Morning Word

Santa Fe Police Shoot Knife-Wielding Man by Pete’s Place

Santa Fe Public Schools join lawsuit against PED over 180-rule

Morning Word

Santa Fe Police shoot knife-wielding man by Pete’s Place

A man wielding a knife and threatening people on Cerrillos Road, near Harrison Road and the Interfaith Community Shelter at Pete’s Place shelter ended up shot by Santa Fe Police yesterday afternoon in a situation that shut down Cerrillos Road and snarled traffic across the city through rush hour. SFPD says in a news release it was notified about the man at approximately 2:30 pm yesterday. When officers arrived, they engaged with the man, now identified as 37-year-old Jermaine Garcia, and at least one officer shot him at least once (a video that captures part of the incident, shot from a vehicle driving by indicates two shots were fired; the video was previously posted on Facebook but has since been removed). Garcia received medical care at the scene before being taken the hospital. State Police will investigate the shooting. Garcia has been charged with aggravated burglary; attempt to commit a felony (armed robbery; two charges); aggravated assault with a deadly weapon (five charges); aggravated assault upon a police officer with a deadly weapon (three charges); and criminal damage to property (under $1,000). The hundreds of comments left on SFPD’s Facebook post about the incident include reiteration of ongoing concerns about activity around the homeless shelter. Shelter Director Karina Lopez told the Santa Fe New Mexican Garcia was not a regular guest at the shelter nor known by staff.

School districts sue state over 180 rule

Santa Fe Public Schools, along with more than 50 other school districts around the state, has filed suit against the state Department of Public Education Department and PED Secretary Arsenio Romero for its new rule requiring all public schools in the state to operate on a minimum of 180 instructional days, beginning in the 2024-2025 school year. The plaintiffs—the New Mexico School Superintendents Association and individual school superintendents—filed the lawsuit April 18 in filed Curry County’s 9th Judicial District Court. The new rule, Romero said in a statement in March, will “equalize instructional time across the state” and improve student outcomes. It faced overwhelming opposition from school districts, faculty and parents. The lawsuit, which asks for a temporary restraining order against the new rule, among other measures, argues it statutorily over-reaches and, essentially, creates an unfunded mandate that will result in a loss of teachers, students and staff. In a news release earlier this month about its current budgeting process and a recent unit value increase, SFPS Superintendent Hilario “Larry” Chavez previewed some of the lawsuit’s concerns, saying in a statement: “The upshot from this announcement is that there is no additional funding for the PED’s new requirement for 180 days of instruction,” he said. The unit value ensures that the three percent raise promised by the Legislature and governor are provided for all employees. But the 180-day requirement is now an unfunded mandate. We’re carefully crafting our 2024-25 budget given this recent development.”

AG to Court: Release records

State Attorney General Raúl Torrez yesterday issued a statement urging the Second Judicial District provide information requested under the Inspection of Public Records Act to KRQE Channel 13 news reporter Larry Barker. The information—GPS alerts and notifications for defendants under the supervision of the Court’s Pretrial Services Division—Torrez says in a news release, should not have been denied because IPRA only exempts “global positioning system data” (Barker asked for the alerts, not for location data or private information) from inclusion as a public record and “sets forth the requirements for law enforcement agencies seeking to access that information. It does not cloak pretrial services in secrecy or authorize the courts to exempt all pretrial services records from inspection by the public.” Torrez’s statement notes the public importance of exploring the pre-trial detention system’s efficacy; legislation intended to shift the burden of pre-trial detention to the defendant has been repeatedly proposed and backed by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham. “There is no more urgent issue facing our community than the problem of violent crime,” Torrez said in a statement. “The public must have the information about how dangerous defendants, like Devin Munford, are being supervised when they are not detained pretrial. At a time when New Mexico has one of the highest rates of violent crime, how can the public have confidence in this process and how can policy makers know that the system is working, if journalists are denied access to basic information about who’s violating their conditions of release?”

City announces rapid-hire and other events

The City of Santa Fe will hold a rapid-hire event in conjunction with the New Mexico Workforce Connection from 8 am to noon this Saturday, April 27 to fill open positions in the Parks, Open Space and Transit divisions. The event will take place at the Transit Administration Office (2931 Rufina St.). The city also announced Mayor Alan Webber will hold another “meet the mayor” event at which constituents can talk with the mayor for 10 minutes to ask questions or voice concerns, from 3 to 5 pm on Monday, April 29; the event is first-come, first-serve. The city this week also announced a meeting at 5:30 pm on Tuesday, April 30 with PNM to discuss upcoming tree mitigation at Fort Marcy Park. According to a news release, PNM and two of its “certified utility arborists” have determined the company should remove trees “interfering with high-voltage lines to resolve potential tree and power line issues along the edge of the arroyo.” That work is expected to start in mid-May and continue for approximately a month. The meeting—intended to address constituent concerns—will take place at the gazebo shade structure adjacent to the Arroyo Mascara.

Listen up

Season 6 of the state Department of Culture Encounter Culture podcast begins with a poetry-focused episode and guest New Mexico State Poet Laureate, Lauren Camp. Host Emily Withnall, editor of El Palacio magazine, talks with Camp about all things poetic, including the latter’s mission to bring poetry to everyone via the New Mexico Epic Poetry Project. “I wanna go to as many places as I can because the response has been just so incredible where people are saying either they’ve never known what a poem is, they’ve never met a poet, they’ve never written a poem or a line of poetry, and so it makes me wanna just keep going out there and introducing people to poetry,” says Camp, who recently published a new collection: In Old Sky (catch SFR’s recent interview with Camp here).

Picture this

Age of Dinosaurs Eleanor (Ely) Kish (1924–2014), Age of Dinosaurs, 1986, mural in Jurassic Hall. New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science (Albuquerque, NM).

Speaking of poetry (April is National Poetry Month, after all), the state culture department this week announced the winners of its ekphrastic poetry competition. The contest invited New Mexicans to write and submit poems based on 10 artworks from various institutions. State Poet Laureate Lauren Camp chose the winners, each of whom receive two NMDCA CulturePasses and an opportunity to read their poem during a special event next month at the National Hispanic Cultural Center Bank of America Theatre in Albuquerque. The contest had more than 100 entries, the state says, with winners in both youth and adult categories. The poems can each be read by clicking on one of the artworks found on this page. We particularly liked the youth winner Diego Viscarra’s untitled poem in response to Eleanor (Ely) Kish’s 1986 mural, “Age of Dinosaurs” (pictured above), found in the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science (Jurassic Hall):

From present to past,

In the blink of an eye.

Is it raining?

A flight of stairs.

Life new again.

Eternal yet so temporary.

Fragile.

Beautiful.

Complex.

Simple.

Cultural exploration

Speaking of culture, the Smithsonian magazine offers tips on “how to be a cultural explorer in Santa Fe,” which opens with a description of the rendering of Gilberto Guzmán’s “Multicultural” mural—which can now be viewed at the new Vladem Contemporary—as illustrative of the city’s multicultural identity (but refrains from mentioning the litigation that preceded said rendering). The story offers a historical tour through downtown Santa Fe, with shout-outs for the Plaza, La Fonda Hotel and the downtown museums. It also acknowledgement for the Santuario de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe, which “offers its own form of cultural exploration” and “doubles as an art and history museum,” the Smithsonian notes, recommending visitors check out the Archdiocese of Santa Fe’s collection of New Mexican santos. From downtown, the story heads up to Museum Hill before returning to the Railyard area, where “the neighborhood’s 13-acre Railyard Park features a rotating array of public art” (including artist Adam Horowitz recently installed “Plastolithic,” which SFR recently profiled). But it’s Vladem, the story concludes, which “perfectly pulls together Santa Fe’s history and future,” with its “adaptive reuse of the old Halpin Building.” And, again Guzmán’s mural “that perhaps best illustrates Santa Fe’s artistic and cultural ethos: to understand the present, you must delve into the past.”

Hot and dry

The National Weather Service has issued a red flag warning starting at 11 am today, and a fire weather watch starting tomorrow morning, due to strong winds and low humidity throughout much of the state. In Santa Fe today, NWS forecasts patchy blowing dust after 3 pm, with increasing clouds, a high temperature near 70 degrees and southwest winds 15 to 25 mph this morning, potentially gusting as high as 35 mph.

Thanks for reading! The Word is reading (and listening to) Jenny Odell’s essay on rocks and time.

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