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Local News
12:42 pm
Tue June 12, 2012

UNM to Build New Adult-Care Hospital

The University of New Mexico is planning to start construction on a $146 million adult-care hospital west of its current hospital. The Albuquerque Journal reports that plans for the construction this fall is slated to go before regents for approval Tuesday.

UNM hospitals chief executive officer Steve McKernan says if all goes according to plan, the six-story, 96-bed hospital will open in July 2014.

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Local News
12:37 pm
Tue June 12, 2012

Albuquerque Emergency Shelter to Expand

The Albuquerque-based Joy Junction is scheduled to announce plans to build a new dormitory, chapel and women's center on Wednesday. The move comes as Joy Junction founder and CEO Jeremy Reynolds says the homeless crisis in the state is the worst he's seen in decades due to the economy.

Officials say every night, the shelter is forced to turn away a dozen people or more because of a lack of space in a facility that can hold 300 people. On Facebook, Joy Junction gives daily updates on numbers turned away and asked followers to pray for them.

Local News
12:30 pm
Tue June 12, 2012

State Agency Provides Info on Non-Union Teachers to Governor's PAC

State employees compiled information about non-union teachers and provided a list to Governor Susana Martinez's political action committee.  

From The Santa Fe New Mexican

 

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Local News
10:59 am
Tue June 12, 2012

West's Most-Publicized Reptile To Learn Fate

The Obama administration is expected to announce this week if the dunes sagebrush lizard will be listed as an endangered species. The Las Cruces Sun-News reports Tom Buckley, a spokesman for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Albuquerque, says a decision may come as early as Thursday in Washington.

Local News
4:49 pm
Mon June 11, 2012

Study: Repeat DWI Offenders Are A Growing Problem

Gov. Susana Martinez's administration says a new analysis finds repeat drunken driving offenders responsible for a growing share of traffic deaths in New Mexico.

The Traffic Safety Bureau reports that nearly 60% of alcohol-related traffic deaths last year involved a driver with more than one arrest or conviction for drunken driving. That's up from 35% in 2009 and 47% in 2010.

Local News
4:44 pm
Mon June 11, 2012

Santa Fe Seeing Rise in Burglaries

Santa Fe police say the city has seen a large spike in burglaries in the past year. KRQE-TV reports police say burglaries in Santa Fe have gone up by 53%, compared to a year ago.

Capt. Aric Wheeler says the police department plans to deploy more unmarked police units and officers on bike to neighborhoods that are considered hot spots. Authorities say many burglaries may also be tied to narcotic users breaking into homes to sustain their drug habits.

Local News
4:39 pm
Mon June 11, 2012

First Mobile Summer Meal Program

Federal agriculture officials and the New Mexico Collaboration to End Hunger have announced a new mobile summer meal program aimed at reaching underserved children in rural areas.

The collaboration and the Moriarty-Edgewood school district plan on increasing access to summer meals for an estimated 100 children a day in some of Torrance County's poorest neighborhoods. A special school bus will be used as the mobile meal site.

Local News
4:31 pm
Mon June 11, 2012

Weather conditions helping fight Little Bear Fire

Little Bear Fire map, June 12, 2012.
Lincoln National Forest

UPDATE 6/18 11:00AM: 

 

Firefighters say they are continuing to take advantage of favorable weather conditions to battle a wildfire in southern New Mexico that has destroyed 242 homes and businesses.

Meanwhile, officials said Monday that the ranging blaze in the Gila Wilderness, already the largest wildfire in state history, grew another 1,000 acres and is now 463 square miles. That fire is 80 percent contained.

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Local News
7:17 am
Fri June 8, 2012

Health Insurance Rate to Rise for UNM Students

University of New Mexico students will likely see a rise in the cost of school-sponsored health insurance.

The Albuquerque Journal reports a regents finance committee approved a 22 percent increase in insurance costs Thursday. The proposal would raise premiums from $300 to nearly $1,700 annually starting next year. About 2,000 students, including student employees such as graduate assistants, are covered by the school insurance program.

Local News
6:27 am
Fri June 8, 2012

Casino Proposal Ignites Turf Wars

The Fort Sill Apache Tribe has crossed another hurdle in its ongoing attempt to build a casino on its new reservation.

The Bureau of Indian Affairs recently sent a letter to the governor and other officials in New Mexico saying it has determined the tribe's reservation east of Deming is eligible for gaming, and it has begun the process of reviewing the tribe's request to build a casino on the 30-acre tract along Interstate 10.

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Local News
6:25 am
Fri June 8, 2012

Governor, Tribes Attend Summit

Governor Susana Martinez and Native American leaders are meeting in southern New Mexico for an annual tribal-state summit. Education, water rights and natural resources, and tribal infrastructure and economic development are among the topics for Friday's meeting at a resort hotel and casino operated by the Mescalero Apache Tribe.

A banquet was held Thursday evening for the governor and leaders of New Mexico's 22 tribes and pueblos.

Local News
7:43 am
Thu June 7, 2012

Officials Investigate Death of Wolf

Wildlife officials are investigating the death of a female member of the Dark Canyon wolf pack.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service told the Albuquerque Journal that the body of the Mexican gray wolf was found last month. It has been sent to Oregon for a necropsy to determine cause of death.

The wolf was from one of two packs that wildlife officials have been monitoring in the Gila Wilderness, where the largest fire in state history is burning. They say the blaze has not yet reached the packs, which may have pups.

Local News
7:32 am
Thu June 7, 2012

Voter Turnout at 25% in New Mexico Primary Election

Unofficial election returns show that a fourth of eligible Republican and Democratic voters cast ballots in New Mexico's primary.

About 234,000 registered voters participated in Tuesday's election. That's according to unofficial results from the secretary of state's office.

The preliminary voter participation rate is lower than in the 2008 presidential election year primary when turnout was 31 percent and 274,000 GOP and Democratic registered voters cast ballots.

Turnout has averaged 28 percent in presidential election year primaries in New Mexico since 1996.

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Local News
7:29 am
Thu June 7, 2012

Air Force Low-Level Training Flights Delayed

The Air Force has indefinitely delayed plans to fly low-altitude training missions over parts of New Mexico and Colorado.

Officials at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M., said Tuesday they will examine the training requirements for all the base's aircraft and then decide what kind of environmental review process to undergo. 

Officials say they hope to complete the examination by early 2013. The environmental review would begin after that.

Local News
7:21 am
Thu June 7, 2012

New Mexico Busts Interstate Driver's License Fraud Ring

New Mexico authorities detailed what they called a "recipe for fraud" as they announced the bust of a sophisticated ring that specialized in helping illegal immigrants obtain fraudulent driver's licenses.

District Attorney Matt Chandler says the recipe included reams of fraudulent documents that were used as proof of residency to obtain licenses in at least 54 cases. Chandler says the investigation is continuing.

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Local News
7:15 am
Thu June 7, 2012

Governor Martinez Joins Romney Team

Governor Susana Martinez has been appointed to a new Hispanic leadership team announced Wednesday by Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.

Romney, who won the New Mexico primary on Tuesday, said Martinez will be an honorary co-chair of his "Juntos Con Romney" team that will help guide his campaign on Hispanic initiatives and outreach.

The Republican Party has been working hard to woo Hispanic voters, who make up the fastest growing minority voter block but who traditionally have voted Democratic.

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Local News
7:11 am
Thu June 7, 2012

National GOP Sets Sights on New Mexico

The national Republican Party is setting its sights and its money on New Mexico, hoping to return former U.S. Rep. Heather Wilson to Washington as the state's next U.S. senator.

Even before Wilson easily won her primary over Las Cruces businessman Greg Sowards on Tuesday, the National Republican Senatorial Committee had set aside $3 million in advertising for the New Mexico race, which is among the group's top 10 targets heading into the general election.

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Local News
6:00 pm
Wed June 6, 2012

Gila Fire Damage Not As Severe As Las Conchas Fire of 2011

A Silver City Hotshot uses a drip torch during a burnout operation. Credit US Forest Service Gila National Forest
Kari Greer US Forest Service Gila National Forest

UPDATE 6/6 (6:00 PM)

 

Fire-crews continue to make progress with the Whitewater Baldy Complex fire- it has burned over 263,000 acres and is 22% contained. 

Fire Information Officer Linda Torgersen Gonzales says, so far, the damage assessment team hasn't seen severe destruction like that caused last year by the Las Conchas.

"There weren't very many areas where the fire was so hot that it scorched the ground like you see with some of the raging fires," Gonzales says, "This one has been much more moderate."

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Local News
10:29 am
Wed June 6, 2012

Former Sandia Scientist Pleads Not Guilty to Stealing Data

A former scientist at Sandia National Labs in New Mexico has pleaded not guilty to charges of stealing research to share with China. Jianyu Huang was arraigned Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Albuquerque. The Albuquerque Journal reports Huang faces five counts of federal program fraud and one count of false statements.

Authorities say he passed off nanotechnology research that belongs to the U.S. as his own. They say he went online to share the data with state-run schools in China.

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Local News
9:46 am
Wed June 6, 2012

Los Lunas Auctioneer Facing Animal Cruelty Charges

The owner of a Los Lunas auction business is facing criminal charges for the treatment of four emaciated horses found struggling for life. KRQE-TV reports Dennis Chavez, owner of Southwest Livestock Auction, was charged Tuesday with 12 misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty.

The Livestock Board began investigating the auction business in March after a graphic video was posted by a national livestock rights group. The group found sick and starving horses, and four downed animals were euthanized.

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Local News
5:58 am
Wed June 6, 2012

Lujan Grisham Wins Tight Democratic CD1 Primary

Bernalillo County Commissioner Michelle Lujan Grisham Tuesday won the Democratic nomination for Albuquerque's 1st Congressional District.

Grisham took 40% of the vote in what was a close three-way battle to replace Rep. Martin Heinrich, who won the Democratic nomination for New Mexico's open U.S. Senate seat. With nearly all the vote counted, State Sen. Eric Griego came in second with 35%. Former Albuquerque Mayor Marty Chavez trailed with 25% of the vote.

Local News
5:56 am
Wed June 6, 2012

Moderate Democrats Win in State Legislative Races

Republican Governor Susana Martinez and her allies flexed their muscle in legislative races by reaching across party lines to help moderate Democrats survive challenges from liberals, but the governor's favored GOP candidate lost in a Senate contest in eastern New Mexico.

Martinez adviser Jay McCleskey said a political action committee established by the governor's supporters spent $100,000 on mailings and radio ads to influence the outcome in eight House and Senate Democratic primary races and succeeded in seven of those.

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Local News
5:55 am
Wed June 6, 2012

Espinoza, Montoya Win PRC Primaries

Santa Fe County Clerk Valerie Espinoza and Bernalillo County Assessor Karen Montoya won the Democratic primaries Tuesday for seats on one of the state's most powerful, highest paid and most scandal-plagued commissions.

Espinoza won the Democratic primary for the northern New Mexico District 3 seat on the Public Regulation Commission while Montoya won the District 1 seat.

Local News
5:53 am
Wed June 6, 2012

Heinrich, Wilson Jump Into Battle

The primary votes weren't even counted before the partisan barbs started flying.

In a preview of what promises to be a tough, expensive and closely watched race for New Mexico's open U.S. Senate seat, Republican nominee Heather Wilson and Democrat Martin Heinrich are jumping immediately from quiet primaries into negative territory.

Shortly after her race was called early in the evening, Wilson went straight to blasting Heinrich, saying he has made things worse for New Mexicans since he replaced her in Washington as Albuquerque's congressman.

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Local News
4:06 am
Tue June 5, 2012

New Mexicans Go to the Polls Tuesday

New Mexicans go to the polls Tuesday to weigh in on the already decided Republican presidential primary and narrow the field of candidates for U.S. Senate and Congress.

Registered Republicans can cast ballots for presidential candidates Ron Paul, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum or Mitt Romney, although Romney sewed up the nomination last week with a win in Texas.

Most eyes are on the Democrat primary, where Rep. Martin Heinrich and state auditor Hector Balderas are competing in a gentlemanly race for the nomination to succeed the retiring U.S. Sen. Jeff Bingaman.

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Local News
4:02 am
Tue June 5, 2012

Primary Starts Fight for Control of State Legislature

New Mexico's primary election is deciding whether two dozen legislators can hold on to their jobs. All 112 seats in the House and Senate are up for election this year, but there are contested primary races in only 43 House and Senate districts.

Democrats have controlled the House and Senate for decades, and the outcome of the primary will set the stage for what's expected to be an aggressive general election campaign led by Republican Governor Susana Martinez to chip away at the Democratic majorities.

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Local News
3:30 am
Tue June 5, 2012

Crews Working on Wildfire in Santa Fe Forest

While firefighters in southern New Mexico continue to battle the massive and still growing Gila wilderness fire, crews in northern New Mexico are working to contain an active wildfire in the Santa Fe National Forest.

Forest officials say the 30- to 40-acre Bear Springs Fire is burning about 6 miles southeast of Jemez Springs and has no containment. They say no structures are being threatened and no evacuations are planned.

Women's Focus
4:02 pm
Mon June 4, 2012

NM CD 1, Likely Our Closest Primary Race- About Women's Issues

Sat, May 19, 12pm:Candidates  Michelle Lujan Grisham, Eric Griego, and Marty Chavez talk about their campaigns and about women's issues.

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Local News
12:12 pm
Mon June 4, 2012

Federal Officials to Monitor Polls

Federal officials are planning to look out for any cases of voter discrimination in upcoming elections nationwide, including at polling sites in New Mexico.

The U.S. Justice Department announced it plans to send observers to Cibola and Sandoval counties to monitor elections Tuesday. Monitors are also being sent to counties in California, South Dakota and Wisconsin.

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The Endangered Art of Compromise
12:00 am
Mon June 4, 2012

Chiricahua Leopard Frog: Messing with Nature

All this week we're considering the Endangered Species Act in New Mexico.  Today, KUNM’s Sidsel Overgaard brings you: The Case of the Disappearing Frogs...

The plight of the Chiricahua Leopard frog begins long ago, in a medical lab when researchers devise a way to use frogs as pregnancy tests.  The African Clawed frogs used for this purpose were soon shipped all around the world, carrying with them a deadly fungus known as Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, or Bd for short (at least, that's the current favorite theory). 

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