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Local News
5:21 pm
Wed March 18, 2015

Wet Spring Weather On The Way

A moist spring could lead to an active monsoon season in New Mexico and a wet winter, according to the National Weather Service.
Credit Brian DePalo via flickr

New Mexico is on track for some much needed drought relief according to the National Weather Service spring forecast.

Andrew Church is an NWS meteorologist and said a combination of warm coastal waters and a shift in trade winds from last week’s tropical cyclones will deliver higher than average precipitation across the state.

“It’s a wet scenario for us, something we haven’t seen in at least four years so,” Church explained. “If you were thinking about investing in rain barrels, this would be a good year to do it!”

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Public Health New Mexico
5:04 pm
Wed March 18, 2015

Albuquerque Awards $2M For Homeless And Hunger Services

Credit Thomas Quine via Flickr

  

The city of Albuquerque will award over $2 million in contracts to five local nonprofits to fund mental health, homelessness and hunger programs. 

Half a million dollars of the city’s funding will pay for housing programs run by Health Care For the Homeless and the Supportive Housing Coalition. Anita Córdova is with Healthcare for the Homeless.

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Drilling Deep
5:00 pm
Wed March 18, 2015

Shaky Ground: Fracking And Earthquakes

Credit Wikimedia Commons / U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Inevitably, when talking about oil and gas development, the word fracking comes up in conversation.

In the coming weeks, KUNM will be airing more feature stories on oil development in northwestern New Mexico. And I'll be posting here about some of the more technical issues I explore, such as fracking, or hydraulic fracturing. 

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Wednesday News Roundup
4:47 am
Wed March 18, 2015

Headlines: ABQ Combats Homelessness, Governor Vetoes Racehorse Drug Testing Bill...

Credit Ed Williams-KUNM

Albuquerque To Award $2M In Contracts To Combat HomelessnessThe Associated Press

The city of Albuquerque will award more than $2 million to six nonprofit organizations to help address homelessness and mental health issues.

Mayor Richard Berry announced the funding Tuesday. He says this shows Albuquerque has a heart for the most vulnerable and that it backs up its concern with substantial resources.

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Local News
5:18 pm
Tue March 17, 2015

PRC To Take More Comment On Energy Plan

The San Juan Generating Station is owned in part by Public Service Company of New Mexico which provides power to more than half a million customers across the state.
Credit Wild Earth Guardians

The Public Regulation Commission held weeks of public hearings earlier this year on PNM’s plan to shut down two coal-fired units at the San Juan Generating Station. But this week people in Albuquerque will have one more chance to weigh in.

PRC Chair Karen Montoya said she received requests from her Albuquerque constituents who want their opinions taken into consideration.

“Things could possibly change a lot,” Montoya said. “Depending on what they [at PNM] bring on, it will effect a change in the mix.”

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Tuesday News Roundup
4:43 am
Tue March 17, 2015

Headlines: NM Senate Approves Budget Bill, Officials Promote Safe Ride...

Credit Jena g. . Einar E. Kvaran aka 98.20.23.52 23:59, 1 June 2009, via Wikimedia Commons

NM Senate Approves A $6.2 Billion Budget Bill - The Associated Press

The New Mexico Senate has approved a $6.2 billion spending proposal for the next fiscal year.

Senators Monday night took up a budget bill largely unchanged from what the House approved last month.

The spending plan includes pay raises for new teachers and state police officers. Most department budgets remain flat, but education, the state's child welfare agency and tourism department get more money.

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People, Power And Democracy
5:56 pm
Mon March 16, 2015

Legislature May Require Public Comment

Credit opensourceway via Flickr / Creative Commons License

You may not want to listen to your nutty neighbor badger the city council about chemtrails or aliens, First Amendment advocates say allowing public comments—even wacky comments—is essential. A bill moving through the state Legislature would make it the law.

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People, Power And Democracy
5:50 pm
Mon March 16, 2015

Lawmakers Consider How To Regulate Money In Politics

Credit Robert Smith via Flickr

Guy Bowers imagines his phone ringing off the hook if New Mexico were to return to the days of contributors giving unlimited amounts of money to political campaigns.

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Public Health New Mexico
7:00 am
Mon March 16, 2015

Guns And Public Health In New Mexico

Target shooting in Belen, N.M.
Credit Marisa Demarco / KUNM

There have been more than 300,000 civilian gun deaths in the United States in the last 10 years. That’s right up there with the number of military casualties in the nation’s biggest wars. The country's surgeon general says gun violence is a public health issue.

But in rural parts of New Mexico, many people use guns as tools in their daily lives. 

"This is my 12-gauge shotgun, and I’ll say it’s definitely the most versatile tool in the gun cabinet," Billy Ogle said. "And you can take anything from the smallest game to the largest game in North America down."

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Monday News Roundup
4:36 am
Mon March 16, 2015

Headlines: State Lawmakers Pass Pot Bills, Senate Tables Abortion Bills...

Credit Rusty Blazenhoff via Flickr / Creative Commons License

Senate Passes Bill Lessening Penalties For Pot Possession - The Associated Press and Albuquerque Journal

Two marijuana-related bills have cleared hurdles in the New Mexico Senate and House.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that legislation that would not include jail time for offenders having less than an ounce of pot passed the Senate on Saturday in a 21-20 vote.

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People, Power And Democracy
9:19 am
Sat March 14, 2015

Lottery Proposal: More Cash Prizes Would Yield More Scholarships

Credit Brak Perkins via Flickr / Creative Commons License

The cost of tuition at New Mexico public universities is rising and more students are taking advantage of the lottery scholarship, which pays almost full tuition for qualifying students—but fewer people are buying the scratch-off tickets that fuel the scholarship fund.

That’s one of the factors contributing to a slow-building crisis in scholarship funding.

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Local News
7:54 am
Sat March 14, 2015

Headlines: Senate Rejects Chandler For UNM Regent, Language Requirement For Navajo President...

Navajo President Ben Shelly will decide whether to send voters a bill that could remove the Navajo language fluency requirement for the office of President.
Credit Navajohistory via Wikimedia Commons

Navajo Council Approves Referendum On Language Requirements The Associated Press

Funding for the long-delayed Navajo presidential election took a back seat Friday to a provision that would allow voters to decide whether candidates should speak and understand the tribe's language.

Navajo language fluency has loomed over the election ever since a candidate was disqualified last year for failing to prove he met the requirement for the tribe's top post.

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Local News
2:42 pm
Fri March 13, 2015

Bill Limiting Renewable Standards Heads To Senate

New Mexico's Renewable Energy Act requires utilities to generate a portion of their energy from renewable sources.
Credit Scott via flickr

A bill passed in the House Thursday night that would ease renewable energy requirements for Public Service Company of New Mexico, El Paso Electric and Southwestern Public Service.

The bill passed by a slim margin, one vote to be exact.

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People, Power And Democracy
1:15 pm
Fri March 13, 2015

Unions Give Big In New Mexico Politics

Credit nathangibbs via Flickr / Creative Commons License

Campaign cash may be as much at the heart of the the fight over union membership laws in New Mexico as the dispute over union dues, though no one will directly say so.

Labor unions spent nearly $2.8 million in the 2013-14 election cycle, virtually all of that going to Democratic political action committees and candidates, a New Mexico In Depth analysis shows.

The bulk of that money – more than $1.7 million – went to Patriot Majority New Mexico, a political action committee, or super PAC, supporting Democratic House candidates.

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Friday News Roundup
4:50 am
Fri March 13, 2015

Headlines: Judge Says State Violated Due Process, Compromise On Drivers Licenses...

Credit Ken Lund / Flickr

Injunction Issued On Services For People With Disabilities - The Associated Press

A federal judge is ordering New Mexico state agencies to reinstate services for people with disabilities pending reassessments.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that U.S. District Judge Judith Herrera this week issued an injunction, ruling that there'd been violations of peoples' rights to due process.

Groups which requested the injunction contended that people receiving benefits and services through a Medicaid program were being harmed, and Herrera agreed.

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Local News
7:08 pm
Thu March 12, 2015

Will Brandenburg Be Disqualified From Boyd Case?

District Attorney Kari Brandenburg announced she was filing murder charges against two Albuquerque police officers in the shooting death of James Boyd on January 12, 2015.
Credit Rita Daniels

A judge heard arguments Thursday on whether District Attorney Kari Brandenburg should be thrown off a high profile police shooting case. Earlier this year her office charged two former Albuquerque police officers with open counts of murder in the fatal shooting of homeless camper James Boyd.

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Entertainment
9:42 am
Thu March 12, 2015

Area Designers Are The Focus Of 2015 New Mexico Fashion Week

One of the 2014 New Mexico Fashion Week designers on the runway with his models.
Credit www.newmexicofashionweek.com/

Designer and educator Melissa Lea Beasley wants to build a fashion industry here in New Mexico.  Melissa and the organization she founded, the Albuquerque Apparel Center, have invited designers and fashion professionals from around the state, and around the country, to the Albuquerque Convention Center on March 25-29 for the second annual New Mexico Fashion Week.  One of the goals of Fashion Week, Melissa says, is to bring area designers together with the

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Thursday News Roundup
4:44 am
Thu March 12, 2015

Headlines: Lawsuit Over Drilling Near Chaco, Carlsbad On WIPP Fines...

Credit US National Park Service

Groups Sue Feds Over Drilling In Northwest New Mexico - The Associated Press

A coalition of environmental groups is suing the federal government over the approval of oil and gas drilling permits in northwestern New Mexico.

The groups filed their lawsuit Wednesday as they prepared to rally at the State Capitol. They contend that more development and hydraulic fracturing could harm the environment and sites such as the Chaco Culture National Historical Park.

The suit names the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Interior Department.

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People, Power And Democracy
6:10 pm
Wed March 11, 2015

Bid To Limit Local Control Over Oil And Gas Heads To Senate

Credit J.N. Stuart via Flickr

    

 

Many counties and municipalities in New Mexico have passed restrictions on mining, oil and gas that go beyond state laws. These are things like: dictating how close wells can be to homes or imposing weight limits on trucks.

A controversial bill (HB 366) that would limit that local control, and give the state exclusive power over all matters relating to oil and gas, passed the House Tuesday.

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Local News
5:44 pm
Wed March 11, 2015

Los Alamos May Face Stricter Runoff Regulations

Many of the urban discharges addressed in the petition to the EPA impact this stretch of the Rio Grande near the White Rock lookout just southwest of Los Alamos.
Credit Amigos Bravos

Should Los Alamos National Labs and Los Alamos County be held to the Clean Water Act standards for stormwater runoff that ends up in the Rio Grande? That’s the question the Environmental Protection Agency is weighing. A public comment period on the matter will begin soon.

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Public Health New Mexico
3:56 pm
Wed March 11, 2015

Taking Mental Health Out Of The Gun Violence Debate

Credit Curtis Gregory Perry via CC

  After mass-casualty shootings, the national debate often focuses on preventing people with mental illness from buying guns. But at the forum hosted by UNM’s Psychiatry Department this week, researchers said that might not be the smartest way to decrease gun violence in America—or in New Mexico.

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KUNM Call In Show
12:08 pm
Wed March 11, 2015

LISTEN: Raising The Minimum Wage

Credit baumig via Flickr

KUNM Call In Show 3/12 8a: 

Lawmakers in Santa Fe are considering proposals that would raise the state's minimum wage. The cities of Santa Fe, Albuquerque and Las Cruces have already done this and lawmakers are also reviewing a measure that would prevent more cities from raising their minimum wages. 

Who benefits from an increase in the minimum wage? Who is harmed? And at what point does a minimum wage equal a living wage? 

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

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Wednesday News Roundup
4:46 am
Wed March 11, 2015

Headlines: Senate Panel Rejects Right-To-Work, Abortion Bills Assigned Committees...

Credit Stephanie Fitzgerald

NM Senate Panel Votes No On Right-To-Work Bill - The Associated Press and Albuquerque Journal

A Senate panel has stopped the advance of a right-to-work bill that has drawn scores of people to the State Capitol for hours of hearings.

The Public Affairs Committee voted 5-3 yesterday to block a bill that prohibits requiring workers to join a union or to pay dues as a condition of employment and includes a 50-cent-per-hour minimum wage increase.

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People, Power And Democracy
9:40 pm
Tue March 10, 2015

Update From The Roundhouse

Credit Wikimedia Commons

KUNM's Chris Boros chatted with Gwyneth Doland on recent news from the state legislature as part of our People, Power and Democrayc reporting project. Our partners are New Mexico In Depth and New Mexico PBS. 

KUNM:  Let’s start with the two bills that would restrict abortions. One would ban abortions later in pregnancy and another would require teens to notify their parents. The Catholic bishops are pushing this hard and so are groups that oppose abortions who tried for the ban in Albuquerque last year.

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Local News
5:32 pm
Tue March 10, 2015

Senate To Vote On Lighter Marijuana Penalties

Similar legislation that would have lessened the penalties for small amounts of marijuana possession passed through the House in 2013.
Credit eggrole via Flickr

People caught with less than an ounce of marijuana would be issued a citation much like a speeding ticket under a proposal that is heading to the Senate floor for a vote.

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People, Power And Democracy
8:34 am
Tue March 10, 2015

International STEM Students Could Get Tuition Discount

Credit Arianna Sena

International students could get a big discount on eligible university tuition if an economic development idea succeeds in the state legislature.

The proposal (HB 481),  introduced by Rep. Nora Espinoza, R-Roswell,  would give in-state tuition to students from outside of New Mexico who come here to study science, engineering, technology and math.

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Tuesday News Roundup
4:58 am
Tue March 10, 2015

Headlines: PARCC Testing Contract In Court, Court Says All Must Report Child Abuse...

Credit Photo via www.engagingpeace.com

Arguments Heard In New Mexico PARCC Testing Contract FightThe Associated Press

Lawyers have submitted arguments in a legal challenge to New Mexico's contract with a testing company that may halt a much-debated assessment exam in the state.

Santa Fe District Judge Sarah Singleton heard arguments Tuesday in a case that could overturn a contract awarded to London-based Pearson and potentially tangle up other states using the same test.

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People, Power And Democracy
8:24 pm
Mon March 9, 2015

Stripped-Down Lobbyist Disclosure Advances

Credit /

    

After stalling in committee last month, a bill requiring more transparency from lobbyists cruised through the state House Saturday after hitting only one last speed bump.

On Saturday, state Rep. Stephanie Garcia Richard, D-Los Alamos, unsuccessfully tried to amend the bill on the floor and put some of those requirements back in.

But with just two weeks left in the session, supporters of more transparency for lobbyists say even a stripped-down bill is an important first step.

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Local News
5:51 pm
Mon March 9, 2015

Lawsuit: Vulnerable Groups Should Have Say In APD Reform

Details about reform of the Albuquerque Police Department are still being negotiated.
Credit Rita Daniels

Three groups called for homeless people and people with mental illnesses to be represented in the process to reform the Albuquerque Police Department. Last week the groups filed a motion in federal court.

The ACLU joined forces with Disability Rights New Mexico and the Native American Voters Alliance to intervene in the settlement agreement between the U.S. Department of Justice and the city of Albuquerque.

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Public Health New Mexico
4:58 pm
Mon March 9, 2015

Ex-APD Officer On How Police Cope

Paul Ielacqua skips stones in 2014 at Conchas Lake. He was a park ranger there from 1998 to 2001.
Credit Courtesy of Paul Ielacqua

KUNM's Public Health New Mexico reporting project has been investigating Albuquerque Police Department shooting deaths with an eye on behavioral health issues. This week, we’re looking at officer mental health.

Paul Ielacqua was an APD Aviation officer from 2001 to 2008 but has worked in law enforcement—at the Bernalillo County jail and Conchas Lake—since 1996. He talked to KUNM about how police handle their own mental wellness in high-stress situations.

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