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Local News
7:44 am
Fri July 20, 2012

Report hits police, sheriffs on profiling law

Civil right groups and an immigrant advocacy organization have released a report that faults most law enforcement agencies in New Mexico on racial profiling. The report unveiled Thursday says less than a quarter of agencies surveyed are in compliance with a 2009 state law banning bias policing.

The report also says around 20 percent of agencies have no written policies against bias policing and about 24 percent refused to provide their policies, a violation of state law.

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Local News
7:42 am
Fri July 20, 2012

Governor asked to support Medicaid expansion

More than 50 organizations are urging Governor Susana Martinez to support expanding Medicaid to cover more uninsured New Mexicans.

The groups sent a letter this week to the Republican governor, saying the expansion of Medicaid under a federal health care law is a "win-win for New Mexico." Among those signing the letter are health care groups such as the New Mexico Pediatric Society and religious organizations including the New Mexico Conference of Catholic Bishops.

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Local News
7:37 am
Fri July 20, 2012

Massive fuel spill threatening water supply in Albuquerque

Environmentalists call the decades-old fuel spill in Albuquerque the largest threat to a city's drinking water supply in history. As much as 24 million gallons of jet fuel, seeping into an underground aquifer and steadily toward the city's largest and most pristine water wells.

But more than 12 years after the toxin-laden plume from an underground pipe leak was discovered at Kirtland Air Force Base, less than half a million gallons have been pumped out of the ground and the Air Force is two years away from finalizing a cleanup plan.

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Local News
3:07 pm
Thu July 19, 2012

Educators Rally to Protest State Teacher Evaluation System

Hundreds of Educators and Parents gathered at the States Public Education building in Santa Fe on Wednesday to submit testimony to Secretary of Education Designate Hannah Skandera regarding her proposed Teacher Evaluation System.

Local News
10:44 am
Thu July 19, 2012

Young Bullying Victim Finds Forgiveness

After classmates found out that Zack Frankel is Jewish, the name-calling and teasing began.  By the time Zack got to high school, he says it was part of his normal school experience to hear offensive jokes, names, and comments referring to his faith.

One student was sending "text bombs" or hundreds of pre-programmed texts to Zack's cell phone.  Finally the 14 year old told his mom, she called the school, and the other student was suspended. 

Local News
8:33 am
Thu July 19, 2012

Cibola County added to list of drought disaster areas

Drought and climate change are causing extensive forest dieback in the U.S. West as well as worldwide. This photo shows dead ponderosa pines in the Jemez Mountains killed by a combination of drought stress and attacks by bark beetles on weakened trees.
Craig D. Allen , USGS

 The U.S. Department of Agriculture has added a New Mexico county to its list of primary natural disaster areas due to drought and excessive heat.

Cibola County joins 39 counties in eight states in the latest designation Wednesday.

In all, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has declared nearly 1,300 counties in 29 states as disaster areas during the current crop year. Much of New Mexico and the Southwest is already on the list.

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Local News
3:48 pm
Wed July 18, 2012

Saving fish from a drying river

Biologist with the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the Army Corps of Engineers seine a pool, then sort through the fish for endangered silvery minnows.
Laura Paskus/KUNM

The monsoon rains arrived this month, but it’s still hot and dry in New Mexico.

The ongoing drought is placing stress on the state’s rivers and streams, including the Rio Grande. And while cities and farmers still receive their shares of water, each summer, one user gets left out—the Rio Grande itself. Like it has every summer for the past decade, the Rio Grande downstream of Albuquerque is drying.

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Local News
3:19 pm
Wed July 18, 2012

Mexican Gray Wolf found dead in Arizona

A member of the Hawks Nest Pack in the wild
US Fish and Wildlife Service

On July 6, law enforcement officials from Arizona Game and Fish Department recovered the body of Mexican Gray Wolf. The carcass was found near Big Lake in the Apache and Sitgreaves National Forests.

The carcass is that of AM806, an adult male wolf that was released into the Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area in 2006. The recovery area includes 4.4 million acres in the Gila National Forest in New Mexico and Arizona’s Apache National Forest.

This is the third wolf death documented within the recovery area this year.

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Kandahar Treasure
3:20 pm
Sun July 15, 2012

The Unexpected Treasures of Kandahar

Rangina's family fled Afghanistan when she was a young child during the Soviet invasion, and for decades there was never any reason to return home.  But after September 11th, 2001, Rangina was overcome by a calling much bigger then herself, to go back and serve her people. 

Local News
4:26 pm
Fri July 13, 2012

Partners plan for Jemez forest restoration

In 2011, the Las Conchas fire burned 156,000 acres in the Jemez Mountains.
US Forest Service

About an hour north of Albuquerque, the Jemez  Mountains are popular with hikers, fly fishermen, and pretty much anyone else looking for a mountain escape. The mountains have also been grazed, logged, and recently, hit hard by wildfire—Cerro Grande in 2000 and Las Conchas in 2011.

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Local News
6:39 am
Thu July 12, 2012

Oversight board questions radiation risk at LANL

A federal oversight board says Los Alamos National Laboratory has significantly underestimated how much radiation could leak from its main plutonium lab in the event of a major earthquake and fire.

The Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board says it has "identified a number of deficiencies" in calculations that concluded any release would be below the threshold deemed safe to the public.

Board staff say their calculations indicate the potential for a radiation release from a seismically induced fire could instead be more than four times that level.

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Gayle Lemmon: The Story of a Lifetime
6:45 pm
Wed July 11, 2012

The Story of a Lifetime

In 2005 Gayle Lemmon headed to Afghanistan for three weeks on a writing assignment for the Financial Times.  She hoped to find a meaningful story about entrepreneurs who were really making a difference.  Contacts of contacts put her in touch with a very young woman who had started a dressmaking business that supported her entire community under the rule of the Taliban.  Lemmon was struck most with the realization of just how much work woman were actually doing inside their homes during the years when they could not go outside.

Local News
5:19 pm
Wed July 11, 2012

Audubon calls for restoring NM rivers

A new report by Audubon New Mexico calls for restoring natural flows on waterways like the Rio Chama
Staci Stevens

Audubon New Mexico released a report on the heels of a visit here by Interior Department Secretary Ken Salazar. The study argues that restoring natural streamflows will bring environmental and economic benefits.

Dams, reservoirs, and levees are all tools used to alter the natural flow of a river for crop irrigation, drinking water and industrial use. The benefits are substantial. But they also create major changes to the natural flow pattern of New Mexico’s rivers and streams.

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Local News
4:55 pm
Wed July 11, 2012

New Mexico’s “Fracking” Legacy

Salt build-up and torn liner on pit in New Mexico
Earthworks Oil and Gas Accountability Project

As the natural gas boom has spread to the eastern United States, the term “fracking” has become common in news reports coming out of Pennsylvania and New York.  But fracking has been a part of New Mexico’s history for decades.

After all, fracking is not a new technology. Halliburton pioneered hydraulic fracturing, as it’s officially known, in the 1940s. And it has been used around New Mexico for decades.

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Local News
8:24 am
Wed July 11, 2012

PNM to credit overcharged customers

New Mexico's largest electricity provider has agreed to issue credits to more than 200 customers who were affected by a series of what state regulators call bad meter readings.

The Public Regulation Commission says its consumer relations and utilities divisions worked for the past two months to help recover more than $18,000 in overcharges.

The agency says recently filed complaints indicated a series of incorrect estimated meter readings were taken. That resulted in higher than average utility bills for some customers living on Santa Fe's west side.

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Local News
8:09 am
Wed July 11, 2012

Attorney General Gary King will bid for governor's office

New Mexico Attorney General Gary King says he's definitely a candidate for the state's top office.

The paperwork has been filed for his gubernatorial campaign committee and he says he's starting to organize even though the race for the Democratic nomination is more than two years away. King says the magnitude of the race demands an early start.

Pointing to jobs, poverty and rural issues, he says there's plenty to be done in New Mexico.

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Local News
7:13 am
Tue July 10, 2012

BLM lifts fire restrictions in NM

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management is lifting all fire restrictions in New Mexico.

The lifting of restrictions slated for Tuesday comes after more areas in the state recently received rainfall or saw increased humidity levels.

This summer has been a busy season for firefighters in New Mexico who have battled the state's largest fire in its history in the Gila Wilderness and another massive blaze near Ruidoso.

BLM spokesman Stephen Baker says even though restrictions have been lifted residents should still be cautious on BLM land since the region is still dry.

Local News
7:03 am
Tue July 10, 2012

State to launch plan to verify license information

New technology will soon be used in New Mexico to verify information documents presented by people seeking driver's licenses.

The state is grappling with recurring incidents of fraud, as critics claim New Mexico has become a go-to place nationally for illegal immigrants — or preying criminals representing them — wanting to obtain real driver's licenses.

Critics attribute most of the problem to the 2003 state law that allows foreign nationals to obtain New Mexico licenses, regardless of whether they are in the country legally.

Local News
6:55 am
Tue July 10, 2012

New system gives most schools passing grades

A new state rating system gives most of New Mexico's schools passing grades, although the bulk of those are Cs and Ds.

Governor Susana Martinez on Monday unveiled the first report card under a new grading system that allows officials to consider more than just annual student test scores. The grades were developed after the state won a waiver from the federal government to include others factors, like past test scores, academic growth, attendance and college preparedness.

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Local News
6:48 am
Tue July 10, 2012

Farmington police, sheriff hit on profiling claims

Immigrant activists and San Juan County residents say they are filing racial-profiling complaints against San Juan County and the Farmington Police Department. 

Somos Un Pueblo Unido, a Santa Fe-based immigrant advocacy group, is set to announce Wednesday the detailed of six bias complaints against Farmington police and the San Juan County Sheriff's Department. According to the group, the law enforcement agencies in New Mexico's Four Corners are misusing federal agents at the San Juan County Adult Detention Facility and allege civil rights abuses at checkpoints.

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Local News
12:53 pm
Fri July 6, 2012

Officials track fires and prepare for floods

Catron County forests are still recovering from the Wallow Fire
Courtesy of Sen. Tom Udall

The recent rains brought some relief to New Mexico’s parched forests, but they also brought a rash of lightning-caused fires.

Firefighters are responding to several smoke reports in the Questa Ranger District, according to U.S. Forest Service officials. They expect no problems. However, more smoke reports are anticipated as temperatures increase and humidity decreases.

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Local News
8:28 am
Fri July 6, 2012

Corrales, Sandia bosque fire blamed on fake cigarette

A Corrales village employee mistakenly sparked the June 20 blaze in the bosque north of Albuquerque.
Laura Paskus

Corrales officials say a fire that burned more than 350 acres of the wooded area along the Rio Grande last month was most likely sparked by an electronic cigarette.

Village Administrator John Avila says an employee apparently dropped the device while patrolling on June 20. The employee realized the device was gone after ducking under a tree limb. The fire started soon after.

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Local News
4:17 pm
Thu July 5, 2012

Navajo lawmakers reject water rights settlement

Indigenous Action Media

Navajo lawmakers have rejected a settlement that recognizes the tribe's rights to water from the Little Colorado River basin.

The Tribal Council voted 15-6 against the settlement Thursday during a special session in Window Rock.

U.S. Sen. Jon Kyl had introduced legislation to approve the settlement, but it needed the blessing of the Navajo and Hopi tribes to move forward. Kyl has said the settlement would address water needs on the reservations and provide certainty of the water supply for off-reservation communities.

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Local News
9:25 am
Thu July 5, 2012

Utility inadvertently diverted irrigation water

On Tuesday, the Rio Grande was dry in San Antonio, just south of Socorro, NM.
Jesse Shuck

The water utility in Albuquerque inadvertently diverted farmers' irrigation water from the Rio Grande for more than a week in late June and used it for the city's drinking water supplies.

The Albuquerque Journal reports (http://bit.ly/MXVOs1) that John Stomp, chief operating officer of the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility, acknowledged the improper diversions and agreed to pay back the farmers.

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Local News
1:34 pm
Tue July 3, 2012

Report argues projects threaten Western water supplies

Los Angeles Aquaduct.
US Bureau of Reclamation

Large scale water projects are a growing phenomenon in the West. But a new study argues they could lead to water shortages and increased costs.

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Afternoon Freeform
1:09 pm
Tue July 3, 2012

The Emergence of Bonnie Raitt: In The Slipstream

Bonnie Raitt

Wed. 7/4 2p: Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and multiple Grammy-Award winner Bonnie Raitt is profiled in this two hour music and commentary special featuring an exclusive interview with Bonnie as well as comments from Jackson Browne, Taj Mahal, Beth Nielsen Chapman, Maia Sharp, Freebo, Bill Payne, Ann Powers and more. Hosted by Paul Ingles.

Local News
7:32 am
Tue July 3, 2012

EPA grants stay in NM emissions case

San Juan Generating Station and San Juan Mine, Photo by San Juan Citizens Alliance/EcoFlight
San Juan Citizens Alliance/EcoFlight

On Monday, the head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency agreed with Republican Gov. Susana Martinez that an alternative to dealing with haze-causing pollution at a New Mexico power plant should be worked out among stakeholders.

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said in a letter sent to the governor that such an alternative would be in the environmental and economic best interests of the state.

Jackson signed a 90-day stay so the parties can evaluate alternatives for the San Juan Generating Station in northwestern New Mexico.

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Local News
5:18 pm
Mon July 2, 2012

Air Force Grounds C-130 Fire Fighting Fleet After Fatal Crash

A MAFFS C-130 drops its payload over the Waldo Canyon Fire in Colorado.
Credit The National Guard / Flickr - Creative Commons

AP UPDATE 7/3/12, 11:46 AM:

The military says six Air Force tankers are resuming firefighting flights after a deadly crash of one tanker over the weekend.

U.S. Northern Command says the flights will resume Tuesday.

The entire fleet of eight planes was grounded after a C-130 crashed Sunday while fighting a wildfire in the Black Hills of South Dakota.

The C-130 was from an Air National Guard wing based in Charlotte, N.C., and was carrying a crew of six. The crash killed at least two crew members and injured others.

--

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Local News
1:35 pm
Mon July 2, 2012

Environmental groups oppose SF Forest road plan

The majority of roads in the Santa Fe National Forest will now be closed to motorized travel, according to the Albuquerque Journal. But two environmental groups say the plan still leaves too much of the forest open to vehicle traffic.

The Record of Decision came after nearly six years of analysis and public comment. The Forest Service evaluated more than 7,000 miles of roads and trails and designated about 2,400 miles where motorized travel will be allowed. It also prohibited off-road motorized travel.

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Local News
9:15 am
Mon July 2, 2012

Wildfire near Carlsbad Caverns up to 5,000 acres

A wildfire burning on the western border of Carlsbad Caverns National Park has grown to 5,000 acres.

Fire officials said Sunday that the blaze was sparked Friday by lightning in the Lincoln National Forest around the New Mexico-Texas state line.

A helicopter battling the declining Little Bear Fire was diverted Saturday to the new fire, which is at 15 percent containment.

The Horse Canyon Fire is near the area burned in the Last Chance Fire in spring in 2011.

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