Police catch double-homicide suspect
Multiple law enforcement agencies yesterday helped capture double-homicide suspect Jose Antonio “Adrian” Roman, following the fatal shooting of his ex-girlfriend 49-year-old Carmen Navarrate de Gonzales and her 15-year-old son in a home off West Alameda Street Monday night. According to a statement on the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office’s Facebook page, that agency, along with state police and the Albuquerque Police Department, took Roman into custody in Albuquerque without incident. Roman faces two counts of first-degree murder; three counts of shooting at a dwelling or occupied building; one count of aggravated burglary; three counts of child abuse; six counts of assault with an intent to commit a violent felony; and aggravated fleeing from a law enforcement officer. The affidavit for those charges reports several of Navarrate de Gonzales’s children and grandchildren were in the home at the time of the shooting, with three adults and one teenage witness identifying Roman as the perpetrator. Navarrate de Gonzales had taken out a protective order against Roman just five days prior to the shooting, after reporting him for domestic violence, and the Second Judicial District Court had issued at the end of October an arrest warrant for him on charges stemming from those allegations.
Feds award NM early childcare funds
New Mexico’s congressional delegation yesterday announced $10 million in funding from the US Department of Health and Human Services for early childhood education and care. The money, according to a news release, comes via the Preschool Development Grant Birth through Five program. “This federal funding builds on the transformative work we’ve done to invest in early childhood education and care across New Mexico,” US Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-NM, says in a statement. “By giving our state the tools to better leverage existing investments, this grant provides us an even greater opportunity to change the trajectory of our state in a positive way—making sure every child across New Mexico has an opportunity to thrive.” The state Legislature and Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham created the state’s stand-alone Early Childhood Education and Care Department in 2019, and New Mexico voters approved a ballot measure in 2022 allocating nearly $150 million per year from the state’s Land Grant Permanent Fund to fund its programs. The state’s ongoing expansion toward universal pre-K has earned it national recognition, including a recent story from The New Republic that examines the impact free childcare has had on New Mexico’s families and providers.
NM AG fights Texas abortion law
New Mexico Attorney General Raúl Torrez announced yesterday he has joined a coalition of AGs on an amicus—”friend of the court”—briefing supporting the plaintiffs in Zurawski v. Texas, a lawsuit brought by the Center for Reproductive Rights on behalf of women denied abortions following the US Supreme Court’s June 2022 decision overturning Roe v. Wade. According to the Center for Reproductive Rights, the case, originally filed on March 6, currently has 22 plaintiffs, including 20 women denied abortions under Texas’ law. The suit asks the state of Texas to clarify “the scope of the ‘medical emergency’ exceptions under its abortion bans,” the Center says. The amicus brief filed this week by 21 attorneys general argues, among other points, that Texas’ law endangers women’s lives and puts additional strain on health care providers in other states’ health care systems. According to a September analysis by the Guttmacher Institute, abortions in states bordering those with bans have increased considerably even prior to the overturning of Roe v. Wade, with New Mexico’s abortion numbers increasing by 220% since 2020. “Emergency healthcare should never be politicized or compromised,” Torrez says in a statement. “Texas has created an unsafe space for pregnant women who need care in some of the most vital times in their lives. I gladly joined this effort as we must support women throughout the country who continue to struggle accessing essential healthcare due to radical bans.”
Talking new nukes
Scientific American’s recent special report on the “The New Nuclear Age” includes a road-trip story through the American West by New Mexico-based journalist Abe Streep examining the “ripple effects of plutonium ‘from cradle to grave.’” In the magazine’s introduction to the story, Streep notes that living in New Mexico you “cannot avoid Los Alamos,” aka Los Alamos National Laboratory, Scientific American writes, “the birthplace of the atomic bomb,” which “sits perched above the Rio Grande valley. It is still cleaning up from the Manhattan Project—even as it ramps up production of new plutonium cores to replace the U.S.’s arsenal of nuclear warheads.” In undertaking his road trip, Streep writes, “my hope was to hear from people who live in those communities to better understand where that era has left them as we teeter on the edge of a new arms race. The tour started an hour away from my house, at the birthplace and spiritual home of America’s nuclear weapons. ‘Los Alamos,’ says a sign at the edge of town, ‘where discoveries are made!’” Writer Sarah Scoles, meanwhile, goes “behind the scenes” at the lab to parse the mission to modernize the nuclear arsenal. For more even more talk on new nuclear strategies, the Los Alamos Study Group will host a panel discussion at 6 pm tonight at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation (107 W. Barcelona Road) with American University History Professor Peter Kuznick, and LASG Director and Executive Director Steven Starr and Greg Mello. To watch the live webcast, register here. Editor’s note: The original version of this brief erroneously stated that Scoles possesses a high-security clearance. SFR regrets the error.
As this newsletter recently noted, the renovation and expansion project at the Santa Fe Regional Airport has once again been delayed and risen in cost. While the Santa Fe New Mexican’s subsequent coverage quotes officials saying the work will be done at the end of January, Exhibit B in the change order states the contractor’s “new date of substantial completion” is July 9, 2024. At any rate, the Albuquerque International Sunport also is undergoing a remodeling named “Dream of Flight” (we’re not sure if the Santa Fe Airport project has a nickname—we would suggest “dream of finding one’s car in an unmarked make-shift parking area in pitch-black darkness”). On the most recent edition of KRQE’s podcast, Leah Black, the Sunport’s outreach and marketing manager, and Fred DeGuio, a commercial aviation historian with nonprofit Cavalcade of Wings, talk with hosts Gabrielle Burkhart and Chris McKee about the Sunport’s “past, present and future.”
City seeks new poet laureate
The City of Santa Fe’s first-ever poet laureate, Arthur Sze, went on to win the National Book Award. Since then, the program—established in 2005—has had numerous prestigious poets who have shared their expertise in a variety of civic and educational programs. As the term comes to a close for Darryl Lorenzo Wellington, the sixth poet laureate, the city is asking for applications for the seventh. For consideration, applicants must be at least 21 years old; a resident of either the city or Santa Fe County for at least two years (or employed here for at least two years); have a “significant” publication history; and have “demonstrated a previous commitment to promoting awareness of poetry.” Duties for the 12-month term (which can be extended to a second year, pending funding): reading at ceremonial events; championing and encouraging poetry by residents and youth; and creating an educational outreach initiative “that integrates the poet’s personal growth and interests with a realistic work schedule for the poet.” The post includes a $10,000 honorarium to offset the costs of said program. Find details on the position, including how to apply, here.
What a difference a year makes
With less than two months left in 2023, the industrial luxury-travel magazine complex has turned its attention to 2024. In this case, Condé Nast Traveler presents the best places to holiday in North America and the Caribbean next year and—you guessed it—Santa Fe makes the list. Amongst the reasons: the inaugural Santa Fe Indigenous Fashion Week in May; the new Vladem Contemporary; and Zozobra’s 100th anniversary. “Christopher Nolan’s acclaimed film Oppenheimer may have sparked new interest in Santa Fe, the closest town of note to Los Alamos,” Condé Nast writes, “but the New Mexican capital has held its own for centuries.” We sure have. Ruidoso, on the other hand, garners mention in vegan magazine and website Veg News solely due to vegan chef Carolyn Scott, “a seasoned consultant with a mission to veganize the town.” According to Veg News, Ruidosos’ Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Board hired Scott because it “recognized the need to modernize its culinary offerings due to an influx of tourism. Scott’s task is to work with six local restaurants and a major casino, guiding them toward a more vegan-friendly menu.” She began with a retreat with restaurant managers to showcase vegan and gluten-free options. “I made a ton of vegan food to showcase how easy and tasty it is,” Scott tells VegNews, “and the attendees were blown away.”
The National Weather Service forecasts a mostly sunny day, with a high temperature near 61 degrees and northwest wind 5 to 10 mph increasing to 10 to 15 mph in the afternoon (looks like a change in the weather is on the way, though).
Thanks for reading! The Word looks forward to finishing reading this LA Review of Books interview with author Lexi Kent-Monning about her novel The Burden of Joy, set in Big Sur, which prompted a memory of visiting the Steinbeck Wax Museum many years ago (sadly, the museum appears to have recently closed).