands will not be tolerated,” ICAP’s Executive Director Mary B. McCord said in a statement. “It’s critical to lay down these markers to establish that unauthorized paramilitary activity is incompatible with the rule of law.”

3CD candidates debate tonight

The Santa Fe County League of Women Voters will hold a candidate forum for US Rep. Teresa Leger Fernández, the Democrat who represents New Mexico’s 3rd Congressional District, and Republican challenger Alexis Martinez Johnson at 5:30 pm this evening at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation (107 Barcelona St.). Both candidates’ responses to the League’s candidate questionnaire can be found in its 2022 Election Guide. With early voting underway, the Secretary of State’s office reports that as of yesterday morning, approximately 19,700 people had voted, mostly in-person. Of those, nearly 54% were registered Democrats; nearly 37% were registered Republicans; and close to 9% were decline-to-state or independent voters (79 Libertarian voters have cast ballots, along with 63 belonging to other parties). Of those in-person voters, 280 utilized same-day voter registration. In Santa Fe County, 1,562 Democrats had cast ballots as of yesterday; 178 Republicans; and 174 DTS voters. Find all of SFR’s election coverage here.

COVID-19 by the numbers

Reported Oct. 17: New cases: 755 (includes the weekend); 622,913 total cases; Deaths: 0; Santa Fe County has had 353 total deaths; there have been 8,601 fatalities statewide. Statewide hospitalizations: 89. Patients on ventilators: five. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s most recent Oct. 13 “community levels” map, which uses a combination of hospital and case rate metrics to calculate COVID-19 risk for the prior seven-day period, all of New Mexico is once again green, aka has low levels. Corresponding recommendations for each level can be found here.

Resources: CDC interactive booster eligibility tool; NM DOH vaccine & booster registration; CDC isolation and exposure interactive tool; Self-report a positive COVID-19 test result; Curative testing sites; COVID-19 treatment info; NMDOH immunocompromised tool kit. People seeking treatment who do not have a medical provider can call NMDOH’s COVID-19 hotline at 1-855-600-3453.

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

Listen up

On the most recent episode of the Both/And podcast from the New Mexico Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs, host and NMCSAP Director for Sexual Violence Prevention Jess Clark interviews Bernalillo County Commissioner and Strong Families NM Policy Director Adriann Barboa about how sexual violence prevention and reproductive justice intersect; lessons learned from Respect ABQ Women 2013 campaign against a ballot measure in Albuquerque that would have limited abortions; and how “movements can broaden our coalitions to move forward together.”

Might as well jump

Ten years ago this month, Austrian skydiver Felix Baumgartner skydived from space—a 24-mile feat watched by 8 million people around the world, landing by parachute in Roswell, New Mexico and becoming the first skydiver to break the sound barrier. “I remember the moment I landed in New Mexico,” Baumgartner says in an anniversary essay for Newsweek. “I felt like I had been in prison for seven years and now the prison doors were open again and I was walking free. The intense seven-year project was over and now I could finally focus on something else. It was a relief.” (A documentary about his jump, Space Jump: How Red Bull Stratos Captured the World’s Attention, is now available to watch on Red Bull TV.) The jump took six years to prepare, CNN reports, and involved the construction of a helium balloon the size of 33 football pitches that weighed 3,708 pounds. One might think the daredevil would be a likely candidate for a return trip to space, perhaps via Virgin Galactic or Blue Origin, but Baumgartner tells Forbes in an interview with Jim Clash (himself a Virgin Galactic ticket-holder) that’s a no-go: “Virgin Galactic, and Blue Origin, they put everyone in a capsule, but nobody’s wearing a spacesuit,” he says. “If a window blows out, they will die. The reason they don’t require one is, and I know this from personal experience [wearing a spacesuit for Project Stratos], the suits are really expensive. How many are you going to buy? Think about it.”

Come for the beaches, stay for the mole

While we’ve grown accustomed to New Mexico’s regular (seemingly constant) appearance in travel magazine round-ups, The Travel’s latest output, “10 Gorgeous New Mexico Beaches You Didn’t Even Know You Could Visit,” took us off-guard. After thorough investigation, we concede beaches don’t require oceans. Indeed, the story astutely notes that most of New Mexico’s beaches “are situated near ponds and lakes,” and include “lesser-known shores” and hidden “coastlines.” Specifically, state parks: Conchas Lake, Lea Lake at Bottomless Lake State Park, Heron Lake, Eagle Nest Lake, Abiquiu Lake, Sumner Lake, El Vado Lake and Navajo Lake. Plus: Lake Farmington, Tingley Beach in Albuquerque. The story comes complete with Instagram proof that a New Mexico beach is within reach. Meanwhile, Cosmopolitan magazine says Santa Fe “should be the next US city on your travel list.” Deputy Beauty Editor Lauren Balsamo, came, stayed, ate, drank (and received comped accommodations, meals and experiences, she notes) and recommends Four Seasons Rancho Encantado (and its spa, where she and her mother had the new “Sunset Sound Bath & Midsummer Night’s Dream” treatment); Terra (Four Seasons’ restaurant); Anasazi Bar and Lounge; Coyote Café Cantina and Sazon, Oh, and Santa Fe once again ranked high (third) in Condé Nast’s readers’ choice award for best US cities.

Warm regards

The National Weather Service forecasts a sunny day with a high temperature near 58 degrees and northeast wind around 5 mph becoming southwest in the afternoon. Temps should head back into the mid 60s tomorrow, with chances for rain returning over the weekend.

Thanks for reading! The Word recently received a recommendation to watch the wonderful 15-minute 2020 documentary The Mountain Dogs and wanted to pass it along.

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