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Operation Legend Heads to ABQ, Painting for Peace, Surviving COVID, Finding Water

This week on New Mexico in Focus, correspondent Megan Kamerick talks with artist and quilter Gwen Triay Samuels who had to take a break from helping people experiencing homelessness to battle the coronavirus. Now, as she recovers, she is making face masks for those in need as a way of showing thanks for surviving COVID-19.

Host Gene Grant talks to members of Paint for Peace, an art initiative to turn boarded-up Central Avenue storefronts in Albuquerque’s downtown into murals. After vandals broke windows following peaceful protests early last month, shop owners used boards to replace glass and protect against future damage. Artists turned them into canvases to display artwork promoting peace and transforming the area.

The Rio Grande is experiencing one of its all-time lows this year. Correspondent Laura Paskus talks with officials about a surprise agreement between New Mexico, Texas and Colorado to release water from the El Vado Reservoir to help farmers along the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District. That as the states sue each other in federal court over long-term management of the same water.

Gene Grant and The Line opinion panel look at President Trump and Attorney General William Barr’s announcement that they intend to send 35 federal agents to Albuquerque under “Operation Legend,” designed to put federal law enforcers into America’s most violent cities to fight crime. Supporters welcome the assistance, while others worry it will result in a surge in violence similar to that in Portland, Oregon.

The panel also looks at the restaurant open/close shuffle that started with a lawsuit against Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s administration filed by the New Mexico Restaurant Association and several restaurants from around the state. The governor had reinstated the ban on indoor dining after a rise in COVID-19 infections. That ban, blocked by a Carlsbad state judge on Monday, was reimposed the same day by the New Mexico Supreme Court.

Host: Gene Grant

In Focus Interviews:
Paint for Peace
Correspondent: Gene Grant
Victoria Van Dame, Paint for Peace initiator; executive director, OT Circus
Skelley Greer, Paint for Peace artist
Izzi, Paint for Peace artist
Logan, Paint for Peace artist

Gwen Samuels
Correspondent: Megan Kamerick
Gwen Samuels, retired teacher, artist and COVID-19 survivor

Water Loan
Correspondent: Laura Paskus
Mike Hamman, chief engineer, Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District Page Pegram, Rio Grande Basin Manager, NM Interstate Stream Commission

The Line Opinion Panel:  
Julie Ann Grimm, editor, Santa Fe Reporter
Sophie Martin, attorney
H. Diane Snyder, former state senator