Morning Word

Tonight: City of Santa Fe Officials Take Feedback on Spending Priorities

Blue 2, Indio fires continue burning amid hot, dry conditions

Tonight: City officials seek spending feedback

Following Santa Fe Mayor Alan Webber’s announcement during his State of the City address last week that the city will spend $56 million on civic infrastructure projects, the city is soliciting public input on spending priorities for one-time expenditures and capital outlay at a special 6:30 pm City Council meeting this evening. Public comment is expected to begin at approximately 7 pm at City Hall, 200 Lincoln Ave. Public comment can also be made via Zoom (find instructions here) and written public comment can be submitted here (the special meeting is fifth on the list and then click the dialogue icon on the right). Meeting materials on one-time expenditures include proposals for $3 million in pavement rehab and maintenance; $2.7 million for six snow plows, a patching machine and grader; and $3 million for Midtown infrastructure costs, among a variety of other high-ticket items, including parks, the fire department and expansion of the city’s Safe Outdoor Spaces initiative. “These are all investments that city councilors, city workers and the people of Santa Fe are eager to see move ahead,” Webber said last week during his speech. “They are one-time investments in a better future for our city.” The supplemental funds, he said, are a result of “years of consistent conservative budgeting” that helped the city grow its cash reserves.

Wildfires continue burning through Memorial weekend

The Indios Fire, which began May 19 as a result of a lightning strike in the Coyote Ranger District—approximately seven miles north of the village of Coyote within the Chama River Canyon Wilderness—continues to burn with zero containment, officials reported yesterday. As of press time, the fire had burned more than 4,200 acres. Smoke from the fire yesterday became more visible in surrounding communities, including Española and Abiquiú, and the Santa Fe National Forest has issued emergency closures in the forest. According to a news release, the Southwest Area Complex Incident Management Team 4 assumes command of the fire this morning to bring more resources to the situation, with fire crews “working to minimize adverse fire impacts to federal and private lands including watersheds, natural and cultural resources, range, and agricultural infrastructure, and preserving landscape characteristics in the Chama River Canyon Wilderness.” Meanwhile, the Blue 2 Fire in the Lincoln National Forest has grown to more than 6,800 acres with zero containment. The fire began May 16 in the White Mountain Wilderness approximately eight miles north of Ruidoso. According to a news release issued yesterday, while the fire—also caused by lightning—continues to burn day and night due to high temperatures and low humidity, it has not had much movement. “Firefighters are working during day and night shifts to suppress the fire,” a news release states and continue to build fire lines, while air resources drop water and fire retardant.

City delays opening Bicentennial pool

Bicentennial Pool sagas resume, with the City of Santa Fe announcing just before the start of Memorial Weekend that the city’s only outdoor pool would not be opening in time for the traditional start of pool season. Moreover, the brief announcement noted the pool’s opening is delayed until further notice, pending staff’s location of a leak, which has apparently delayed a required inspection by the state environment department. In June of 2021, the City Council voted to close the pool for the season, citing costly delayed maintenance and a major water leak; according to a memo distributed at the time, the 45-year-old pool had received no significant upgrades and was leaking 130,000 gallons of water a month. The closure prompted close to 1,000 people to sign a petition urging the city to repair the popular swimming spot. The city subsequently completed a $2.3 million renovation that included a new lap pool, new decking and landscaping and a variety of other repairs and, as reported at the time, “preventative maintenance on mechanical systems and other facility structures.” The city reopened the pool in the summer of 2022. According to the city’s recent Facebook post on the situation, Genoveva Chavez Community pool programming will be expanded to maximum capacity while the Bicentennial pool is closed; and Saldavor Perez Pool will open June 3. Fort Marcy Pool also closed May 25 for a boiler replacement with no specified reopening date as of press time.

Judge rejects Baldwin’s motion to dismiss

ICYMI, late Friday afternoon heading into the long Memorial Day weekend, First Judicial District Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer rejected Rust actor and producer Alec Baldwin’s motion to dismiss involuntary manslaughter charges connected to the Oct. 21, 2021 fatal on-set shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins. The written decision followed oral arguments by Baldwin’s attorneys and special prosecutor Kari Morrissey earlier this month. Baldwin’s lawyers moved for dismissal in the aftermath of former Rust armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed’s March conviction on the same charge, and asked the First Judicial District Court to dismiss the involuntary manslaughter charge, alleging state prosecutors violated court orders during the proceedings that indicted Baldwin the second time by refusing to present most of their “significant exculpatory and favorable witnesses and documents” to the grand jury. In her Friday decision, Marlowe Sommer rejects Baldwin’s claims of prosecutorial bad faith, and says the motion “conflates a prosecutor’s duty to alert the grand jury to target-offered evidence with a prosecutor’s discretion to present exculpatory evidence.” Because she did not find prosecutorial bad faith, the judge writes, “the court will not engage in a post-indictment review of the evidence submitted to the grand jury.” She also did not find error with the jury instructions; the reading of the evidence alert letter to the grand jury; or violations of the instructions of the grand jury judge. Baldwin’s trial at present is set to begin July 10. The Los Angeles Times reports on Friday Baldwin’s lawyers Luke Nikas and Alex Spiro said via email they “look forward to our day in court.”

Listen up

The surging use of drugs like Ozempic and Wegovy among adults and youth have prompted a churn of news and questions. Medications in the GLP-1 receptor agonists family are designed to treat diabetes, but the drugs help with weight loss for many people and are now being studied for use with other health conditions, such as kidney disease. The most recent episode of The University of New Mexico’s It’s (Probably) Not Rocket Science podcast features Dr. Joseph Lambson, director of the New Mexico Poison and Drug Information Center, on the issue of whether it’s possible to overdose on such medications.

A walk in the (art) park

“Storm King meets Meow Wolf meets Marfa” is how a New Mexico artist describes his newest sculpture park, ArtNet reports. Artist Matty Mo, who previously and erroneously took credit for a Utah monolith, has now opened a 40-acre sculpture part near Tucumcari named Art City. The park’s website describes it as a “fresh take on an art studio” courtesy Mo’s alias The Most Famous Artist. “The name preceded my practice and informed my practice—which was around stunts that generated headlines so I could get distribution and new audience,” Mo, a Stanford University graduate who worked in marketing prior to art, tells ArtNet. He moved to Tucumcari three years ago after identifying it as a place with the conditions he wanted for his sculpture park: “land two hours from an airport, with great natural resources like water and food on a major thoroughfare.” As for the references to Storm KingMeow Wolf and Marfa, Mo tells ArtNet he wasn’t thinking about those comparisons while designing the park, but hopes Art City is “more accessible to the public than Storm King or Marfa and less gimmicky than Meow Wolf.” He says he also hopes Art City becomes “a pilgrimage along Route 66,” and helps the area’s economy alongside the artists who contribute work to the park—right now, apparently, much of the work there came from Burning Man.

Singing Singer’s praises

Vogue magazine profiles popular Santa Fe Indian Market (Aug. 17-18) artist Penny Singer (Diné), whose ribbon shirts the story characterizes as “one of the market’s most popular attractions.” Singer, who is based on the Navajo reservation in the Farmington area, tells the magazine visiting with people at the market is one of her favorite aspects of showing there, which she has done for more than a decade. “That’s what keeps me going,” she says. “I love meeting new people, and talking to them about what I put on my garments.” She made her first ribbon shirt while studying appliqué styles in college. Powwow dancers—usually men—typically wear them, often “to display their Indigenous pride” with colors or patterns “specific to their tribes or communities,” Vogue writes. Singer decided to put her own spin on them and taught herself how to make ribbon shirts for her son’s father, a powwow dancer at the time. She also showed work at the Southwestern Association for Indian Arts Native Fashion Week earlier this month, with a runway show featuring new ribbon shirts and other apparel. “I opened with urban-cool looks—streetwear pieces you can wear with jeans—and I ended with more formal looks,” Singer tells Vogue, noting that much of her work takes its inspiration from the Navajo reservation. “That’s where all of our old weaving designs came from—the landscapes, and just living out on the rez.”

Feel the heat

The National Weather Service forecasts sunny skies today, with high temperatures in the mid 80s, and northeast wind 10 to 15 mph becoming west in the afternoon. With temperatures on the rise, the state health department on Friday cautioned residents to guard against the heat. According to DOH, at least 51 heat-related ER visits have transpired across the state since the start of April; find more information on how to recognize and treat heat-related illness here.

Thanks for reading! The Word thinks Nelly Furtado’s recent Tiny Desk concert is the right vibe to kick off this short week.

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