Morning Word

SFAR: Santa Fe Home Sales Mostly Down in First Quarter

JA Vance, Mavis Staples, Lucinda Williams at this year’s Ghost Ranch Music Festival

SFAR: Santa Fe County, city home prices rise again

Santa Fe County home sales increased by 4.4% during the first quarter of 2024 compared with the same quarter last year, the Santa Fe Association of Realtors announced yesterday, while the median home price rose, albeit less than 1%, to $755,000. In the city, meanwhile, median home prices rose by nearly 4% from to $530,000 in the first quarter of the year, while sales dropped by 6.9%. While sales in the city were slow and gains in the county were “modest,” SFAR 2024 President Joshua Maes says in a statement, “as we enter what is usually the busy season for homebuying and selling, the data is showing that total inventory and new listings are up relative to this time last year.” Condo and townhome sales dropped from 71 units sold in the first quarter of 2023 to 59 in the first quarter of this year, with the median price of condos and townhomes rising by 14.6% to $450,000. Overall land sales dropped by 15.9%, while the overall median land price rose by 17.9% to $158,000 this quarter. Sales dropped in most areas of Santa Fe, with the exception of the north side of Santa Fe County.

Downwinders push for justice

Fewer than 30 days remain for the US House to vote on a bill to extend and expand the federal Radiation Exposure Compensation Act to include downwinders—New Mexico residents injured by the 1945 Trinity test—and the state’s uranium miners, along with a nuclear victims in other states. US Rep. Teresa Leger Fernández, D-NM, tells SFR the bipartisan coalition rallying around the cause “is stronger than it’s ever been…we will get something,” Leger Fernández says. “I can tell you we are not giving up.” The US Senate passed the legislation last month for the second time. Tina Cordova, co-founder of the Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium, happened to be in Washington, DC at the time as a guest of US Sen. Ben Ray Luján—a champion of the bill—for the State of the Union. The US Senate’s passage of the bill also coincided with the anniversary of her father’s death from cancer, she says. “I wasn’t sure I wanted to be gone on that day,” she says. “But being invited to the State of the Union is a once-in-a-lifetime thing. I honestly finally got straight in my head that I can be here in Albuquerque miserable about my dad’s passing, or I could be in DC lobbying and talking to people and spreading the word. Little did we know that the vote was going to take place that day.” The House must take up the bill before it expires on June 7.

Visitors allege carbon monoxide in Airbnb

A new lawsuit filed by Montana visitors alleges they were poisoned by carbon monoxide in their Santa Fe Airbnb. Emily and Gary Wrotny, of Gallatin County, Montana and their two minor children brought personal injury claims against property owners Albert and Deborah Padilla and property manager Kelly Goodgame in First Judicial District Court. The complaint alleges the family arrived in Santa Fe on March 22, 2021 and smelled an odor in the Airbnb, but thought it might be from leftover cigarette smoke. A property manager, Goodgame, the next day confirmed the home sometimes smelled “weird” and brought over an air purifier. That evening, Emily Wrotny says she found her baby “unresponsive and covered in vomit,” and rushed the baby to the hospital. According to a news release from The Spence Law Firm, which is representing the family, at least 19 people have died from carbon monoxide poising while staying at Airbnb rentals since 2013. “This is an urgent issue,” partner Tyson Logan says in a statement. “The poisoning did permanent and irreversible damage to this family, especially the youngest child—it will affect them forever. It is devastating and especially frustrating so easily preventable: Airbnb should require alarms, period. And the property owners and manager could have easily installed carbon monoxide alarms in the house but chose not to do so.”

Odds & ends

• Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham yesterday announced Jodi McGinnis Porter as her new deputy director of communications, working with Michael Coleman, recently hired as the office’s director of communications. Porter recently served as communications director for the state health department and Human Services Department. Once upon a time, she also was the City of Santa Fe’s communications director as well (when David Coss was mayor). “Jodi brings a wealth of experience and a proven track record of effective communication strategies,” the governor said in a statement. “Her expertise will be invaluable as we continue to engage with the public and advance our administration’s goals.”

• Speaking of the city, nominations are open for the Mayor’s Arts Awards, honoring “contributions individuals, organizations, and businesses have made to the Santa Fe arts community.” The nomination form in English is here. El formulario de nominación en español está aquí. Read more about the awards, including past participants, here.

• The Easter shooting that led to the arrests earlier this week of Santiago Prada, 34, of Santa Fe and Steven Sena, 32, began with a fight over a motorcycle, according to newly filed court documents.

Listen up

Yes, the Nov. 5 election includes a presidential race and, yes, it’s a repeat of 2020′s, but closer to home, this year’s general offers the promise of change. On the most recent edition of New Mexico In Focus on PBS, Former state Sen. Dede Feldman sits down with Senior Producer Lou DiVizio to discuss how much competition voters should expect from this year’s legislative ballot, which will include 19 open legislative seats: 12 held by Republicans, and the other seven by Democrats.

Ghost Ranch music festival lineup revealed

Mavis StaplesLucinda Williams and Vance Joy are just a few of the performers featured at this year’s Blossoms & Bones Ghost Ranch Music Festival slated Sept. 12-14, promoter Lensic 360 announced yesterday. The now-annual Abiquiú event comes back for year four with a lineup that also includes Courtney BarnettDakhabrakhaNick MulveyBrett Dennen and many more. “This is the second year with the same name and same vibe,” Lensic 360′s Jamie Lenfestey tells SFR. Lenfestey formerly worked with AMP Concerts, the company that initially handled the fest. It’s since had a name-change and Lensic 360 works directly with the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum to identify a different painting every year to align the festival that takes place at the artist’s former home. “This year it’s a piece called ‘Summer Days,’ and it’s this elk skull with flowers below it; we’re kind of playing off that in that we want to embrace the sense of adventure O’Keeffe had when she ventured into New Mexico and fell in love with this amazing place.” Early bird tickets for Lensic Performing Arts Center members go live on Tuesday, April 9, with sales for single and two-day passes ($135-$235) opening to the wider public on Sunday, April 12. Notably, festival tickets do not cover hotel or camping options, so plan accordingly. Lenfestey says serious concert-goers may want to consider the Thursday evening welcome event on Sept. 12, at which festival artists will play in a more intimate setting. “You can get settled in and spend all Friday on the ranch,” he says, “rather than spending that time getting in there.”

Moving right along

Seeing as it’s April, apparently it’s time to start planning our summers. Condé Nast Traveler magazine offers a guide to Santa Fe’s summer events. The list, of course, includes this year’s Santa Fe Opera season (June 28-Aug. 24), Santa Fe Indian Market (Aug. 17-18) and the 100th anniversary burning of Zozobra on Aug. 30. But the story doesn’t focus solely on the big August productions. The story actually begins with events happening in May, which is still spring (summer officially begins June 20), but let’s not quibble. This year’s late spring calendar includes the Southwestern Association for Indian Arts first Native Fashion Week (May 2-5), for which tickets are already on sale. This year’s Santa Fe International Literary Festival (May 17-19) once again includes a star line-up, including National Book Award winner Jesmyn Ward, Killers of the Flower Moon author David Grann and Pulitzer Prize-winning Oppenheimer biographer Kai Bird, among many othersCurrents New Media Festival (June 14-23) and the Santa Fe Margarita Trail (not so much an event as list of places to drink margaritas) also receive mention. “For centuries, Santa Fe has held its own as a maverick of a city—an artist enclave, a spiritual haven, a mystical land beckoning travelers from around the globe,” Condé Nast writes. “The best way to take it all in is with a visit to Santa Fe in the summer months. A slew of exciting events take to the streets every year from May to August, offering visitors the chance to interact with locals and understand how The City Different earned its name.” Keep those margaritas coming.

Easy, breezy

The National Weather Service forecasts a sunny day, with a high temperature near 65 degrees and north wind 10 to 15 mph becoming west in the afternoon.

Thanks for reading! The Word has listened to this Gustaf song an unhealthy number of times in the last 24 hours.

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