August 8 First News: New Mexicans use hospitals much less than other Americans. (listen)

A report from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation shows New Mexico has one of the lowest rates of hospital usage in the nation.  It ranks 44th, with just 84 hospital admissions per 1,000 residents. The online Albuquerque Business First notes the national average is 112 per 1,000. New Mexico's numbers are also low for the number of patient days spent in hospitals.  They're pegged at 414 for every 1000 patients versus 600 nationwide. Washington, DC tops the list with more than 1500 in-patient days per 1,000 residents.

Summer thunderstorms have inflicted yet more damage on some trees in downtown Santa Fe. Two stately old trees in the Palace of the Governor's courtyard were found Wednesday morning to have been hit by lightning the night before. The strike also fried telephone connections at nearby museums that required repairs. Though suffering bark and branch damages, the trees are expected to survive. A large tree in Santa Fe's Plaza just last month took a direct hit by lightning and has since been cut down.  More in today's New Mexican.

A Santa Fe woman who spent five years in jail for the 2005 stabbing death of a boyfriend has been charged with aggravated assault for attacking her new boyfriend with a knife. 32-year-old Johanna Diaz is being held at the Santa Fe County Jail following her Tuesday arrest. The son of the man Diaz allegedly attacked with a steak knife reported the incident, though the injuries inflicted were minor.

The Santa Fe National Forest has restored public access to many areas affected by the Jaroso and Tres Lagunas fires. The Forest cautions that even with burn areas now re-opened, many hazards still exist such as the potential for falling trees, boulders rolling down unstable hillsides and former trails whose paths have been obscured. Some areas of the Pecos wilderness will remain off-limits for the foreseeable future including Holy Ghost Canyon's campgrounds and recreation residences due to flash flooding dangers.

Santa Fe police are seeking the public's assistance in finding the young man who fired shots at another man at Santa Fe Place Mall Tuesday evening. The shooting occurred after a fight in the parking lot and those involved fled the scene in a black Chevy Impala. As police responded to the incident, they pulled over another car driving away from the scene and arrested a 15 -year-old female passenger found with spent bullet casings and drug paraphernalia. Video of the incident has been posted on the police department's Facebook page.

The annual Santa Fe County Fair begins in earnest today and runs through Sunday the 11th. The event features numerous livestock shows and auctions as well as food and entertainment. It takes place at the County Fairgrounds on Rodeo Road between the Chavez Center and the Santa Fe Rodeo grounds.

City of Santa Fe refuse and recycling pick-up crews will begin leaving notices today to thousands of customers advising them of schedule changes to take effect next week.  The schedules are being revised to accommodate the expansion of services to new customers being absorbed into the city by annexation.  The changes are mostly on the city’s southwest side, along the Rodeo and Zia corridor and south along Cerrillos Road.

Weather for Santa Fe – mostly sunny today and Friday with highs in the low 80s.  There’s a 40% chance for afternoon thundershowers today, decreasing slightly to 30% tomorrow. Overnight lows in the mid 50s.