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Local News
6:07 pm
Fri March 6, 2015

Ira Glass On Accidentally-By-Luck Radio

Ira Glass, the creator and host of the popular public radio show This American Life, will be in Albuquerque to do a live one-man show called Reinventing Radio at Popejoy Hall Sunday at 3p.

KUNM’s Elaine Baumgartel chatted with Glass about what he originally envisioned for the show back in 1995 when it first aired. There was a kind of story that he wasn’t hearing very often on the radio, Glass said.

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Local News
4:29 pm
Fri March 6, 2015

Governor Supports 500-Mile Hiking Trail

Credit Wikimedia Commons

Gov. Susana Martinez pledged her support on Friday for a 500-mile-long hiking trail along the Rio Grande intended to showcase New Mexico’s beauty.

The Rio Grande Trail would start at the Colorado border and follow the meandering river as it cascades through New Mexico before hugging Texas.

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Friday News Roundup
4:43 am
Fri March 6, 2015

Headlines: Child Vaccination Exemptions In NM, Update From The Roundhouse...

Credit lu_lu via flickr

New Mexico Releases Details Of Child Vaccine Exemptions - The Associated Press

New Mexico health officials have released the number of vaccine exemptions per school district for 2014, and Quemado tops the list.

The sparsely-populated district in western New Mexico has the highest rate of exemptions per 1,000 students at 40.3. The Santa Fe district has a rate of nearly 21, while the state's largest district in Albuquerque stands at 7.2.

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Local News
5:25 pm
Thu March 5, 2015

Environmentalists Sue Over Levee Project

Environmentalists worry that the project would harm species like the endangered Southwestern willow flycatcher.
Credit David Powell - Hawks Aloft

 A lawsuit filed against the Army Corps of Engineers and U.S. Fish and Wildlife challenges a planned levee system along 43 miles of the Rio Grande. Environmentalists are concerned that the project would eliminate critical habitat for some endangered species.

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Public Health New Mexico
4:25 pm
Thu March 5, 2015

Abortion Bill Also Allows Pharmacists To Refuse To Dispense Meds

Credit www.enfield.gov.uk via CC

UPDATE Thursday 3/5 at 6 p.m.: KUNM Host Chris Boros and I just discussed the two abortion bills making their way to the House floor soon, including HB 391, which requires doctors to alert parents at least 48 hours before a minor gets an abortion, and HB 390, the

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People, Power And Democracy
7:42 am
Thu March 5, 2015

Changes Would Make It Harder For Whistleblowers

Credit Arianna Sena

The state’s Whistleblower Protection Act went into effect in 2010 and since then the state has had to spend a lot more money dealing with lawsuits. A bill in the state legislature would address that by making it harder to make a whistleblower claim.

Under current law, public employees who face retaliation for exposing corruption can sue the state for double back pay. State Senator Joseph Cervantes sponsored the original measure.

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Thursday News Roundup
4:55 am
Thu March 5, 2015

Headlines: Nuclear Scientists Gather At UNM, Update From The Roundhouse...

Credit Whitepaw / Wikimedia Commons

Scientists Outline Research Wish List For Nuclear EnergyThe Associated Press

Engineers and researchers from national laboratories and universities around the country are trying to narrow the list of critical research problems the nation needs to address when it comes to nuclear energy.

The group gathered at the University of New Mexico is expected to detail its findings Thursday.

The group includes representatives from UNM, Colorado State University, Texas A&M and Sandia and Los Alamos national labs.

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Public Health New Mexico
8:55 pm
Wed March 4, 2015

Power Surge Sends Sewage Into Rio Grande

Wastewater flowing into the Rio Grande from the Southside Wastewater Reclamation Plant on a day when the plant was functioning properly.
Credit Ed Williams-KUNM

Albuquerque’s wastewater treatment plant spilled nearly 6 million gallons of partially treated sewage into the Rio Grande last Friday. Public Health New Mexico’s Ed Williams reports there was an equipment failure at one of the plant’s pumping facilities.

Officials with the Southside Wastewater Reclamation Plant say there was a spike in power during last week’s heavy snowstorm. That power spike disabled a pump station.

Plant Operations Manager Charles Leder says backup systems should have protected the facility from power fluctuations.

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Public Health New Mexico
8:52 pm
Wed March 4, 2015

Problems Linger For Borrowers Of Fast Cash

Storefront loan shops line a strip mall in Gallup
Credit Ed Williams

High interest, small dollar loans are abundant in New Mexico. Businesses offer quick cash payments for people who need money right away. But the interest rates on these loans can be as high as two thousand percent, and many people are unable to pay them off.   

This is especially true in the state's low-income communities. Statewide, storefront lending businesses outnumber fast food chain restaurants.

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Public Health New Mexico
11:15 am
Wed March 4, 2015

Kirtland AFB Threatens To Limit Media Access Over Our “Cheap-Shot” Coverage. Here Is Our Response.

Credit Ed Williams

We recently published the first two stories in an ongoing series on pollution and the Rio Grande in which we plan to explore a range of topics and issues.

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People, Power And Democracy
10:34 am
Wed March 4, 2015

Do New Mexicans Need Protection From Storefront Lenders?

Credit ChrisGoldNY via Flickr

KUNM Call In Show 3/5 8a: 

Critics say short term loans trap New Mexicans in a cycle of poverty. Often borrowers end up paying more than the amount of the loan in interest. But lending industry supporters say people who take out storefront loans know exactly what they are getting into and that there aren't other easy ways to get small loans quickly.

State lawmakers in Santa Fe are considering changes to how the storefront loan industry is regulated. Should we let the free market work it out or do New Mexicans need protection from what some call predatory lending? 

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Wednesday News Roundup
4:53 am
Wed March 4, 2015

Headlines: DA Forced To Dismiss Cases, Latest From Legislative Session...

Credit NM County Courthouses / Flickr

69 Dismissals So Far From Speedup Of Bernalillo County Cases - The Associated Press and KOAT-TV

The Albuquerque area's top prosecutor says dozens of criminal cases have been dismissed at least temporarily since new state-mandated deadlines kicked in about a month ago.

According to KOAT-TV, the 69 dismissed cases cited by Bernalillo County District Attorney Kari Brandenburg include ones against people charged with sex crimes involving children.

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People, Power And Democracy
7:06 am
Tue March 3, 2015

Two Paths To An Ethics Commission

Credit kmillard92 via Flickr / Creative Commons License

Most New Mexicans think their state government is full of bad apples. The problem is, it’s really hard to tell which ones are good for us—and which ones are rotten.

According to a poll released Monday, three-quarters of New Mexico business leaders say they want the state to have an independent ethics commission. Two proposals moving through the state legislature would do just that.

Democratic Representative Brian Egolf says unlike many of our neighbors, we don’t have an organized way of investigating officials accused of corruption.

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Tuesday News Roundup
4:44 am
Tue March 3, 2015

Headlines: Solitary Confinement Back On Agenda, APD Hearing Postponed...

Credit my_southborough via Creative Commons

New Mexico Solitary Confinement Bill To Go Before Committee - The Associated Press

A New Mexico House panel is expected to revisit a solitary confinement reform proposal a week after a heated exchange sparked by a Democratic member ended a meeting.

The House Safety and Civil Affairs Committee is set Tuesday to discuss a measure that would ban the use of solitary confinement on juveniles and inmates suffering from mental illness.

New Mexico Senate Approves Bill To Eradicate BullyingThe Associated Press

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Local News
7:21 pm
Mon March 2, 2015

Testing Walkout Gains Momentum

Connor Guiney, Daniel Schilling and Anna Bentham-Grey organized a mass walkout at Highland High School on Monday.
Credit Rita Daniels

More than a thousand students walked out of their classrooms across New Mexico on Monday in protest of a new standardized test. Many of the students said the test robs them of valuable learning time and will ultimately hurt their schools.

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Monday News Roundup
4:51 am
Mon March 2, 2015

Headlines: Regulating Tattoo Artists, Student Testing Walkouts...

Credit Allencrack dövmeci / Wikimedia Commons

Senate Passes Bill To Create State Board For Tattoo Artists - The Associated Press and Santa Fe New Mexican

Legislation that would create a state board to regulate New Mexico tattoo and piercing artists has received overwhelming approval from the Senate.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that the Senate voted Friday 39-1 in favor of the bill that proposes a five-member Board of Body Art Practitioners.

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Local News
8:25 am
Sat February 28, 2015

Headlines: Winter Weather Hits Hard, Late-Term Abortion Ban Advances...

Credit killbox via flickr

Ice, Snow Cover Some New Mexico Roads After StormsThe Associated Press 

Officials were warning motorists about difficult driving conditions Saturday morning along some New Mexico roadways as a result of stormy winter weather.

Late Friday, Albuquerque police cautioned people about doing any driving because of treacherous conditions that caused numerous traffic accidents.

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Local News
7:59 am
Sat February 28, 2015

Nonprofits Cut Services In Arizona While Expanding Into New Mexico

Credit AHealthBlog via Flickr / Creative Commons License

Another Arizona-based behavioral health provider is planning to shut down operations in New Mexico. La Frontera is one of five nonprofits that took over for local providers accused of fraud. Turquoise Health and Wellness announced earlier this year they would close their New Mexico offices on April 1st.

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Local News
12:45 pm
Fri February 27, 2015

Advocates Celebrate FCC Net Neutrality Decision

People cheered during a watch party in Albuquerque on Thursday when the FCC approved new net neutrality rules.
Credit Media Literacy Project

Local advocates of net neutrality are celebrating a victory. The Federal Communications Commission voted Thursday to change the way Internet service providers (ISPs) are regulated.

Neza Leal works with the Media Literacy Project in Albuquerque. He says the FCC’s vote to reclassify Internet service providers as public utilities is appropriate considering how Internet infrastructure works.

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Local News
12:42 pm
Fri February 27, 2015

Lawmakers Propose Roll Back On Renewable Energy

Credit Ted of DGAR via comp fight

Legislation to drop the 20 percent renewable requirement for public electric utilities is making its way through committees at the Roundhouse. Current law requires that 20 percent of a public utility’s energy come from wind, solar or geothermal by the end of 2020.

The state’s largest utility, PNM, declined to comment on the House bill, saying only that they believe this is a decision for lawmakers.

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Entertainment
9:01 am
Fri February 27, 2015

Rock And Rhythm: Helping Kids Feel At Home With Music

The Rock and Rhythm Youth Orchestra in performance
Credit www.rockandrhythmfoundation.org

More and more research tells us that music programs are an important part of a public school education.  Sadly, many of the kids who could most benefit from these programs are deciding not to take part.  Musician and educator Robb Janov discusses why some kids feel intimidated by public school music programs and how the non-profit he founded, The Rock and Rhythm Foundation, is using rock to help Albuquerque kids feel "at home" in music.

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Friday News Roundup
4:50 am
Fri February 27, 2015

Headlines: Latest Snow Forecast, Legislative Update...

Snow Forecast For New MexicoNational Weather Service

A parade of disturbances will continue to impact New Mexico with areas of accumulating snow through the first half of the coming week.  

Snow will diminish by the middle of today across southern and eastern areas but it should continue and actually re-intensify across central and northwest area this afternoon and tonight.

Additional heavy and wet snow accumulation through Sunday will be measured in feet across the northern mountains where damage to some structures will be possible.

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Public Health New Mexico
5:11 pm
Thu February 26, 2015

The APD Files: Alan Gomez And Substance Abuse

Substance abuse treatment is not available for everyone who needs it in New Mexico, and this shortage is at the root of some tragic altercations with police.

Mike Gomez met me in a park in Albuquerque, holding a framed photo of his son Alan. “He was a good kid, a normal kid,” he said. “He graduated high school on time. He was a Little League All-Star.”

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On NMPBS
2:50 pm
Thu February 26, 2015

Family Friendly Workplaces On NMPBS

Credit NMPBS

The United States is the only industrialized country without mandatory paid leave for new parents.

New Mexico PBS looks at efforts to expand paid leave on Public Square, a program that explores community engagement through meaningful dialogue. 

In this clip, host and producer Megan Kamerick speaks with Professor Harry Van Buren of the Anderson School of Management at UNM, and Ona Porter, CEO of Prosperity Works.

The program airs Thursday 2/26 at 7p on New Mexico PBS Channel 5 TV. 

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People, Power And Democracy
7:49 am
Thu February 26, 2015

Lawmakers Push To Add State Contracts To Sunshine Portal

Credit Arianna Sena

Scanned copies of all state contracts should be available on the Sunshine Portal, say two lawmakers who are proposing an update to the state transparency website.

Posting original documents would give New Mexicans a bigger window into state contracts, something that’s important to business owners, says one of the bill’s sponsors, Sen. Sander Rue, R-Albuquerque.

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Thursday News Roundup
4:41 am
Thu February 26, 2015

Headlines: NM House Passes Right-To-Work, Eyes Uber And Lyft...

Credit Arianna Sena

NM House Passes Revamped Right-To-Work BillThe Associated Press

The GOP-controlled New Mexico House of Representatives has approved a contentious right-to-work bill that tacks on an increase in the minimum wage from $7.50 to $8 an hour.

The Republican-sponsored bill prohibits requiring workers to join a union or to pay dues as a condition of employment and applies to both public and private sectors.

The House voted 37-30 Wednesday to move the bill along to the Senate, where it faces resistance.

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Local News
6:13 pm
Wed February 25, 2015

Testing Opt Out Spreads

Anna Gilboard and her mother, Kristen Kohlstruk, are encouraging classmates and parents to opt out of standardized testing.
Credit Rita Daniels

High-stakes testing at schools across New Mexico begins next week. So far about 500 parents in Albuquerque have opted out of the tests on behalf of their children.

Fifth-grader Anna Gilboard goes to Bandelier Elementary School in Albuquerque. She opted out. The eleven-year old said she’d rather learn than take tests for hours on end.

“I get super stressed about these tests so I don’t do really well on them,” Gilboard said. “I feel like I’m failing my teacher when I do that.”

Fifty percent of a teacher’s evaluation is based on student test scores.

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Wednesday News Roundup
4:43 am
Wed February 25, 2015

Headlines: Spike In Marijuana Seizures, Crimes Against Children Measure...

Credit Rusty Blazenhoff via Flickr / Creative Commons License

Four Corners Sees Spike In Marijuana SeizuresThe Associated Press and Daily Times

New statistics show that a Four Corners regional narcotics taskforce has seized around six times as much marijuana in 2014 than the previous year.

The Daily Times reports that the Region II Narcotics Taskforce seized 245 pounds of marijuana, which has an approximate street value nearly $200,000.

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People, Power And Democracy
6:24 pm
Tue February 24, 2015

$231K From Lobbyists In Santa Fe So Far This Year

Credit kaje_yomama via Flickr / Creative Commons License

Lobbyists and organizations have reported spending more than $231,000 trying to influence lawmakers in the first half of the 60-day session.

Much of that money went toward wining and dining legislators. And that only includes expenditures of $500 or more that are required to be reported to the Secretary of State within 48 hours.

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Local News
5:55 pm
Tue February 24, 2015

Lawmakers Ponder Greenlighting Hemp Research

The state Department of Agriculture commissioned the Industrial Hemp Task Force to look into what legalizing industrial hemp would mean for New Mexico back in 2012.
Credit New Mexico Department of Agriculture

Legislation that would allow universities in New Mexico to cultivate industrial hemp for research purposes passed through committee Monday night. The bill could reach the Senate floor for a vote later this week.

The federal government made the distinction between hemp and marijuana official last year. Hemp contains virtually none of the mind-altering compound THC and is a highly versatile material.

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