Police ID Farmington shooter, victims
Farmington police yesterday, during an afternoon news conference attended by multiple state and national law enforcement agencies and other officials, identified 18-year-old Farmington High School student Beau Wilson as the person responsible for Monday’s mass shooting. According to Farmington Police Deputy Chief Baric Crum, Wilson shot and killed 79-year-old Shirley Voita; 97-year-old Gwendolyn Schofield; and Schofield’s daughter, 73-year-old Melody Ivie. As detailed by the Albuquerque Journal, Farmington Police Department Sgt. Rachel Discenza was shot in the pelvic region during the police shootout with Wilson and New Mexico State Police Officer Andreas Stamatiadas was injured by gunfire while driving to the scene; both were treated and released. Several other people were injured by both gunfire and from broken glass. As detailed in an earlier briefing, Wilson roamed the neighborhood, shooting at cars and houses. Farmington Police Deputy Chief Kyle Dowdy says Wilson used two weapons that belonged to family members and one illegally purchased “AR-style rifle.” While the investigation remains ongoing, he reiterated that the shootings appeared to be random with “no specific targets or motives that we can identify at this time.” Dowdy said Wilson had some “minor infractions as a juvenile,” but no serious criminal activity in his background. “We have come across some indication that potentially he had some mental health issues,” Dowdy said.
DOH: Insomnia now qualifies for medical cannabis
Yesterday, the state’s Medical Cannabis Advisory Board approved insomnia as the newest and 30th qualifying condition for medical cannabis, effective in June. According to a state health department news release, a petition requesting insomnia be added as a qualifying condition was submitted for consideration at the board’s last meeting March 7, where the board members eligible to vote unanimously voted to support the recommendation. DOH Secretary Patrick M. Allen approved the decision, writing: “Even though patients may access cannabis without a medical cannabis card through the adult use program, by including insomnia in the list of qualifying conditions, patients would have increased opportunity to discuss with their medical provider how cannabis can be used to impact their insomnia and help them sleep better. From a health equity perspective, medical cannabis can offer a legal alternative to the expensive medications sometimes utilized by those suffering with insomnia.” The new addition of insomnia as a qualifying condition comes as enrollment in the state’s medical cannabis program continues to decline following last year’s roll-out of adult recreational cannabis sales, SFR reports this week.
CYFD creates public dashboard
In an effort to provide increased transparency, the beleaguered Children, Youth & Families Department yesterday unveiled a new dashboard CYFD Acting Secretary Teresa Casados characterized during a news briefing as a “brand new way for the agency to share data in close-to-real time with the public.” Casados said the dashboard will be updated at the end of each month. According to the dashboard, CYFD has 1,744 children in its custody; 4,238 pending investigations; and a 24.5% staff vacancy rate; and 1,007 licensed foster homes. New Mexico Political Report details Casados’ comments regarding the agency’s ongoing efforts to recruit more foster families, with particular emphasis on non-relatives: “We don’t have enough beds to give us a lot of options,” she said. “We’re hoping to increase the ratio of beds to children and see a reduction in the number of moves children experience in foster care.” The public facing dashboard follows Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s February executive order overhauling the agency, which has been chronically plagued with reports of repeat abuse of children in its care, and one of the worst rates in the US for such repeat child abuse cases.
County interim budget includes 6% salary bumps
Earlier this week, the Santa Fe County Board of Commissioners adopted an interim budget, consisting of revenue and cash, along with expenditures, for the 2024 fiscal year starting July 1. As described in a news release, the budget’s “cornerstone” includes a 6% cost of living adjustment for all employees—minus the county sheriff’s deputies bargaining unit (with funds set aside for those negotiations). “County workers are our most valuable resource,” Board Chair Anna Hansen said in a statement. “Without them, we cannot accomplish anything.” County officials say the raise also is intended to help with employee recruitment. “Pay ranges, scales, and steps will also be increased by 6%,” County Manager Gregory S. Shaffer said in a statement. “That means that someone who would be offered $33.33/hour today based upon their experience and education would be offered approximately $35.3298/hour on July 1 for the same job based upon the same experience and education.” The county also budgeted $12 million in non-recurring revenue to “replace revenue that may not materialize due to recession” and did not budget nearly $3.7 million in recurring revenue in case it’s needed for workforce funding.
Regular SFR readers know Andy Lyman as the paper’s dedicated cannabis reporter (among other topics). He may be adding yoga to his beat. Lyman recently reported on Santa Fe Community Yoga’s yoga in prison program. This week, for the most recent episode of SFR’s Leaf Brief podcast, Lyman explores “weed yoga,” at Albuquerque’s Herban Oasis, where attendees “pick up a pre-roll from the dispensary and head upstairs where they’ll be greeted by one of the two teachers who guide folks through stretches, breathing and meditation.”
Meow Wolf previews new Texas site
Yesterday, Meow Wolf announced the name and opening date for its next venue: The Real Unreal opens Friday, July 14 at Grapevine Mills, located in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. According to a news release, “participants will embark on a journey through a technicolor wonderland that blends storytelling, technology and immersive art” with more than 30 rooms of “multidimensional art and compelling narrative.” The company says The Real UnReal utilized 150 artists and fabricators, including 38 from Texas, across genres. The story, conceived by author LaShawn Wanak, “begins with a blended family who has unknowingly unlocked portals to a different existence” (natch). “The exhibition has been in the works for years and takes a bold step forward in our evolution of art and storytelling,” Meow Wolf CEO Jose Tolosa said in a statement. “As we pursue sustainable and thoughtful expansion, we are beyond excited to bring our unique brand of wonder unveiling this next chapter of the Meow Wolf universe and look forward to having new participants experience Meow Wolf.”
Good things/ small packages
Two New Mexico towns make Travel & Leisure magazine’s latest list of the 10 “best small towns in the Southwest.” The Southwest, the magazine proclaims, includes more than ranchers and cacti, and “while large cities might be tourist hotspots, there’s just as much charm in the region’s more rural areas.” Taos, of course, makes the list (#4), due in part to its “vistas to write home about, a deep Indigenous history and a thriving community in Taos Pueblo.” Right after Taos, Silver City comes in at #5, where visitors will find proximity to Gila National Forest, and a “solid base camp for all kinds of adventures.” Those escapades include walking around the historic downtown; exploring the nearby City of Rocks State Park; or venturing to the slightly further away Catwalk Recreation Area, “known for its awesome canyon views.” Taos also made GreenState’s recent list for seven “cannabis-friendly travel destinations,” which in a story that describes Taos as “an excellent choice for a chill adventure.” And RoadTrippers magazine includes Santa Fe’s Georgia O’Keeffe Museum on its roundup of accessible museums, gardens and performance venues: “Despite her deteriorating eyesight, O’Keeffe continued painting, sculpting, and writing until she died in Santa Fe at the age of 98,” the story notes. “Today, her eponymous museum offers several accessibility accommodations, including free admission to caregivers, accessible bathrooms, closed captioning on videos, and audio guides, in addition to free wheelchairs, color-correcting glasses, and ASL interpreters upon request.”
The National Weather Service forecasts a 70% chance for precipitation today, with showers and thunderstorms likely, primarily after 3 pm. Until then, it should be partly sunny, with a high temperature near 74 degrees and northeast wind 5 to 10 mph becoming southwest in the afternoon. We could see more scattered showers and thunderstorms tonight before midnight. NWS has dubbed this week’s weather pattern “Maysoon,” with chances for storms continuing straight through the weekend.
Thanks for reading! The Word remains uncertain whether the AI-written Socratic dialogue on autoregressive language models included in this New York Times story is supposed to be funny (probably not).