Kaveh Mowahed

News Intern, Weekend Edition Saturday Host
Billy Wilson Photography via Flickr / Creative Commons License

You can let the fireworks fly in Bernalillo County this Fourth of July, as long as they don’t fly too far. Abundant rain this year kept Bernalillo County from banning fireworks and other fires.

Larry Gallegos has been with the Bernalillo County Fire Department for six years. He said this is the first time he’s experienced enough rain to prevent a county-wide fire ban before the Independence Day holiday.  

andre dos santos via Flickr / Creative Commons License

A Harvard University report released last week shows that for renters making less money, Albuquerque is among the toughest U.S. cities for affordable housing.

Kaveh Mowahed

Bernalillo County commissioners voted 3-2 Tuesday to approve the Santolina Master Plan and zoning. The huge development west of Albuquerque is to include 38,000 homes, plus commercial and open space.

Commissioners spent a lot of time discussing Santolina’s jobs forecasts – developers say the plan would bring two jobs for each home built. This sparked a debate on the definition of the word “job.”

But critics say the jobs predictions are inflated.

Carolina Ödman via Flickr

Weather related deaths are down because more people know how to be safe. It’s Monsoon Safety Awareness Week and the National Weather Service wants you to know how to avoid the dangers of these seasonal storms.  

In New Mexico four people died in flash floods since 2013, and just last year lightning killed one person.

clang boom steam via Flickr / Creative Commons License

A special session of New Mexico’s legislature was held Monday to revisit unfinished business from earlier this year, but agreements on proposed legislation were seemingly already made behind closed doors.

A report from NMpolitics.net says many citizens object to the closed-door dealings because little is known of the negotiations or bill’s details.

Kari Greer / US Forest Service Gila National Forest

New Mexico’s 2014 wildfire season seems to have fizzled out, but the danger is not entirely behind us.

New Mexico State Forestry spokesman Dan Ware said favorable weather combined with a public awareness of fire prevention practices has reduced the number of fires this year.  “I don’t want to say that we are out of the woods yet,” he cautioned.

Kaveh Mowahed

It would have taken more than a breeze to cool down tensions in Albuquerque’s northeast heights Thursday afternoon at a demonstration about the conflict between Israel and Gaza in the middle east.

Courtesy of the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market

This weekend the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market, IFAM, will feature an array of crafts from 150 master artists from 60 countries.

IFAM offers an opportunity for many craft people to support themselves and their communities, while also preserving cultural heritage and skills.

This year, Taiwan and Bangladesh are represented for the first time.

Billy Wilson Photography via Flickr

Some New Mexicans can legally light their fireworks this Independence Day.

There is no statewide ban on fireworks but nearly all New Mexico counties have banned them in unincorporated areas this year because of extra dry weather.  For many counties, the ban went into effect weeks ago.

In Bernalillo County, Fire Marshal Chris Gober will be working this 4th of July and he said fireworks make his job harder.

woodleywonderworks via Flickr

The Chairman of the Federal Communication Commission, the agency that regulates communications industries, is coming to Albuquerque next week to hear from young people about what media issues are important to them.

via Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Diabetes is on the rise across the U.S. according to a report released this month by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

One out of every eleven American adults has diabetes, or 9.3 percent, up one percent over the last three years.  That equates to more than three million new diabetics.

WhiteHouse.gov

President Barack Obama held a press conference Thursday in Washington D.C.  He announced that his repeated promise, that people who liked their current insurance plans could keep them, was made in good faith and will be honored. Then reporters pressed him over a flawed rollout of the Affordable Care Act.

Steve Burke via Flickr / Creative Commons License

On Monday Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Mexico announced its plan to buy the Lovelace Health Plan by year’s end. The sale will not include any of Lovelace’s hospitals, clinics, or pharmacies. 

The companies have an agreement that will allow Lovelace Health Plan members to transition into BCBS coverage. A term of the arrangement will allow LHP members to continue to go to Lovelace doctors and facilities.

Cyndy via Flickr

Tres Lagunas. Thompson Ridge. Silver. Jaroso.  These are the familiar names of the massive wildfires that burned rural parts of New Mexico in 2013.  Although nearly 200 thousand acres burned here this year, the loss of property was relatively minimal.  But CoreLogic, an international analytics company that specializes in real estate, says the next fire could be closer to home. 

NMSupremeCourt.NMcourts.gov / New Mexico Supreme Court

On October 23, 2013, the New Mexico Supreme Court spent two hours in front of a full courtroom hearing oral arguments from petitioners that think New Mexico should embrace same-sex marriage and respondents who think that marriage should be a heterosexual affair.  

The Courts did not issue a decision, and any decision they do issue is not necessarily final. Lawmakers could pass legislation or put the issue to voters as a constitutional amendment.

Kathryn Decker via Flickr

Gov. Susana Martinez's administration is looking at the possibility of providing pay increases for certain public safety positions in state government agencies that have high vacancy rates.

Martinez spokesman Enrique Knell says positions being considered for possible pay increases include child-protection caseworkers, police officers, corrections officers and juvenile justice workers.

Critics Say Raising The Bar For UNM Scholarships Promotes Exclusion

Oct 17, 2013
Natalia Jácquez / The Daily Lobo

About a year ago UNM Provost Chaouki Abdallah asked his blog readers, “How do we keep UNM students from dropping out because of financial need, in the face of current and future cuts in state and federal financial aid?”

www.PaseoI25.com / NMDOT

Ground was broken on the $93 million renovation of the Paseo Del Norte-Interstate 25 interchange on September 5th,  but you may not have noticed. Tuesday that will change. Overnight on October 14th barricades will go up and lanes will be blocked as construction shifts into high gear. 

According to the New Mexico Department of Transportation the following closures will be in effect by 6 a.m.:

·      Westbound Paseo Del Norte will be reduced to two lanes from just before I-25 to the railroad tracks about half a mile west of Jefferson.

NewMexicoPBS.org

Albuquerque will hold its municipal election today, October 8th. On the line are the Mayor's office, several seats on the City Council, and millions of dollars of City-issued general obligation bonds.

The Mayor's Office

Incumbent Mayor Richard Berry (R) will be at the top of the ballot. Berry was chosen at random to head the list of candidates in the 2013 municipal election. Paul Heh (R) and Pete Dinelli (D) are also after the Mayor’s job.

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KUNM Call In Show 10/3 8a: The federal government has shut down after lawmakers failed to agree on a budget. We took calls this week on what the shutdown means for New Mexico.

Michael Coleman of the Albuquerque Journal Washington Bureau describes the scene in Washington, D.C., during and after the government shutdown. 

Rob Nikolewski, journalist from Newmexico.Watchdog.org, talks about how the federal shutdown is affecting New Mexicans.

Coleman discusses how long we can expect the shutdown to go on.

(401)k 2013 via Flickr

On the eve of a potential federal government shutdown, New Mexicans are preparing for what could be a pervasive shock to families, businesses, and pocketbooks.  The pain will not be felt immediately in all cases, although several federally funded organizations are planning to close their doors Tuesday.