Morning Word

Española Oñate Statue Protest Ends in Gun Fire

Saturday EV car show planned on the Plaza

Morning Word

Man shot at Oñate statue protest

Another protest over another statue of Spanish conquistador Juan de Oñate ended in a shooting yesterday afternoon in Española. The statue had previously stood in Alcalde, but officials removed it in June 2020 to protect it during planned protests. Another protest over another Oñate statue in Albuquerque, also in June 2020, culminated in gunfire; the shooter in that case, Steven Ray Baca, entered into a plea agreement and is expected to receive his sentence next month. Yesterday’s protest—held after county officials postponed a re-dedication ceremony for the statue at its planned new home at the Rio Arriba County Complex—began at approximately 11 am, with shots fired less than an hour later. Indigenous activist organization Three Sisters Collective posted a video of the event, which includes the shooting at the end. The Albuquerque Journal published a photograph of alleged shooter 23-year-old Ryan Martinez of Sandia Park—who reportedly wore a Trump-era Make America Great Again hat prior to the shooting—pointing a gun. State Police, who are handling the case, confirmed the suspect had been taken into custody as of about 1:30 pm, but had not provided any updates as of press time. The shooting victim, whom a witness identified to the Santa Fe New Mexican as Jacob Johns (Hopi), a climate activist from Spokane, Washington, is reportedly in stable condition, according to a speaker at an NDN Collective event yesterday.

DOH: gun violence rising in NM

The state health department yesterday released a new report on gun violence in New Mexico, prepared in response to Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s executive order earlier this month declaring a gun-violence public health emergency. Among other statistics, the report notes that over the past two decades, the state’s firearm death rates rose from seventh highest nationwide in 1999 to third highest in 2021 with the age-adjusted firearm death rate increasing by 87% between 2010 and 2021. And, while suicides remain the predominant cause of firearm-related deaths, a 70% increase in the homicide rate “is driving the overall increase in firearm fatalities,” the report says. In other key findings, the state has experienced a “noticeable surge” in firearm-related emergency department visits among children aged 0-17, particularly those aged 14-17; patients admitted to intensive care for firearm injuries increased by 16%; and patients transferred from the emergency department to the operating room rose by 61% between 2019 and 2022. “The findings of this report are clear: New Mexico faces an urgent firearm-related injury crisis,” Health Secretary Patrick Allen said in a statement. “The alarming surge in firearm-related injuries and deaths revealed in this report demands our immediate attention. We must work together as a community to implement effective interventions that will save lives and reduce the economic burden on our healthcare system.”

New Mexico State Police yesterday also provided a progress report on its increased presence in Albuquerque and Bernalillo County, which also followed the governor’s public health emergency. According to NMSP, between Sept. 19-27, agents with its Crime Suppression Unit arrested 33 individuals—32 of whom were repeat offenders, many in possession of stolen vehicles and drugs. Two handguns were taken off the street, one of which was stolen. In addition, the State Police’s Uniform Bureau made more than 1,300 traffic stops that resulted in 1,370 citations for various traffic violations. The Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Bureau inspected 53 vehicles and placed nine drivers out of service. In addition, officers arrested 16 individuals (nine felonies and seven misdemeanors), and of those, six were violent offenders.

EVs on display this weekend

Saturday will provide an opportunity for the EV-curious to check out a variety of electric vehicles during PNM’s second annual Electric Car show from 10 am to 2 pm on the Plaza. Owners of several Tesla models are scheduled to exhibit their cars, along with drivers of various BMW EVs, the Nissan Leaf, Chevy Volt and more. “Customers will also be able to hear from industry experts and learn about the types of EVs, charging infrastructure and other topics related to EVs,” a PNM news release notes. The company also will have information about its Transportation Electrification Program, which offers rebates and resources on recharging equipment. The Santa Fe EV show comes as state lawmakers prepare to hear from transportation officials about plans for expanding EV charging infrastructure across the state. Transportation Secretary Ricky Serna, Jerry Valdez, executive director of the New Mexico Department of Transportation, and others previewed those plans during a news conference in Albuquerque yesterday, the Albuquerque Journal reports, saying a contract for 94 more chargers will bring the state’s total to 600, with a second phase planned for charging stations every 50 miles on interstate highways. “We’re not going to be behind the 8-ball on this,” Serna reportedly said. The news conference took place at Central New Mexico Community College, where today’s Transportation Infrastructure Revenue Subcommittee will meet and continue the discussion, with presentations planned on the national landscape of EVs, along with one on clean fuel standards, in advance of a 4:30 to 6:30 pm, Oct. 4 public hearing on proposed Clean Cars and Clean Trucks Rules in Albuquerque and online.

Sen. Heinrich jumps into Santa Fe politics

US Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-NM, yesterday issued two endorsements in Santa Fe municipal politics, adding his name to the list of local officials supporting City Council District 1 candidate and former City Attorney Geno Zamora, and putting his stamp of approval on United for Affordable Housing’s campaign to pass a 3% excise tax on home sales of more than $1 million, which will appear on the municipal Nov. 7 ballot. “It is unacceptable that so many hard working New Mexicans cannot afford to live in Santa Fe,” Heinrich said in his statement. “We must take action, and we must take action now. Fortunately, there is an opportunity on this November’s ballot to create permanent funding for affordable housing for Santa Fe’s families. I urge you to vote for this measure--families need it right now.” As for his endorsement of Zamora, which the campaign included in a fundraising email, Heinrich said, in part, he had “known and worked with” Zamora for years. Zamora, one of four candidates in the most crowded race this season, also has received endorsements from former Mayors David Coss and Debbie Jaramillo, both of whom spoke to SFR for our look at all the candidates seeking to replace outgoing Councilor Renee Villarreal (who isn’t seeking reelection): restaurant owner Alma Castro, metal recycler Brian Patrick Gutierrez, and former operations specialist Katherine Rivera in this race for the paper’s most recent cover story.

Listen up

On the latest episode of the Washington DC-based civil legal aid Legal Services Corporation’s podcast Talk Justice, host Molly McDonough talks to Paula Couselo-Findikoglu, director of Court Education at the New Mexico Administrative Office of the Courts, and Peggy Cadwell, who works in AOC’s legal division as the statewide ADA Title II coordinator, about New Mexico’s court scribe program, which provides access to court forms to people who might not otherwise be able to use them, due to literacy, language or disability issues.

Beyond massage

Forbes magazine contributor Rona Berg includes Santa Fe in her list of “famous energy vortexes” or “sacred or spiritual hubs.” Need more explanation? “Without getting too woo-woo,” Berg writes, “energy vortexes are believed to be places with strong concentrations of the earth’s energy caused by electromagnetism, ionization, underground water and geothermal activity” (The story does not expound on what a “woo-woo” version of that definition of “energy vortex” might entail). Berg includes the local Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado in her roundup of “top spas in the US with treatments designed to tap into the energy vortex in the surrounding area.” In the case of Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado, Berg notes, the spa is actually “on a vortex!” (Exclamation point ours) and the “signature treatments are designed to tap into the energy.” For example, the Sunset Sound Bath & Midsummer Night’s Dream Massage, a three-hour treatment, “begins with a meditative sound bath to awaken the chakras and energy channels of the body, and is followed by an outdoor massage with Heartful Vibrational Oil, a blend of rose, geranium and basil intended to open the heart chakra.” But that’s not all. Berg says the treatment ends in the spa’s warming room, but the spiritual journey begins “with a sage smudging ceremony, followed by a body wrap with adobe clay.” Guests then “experience a personalized purification ritual, followed by a chakra balancing massage.” We checked and did not find the Sunset Sound Bath, introduced last year, on the current spa menu offerings, but worry not: one can still select a few spiritual add-ons to any treatment (the story notes that at least one of the purification rituals is “inspired by Native American rituals”).

No place like home

Design/lifestyle website Veranda excerpts Caitlin Flemming and Julie Goebel’s recent book, Sense of Place (Abrams, Sept. 19). “For anyone interested in curating a home that is personal, functional, and beautiful, it’s important to understand how our surroundings impact our interiors,” the book’s description reads. “When a space evokes a strong sense of place––a sense of belonging and comfort––it becomes a place to rest and feel grounded, surrounded by those you cherish most.” Veranda excerpts a section on stylist and designer Jill Sharp Weeks’ Santa Fe home. She came here in 2015, the excerpt notes, to recovery from surgery and chemotherapy; she and her husband Ray bought a home on the east side with a long lineage of distinguished owners, including Katherine Stinson Otero, who built the house and was one of the first female pilots. “While Jill and Ray made some changes to their Santa Fe home—converting the garage into a studio for Jill, reimagining the garden spaces, and building a new kitchen,” the story notes, “all the alterations were made with the original structure of the home in mind.” The excerpt details the interiors (“Jill’s collection of neutral-colored Navajo rugs and blankets are beautifully displayed throughout the home”) and includes a photo gallery. The couple divides their time between Santa Fe and Charleston, South Carolina, and have numerous other projects, but “will always feel tethered to the area close to Santa Fe,” the story concludes, and “like many others before them…have found Santa Fe to possess healing powers.”

Earth, wind and fire (plus sun and rain)

The National Weather Service forecasts today will be sunny with a high temperature near 83 degrees and north wind 5 to 15 mph becoming southwest in the afternoon. Saturday may bring rain, with a 50% chance for showers and thunderstorms, mainly after noon. Otherwise, it also will be sunny with temps in the low 80s. Chances for storms increase Saturday night, and then lessen on Sunday when temps will decline into the low 70s. Sunday also will be windy, with patchy blowing dust after 1 pm and gusts potentially up to 45mph. The Santa Fe National Forest reported yesterday the Golondrino Prescribed Fire in the Cuba Ranger District has been completed, with 1,630 acres of ignition. The 2,227-acre Rincon prescribed fire project in the Coyote Ranger District that had been scheduled to begin yesterday was canceled due to low humidity and, given the aforementioned gusty winds in the forecast, may be postponed until later in October. Farewell, September!

Thanks for reading! The Word has idly wondered how and why tinned fish became trendy (yes, in Santa Fe too) so appreciated this Eater story discussing the phenomena and previewing the forthcoming tinned vegetable trend.

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