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Night at the Fiestas, published this spring by W.W. Norton, brings together ten short stories by New Mexico native Kirstin Valdez Quade, who last year was named one of the five most promising writers under 35 by the National Book Foundation.  The stories appeared earlier in various national publications, including The New Yorker, The Best American Short Stories 2013 and The O.

We Reap What We Sow

Jun 18, 2015
ScaarAT via Flickr / Creative Commons License

By happenstance, commentator Andrea Mays caught part of a documentary on the benefits of veganism. She says it offered some jaw-dropping footage of industrial farming. While she doesn’t remember much about the veganism part, seeing those images has made it impossible for her to eat another hamburger.

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

Around the country, pedestrian deaths are most common in low-income areas. And New Mexico has had the highest average rate of pedestrian deaths in the U.S. for the last few years, according to the CDC. 

Looking Within Report

Residents of McKinley County in northwestern New Mexico have long complained of health problems associated with uranium mining. A new study looks at the health impacts the uranium mining industry may have caused there.

Nearly 100 of the 520 abandoned uranium mines on Navajo land are in McKinley County. That area is also home to the decades-old Church Rock Tailings Spill, one of the worst radioactive disasters in American history.

Bernalillo County rejected the application this week of a Florida company, Humic Growth Solutions, that wants to build a fertilizer plant next to a residential neighborhood south of Albuquerque.  

Zoning Administrator Juanita Garcia issued her decision Tuesday, saying the information the company provided in its application was too vague, and did not address the health and safety concerns of people living nearby.

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The Environmental Protection Agency is considering whether to recertify an underground nuclear waste storage facility in southeastern New Mexico. It’s the first time the Department of Energy has gone through this process since a drum burst deep underground at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, leaking radiation and contaminating workers.

Kaveh Mowahed

Bernalillo County commissioners voted 3-2 Tuesday to approve the Santolina Master Plan and zoning. The huge development west of Albuquerque is to include 38,000 homes, plus commercial and open space.

Commissioners spent a lot of time discussing Santolina’s jobs forecasts – developers say the plan would bring two jobs for each home built. This sparked a debate on the definition of the word “job.”

But critics say the jobs predictions are inflated.

Carolina Ödman via Flickr

Weather related deaths are down because more people know how to be safe. It’s Monsoon Safety Awareness Week and the National Weather Service wants you to know how to avoid the dangers of these seasonal storms.  

In New Mexico four people died in flash floods since 2013, and just last year lightning killed one person.

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Women looking to vaccinate themselves against a cancer-causing virus usually have to take three trips to the doctor’s office. But researchers are looking into more efficient ways of delivering protection.

Two types of the sexually transmitted infection HPV, or human papillomavirus, cause three quarters of all cervical cancers. And a research paper published this month shows that it may only take a single dose of vaccine to prevent them.

Rita Daniels

This weekend marks Albuquerque’s 39th PrideFest, promoting a positive image of the LGBT community. But many transgender people feel like there’s still a long way to go in the fight to end discrimination.

Over one hundred people got together Thursday night at the Transgender Resource Center of New Mexico before the candlelight vigil that launches Albuquerque’s PrideFest weekend. 

Ed Williams

Bernalillo County is considering a Florida company’s proposal to build a fertilizer plant near a residential neighborhood. The proposal has neighbors worried about impacts to health and traffic.

The company, Humic Growth Solutions of Jacksonville, wants to manufacture humic acid fertilizer at the site of an old paint warehouse south of Albuquerque.

The property is zoned for heavy industry, but there are homes about 100 feet away. That has neighbors like Marisol Archuleta worried.

Public domain image.

The Department of Energy has fined the contractors that manage Los Alamos and Sandia National Laboratories nearly $1 million for mishandling sensitive material.

Dystopos

KUNM Call In Show 6/11 8a: How are the evaluations serving New Mexico's students and teachers? We talked to teachers nearly a year ago about this. A lot has happened since then. We're checking in to see what's changed and whether new teacher evals are working to improve New Mexico's education system.

We want to hear from you! Email callinshow@kunm.org, post your comments online or call in live during the show. Guests:

clang boom steam via Flickr / Creative Commons License

A special session of New Mexico’s legislature was held Monday to revisit unfinished business from earlier this year, but agreements on proposed legislation were seemingly already made behind closed doors.

A report from NMpolitics.net says many citizens object to the closed-door dealings because little is known of the negotiations or bill’s details.

mandaloo via Flickr / Creative Commons License

A survey by the Associated Press has revealed that fewer abortions are happening around the country, and New Mexico is among the six states that have seen the biggest drop. 

The abortion rate fell by almost a full quarter—24 percent—in New Mexico since 2010, according to the AP. 

Lalita Russ, a field organizer with Planned Parenthood here, said it’s important to note that the decline happened both in states that did not pass laws to limit access to abortion—and those that did.

spartacus pustota via flickr

Senators Martin Heinrich and Tom Udall joined 28 other Democratic senators and two independents in sending a letter Friday to the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. They support new federal rules that would require lenders to check if customers could actually pay back their loans. The rules would also restrict the ways creditors could collect on debts.

Laura Paskus

Thanks to technologies like hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, New Mexico is one of the top natural gas producers in the world – 27th according to the latest annual numbers from 2012 just released by the American Petroleum Institute. But there’s more to the economics of drilling than just counting rigs and tallying profits.

This Year's Love via Flickr / Creative Commons License

It’s that time of year when people are spending more and more time with their dogs outside in public spaces.

Commentator Andrea Mays says she understands how they can provide companionship, assistance and safety. But she says some dog owners in Santa Fe are failing at good animal stewardship.

http://www.andrewsmithgallery.com

He has spent his life photographing the people and landmarks of his native Northern New Mexico,  documenting the festivals, rituals and pastimes of the area's Indo-Hispano culture.  Miguel Gandert's photographs and films will be part of the multimedia installation "Memory + Emergence," a collaboration with poet Levi Romero and artists Tim

Hectore via Compfight

If you are out cruising the open roads of New Mexico, your ride might be a whole lot smoother and safer soon. Governor Susana Martinez is expected to sign off on a capital outlay bill next week that will throw $45 million to road projects.

One stretch that gets a lot of attention is US 82 near the oil fields in Lea County where narrow bumpy roads riddled with potholes are the norm. 

Jean-Etienne Minh-Duy Poirrier via Flickr CC

Among Americans who make less than $30,000 a year, about half of them have high-speed Internet at home, but a program might help narrow the digital divide.

The program is called Lifeline, and right now it allows people with lower incomes to have cheap—or sometimes free—phone service.

Rita Daniels

A federal judge approved the U.S. Department of Justice’s agreement with Albuquerque to reform the city’s police department this week, which has made some critics of APD hopeful. An investigation revealed that APD engaged in a pattern of unconstitutional policing and use of excessive force.

District Judge Robert C. Brack said the months of negotiations between the city and the Department of Justice were fair and honest.

Wikimedia

Underground rooms at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant where radiation leaked in 2014 have been sealed off, but nuclear watchdogs are not satisfied.

When the container of nuclear waste burst at WIPP last year, the state environment department ordered the plant to close off the area as quickly as possible.

Rita Daniels

This year’s spring rains and snow have eased New Mexico’s drought and made it less likely that we’ll see huge, damaging wildfires this season. But in the big picture, fire ecologists say it’s not a matter of if there will be fire, it’s when. They're trying to use flames now to protect watersheds for years to come.

UNM Art Museum

Santa Fe and Taos have art scenes with worldwide reputations, but New Mexico’s largest city isn’t quite as widely recognized. But there is a deep history here in Albuquerque and this week New Mexico PBS KNME premiers a documentary exploring the work of Albuquerque painters.

KUNM's Chris Boros spoke with KNME Executive Producer Michael Kamins about Painting Albuquerque, which airs at 7p on Monday, June 1st.

Image by Javier Fergo

UNM dance professor Eva Encinias Sandoval has spent her life with flamenco.  Its fierce energy, she says, is the "cultural expression of a people who had no voice" -- the persecuted gypsies, or Romani people, of Spain.  Eva and her Albuquerque-based organization, the National Institute of Flamenco, have been working for almost 30 years to promote an art form that's largely unknown to American audiences.  For seven days in June, celebrated dancers, singers and musicians from Madrid and Andal

jonathan mcintosh via Flickr (cropped)
Creative Commons License

Border patrol agents are racially profiling and routinely harassing people in southern New Mexico according to an investigation by the ACLU.

The investigation revealed that border patrol agents detain people at checkpoints based on the color of their skin. It also detailed how roving agents pull over ambulances that are transporting patients.

Rita Daniels

People are going to have to wait to find out whether or not New Mexico’s largest utility will be allowed to continue investing heavily in coal power. Regulators decided to delay their decision on PNM’s power replacement plan Wednesday.

Brainwise via Flickr

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.

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