Morning Word

Santa Fe Voters Send Newcomers to County Commission, Retain DA, Clerk

Gov. Lujan Grisham attends President Biden’s border announcement in DC

Morning Word

Santa Fe Voters Choose First-Time Candidates for BCC

Two first-time candidates, Democrats Lisa Cacari Stone and Adam Fulton Johnson, handily won seats on the Santa Fe Board of County Commissioners in districts 2 and 4. Meanwhile, First Judicial District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies easily defeated challenger and predecessor Marco Serna in a two-way race that proved one of the most expensive in the state. Former state Rep. Linda Trujillo emerged victorious in her three-way Democratic primary against Santa Fe County Commissioner Anna Hansen and political newcomer Veronica Krupnick, while County Clerk Katharine Clark decisively fended off a challenge from her predecessor Geraldine Salazar. In an upset, Melissa Mascareñas appears to have beaten incumbent Magistrate Judge Morgan Wood.

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NM Gov attends Biden’s border announcement

President Joe Biden yesterday issued a proclamation limiting asylum seekers on the US southern border. Specifically, Biden announced a suspension of entry as of 12 am today (EDT), which will be lifted when the Homeland Security Secretary determines there have been fewer than 1,500 apprehensions by federal agents of people crossing illegally in seven consecutive days; the suspension will return when such encounters reach 2,500 in seven days, with exceptions in each case for unaccompanied children, trafficking victims and US residents, among others. “Our broken immigration system is directly contributing to the historic migration we are seeing throughout the Western Hemisphere, exacerbated by poor economic conditions, natural disasters and general insecurity,” Biden said in a statement announcing the measures, “and this fact, combined with inadequate resources to keep pace, has once again severely strained our capacity at the border.” Biden attributed “Congress’s failure to deliver meaningful policy reforms and adequate funding, despite repeated requests that they do so,” as a “core cause of this problem.” Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, who attended Biden’s press conference announcing the measures, and who was captured on tape complaining about the border crisis earlier this spring, said in a statement she was “encouraged” by Biden’s plan: “In New Mexico, I’ve long emphasized the need for more border agents to help crack down on drug and human trafficking,” said. “While only Congress can provide those resources, the President’s plan maximizes the resources that are available for border security, strategically deploying border patrol agents where they’re needed most.” She also praised the plan for maintaining “an approach that’s true to our American values. This administration will not separate children from their families or discriminate based on religion as occurred during the Trump administration.”

FEMA: Fire victims can receive mental health treatment

Victims of the devastating 2022 Hermits Peak/Calf Canyon wildfire can receive compensation for mental health treatment, the Federal Emergency Management Agency announced yesterday. According to a news release, people must submit claims by Nov. 14, 2024. “The Hermit’s Peak/Calf Canyon Fire was devastating to the members of our community in many ways, not just their houses and land, but also their mental health,” Jay Mitchell, director of Operations of FEMA’s New Mexico Joint Recovery Office, says in a statement. “Experiencing a disaster as well as the stress of navigating recovery can have a significant impact on one’s mental wellbeing. We want all community members to know that the cost of treatment for both mental health and medical conditions caused by the fire are eligible for compensation.” People can also submit claims for other types of medical expenses that are a result of the fire and subsequent flooding, including insurance deductibles, medications and transportation costs related to medical care. People with questions can call the claims office helpline at (505) 995-7133.

Enviro groups sue feds over Valles Caldera grazing

WildEarth GuardiansWestern Watersheds Project and Caldera Action yesterday announced a lawsuit in federal court for the district of New Mexico against the US Forest Service and the US Fish and Wildlife Service for violating the Endangered Species Act by allowing illegal livestock grazing in the Valles Caldera National Preserve, which is managed by the National Park Service. The groups threatened to sue the NPS in 2022 over the issue, and say yesterday’s suit follows years of “inaction” by the Forest Service to prevent livestock grazing on adjacent lands from entering the preserve. “This has been going on too long and the impacts are getting worse,” WildEarth Guardians Wild Places Program Director Andrew Rothman says in a statement. “People who care about the Caldera are frustrated, especially when they see dozens of cattle wallowing in riparian areas and fens—fragile ecosystems that are supposed to be protected.” According to a news release from the groups, last year more than 850 cattle were observed trespassing in the Caldera. “We have asked the Forest Service and the Park Service to do something about these trespassing cows for nearly ten years,” Caldera Action Executive Director Tom Ribe says in a statement. “The Park Service took action after our first Notice of Intent to Sue in 2022. While we appreciate that, it isn’t enough—we need the Forest Service to take responsibility for the cattle that are from their grazing program. They need to keep those cattle on Forest Service lands according to their agreements with the ranchers.”

Listen up

Imagine living 300 miles away from the nearest library. For many New Mexicans in rural parts of the state, that’s reality. To help all residents have access to books, the New Mexico State Library runs programs: Books by Mail, along with three bookmobiles serving different areas of the state. On the most recent episode of the state Department of Culture’s Encounter Culture podcast, host and El Palacio Editor Emily Withnall talks with Berdina Nieto, the New Mexico State Library Books by Mail librarian and rural services outreach specialist, and Laura Gonzales, the state’s northeast region’s bookmobile manager. “I care about people first. I care about what’s going on in their lives,” Nieto says. “Patrons will call just to get their book order and then tell me what’s going on in their world, and then I’ll do the same.”

New western views

High Country News highlights the emphasis the 2024 Whitney Biennial (through Aug. 11) places on artists from the West. Of the 71 artists participating in Even Better Than the Real ThingHCN notes, more than a dozen work in the west. They include New Mexico-based Cannupa Hanska Luger (Mandan, Hidatsa, Arikara and Lakota), an enrolled member of the Three Affiliated Tribes of Fort Berthold, whose work Santa Feans have seen at exhibitions over the last decade at SITE Santa Fe, the Center for Contemporary Arts and the Museum of International Folk Art, among others. At the Whitney, the story writes, “viewers crane their necks to examine the upside-down pink-mesh tipi that hangs suspended from the ceiling, its tip anchored to the floor by lustrous claws. Luger’s TIPI—an acronym for Transportational Intergenerational Protection Infrastructure—is a speculative technology that safeguards Indigenous knowledge while dislocating viewers in time.” The biennial also features sculptor Rose B. Simpson (Santa Clara Pueblo), whose installation Daughters gathers four larger-than-life ceramic entities into a powerful circle.” Both Luger and Simpson’s work, HCN concludes, “create intentional boundaries between museumgoers and the art, hinting at a healthy skepticism of the Whitney’s sudden interest in contemporary Indigenous work.” Other New Mexico artists included in this year’s exhibition include Galisteo-based Harmony Hammond and Placitas painter Maja Ruznic.

This land is our land

Land art has its share of critics and also, it seems, collectors. How does one collect land art? With an “open mind,” experts interviewed by ArtNet for an “insider’s guide” to doing so. The challenges may be obvious: “Directly embedded in the great outdoors, land artworks are often large in scale and intentionally ephemeral, meant to decay over time rather than being preserved in any traditional sense.” Collectors without land on which to house a sculptor may not be able to participate in large works, but often other works emerge as a result, Mary Sabbatino, vice president and partner of New York/Paris-based Galerie Lelong, tells ArtNet. “Photography, too, has had an important role in immortalizing land art beyond its remote locales,” the story notes, as in the case of Robert Smithson, but there’s no “one-size fits all,” approach. “Every single artwork has a different set of protocols and requirements,” Lisa Le Feuvre, the inaugural executive director of the Santa Fe-based Holt/Smithson Foundation, dedicated to the legacy of Smithson and Nancy Holt, says. The work itself is owned by the Dia Art Foundation, which also commissioned the famous 1977 New Mexico-based work by Walter de Maria, The Lightning Field and bought the remote land on which it sits, which visitors can view through very specific conditions. Former Dia Art Foundation curator Alexis Lowry, now a curatorial director at Hauser & Wirth, tells ArtNet stewardship of these land art pieces is a varied undertaking. “All of these works need advocates more than anything else,” Lowry says. “They need resources, but resources come through advocacy.”

A hot wind blows

The National Weather Service forecasts a hot day ahead with high temperatures in the low 90s and a sight chance of “sprinkles” after 3 pm. North wind 5 to 15 mph will become south in the afternoon.

Thanks for reading! The Word finds poetry a soothing antidote to a long day of election coverage.

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