Morning Word

Santa Fe Activates “Code Blue” for Unsheltered People

New Mexicans attend Dubai UN climate conference

Santa Fe activates “Code Blue” for unsheltered people

The City of Santa Fe announced yesterday that workers from the Fire Department’s Alternative Response Unit have implemented “Code Blue protocols” for unsheltered people due to the current winter weather conditions. Cold snaps under 15 degrees or snowfall greater than 6 inches are among those factors, according to a city news release, which explains Code Blue has been the city policy for three years and is based on Built for Zero principles. The protocol calls for ARU case managers and paramedics to “find and talk with unsheltered people to find out what they need to be safe in the elements, and work to gently persuade them to come inside to a warm and safe place to get out of the cold.” The fire and police departments, along with Park Ranger staff, are monitoring outdoor spaces for at-risk persons in an effort to “take action to get unsheltered people into safe, warm places.” Those places include the Interfaith Shelter overnight (2801 Cerrillos Road) as well as a “warming area” at Consuelo’s Place on the Midtown Campus, which also welcomes pets (1600 St. Michael’s Drive). The ARU will also distribute kits that include hand and foot warmers, hats, gloves and subzero ponchos.

New Mexicans attend Dubai UN climate conference

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has traveled to Dubai for the COP28 United Nations Climate Change Conference, where she plans to make several public appearances including a panel discussion on Saturday titled “Subnational Leaders Supercharging Climate Action Across America.” She’s also been tapped to deliver opening remarks Sunday about the US Climate Alliance for a panel on which Environment Department Secretary James Kenney will also appear. Catch both events on video courtesy of the US State Department’s YouTube page.The official state delegation is not alone in representing New Mexico: Julia Bernal (Sandia Pueblo), executive director of Pueblo Action Alliance, is in attendance as one of 28 delegates with the Indigenous Environmental Network, and spoke at a press conference yesterday as the group laid out its agenda. Among its priorities is advocacy against the UN’s proposed refinement of carbon offset agreements, which the group says encourages technologies used by the fossil fuel industry to justify more extraction. Bernal said delegates had “traveled across the world yet again to urge leaders to phase out fossil fuels and to not fund energy technologies like all the colors of hydrogen—like liquid natural gas pipeline, like carbon capture and sequestration...utilization and storage—which are all technologies that are being funded and touted in the Southwest region that will continue the fossil fuel extraction and continue business as usual and continue to impact Indigenous peoples’ rights.”

Tribes receive recycling boost

Just in time for America Recycles Day yesterday, the US Environmental Protection Agency announced it will dole out more than $2.8 million to the San Felipe, Zuni and Santo Domingo pueblos to expand recycling infrastructure as part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The Ciudad Soil and Water Conservation District in Albuquerque will also receive $590,319 in Recycling Education and Outreach grants to educate children on food waste and composting. “New Mexico understands more than most places how precious our natural resources and environment are, and the dedication it takes to protect them,” Regional Administrator Earthea Nance says in a statement. “By expanding capacity for recycling and public outreach, the Pueblos and conservation district can help invest in a more sustainable future for New Mexico.” San Felipe Pueblo will receive just over $1 million to obtain recycling trailers, establish a swap shop, repair heavy equipment for source separation recovery and improve transfer station infrastructure. Zuni Pueblo will use a little less than $1 million to develop a solid waste management plan, purchase updated equipment for a transfer station and implement a recycling program. In Santo Domingo Pueblo, $829,629 goes toward increasing capacity within the existing transfer station and purchasing new equipment.

Rapid courses for medical assistant training

In the face of New Mexico’s well-documented health care worker shortage, Santa Fe Community College now offers an accelerated program for medical assistants that puts them to work at local clinics and earns certification within 18 weeks. Reymundo G. Holguin, talent acquisition and human resources manager at Christus St. Vincent, tells SFR his seven-person recruitment team has been struggling to fill vacant positions in the Christus facilities since the COVID-19 pandemic began. “It’s just so competitive now,” Holguin says, “that we have to look at new ways to try and entice them, get our own associates into programs so they can advance and become medical assistants, or work up to become an RN or another position.” SFCC program manager Jessica Balladares, who also runs phlebotomy and community health worker programs, says medical assistants “are very much needed in the health care system, just like other positions. Being able to have students graduate twice a year helps our clinical partners start getting [students] qualified and hired throughout the year.”

Listen up

Tonight’s new episode of New Mexico in Focus features an interview with Devin Darrow, a Wood Gormley Elementary School music teacher who spoke out against a plan by the state Public Education Department to expand school calendars and increase the number of instructional days required for students statewide. Darrow says adding more time in the classroom is not the right answer to solve our state’s education problems. State Rep. Joy Garratt, D-Albuquerque, a former teacher, and Albuquerque Teachers Federation President Ellen Bernstein will also appear on the show, which airs at 7 pm tonight on New Mexico PBS.

December to remember

Welcome to the final month of the year, where Santa Fe comes in at No. 8 on the Fifty Grande list of “Where to Go in December,” just below San Diego, California and just above Stowe, Vermont for “small towns, interesting cities and eclectic locales that stand out as spots to see” this month. Among its recommendations are to “get lost in iconic sexy abstract florals at the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum” and warm up with the exhibition of the art of Native Alaskan parkas at the Museum of International Folk Art. With Breckenridge, Colorado taking the No. 1 spot, Fifty Grande emphasizes “destinations to get your blood pumping and that winter glow-up (from the sun…or sun-snow glare),” and thusly includes a plug for hitting the slopes at Ski Santa Fe and hiking at Bandelier National Monument. The monument was closed yesterday due to heavy snowfall, but officials plan to open at noon today.

Simple gifts

This weekend marks the kickoff for holiday shopping markets that benefit local organizations, support regional artists and otherwise offer chances to be a star gift giver this holiday season. Start the shopping day early Saturday with the Santa Fe Indigenous Center’s Holiday Bazaar, which begins at 9 am (1420 Cerrillos Road), then head to the The Kitchen Table’s inaugural Holiday Market from noon to 4 pm (313 Camino Alire) and finish the day with an ugly sweater, plus ornament and tree decorating, a toy drive and indoor art walk by ArtWalk Santa Fe at Santa Fe Brewing, happening noon to 8 pm (37 Fire Place). Plus, there’s a daylong holiday sale at Baca Street Pottery with handcrafted, functional and sculptural clay works on offer; an art show benefiting Mandela International Magnet School from 9 am to 3 pm (1604 Agua Fría St.) and the year-end sale at El Rancho de Las Golondrinas from 10 am to 3 pm (334 Los Pinos Road). And that’s just some of what’s planned for Saturday alone! Find a collection of holiday market events for the rest of the month here.

Blanket of white

The National Weather Service has a winter weather advisory in place through 6 am Saturday. Today has a 30% chance of snow showers and will be mostly cloudy with a high near 35 and southwest wind 10 to 15 mph. New snow accumulation of a half inch is possible. Then, more snow tonight. Santa Fe Public Schools is on a two-hour delay.

Thanks for reading! The (Substitute) Word recently went down a rabbit hole about ice sculptures.

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