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Local News
10:22 am
Mon May 21, 2012

NMSU Researcher Wins Grant to Map Chile Genetics

photo: Dries Buytaert

LAS CRUCES, N.M.— A graduate student researcher at New Mexico State University has been awarded a National Science Foundation grant to help unravel the genetic mysteries of chile. 

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The Conservation Beat
2:05 pm
Sat May 19, 2012

PNM Finds Vindication in San Juan Bids

Public Service Company of New Mexico says it has received four bids to install EPA-mandated pollution controls at its San Juan Generating Station...all of them just as costly as the company had predicted.

According to the Albuquerque Journal:

PNM says the lowest bid is more than double the federal agency’s estimate of $345 million to equip the coal-fired plant with selective catalytic reduction, or SCR, technology to cut pollutants that cause regional haze.   

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The Conservation Beat
5:55 pm
Fri May 18, 2012

Nearly 60 NM Firefighters to Battle Gila Blaze

Whitewater fire in the Gila National Forest
photo: US Forest Service

Firefighters from around New Mexico continue to battle a 410 acre blaze caused by lightning in the Gila National Forest.

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The Conservation Beat
5:22 pm
Fri May 18, 2012

Pit Rule Hearing to Continue in June

A week-long hearing on New Mexico’s pit rule has drawn to a close…for now.

The pit rule, adopted in 2008, governs the disposal of waste from oil and gas drilling, and has been called one of the strictest regulations in the country.

This week the Oil Conservation Commission heard testimony from experts and the public about the oil and gas industry’s push to revise the regulations.  But with time running out and several people yet to testify, the OCC decided to continue the hearing June 20-22.

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Local News
9:13 am
Fri May 18, 2012

KUNM Radio Board Member Sherry Tippett Found Dead

KUNM Radio Board member and attorney Sherry Tippett was found dead in her home in Albuquerque on Thursday. She was found by a friend who hadn't heard from her after she missed a meeting.  Police say there were no signs of suspicious circumstances and no cause of death has yet been determined. 

From The Santa Fe New Mexican

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Local News
6:54 am
Fri May 18, 2012

Bingaman Calls for National Clean Energy Standard

Senator Jeff Bingaman, New Mexico Democrat, is pushing a national clean energy standard for utilities.  He spoke at a hearing this week of the Senate Energy and Natural Resouces Committee, which he chairs.  

From The Albuquerque Journal

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Local News
6:38 am
Fri May 18, 2012

Providers Criticize Medicaid Overhaul Plan

Medicaid providers are criticizing the state Human Services Department's plan to overhaul the program that provides health care to children and poor adults.  

From The Albuquerque Journal:

Participants generally praised HSD’s plans to help Medicaid recipients get better care through better patient education and programs to coordinate care among several providers. State officials were not able to provide many of the implementation details audience members were seeking.

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Local News
6:23 am
Fri May 18, 2012

Smoke Impacts from Wildfires Today

Smoke from wildfires in New Mexico and Arizona is expected to be noticeable across both states until at least this afternoon. The National Weather Service says windy and dry climate conditions will shift smoke from large wildfires burning in northern and central Arizona and southwest New Mexico. The winds will likely push smoke into central and northern New Mexico today and southward on Saturday.

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Local News
6:16 am
Fri May 18, 2012

Watchdog Group: Not Enough Enforcement for Oil and Gas Industry

Photo: inlandwest via Flickr

A watchdog group says New Mexico lacks enough inspectors to adequately oversee the tens of thousands of oil and natural gas wells across the state. 

Earthworks' Oil and Gas Accountability Project released a new report Thursday that shows the number of inspections conducted by the Oil Conservation Division increased in 2011 but that more than half of producing wells went unchecked. The group questions whether the state can ensure responsible oil and gas development without adequate inspections and enforcement of existing rules.

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The Conservation Beat
6:00 am
Fri May 18, 2012

Information on Sunday's Eclipse

Photo: sancho_panza/Creative Commons

On Sunday, Albuquerque residents and visitors will be treated to the rare sight of an annular solar eclipse.  The eclipse starts at 6:28 PM and continues until the sun sets.   KUNM’s Conservation Beat reporter Sidsel Overgaard spoke with Barry Spletzer with the Albuquerque Astronomical Society to learn more.

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Local News
7:35 am
Thu May 17, 2012

Senator: College Still A Good Investment, Despite Growth of Student Loan Costs

Senator Tom Udall, D (NM), spoke with KUNM's Elaine Baumgartel about his efforts to keep the cost of federal student loans down and the need for borrowers to be financially literate.  

Local News
12:00 pm
Wed May 16, 2012

Obama Administration to Oil and Gas Industry: Use What You've Got

The U.S. Interior Department says the oil and gas industry is developing less than a third of off-shore leases and less than half of on-shore public lands leased by the industry. 

From The Colorado Independent:

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Local News
6:55 am
Wed May 16, 2012

Lawsuit: New Mexico Inmate Raped By Prison Captain

A civil rights lawsuit says a former inmate of a New Mexico prison was repeatedly raped by a captain.  The lawsuit also alleges prison authorities thwarted a federal investigation into the rapes.

The lawsuit filed Tuesday in Valencia County district court on behalf of the former inmate alleges that a now retired captain at the Central New Mexico Correction Facility in Los Lunas forced the inmate into various sexual acts and threatened him if he didn't participate.

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Local News
6:17 am
Wed May 16, 2012

Northern New Mexico Transmission Line Project Proposed

A Colorado-based company is partnering with the Western Area Power Administration to explore the potential of developing a 93-mile transmission project in New Mexico. Lucky Corridor LLC says it has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Western Area Power Administration. The agency markets and delivers renewable power in a 15-state region.

The aim is to upgrade an existing transmission line, expand existing substations and add new ones. That would allow for the transmission of renewable energy generated near the New Mexico-Colorado border to other western markets.

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The Conservation Beat
5:35 pm
Tue May 15, 2012

Federal Protected Lands Play Role in New Mexico's Economic Recovery

Carlsbad Caverns National Park
Photo: margaretkilljoy via Flickr

The economy took a serious hit with the last recession. And while it will take time to recover, New Mexico is faring much better than the rest of the United States. That’s according to a recent Headwaters Economics report.  The independent research group says New Mexico is creating jobs faster and has higher per capita income than the U.S as a whole.  Headwaters Policy Director Chris Mehl says public lands have been a significant factor in New Mexico's economic recovery.

Local News
12:16 pm
Tue May 15, 2012

Astorga Death Penalty Trial Moves Forward

A Santa Fe jury has decided that a man convicted of killing a Bernalillo County Sheriff's deputy is guilty of aggravated circumstances in the murder. The guilty decision Tuesday means that the jury now has to hear testimony about whether Michael Astorga should get the death penalty for the crime. The hearing is slated to begin Wednesday in Santa Fe.

Local News
6:46 am
Tue May 15, 2012

Santa Fe Imposes Fire Restrictions

Photo: Public Domain Photos via Flickr

The Santa Fe Fire Department is imposing additional fire restrictions due to dry conditions. The department says the restrictions are aimed at preserving lives and property during what it calls "emergency conditions." Officials say a persistent drought has resulted in worsening fire danger. The restrictions will be in place until further notice.

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Local News
5:17 pm
Fri May 11, 2012

Fire Season Off to a Better Start

Last year was one of the worst fire seasons in state history.  But this spring has been somewhat wetter and less windy…and that should make for less dangerous conditions according to State Forester Tony Delfin.

He says at this point last year 300,000 acres had already burned on state and private land.  This year the total is just 77,000 acres.  Delfin credits, in part, a better informed public for the decrease in fires, but warns there’s another fire-starter to be aware of.

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Local News
4:13 pm
Fri May 11, 2012

Grid Project to Locate Headquarters in NM

Developers of a $1.5 billion effort to link the United States' three major electricity grids have decided to locate their headquarters and an associated electricity trading floor in New Mexico.

The Tres Amigas Superstation hub will be built across 22 square miles in eastern New Mexico. Company officials had been considering locations in Texas and New Mexico for the project's headquarters and trading operations.

The Conservation Beat
4:08 pm
Fri May 11, 2012

State Engineer: This Drought Won't Last Forever

State officials from a variety of agencies gathered this morning to talk about New Mexico’s drought and its effect on recreation this summer.  State Engineer Scott Verhines took a moment after the conference to talk about the bigger picture with KUNM’s Sidsel Overgaard .

Local News
9:23 am
Fri May 11, 2012

Governor Selects Former Bush Official to Set Up State Health Insurance Program

Governor Susana Martinez has asked a former Bush administration official to help plan a state-run health insurance plan for New Mexico. The New Mexico Human Services Department announced Thursday a contract with a consulting firm founded by Michael Leavitt, former U.S. Health and Human Services secretary under President George W. Bush.

From The Santa Fe New Mexican:

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Local News
6:45 am
Fri May 11, 2012

Task Force Calls for Prevention, White Supremacist Gangs Grow

New Mexico Gang Task Force official Tamera Marcantel says a meeting of community activists, social workers, tribal officials and police officers at Isleta Pueblo represents a gradual shift in the state's approach to combating gangs. Thursday's meeting, which was organized by the task force and a coalition of advocates, was designed to foster new ideas on gang prevention and ways to reform gang members.

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Ghost Town
6:24 pm
Thu May 10, 2012

The Mayor of Ghost Town

This past Tuesday, governor Susana Martinez announced that the city of Hobbs, NM was the choosen location for a $1 billion scientific ghost town, that's going to be built by a private group called Pegasus Global Holdings.  It's being called the Center for Innovation, Testing and Technology or CITE.  KUNM's Rita Daniels had the chance to speak with the mayor of Hobbs, Sam Cobb, to try and shed some light on what this all means.

 

The Conservation Beat
5:44 pm
Thu May 10, 2012

Environmental Advocates Cry Foul Before Start of Pit Rule Hearings

photo: United States Department of Labor

Next week the state Oil Conservation Commission will take up consideration of New Mexico’s pit rule, a measure governing the disposal of waste from oil and gas drilling. 

When adopted in 2008, the pit rule was hailed by environmentalists as one of the strictest standards in the nation…and condemned by the oil and gas industry as unnecessarily burdensome. 

Starting Monday, the three-member OCC will begin a week-long set of hearings to consider the industry’s administrative appeals. 

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The Conservation Beat
5:32 pm
Thu May 10, 2012

State Offers Amnesty to Cesspool Owners

photo: New Mexico Environment Department

Despite the fact that cesspools have been illegal in New Mexico for almost 40 years, thousands of homeowners still use them to dispose of raw sewage…and the state wants that to stop.

For the next five months, the New Mexico Environment Department is providing amnesty to residents who contact the agency to have their cesspools eliminated and replaced with modern septic systems.

Dennis McQuillan with the state’s Liquid Waste Program says not only do cesspools pollute the groundwater…they’re dangerous.

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Local News
10:55 am
Thu May 10, 2012

Report: Federal Budget Cuts to Affect New Mexico Economic Outlook

A report by legislative agencies says future federal spending cuts could hamper New Mexico's economic recovery. The latest economic summary by the Legislative Finance Committee and Legislative Council Service says 2013 federal budget proposals call for substantial spending reductions or slowing the budget's growth rate. 

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Local News
9:06 am
Thu May 10, 2012

NM Task Force Aims to Tackle Gang Problem

ISLETA PUEBLO, N.M. — Hundreds of community activists, social workers, tribal officials and police officers are slated to develop a plan aimed at attacking New Mexico's growing gang problem.

New Mexico Gang Task Force officials hope the meeting Thursday at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino on the Isleta Pueblo will foster new ideas on gang prevention and eventually help gang members leave violent gangs.

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Local News
8:21 am
Thu May 10, 2012

NM Senators Say Postal Plan Could Keep Rural Offices Open

From the office of Senator Jeff Bingaman: 

U.S. Senator Jeff Bingaman today said he is glad that the U.S. Postal Service put forward a plan to keep open rural New Mexico post offices that were once identified for possible closure.

In a letter today to Bingaman, the Postmaster General Patrick R. Donahoe said rather than closing down thousands of rural post offices, it is taking a new approach.  Instead, it will consider reducing the number of hours rural post offices are open.

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Local News
7:13 am
Thu May 10, 2012

Grid Project to Locate Headquarters in New Mexico

Developers of a $1.5 billion effort to link the United States' three major electricity grids have decided to locate their headquarters and an associated electricity trading floor in New Mexico. The Tres Amigas Superstation hub will be built across 22 square miles in eastern New Mexico. Company officials had been considering locations in Texas and New Mexico for the project's headquarters and trading operations.

The Conservation Beat
4:49 pm
Wed May 9, 2012

New Grant Aims to Bring Local Produce to Low Income New Mexicans

photo: Dries Buytaert/Creative Commons

As part of a new $4 million US Department of Agriculture initiative, New Mexico will get about $35-thousand dollars to help make farmers market produce available to food stamp recipients. 

About half of New Mexico’s 60-plus farmers markets already accept Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP benefits.  But Denise Miller with the New Mexico Farmers Marketing Association says the new grant will hopefully bring needed wireless technology to all the rest. 

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