Morning Word

Santa Fe Finally Files FY22 Audit

Hearing officer recommends lower PNM rates

Santa Fe finance officials report completion of FY22 audit

Officials with the City of Santa Fe finally submitted the audit for fiscal year 2022 just before midnight on Thursday. Finance Director Emily Oster says the city’s final overdue audit—the one for fiscal year 2023, due to the state Dec. 15—should be complete in May. “I feel incredibly proud of the work that the team has done—both the finance department employees, our consultants, the auditors themselves, and then we had personnel citywide, honestly up until late last night,” Oster told SFR on Friday. “This has been all hands on deck. The city attorney, the manager, the mayor, everyone has been so engaged and committed to getting this audit turned in, so I am just really proud of the way that the city came together to get this audit done, and I’m looking forward to getting FY23 done.” The audit documents don’t become public until after the state auditor reviews them. Late audits have caused a delay in the flow of money from the state Legislature earmarked for city projects. Nevertheless, City Manager John Blair says the city will be “aggressively seeking capital appropriations from the Legislature during this session, and that the City of Santa Fe will be ready to draw down those funds in the next fiscal year when they’re available.”

PRC hearing officer recommends lower rates for PNM

Electricity customers would see lower rates from Public Service Company of New Mexico under a Friday recommendation from hearing examiners with the Public Regulation Commission. Staff examiners wrote that rather than accept PNM’s plan to increase its rates, the PRC should take actions that reduce average residential customers’ costs by 3.36% and bills for small business by 4%. The recommendation, according to a statement from the PRC, includes consideration of intervenors in the case who argued that PNM’s proposal would create more equity for the company. A statement from New Energy Economy highlights the finding that PNM’s investments in coal and nuclear energy proved “imprudent.” “While there are a lot of good things in the recommended decision,” New Energy Economy Executive Director Mariel Nanasi says in a statement. “Don’t let the 3% rate decrease fool you. It ought to be a lot more, given that PNM was reckless in their climate-altering Four Corners Power Plant investment.” Chairman and CEO of PNM Resources Pat Vincent-Collawn says the company will seek an exception to the recommendations, a method of appeal which is due no later than Dec. 15. “We understand the sensitivity to any cost increase in today’s environment and have taken steps to offset nearly six years of inflationary costs on customer bills,” she says in a statement. “However, the disappointing approach to this recommendation calls for further reductions on traditional power sources and misses opportunities to look forward and implement new solutions to benefit customers as we lead New Mexico’s energy transition.” A final order by Commissioners James Ellison and Gabriel Aguilera will be issued by Jan. 4; Commissioner Pat O’Connell recused himself from the case.

Police seek suspect in weekend shooting

Santa Fe Police have issued an arrest warrant in a domestic violence shooting that took place Saturday, but the suspect remains at large. Officers responded at approximately 2:20 pm to a report of an injured woman at the Allsup’s at 305 N. Guadalupe St. who had been shot “in another location.” At the time of the first news release, police said Nathan Christopher Ludlow Warner was wanted in connection with the incident and had fled on foot. Later in the day, police issued the warrant for Warner, 32, on charges of attempted murder; shooting at or from a motor vehicle causing great bodily harm; and being a felon in possession of a firearm. Deputy Chief Matthew Champlin tells SFR late Sunday the suspect shot at the woman’s car when the two, who were either currently “in a relationship or had been in a relationship,” agreed to meet near the area of Piñon Drive and Rio Grande Avenue. The woman then went to the gas station to call for help. Warner has distinctive tattoos on his face, as well as what appear from an earlier jail booking photo to be the letters “VAE VICTUS” on his neck. Police say he is considered armed and dangerous. Champlin says police believe Warner lives in the Española or Ohkay Owingeh area. Police ask those with information on his whereabouts to call Detective Jairo De Paz at (505) 316-8616. The woman has been hospitalized with injuries.

Tribal education funding push in the works

Tribal education advocates say they plan to ask the state Legislature in the upcoming session to dedicate a new fund for Indigenous-led schools and libraries. As the state grapples with responding to the 2019 court ruling the Yazzie/Martinez case, educators say consistent cash flow would go a long way toward improving culturally appropriate and tribally sovereign schooling for Native students. A group of experts and advocates called the Tribal Education Alliance has laid out a plan for change in tribal education through a strategy dubbed the “Tribal Remedy Framework,” which aims to provide a pathway to educational sovereignty for Indigenous pueblos, tribes and nations. State Rep. Derrick Lente, Sandia Pueblo, tells SFR he plans to follow one of that strategy’s key points by again proposing the state create a Tribal Education Trust Fund to give tribes stable, consistent and sustainable distributions of money each year, with initial funds coming from the state’s surplus of oil and gas revenues. The session begins Jan. 16.

Listen up

Two members of the YouthWorks management team speak with Our Santa Fe host Andrew Lovato in his newest installment of the show on KSFR. Hear from John Paul Granillo and Justin Peters about the history of the 23-year-old organization, which provides GED courses, job training and other programs for youths and young adults. The duo will appear on the next two shows as well, Lovato promises. Already a fan of YouthWorks? Or merely a fan of holiday baked goods? Order treats from the culinary program before Dec. 17.

Fashion forward

Diné textile artist Naiomi Glasses used her family’s multi-generational relationship with weaving to inform her work on the new Polo Ralph Lauren x Naiomi Glasses collections, which rolled into the public eye last week. The first collection, “Love of the Land,” features 32 items, according to a feature in Vogue, which explains how Glasses worked remotely with the fashion house from her home on the Navajo Nation. Ralph Lauren’s website highlights wool sweaters and wraps from the collection, along with ranch coats in earth-tone colors and adorned with symbols representing dragonflies and spider woman crosses—with prices starting at $1,198. Two other collections are slated to follow. “It’s been such an amazing journey,” Glasses told The Navajo Times, “being able to have not only the creative freedom to do whatever I wanted with designing everything but also being able to bring our Diné culture to the forefront.” The line is the inaugural product from Ralph Lauren’s artist-in-residence program and the designer brand has launched a promotional “docu-series” about Glasses and the collection. If her name sounds familiar and it’s not because you’re a regular Polo shopper, you might remember Glasses making waves as a skateboarder whose videos went viral.Check out more on her Instagram, too.

To face unafraid

The snow might be mostly melted—for now—in the city, but the quintessential winterness all around can’t be denied. Architectural Digest harnessed data from Yelp, Airbnb and other platforms to rank the top 100 winter wonderland destinations across six wintry categories and overall. Three New Mexico cities make the list: Ruidoso at No. 84; Angel Fire at No. 55; and Taos at No. 49. Meanwhile, Afar has published “The Essential Guide to Visiting Taos, New Mexico, in the Winter,” noting, “Though Taos is known for its famous ski valley and fluffy powder, there’s plenty to do in this charming Southwest mountain town that doesn’t have to involve a single snowflake.” Taos Ski Valley, it explains, now has an ice skating rink where one can also “relax rink-side next to large fireplaces at the Eis Haus and on the lower plaza.” Afar also recommends a visit to Mamby Hot Springs or one of the other nearby natural tubs; the Earthships; and the Millicent Rogers Museum, among other ideas. Want to ice skate closer to home? The Genoveva Chavez Community Center ice rink reopened last month after being closed for most of October. See the current schedule for open skating times here. Plus, Los Alamos offers a sweet outdoor rink with both daytime and evening sessions.

Follow the sun

The National Weather Service forecasts a partly sunny day with a high temperature near 50 degrees and northeast wind around 5 mph becoming southwest in the afternoon. Looking ahead: A storm system on the way midweek could mean a 60% chance of rain and/or snow showers.

Thanks for reading! The (Substitute) Word looks forward to someone knocking on her door with tamales for sale soon, especially after she read the De Los feature on tamale twists.

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