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Local News
10:27 am
Fri September 28, 2012

Rio Grande farmers sue irrigation district

A group of Rio Grande valley farmers who say the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District illegally cut their water supplies during dry years are suing the district.

The group says the district is failing to follow the state Constitution's mandate that water rights are allocated from oldest to newest in lean times. They argue that means during dry years those with the earliest rights gets first crack at the water.

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Local News
1:31 pm
Thu September 27, 2012

Salazar in NM to dedicate 2 national refuges

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar says New Mexico is making some history.

He made two stops in the state Thursday to dedicate a pair of new national wildlife refuges, including the first urban refuge in the Southwest. Salazar says this marks the first time two refuges have been dedicated in one state on the same day.

The public helped choose the name of the urban refuge — Valle de Oro, which is Spanish for Valley of Gold. It's located along the Rio Grande on the southern edge of Albuquerque.

Local News
7:48 am
Wed September 26, 2012

Review of proposed uranium project

Officials with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission are conducting an environmental review of a proposed uranium project in western New Mexico.

Commission staff began their three-day visit Tuesday. They're reviewing plans related to a proposal by Hydro Resources Inc. to develop an in-situ leach mining operation near the Navajo community of Church Rock.

Hydro Resources plans to construct well fields and a uranium recovery plant. The solution mining process involves injecting water into the ground and using chemicals as part of a drying process to release the uranium.

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Local News
7:46 am
Wed September 26, 2012

Report: Funding for New Mexico's infrastructure inadequate

A bridge in Aztec, NM.
timlewisnm via Flickr

Engineers have concluded that repair and construction funding for New Mexico's infrastructure is inadequate and that some critical infrastructure such as flood control is deteriorating fast.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that the American Society of Civil Engineers concluded the state's infrastructure is average.

A report by the group says deficiencies are largely the result of age and a lack of investment in improving and maintaining them.

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Local News
7:44 am
Wed September 26, 2012

NMSU studies drought impacts on chile

A New Mexico State University researcher is trying to find out whether the pungency, color and yield of northern chile varieties are affected when crops receive less water.

Graduate research assistant Israel Calsoyas has been studying the effects of deficit irrigation on three northern New Mexico chile cultivars for the past two summers.

She says the region's chile is touted for its ability to withstand stressful growing conditions compared to commercial cultivars.

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Local News
8:45 am
Tue September 25, 2012

Report suggests Albuquerque should cut 50 jobs

A draft report by consultants hired by Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry to evaluate the organizational structure of city government has recommended cutting about 50 jobs and downsizing the city's fleet of vehicles by 20 percent.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that the Matrix Consulting Group's report also recommended creating about a dozen new jobs, increasing animal adoption fees and having one company — not two — in charge of managing and marketing the Convention Center.

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Local News
8:43 am
Tue September 25, 2012

Sunport gets third solar grant

Albuquerque's Sunport is getting a third federal grant to expand its solar efforts.

U.S. Sen. Jeff Bingaman and Mayor Richard Berry say the international airport is getting a $3.3 million grant from the FAA to install more photovoltaic solar arrays and canopies over the long-term parking lot.

When the project is complete next year, Sunport's multiple solar arrays will be able to produce nearly two megawatts of power, which will save the city nearly $400,000 in annual electricity costs.

KUNM Call-In Show
4:15 pm
Mon September 24, 2012

New Mexico's Conservation Challenges

View from the Santa Fe Ski area
Michael Hess

KUNM Call In Show 9/27  8a:  New Mexico has high alpine meadows, desert badlands and everything in between. But it also has its share of challenges when it comes to the environment. Those include historic issues such as mining, grazing and energy development. But there are new pressures as well, such as climate change, drought, and the loss of rural lands to development.

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Local News
4:15 pm
Mon September 24, 2012

Peanut butter recall expands beyond Trader Joe's

A New Mexico-based company is recalling 76 types of peanut butter and almond butter after one of its products was linked to a salmonella outbreak at Trader Joe's groceries.

Sunland Inc. recalled the products under multiple brand names after the Food and Drug Administration and the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention linked 29 salmonella illnesses in 18 states to Trader Joe's Creamy Salted Valencia Peanut Butter. Sunland manufactures and packages the Trader Joe's product.

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Local News
4:13 pm
Mon September 24, 2012

Buddhist stupa to be moved from Petroglyph National Monument

A Buddhist stupa has been order removed from New Mexico's Petroglyph National Monument.

The National Park Service said Monday that park service will remove the ten-foot structure containing Buddhist relics  from the park this week after getting an opinion from the Department of Interior's solicitor general. The solicitor general ruled last month that keeping the Buddhist stupa violates the Constitution on established religion.

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Local News
4:09 pm
Mon September 24, 2012

Report: Albuquerque police need 'warning' software

A consultant group says Albuquerque police should purchase software to help warn internal affairs about officers who need "early intervention."

The Albuquerque Journal reports that a draft report from the Matrix Consulting Group says city should purchase a $35,000 software system to reduce paperwork in the Internal Affairs Unit. The report says the city's current early intervention system for officers "does not link to the internal affairs records or provide any proactive early warning notifications."

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Local News
4:06 pm
Mon September 24, 2012

Deliberations begin in state's pit rule case

After hearing weeks of testimony, New Mexico regulators are grappling with how to best regulate certain wastes produced by oil and natural gas development.

The state Oil Conservation Commission started deliberations Monday on a request by the industry to revamp the so-called pit rule.

The set of regulations govern how oil and gas producers handle drilling wastes in pits, buried tanks, sumps and closed-loop systems.

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Local News
4:05 pm
Mon September 24, 2012

Absentee voting starts October 9th

New Mexicans can soon start to vote in the general election.

Absentee voting begins Oct. 9, and people can go to their county clerk's office to cast a ballot in person. Voter registration also ends then, making it possible for New Mexicans to register and vote on that same day.

Early voting starts Oct. 20 at alternate polling locations established by the clerks and continues through Nov. 3.

Election Day is Nov. 6 and that's also the deadline for returning absentee ballots.

Local News
4:03 pm
Mon September 24, 2012

Monsoon ends after dismal rain year for New Mexico

New Mexico's summer monsoon season began with a promise but has now ended with disappointing amounts of rainfall across much of the state.

National Weather Service meteorologist Jason Frazier tells The Santa Fe New Mexican that the ingredients needed to bring normal summer rains to the state's mountains and plains just never developed this year. Instead, the main moisture plume stayed to the west in Arizona and California.

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Local News
8:49 am
Sat September 22, 2012

Ex-NM environment official to head EPA region

A former top New Mexico environmental official has been appointed head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency region that includes some of the nation's biggest oil- and gas-producing states.

Ron Curry will assume his post Monday. He succeeds Al Armendariz, who resigned in April after Republicans lambasted him for using the word "crucify" to describe how he would go after companies that violated environmental laws.

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Solar industry
12:19 pm
Thu September 20, 2012

Despite challenges solar industry thrives in New Mexico

Nicholas Suhor

New Mexico has a long history of leading solar development. This continues to be true, despite the closure of Schott Solar earlier this summer. A new company hopes to start manufacturing again at the Schott plant. It faces significant challenges from offshore competitors. But there are many other companies in the solar industry here that are finding success.

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KUNM Call In Show
9:29 am
Thu September 20, 2012

Combatting Rural Poverty in New Mexico

KUNM Call In Show 9/20 8a: New Mexico has the highest rate of poverty in the nation. Recent census data also shows that the number of people living in poverty is on the rise, especially in rural New Mexico. This week on the KUNM Call-In Show, we'll look at the latest numbers and talk about what's being done to assist rural and tribal communities.

Do you live or work a rural county? What do you think would create new opportunities for work or development? Guests: 

Local News
10:09 am
Wed September 19, 2012

Cleanup of uranium continues on Navajo Nation

Three areas of the Navajo Nation that are contaminated with uranium mining waste are being cleaned up.

The work starts in Cove, where uranium ore was stockpiled before trucks took it to a nearby mill for processing. The so-called transfer stations still contain some waste, which will be consolidated and sealed until a permanent disposal site is found.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says it will put up fencing and monitor air quality to make sure residents in the area are protected from dust.

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Local News
7:18 pm
Tue September 18, 2012

Funnyman Mike Birbiglia

Mike Birbiglia performing on Comedy Central

Sometimes it takes a whacky circumstance to recognize our true potential and life path. Renowned performer, writer, comic and all out Public Radio star Mike Birbiglia tells Rita Daniels about the first time he realized he was funny.  Birbiglia is performing at The Lensic on Wednesday night, September 19th, in Santa Fe.

Local News
5:22 pm
Tue September 18, 2012

Warmer temps spur western wildifires

Whitewater Baldy Fire in the Gila National Forest.
Brandon Bickel, US Forest Service Gila National Forest. http://bit.ly/KGcdDb

Western wildfires have gotten bigger—and the wildfire season is getting longer. That’s according to a new report from the nonprofit organization Climate Central.

Since the 1970’s the average number of large fires each year has doubled in many western states, including  New Mexico.

The bigger fires are due in part to how forests have been managed.  For much of the 20th century, forest fires were suppressed—and dry timber and vegetation built up to dangerous levels.

But climate scientists say warmer temperatures are also responsible.

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Local News
5:12 pm
Tue September 18, 2012

State expands chronic wasting disease area

A healthy white-tailed deer.
Photo by craigCloutier - Creative Commons License

This week, the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish announced it’s keeping a closer eye on southern New Mexico, where some deer are infected with chronic wasting disease. That disease attacks the brain and spinal column of deer and elk, causing them to become emaciated and eventually die.  

Chronic wasting disease isn’t widespread in New Mexico, but there are some hot zones near Cloudcroft and Alamogordo.

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Local News
5:30 am
Tue September 18, 2012

State regulators consider PNM solar proposal

BuddaBoy via Flickr

New Mexico regulators are considering a proposal that would mean fewer credits for Public Service Company of New Mexico customers who install solar photovoltaic systems.

Renewable Energy Certificate credits have been slashed by more than half in the last year, and PNM says more changes are necessary due to a drop in the price of solar photovoltaic systems and the costs of the program to other customers.

The proposal before the state Public Regulation Commission stems from negotiations with solar industry representatives and others.

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Local News
5:28 am
Tue September 18, 2012

State improves access to Los Alamos data

State environmental officials say they have finished their upgrade to a database that gives the public access to information on clean-up efforts at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

New Mexico Environment Department Secretary David Martin says the new centralized, cloud-based database application called Intellus New Mexico provides the public with greater transparency and more timely access to the environmental data for tracking efforts to clean up toxic waste around the laboratory where the nuclear bomb was developed.

Local News
5:27 am
Tue September 18, 2012

New Mexico proposes concealed handguns in state parks

A state agency is proposing to allow people licensed to carry a concealed handgun to bring their loaded weapons into a New Mexico state park.

That's among several administrative rule changes proposed by the State Parks Division. Other proposals require life jackets for those using paddleboards.

A public hearing on the proposals is scheduled Oct. 17 in Santa Fe at the Wendell Chino Building.

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Local News
9:04 am
Mon September 17, 2012

DOT to sell surplus equipment

The state Department of Transportation plans to sell surplus equipment ranging from bulldozers and snowplows to cars, mini-vans and four-wheel drive sport utility vehicles.

An auction is scheduled September 29th from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the department's District 5 office, which is on the south side of Santa Fe.

The agency says more than 1,000 items will be sold, including dump trucks, pickup trucks, road graders, trailers, mowers as well as office furniture and electronics.

Money from the auction will go into a state fund that pays for the department's operations.

Local News
9:01 am
Mon September 17, 2012

Forest Service to do controlled burns

Controlled burns planned in two areas of the Santa Fe National Forest could send smoke into canyons and make it hard for those with health issues to breath.

The burning operations are planned starting Monday in the forest's Jemez and Coyote ranger districts.

The Jemez operations include burning near Ponderosa Camp and near the Valles Caldera's northwest corner.

The burning planned on the Coyote district will likely be seen from the communities of Espanola and Abiquiu.

The fires are being set to reduce hazardous fuels and restore forest health.

Local News
8:58 am
Mon September 17, 2012

2 West Nile cases reported in San Juan County

Alvesgaspar

Two West Nile virus cases were reported last week in San Juan County.

The Farmington Daily Times reports that the county now has had three West Nile cases so far this year.

A 32-year-old woman and a 70-year-old woman from San Juan County were reported to have the virus last week.

Both women have developed encephalitis and meningitis.

Health officials say there have been 26 cases statewide, including one resulting in a death.

Authorities said last week that a 76-year-old man from Bernalillo County died from the virus.

Local News
10:39 am
Sun September 16, 2012

US Justice Department in early probe of Albuquerque police

Seal of the US Department of Justic.
methodshop.com via Flickr

The U.S. Department of Justice has confirmed it is conducting a preliminary inquiry of the Albuquerque Police Department to see if a full-blown "pattern and practices" investigation is merited.

Friday's brief statement from the Justice Department comes after months of criticism from advocates because of 25 officer-involved shootings since 2010. Seventeen were fatal.

KRQE-TV reports the agency is conducting an inquiry. The Justice Department statement was provided to the Albuquerque Journal Friday after the report aired.

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Local News
10:36 am
Sun September 16, 2012

New Mexico not likely to collect sales taxes from Amazon

New Mexico has little chance of cashing in on a windfall of tax revenue from internet sales giant Amazon despite other states' success in getting the company to collect sales taxes.

The Santa Fe New Mexican report says unless Congress acts to change federal laws, none of the factors allowing other states to collect taxes affect New Mexico.

Pennsylvania, Texas, Washington, Kansas, New York and North Dakota are collecting sales taxes on their residents' Amazon purchases. California will begin receiving money from sales beginning Saturday.

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Local News
8:45 am
Fri September 14, 2012

Poll: Many voters back Medicaid expansion

A new statewide poll commissioned by The Albuquerque Journal shows more than half of the state's voters back expanding the state's Medicaid rolls to cover 170,000 low-income residents.

The Journal poll found that 53 percent of likely voters surveyed back boosting eligibility to allow low-income children, seniors, pregnant women and the disabled sign up for the federal-state health insurance program.

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