KUNM

KUNM News

Nearly 300 NM Towns Face Water CrisisAssociated Press and The Albuquerque Journal

A state review says around 300 New Mexico community water systems are vulnerable to drought, dropping water tables and aging infrastructure.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that a state task force review to be made public Wednesday says towns or villages often depends on a single water source making them unguarded to drought and contamination.

Raton Declares Disaster Due To Rain, Flooding- Associated Press

Raton city commissioners have declared a disaster because of recent heavy rains and flooding.

Mayor Bobby Ledoux describes pot holes around the northeastern New Mexico community as immense and says some streets have been destroyed.

Ledoux estimates it would take close to $5 million to repair the city's streets. He says that's money Raton doesn't have.

Albuquerque Police Get Interim Chief - Associated Press

The state's largest city has a new police chief — at least for now.

Former Albuquerque Deputy Chief Allen Banks is now leading the department as interim chief. The department's eight-year long chief Ray Schultz retired last week.

Banks will lead the department until after Mayor Richard Berry chooses a new leader following a national search. Berry says he will make a decision after the mayoral election later this year.

Weekend News Roundup

Aug 5, 2013

Cleanup Continues Following Severe Weather - The Associated Press

It's been a week since communities around New Mexico were slammed with strong winds, heavy rain and flooding, and the cleanup continues.

The American Red Cross has been working in Columbus in southern New Mexico to provide drinking water, tarps and air mattresses, while the Roadrunner Food Bank has been bringing in fresh produce and ready to eat meals.

Judge To Decide Whether To Block Horse Slaughter - Associated Press

A federal judge in Albuquerque is expected to decide Friday whether companies in New Mexico and Iowa can begin slaughtering horses next week.

The Humane Society of the United States and others are requesting a restraining order to block Valley Meat Co. of Roswell, N.M., and Responsible Transportation in Sigourney, Iowa, from opening their slaughterhouses as planned on Monday.

Groups Launch Campaign To Defeat Abortion Measure - Associated Press

The American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico and several other groups are launching a campaign to defeat a proposed late-term abortion ban in Albuquerque.

The alliance of community organizations and women's advocacy groups is holding a press conference Thursday to announce the launch of "Respect ABQ Women."

NM Governor Issues Emergency Assistance Order - Associated Press

Gov. Susana Martinez is making emergency assistance available in areas of New Mexico damaged by recent storms and flooding.

The governor issued an executive order on Tuesday that provides $500,000 to the state Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management for a wide range of aid, including for emergency shelter, food and health care.

Martinez also directed the New Mexico National Guard to provide any needed assistance to local authorities.

Straw Mulch Dropped On Tres Lagunas Fire Area - Associated Press

A helicopter firm hired by the Forest Service is dropping large amounts of straw mulch in the area of the Tres Lagunas Fire north of Pecos to help with rehabilitation.

The Forest Service says the mulch will help hold moisture in place, which slows water flow and helps seeds sprout.

The drops began Monday and are expected to run through this week.

The operation involves approximately 10 tractor-trailer loads of straw daily.

NM Transmission Project To Be Decided In September - Associated Press and The Alomogordo Daily News

The developers of a $1.2 billion electric transmission system in New Mexico say they will end the project if their preferred route is rejected by the federal government.

Court Asked To Safeguard NM Mental Health Audit - Associated Press

The attorney general's office says an agreement has been reached for State Auditor Hector Balderas to have access to an audit that identified potential overbillings and fraud by behavioral health providers.

Chief Deputy Attorney General Al Lama said Thursday a state district judge in Santa Fe has been asked to issue an order making clear the audit report will be protected from public disclosure once it's provided to Balderas.

Ex-Astronaut Reappointed To NM Spaceport Authority - Associated Press

Gov. Susana Martinez has reappointed two members of the New Mexico Spaceport Authority, including a former astronaut who's the veteran of two space flights.

Former astronaut Sid Gutierrez of Albuquerque and Truth or Consequences banker Jerry Stagner will serve four year terms expiring in 2017.

The nine-member authority is responsible for the state's commercial spaceport in southern New Mexico.

New Mexico Gets $12M Federal Education Grant- Associated Press

Gov. Susana Martinez says New Mexico will receive an additional $12.5 million in federal money over four years to improve early childhood education. The money is on top of $25 million the U.S. Department of Education awarded the state last year through the national "Race to the Top" competitive grant program. Martinez said the money will be used to help improve early reading skills of students and ensure children are ready to learn when they enter elementary school.

NM Attorney General Not Defending Gay Marriage BanThe Associated Press

New Mexico Attorney General Gary King says a state prohibition on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional.

King told the state Supreme Court on Monday in written arguments that it should invalidate the gay marriage ban if the justices agree to consider a lawsuit filed by two Santa Fe men who were denied a marriage license.

Santa Fe National Forest Lifts Fire RestrictionsThe Associated Press

A northern New Mexico national forest that experienced several major wildfires in June is lifting fire restrictions that have been in effect for much this summer.

The Santa Fe National Forest's announcement of its lifting of the restrictions effective Friday morning says increased moisture from monsoon rain in the past several weeks has dramatically the danger of wildfires.

Thursday Evening Roundup

Jul 18, 2013

NM To Auction Unclaimed PropertyThe Associated Press

A gold bar and coins are among the valuables and other objects that the state of New Mexico plans to auction.

Gov. Susana Martinez on Thursday announced that the state Taxation and Revenue Department will hold an unclaimed property auction July 27 in Albuquerque.

That auction will feature nearly 800 lots of items, including a 7-pound gold bar, more than 220 U.S. and foreign gold coins, nearly 1,900 U.S. silver dollars and a number of pieces of American Indian art.

Cibola Lifts Fire Restrictions In Sandia DistrictThe Associated Press

Thanks to much-needed rain over the past few weeks, forest officials are reopening popular hiking areas in the Sandia Mountains east of Albuquerque. And the city is reopening most of the Rio Grande bosque.

Forest Supervisor Elaine Kohrman says moisture levels in vegetation have increased to the point to be able to limit the spread of wildfires.

Kohrman also says the long-range weather forecast predicts cooler weather and more rain for the area.

Tuesday Morning Roundup

Jul 16, 2013

Cibola Lifts Fire Restrictions In Sandia District - Associated Press

Fire restrictions in the Sandia Ranger District of the Cibola National Forest and Grasslands near Albuquerque have been lifted.

Forest Supervisor Elaine Kohrman says recent rain has increased moisture levels in vegetation to the point where it should limit the spread of wildfires.

Kohrman also says the long-range weather forecast predicts cooler weather and more rain for the area.

Monday Evening Roundup

Jul 15, 2013

Flash Flooding, Mudslides Close A road In Pecos- The Associated Press

Flash flooding and mudslides have shut down a portion of State Road 63 in Pecos.

New Mexico State Police say the closure is from mile post 15 northbound.

They say the flash flooding and mudslides are presenting dangerous driving conditions for motorists and residents.

State police said Monday that the affected portion of State Road 63 will remain closed until further notice.

Friday Morning Roundup

Jul 12, 2013

UNM Archiving Ex-Sen. Jeff Bingaman Papers - Associated Press and The Albuquerque Journal

The University of New Mexico is archiving more than 1,000 boxes worth of documents from Jeff Bingaman's time in the U.S. Senate.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that the university held a ceremony Thursday at the Zimmerman Library to mark the archival project for the former Democratic senator.

Thursday Morning Roundup

Jul 11, 2013

Taos Pueblo To Honor Nixon's 100th Birthday - Associated Press

A northern New Mexico American Indian tribe is scheduled to honor the late President Richard Nixon for what would have been his 100th birthday.

The Taos Pueblo is set to pay tribute to the California-born Republican on Friday with a special honor at a pow wow.

Nixon is highly regarded among the Taos Pueblo and other American Indians for agreeing to return to some lands to tribes. In 1970, for example, he returned around 48,000 acres of sacred lands to the Taos Pueblo.

Wednesday Morning Roundup

Jul 10, 2013

Feds Propose Protections For 2 rare Snakes - Associated Press

Federal wildlife officials are proposing to add a pair of rare snakes found in the American Southwest to the list of threatened species.

The northern Mexican gartersnake and the narrow-headed gartersnake are found in Arizona and New Mexico. Their populations have declined thanks to predators such as nonnative bullfrogs as well as threats to their streamside habitat.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will accept comments on the proposal through Sept. 9.

Tuesday Morning Roundup

Jul 9, 2013

Kirtland AFB Begins Furloughs Under US Budget Cuts - Associated Press and The Albuquerque Journal

Kirtland Air Force Base officials say nearly 2,100 civilian employees began taking unpaid days off later this week as a result of the federal government's automatic budget cuts.

According to the Albuquerque Journal, Kirtland officials say the furlough day off each week through September amounts to a 20 percent pay cut.

Monday Morning Roundup

Jul 8, 2013

USDA Includes 2 NM Counties In Drought Aid Areas - Associated Press

Two northern New Mexico counties are included in new federal government designations of primary disaster areas due to damages and losses caused by the ongoing drought.

The USDA says farmers and ranchers in Rio Arriba and Taos counties are eligible to apply for low-interest emergency loans.

The USDA's announcement also includes 14 Colorado counties along four in Utah and three in Wyoming.

Tuesday Evening Roundup

Jul 2, 2013

NM Court Asks For Response To Gay Marriage Lawsuit-The Associated Press

New Mexico's highest court has asked the attorney general and the Santa Fe County clerk to respond to a lawsuit seeking to legalize same-sex marriage.

The state Supreme Court on Tuesday said their legal arguments in the case should be submitted by July 22. No hearing has been scheduled.

Two Santa Fe men filed a lawsuit last week asking the court to order Santa Fe County Clerk Geraldine Salazar to issue them a marriage license.

Tuesday Morning Roundup

Jul 2, 2013

Crews Contain Blaze In Valles Caldera Preserve  - Associated Press

It has taken firefighters a month to corral a wildfire that has burned through the heart of northern New Mexico's Jemez Mountains.

Fire managers declared the Thompson Ridge Fire 100 percent contained on Monday.

The blaze burned more than 37 square miles in the Valles Caldera National Preserve after being sparked May 31 by a downed power line. At one point, it threatened historic cabins and barns at the preserve but crews were able to save the structures.

Monday Evening Roundup

Jul 1, 2013

Gov. Martinez Orders NM Flags Flown At Half-Staff-The Associated Press

Gov. Susana Martinez has ordered that New Mexico state flags be flown at half-staff until sunset Friday in honor of the firefighters killed while fighting an Arizona wildfire.

The 19 fallen firefighters were members of the Granite Mountain Interagency Hotshot Crew, which is part of the Prescott Fire Department in northern Arizona.

They were killed Sunday while battling a wildfire in the small town of Yarnell.

Friday Evening Roundup

Jun 28, 2013

NM 11th Graders Improve In Reading Proficiency-The Associated Press

Gov. Susana Martinez's administration says New Mexico high school students made significant improvements in their reading proficiency on standardized tests this year but there were declines for fourth, fifth and sixth grade students.

The governor on Friday announced the results of math and reading tests taken by 195,000 students in grades 3-8 and 10-11.

Friday Morning Roundup

Jun 28, 2013

NM Mental Health System Audit, Fix Could Hit $21M Associated Press and The Albuquerque Journal

 

State officials say the potential price tag for fixing problems within New Mexico's behavioral health system could reach nearly $21 million.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that an audit of 15 providers cost around $3 million to produce. That audit alleged potential fraud and resulted this week in the halting of Medicaid payments and other funding to the 15 nonprofits.

Thursday Evening Roundup

Jun 27, 2013

IG Pushes Los Alamos To Do More On Safety-The Associated Press

Another federal report is criticizing Los Alamos for not doing enough to protect the public from dangerous releases of radiation in the event of wildfires or an earthquake.

Thursday Morning Roundup

Jun 27, 2013

Item That Exploded On FedEx Truck In NM Was A Tire - Associated Press

Authorities say an item that exploded on a parked FedEx truck in Albuquerque was a tire.

There are no reported injuries.

Albuquerque police say the explosion was reported just before 7 p.m. Wednesday.

A police bomb squad was called to the scene to assess the situation along with an Albuquerque Fire Department hazmat crew.

Authorities say the driver of the FedEx truck lives in the area and typically parks his vehicle at the location of the explosion.

Pages