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Marisa Demarco / KUNM

  A federal court hearing on whether New Mexico is fit to process applications for food stamps and Medicaid is set to wrap up on Wednesday, July 6. Top brass from the state Human Services Department are expected to testify in response to allegations from employees that applications for emergency food aid were falsified to avoid missing deadlines.

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New Mexico's latest troubles with administering food stamps are just the most recent in a long string of problems. In 1988, Debra Hatten-Gonzales and others filed lawsuits alleging the Human Services Department broke federal laws in determining eligibility for food stamps, Medicaid and Aid to Families with Dependent Children. The state settled with the plaintiffs in 1990, and agreed to deadlines to reform their processes.

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Prosecutors, Defense Clash At Fraud Hearings - The Associated Press

The New Mexico attorney general's office says it will present evidence that former Sen. Phil Griego used his influence over the legislative process as a lawmaker to profit from the sale of a state owned building as a real estate broker.

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Fed Contractors To Start Cleanup From 'Manhattan Project' Los Alamos Monitor, Associated Press

U.S. Department of Energy contractors are scheduled to start removing toxic contaminated soil in northern New Mexico left over from the Manhattan Project and early atomic Cold War research.

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Albuquerque Police Failed In Use-Of-Force ReviewsAssociated Press

A federal court monitor's report says the Albuquerque Police Department has struggled to adequately review use-of-force cases, while the SWAT units are doing a better job of de-escalating standoffs and other high-stress situations.

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New Mexico High Court: Doctors Can't Help Patients End LivesAssociated Press

New Mexico Supreme Court has ruled that terminally ill patients cannot end their lives with help from doctors.

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New Mexico Budget Crunch Ripples Through Hospitals, Museums Associated Press

New Mexico state government is looking for new ways to conserve spending as it crosses the threshold into a new budget year, with the most pronounced changes set to ripple through Medicaid health care services for the poor and disabled.

Victoria Edwards

Most everyone knows someone who has died of cancer. It’s the number two killer in the United States. A White House initiative tried to jump start efforts to cure cancer with virtual summits at 270 sites across the country, including New Mexico.

Rashad Mahmood / Public Health New Mexico

KUNM’s reporting series Poisoned Earth: Albuquerque’s Toxic Secret revealed that state officials had not studied health effects of a dry cleaning chemical spill on people who lived near the plume. 

Daphne Carrillo

UPDATE Wednesday, 29, 11:00 a.m.: The Dog Head Fire is 91 percent contained. A total of 12 residences and 44 minor structures have been damaged. The U.S. Forest Service says the wildfire was human-started, but they are still investigating how it happened.

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Former Colorado School Official Hired By APS Acquitted Of Sex AssaultAssociated Press

A Denver jury on Tuesday acquitted a former Colorado school official who was later hired by Albuquerque Public Schools of four counts of sexual assault of a child.

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Federal Lawsuit Targets Cougar Trapping In New Mexico – Associated Press

Environmentalists are suing the New Mexico Game Commission in federal court, arguing that expanded cougar trapping threatens endangered Mexican gray wolves and jaguars.

Kevin Dooley via Flickr

It looks like state officials have scrapped a $1 billion proposal to divert water from the Gila River in southwestern New Mexico – but they’re still looking to spend $80 million to $100 million to take water from the river for towns and farmers.

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

Abortion rights supporters in New Mexico are thrilled with the Supreme Court’s ruling today, but it might not immediately reduce the number of women coming here from Texas for abortions. 

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Officials Warn Medicaid Cutbacks Could Violate Federal Law – Albuquerque Journal

Officials with the University of New Mexico Hospital are warning state officials that cutbacks on Medicaid payments could violate federal law.

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New Mexico AG Reviewing Fetal Tissue Transfers To UNMAssociated Press

The New Mexico Attorney General's Office is reviewing whether a clinic's transfer of aborted fetuses to the University of New Mexico violated state law.

Mike Tungate via Wikimedia Commons CC

The planned Santolina suburb on Albuquerque’s West Mesa has hit a potential snag: There is no agreement in place between the developers and the Water Authority, a mandatory pre-requisite for the next phase of the project. Without that agreement in place, Bernalillo County planners are hesitant to send up the second stage of Santolina’s plan for approval before the County Commission.  

http://www.basicbooks.com/

Revered as a deity by native peoples, then marked for extermination by the federal government.  Derided as a "living, breathing allegory of want" by Mark Twain, then crowned a king of cool by the Beat Generation.  New Mexico writer Dan Flores tracks the range of reactions the coyote has inspired over the years in Coyote America, just published by Basic Books.

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New Mexico's Handling Of Food Aid Spurs Calls For Probe – Associated Press

The U.S. congressional delegation for New Mexico is recommending a federal investigation into the handling of emergency food assistance benefits by a state agency.

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KUNM Call In Show 6/30 8a: 

  

Applications to New Mexico’s medical marijuana program have been surging lately, and the state hasn’t been able to keep up. Now, with many patients waiting longer for marijuana prescriptions, the state auditor is warning the Department of Health to speed up its process or face a special audit.

Rita Daniels

New Mexico’s attorney general is filing a lawsuit in the U.S. Supreme Court against Colorado. The suit calls into question how abandoned mines were handled in Colorado before the Gold King Mine spill. 

Rita Daniels

New Mexico Sues Colorado Over Huge 2015 Mine Waste Spill By Susan Montoya Bryan, Associated Press

New Mexico is suing the state of Colorado, saying its neighbor to the north should be held responsible for the contamination caused by the 2015 Gold King Mine spill as well as decades of acidic drainage from mines near the headwaters of the Animas River.

Dank Depot / Creative Commons via Flickr

New Mexicans applying for medical marijuana cards—or renewing them—are waiting too long before they hear back from the Department of Health, according to state law. The state auditor has sent a warning saying if things don’t speed up, he’ll launch a special audit.

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Evacuees From Dog Head Fire Start Returning Home – KOB-TV

Authorities began allowing some people who fled a fire in the Manzano Mountains near Albuquerque to return home on Tuesday.

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UnitedHealthcare is dropping insurance coverage for its Medicaid patients at the University of New Mexico Hospital. The decision comes after months of negotiations.

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Some Wildfire Evacuees Can Go HomeAssociated Press

Some residents in central New Mexico who have been forced to evacuate their homes due to a wildfire will be allowed to go back home Tuesday.

Deb Stgo / Creative Commons via Flickr

Thousands of adult New Mexicans can't read well, and because of social stigmas, they’re a hidden population. The latest data estimates adult education programs only manage to reach a fraction of those folks. But an Albuquerque literacy program is developing a method of making contact with potential students. 

Public Domain


KUNM Call In Show 6/23 8a: 

 

The Manhattan Project National Historical Park was formally established last year and plans are underway to create facilities in Los Alamos, Oakridge, Tennessee, and Hanford, Washington. The idea is to tell the stories behind the creation of the first atomic bomb. But critics worry the new park could glorify or gloss over controversial issues, such as using the weapons on Japan, and the impacts on communities from nuclear weapons testing.

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Crews Monitor New Mexico Wildfire Amid Dry, Hot WeatherAssociated Press

Firefighters say they plan to vigilantly monitor a massive wildfire in central New Mexico amid continuing of hot and dry weather conditions.

Wikimedia Commons

Dispute Over Hatch Chile Labeling Heats UpMorgan Lee of The Associated Press

A federal appeals court is siding with an association of green chile producers in the Hatch Valley of southern New Mexico in a dispute over what food can be fairly labeled with the renowned Hatch name.

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