Ed Williams

Public Health New Mexico Reporter

Ed Williams came to KUNM in 2014 by way of Carbondale, Colorado, where he worked as a public radio reporter covering environmental issues. Originally from Austin, Texas, Ed has reported on environmental, social justice, immigration and Native American issues in the U.S. and Latin America for the Austin American-Statesman, Z Magazine, NPR’s Latino USA and others. In his spare time, look for Ed riding his mountain bike in the Sandias or sparring on the jiu-jitsu mat.

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Public Health New Mexico
7:40 pm
Tue March 24, 2015

Public Health In The 2015 Session

Credit Arianna Sena

Psychiatric Meds In School—PASSED

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Public Health New Mexico
5:14 pm
Tue March 24, 2015

Federal Fracking Regulations To Affect Much Of New Mexico

Credit wcn227 via Flickr

The Obama administration announced broad new federal regulations of hydraulic fracturing last week. The rules will only apply to drilling on public land — which in New Mexico accounts for around half of all oil and gas operations.

The new regulations announced by the Interior Department allow for federal inspections of drill sites and require public disclosure of fracking chemicals, among other things.   

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Public Health New Mexico
5:04 pm
Wed March 18, 2015

Albuquerque Awards $2M For Homeless And Hunger Services

Credit Thomas Quine via Flickr

  

The city of Albuquerque will award over $2 million in contracts to five local nonprofits to fund mental health, homelessness and hunger programs. 

Half a million dollars of the city’s funding will pay for housing programs run by Health Care For the Homeless and the Supportive Housing Coalition. Anita Córdova is with Healthcare for the Homeless.

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Public Health New Mexico
8:55 pm
Wed March 4, 2015

Power Surge Sends Sewage Into Rio Grande

Wastewater flowing into the Rio Grande from the Southside Wastewater Reclamation Plant on a day when the plant was functioning properly.
Credit Ed Williams-KUNM

Albuquerque’s wastewater treatment plant spilled nearly 6 million gallons of partially treated sewage into the Rio Grande last Friday. Public Health New Mexico’s Ed Williams reports there was an equipment failure at one of the plant’s pumping facilities.

Officials with the Southside Wastewater Reclamation Plant say there was a spike in power during last week’s heavy snowstorm. That power spike disabled a pump station.

Plant Operations Manager Charles Leder says backup systems should have protected the facility from power fluctuations.

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Public Health New Mexico
8:52 pm
Wed March 4, 2015

Problems Linger For Borrowers Of Fast Cash

Storefront loan shops line a strip mall in Gallup
Credit Ed Williams

High interest, small dollar loans are abundant in New Mexico. Businesses offer quick cash payments for people who need money right away. But the interest rates on these loans can be as high as two thousand percent, and many people are unable to pay them off.   

This is especially true in the state's low-income communities. Statewide, storefront lending businesses outnumber fast food chain restaurants.

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Public Health New Mexico
11:15 am
Wed March 4, 2015

Kirtland AFB Threatens To Limit Media Access Over Our “Cheap-Shot” Coverage. Here Is Our Response.

Credit Ed Williams

We recently published the first two stories in an ongoing series on pollution and the Rio Grande in which we plan to explore a range of topics and issues.

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Public Health New Mexico
5:41 pm
Thu February 19, 2015

Little Room For Error At Albuquerque’s Wastewater Plant

Credit Rita Daniels

Businesses, military bases and city utilities have dozens of permits to release pollution into the Rio Grande watershed. Albuquerque’s wastewater treatment plant is one of the biggest sources of discharges into the river.

The plant has had trouble with regulators and neighboring communities in the past, but they’re making some headway. 

On a recent sunny day in Albuquerque’s South Valley, water utility workers bent over a grate taking readings of the city’s treated wastewater as it rushes from the Southside Water Reclamation Plant into the Rio Grande.

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Public Health New Mexico
5:20 pm
Wed February 18, 2015

Small Tribe, Big River: Isleta Eyes Pollution In The Rio Grande

Tribal Councilman James Abeita on his farm near the Rio Grande
Credit Ed Williams-KUNM

 

    

Editor's Note: After we published this story, a spokesperson for Kirtland Air Force Base wrote with a series of objections to the story. Kirtland did not allege any factual inaccuracy in our story but we did make a change to reflect that Kirtland's lead discharges into the Rio Grande watershed are not in violation of environmental laws. You can read all of their objections and our responses here

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Public Health New Mexico
10:05 am
Tue February 17, 2015

Santa Fe Schools To Tighten Vaccine Rule Enforcement

Credit NOWCastSA via flickr

School districts in New Mexico are stepping up their enforcement of vaccination rules in the wake of recent measles outbreaks in other parts of the country. Santa Fe Public Schools will begin turning away students who haven’t met the requirements Tuesday. School Board President Steve Carrillo says the district is enforcing state policy that’s already in place. 

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Public Health New Mexico
6:15 pm
Fri February 13, 2015

Final 2015 Health Insurance Deadline Is Sunday

Credit bewellnm

New Mexico residents have only a few days left before the February 15 deadline to sign up for health insurance and to be covered by March 1, 2015.

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Public Health New Mexico
5:38 pm
Wed February 11, 2015

Tent City Residents Face Deadline

Credit Ed Williams-KUNM

Wednesday was the last day for homeless people living in a tent city to leave their camp on 1st Street in downtown Albuquerque. Most of the camp’s occupants have already moved out.  

About five occupied tents remain just north of Albuquerque’s rail yards. Not long ago 35 tents had spread along this strip of city property, prompting complaints from neighbors and support from advocates.

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Public Health New Mexico
2:32 pm
Mon February 2, 2015

Navajo Nation To Receive $1.2 Billion For Uranium Cleanup

Uranium mines on Navajo land
Credit Environmental Protection Agency

The Navajo Nation is set to receive over a billion dollars to clean up abandoned uranium mines on tribal land. The money comes after years of court battles with mining companies.

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Public Health New Mexico
6:06 pm
Tue January 27, 2015

Combing The Streets To Survey Homeless People

Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry helped with the the 2015 "point in time count" to measure the size of the homeless population.
Credit Ed Williams-KUNM

Two local nonprofits are leading a survey of the Albuquerque’s homeless population this week. Teams of volunteers are canvassing the streets in the pre-dawn hours to count homeless residents and interview them.

There were almost 1,200 homeless Albuquerque residents last time the count took place, and organizers are hoping there are even fewer people to count this year.

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Public Health New Mexico
7:05 am
Thu January 22, 2015

Round Two For Homeless Hate Crime Bill

Marchers rallying to stop violence against homeless people, Albuquerque, July 2014
Credit Ed Williams-KUNM

Lawmakers are set to consider a proposal that would give homeless people protection under the state hate crimes act. Under the proposal anyone convicted of violent crimes against a homeless person—for example someone who lacks a regular place to sleep or is living in a homeless shelter—would be subject to a longer jail sentence.

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Public Health New Mexico
4:17 pm
Tue January 13, 2015

5 Deaths From Flu In New Mexico

Credit El Avi via flickr

Five New Mexicans  have died so far this year from flu related illnesses, ranging in age from 29 to 92. The announcement from the state Department of Health comes as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are warning of epidemic levels of flu activity nationally. 

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Public Health New Mexico
5:54 pm
Mon January 12, 2015

Legislature To Hear Prescription Take Back Proposal

Credit Anna Dashkova via Flickr

Democratic State Senator Michael Padilla of Bernalillo County plans to introduce legislation that would require pharmacies to set up programs to take back unwanted medications from residents. A recently changed federal law had previously prohibited such programs.

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Public Health New Mexico
4:00 pm
Mon December 22, 2014

Albuquerque Installing New Permeable Parking Lot

Credit elycefeliz via flickr

The Environmental Protection Agency is working with the City of Albuquerque to install a state of the art parking lot at a municipal facility that will reduce pollution flowing into the Rio Grande. 

The city is spending $61,000 to replace an old parking lot at Pino Yards, a municipal maintenance and fueling facility. The project is part of a settlement with the EPA, coming after toxic runoff from the site drained into the Rio Grande, resulting in violations of the Clean Water Act.

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Public Health New Mexico
4:07 pm
Mon December 15, 2014

Affordable Care Act Enrollment Deadline Tonight

Credit @BeWellNM on Twitter

New Mexico residents have until midnight to sign up for health insurance in order to be covered by Jan. 1. The final deadline for the open enrollment period is Feb. 15. The Obama administration is urging everyone to go online and check the available coverage options, even those who signed up last year. 

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Public Health New Mexico
6:48 pm
Fri December 5, 2014

DOJ Investigating UNM Sexual Assault Policies

UNM central campus
Credit Arianna Sena

The US Department of Justice announced today Friday that it is opening an investigation into the University of New Mexico’s policies on dealing with sexual assaults on campus. It’s the latest in a number of DOJ investigations into university sexual assault policies nationwide.

The Justice Department review is a first for the university, and administrators say they still don’t know the details of the student accusations or the planned investigation.

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Public Health New Mexico
5:31 pm
Thu December 4, 2014

Vaccination Reminder After Measles Case

Credit lu_lu via flickr

New Mexico health officials are reporting the first confirmed case of measles in the state since 2012. The one-year-old victim was released from the hospital yesterday, but health officials are taking the opportunity to remind residents to get vaccinated.

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Public Health New Mexico
5:16 pm
Thu December 4, 2014

Affordable Care Act Enrollment, Round Two

Credit @BeWellNM on Twitter

KUNM Call In Show Thu. 12/4 8a: 

The Affordable Care Act's second open enrollment period is underway, and officials are reporting positive developments in early enrollment numbers.

What has your experience with the health care law been? Do you have questions about coverage?  We'll be talking about the progress and process of the enrollment period in New Mexico with experts from the state insurance exchange and local outreach workers.

Guests:

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Public Health New Mexico
1:49 pm
Fri November 28, 2014

Obama Advisor Optimistic About Open Enrollment

Credit wikimedia commons

The Affordable Care Act’s second open enrollment period is entering its third week, and so far over a million Americans have applied for health insurance on the federal exchange.

Officials in New Mexico are also reporting progress in enrollment, after a problematic rollout last year.

Cecilia Muñoz, Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council and one of President Obama’s senior advisors on health care, says the problems that besieged consumers in 2013 seem to have been resolved.

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Public Health New Mexico
5:50 pm
Tue November 25, 2014

Navajo Nation To Tax Junk Food

Credit Jeff Adair via Flickr

Residents of the Navajo Nation will now be paying more for junk food. Last week Navajo President Ben Shelly signed the Healthy Dine' Nation Act into law, adding a tax on unhealthy food sold anywhere on Navajo land. Deswood Tome is Special Advisor to President Shelly. He spoke to KUNM about the law's implications. 

"The law imposes a tax on junk food as a deterrent, so when people go to the store they'll make a conscious decision to buy nutritious food," Tome said.

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Public Health New Mexico
4:52 pm
Fri November 21, 2014

Open Enrollment Off To A Good Start In New Mexico

Credit clevercupcakes via Flickr

The organization managing health insurance signups in New Mexico is reporting positive numbers one week into the Affordable Care Act’s second open enrollment period. 

"We are seeing some response," said Linda Wedeen of the New Mexico Health Insurance Exchange. "Our goal this year that's going to be different from last year is we're working very hard to let people know we're there to assist them through this process. We know it can be complicated."

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Public Health New Mexico
6:34 pm
Tue November 18, 2014

New Mexico To Pay Less For Healthcare

Credit Kaiser Family Foundation

New Mexico is faring better than most states with health care costs under the Affordable Care Act. Our state experienced the third-largest drop in insurance premiums nationwide since last year.

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Public Health New Mexico
4:14 pm
Tue November 18, 2014

Child Homelessness High In New Mexico

Credit Runs With Scissors via Flickr

The number of kids who are homeless is at an all time high in America, according to a new report by the National Center on Child Homelessness, and New Mexico has one of the most severe child homelessness problems in the country.

The report says nearly one in three kids here live in poverty, and while progress has been made in reducing homelessness among veterans and chronically homeless people, children have not received the same attention.

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Public Health New Mexico
5:24 pm
Thu November 13, 2014

Arctic Blast Spurs Early Shelter Opening In Albuquerque

Credit Ed Williams-KUNM

A cold snap hit New Mexico Wednesday and prompted an Albuquerque homeless shelter to open its doors early. 

Albuquerque Rescue Mission was scheduled to start taking in homeless residents this weekend, but freezing temperatures have moved the clock forward.

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Public Health New Mexico
4:29 am
Wed November 5, 2014

Santa Fe And Bernalillo Counties Say Yes To Marijuana

Decriminalization watch party at Tractor Brewery
Credit Ed Williams-KUNM

Bernalillo County voters overwhelmingly called for reduced criminal penalties for marijuana possession Tuesday night.

The marijuana decriminalization question is non-binding and won’t change the law. But that didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of the crowd gathered to watch the election results last night.

Progress Now Director Pat Davis, who spearheaded initiatives in both Santa Fe and Bernalillo counties, says this is a first step towards big changes in New Mexico’s drug policy.

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Public Health New Mexico
4:28 am
Wed November 5, 2014

Bernalillo County Voters Ask For More Mental Health Support

Credit Art by Nani Chacon courtesy of Young Women United

Bernalillo County voters overwhelmingly came out on Tuesday in favor of a tax increase to pay for more mental health services. 

Bernalillo County residents with addictions or mental health problems may be closer to having more access to treatment, now that voters here have showed their support for a one-eight percent tax increase to fund more behavioral health services.

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Public Health New Mexico
5:15 pm
Fri October 31, 2014

Researchers Highlight Gaps In Mental Health Services

Credit woodleywonderworks via Flickr

University of New Mexico researchers are estimating one-third of Bernalillo County residents with mental health problems didn’t get the care they needed last year.

Researchers at UNM say over 150,000 people in Bernalillo county had mental health issues that needed treatment in 2013, but only 98,000 of those people received care from local providers.

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