Morning Word

SFR Announces Sale, Change of Leadership

Santa Fe County seats draw primary contenders

SFR announces leadership change, sale

The Santa Fe Reporter celebrates its 50th anniversary in June, marking decades of impactful journalism throughout multiple sea changes in the industry. Just as the last five decades have witnessed change, this one also will bring new and exciting innovation, along with changes in leadership. As of today, Editor and Publisher Julie Ann Grimm turns over the reins to Julia Goldberg, the paper’s longest-serving staff member. Grimm has been at the helm of SFR since 2013, when she became editor, after after more than a decade of reporting for the Associated Press and the Santa Fe New Mexican. Goldberg, who began at SFR as an intern in the 1990s, served as its editor from 2000 to 2011. After several years of teaching at the Santa Fe University of Art and Design, publishing a book and hosting a radio show, she returned to the staff in 2019 as senior correspondent, writing the Morning Word newsletter each weekday and reporting award-winning COVID-19, arts and politics coverage (yes, she also will continue writing this newsletter). In addition to a leadership change, the Reporter’s long time owners, journalists Richard Meeker and Mark Zusman, owners of the Pulitzer-Prize winning alternative newsweekly Willamette Week in Portland, Oregon, are seeking the the fourth generation of SFR stewards. Meeker and Zusman have owned SFR since 1997. “Happily, in these challenging times, the Santa Fe Reporter is in good health, both journalistically and financially,” Meeker says. “The pandemic taught us an important lesson in the changing media landscape—both in Portland and here in Santa Fe: Today local, independent ownership is the real key to success in the newspaper business. We are making this public announcement in the hopes it will attract interest from residents of Santa Fe.”

Santa Fe County Commission races draw competition

Six candidates will vie in the June 4 primary for Santa Fe County Commission seats in Districts 2 and 4, currently held by Anna Hansen and Anna Hamilton, both of whom have reached term limits. Yesterday marked the the state’s official candidate filing day for the June primary; a number of races solely feature Democratic candidates and therefore will be decided by the primary versus the November general election. The local June primary also looks to feature a return of former elected officials: Former First Judicial District Attorney Marco Serna has announced his campaign against incumbent Mary Carmack-Altwies, and former County Clerk Geraldine Salazar is running against incumbent Katharine Clark. Several state Senate and House seats representing portions of Santa Fe will also appear on the ballot, notably Sen. Nancy Rodriguez, who announced near the end of this year’s legislative session that she will not seek re-election in District 24. Hansen; Indigenous advocate Veronica Ray Krupnick; and Linda Trujillo, a former legislator and director of the Regulation and Licensing Department—all Democrats—will compete for the post. Statewide, both top-ranked Republicans in the House and Senate—Senate Republican leader Greg Baca of Belen and House minority leader T. Ryan Lane of Aztec—announced they won’t seek re-election.

AG launches online MMIP portal

State Attorney General Raúl Torrez yesterday announced a new online portal for Missing and Murdered Indigenous People, the funds for which came from Senate Bill 12, passed in the 2022 state legislative session. The portal allows users both to file reports for missing persons and search for them. “We have to break down barriers to communication in this space and give the public and key stakeholders direct access to the information we have regarding Missing and Murdered Indigenous People,” Torrez said in a statement. A senate joint memorial passed in the most recent session calls for the AG to create a specialist in the office to work on the MMIP issue and to convene a task force. “This portal is a critical first step in that process,” Torrez notes, “and will provide invaluable insights for policymakers, including the dedicated Task Force we intend to establish in the coming months.” FBI Special Agent in Charge Raul Bujanda says the federal agency supports the new initiative. “Although our state, and the Navajo Nation, has access to the most accurate data on missing persons in the country, their work will offer families transparency while providing additional state-focused tools to ensure proper reporting for their loved ones. Along with support from our partners, this more robust MMIP effort undertaken by the NMDOJ makes all of New Mexico a safer place.”

DOH reports rabid bobcats

Two bobcats—one in Grant County and one in Sierra County—tested positive for rabies, the state health department’s Scientific Laboratory Division confirmed yesterday. According to a news release, in Grant County, one bobcat attacked a man near his house; the man is now receiving rabies-preventative shots. In Sierra County, a bobcat attacked a dog who was up-to-date on his rabies shots, who will now be monitored for 45 days. DOH says animal rabies in the state normally occur in wild animals, such as skunks, bats and foxes, with three rabid bobcats previously identified in 2022 in Catron and Grant counties. Rabid wild animals can appear aggressive or quiet. Residents should report sick animals or those acting abnormally to a local animal control office or a New Mexico Department of Game and Fish game warden. “State law requires all dogs and cats be vaccinated against rabies, a deadly viral disease that can be prevented but not cured,” State Public Health Veterinarian Erin Phipps said in a statement. “Unvaccinated pets exposed to a rabid animal must either be euthanized or put into strict isolation for four months to prevent them from exposing people to rabies.” More info on rabies available here. People or pets who are bitten “or otherwise exposed to the saliva of wild animals” should seek immediate medical care and contact NMDOH at (833) SWNURSE or (833) 796-8773.

Listen up

Chances are you already love drinking Ohori’s coffee—a recurring top three winner in SFR’s annual Best of Santa Fe competition—but chances are you will love the 40-year-old local business even more when you hear co-owner Tai Brinegar—who bought the business with her husband Sam in 2017—talk about its history and ethos on the latest episode of the Cline’s Corner podcast. To start, there’s the vintage Probat UG15 coffee roaster, which founder Susan Ohori set up when she first opened. The machine “was actually designed before World War II,” Brinegar says, and “basically has no computers; it’s totally artisan. They really have to use their ears and their nose…We have a temperature gauge so they’re looking at temperature, but they’re listening. Coffee makes sounds as it gets roasted that are actually very important to the process.”

Tommy Orange on Silko’s “sacred” novel

Institute of American Indian Arts alumnus and Creative Writing Master of Fine Arts program mentor Tommy Orange (Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes), author of the award-winning novel There There and its newly released prequel/sequel Wandering Stars, writes an exquisite essay for LitHub about Leslie Marmon Silko’s novel Ceremony. The book, Orange writes, “is close to what I would call sacred in fiction. There are not many books I would put in this category. Kafka’s Blue Octavo Notebooks, Borges’s Dreamtigers, Clarice Lispector’s The Hour of the Star. And I don’t mean sacred in the religious sense. But unlike all these books, which are more blatantly philosophical and less story-filled, Ceremony is in a class of its own.” By “sacred,” he continues, he means not religious in traditional senses, but in its impact on Native communities and “its singular devotion to knowing and gorgeously describing the lands it depicts; the way this book allows for its people to find new ways to heal from heartache and trauma in a broken and war-torn world. What I mean when I say this book is close to sacred is also to say that it is not sacred and does not intend to be, and that is part of what I first came to love about fiction.”

Do look up

Filmmaker Bill Brown writes for The New York Times about “what a UFO crash teaches us about our time on Earth.” Brown set out on a road trip in 1994 to explore the lore of the supposed alien crash in 1947 in Roswell. The nearly 20-minute documentary—viewable in the prior link—examines the incident. Brown begins the doc by considering amnesia, and his theory that the crash was precipitated by a pilot who forgot where he was going. The short film, part of the Times’ Op-Docs series—”short, opinionated documentaries by independent filmmakers”—takes viewers into Roswell in the mid-’90s, as well as into Brown’s perspective on the Roswell incident. In his brief essay accompanying the film, Brown writes that, 30 years later, his movie operates as a “memento” to an earlier time in his life: “It was 1991. I listened to ‘Motorway to Roswell’ by the Pixies a million times, but it’s not exactly where this movie came from. Partly it was the UFO paperbacks I inhaled as a nerdy kid in Lubbock, Texas, and partly it was Lubbock itself. Growing up in West Texas, I learned that the real action is in the sky: dust storms, tornadoes and the occasional mystery light.”

Weather or not

The National Weather Service forecasts a 30% chance of precipitation today and tonight, mainly after 3 pm. Otherwise, today will be partly sunny, with a high temperature near 51 degrees and wind 10 to 15 mph. The NWS’ 2024 spring/fire season outlook indicates the El Niño climate pattern may come to an end in the coming few weeks due to something called the Madden-Julian Oscillation. This also may bode well for our monsoon season this summer, the report says. This spring may be slightly less windy than usual, but “significant wildland fire potential” remains nonetheless.

Thanks for reading! The Word has immersed herself in photographer Paolo Pellegrin’s series for Emergence Magazine of mother and daughter Najin and Fatu, the last surviving northern white rhinos on Earth.

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