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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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 But some of those rules are outdated.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.

Ed Williams

Air pollution is a serious problem for some neighborhoods in Albuquerque—especially in low-income areas that border an industrial zone south of downtown.

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A large fire broke out at a metal recycling plant in Albuquerque early Saturday morning. Bernalillo County issued a warning to neighbors during the fire, saying to stay inside and not breathe the potentially toxic smoke.

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Wednesday the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released a new set of rules aimed at reducing methane emissions from the oil and gas industry, as part of an effort by the Obama Administration to cut methane emissions 45 percent by 2025.

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UPDATED 5/12 6a: The Santa Fe City Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to raise the number of approved short-term rental units in the city from 350 to 1000. The New Mexican reports 19 people made public comments on the plan, some concerned, others supportive.

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Santa Fe is an expensive place to live. But it’s also an expensive place to build. Affordable housing and the bottom line of developers often clash. 

Ed Williams

Living in Santa Fe has gotten more and more expensive over the years. Today, home prices in New Mexico’s capital city are higher than almost anywhere else in the state. So, what happens when people don’t earn enough to make it there?

Ed Williams

A chemical company has been testing the air inside homes for toxins near Downtown Albuquerque years after spilling dry-cleaning chemicals into the groundwater. So far, results show residents are not being exposed to chemicals.

Ed Williams

KUNM Call In Show 5/5 8 a: New Mexico has one of the oldest and most vibrant farming traditions in the country. Centuries-old acequia watering systems and ancient farming techniques are still used to grow crops that feed people from Taos to Las Cruces. 

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Bernalillo County Commissioners are declaring an emergency over the county’s high level of opioid overdoses. 

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On Friday the U.S. Department of Justice released the findings of its investigation into how the University of New Mexico handles sexual assault and harassment.

Dystopos

Five health clinics housed in public schools are set to lose their state funding this summer. Now the state health department is trying to decide where they’ll send students who use the school-based health centers.

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UNM Hospital and UnitedHealthcare are in negotiations over continuing coverage for the company’s Medicaid patients. The hospital and insurer haven’t come to an agreement yet and are extending their negotiations for 60 more days.

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School-based health centers are clinics housed in public schools that offer primary care, counseling, family planning and other services and the New Mexico Department of Health is closing several of them in the Albuquerque area.

DOE Photo

The U.S. Department of Energy is hoping to send tons of weapons-grade plutonium waste to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, or WIPP, near Carlsbad.

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Bernalillo County is facing a $19 million dollar budget shortfall next year, and jobs and grants to nonprofits could take a hit.

Ed Williams

When an industrial business like a concrete plant or a hazardous waste processor sets up shop in a residential neighborhood, arguments for economic growth and public health often clash.

Those tensions are especially high in the neighborhood of Mountain View, south of Albuquerque, where dozens of polluting businesses border neighborhoods, community centers and schools.

Flu Season Lingers

Mar 29, 2016
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After getting off to a late start this year, flu season is dragging on in New Mexico. The state Department of Health is urging people to get vaccinated.

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President Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau just announced a joint effort to cut down on methane leaks from oil and gas wells. The agreement was part of the Paris climate accord and will have impacts here in New Mexico.

Karen McCullough

In some parts of Bernalillo County’s South Valley, parks sit adjacent to idling trains, schools lie across the street from waste disposal businesses, and entire neighborhoods are bordered by polluting industries. People living there are what’s known as environmental justice communities—neighborhoods that bear a disproportionate burden of pollution.

Ed Williams

This week is Sunshine Week, when reporters and editors across the country celebrate government transparency and access to public information. 

KUNM has been using public documents to investigate a plume of poisonous chemicals that has been moving in the groundwater underneath two neighborhoods in Albuquerque for at least several decades.

Living With Alzheimer's

Mar 14, 2016
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KUNM Call In Show Thu. 3/17 8a: There are 36,000 New Mexicans who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. Often they're cared for by family members who sacrifice financially and emotionally to look after their loved ones. 

BRRT via Pixabay / public domain

KUNM’s Public Health New Mexico project has been reporting on a plume of toxic chemicals in Albuquerque’s groundwater for over six months.

We obtained public documents from the New Mexico Environment Department that show the groundwater plume has been spreading underneath a mile-and-a-half-long swath of Albuquerque’s Sawmill and Wells Park neighborhoods. Our investigation shows the contamination has the potential to reach people on the surface and could pose a serious health risk to people living and working in the area.

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A new report by the Governors Highway Safety Association says New Mexico is the state with the highest rate of pedestrian deaths in America.

Ed Williams

    

For many people who are homeless or who have behavioral health issues, the right medical care is too far out of reach. Often folks turn to emergency services for basic healthcare—which can be both expensive and ineffective.

Santa Fe is just one of a dozen cities across the U.S. to try out a new program that brings meaningful help to people who frequently call 911.

Ed Williams

Mountain View, a neighborhood in the Rio Grande Valley south of Albuquerque, is one of the most environmentally burdened communities in New Mexico. There are dozens of industrial facilities, and hardly any places for kids to play outside. With heavy traffic and no sidewalks, just walking home can be dangerous.

But some of that is changing, with the help of a new wildlife refuge.  

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Budget woes at the New Mexico Department of Health are forcing a public health office in Albuquerque to close. 

The Alamosa Public Health clinic in southwest Albuquerque provides immunizations, STD screening, family planning and other services. Clients seeking help there are often low-income or uninsured.

Ed Williams

Hundreds of thousands of New Mexicans don’t have enough food to eat. A lot of those people also have expensive medical conditions that can make buying food even harder.

A new program is trying to bridge that gap, by getting healthy food to people suffering from chronic health problems.

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New Mexico’s Democratic congressional delegation is calling for a federal investigation into the shakeup of the state’s behavioral health system.

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Lawmakers voted Wednesday to study a plan that would make small dollar loans available to state employees. At 26 percent interest, the loans would offer options for low income borrowers who have traditionally turned to high interest storefront loans.

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