Morning Word

Friction on Display, Santa Fe City Council Approves Bicycle Plan

Human Services: Medicaid covers over-the-counter contraception pill

Morning Word

City Council passes bicycle plan

As SFR reported this week, the road to bring a proposal to improve bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure in the city of Santa Fe was, like many of the city’s sidewalks, bumpy. The Council ultimately approved the proposal last night (discussion begins at approximately 1:38 in the meeting recording), following a long review of amendments to District 2 City Councilor Michael Garcia’s original proposal. The amended resolution does not specify funding for the plan but, rather, requires staff to come up with a proposed funding formula. Last night’s discussion included a particular focus on the city’s funding process, as the funding for the plan will have to be proposed for and approved in forthcoming city budgets. As the Santa Fe New Mexican notes, last night’s discussion also featured tension between Garcia and Mayor Alan Webber, though the latter ultimately voted in favor of the resolution (Councilor Signe Lindell abstained and Councilors Pilar Faulkner, a co-sponsor, and Amanda Chavez were not present). Webber said he felt “transparency” was an issue with the resolution, and that “we’re adopting recommendations that we haven’t ever fully discussed.” Moreover, as it relates to funding again, he said he thought the resolution raised issues of “trust” because “we have falsely raised an expectation in the minds of some of our residents that adopting this resolution also commits us to an expenditure of dollars and these are linked as a package.” Garcia, in turn, said he was “deeply offended” by Webber’s implication that the process had been not transparent, noting the multiple public hearings and meetings preceding last night’s Council vote.

Feds: New charges against Solomon Peña

The US Department of Justice yesterday announced new charges against Solomon Peña, the former Republican state House candidate already charged with orchestrating a shooting spree at four elected officials’ homes between Dec. 2, 2022 and Jan. 3, 2023 following his electoral defeat in the previous November election. According to the DOJ, Peña, prior to the shootings, “visited the homes of at least three Bernalillo County commissioners and allegedly urged them not to certify the election results, claiming that the election had been ‘rigged’ against him.” At least three of the shootings occurred while children and other relatives of the victims were at home, the DOJ says. The new indictments, which a federal grand jury returned this week, allege Peña “solicited others to kill or attempt to kill a witness with the intent to prevent that witness’s attendance and testimony in an official proceeding,” a news release details. The indictment also charges Peña with being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition. Peña carried out the shootings—at the homes of two Bernalillo County commissioners and two state lawmakers—with help from co-defendants Demetrio Trujillo and his son Jose Trujillo, both of whom pled guilty to a variety of charges related to the scheme earlier this year. If convicted of the new charges, Peña faces up to life in prison. While the indictment doesn’t name the people whom Peña was allegedly trying to have killed, his attorney tells the Albuquerque Journal Peña is being accused of trying to have his codefendants killed, charges she reportedly described as “ludicrous, nonsensical and made-up.”

HSD: Medicaid covers contraceptives, pregnancy tests

The state Human Services Department yesterday announced Medicaid customers now have access to the first over-the-counter contraceptive pill Opill, as well as no-cost pregnancy tests and emergency contraception. According to an HSD news release, the department is collaborating with the health department to provide “standing orders” to pharmacists allowing Medicaid customers to access over-the-counter products and medications with no copay. “DOH standing orders will assure timely access to these essential health supplies by direct access from pharmacies,” the department notes. “We are dedicated to ensuring access to health care for all Medicaid customers,” New Mexico Medicaid Chief Medical Officer Alanna Dancis says in a statement. “The coverage of Opill is a step forward in empowering people with more choices in their reproductive health care—we encourage our customers and pharmacists to familiarize themselves with this new coverage option.” The news release follows a series of actions taken by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s administration to safeguard reproductive health care in the state, and follows a United States Supreme Court hearing earlier this week regarding the availability of mifepristone. Following Tuesday’s hearing, the governor issued a statement noting that “limiting access to medication that so many women depend on to terminate early-stage pregnancies and manage miscarriages would be a catastrophic development for reproductive health in this country,” and “would dramatically undermine the authority of the FDA and open the door to more extremist attacks on medications that help people live healthier more fulfilling lives. In New Mexico, we believe strongly in preserving access to abortion and abortion medication, and we will continue to do so.”

SFPS implements reverse fire drills

SFR’s cover story this week takes a look at a new security protocol Santa Fe Public Schools has implemented known as a “reverse fire drill.” SFPS Executive Director of School Security Mario Salbidrez tells SFR the district decided to implement the reverse fire drill to address concerns about potential assailants finding “holes in our defense mechanisms. We taught our students and staff so well that when they hear a fire alarm, they’re to exit their rooms and go to a designated location. But we thought, ‘What if it’s a ruse? What if it’s not a real fire, but somebody pulled the fire alarm, what then?’ So, that’s where we came up with this reverse fire drill, and came with a guide on how to run through it, and hopefully obtain the outcome and knowledge we’re looking for.” The new drill is just one of several additional layers of security Salbidrez has instituted since he began his position in 2018. At the same, student and community activists have been expanding their work addressing the ubiquitous gun violence today’s students face. For example, New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence founder and Co-President Miranda Viscoli says her organization’s 10-week-long workshops are designed to provide youth with a “broad picture” and create space for them to discuss the issue. “A lot of them have family members who are incarcerated, a lot of them have siblings who have shot and killed somebody, a lot of them have lost loved ones,” Viscoli says. “There hasn’t been that space for them to really talk about it, which we actually found kind of shocking—that in every classroom so many kids have been affected by gun violence.”

Listen up

Talking about food isn’t quite as much fun as eating food, but it comes a close second around these foodie parts. Today’s edition of KUNM’s Let’s Talk New Mexico call-in program at 8 am, 89.9 FM, may leave you feeling hungry as host Kaveh Mowahed talks to some of this year’s New Mexico James Beard award semifinalists. Guests include Annamaria Brezna O’Brien from Santa Fe’s Dolina Cafe and BakeryBow and Arrow Brewing co-founder and Creative Director Missy Begay; Steve Riley from Mesa Provisions and more. Email or call in live during the show at (505) 277-5866 to share your thoughts on great food, eating out and all culinary topics in between.

The gift of recognition

Know an artist whose contributions deserve acknowledgement? How about an arts patron? As April approaches, so does the deadline beckon for the 2024 Governor’s Awards for Excellence in the Arts, which will accept nominations through 5 pm, Wednesday April 24. Nominations may be made by any New Mexico resident except for New Mexico Arts commissioners and New Mexico Arts Division staff. Galleries may not nominate artists they represent. This year’s awardees will be honored at a ceremony on Oct. 10 at the St. Francis Auditorium at the New Mexico Museum of Art. Nominations for artistic achievement require a nominating letter; a complete bio and CV; and artistic samples. Awards also will be given for individuals or groups “who have made significant or distinguished contributions to the arts in New Mexico,” such as arts patrons, advocates, educators, foundations and the like (only living individuals may be nominated). Nomination forms and details available here. Last year’s awardees included Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Raven Chacon (Diné); Galisteo artist Judy Tuwaletstiwa and renowned fashion designer Patricia Michaels (Pueblo of Taos), to name a few. Watch a playlist of interviews with last year’s winners here.

Airbnbs for all occasions

GQ magazine’s roundup of “28 of the coolest airbnbs in the US to rent right now” includes Cinco Chimineas in Santa Fe, described as “a classic Santa Fe family stay, with an indoor pool, a foosball table, and a special room for the kids (or your single friends) to bunk in.” Located near Downtown Subscription on Garcia Street, the listing says “the original adobe house was built by the White sisters who treasured the Santa Fe traditions of roughhewn vigas, intricate corbels, coved ceilings, kivas, and Saltillo tile floors.” Those White sisters, Amelia Elizabeth and Martha White (yes, the Amelia White Park also is nearby), “left an indelible mark,” the listing continues, “and succeeding owners added the enormous Great Gathering room, the enclosed Piscina and custom touches at every turn, from the hand-crafted sconces and chandeliers to the magnificent hand-carved doors to the three unique, bubbling fountains.” The home has overwhelmingly positive reviews; a random check for a three-day stay in April cost $3,624, with a $600 cleaning fee. Also in New Mexico/Airbnb news, Bride magazine includes a Taos home in its list of the “20 most romantic airbnbs for a honeymoon.” The “Boho Adobe” was “built in the 1950s as a dance studio,” the listing notes, and is “large and spacious,” but “there are no walls so if you are planning on having more than two guests just be aware there is not much privacy for three.” (Two seems about right for a honeymoon.) New Mexico, Bride magazine notes, “is a severely underrated state when it comes to honeymoons.” The Taos home “features whimsical touches such as a hammock hanging in the middle of the main living space.”

It’s a breeze

The National Weather Service forecasts a sunny day, with a high temperature near 53 degrees and north wind 5 to 15 mph becoming southwest in the afternoon. Prepare for windy afternoons ahead.

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