Morning Word

SFPD Arrests Rufina Street Carjacker

Scavenger hunts, ghost walks, costume contests—let Halloween weekend begin

SFPD arrests carjacker

The Santa Fe Police Department yesterday reported the arrest of alleged armed carjacker Isaac Barela, 22, who had led police on a chase the day prior. Police say they were dispatched at nearly 5 pm on Wednesday to the Calle Atajo and Rufina Street area. There, according to the criminal complaint, the carjacking victim said he had been stopped at the intersection at a red light when “two Hispanic males approached his vehicle, one walked up to his driver’s side window, which was down, and the other walked up to his driver side front window.” Both men, the victim said, “had black handguns which were aimed at him” and the male at his driver side window told him to get out of the vehicle.” At about 5:30 pm, SFPD, along with Santa Fe County Sheriff’s deputies, located the stolen truck and pursued it on Agua Fria Road, with the driver ultimately crashing into the Youth Shelter. At that point, the driver and passenger fled on foot. No one was injured by the crash and police apprehended and arrested Barela, charging him with: robbery; aggravated fleeing; receiving and transferring stolen motor vehicle; tampering with evidence; and resisting and evading arrest. Barela’s passenger had not been located as of press time; SFPD asks anyone with information regarding the location of the passenger to contact SFPD at (505) 428-3710.

NM receives millions for Indian water rights

The US Interior Department yesterday announced close to $327 million in funding for Indian water rights settlements through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Reclamation Water Settlements Fund. As detailed by DOI, Congress created the Reclamation Water Settlements Fund in 2009, which began receiving $120 million in mandatory funding annually in 2020 that continues through 2029. New Mexico-serving projects will receive the largest share of funds, with the Navajo-Gallup Water Supply Project allocated $164 million, and the Aamodt Litigation Settlement receiving approximately $69 million. “Through the President’s Investing in America agenda, the Interior Department is continuing to uphold our trust responsibilities and ensure that Tribal communities receive the water resources they have long been promised,” Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said in a statement. “Reliable water is crucial to ensuring the health, safety and empowerment of Indigenous communities. I am grateful that Tribes, some of whom have been waiting for this funding for decades, are finally getting the resources they are owed.” As of Nov. 15, 2021, when the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law was signed, there were 34 congressionally enacted Indian Water Rights settlements.

State licensing head retiring

New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department Superintendent Linda Trujillo retires today, news Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s office announced on Wednesday. Superintendent Clay Bailey will serve as Acting Superintendent for the time being. “I want to thank Superintendent Trujillo for her years of dedicated service to the people of New Mexico,” the governor said in a statement. “From protecting consumers, streamlining regulations for business owners and working professionals and getting the brand new recreational cannabis industry off the ground, she is leaving the state in a better place. I wish her well in her retirement.” Trujillo, who became RLD’s superintendent in 2020, supervised the department’s role in overseeing the start of adult recreational cannabis sales in the state last year. She began at RLD in 2006, and also served stints at the Boards and Commissions Division; the State Records Center and Archives; and as a state lawmaker in the House of Representatives. She also served two terms on the Santa Fe Public Schools Board of Education. The first person in her family to attend college, Trujillo has a law degree from Seattle University School of Law and also previously worked in private practice representing schools districts around the state. “After 25+ years of public service I’m embarking on a new journey: retirement,” Trujillo said in a statement. “I will forever be grateful for the opportunity that Gov. Lujan Grisham gave me to serve the state I love and the thousands of friends I’ve made throughout this journey.”

Drug take-back day

State Attorney General Raúl Torrez’s office will host the biannual take-back event for prescription drugs at his offices (408 Galisteo St., Villagra Building) from 10 am to 2 pm tomorrow, Oct. 28. The drive-through event allows participants to drop off “unwanted tablets, capsules, patches, and other solid forms of prescription drugs during this event, no questions asked.” Illegal drugs and paraphernalia will not be accepted. “This event is so important for our community as it serves as an opportunity for unwanted prescription medications to be removed from homes and also serves as a safeguard for the environment,” Torrez says in a statement. “Many times folks throw their unwanted medications down the toilet which contaminates our ground water and surface water. I encourage those in the Santa Fe area to stop by this event and help keep our community safe from opioids and other prescribed drugs.” According to a news release, Take Back Day has removed more than 8,650 tons of medication from circulation since its inception. At tomorrow’s event, AARP, a co-sponsor along with the US Drug Enforcement Agency, will be on hand with info about identity theft and fraud, along with swag. “Too often unused or old medications pile up, especially with our older adults, in part because people don’t know how to dispose of them safely,” Joseph Sanchez, AARP New Mexico state director said in a statement. “This can also lead to taking the wrong or expired medication by mistake or having other household members using them incorrectly.”

Listen up

Tickets for author and activist Bill McKibben’s 6 pm talk this evening at Santa Fe Art Institute went quickly and the wait list is long, but folks can still tune in via Zoom for this event, the latest in Homewise’s Livability Speaker Series. Tonight’s talk, “Yes in our Backyard: Climate Change and the Green Building Boom,” will include McKibben’s thoughts on his climate work—which includes founding Third Act, for activists over 60, and—with a focus on how building affordable housing can help the climate crisis. SFAI, co-hosting tonight’s event, will hold open-studio tours with its Changing Climate Artists-in-Residents following the talk for those attending in person.

Creeping it real

Halloween weekend commences, with no shortage of possibilities for children and adults to amass their fill of spooky delights. We have a few suggestions, but be sure to check out SFR’s calendar and Picks for a complete look at the weekend’s offerings. To start, the city’s second annual Día de los Muertos event opens for the weekend at 4 pm today on the Plaza, with music and food (and then starts up again for a full day of music, poetry, films and more at noon on Saturday; complete schedule here). From 5 to 7 pm today, the new Vladem Contemporary will host a free scavenger hunt tied to its Shadow and Light exhibition, with candy and costumes. In the evening, Second Street Rufina’s Nightmare on Rufina Street cover band and costume party kicks off at 8 pm (this year’s cover lineup includes the Pixies and the Beastie Boys). On Saturday, don’t miss Santa Fe’s favorite Halloween carnival at Carlos Gilbert Elementary (noon to 5 pm), along with a free community party from the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum at which attendees can screen printing a bag for Halloween goodies with the museum’s mobile art studio, among many other activities (1-4 pm in the old Safeway/future museum site). Saturday night, take a haunted garden walk at 7 pm at the Santa Fe Botanical Garden with spooky tales around the campfire and under the full moon. NM Drag Kings will present the Haunted Jean Cocteau Cinema Drag Show at 7 pm as well, and Palace Prime’s “1800 Brothel Party” (with costumes, prizes and burlesque performers) also kicks off. At 8 pm, the Human Rights Alliance’s Halloween fundraiser, Vamp Motel, begins at Tumbleroot Brewery and Distillery, and features a costume contest with cash prizes.

Here to stay

Wine Spectator includes Santa Fe in its list of 10 “great destinations for food and wine” in the US, along with Seattle, the Hamptons and Santa Barbara, to name a few. In the case of Santa Fe, writer Kenny Martin recommends staying at the St. Francis Hotel, and visiting its Secreto Bar & Lounge, along with the Gruet tasting room, which is also on the premises. The Anasazi Restaurant, Bar & Lounge also receives a shout-out for its grub and extensive wine list, while the Santa Fe Farmers MarketSky Railyway and Los Alamos’ museums also receive mention for local activities. Meanwhile, in other hotel news, Fodor’s includes Bishop’s Lodge on its list of the best hotels in North America: “Surrounded by adobe architecture and under a periwinkle blue sky, guests are offered hiking trails, horse stables with lessons in riding and roping, fly casting in a private pond, excursions with fishing guides, painting classes, meditation, yoga, healing spa treatments, and easy access to Santa Fe’s rich culture,” Fodor’s writes. Finally, Luxury Travel Magazine includes Santa Fe in its list of the best destinations for “your next girls getaway,” and recommends circumventing hotels all together by staying in a five bedroom, five-bath home that is part of HomeExchange Collection, “an exclusive community for like-minded travelers to meet, share, and exchange their luxury homes.” The house, which sounds like it’s in the Wilderness Gate area or thereabouts, includes a “gourmet kitchen, enormous living room, spacious master suite, large outdoor dining and lounging areas, guest house, hot tub, and swimming pool” with “numerous patios and two outdoor fireplaces offer an outstanding entertaining venue for girls’ groups.”

Snow drift

As often is the case around here, Halloween weekend ushers in the first taste of winter weather. The National Weather Service forecasts today and tomorrow will be sunny, with a high temperature near 64 degrees and a little breezy, with southeast wind 5 to 15 mph becoming south in the afternoon today. Sunday brings a 40% chance for showers in the afternoon and a high temperature near 46 degrees, and likely rain and snow showers Sunday night into Monday morning.

Thanks for reading! The Word plans to read this Slate story about the man who grew a record-setting 2,749-pound pumpkin and then watch It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. She may eat some candy.

Letters to the Editor

Mail letters to PO Box 4910 Santa Fe, NM 87502 or email them to editor[at] Letters (no more than 200 words) should refer to specific articles in the Reporter. Letters will be edited for space and clarity.

We also welcome you to follow SFR on social media (on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter) and comment there. You can also email specific staff members from our contact page.