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UPDATE 12:00p: New Mexico Regulators Delay Decision On Power Plant - Susan Montoya Bryan, The Associated Press

New Mexico regulators are giving Public Service Co. of New Mexico more time to ink agreements with a mining company, delaying a decision on whether to approve a plan to close part of the San Juan Generating Station.

The Public Regulation Commission voted 4-1 during its meeting Wednesday.

Laura Paskus

Last month, citizens, local officials and state regulators from New Mexico and Colorado gathered in Farmington, N.M. to learn more about the methane anomaly over the Four Corners that is being studied by scientists across the nation.

Class Of 2015: Setting New Priorities

May 21, 2015
weng via Flickr (cropped) / Creative Commons License

Commentator Andrea Mays was asked to say a few words of inspiration at a university department’s commencement ceremony earlier this month. So, she did a little research about the prospects for the Class of 2015. 

Ed Williams

Storm water is a major source of pollution in the Rio Grande. The U.S. Geological Survey released a nine-year study of storm water in the Albuquerque area last week, finding  high concentrations of pollutants in the city’s arroyos.

Andy Magee via Flickr

Some of the money from the Department of Energy’s settlement with New Mexico following a radiation leak at a nuclear waste storage facility last year will go to address storm water issues at Los Alamos National Laboratory. 

PNM Rate Hike Rejected

May 13, 2015
fallsroad via Flickr

The Public Regulation Commission voted unanimously to reject PNM’s application to raise rates by 16 percent for residential users.

red5standingby via Flickr / Creative Commons License

KUNM Call In Show Thu. 5/14 8a:  

The Albuquerque City Council passed a pay equity ordinance last week that provides incentives to companies that pay women at least 90 percent of what they pay men in comparable jobs. The ordinance is being lauded as a national model, but does it go far enough? We'd like to hear from you! Email callinshow@kunm.org, post your comments online or call in live during the show. 

Guests:

Hey Paul Studios via CC

May is Teen Pregnancy Awareness Month, and since 2000 our state has seen its teen birth rate fall nearly 50 percent for teens age 15 to 17. 

A lot of factors contribute to the drop in teenage parenthood in New Mexico, like expanded access through Medicaid and improvement in birth control.

Rita Daniels

Hundreds of clean energy advocates marched in front of PNM headquarters on Tuesday during the utility’s annual shareholders meeting. The crowd called for New Mexico’s largest electricity provider to rethink its energy portfolio and continued investment in fossil fuels.

Leszek Teterycz wants PNM to replace all of the power that will be lost when two coal units are shuttered at the San Juan Generating Station with energy harnessed from the sun.

Mike Tungate via Flickr / Creative Commons License

Santolina developers and their opponents will appeal parts of the master plan for the 22-square-mile suburb at the Bernalillo County Commission meeting tonight.

Santolina was recommended for approval in December of 2014 by the planning commission.

Rita Daniels

Profits at New Mexico’s largest electric company have skyrocketed in the last few years, according to a new report, and demonstrators are planning to protest outside of PNM’s shareholder meeting Tuesday morning. 

Geologue via Flickr

An environmental law firm in Santa Fe is petitioning the state Supreme Court to overturn a law that allows copper mines to pollute groundwater. 

As the law stands, companies can allow toxic drainage to seep into the groundwater beneath their copper mines, as long as the pollution stays within a designated perimeter. But New Mexico Environmental Law Center director Douglas Meiklejohn says that’s a violation of the state’s Water Quality Act.

U.S. Drought Mitigation Center

Drought conditions across much of New Mexico have been improving. According to this week’s U.S. Drought Monitor report, 55 percent of the state is in moderate to severe drought. That’s down from 97 percent at this time last year.  

This May is already one of the wettest Mays on record in Albuquerque. Climatologist David Dubois says forecasts are showing above average rainfall will continue for most of New Mexico.

www.santafeopera.org

He was barely 30 years old, and virtually unknown in the music world, when he succeeded in 1957 with an audacious idea:  creating an opera company on a hilltop in an out-of-the-way location in the Southwest.  John Crosby carefully guided The Santa Fe Opera for the next 45 years.  Writer and critic Craig Smith, author of "A Vision of Voices: John Crosby and The Santa Fe Opera," the founder's first full-length biography just published by

Hospital, Heal Thyself

May 7, 2015
Alice Popkorn via Flickr / Creative Commons License

New Mexico’s 60 hospitals weren’t rated so well in a recent report from USNews.com – they didn’t meet a standard of care on par with the top 25 nationally ranked hospitals.

Commentator Andrea Mays says hospitalization, like many experiences in life, is better in the abstract.

Read the full-length commentary here.

insunlight via Flickr / Creative Commons License

  

For hundreds of people in New Mexico, getting out of jail or prison hinges on whether there’s a bed in a halfway house, a slot in a treatment program or space in a mental health facility. Until a spot opens up, they remain behind bars, and it costs taxpayers thousands of extra dollars while they wait.

Albuquerque Police Department

Prosecutor In NM Police Shooting Wants More Ballistics Tests - The Associated Press

A special prosecutor reviewing the case of two Albuquerque police officers who have been charged with murder in the shooting death of a homeless man wants more ballistics testing to be done.

Randi McGinn says the scientific testing is to address defense attorneys' question about which of the two officers fired the most immediate fatal third shot into the man's back.

Ed Williams

    

Santiago Maestas has been growing fruits and vegetables on a small plot of land in the South Valley for over 40 years. He's standing by a centuries-old acequia near Isleta Boulevard south of Albuquerque—a modest, earthen ditch carrying slow-moving irrigation water away from the Rio Grande and into fields and gardens.

thetutoress.com / Creative Commons License

A Las Cruces behavioral health provider will take over clients of La Frontera, an Arizona firm that is shutting down its New Mexico offices.

Matt Kennicott from the state Human Services Department says many staff members from La Frontera are applying to work at La Clinica de Familia and that that will make the transition go smoothly.

"People who are seeing their current providers will continue seeing their providers even after the switching of companies is made," Kennicott said.

Rita Daniels

There is a growing demand for locally grown food in New Mexico, but farmers here are getting older. The average age is 65. However, there are programs that aim to inspire and train up-and-coming young farmers.

AllenS / Wikimedia Commons

Albuquerque Releases Internal Audit Of Taser Contract - The Associated Press

City auditors say personnel at Albuquerque's troubled police department bypassed purchasing regulations and compromised the integrity of the city's procurement process when purchasing body cameras from Taser International in 2013.

The city's Office of Internal Audit released the findings Tuesday.

They follow an equally scathing report by New Mexico State Auditor Tim Keller, which uncovered a cozy relationship involving Taser and former police chief Ray Schultz.

Mike Tungate via Flickr / Creative Commons License

KUNM Call In Show 5/7 8a: 

Bernalillo County commissioners are considering a residential development plan to build almost 40,000 new homes west of Albuquerque. Developers say it’s a smart, efficient way to plan for population growth and boost the local economy—but critics say it will hurt public health and burden dwindling water supplies. We’ll talk with Santolina’s planning team, public health researchers and South Valley farmers. 

Junglecat / Wikimedia Commons

Albuquerque Officials Briefed On Scathing Taser Audit - The Associated Press

Albuquerque City Councilors briefed on a recent scathing state audit that uncovered a cozy relationship involving a former police chief and Taser International have varied opinions on the review.

Some want to look into tightening the city's procurement codes, while one questions how much disclosure is necessary by city officials and workers who might work as contractors.

Will Thomas

New Mexico’s largest utility company promised to have a completed coal-supply agreement for their power plant in place by last Friday but PNM missed its own deadline.

The coal-supply agreement for the San Juan Generating Station in northwestern New Mexico is one of the linchpins for the plant’s future energy production. The utility wants to shut down two units there and replace that power with nuclear, natural gas, some solar and more coal.

Mark Bray via Flickr / Creative Commons License

The sound of city garbage trucks cruising the streets is familiar to most of us. But it’s a sound many people in Albuquerque’s North Valley are worried they’ll be hearing too much of, if the city’s proposal to build a trash center here goes through. Neighbors like Peggy Norton say the plan is a threat to the surrounding area.

VIDEO: Drilling Deep Series On NMPBS

May 4, 2015

Laura Paskus is reporting our Drilling Deep series on oil and gas development in northwestern New Mexico.

She's looking at issues surrounding flaring, the cultural implications of the oil and gas development and environmental impacts, to name a few. Recently, NMPBS' Sarah Gustavus spoke with Laura about the series on a segment of New Mexico in Focus. Check it out!

BCSO

Man Dies After Being Shot By Bernalillo County DeputyThe Associated Press

A Bernalillo County Sheriff's deputy is on paid administrative leave following a south valley shooting that left one man dead.

The Albuquerque Journal reports deputies responded to a neighbor's call that an argument was taking place in a parked car. Deputies talked to the woman and tried to talk to the man, who then produced a weapon.

Environmental Protection Agency

US To Pay $13.2M For Navajo Nation Uranium Mine Evaluation The Associated Press

Navajo Nation officials say the U.S. Department of Justice has agreed to provide $13.2 million for a cleanup evaluation of 16 abandoned uranium mines across the vast reservation.

Tribal officials say the investigation of the sites is a necessary step before final cleanup decisions can be made.

The Navajo Nation encompasses more than 27,000 square miles within Arizona, New Mexico and Utah.

Arianna Sena

A University of New Mexico professor used her acceptance speech for a prestigious award Wednesday to call on UNM to stop investing in the fossil fuel industry.

Associate Professor Tema Milstein was chosen as UNM's Presidential Teaching Fellow for 2015-17. She took the opportunity during her acceptance speech to urge the university to stop using higher education money to fund fossil fuel production.

MoDOT Photos via Flickr / Creative Commons License

Review: No-Bid Deal For Police Body Cameras Was 'Greased' - The Associated Press

A New Mexico review has found that Albuquerque's former police chief potentially violated ethics rules by influencing a $1.95 million contract to purchase body cameras and then going to work as a consultant for the supplier.

State Auditor Timothy Keller released a report Thursday that says former Chief Ray Schultz and his subordinates gave Taser International an unfair advantage for the 2013 contact.

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