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Local News
8:58 am
Mon December 10, 2012

Immigrant Arrests Up Near Deming Border Station

Deming Border Patrol officials say agents saw a jump in arrests of undocumented immigrants along its patrol area of the New Mexico-Mexico border.

The Deming Headlight reports (http://bit.ly/QRJW10) that an official from the Deming Border Patrol station said last week that in the second half of 2012, compared to the same period in 2011, there was a 28 percent increase in arrests of undocumented immigrants in the area. He said 253 more people were arrested from June to December in 2012 than in 2011.

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Local News
8:54 am
Mon December 10, 2012

Canvassing Board to Certify Legislative Recount

The state Canvassing Board is putting the final touches on New Mexico's general election.

The board meets Monday to certify results of a recount in a race for an Albuquerque-area seat in the state House of Representatives between Republican Paul Pacheco and Democrat Marci Blaze.

The Albuquerque Journal reports (http://bit.ly/VtBKkz) that unofficial returns show Pacheco, a retired Albuquerque policeman, winning by 79 votes — up from a 66-vote margin before the recount. The district covers parts of Sandoval and Bernalillo counties.

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Local News
8:52 am
Mon December 10, 2012

Study: More Cancer Suits May Cost NM Millions

A new study has found that New Mexico may have to pay as much as $120 million for an estimated 101 new medical malpractice claims that could be part of a potential class action lawsuit.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that state General Services Department Secretary Ed Burckle says that's in addition to about $45 million in settlements the state has paid to 118 families since 1998.

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Local News
8:50 am
Mon December 10, 2012

NMSU May Use Search Firm in New President Quest

Credit New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University may use a search firm to hire the next school president.

The board of regents chairman Mike Cheney told the Las Cruces Sun-News that the board has put out a request and received proposals from firms interested in taking on the search but may not use them.

The board aims to make a decision on whether to use a firm by Jan. 1.

Cheney says the interview process would likely run through the first half of the semester, in hopes of announcing a president by spring graduation.

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Local News
8:17 am
Fri December 7, 2012

State Health Officials Say Flu Off to Early Start

State officials say the influenza season is off to an early start and are warning that it may be more severe than in recent years.

The New Mexico Department of Health says flu is circulating throughout the state. Health officials say anyone six months of age and older, particularly pregnant women and those with underlying health conditions, should get vaccinated.

The department says many of the influenza cases seen so far are a more severe type that has led to higher number of hospitalizations and deaths in previous flu seasons than other types.

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Local News
8:14 am
Fri December 7, 2012

Labor Board Rules Against Aztec Teachers' Union

A labor board has ruled against the Aztec teachers' union negotiating with the school district on a collective bargaining agreement.

The Farmington Daily Times (bit.ly/QMOkOJ) says the Labor Management Relations Board found that the union violated negotiating practices and failed to follow rules agreed upon by the two parties. The board said the union also had submitted proposals that conflicting with state statutes and the state constitution.

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Local News
8:13 am
Fri December 7, 2012

NM School Preparing for New Testing Standards

New Mexico's largest school district plans to spend millions of dollars to adopt new testing standards and move to computer-based testing.

Albuquerque Public Schools administrators say the district estimates it will spend $39 million in capital money to upgrade 17,000 computers and computer equipment, and another $15 million annually to maintain the system.

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Local News
8:11 am
Fri December 7, 2012

Recount Still Pending in 1 NM Legislative Race

State officials are trying to wrap up the final results of the November general election.

The state Canvassing Board meets Friday and a top official in the secretary of state's office says winners are expected to be certified in all but one race.

There's a pending recount in a state House of Representatives race between Republican Paul Pacheco of Albuquerque and Democrat Marci Blaze of Corrales. Before the recount, Pacheco was leading by 66 votes.

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Local News
8:08 am
Fri December 7, 2012

Outside Political Groups Spent Nearly $4M in NM

The latest campaign finance reports show that two outside political groups spent nearly $4 million to influence legislative races, which ended up with Democrats retaining control of the House and Senate.

A political committee with ties to Republican Gov. Susana Martinez reported on Thursday spending $2.4 million. It was involved in 31 House and Senate races, including several Democratic primary contests.

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Local News
6:53 am
Fri December 7, 2012

Many In State Senate Hope For Civility This Upcoming Session

Legislative budget hearings are underway at the state capitol this week, as lawmakers get ready for next month's 60-day session in Santa Fe.  Here is the second of two legislative preview articles - this time a look at the new state senate.

 

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Local News
6:42 am
Fri December 7, 2012

Film Reveals Dark Side of International Adoption

Filmmaker Jill Hodges

Jill Hodges and her husband adopted their son from Guatemala when he was six months old. At the time, they had very little information about his birth family in Guatemala. But whe stories began surfacing from that country about corruption in the adoption process and possible coercion, they wanted to find his birth mother to make sure she gave him up willingly, and to create a pathway for their son to connect with his birth family. Hodges chronicles that journey in "Extended Family," which is screening this weekend at the Santa Fe Film Festival.

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Local News
2:00 pm
Thu December 6, 2012

Weekly Chat with Santa Fe Reporter

This afternoon I called up Alexa Schirtzinger, editor of the Santa Fe Reporter, to speak to her about Mixed Martial Arts. An article called "Blood Sport" appeared in the publication today exploring how this popular new sport has evolved over the years...especially in New Mexico.

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Local News
9:53 am
Thu December 6, 2012

Audit faults teacher preparation programs

Legislative auditors say New Mexico's colleges of education should toughen their admission standards to provide more qualified teachers and potentially improve student performance.

A Legislative Finance Committee audit on Wednesday said none of the colleges with teacher preparation programs require minimum ACT scores by students for admission.

Auditors recommended the Public Education Department increase the passing scores on competency tests required for a teaching license.

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Local News
9:52 am
Thu December 6, 2012

Pearce, Lujan push for uranium mine cleanup

Two members of New Mexico's congressional delegation are pushing for a House vote on legislation that would free up federal funding to clean up abandoned uranium mines.

U.S. Reps. Steve Pearce, R-N.M., and Ben Ray Lujan, D-N.M., say House approval is needed to get the bill to the president's desk. Pearce and Lujan spelled out their request in a letter to House leaders on Wednesday.

The legislation was introduced by U.S. Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M. The Senate has already voted unanimously in favor of the bill.

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Local News
9:45 am
Thu December 6, 2012

Jury probes into police shootings may resume

Bernalillo County District Attorney Kari Brandenburg says she plans to begin tackling a backlog of 10 police shooting cases by February amid a federal probe into Albuquerque police.

The Albuquerque Journal reports Wednesday Brandenburg says she doesn't know if the cases will be examined by using a controversial practice of taking the cases to "investigative grand juries" or by reviewing them in-house.

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Entertainment
9:17 am
Thu December 6, 2012

A Musical New Year's Eve in Vienna

Thurs. 12/6 10a:  On New Year's Eve at Albuquerque's National Hispanic Cultural Center, the Figueroa Music and Arts Project Symphony Orchestra presents a program of Viennese classics by Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert and Strauss, as well as popular waltzes, polkas, and Hungarian dances.  Spencer Beckwith talks with the man behind the concert, conductor and violinist Guillermo Figueroa.

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Local News
8:46 am
Thu December 6, 2012

Vote: Top New Mexico Stories of 2012

What were the most important news stories in New Mexico in 2012? Please cast your vote - one more time! Choose from the five we have listed or add your own. We'll announce the results Thursday, December 20 during the KUNM Call-in Show at 8a.  

Click here to rank the top stories.

Local News
8:09 am
Thu December 6, 2012

New Mexico House Set To Battle Governor Over Budget

Next month marks the start of a 60-day session of the New Mexico State Legislature. The House of Representatives is gearing up for new leadership and newly elected members.

The November election brought new faces to the state legislature - 21 of them, including 16 new House members.  Representative Larry Larrañaga is a 19-year veteran Republican from Albuquerque's northeast heights.  He notes there will be fundamental changes in committees and a new Speaker of the House - the body's most powerful position:

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Entertainment
9:14 am
Wed December 5, 2012

A Classics Radio Theater Version of Dicken's “A Christmas Carol”

Wed. 12/5 10a:  Spencer Beckwith speaks with playwright and director Becky Mayo about her new adaptation of "A Christmas Carol."  The production takes the audience into a radio station broadcasting Charles Dickens‘ beloved story live before a studio audience.  The radio theater production runs from November 30 through December16 at the Adobe Theater in Albuquerque.

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Local News
7:17 am
Wed December 5, 2012

Los Alamos National Security LLC to pay $10 million for faulty security system

The National Nuclear Security Administration and Los Alamos National Laboratory announced Tuesday the contractor that runs LANL will have to pay 10 million dollars for a faulty security system at the lab's plutonium facility.

The Albuquerque Journal reports Los Alamos National Security LLC, which is a part of Bechtel Corporation, will cover the costs of repairing the system of fences and sensors securing LANL's Technical Area 55, where plutonium is used in the manufacture of nuclear weapons.

Commentary
7:00 am
Wed December 5, 2012

Op Ed: A Troubling Shortage Of Lawyers

People often complain there are too many lawyers in the world, and you may think they have a point. After all, an astonishing 40,000 students graduate from American law schools each year, and there are already well over a million lawyers in the U.S.

But whether you believe there are too many lawyers may depend on who you are.  If you’re Hispanic, and you prefer to hire a lawyer who shares your cultural background, or speaks Spanish—you’re going to wonder where all the lawyers are.

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Local News
6:43 am
Wed December 5, 2012

Feds say cuts in Chama water likely for users

Elephant Butte Resevoir.
Credit Laura Paskus

Water allotments for Rio Grande water users may be cut next year. 

The Albuquerque Journal reports users are being notified by the Bureau of Reclamation that allotments from the San Juan-Chama diversion project may be 20 percent less than this year due to drought.

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Local News
3:24 pm
Tue December 4, 2012

USDA Accepts Discrimination Claims for Hispanic and Women Farmers

Agricultural officials were in Bernalillo County Tuesday to encourage Hispanic and women farmers and ranchers to apply to a fund to address past discrimination.  Affected farmers denied federal loans can apply for up to $250,000 in compensation.

Representatives from the US Department of Agriculture held a public meeting to explain the application process for filing claims.

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KUNM Call In Show
1:42 pm
Tue December 4, 2012

What does New Mexico's "fiscal cliff" look like?

Credit cobalt123 via Flickr

KUNM Call In Show Thu. 12/6 8a: What is the 'fiscal cliff' and what would automatic budget cuts and tax increases mean for New Mexico?  Do you think lawmakers should hold out for the plans they want, or are you concerned about them playing brinksmanship with the state's economic recovery?  

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Local News
8:46 am
Tue December 4, 2012

Trainees to cleanup uranium contamination on Navajo land

About 20 students are poised to graduate from a program that trains people to clean up Navajo Nation land poisoned by the mining and milling of uranium ore.

The Farmington Daily Times reports that more than 100 applicants tried to get into the class, but only about 20 were picked for the three-week training.

Radioactive material began contaminating the Navajo Nation's land and water during the 1940s when uranium was in high demand by the federal government.

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Local News
8:38 am
Tue December 4, 2012

APD stun gun probe, two officers won't face charges

A still image from the officer lapel camera video released by APD.
Credit The Albuquerque Police Department

Prosecutors say two of three Albuquerque police officers who were investigated for their conduct during a May arrest at a park will not be criminally charged in the incident.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that Officers Ronald Surran and Shad Solis will not be charged in the May 31 incident, but misdemeanor battery and aggravated battery charges are pending in state District Court against officer Connor Rice.

The officers were responding to reports about suspected drug activity.

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Local News
8:36 am
Tue December 4, 2012

State Securities Division: NMFA "Culture of Complacency"

New Mexico's securities regulator says in a new report the New Mexico Finance Authority's former controller was able to forge a financial audit because of management and oversight failures at the agency.

The Securities Division said Monday those problems were aggravated by a "culture of complacency" at the authority that played down the importance of the audit to investors and placed too much of an emphasis on obtaining high credit ratings for agency bonds.

Former authority CEO Rick May disputed the report's conclusions.

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Local News
5:44 am
Tue December 4, 2012

Nearly $500M available for capital projects in New Mexico

State economists estimate nearly $500 million is available to finance capital improvement projects across New Mexico.

The Legislative Finance Committee was told Monday the state can issue bonds backed by severance taxes to provide about $222 million for new capital projects, which will be determined by the Legislature and Gov. Susana Martinez next year when lawmakers meet in a 60-day legislative session.

State law earmarks about $175 million in bond financing for public school improvements and $33 million must go for water projects.

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Espejos de Aztlan
1:59 pm
Mon December 3, 2012

Hidden Histories of Sunland Park

Mon. 12/3 7p: The small New Mexico border town of Sunland Park was in the spotlight this year. But what did the media leave out about this struggling community? Find out on the HIDDEN HISTORIES OF SUNLAND PARK, a documentary by Kent Patterson.

Credit AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin

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Local News
10:10 am
Mon December 3, 2012

NM Inmates Clearing Forests to Prevent Wildfires

Credit JerryFriedman

A group of New Mexico inmates are helping clear up a patch of Bosque in Pena Blanca, an area devastated by the Los Conchas fire last year.

KQRE-TV reports (http://bit.ly/RwAhhp) that winter inmate crews are working to clear out that fuel as fast as possible and helping the state save money.

Inmate crews cost $300 a day, a fraction of what a private company would charge.

A dry winter and severe drought conditions are making forests vulnerable for future wildfires.

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