Lawmakers and law enforcement focus on rising violent crime |

COVID-19 in numbers

New Mexico health officials on Friday reported 5,291 new cases of COVID-19, a decline of nearly 7.5% from the previous day, bringing the state total to 470,513; The DOH has designated 336,396 of those cases as recovered. the state test positivity rate increased slightly from 29.9% to 30.1% (target is 7.5%).

Bernalillo County had 1,305 cases, followed by Doña Ana County with 675 and Santa Fe County with 327, 137 of the 87507 zip code, which ranked third in the state among zip codes for the most new cases.

According to the state most recent vaccination reportin the previous four weeks (between December 27 and January 24), 53.8% of COVID-19 cases were among those who were not fully vaccinated, as were 77.8% of hospitalizations and 93.3 % of deaths.

The state also reported 26 additional deaths, 20 recent and six from more than 30 days ago, including a Santa Fe County woman in her 60s who was hospitalized and had underlying conditions. Santa Fe County now has 226 deaths; there were 6,417 statewide. On Friday, 673 people were hospitalized with COVID-19, a 5.6% decrease from the previous day. The health department is expected to provide a three-day update on cases, hospitalizations and deaths this afternoon.

Currently, 91.3% of adults Ages 18 and older received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 77.2% completed their primary series. Among the same demographic group, 41.3% received a booster shot. In the 12-17 age group, 69.9% of people had at least one dose and 59.3% completed their primary series. Among children aged 5 to 11, 35.1% received at least one dose of the Pfizer vaccine and 23.8% completed their primary series. In Santa Fe County, 99% of people age 18 and older received at least one dose and 86.4% completed their primary series.ICYMI, CBS spent time in New Mexico with New Mexico National Guard Lt. Col. Susana Corona, one of the volunteers working as a school substitute to help with the Vacancies in classrooms due to COVID.And the Los Angeles Times interviews with Michelle Keaton, employee of the Los Alamos National Laboratorywho was one of the LANL workers who sued the lab over their vaccine warrant (they dropped the lawsuit after a judge denied their request to block the mandate). Keaton is on unpaid leave and looking for a new job. Responsible for lab training, she would like to stay in her field, but thinks vaccination mandates might force her to consider other types of jobs, such as at Starbucks, who recently canceled its vaccination mandate for employees.

New Mexicans can register for a COVID-19 vaccine hereplan a booster of the COVID-19 vaccine here and view a public calendar for vaccine availability here. Parents can add dependents to their vaccine profiles here. You can read the updated guidelines for quarantine and isolation here.

You can order free COVID-19 tests at home here and navigate to the DOH test directory here.

You can read all of SFR’s COVID-19 coverage here.

Lawmakers and law enforcement focus on rising crime

Punishment for criminal behavior in New Mexico “has become less certain as crime has increased, with fewer violent crimes solved and more violent crime cases dismissed”, according to a budgetary and political analysis released this month by the Legislative Finance Committee. In response to rising crime in the state – the same report says New Mexico had the highest overall crime rate of any state in the country in 2020 and the second highest violent crime rate – the government. Michelle Lujan Grisham and other heads of state announced earlier this month a set of public safety laws aimed at deterring crime. As the Albuquerque Journal reportshowever, there remains a lack of consensus on how best to reduce crime rates and a variety of proposals on the table, ranging from a controversial offer to modify the rules of pre-trial detention to a push to increase law enforcement ranks. Nonetheless, the House Consumer Affairs and Public Affairs Committee on Saturday passed three other bills aimed at improving public safety by: increasing funding for crime reduction programs (HB 84); increased penalties for illegal use of firearms (HB 68); and to threaten the judges (HB 99). House Bill 68 would also expand penalties for aggravated flight by a law enforcement officer. “This legislation is another tool we can use, in conjunction with investments in behavioral health and other targeted changes to the criminal justice system, to go a long way in making our schools and communities safer,” co-sponsored the State Representative Meredith Dixon, D.-Albuquerque, said in a statement.

While the talk of crime often focuses on Albuquerque, law enforcement in the Santa Fe area says they are battling an increase in drug trafficking that they associate with violent crime. the Santa Fe New Mexican reports More than a dozen people have been charged with drug trafficking in the Santa Fe area in the past two weeks alone as part of a coordinated crackdown. “We think violent crime is drug and gang related,” Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza told the newspaper. “These are significant amounts that we believe are being dumped on the streets and harming the community.”

SFPS renews superintendent contract

Santa Fe Public School Board Members met in person on Saturday for a special meeting, including three hours spent in closed session. Upon their return (around 3:21 a.m. in the video linked above), the board unanimously renewed Superintendent Hilario “Larry” Chavez’s contract for two years at his existing annual salary of $175,000; Board secretary Sarah Boses told the meeting that the board offered Chavez a contract increase during the executive session, but he declined it “for the time being.” . In a report cited by the Santa Fe New Mexican On behalf of the board, Boses said, “The board has incredible confidence in the superintendent and would love to see him grow the team and the SFPS community for many, many years to come.” Chavez told the newspaper that his goal “is to lead the district for many years to come, and that’s the important part of this contract.” Chavez was hired as superintendent last April and took office on July 1, succeeding former superintendent Veronica García.

Bill to curb predatory lending passes first committee

Legislation to combat predatory lending in New Mexico passed its first committee on Saturday, receiving a 3-2 vote along party lines — with Republicans against — the House Consumers and Public Affairs Committee. HB 132 reduces the annual interest rate on loans made under the New Mexico Bank Installment Loans Act and the New Mexico Small Loans Act by 175%, among the highest in the nation, according to a Think New Mexico 2020 Policy Report—at 36%. The legislation would also limit maximum loan terms for loans of $10,000 or less to a period of 24 months and prohibit the accrual of fees, penalties and charges for ancillary products. “Agressive lending rates are keeping our families and communities down, it’s a financial epidemic,” said one of the bill’s five co-sponsors, State Rep. Susan Herrera, D-Embudo. , in a press release. “We must end these practices, in order to protect New Mexican families from financial harm.” Supporters of the bill say storefront loan companies target low-income and Native American populations. The bill then heads to the House Judiciary Committee.


Last week, the Secretary of State and the Department of Political Science at the University of New Mexico presented the findings of the “2020 New Mexico Election Administration, Voter Safety, and Electoral Reform Report.” On the most recent edition of New Mexico PBS’ On point program, corresponding Gwyneth Doland speaks with Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver about voting reforms Toulouse Oliver and Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham support during the current legislative session.

Indigenous pantry

Food 52 characteristics Chef Freddie Bitsilk (Diné), a New Mexico native, in her series on Chef’s Pantry Essentials. Bitsoie, author of New Native Kitchen: Celebrating Modern American Indian Recipes (with which he wrote James O. Fraioli, James Beard Award-winning author, shares seven staples for fueling a Native American kitchen. They include: juniper berries, hominy, sage, prickly pear, tepary beans, agave nectar and blue cornmeal. In an excerpt from the book, Bitsoie writes, “As a Navajo, it is imperative that I respect the myriad of ingredients cultivated by the Indigenous stewards of the land, air and water in what we now call United States. And as Executive Chef of the Mitsitam Native Foods Café at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, DC, I use this awareness to create varied menus that reverently incorporate sacred Native food habits.

Eat it, Albuquerque

Albuquerque is the most vegan city in New Mexico, according to Thrillistwhich includes the city in its overview “The most vegan cities for your travels from the Midwest to the Southwest.” According to the story, “the Southwest isn’t particularly known for its vegan cuisine,” but Albuquerque is the exception (we’d say Santa Fe also belongs on that list, but who cares). History recommends Vegos ABQ, where options include a red chili jackfruit burrito; a bosque burrito stuffed with potatoes, pinto beans and green chili; and a plate of enchiladas. Other recommendations include following the Vegan Vato Instagram page to see where to find your vegan food truck on a given day; Acre for “fun, homemade food”; La Finca Bowls for the rice bowls with fresh quinoa, lentils and vegan coconut poké; and the vegetarian restaurant Mata G, which offers a different international cuisine every day. And speaking of Albuquerque, Food & Wine the magazine says it’s where you’ll find the best bread in the state, especially at Burque’s Bakery and to The brine and the bakery of Ferm.

The calm before the cold

Enjoy today’s relative warmth, Santa Fe. Today should be sunny with highs near 49 degrees and westerly winds at 10-15 mph. the National Weather Service predicts a 60% chance of snow Tuesday evening through Wednesday with daytime high temperatures dropping into the 20s for the rest of the week.

Thanks for reading! The Word starts the day with Joni Mitchell and Neil Young (this story explains why Joni Mitchell sings from backstage).

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