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.

Would you trust your smartphone to guide your drinking habits?

A lot of people are doing just that. With many of us glued to our digital devices for much of the day, web developers and medical researchers are taking note of the potential for harnessing our phones, tablets and laptops as tools to moderate drinking, or stay sober after quitting booze.

Ed Williams/KUNM

Food co-ops today are facing big challenges that can sometimes pit management against member-owners.


Here in New Mexico, a group called Take Back the Co-op is organizing members of the state’s largest food cooperative to voice their concerns about recent changes at the business.


Co-op leadership held meetings last week to talk to members about the changes.

Ed Williams

A group called Take Back the Co-op wants to make big changes at La Montañita Co-op. The group says New Mexico’s largest food cooperative has become too corporate and isn’t listening to member-owners, and are collecting signatures for a petition.

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Affordable housing advocates gathered in Santa Fe Thursday to protest Mayor Javier Gonzales' new plan to revitalize certain areas of town. The protesters say the plan could gentrify a low-income part of the capital city.

It’s no secret Santa Fe is an expensive place to live. Natoshia Whylie, who rents a home near St. Michaels Drive, says it’s almost too expensive.

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KUNM Call In Show 9/22 8a: When people get sick but don’t have insurance or Medicaid, how do they get help? New Mexico's indigent care programs provide medical care for people who can’t afford it. We'll look at whether these programs are meeting the needs of low-income patients in New Mexico. Are you uninsured? How do you get hospital care? How can hospitals and clinics pay for services for low-income patients?

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The Santa Fe County Commission will be asking voters if they would support a tax increase to pay for behavioral health services. Commissioners voted to include the question on the November ballot Tuesday night.

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An organization based in Santa Fe is hoping lawmakers will consider a plan in an upcoming special session that would raise taxes on all alcoholic beverages. The group recently commissioned a poll that found a majority of New Mexicans are in favor that idea—but Governor Susana Martinez has said she won’t support any kind of tax hike.

U.S. Air Force

Flu season starts next month. The state Department of Health is asking people to get vaccinated before the disease starts to spread.

U.S. Army

Los Alamos National Laboratory has been one of the country’s foremost nuclear research centers ever since the atomic bomb was developed there in the 1940s. Weapons and engineering programs continue there today, but the U.S. Department of Energy is still cleaning up contamination left over from World War II.

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The Bernalillo County Commission voted Tuesday night to put a measure that would continue funding treatment for low-income and uninsured patients at UNM Hospital on November’s ballot.

UNM Hospital has been getting around $90 million a year in taxpayer dollars to pay for medical care for patients who can’t afford it. Now voters here will be asked to choose if they want to keep that money coming.

Ed Williams

Española’s youth science and tech programs had two big-league visitors Monday—National Science Director France Córdova and Senator Martin Heinrich.

Española has one of the highest poverty rates in the state, but it’s also got some strong science, technology, engineering and math programs—also called STEM. There’s a robotics club that Senator Martin Heinrich says could help fill a looming workforce shortage at Los Alamos National Laboratories. 

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The Santa Fe Juvenile Justice Board is hearing an update on its budget Thursday. The city plans to continue directing funds towards programs that aim to keep kids out of the criminal justice system.

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Pollution flowing out of Albuquerque in the Rio Grande is a problem for Isleta Pueblo and other downstream communities. Now the city is boosting oversight of water contaminants. 

Ed Williams

Under the Civil Rights Act, local governments that receive federal money are prohibited from discriminating against low-income people of color. But people in some parts of Albuquerque say that’s exactly what the city is doing by putting polluting businesses in poor Hispanic neighborhoods.

Now a federal investigation is underway to see if those claims are true.

New Mexico Department of Health

Lawmakers are trying to stop the planned closure of a youth detox center in Albuquerque. The Turquoise Lodge detox service was funded by the state three years ago, but now the Department of Health says not enough kids are using it and the money needs to be redirected to services for adults.

Rashad Mahmood/KUNM

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced it’s opening a civil rights investigation into Albuquerque and Bernalillo County air pollution policies.

Rashad Mahmood/KUNM

Lots of people enjoy a beer or a glass of wine after work. Or maybe two glasses, or three. But at what point do everyday drinking habits become a drinking problem?

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A Rio Arriba County detox center is getting $45,000 from a state-funded grant. The county’s Community Health Council voted to award the funds Wednesday.

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Rio Arriba County’s Health and Human Services Department is helping law enforcement there stock the overdose-reversing drug naloxone.

Rio Arriba County has the highest rate of opioid overdoses in New Mexico, but police and sheriff’s departments haven’t been able to get a reliable supply of naloxone—also known as Narcan—to use on the streets.

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Congress is considering legislation that will make it easier to treat people for opioid addiction. And doctors in Rio Arriba County—an area hard-hit by drug addiction—are hoping the new laws will provide relief to patients there.

Ed Williams

When toxic chemicals are released into the environment, figuring out whether they’re making people sick can be a major challenge. It’s a problem the state is trying to solve now in the Sawmill and Wells Park neighborhoods near downtown Albuquerque, where an underground plume of dangerous dry cleaning solvents is flowing just beneath people’s homes and businesses. 

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KUNM Call In Show 6/30 8a: 


Applications to New Mexico’s medical marijuana program have been surging lately, and the state hasn’t been able to keep up. Now, with many patients waiting longer for marijuana prescriptions, the state auditor is warning the Department of Health to speed up its process or face a special audit.

Rita Daniels

New Mexico’s attorney general is filing a lawsuit in the U.S. Supreme Court against Colorado. The suit calls into question how abandoned mines were handled in Colorado before the Gold King Mine spill. 

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UnitedHealthcare is dropping insurance coverage for its Medicaid patients at the University of New Mexico Hospital. The decision comes after months of negotiations.

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For the first time in 40 years, the federal government is changing the way it regulates toxic chemicals. The new chemical safety act will overhaul a 1970's-era law by giving the Environmental Protection Agency more oversight.

U.S. Senator Tom Udall, who sponsored the bill, says New Mexicans don’t have any local oversight of dangerous chemicals in household products, which leaves people here especially vulnerable.

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The New Mexico Department of Health is reporting a nine percent drop in drug overdoses in 2015.

Ed Williams

The new Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge is a place of firsts: it’s the first urban wildlife refuge in the Southwest and the first wildlife refuge in the country to have an environmental justice plan. It's also the first time kids in one largely Hispanic community have had a wild outdoor space to play in close by.

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Bernalillo County and the city of Albuquerque are holding a training session Saturday, June 4, on how to interact with people who have mental health conditions. The certification program is a first for the city.

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The Santa Fe City Council adopted an $82 million budget on Wednesday, May 25. Councilors devoted part of the city’s funds to addressing poverty and climate change in the capital.

Wikimedia Commons

The New Mexico Environment Department is rewriting the state’s rules on water pollution. 

The state’s water quality rules regulate everything from groundwater pollution from abandoned wells to sewer discharge into rivers. But some of those rules are outdated.

The Environment Department kicked off a review process last week to study them, and see which ones need to be updated.