News

Merrit Boyd via Flickr

Governor Suzanna Martinez'  recent plea to tribes and local governments to ban the sale and use of fireworks this year due to the drought has resulted in some big changes across New Mexico. 

Now many items that were once considered imperative to have a celebratory Fourth have become contraband.  Here is a list of Fireworks Restrictions, county by county. 

Bernalillo County Minimum Wage Increases

Jul 2, 2013

Minimum wage workers in unincorporated areas of Bernalillo County got a raise on July 1st. 

The new county wage law that was passed in April raises the minimum wage from $7.50 and hour to $8.00 an hour for businesses outside Albuquerque city limits.  Commissioner Art De La Cruz, a democrat who represents parts of the west side and the south valley was the bill’s sponsor. He says its not a living wage, but that it will help the low paid workers and their communities.

Tuesday Morning Roundup

Jul 2, 2013

Crews Contain Blaze In Valles Caldera Preserve  - Associated Press

It has taken firefighters a month to corral a wildfire that has burned through the heart of northern New Mexico's Jemez Mountains.

Fire managers declared the Thompson Ridge Fire 100 percent contained on Monday.

The blaze burned more than 37 square miles in the Valles Caldera National Preserve after being sparked May 31 by a downed power line. At one point, it threatened historic cabins and barns at the preserve but crews were able to save the structures.

New Mexico Center On Law And Poverty

The injury occurred on the job. A bull mounted a cow, and the worker was pinned against the stall. That led to a bloody and severe shoulder injury, surgery, and an inability to work.

“I went almost one month without work, and then after that, they called me back, but I was in no condition to work,” says this worker. He’s asked us not to use his name because it could jeopardize his ability to find future work in the small, New Mexico town of Portales.  “I would bleed at work, and that’s how they had me working at the dairy.”

Monday Evening Roundup

Jul 1, 2013

Gov. Martinez Orders NM Flags Flown At Half-Staff-The Associated Press

Gov. Susana Martinez has ordered that New Mexico state flags be flown at half-staff until sunset Friday in honor of the firefighters killed while fighting an Arizona wildfire.

The 19 fallen firefighters were members of the Granite Mountain Interagency Hotshot Crew, which is part of the Prescott Fire Department in northern Arizona.

They were killed Sunday while battling a wildfire in the small town of Yarnell.

New Mexico Center On Law And Poverty

You wake up at three in the morning. In El Paso. You board a bus, and spend the rest of your day herding livestock, picking chilies, or milking cows. Then, at the end of the day, you’re handed cash for your work, but it may not be enough.

“So if we work eight, nine, ten hours, they put down that we work less,” says an Agricultural worker who goes through this process on a regular basis. He’s asked not to use his real name for fear of retaliation. “For example, they don’t pay us for more than eight hours, so if you only get $40, they say that’s what you worked, eight hours.”

Monday Morning Roundup

Jul 1, 2013

Silver Fire Sees Sizeable Growth Over Last 2 Days - Associated Press

A wildfire in southern New Mexico has grown by nearly 40 square miles over the last two days.

Crews fighting the Silver fire in the Gila National Forest hope that thunderstorms forecast for Sunday will bring relief.

The blaze had reached 196 square miles by Sunday morning. It was 45 percent contained.

Crews were focusing Sunday on protecting seven Cooney Canyon homes on the fire's western flank.

The fire was more than two miles from the homes.

New Mexico Agricultural Survey Reveals Labor Abuses

Jul 1, 2013

New Mexico's agricultural workers face low pay, dangerous conditions, and have few laws to protect them from abuse. Those allegations are contained in a new report from the New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty.

Friday Evening Roundup

Jun 28, 2013

NM 11th Graders Improve In Reading Proficiency-The Associated Press

Gov. Susana Martinez's administration says New Mexico high school students made significant improvements in their reading proficiency on standardized tests this year but there were declines for fourth, fifth and sixth grade students.

The governor on Friday announced the results of math and reading tests taken by 195,000 students in grades 3-8 and 10-11.

Report Shows Housing Becoming Costlier In New Mexico

Jun 28, 2013
http://www.jchs.harvard.edu/sites/jchs.harvard.edu/files/son2013.pdf
The State of the Nation's Housing 2013 Report

The economy is improving, according to a new housing report, but the number of households spending more than 30-percent of their income on housing higher than ever.

The State of the Nation's Housing report for 2013, published by the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University, says households that spend more than 30-percent of their income on housing are considered to be “cost-burdened.”

Friday Morning Roundup

Jun 28, 2013

NM Mental Health System Audit, Fix Could Hit $21M Associated Press and The Albuquerque Journal

 

State officials say the potential price tag for fixing problems within New Mexico's behavioral health system could reach nearly $21 million.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that an audit of 15 providers cost around $3 million to produce. That audit alleged potential fraud and resulted this week in the halting of Medicaid payments and other funding to the 15 nonprofits.

Drought Exacerbates Fracking Fears In Mora County

Jun 28, 2013
Carrie Jung

  Mora County, New Mexico, told the oil and gas industry "no thanks" this spring when commissioners passed the nation's first county-wide ban on fracking. Due to water safety concerns, much of the rural ranching community supports the ordinance. But some are worried the county is losing a chance to boost its struggling economy.

Standing on the banks of the Rio Agua Negra, farmer Gilberto Quintana looks out in disbelief. There's no water in this river, and there hasn't been for months.

Thursday Evening Roundup

Jun 27, 2013

IG Pushes Los Alamos To Do More On Safety-The Associated Press

Another federal report is criticizing Los Alamos for not doing enough to protect the public from dangerous releases of radiation in the event of wildfires or an earthquake.

Providers of mental health and drug abuse counseling targeted by a state audit are expressing concern about interruption of services.

NMInDepth.Com reports 15 behavioral health providers are having their Medicaid payments suspended while the state investigates over-billing, potential fraud , and other violations.

New Mexico Human Services Department officials say they're working to line up assistance for the organizations, but no details are yet available.

Thursday Morning Roundup

Jun 27, 2013

Item That Exploded On FedEx Truck In NM Was A Tire - Associated Press

Authorities say an item that exploded on a parked FedEx truck in Albuquerque was a tire.

There are no reported injuries.

Albuquerque police say the explosion was reported just before 7 p.m. Wednesday.

A police bomb squad was called to the scene to assess the situation along with an Albuquerque Fire Department hazmat crew.

Authorities say the driver of the FedEx truck lives in the area and typically parks his vehicle at the location of the explosion.

Wednesday Evening Roundup

Jun 26, 2013

Obama Announces New Council For Native Americans - The Associated Press

Citing a history of mistreatment that has hurt Indians, President Barack Obama has established a White House Council on Native American Affairs to promote a healthier relationship among the United States and tribal governments.

The leaders of 30 federal departments and agencies will serve on the council, which is charged with aiding tribes with economic development, transportation, housing and health care.

Jaroso Fire Races Towards Pecos River Headwaters

Jun 26, 2013
Deborah Martinez

The Jaroso Fire that is raging uncontrolled in the Pecos Wilderness grew aggressively over the last 24 hours, devouring 5 square miles of forest. The wildfire is encroaching on the headwaters of the Pecos River which is known for its fishing and scenic camping areas.

Wikimedia Commons

Advocates of same sex marriage are celebrating the US Supreme Court's ruling today that the federal Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional.

Meanwhile, the local chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union has added three more couples, for a total of five, to a same sex marriage lawsuit against the state of New Mexico.

Peter Simonson is the Executive Director of the ACLU-New Mexico. "Our case is asking the court to rule on the constitutional question," he says, "of whether or not same sex couples can be discriminated against based on their sexual orientation."

Sarah Perry

Chances are you've heard of local food movements. They've swept the nation over the past few years as communities work to raise and grow food for their own consumption. But one rather imperative human food staple that you may not have thought too much about is one that is a necessity for the youngest members of communities: breast milk.

Why Are New Mexico Seniors Not Getting Enough To Eat?

Jun 26, 2013
reedwade via Flickr

KUNM Call In Show Thu. 6/27/13 8a: One out of five New Mexico seniors doesn't get enough to eat. Why is there such food insecurity among the elderly here and what can be done? Are there seniors in your neighborhood who need assistance with meals? We'd like to hear from you! Email callinshow@kunm.org, post your comments online, or call in live during the show. 

277-5866 (locally)

877-899-5866 (toll free)

Host: Deborah Martinez, Poverty and Public Health Reporter

Guests: 

onecle via Flickr

The US Supreme Court ruled today that the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional and that supporters of Proposition 8 in California had no standing to defend that law in court. What do these rulings mean? If you missed our live broadcast you can stream the program from our Two Week Archive, 6/26, 7p. 

Wednesday Morning Roundup

Jun 26, 2013

NM High Court To Hear Internet Cafe Gambling Case - Associated Press and Las Cruces Sun-News

The New Mexico Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case about a Las Cruces man accused of running a gambling enterprise out of his Internet cafe.

The Las Cruces Sun-News reports that the state's high court recently said it will hear arguments next month in the case involving businessman Michael T. Vento.

Melanie Capobianco, Veronica's adoptive mother.

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the South Carolina couple caring for "Baby Veronica." The ruling could threaten the stability of the Indian Child Welfare Act, and raises questions about tribal membership.

On his way to deployment in Iraq, Cherokee tribal member Dustin Brown was asked to relinquish his parental rights by the unwed mother of his child, and days before beginning his tour, the mother gave baby Veronica up for adoption.

Upon learning this, Brown sought custody, and eighteen months after filing for custody, Veronica was returned to Brown.

Tuesday Morning Roundup

Jun 25, 2013

 

Silver Fire Jumps To 125 Square Miles - Associated Press

A furious wildfire torching through the mountains of southern New Mexico's Gila National Forest has grown to 125 square miles and is expected to keep expanding.

Fire officials said late Monday that the Silver Fire continued to burn to the north and west as crews battled the raging blaze amid dry and breezy conditions.

Officials say the fire remains 20 percent contained, mainly in the south toward the bottom of the inferno.

Disney

Celebrities, Native American emissaries, and throngs of fans headed to California this weekend for the world premier of The Lone Ranger.  Johnny Depp stars as Tonto, the Native American sidekick, and his portrayal - complete with broken English - has stirred controversy in Indian Country.

First appearing in the 1930's, Tonto has generally been viewed as a stereotype of Native Americans. The original film described him as a "faithful Indian companion," the "masked rider of the plains" who led the fight for law and order in the early western United States.

Heriberto Ibarra

 

 

    

A NASA rocket was successfully propelled on a suborbital mission in what was described as a spectacular launch from Spaceport America early this morning.  The craft carried nine payloads containing scientific experiments from students across New Mexico, as well as from the Federal Aviation Administration and the U.S. Department of Defense.

The rocket sailed 74 miles into the air and also contained the cremated remains of dozens of people, including the late Hatch Mayor, Judd Nordyke. 

An agreement to vastly increase fencing, patrols and high-tech monitoring along the U.S.-Mexico border has been formally unveiled in the Senate.

The measure backed by Democrats and Republicans is an amendment to a sweeping immigration bill that, with its inclusion, now looks headed for passage next week with substantial bipartisan support.

The amendment would double Border Patrol agents, add hundreds of miles of fencing, and spend billions on everything from helicopters to drones to watchtowers.

Mike Gillespie via Flickr

UPDATE 7p: A furious wildfire torching through the mountains of southern New Mexico's Gila National Forest has grown to 127 square miles.

Fire officials say the Silver Fire continued to burn Tuesday to the north and west as crews battled the blaze amid dry and breezy conditions.

The fire is still about 5 miles west of the nearest community, but the flames have already burned through entire grazing areas and some ranches. That has left ranchers in this drought-stricken corner of the state nowhere to turn to find feed for their cattle.

Rita Daniels

Over the past year, a group of Taos High School students have been literally trying to cure cancer. Specifically mouth cancer caused by chewing tobacco.  After long hours toiling over laboratory equipment, their extracurricular endeavor has paid off.  The multi-ethnic crew, who call themselves The Wyrmies, have been chosen as finalists in the E-Cybermission competition for their use of the traditional Native American herb Cota.

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