Morning Word

Gov Wants Anti-Hazing Law in NM

Santa Fe kicks off bike month

Gov vows anti-hazing legislation next year

In the wake of a new lawsuit filed Friday in federal court by three female student athletes against Eastern New Mexico University alleging sexual assault, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham says she intends to introduce anti-hazing legislation in next year’s legislative session. According to the governor’s office, New Mexico is one of six states lacking anti-hazing laws. In the most recent suit, the students identified as Jane Doe 1, 2 and 3 allege they were recruited to play basketball at ENMU where their head coach Head Coach Meghan De Los Reyes forced them to receive “treatments” from her husband Glen De Los Reyes. Those treatments, the lawsuit contends, turned out to be sexual assaults, which neither ENMU nor ENMU Athletic Director Paul Weir investigated. The ENMU lawsuit followed another lawsuit filed earlier in April in district court in Las Cruces by two former New Mexico State University basketball players yesterday against NMSU regents, former coaching staff and three teammates alleging sexual assault, among other crimes. “I am appalled by the allegations at New Mexico public universities involving hazing and abuse—outrage doesn’t go far enough,” Lujan Grisham said in a statement. “It is the responsibility of higher education leadership and governing boards to establish a safe, healthy environment for students, and I’m incredibly disappointed that it does not appear to be a priority at some of the state’s public colleges and universities.” The governor said anti-hazing and abuse legislation would be part of her call next year, “making it unequivocal in state law that hazing is a crime and those who do harm to others will be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law.”

Ready to run?

One week from today, forms and information will be available for any City of Santa Fe resident ready, willing and able to run for office using public financing in the Nov. 5 municipal election. As detailed in a Friday city news release, one seat in each of the four City Council districts will be on the ballot (in District 1, Renee Villarreal’s seat; Michael Garcia in District 2; Chris Rivera in District 3; and Jamie Cassutt in District 4; along with the position of municipal judge, currently held by Virginia Vigil). To qualify as a councilor candidate, individuals will need to be a registered voter who resides within the district for which they are running, and file a nominating petition with the valid names, addresses and signatures of at least one-half of one percent of the registered voters of the district. Judicial candidates must be a registered voter in the city and collect the names, addresses and signatures of at least one-half of one percent of the registered voters of the city. City Council candidates who opt to use public campaign financing will need to collect 150 $5 qualifying contributions from individual registered city of Santa Fe voters; municipal judge candidates will need to collect 600 $5 donations by July 24. The city says more information will be available online shortly, and those with questions also can contact City Clerk Kristine Bustos-Mihelcic.

Santa Fe sheriffs recover gun brought on campus

The Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Department on Friday reported it had recovered the firearm allegedly brought onto the Turquoise Trail Elementary Charter School campus last Wednesday, April 26. That day, deputies were dispatched to the school at approximately 11:20 am after receiving a call that a firearm had been brought to campus; they searched the school and questioned students and potential witnesses until about 2:30 pm. The school was in shelter-in-place mode during that time, after which students were released to their parents after being transported off-site. That evening, according to a news release, detectives received information from a student involved with the gun incident who shared information about where in the Town of Bernalillo the gun had been hidden. Sheriff’s investigators now believe a middle school student brought the gun to campus and was showing it to other students, after which another middle school student took the gun off campus before law enforcement arrived. The student hid the gun in the Town of Bernalillo, where it was recovered by detectives, loaded. The weapon has no manufacturer identification or serial number, but is believed to be a 9mm handgun. This case remains open and ongoing. No charges have been filed as of press time.

Lawmakers grill US Forest Service on wildfire management

Lawmakers on the US House Committee on Natural Resources’ Subcommittee on Federal Lands held an oversight hearing last week on the US Forest Service’s budget request for Fiscal Year 2024, in which, as the Associated Press reports, many lawmakers told USFS Chief Randy Moore they want the agency to improve its management of the forests as it relates to the wildfire crisis in the US. Subcommittee Chairman Tom Tiffany, R-Wis, released a statement following the hearing in which he said Democrats, over the past several years, had “poured billions of dollars into the US Forest Service with little to no progress to show for it. House Republicans are committed to accountability and transparency for the Forest Service as we actively manage our forests, increase timber production, and reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfires.” New Mexico Democrat US Rep. Teresa Leger Fernandez also questioned Moore during the hearing, noting that last summer’s catastrophic Hermits Peak/Calf Canyon Fire had occurred in her district and continued to cause great hardship for residents in Northern New Mexico (approximately minute 41 at above linked video): “Families lost their homes, their ranches, their livelihoods,” Leger Fernandez said, noting that while the Hermit’s Peak Fire Assistance Act and Consolidated Appropriations Act allocated approximately $4 billion to New Mexico’s fire victims, “the pain of losing so much is not going to go away.”

COVID-19 by the numbers

Reported April 28: New cases: 150; 679,829 total cases. Deaths: 10. Statewide fatalities: 9,210; Santa Fe County has had 408 total deaths; Statewide hospitalizations: 52; patients on ventilators: six. The state health department will stop reporting daily COVID-19 cases on May 11.

The Centers for Disease and Prevention most recent April 27 “community levels” map shows all New Mexico counties remain green—depicting low levels—for the third consecutive week.

Resources: Receive four free at-home COVID-19 tests per household via; Check availability for additional free COVID-19 tests through Project ACT; CDC interactive booster eligibility tool; NM DOH vaccine & booster registration; CDC isolation and exposure interactive tool; 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

US Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-NM, isn’t the only public figure critical of Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s vetoes of climate-change related legislation following the most recent legislative session. The most recent episode of Our Land centers on “what went wrong” during this session—and the last few sessions—with climate-change related tax incentives and other proposals. Host Laura Paskus talks with: Pueblo Action Alliance Executive Director Julia Bernal; Rio Grande Chapter of the Sierra Club Director Camilla Feibelman; and Western Environmental Law Center Executive Director Erik Schlenker-Goodrich. “One of the things that we are thinking about at the Western Environmental Law Center is, what is the governor’s agenda on climate in her second term?” Schlenker-Goodrich says. “And does she even have one? I think there’s a sense that she checked the box on the methane rules. She checked the box on the Energy Transition Act, and she in fact, doesn’t have an agenda on climate action for her second term. And when I think about what the reason is for that, I think it’s the entrenched power of the oil gas industry, and an unwillingness of state political leadership, starting with the governor, to truly challenge that power and to position New Mexico for the future.”

Ready to ride

Santa Fe Bike Month kicks off today with a slew of group rides, school rides, trail rides, concerts, full-moon bike rides, bike swaps, bike races and so much more. To start, a “bike train” for students on the Southside meets at 7 am at Swan Park tomorrow before heading to pick up more riders at 7:30 am at the Southside Library, for families heading to Cesar Chavez Elementary School, Capital High School, Ortiz Middle School, Sweeney Elementary School and maybe even El Camino Real Academy; a second bike train for later bells at Ortiz Middle School and Capital High School will depart from Southside Library at 8:15 am. Cyclists can grab lunchtime tacos on Tuesdays at rob and charlie’s (1632 St. Michael’s Drive) while supplies last (they probably won’t last long); the Santa Fe Fat Tire Society will hold a weekly Wednesday evening (5:30 to 7:30 pm) women’s club ride open to all levels; on Thursday, don’t miss a mountain bike skills camp, and the relaunch of Bike Santa Fe at the newly opened Nuckolls Brewing in the Railyard; Friday brings the 11th annual Bike Swap at Betterday Coffee (905 West Alameda St.). And that’s just Week 1, with freebies and discounts available to bicyclists all month long.

Will CCA reopen cinema this week?

A recent social media post from Center for Contemporary Arts’ new general manager for the cinema, Paul Barnes, indicates successful fundraising continues in advance of a tentative May 3 reopening for the cinema. “I cannot tell you how much this outpouring of support for CCA has touched my heart,” Barnes writes. In a separate April 26 fundraising email, Barnes reported CCA as of last week had thus far received $233,777 in both collected and pledged donations, but still needed just over $16,000 to receive a pledged matching $50,000 gift, the deadline for which was yesterday. While many wonder if CCA will reopen, Southwest Contemporary in a Friday post, questions whether it should. Former CCA Deputy Director April Chalay, who lost her job along with all of her coworkers when the CCA board on April 6 closed the 44-year-old institution, says not so fast. “I’m sure the public thinks, ‘Oh, no. This organization that we love is closing. Oh, look. Somebody is trying to do something about it. Let’s pitch in.’ It’s taking advantage of the public by not giving them accurate information,” Chalay tells the magazine. For instance, she says, the board asked Chalay and former Executive Director Danyelle Means (Oglala Lakota) to cut $400,000 from a $1.3 million budget that the board had previously approved five months prior. Chalay also questioned the board’s fairness as related to its expectations for Means (who declined comment), CCA’s first Indigenous director. Board Chair David Muck, on the other hand, points to the relative newness of both Means and about half of CCA’s board to the Santa Fe community as one cause for its financial demise. “A lot of our board members were so new to town that they didn’t really have the connections that are needed,” Muck says.

May day

Following April’s hot finale, the National Weather Service forecasts a potentially damp start to May, with “scattered sprinkles” today after 3 pm and again this evening before 9 pm. Otherwise, it will be mostly sunny, with a high temperature near 73 degrees and east wind 5 to 15 mph becoming west in the morning. Santa Fe could see storms well into mid-week.

Thanks for reading! After reading the recent news on AI music (and listening to the fake Drake/The Weeknd song), The Word played around with an AI music generator to create a (really terrible) theme song for this newsletter.

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