Morning Word

Former DA Marco Serna to Challenge Mary Carmack-Altwies

Alec Baldwin lawyers want a “speedy trial”

Alec Baldwin lawyers push for speedy trial

During a status conference yesterday, attorneys for Rust actor and producer Alec Baldwin argued for a “speedy trial,” ideally in June based on First Judicial District Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer’s court availability. Baldwin faces involuntary manslaughter charges for the Oct. 21, 2021 on-set shooting that killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins. Lawyer Alex Spiro said his own schedule is “near impossible” the second half of this year and also argued that the state had represented, in receiving state funding for the case, that “due to the high publicity media data in this case, the attorneys could devote their full time to this matter.” Special prosecutor Kari Morrissey pushed back at that characterization and told Sommer she and fellow special prosecutor Jason Lewis have another case in June. Spiro dismissed that reason as a non-starter, noting Morrissey and Lewis’ decision to re-indict Baldwin after the state dropped charges last April. “Of course they can be ready in June,” Spiro said. “They…decided to bring this case back. They’re obviously available in June; they just said that they have a case in June. So there’s no reason why this case, given [it’s] years ago now that this tragic accident happened, should not be prioritized, given the complexity, media attention, promises made in procurement of funding and the…impossible trial schedules of other counsel.” Sommer in turn said she would be reviewing schedules and aim to find a compromise between proposed June and July dates. Meanwhile, the trial for former Rust armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, also facing involuntary manslaughter charges, as well as a felony evidence tampering charge, begins today with jury selection. While jury selection will not be livestreamed, due to a New Mexico prohibiting the filming of jurors, SFR anticipates having daily trial coverage available via YouTube on its website (which also will be livestreamed by Court TV).

Former DA Serna announces candidacy

Former First Judicial District Attorney Marco Serna plans to challenge sitting DA Mary Carmack-Altwies in a Democratic primary run for his former office. Serna, who served one term starting in 2017 but did not seek re-election in 2020 and instead ran a failed primary bid for US Congress in the 3rd congressional district, says in a news release announcing his candidacy he disagrees with what he characterizes as Carmack-Altwies “selective approach to prosecuting DWI cases. My commitment is to ensure that all DWI cases are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. The role of the District Attorney is not just to prosecute crimes but to safeguard the community, uphold justice, and prevent future offenses. The current approach to DWI cases by this administration falls short of these responsibilities, leaving the victims and families of victims of DWIs without justice.” Serna’s news release also references Carmack-Altwies’ much-criticized management of the Rust case, describing it as “a primary example of wasted resources. The hiring of special prosecutors and public relations firms cannot be justified.”

NM DOH reports first case of HPS for 2024

A hint of spring in the air may prompt early spring cleaning, but keep an eye out for mice droppings, as the state health department yesterday announced the first hantavirus case of the year. A man living in San Juan County was hospitalized, released and is at home recovering from hantavirus pulmonary syndrome, described by DOH as “often a severe, sometimes fatal, respiratory disease in humans caused by the Sin Nombre virus.” Last year, the state had seven HPS cases among residents of McKinley, San Juan and Taos counties, two of whom died. In New Mexico, deer mice are the primary carrier for the virus, which is found in their droppings and urine. People “are typically exposed to hantavirus around their homes, cabins or sheds, especially when cleaning out or exploring enclosed areas with mouse droppings,” a news release notes. “Mice tend to try to enter buildings to find shelter, so it is important to seal up homes and other structures,” state Public Health Veterinarian Erin Phipps says in a statement. “While there is no specific treatment for HPS, the chances of recovery are better when medical attention is sought early, and the healthcare provider is informed about any environmental contact with rodents.” Preventative measures include sealing up homes and other buildings to protect them from rodents; airing out closed-up buildings and vehicles before entering; and trapping mice until they are eliminated. Find more ways to avoid hantavirus and other information about the disease here.

City reports progress on reduced carbon emissions

The City of Santa Fe decreased its greenhouse gas emissions by 38.7% between 2018 and 2022, according to new data on the city’s Sustainability Dashboard. Specifically, the city’s total carbon footprint for 2022 was 34,425 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e), compared to 56,148 metric tons of CO2e in 2018. The reductions, according to a city news release, “are attributed to a variety of factors, from reduced utility usage to large solar installations to the implementation of new city policies, such as work-from-home schedules.” The largest decline came in water and wastewater facilities and in buildings and facilities, which the city credits to “municipal investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency improvements.” City employees driving electric vehicles also is cited as a factor for declining emissions. According to an inventory report on the 2022 emissions, which breaks them down by sector, employee emissions from their commutes declined by close to 33%. “It’s up to the city to set an example when it comes to sustainability. If we want the whole community to pitch in, we need to lead the way,” Mayor Alan Webber says in a statement. “Thanks to everyone who is part of city government, we are making real, tangible, measurable, and important progress in cutting emissions and reaching our goals. We’re going to keep up this good work and I’d encourage everyone in Santa Fe to work together to keep Santa Fe the most sustainable city in the country.” The city has set a goal to become carbon neutral by 2040, and has a variety of plans on how to do so in its Sustainable Santa Fe 25-Year Plan.

Listen up

Everyone’s favorite Santa Fe celebrity (sorry, Gene), actor and animal advocate Ali MacGraw appears as a guest on the most recent edition of Pet Chat to celebrate the show’s 100th episode. MacGraw talks with hosts Española Humane Communications Director Murad Kirdar and Feline & Friends Executive Director Bobbi Heller about companion pets and her love for dogs and cats, “from childhood to present day.” Pet Chat airs at 9 am Saturdays and 3 pm Sundays on 1260 am and FM 103.7. Email the hosts at

Oppenheimer’s hat

First-time Oscar nominee costume designer Ellen Mirojnick talks to the Los Angeles Times about the challenges Christopher Nolan’s film Oppenheimer presented her, namely leveraging a small budget “to distill the three-hour film’s 180-page script that covers 40-plus years and includes 73 speaking parts and produce a 1,000-costume wardrobe that easily telegraphs shifting time periods, characters’ social status and even their mental state.” In addition, “the extra-compressed 57-day shoot also required her to consider how costumes played in color, black and white, and on Imax screens.” Mirojnick breaks down how she accomplished all that, and also shares a note from Nolan that with the exception of military characters, Robert J. Oppenheimer should be the only figure who wears a hat in the film. As the story notes, Oppenheimer’s hat and pipe “in life and art…have long been iconic,” with the hat becoming “a key piece of Oppenheimer cosplay and Halloween costumes.” Mirojnick, however, had neither color photos nor a description to help construct the hat, “which is as iconoclastic as its wearer,” with a crown “characteristic of a pork pie,” but with “an irregular hand-formed crease” and a wide brim “like a cowboy hat but not as stiff.” Neither the materials nor the hat’s color are known, the story says (Los Alamos National Laboratory says the hat was brown, based on New York Times reporting). “The hat needed to be flipped up, flipped down,” Mirojnick says. “It needed to be many different things. It needed to reflect the true essence of the New Mexico environment. It needed not to feel like a piece of cardboard sitting on his head.”

NM artists catch national attention

Artsy’s roundup of five “standout shows” to see at small galleries this month includes New Mexico artist Nikesha Breeze’s exhibition Black Archive at the Richard Levy Gallery in Albuquerque (through March 16). Breeze, as this newsletter has noted previously, also has work in the new Freedom Monument Sculpture Park in Alabama, and was one of five New Mexico artists nominated for this year’s National Museum for Women in the Arts exhibition (the national curators selected selected Eliza Naranjo Morse, Santa Clara Pueblo) for the show opening in Washington, DC April 14, but all five nominated artists (Rose B. Simpson, also of Santa Clara Pueblo, Szu-Han Ho and Jennifer Nehrbass also were nominated) will be featured at an exhibition opening June 22 at 516 Arts in Albuquerque. In her exhibition at the Levy gallery, Artsy writes, Breeze’s centerpiece “is the site-specific sculpture Land Effigy (2024), a humanoid figure made from bronze, bone, antler, cottonwood, cotton, wire, silk textile, roses, salt, black sunflower seeds and birch on a bed of soil. This provocative sculpture brings together various organic and historical elements to symbolize the resilience and complexity of Black heritage and identity, ultimately reevaluating how these narratives are preserved and represented in contemporary art.” Hyperallergic magazine showcases the exhibition Celia Álvarez Muñoz: Breaking the Binding, on display through March 2 at the New Mexico State University Art Museum, and described as “a major exhibition of multimedia works covering over 40 years of the artist’s translations of her memories and experiences of living on the US/Mexico border.” The exhibition includes a full-color book published by Santa Fe based nonprofit Radius Books.

Blowing in the wind

The National Weather Service has issued a red flag warning today for large swaths of New Mexico due to critical fire weather. In Santa Fe, NWS forecasts a mostly cloudy day that will gradually become sunny, with a high temperature near 60 degrees; east wind 5 to 10 mph becoming southwest 15 to 25 mph in the afternoon; with wind gusts as high as 35 mph. We may see patchy blowing dust after 5 pm.

Thanks for reading! Personally, The Word is glad to have Jon Stewart back.

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.