Elaine Baumgartel

News Director

Elaine volunteered to answer phones during a KUNM pledge drive in 2003 and she's been unable to drag herself away from public radio ever since.  And why would she want to?  She wore many sets of headphones at the station before becoming KUNM's News Director - local anchor of NPR's Morning Edition, reporter in the KUNM newsroom, and host and producer of the KUNM Call In Show.  

As a graduate student in the Communication and Journalism MA program at UNM, Elaine completed her thesis project on the West Mesa murders and coverage of violence against women in the media.

In her spare time, Elaine likes to garden and work with ceramics in addition to spending time with her family.  


Local News
5:56 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

Officials Confirm Nuclear Waste Leak

Credit Public domain image.

UPDATE 7:20p 02/21:

Department of Energy officials say radiation levels detected in and around the nation's only underground nuclear waste repository are consistent with a leak at the southeastern New Mexico facility.

Carlsbad field office manager Jose Franco said Thursday that readings from sensors above and below ground indicate the radiation is coming from waste stored at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant. But officials won't know what caused the leak until they can get underground to investigate. That could be weeks.

Read more
Local News
9:57 am
Fri January 31, 2014

Drought Worsens In New Mexico

Credit Courtesy U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

Drought conditions across the Southwest have gotten significantly worse over the last few weeks, including in New Mexico.

Take a look at the newest update of the U.S. Drought Monitor map, and you’ll see orange and red smears all across the southwest showing where the drought is impacting the country the most.

Albuquerque hasn’t had a drop of rain for 40 straight days. Chuck Jones is a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

Read more
Local News
6:56 am
Wed January 29, 2014

NM Delegation Splits Along Party Lines On President's Address

New Mexico’s Democratic Congressional delegation cheered President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address and his announcement yesterday that new federal contract workers would see an increase in their minimum wage. 

Senator Martin Heinrich for an increase in the minimum wage across the board, saying people who work full time shouldn’t be living in poverty. Heinrich noted an increase would disproportionately affect women.

Read more
Local News
9:42 am
Tue December 3, 2013

Police: All Clear After Bomb Threat At UNM

UPDATE 10:20a: UNM Police say classes can return to normal after an anonymous bomb threat was called in Tuesday morning. The LoboAlert system sent an "All Clear" message at 10:15a thanking the campus for its cooperation.


UNM's Mitchell, Ortega and Popejoy Halls were evacuated at 8:20a Tuesday. According to a UNM Emergency Alert text message sent to staff and students, police are investigating an anonymous bomb threat. 

Police have asked people to avoid these areas of the Albuquerque campus until further notice. 

Read more
Local News
6:43 pm
Thu November 21, 2013

Storm Dumps Snow, Leaves 1 Dead In New Mexico, 7 Others Dead Across West

Cold temperatures harken winters arrival.
Credit National Weather Service

UPDATE Mon 6:30a: Snow accumulation with gusty winds are expected today as wintry weather tapers off through tonight.


Snow showers crossing into New Mexico will continue through much of the morning. Local accumulations could reach 1-2"


North winds will develop over the northeast plains in the wake of the departing storm system this afternoon, with gusts expected to reach 50 miles an hour. 


Read more
Local News
6:51 pm
Wed October 23, 2013

Definition Of Right To Marry Argued Before New Mexico Supreme Court

New Mexico's highest court heard oral arguments Wednesday in a historic case that could decide whether same-sex marriage is legal in all counties across the state. One of the key issues is what the fundamental right to marry consists of. 

Justices, and lawyers from both sides, agreed that a fundamental right to marry does exist under state law, but that's where the agreement stopped short. 

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Local News
5:01 pm
Fri September 27, 2013

Game And Fish Dept. Ordered To Return To Mexican Wolf Program Discussions

Credit Jim Clark

The team of agencies managing the Mexican grey wolf recovery program has a new player, or rather, a returning one.

The New Mexico Game and Fish department was ordered this week by the state Game Commission to return to the negotiating table nearly two years after pulling out of discussions about proposed rule changes.

Read more
Local News
11:45 am
Sat August 31, 2013

LIVE On KUNM: NPR News Coverage Of President Obama's Remarks On Syria

Credit Photo by The White House

We're carrying NPR's live coverage of President Obama's statement on Syria, and providing analysis. The President is expected to take the podium shortly.

Local News
4:43 pm
Fri August 23, 2013

As Couples Gather At Civic Plaza, Two More Counties Issue Same Sex Marriage Licenses

Credit Wikimedia Commons

UPDATE 8/27 12p:  Two more New Mexico counties say they'll begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

The clerks in San Miguel and Valencia counties say they've ordered gender-neutral forms so they can follow the state's three population centers in recognizing gay and lesbian marriages.

The decisions come a day after a state district judge in Albuquerque declared gay marriage legal, and ordered the Bernalillo County clerk to join Santa Fe and Dona Ana counties in issuing the licenses.

Read more
Poverty and Public Health
6:53 am
Fri August 23, 2013

AG Releases Heavily Redacted Audit Protocol Document

Often, redacted documents might look like this, with blurred or darkly marked segments. But according to The Albuquerque Journal, the redacted Audit Protocol documents they received were so heavily redacted that 8 of 13 pages were entirely blank.
Credit opensourceway via Flickr

The State Attorney General's Office released parts of  an audit Thursday of 15 behavioral health providers who have been accused of over-billing and Medicaid fraud by the Human Services Department.

The Albuquerque Journal reports 8 of 13 pages of the "Audit Protocols" document were completely redacted while 4 other pages were almost completely redacted.

Read more
Poverty and Public Health
12:10 pm
Sat August 17, 2013

12 Things You Should Know About The Behavioral Health Audit And Funding Freeze

Credit A Health Blog via Flickr

There are still a lot of questions about the New Mexico Human Services Department's abrupt halt of Medicaid funding to 15 behavioral health providers and the state's contracts with Arizona firms to take over provider management.

Here's some of what we do know.

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Poverty and Public Health
3:08 pm
Fri August 16, 2013

Veteran Journalist Calls Out Governor On Transparency In Behavioral Health Audit

There are still many unanswered questions about the state Human Services Department's decision to freeze funding for 15 behavioral health service providers after an audit found evidence of alleged Medicaid fraud. 

Read more
Poverty and Public Health
10:58 am
Fri August 9, 2013

Funding For Arizona Behavioral Health Providers Delayed

Credit jeffwilcox via Flickr

A transfer of over $10 million to Arizona behavioral health contractors has been put on hold by the state Legislative Finance Committee. 

NMInDepth.com reports LFC Director David Abbey has stopped the transfer so that the committee can review the request from the Human Services Department. 

Read more
Local News
4:55 pm
Fri August 2, 2013

Rally In Albuquerque For Action On Climate Change

The Rio Grande earlier this year south of Albuquerque.
Credit Laura Paskus

A coalition of local groups is planning to rally Saturday morning in Albuquerque to call for immediate action to stop human-caused climate change.

Joan Brown is the Executive Director of New Mexico Interfaith Power and Light, a multi-faith based organization focused on climate change issues. "We need to act and do our individual part but we also need to act collectively," Brown said. "The very future of our living here in this beautiful state with our family and friends depends upon it."

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KUNM Call In Show
3:37 pm
Wed July 31, 2013

Wrapping Our Brains Around Climate Change

Earth temperature data from 1886 on top, from 2011 on the bottom. Orange = 1 degree Celsius, Red = 2 degrees Celsius
Credit Astronomy Picture of the Day for July 31, 2013 / http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/astropix.html

KUNM Call In Show 8/1 8a: We've known about climate change for 30 years, why are we still debating the topic?

This week on the KUNM Call In Show we'll discuss the challenges climate change activists face in their work.

We'd like to hear from you! What do you do with your knowledge of climate change? Do you change your habits? Do you feel powerless in the face of such a huge global process? 

Email callinshow@kunm.org, post your comments online, or call in live during the show!


Read more
Local News
3:57 pm
Sat July 27, 2013

Neighbors Jump To Assist With Abq Storm Clean Up

Christopher Coller helps neighbor Carl Brand (left) take pieces of firewood from an uprooted tree at Bandelier Elementary School.
Elaine Baumgartel

The thunderstorm that ravaged areas of Albuquerque on Friday night clocked 90mph winds at the Sunport, downed power lines, cut electricity to over 27,000 PNM customers, and caused dangerous flooding. 

In SE Albuquerque, neighbors helped each other clear downed trees and make use of what the storm left behind. 

Poverty and Public Health
3:13 pm
Fri July 26, 2013

Mom Worries About Behavioral Health Services For Her Son With Schizophrenia

Many clients of the providers who've had their funding frozen are considered some of the most fragile residents of the state. Gay Finlayson's son Neil was diagnosed with schizophrenia when he was 20. Doctors told the family it was one of the most difficult mental health conditions to treat.

Read more
Local News
8:11 am
Thu July 25, 2013

NMPBS Show 'Public Square' Tackles Children's Healthcare Issues

Credit NMPBS

New Mexico has long struggled to make sure that children get access to healthcare. The state has lingered at the bottom of nationwide state rankings on a series of child welfare factors. We ranked dead last in the latest Kids Count report. Meanwhile, the implementation of the federal Affordable Care Act, expanding Medicaid, and creating a state health exchange are some big changes coming to the state soon. 

Read more
News Update
6:44 am
Wed July 3, 2013

Wednesday Morning Roundup

Martinez Urges July 4th Fireworks Ban Amid Drought - The Associated Press

Gov. Susana Martinez has announced that all fireworks and campfires will be banned on state lands as July 4th approaches and crews continue to battle wildfires across New Mexico.

Martinez urged residents not to use any fireworks and instead to attend any number of professional fireworks shows around the state.

Read more
Local News
5:36 pm
Thu June 27, 2013

Providers Targeted By State Audit Express Concerns About Interruption of Behavioral Health Services

Providers of mental health and drug abuse counseling targeted by a state audit are expressing concern about interruption of services.

NMInDepth.Com reports 15 behavioral health providers are having their Medicaid payments suspended while the state investigates over-billing, potential fraud , and other violations.

New Mexico Human Services Department officials say they're working to line up assistance for the organizations, but no details are yet available.

Read more
6:39 pm
Wed June 26, 2013

Jaroso Fire Races Towards Pecos River Headwaters

The Jaroso Fire flares up on June 18th, 2013.
Credit Deborah Martinez

The Jaroso Fire that is raging uncontrolled in the Pecos Wilderness grew aggressively over the last 24 hours, devouring 5 square miles of forest. The wildfire is encroaching on the headwaters of the Pecos River which is known for its fishing and scenic camping areas.

Read more
Local News
5:07 pm
Wed June 26, 2013

Three More Couples Join ACLU Same Sex Marriage Lawsuit Against New Mexico

Credit Wikimedia Commons

Advocates of same sex marriage are celebrating the US Supreme Court's ruling today that the federal Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional.

Meanwhile, the local chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union has added three more couples, for a total of five, to a same sex marriage lawsuit against the state of New Mexico.

Peter Simonson is the Executive Director of the ACLU-New Mexico. "Our case is asking the court to rule on the constitutional question," he says, "of whether or not same sex couples can be discriminated against based on their sexual orientation."

Read more
9:06 am
Wed June 26, 2013

NPR News Special On US Supreme Court Rulings

Credit onecle via Flickr

The US Supreme Court ruled today that the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional and that supporters of Proposition 8 in California had no standing to defend that law in court. What do these rulings mean? If you missed our live broadcast you can stream the program from our Two Week Archive, 6/26, 7p. 

Read more
6:59 am
Wed June 19, 2013

Silver Fire Smoke Column Seen From El Paso, TX

The column of smoke from the Silver Fire on June 18, 2013.
Credit Steve London via Twitter

UPDATE 6/18 9a: The Silver Fire grew to over 30,000 acres overnight. 




New Mexico's largest wildfire this year is expected to grow significantly today. The Silver Fire, which is burning in the Gila National Forest, is threatening the small historic mining town of Kingston, although so far fire crews have been successful at protecting the town.

Smoke from the blaze created a 30,000 foot column of smoke on Tuesday that was visible from El Paso, Texas, over 100 miles away.

Read more
Poverty and Public Health
5:39 pm
Mon June 17, 2013

Friction Between State Agencies Escalates As Health Exchange Deadlines Near

Credit zpeckler via Flickr

New details have emerged about changes that were made to a grant proposal the state submitted to the federal government related to the state's Health Insurance Exchange.

Read more
4:08 pm
Fri June 14, 2013

Where To Get Outdoors During Wildfire Season

Hikers in central New Mexico.
Credit liliasdad via Flickr

UPDATE 6/21: Starting at 8a on Monday, June 24th the Santa Fe National Forest will be closed to public entry. 


Some people, especially many in Santa Fe may be feeling a bit overwhelmed with the ring of fire that has surrounded the state's capitol city. 

But State Fire Information Officer Dan Ware wants everyone to know that, really, the whole state is not on fire.

Read more
12:25 pm
Fri June 14, 2013

The Future Of Wildfires Depends On Mother Nature

Lightning strikes near Silver City, NM.
Credit Avelino Maestas via Flickr

With each dry thunderstorm that moves across New Mexico, the chance of another wildfire breaking out goes up.

Crews are battling a handful of blazes in the Santa Fe National Forest, on private land near Whites Peak and in rugged territory in southern New Mexico.

The flames are being fueled by overcrowded forests, the terrain and dry conditions.

However, New Mexico State University wildland fire management specialist Doug Cram says the wind hasn't been as big of a factor. In 2011 and 2012, the state broke records with three massive wind-driven wildfires.

Read more
Local News
8:42 am
Thu May 23, 2013

LIVE Today at Noon: President Obama To Discuss Drone Strikes And Guantanamo

President Obama visits Ellicott Dredgers on a jobs tour in Maryland.
Credit Maryland GovPics via Flickr

Live NPR Coverage of Presidential Speech Thu. 5/23 12p: President Obama will give a major speech today on drone airstrikes overseas and issues with detainees at Guantanamo prison in Cuba.

We'll bring you live NPR coverage of the President's speech followed by analysis from NPR's counter-terrorism reporter Dina Temple-Raston and Senior Washington Editor Ron Elving. 

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State of the RE:Union
5:37 pm
Fri May 17, 2013

Back To The Basics: An American Graduate Special

State of the RE:Union Thu. 5/30 8a: In this American Graduate special, State of the Re:Union takes a closer look at school, community, and the drop out crisis in this country.

With reporting from both urban and rural schools, and interviews with education experts, State of the RE:Union goes “ back to the basics”, looking at strategies that get to the heart of what makes students want to learn. 

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State of the RE:Union
5:27 pm
Fri May 17, 2013

Coming Home: Stories Of Veterans Returning From War

State of the RE:Union Thu. 5/23 8a: More than two million veterans have come home so far from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. For returning veterans, reintegrating into society can be a challenge.

How do you find your place, when you’ve changed and the people you love don’t recognize you? When that old life is gone and you have to start a new one from scratch.

State of the Re:Union explores reintegration and asks the question: how do you come back home from war?

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