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Public Health New Mexico
5:03 pm
Tue March 4, 2014

Prediction Models Differ On Kirtland Fuel Spill Advancement

Credit Wikimedia Commons

  Regulators have been creating various models in order to try to predict when a plume of contamination from a decades old jet fuel leak at Kirtland Airforce Base will reach Albuquerque drinking water wells. 

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Public Health New Mexico
4:26 pm
Tue March 4, 2014

Big Picture: WIPP Leak

Using Recovery Act funds in 2006, the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant purchased $5.5 million of new equipment.
Credit energy.gov / public domain / via Wikimedia Commons

Just 26 miles east of Carlsbad, N.M., in the Chihuahuan Desert, the United States buries its radioactive waste. Mostly, that’s the clothes, tools and rags that come into contact with elements heavier than uranium on the Periodic Table. But about 4 percent of what’s dumped at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant is more toxic and has to be stored in lead casks.

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Public Health New Mexico
4:20 pm
Tue March 4, 2014

Obama's Budget Would Fund Navajo Water Project

President Obama’s $3.9 trillion budget could provide $2.4 billion to the Bureau of Indian Affairs. That’s an increase of about $33 million from the previous year.

The budget increase would go to education, social services, and Indian child welfare. It would also fund water projects in New Mexico.  

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KUNM News Update
7:14 am
Tue March 4, 2014

Tuesday News Roundup: Union Awaits Info On Leak At New Mexico Nuke Dump

Union Awaits Info On Leak At New Mexico Nuke Dump - The Associated Press

A union representing some 200 workers at the nation's only underground nuclear waste dump says its wants to be sure employees are safe when the repository opens after a radiation leak that exposed at least 13 people.

The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant near Carlsbad has been off-limits to most workers for nearly three weeks.

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Public Health New Mexico
3:27 pm
Mon March 3, 2014

Funding For Developmental Disability Services Still Stalled

The Tatzes play with golden retriever Jelly Bean
Deborah Martinez

Thousands of people with developmental disabilities in New Mexico have been waiting to receive the full spectrum of services available through a government program, some for more than 10 years.  The Tatz family is inching towards that benchmark, as they and their kids grow older.   

“I had back surgery," Lesly Tatz announced. Lesly's mom, Jill Tatz, explained, "She has had medical issues, and had open heart surgery at 18 months.” Her daughter has had numerous surgeries.

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KUNM News Update
6:36 am
Mon March 3, 2014

Monday News Roundup: NM Sets Deadlines For Handling Waste At Nuke Dump

NM Sets Deadlines For Handling Waste At Nuke Dump  The Associated Press

The New Mexico Environment Department is giving the federal government a deadline for dealing with radioactive waste that's sitting above ground at a nuclear dump near Carlsbad.

Dozens of drums and other special containers of waste are being stored in a parking area at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant and inside the facility's waste handling building.

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Local News
10:41 am
Sat March 1, 2014

UNM Celebrates 125 Years

Lively students gathered in the atrium of the Student Union Building during Lobo Day for the celebratory Lobo Day picture taken every year on UNM's day of establishment. Birthday cake and cupcakes were served to celebrate the 125th milestone anniversary of UNM.
Credit Natalia Jácquez

 

In 1889 the University of New Mexico's first students used to catch a horse and buggy from Old Town up the hill to where UNM's first building, Hodgin Hall, stood in Albuquerque.

At noon Friday in the  Student Union Building a birthday cake made up of cupcakes was served to students in honor of UNM's 125th birthday celebration.  

 

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Local News
10:26 pm
Fri February 28, 2014

Retrofitting Our Vision Of Fire In The Face Of Climate Change And Drought

Experts say people need to shift the way they think about fire, like the Baldy fire burning through the Gila National Forest in New Mexico in May, 2011.
Credit Southwest Fire Consortium

This week President Obama introduced legislation that would change the way money is used to manage wildfires. It makes more funds available for fire prevention by shifting the source of cash needed to fight raging fires from the Department of Agriculture to the the disaster relief fund.  It's a move that land managers have been calling for for some time.

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KUNM News Update
6:58 am
Fri February 28, 2014

Friday News Roundup: New Mexico To Address Medical Marijuana Shortage

New Mexico To Address Medical Marijuana Shortage - The Associated Press

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Public Health New Mexico
5:27 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

New Mexico Surpasses U.S. In Childhood Flu Vaccinations

The number of children receiving flu vaccines in New Mexico is higher than the national average, according to the state Department of Health.

During the 2010-2011 flu season, almost 60 percent of kids between the ages of five and 12 got vaccinated for flu. However, that number jumped to about 70 percent the following year.

Public Health New Mexico
5:08 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

Audit Of HSD Finds Problems With 2013 Behavioral Health Transition

Credit publik15 via Flickr

The chaotic transition a state agency forced last year from 15 New Mexico-based health organizations to five Arizona companies had many problems, an annual audit has found.

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KUNM News Update
7:05 am
Thu February 27, 2014

Thursday News Roundup: NM Deal Clears Way For Oil, Gas Development

NM Deal Clears Way For Oil, Gas Development  The Associated Press

New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez says the state has brokered an agreement that stands to benefit Navajo landowners who want to lease their land to oil and gas developers.

Martinez visited Farmington on Thursday to announce the partnership between the state, San Juan College and the Bureau of Indian Affairs' Federal Indian Minerals Office.

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Public Health New Mexico
6:08 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

13 Were Exposed To Radiation At Nuclear Waste Facility

Test results show that more than a dozen workers have been exposed to nuclear radiation after a leak was discovered at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in New Mexico on Valentine's day.
Credit Public domain image.

  The Department of Energy says preliminary tests indicate 13 workers were exposed to radiation during a recent leak at the nation's underground nuclear waste dump in southeastern New Mexico.

The DOE said in a news release Wednesday that it has notified the workers of the positive results and will do further testing. They declined to comment further on the extent of the possible exposure until a news conference Thursday afternoon.

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Public Health New Mexico
5:47 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

Udall Proposes Health Bills

Credit Senator Tom Udall

New Mexico Senator Tom Udall has proposed two bills to address access to health care in rural communities. 

Every county in New Mexico, except one, has been designated by the federal government as having a health care provider shortage. And beyond a shortage, surveys show that over half of the doctors in New Mexico were at capacity and unable to take on more than a handful of new patients.

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Public Health New Mexico
5:44 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

Preschool Obesity Rates Drop Nationally

Children play after a healthy meal at Serendipity Day School in Albuquerque
Credit Rita Daniels

Young children are beginning to show signs of lower obesity rates – 43 percent over ten years, according to a new Centers for Disease Control Study.  

The study doesn’t break down the decline state by state, but the news doesn’t surprise Judy Baron.  She’s a co-director of the Serendipity Day School for 2 to 4 year-olds in Albuquerque.

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KUNM News Update
7:25 am
Wed February 26, 2014

Wednesday News Roundup: Santa Fe County Approves Minimum Wage Hike

Feds Rank NM Health Computer System As High Risk - The Associated Press

New Mexico was among the states rated as "high risk" after government security experts reviewed the vulnerability of computer systems being used to roll out President Barack Obama's health care law.

Documents provided to The Associated Press show more than two-thirds of states had potential security problems with systems designed to tap into federal computers to verify sensitive personal information.

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Public Health New Mexico
10:23 am
Tue February 25, 2014

NM Attorney General: Health Audit Appears To Have Mistakenly Flagged Claims

The audit the state used to justify suspending Medicaid payments to an Alamogordo health center last year appears to have included mistakenly flagged claims, according to the state Attorney General’s Office.

That raises questions about the process the Human Services Department (HSD) used to ensure the audit was accurate before deciding to suspend Medicaid dollars to the Alamogordo organization.

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KUNM News Update
6:42 am
Tue February 25, 2014

Tuesday News Roundup: Sandia Labs Releases Economic Impact Report

Sandia Labs Releases Economic Impact Report - The Associated Press

Sandia National Laboratories says it spent about $975 million dollars on goods and services during the last fiscal year, and more than 40 percent of that went to New Mexico businesses.

The federal lab released its annual economic impact report Monday.

One of Sandia's managers, Don Devoti, says 2013 was a challenging year for the national economy and for small businesses in New Mexico. Still, he says Sandia's spending was up $79 million.

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Local News
2:53 pm
Mon February 24, 2014

Samples Show Low Concentrations At Nuclear Site

Credit Randy Montoya

The results of new monitoring data show slightly elevated levels of airborne radiation at and around the U.S. government's nuclear repository in southeastern New Mexico.

The U.S. Department of Energy said Monday the results are from samples collected last week at numerous air monitoring stations at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant and in the surrounding area.

The results are consistent with the kinds of low-grade nuclear waste stored at the underground site, but both federal and state officials say there's no indication of any public health threat.

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Public Health New Mexico
2:50 pm
Mon February 24, 2014

Navajo Nation President: Tax Junk Food

Credit jeffadair via Flickr

Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly recently vetoed legislation that would increase taxes on junk food sold on the reservation but says he will support a new, tweaked version.

The bill would have added a two-percent tax to all junk food sold on the Navajo Nation, and was designed to encourage healthy eating habits while fighting problems like diabetes.

But how the tax will be collected, how business owners will be impacted, and what actually constitutes junk food all need to be hammered out before Shelly signs off, which he hopes will be this year.

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Public Health New Mexico
1:25 pm
Mon February 24, 2014

Casualties: Public Health Bills That Didn’t Make It

Credit Patrick Feller // Compfight cc

Among the governor’s goals in her 2014 State of the State Address: deal with the shortage of health care providers in New Mexico. Every county except one doesn’t have an adequate supply of physicians and dentists, according to the federal government. And about 170,000 more folks will be eligible for Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. Though Gov. Susana Martinez has unrolled some plans to deal with the shortage, the Legislature wasn’t able to pass measures that would have boosted the state’s health care work force.

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KUNM News Update
7:05 am
Mon February 24, 2014

Monday News Roundup: Number Of Young Farmers Rising In New Mexico

 Number Of Young Farmers Rising In New Mexico - The Associated Press

A new government survey shows New Mexico has more farms and ranches than it did five years ago.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture survey also shows the state has seen significant increases in the number of young and minority farmers in recent years.

State Agriculture Secretary Jeff Witte says he's glad to see a wider diversity of people getting into farming and ranching across the state. He says that diversity will help create more opportunity.

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Public Health New Mexico
4:40 pm
Fri February 21, 2014

Survivors: Public Health Bills That Lived

Credit Wikimedia Commons: Jacob Lofman, PIX Incorporated, NYC, photographer

A 30-day legislative session—like the one that ended yesterday at noon—is mostly about hammering out a state budget. But other priorities sneak in, too, and 2014 saw a lot of public health-related bills. Here’s a look at the new laws and programs that made it out of Santa Fe alive.

Newborn Heart Disease Testing—HB 9

• Adds a test for congenital heart disease to the list of evaluations a newborn undergoes before being discharged.

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Public Health New Mexico
3:11 pm
Fri February 21, 2014

Emergency Meds To Be In Schools

Credit M Intropin via Flickr

Senate Bill 75 was passed Thursday during the last day of the legislature. The Emergency Medications in Schools Act will allow school personnel, and in particular school nurses, to give students epinephrine shots or albuterol inhalers during emergency situations. 

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KUNM News Update
6:57 am
Fri February 21, 2014

Friday News Roundup: New Mexico Governor Travels To Nation's Capital

 New Mexico Governor Travels To Nation's Capital - The Associated Press 

Republican Gov. Susana Martinez is in the nation's capital to meet with governors from other states.

Martinez political adviser Jay McCleskey said Martinez will attend events of the National Governors Association and the Republican Governors Association.

Martinez left New Mexico on Thursday after the Legislature adjourned.

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Local News
7:11 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

It's A Wrap! 2014 Legislative Session Adjourns

The 2014 Legislative Session adjourned at noon on Thursday February 20, 2014.
Credit Wiki Creative Commons

Thursday marked the final day of the 2014 legislative session. During this year’s 30-day session lawmakers were tasked first and foremost with passing a budget for the upcoming fiscal year.

New Mexico PBS and New Mexico In Focus correspondent Gwyneth Doland says education funding was heavily debated before lawmakers approved a budget and sent it to Governor Susana Martinez for a signature.

 

 

  

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Local News
5:56 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

Officials Confirm Nuclear Waste Leak

Credit Public domain image.

UPDATE 7:20p 02/21:

Department of Energy officials say radiation levels detected in and around the nation's only underground nuclear waste repository are consistent with a leak at the southeastern New Mexico facility.

Carlsbad field office manager Jose Franco said Thursday that readings from sensors above and below ground indicate the radiation is coming from waste stored at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant. But officials won't know what caused the leak until they can get underground to investigate. That could be weeks.

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KUNM News Update
7:47 am
Thu February 20, 2014

Thursday News Roundup: 2 New Mexico Counties Stop Officiating Weddings

 2 New Mexico Counties Stop Officiating Weddings Carlsbad Current-Argus and The Associated Press

Judges in two southeastern New Mexico counties say they will no longer officiate weddings after the state's high court ruled that same-sex marriage is legal.

The Carlsbad Current-Argus reports that judges in Eddy and Chaves Counties recently announced they won't officiate civil marriage ceremonies for straight or same-sex couples.

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Public Health New Mexico
7:33 am
Thu February 20, 2014

What Is Public Health?

The 10 essential public health services.
Credit cdc.gov / Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

KUNM Call In Show Thu. 2/20 8a:  What is public health?  Maybe the term makes you think of vaccinations or controlling and preventing diseases like diabetes and influenza.  But the field is much larger than that.  

Call 277-5866 in Albuquerque or toll-free 1-877-899-5866.

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Public Health New Mexico
4:51 pm
Wed February 19, 2014

Lawmakers Ban Texting While Driving

Use of the cellphone while driving in order to send and receive text messages, or to navigate your route, raises the risk for an automobile accident dramatically.
Credit Centers for Disease Control

A bill that would prohibit texting while driving now heads to Governor Susana Martinez's desk for approval after clearing the legislature.

E-mail, instant messages and internet surfing all fall under the bills scope.

John McPhee is with New Mexico Department of Health. He says distracted driving is a growing problem across the country.

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