Morning Word

Two UNM Students Charged in “Revenge” Conspiracy

Longtime Santa Fe Judge Tom Fiorina dies at 83

Police arrest, charge two UNM students in weekend shooting

State Police have arrested and charged two University of New Mexico students in the Saturday shooting that killed UNM student Brandon Travis, 19. Both Travis and New Mexico State University basketball player Mike Peake “sustained gunshot wounds” as a result of the altercation, with Travis pronounced dead on the scene and Peake taken to a local hospital. Police arrested Jonathan Smith, 19, and charged him with several felonies: aggravated battery, conspiracy and tampering with evidence. They charged 17-year-old Mya Hill in children’s court with aggravated battery and conspiracy. According to an affidavit filed with Smith’s arrest warrant, Smith, Hill and Travis conspired to lure Peake to campus, with Hill texting Peake and falsely implying she planned to have sex with him. The group hatched the scheme as “revenge” for a fight at an October UNM/NMSU football game at which Peake and his friends allegedly beat up Smith, Travis and a third suspect named only “Eli” in the affidavit (police tell the Albuquerque Journal they have identified the third suspect and are considering what charges he might face). A video clip purporting to show that “brawl” has been circulating on social media, but has not been confirmed by authorities. A Q & A posted by NMSU says the school was aware of the reports of prior fights, but would not reveal whether Peake or others might face disciplinary action, citing federal privacy laws.

Former City Judge Fiorina dies at 83

Once upon a time in Santa Fe, this week would have signaled “Turkey Day” at the City of Santa Fe Municipal Court. Former Judge Tom Fiorina, who served from 1983 to 1996, allowed people to bring in turkeys and other food donations to pay their parking tickets and, in turn, donated that food to those in need. The Santa Fe New Mexican reports Fiorina died Saturday at the age of 83 from complications of diabetes and heart disease (the last time SFR ran into Fiorina and his wife Caryn, both were voting in the 2018 city election and said they had ranked their candidates differently). Caryn Fiorina tells the New Mexican her husband’s turkey program grew out of his generosity of spirit: “I remember the love and caring,” she said. “Everybody was just so joyous. It was such a community event that brought people together. He was amazing that way. He thought outside the box for sure; he was one creative guy.” Born and raised in Santa Fe, Fiorina served three terms as municipal judge before losing to Fran Gallegos in 1996; the City of Santa Fe paid settlements to three female clerks who accused him of “lewd” acts, which Fiorina denied. The Judicial Standards Commission cited him for judicial irregularities and considered removing him, but did not. Santa Fean Richard Alarid tells the paper Fiorina “was one of the plebe. He had an ability to relate to the local people…When they went to go see him in court, he was very understanding” (he was pretty nice when this writer appeared before him at the age of 19 and pled “no contest” after accidentally hitting a wall with her vehicle. “Was it the wall’s fault?” Fiorina asked).

State awards more than $20 mil in housing grants

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and the state Department of Finance and Administration yesterday announced more than $20 million in awards to 41 organizations “to help provide housing stability services for at-risk communities and to help renters navigate housing obstacles in New Mexico.” In Santa Fe County, the organizations include Chainbreaker Collective, St. Elizabeth’s Shelter and Esperanza Shelter. The grants come through the New Mexico Home Fund (formerly known as the Emergency Rental Assistance Program), funded by the US Department of Treasury. The nonprofit New Mexico Community Trust is leading the state’s housing stability program; the grants were awarded to groups and governments whose proposals focused on housing stability in a myriad ways, including but not limited to: mediation between landlords and tenants; case management; specialized services for seniors or people with disabilities as related to housing; and eviction prevention and eviction diversion programs. “Our efforts to address housing and homelessness must run the gamut, focusing not only on helping New Mexicans find an affordable and comfortable place to live, but also providing them with the tools they need to maintain that housing,” the governor said in a statement. “We are working to create a broad spectrum of housing options that meet New Mexicans who need help where they are.” Last Friday, Lujan Grisham appointed Amy Whitfield as her office’s housing and homelessness advisor.

COVID-19 by the numbers

Reported Nov. 21: New cases: 1,534 (includes the weekend); 641,259 total cases. Deaths: three; Santa Fe County has had 366 total deaths; there have been 8,698 fatalities statewide. Statewide hospitalizations: 207; Patients on ventilators: 11

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s most recent Nov. 17 “community levels” map, which uses a combination of hospital and case rate metrics to calculate COVID-19 risk for the prior seven-day period, shows improvement, with only four counties categorized “orange”—high risk—for COVID-19, versus eight last week. They are: Bernalillo, Sandoval, San Juan and Valencia counties. Both Santa Fe and Los Alamos counties, which were orange last week are among the “green,” counties, signifying lower risk. Nine New Mexico counties are “yellow,” or medium. 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; 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. DOH encourages residents to download the NM Notify app and to report positive COVID-19 home tests on the app.

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

Listen up

Maybe you’ll want to talk about the Nov. 8 election at Thanksgiving. Maybe you’ll need something to take the edge off. If the latter, SFR cannabis reporter Andy Lyman has you covered. Be sure to check out this month’s Leaf Brief newsletter for recs on cannabis beverages, along with a roundup of top and behind-the-scene news in New Mexico’s nascent industry. Come January, Lyman—former co-host of the Growing Forward podcast—will bring his award-winning cannabis coverage to SFR’s new Leaf Brief podcast. Check out a preview.

Nothing like the real thing

New Mexico figures in to the New York Times’ examination of the growing problem of counterfeit jewelry, exacerbated by online commerce. When the violation is trademark—brand identity—infringement, “the harm can be irreparable,” according to Santa Fe lawyer Ben Allison, who specializes in commercial and intellectual property litigation. “It’s a theft of someone’s identity, but it strikes much closer to the heart of identity than somebody just using my Social Security number to get money,” Allison tells the Times. “It’s very personal. A trademark is how the world knows me.” Whether it’s trademark or copyright (creative work), infringement isn’t the same as being inspired by another artist. Santa Fe-based jewelry designer Cody Sanderson (one of Allison’s clients) says he’s seen reproductions of his work online that looked as though they were made from a mold of his original pieces. The story also discusses the US Attorney’s Office for the District of New Mexico’s prosecutions of of people who made Native American-style jewelry in the Philippines and marketed it in the US as authentic—a violation of the 1990 Indian Arts and Crafts Act. Santa Fe-based jeweler Liz Wallace (Diné) points out that while the proliferation of fake designer brands like Cartier is wrong, fake Native American products often hurt “some of the most vulnerable communities in the country.”

Taos true

Taos tour company Heritage Inspirations founder Angelisa Murray tells Forbes magazine that “New Mexico is like the only foreign country in the US.” Forbes travel writer Ann Abel, a New Mexico native, is inclined to agree, which is why she includes Murray in her “Insider’s Take on Taos.” Abel grew up, she writes, “on a diet of green chile (we always spell it with an E) and an education about the three cultures that have lived together for so long in New Mexico: the Pueblo people who were native to the land, the Spanish arrivals who ended up making the area part of their colony of New Spain (later Mexico, but it’s complicated) and the northern Europeans who came later.” History classes “left out the ugly parts,” she notes, “and while serious reckonings with those parts are going on all around the town’s cultural institutions, Taos seems close to actually embodying that ideal of coexistence.” Heritage Inspirations offers tours on the Taos Pueblo, as well as an Artisan Walking Tour. Abel drills down into the not-to-miss features of Taos, but bottom line: “It’s a town with a charming plaza, inviting side streets and courtyards. If you just want to have a breakfast burrito and a chile-spiked (E again, please) hot chocolate, the place is for you.” It also has “a thriving, yet human-scale art and gallery scene, and locals who say things like, ‘What Taos has is what Santa Fe lost. We still like the funk.’” Ouch.

The calm before the possible storm

The National Weather Service forecasts a sunny day with a high temperature near 48 degrees and north wind 10 to 15 mph becoming west in the afternoon. Enjoy the weather while it’s here—looks like a winter storm could reach us later this week.

Thanks for reading! The Word feels compelled to share SFR’s recent awards from the New Mexico Press Association...and Santigold’s new Tiny Desk concert.

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