House passes firearms storage bill
Following a three-hour sometimes contentious discussion yesterday (starting at about 12:10 in the recording), the state House passed 37-32 House Bill 9, also known as “Bennie’s Bill,” which creates criminal penalties in some cases for negligently storing firearms in such a way as to make them accessible to children. The bill’s name honors Albuquerque middle school student Bennie Hargrove, who was fatally shot in 2021 by a classmate using his father’s improperly stored gun. “This bill is about saving lives and protecting our children,” state Rep. Pamelya Herndon, D-Albuquerque, said in a statement. “If the gun used to take Bennie Hargrove’s life was properly secured, he would still be with us today. We can prevent school shootings and other senseless tragedies by holding adults accountable for negligently storing their guns.” The bill specifically holds adults accountable for making a firearm accessible to a minor if the minor brandishes the weapon (a misdemeanor), and for negligently making a firearm accessible to a minor if the minor uses the weapon and it results in great bodily harm or death (a fourth-degree felony). As the Albuquerque Journal reports, Hargrove’s grandmother Vanessa Sawyer, along with numerous Albuquerque students, visited the Capitol yesterday to support the bill, which also has the support of Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller and the Albuquerque Police Department. The Senate will now consider the legislation.
In other legislative news from yesterday, the Senate Tax, Business and Transportation Committee passed Senate Bill 11, which would create paid family and medical leave, on a 6-2 vote, despite some opposition from business organizations. The Senate Conservation Committee voted 6-2 to pass the Local Choice Energy Act, which would let local governments assume control of electric generation. The measure has significant support from a variety of environmental and grassroots organizations, as well as Commissioner of Public Lands Stephanie Garcia Richard and Santa Fe County Commissioners Hank Hughes and Camilla Bustamante. PNM opposes the bill, which now heads to the Senate Judiciary Committee. Senate, House and committee schedules can be viewed here.
Hutchins’ family sues Alec Baldwin
The Ukrainian parents and sister of Rust cinematographer Halyna Hutchins filed civil suit yesterday in Los Angeles County Superior Court against actor and producer Alec Baldwin, the film’s production company, armorer Hannah Gutierez-Reed, Assistant Director David Halls and others over Hutchins’ death, charging the defendants with intentional infliction of emotional distress and negligence, among other legal complaints. The suit, announced during a press conference by the family’s attorney Gloria Allred at her Los Angeles office, seeks “accountability and justice for them,” Allred said. As reported yesterday by the LA Times, during the news conference, Allred and co-counsel shared pictures and videos from Hutchins’ family in Ukraine. “To lose my sister, at least personally for me, was a horrible experience,” Hutchins’ sister Svetlana Zemko said in a translated video message. “It is one of the biggest losses of my life. Even more devastating is to see the utter suffering of our parents and how their health has sharply declined. I believe to let this go and to leave this unpunished is unallowable.” Hutchins’ husband, Matthew, settled his suit with Baldwin last October. Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed both face criminal charges of involuntary manslaughter in New Mexico’s First Judicial District, and Halls has signed a plea agreement on charge of negligent use of a deadly weapon for their roles in the Oct. 21 shooting death of Hutchins on the Rust set.
President Biden announces Lujan Grisham appointment
Yesterday, President Joe Biden said he intends to appoint Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, as well as Republican Indiana Gov. Eric J. Holcomb, to the Council of Governors for two-year terms; the Council, created in 2008 by the National Defense Authorization Act and established formally by executive order in 2010, “serves as the lead forum to increase coordination around preparedness, resilience and response between the federal government and state government,” according to a White House briefing on the appointments. Lujan Grisham and Holcomb replace Oregon Gov. Kate Brown and Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee who completed their terms. “I am honored to join this bipartisan group of state leaders to strengthen the relationship between the federal government and states to improve our joint responses and capabilities during national emergencies,” Lujan Grisham said in a statement. “Preparation and planning are the keys to saving lives and property in every crisis, from historic wildfires and major weather events to threats against critical infrastructure, protecting our electrical grid and hardening our technological defenses against cyber attacks. Working together, as governors from both parties, we can and we will improve our preparedness and make our nation more secure.”
Master the climate
In a recent installment of its Climate Solutions section, the Washington Post details the impact individuals might have on reducing climate emissions in the coming decades via incentives built into the federal Inflation Reduction Act for electric cars, electric home appliances etc. At the local level, opportunities abound to make a difference in the more immediate future. The New Mexico Climate Masters program is now taking applications for its 2023 cohort. The $25 program offers “a deep dive” into climate change with guest speakers on the “interrelated connections” between water, soil, food production, forest management, waste, transportation and energy and the Santa Fe community; it runs Tuesday evenings, April 11 to May 23 at the Randall Davey Audubon Center and also includes three field trips into the watershed and other relevant locales. Participants also engage in 30 hours of climate-change related community service to become “climate masters.”
Santa Fe Watershed Association Director of Education Julie Hasty tells SFR the in-person program—originally developed at the University of Oregon—is open to anyone “interested in climate change and its impacts here in the local area.” Organizers also help guide participants in choosing their community service projects. As for the overwhelming aspect of combatting climate change, Hasty says “climate communication” will be a component of this year’s work: “I think we can all, in our homes, do those things we should all do…like moving away from gas, going to clean electric, using rain barrels. But, beyond that, what are the things we can do in our community to make a larger scale difference? That communication component is a huge part of making people feel comfortable to approach the city, the state, policymakers.” Beyond that, the program provides, she says, “a lot of great opportunities for people to see the things that are going on here in the local community.”
COVID-19 by the numbers
Reported Feb. 9 : New cases: 234; 666,309 total cases. Deaths: five; Santa Fe County has had 396 total deaths; 8,996 total fatalities statewide. Statewide hospitalizations: 68. Patients on ventilators: six
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s most recent Feb. 9 “community levels” map shows one county—Guadalupe County—at “yellow”—medium risk—for COVID-19 as last week (down from four the week prior). The rest of the state—including Santa Fe County—is green, aka has low risk. Corresponding recommendations for each level can be found here.
Resources: Receive four free at-home COVID-19 tests per household via COVIDTests.gov; Check availability for additional free COVID-19 tests through Project ACT; CDC interactive booster eligibility tool; NM DOH vaccine & booster registration; CDC isolation and exposure interactive tool; COVID-19 treatment info; NMDOH immunocompromised tool kit. People seeking treatment who do not have a medical provider can call NMDOH’s COVID-19 hotline at 1-855-600-3453. DOH encourages residents to download the NM Notify app and to report positive COVID-19 home tests on the app.
You can read all of SFR’s COVID-19 coverage here.
The most recent episode of the Gastronomica program from Heritage Radio Network features New Mexico Water Resources Research Institute research scientist Holly Brause in conversation with Gastronomica Editorial Collective member Paula Johnson about Brause’s ethnographic research, “The Uncertain Future of New Mexico Chile: Can a Heritage Crop Adapt to Water Scarcity?” The Gastronomica podcast, FYI, is “where the academic field of food studies meets a public appetite for gastronomy and the culinary arts.”
Chew on this
Speaking of the public appetite for gastronomy, from the looks of it, tickets still remain for today’s four-course luncheon fundraiser ($125) for the forthcoming Maize Food Museum of the Americas in Santa Fe, slated to open in 2024. The 1 pm “inaugural charette” with chef and author Mark Miller takes place at Cafecito (922 Shoofly St.). You can peruse the menu here. A letter on the forthcoming museum’s website from founder, Santa Fe native and celebrity chef John Rivera Sedlar reads as follows: “As our world hurdles faster and faster into the future, it becomes ever more important to preserve our cultural heritage. Being a Hispanic-American Chef from Santa Fe, NM, I’ve always found that one of the best ways to preserve the past is by celebrating culinary traditions. The name of our museum, MAIZE, is a title that recognizes our unique geographic location. We are currently hard at work developing exhibition, education, nutrition and travel programs in concert with a dynamic and growing team of consultants, staff members, sponsors and volunteers.” According to the Los Alamos Daily Post, the charette is the first of 12 this year.
Love is in the air
Unlike certain winter holidays, the weekend before Valentine’s Day isn’t a heavy shopping time per se, but does provide some breathing room to plot out delivering a little love to a significant other, favorite friend, sleep-deprived newsletter writer etc. etc. Avoid the mass-produced shlock, though. Here are a few local options: The Santa Fe Animal Shelter’s e-card fundraiser offers six “cheesy, adorable, heart-stopping eCard designs featuring Santa Fe Animal Shelter rescue animals.” Better yet, the $25 benefits the shelter, which just sustained $10,000 in loss due to the burglary at its resale store The Cat on Zafarano (the Zafarano location remains closed; the Camino Entrada location is open). Another favorite nonprofit, Santa Fe YouthWorks, is taking pre-orders for its Valentine’s bake sale through noon tomorrow. Among other sweet treats, YouthWorks’ Social Justice Kitchen will be serving up decorative heart sugar cookies, Red Devil cookie bites and chocolate-covered strawberries, with some gluten-free options. We can attest to the deliciousness of YouthWorks’ baked goods from first-hand experience (lots of it). Want to get hands-on? On Saturday, paint your own Valentine’s retablo at GEORGI∆ ELECTR∆ (1-4 pm; $125) or build custom bouquets with Florecita at El Rey Court (4-6 pm; $65). For more ideas for the weekend, be sure to check out SFR’s culture calendar.
To winter ground thy course
The National Weather Service forecasts a sunny day with a high temperature near 39 degrees and northwest wind 5 to 10 mph. The weekend will be partly sunny on Saturday and mostly sunny on Sunday with much warmer temperatures—48 and 51 degrees for the highs, respectively! Enjoy it: Snow looks very likely on Monday.
Thanks for reading! The Word feels fairly certain one does not need to have read Cormac McCarthy to find amusing this McSweeney’s spoof of Cormac McCarthy’s writing.