The Dog Show — collecting stories

The-Dog-Show-Web_pic-01We’re collecting stories for “The Dog Show.”  Tell us your story by leaving a comment below or emailing us at  Themes include: dog rescues from foreign countries.  We’ve got Puerto Rico and Thailand so far, your favorite dog ever, where your dogs sleep, who’s the boss in your family, dog escapes, dogs comforting humans, dogs comforting dogs, silly things dogs do or think, uncanny dog moments, a dog who opens drawers to get candy, for example .. anything!

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What Do We Know About Pit Bulls?

What Do We Know About Pit Bulls? Is this a Pit Bull?  Would you be scared if you saw this dog on the street?  Actually, it’s an Alpha Blue Blood Bulldog.  Any heavily muscled dog with a big head and short coat has come to be known as a Pit Bull and to be feared.  There’s been a lot of talk about a Pit Bull ban in Santa Fe since two Pit Bull-type dogs attacked and killed a Chihuahua and injured it’s owner on Alameda Street last month.  Today I talk to Nina Stively, the Education and Outreach Director of the Espanola Valley Humane Society about Pit Bull type dogs, the myths and the realities and what we should be doing to keep the community safe from dangerous dogs, Pit Bulls or otherwise. You can see some really cute puppy pictures and follow all the good works of the Espanola Valley Humane Society here and of their facebook page.  Scroll down for their own Who’s Your Daddy Quiz.

If you can’t see the player above, right click here to listen or download

Looks can be deceiving, this Lil the Espanola Valley Humane Society mascot and certified Pit Bull.  Can you tell which dog is a Pit Bull when you see it?  Take a quiz here.


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Sitting Is Bad for You?

Santa Fean and New York Times “Phys Ed” columnist  Gretchen Reynolds talks about the science of exercise and movement.  Learn why sitting is really bad for you, how fat cells can communicate with the brain, how brain cells created by exercise are smarter than other brain cells and can multitask. And more!  Gretchen writes the Well blog for the New York Times and recently published her book, The First 20 Minutes: Surprising Science Reveals How We Can Exercise Better, Train Smarter, Live Longer.   Gretchen and I talk about her work on today’s show.    And Jim Atwood has a New Mexico Minute on our very own jobs numbers.

Listen to the show:

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We Have To Get to Sea Level Before We Can Climb the Mountain: Joel Boyd (Part II)

Dr. Joel Boyd has been the Superintendent of Santa Fe Public Schools for about 100 days.  During those 100 days, he visited every school and brought in a team of nationally recognized experts — some of whom did the work for free — to delve into every corner of the district and report back to him and the Board of Education.  That forty-page report was presented to the Board on Monday, October 29, with a follow-up discussion this past Wednesday.  The team was led by Dr. Robert Peterkin, professor emeritus of the Harvard Graduate School of Education.  It would be hard to read the report, as I urge everyone to do, and not come away with the clear picture that — although many good people are working hard every day — the district as a whole was in a shambles when Joel found it: disorganized, incoherent, people working in silos — the word silos was used more times than I can count — high absenteeism across the board, no culture of urgency, no standards for evaluation of performance of teachers, principals or administrators, no reliable data collection and analysis, and, as we all know, a tremendous amount of student failure.   I sat down with Joel to talk about the report‘s findings and the state of the Santa Fe Public Schools.

Listen to the show: (28 min)

If no player appears above, click here to listen.

Here’s the thing that’s really troubling.  In the almost two weeks since the transition team’s report, there has been quite a bit of piling on on two small points in a 40-page report.  The first is a ridiculous flap over the phrase “culture of mañana,” a phrase which employees of the district used  — apparently repeatedly — in speaking to the consultants about what was going on in the district.  I have a special comment on that flap at the end of today’s show.  The second issue that has caused piling on is the fact that the report identified a very high rate of absenteeism among instructional staff — more than twice the national average.  This is worth talking about further — and you’ll hear Joel talk about it on the show today — but the bottom line is that the initial report was just that, an initial report.  That point could not have been emphasized more.

So today’s show is about the other things the report found about the state of our schools that seem to have been forgotten and missed in the midst of all the shouting.  Let’s not get distracted from the main point — our schools are failing and have been for some time.  Feathers must be ruffled for anything real to happen.  Let’s hear what the report found and face it honestly.

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Joel Boyd on Santa Fe Schools (Part I)

Today I share part I of my interview with Santa Fe’s new superintendent of schools, Joel Boyd.  As has been widely reported the Santa Fe School Board voted to sack the former superintendent of schools, Bobbi Gutierrez.  The board conducted a nationwide search last year and ended up hiring Joel Boyd.  He faces many challenges — not least among them Santa Fe’s very low graduation rate — somewhere between 50 and 60% depending upon whose statistics you believe.  I sat down with Joel in his office to talk about Santa Fe Schools.  We very quickly got onto the the subject of school funding and the state equalization formula — a subject on which Joel had lots to say.  Also Joel talks about how to engage children and families — the new three Rs — relevance, relationships and rigor.  And Jim Atwood has a New Mexico Minute on having an attorney general and a governor from different parties.

Listen to the show: (28 min)

Joel had lots of other things to say and I’ll have more from my interview with him in the next show.

Read Joel Boyd’s op ed on the Equalization formula:
N.M. School Funding Formula Unfair to Santa Fe Teachers
By by Joel D. Boyd / Santa Fe Public Schools Superintendent on Sun, Sep 2, 2012

Hear more about the oddities of New Mexico school funding in a previous Santa Fe Stories podcast: the Chinese Wall.

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Happy Anniversary!

Hey podcast listeners, Santa Fe Stories is one year old!  This week’s show is some pieces of our favorites from the last year.

Listen to the show:

The full episodes are, of course, here on the site too:

The Sagebrush Lizard: Legislator Poet Bill  O’Neill

Bill Georgenes: A Serendipitous Life in Art

From Santa Fe to Havana

and The Ms. Show: Who is Mrs. Nancy Udell?

Happy Anniversary Santa Fe Stories!

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Nicholas Herrera: The Santero of El Rito

Nicholas Herrera is a contemporary artist whose art builds on and expands the traditional art of the Northern New Mexico Santero.  He is known as the Santero, the saint maker, of El Rito.  I visited with him at his home and studio in El Rito to hear about his life, his work and his home and studio.  Nicholas’s work can be found in dozens of museums and collections nationally and internationally, including at the Smithsonian National Museum of American Art and the Museum of International Folk Art here in Santa Fe New Mexico.

Listen to the show: (28 min):

Nicholas’s own website is here and you can read more about Nicholas and see more images of Nicholas and his work here.

You can see the video of Nicholas that shows in the Smithsonian here.

Here are some more pictures from the tour of the El Rito studio.  Thanks to Kathy Schulz for the photos.

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Dr. Bronze

Come with me on a tour of Santa Fe Bronze and hear the story of its new owner, Cheryl Kirk, former medical doctor and pathologist whose passion for Santa Fe prompted her to become… Dr. Bronze.  We also talk to Paul Oliver, who first worked at Santa Fe Bronze at age 16.  Paul is a master caster, who helped design the Alan Houser foundry and worked with Alan Houser for 17 years and is now back with Santa Fe Bronze.  And Jim Atwood has a New Mexico Minute on Medicaid expansion.  What’s up with that?

Listen to the show:

The cheese wax dragon

The Cheese Wax Dragon

now in bronze…

The formerly cheese wax dragon

More pictures from the tour of Santa Fe Bronze

St. Agatha of the Band Aids

investment room


cheryl explains…

parts and pieces

looking at patinas

bronze ingots

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The Chinese Wall: School Funding Divided

Santa Fe teachers haven’t had a raise in five years, and we’re spending $24 million on a new elementary school.  Santa Fe schools are cutting bus routes and dropping kids in a central location to save $300,000, and we just spent $2.2 million on a new soccer field.  How can these things all be true at the same time?  It’s the Chinese Wall of school funding.  On one side of the Chinese Wall, a big pot of money for buildings, land, portables, playground equipment, construction costs — things that have very little to do with educational outcomes.  On the other a much smaller and never big enough pot of money for teacher salaries, reading programs, books, nutrition workers, early childhood intervention.  Today on the show, why does it work this way?  The state equalization formula prevents us from spending property tax money on anything but buildings!  And does the “separate buckets” funding model lead to an intelligent use of taxpayer funds?  The Agua Fria construction project is one example that says, not so much.  Jim Atwood has a New Mexico Minute on Governor Martinez’s national debut and New Mexico’s job creation record.  Need I say it? Worst in the nation.

Listen to the show (28m)

Read Joel Boyd’s op ed on the Equalization formula:
N.M. School Funding Formula Unfair to Santa Fe Teachers
By by Joel D. Boyd / Santa Fe Public Schools Superintendent on Sun, Sep 2, 2012

All the papers — and particularly Robert Nott of the New Mexican, and the Santa Fe Reporter in the early years — have done a great job covering the story, or should I say saga, of the Agua Fria construction project.  Here is a sampling.

Robert Nott | The New Mexican
Posted: Thursday, June 07, 2012

Robert Nott | The New Mexican
Posted: Monday, April 09, 2012

Facility won’t be built on former landfill site
Robert Nott | The New Mexican
Posted: Tuesday, March 06, 2012
Robert Nott | The New Mexican
Posted: Wednesday, October 05, 2011
Budget woes could shaft community
By Wren Abbot Santa Fe Reporter 6.29.11
School construction project evolution raises questions
Wren Abbott 6.1.2011 Santa Fe Reporter
Agua Fría villagers say district has not been clear on school renovations
Robert Nott | The New Mexican
Posted: Saturday, April 09, 2011
SFPS’ attempt to demolish historic building meets resistance
Santa Fe Reporter, Alexa Schirtzinger, 4.13.2011
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Much ado about… nothing? ATC Coda

We thought we finished our series on the ATC Charter Story.  But… ATC, it turns out, cannot move into the Kuane building after all.  Why? The City of Santa Fe amended its land use ordinance to require a permit from the City before any school can move into any school building.  Really? So…why not just get the permit?  Well because the school district (a state entity) does not acknowledge that the City has the right to require such a permit and the district won’t apply for it.  Really again?  Oh and guess who IS moving into the Kuane building without the permit from the City?  Sweeny (pictured above) until its construction is finished.  Also Jim Atwood has a New Mexico Minute on another bottom ranking for New Mexico — clumsiness?

Listen to the show (13 min)

Listen to ATC Parts III and III for the WHOLE  story…

Hey iPad users –the podcast is now in iTunes.  Just type “Santa Fe Stories” into the search box in the iTunes store to subscribe.  Or you can click here to listen.

The Santa Fe New Mexican has done a great job covering the ATC story. Support our local papers by subscribing!  Here is the latest installment of their many excellent articles on this subject:

ATC postpones move to Kaune
Robert Nott | The New Mexican
Posted: Friday, April 27, 2012

And the Albuquerque Journal on Sweeny moving into the Kuane building.

Sweeney Not Ready for School
T.S. Last / Journal Staff Writer  Tue, Jul 31, 2012

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