Local News

Content from the KUNM news team and affiliated organizations.  

Rita Daniels / KUNM

The federal monitor overseeing reform of the Albuquerque Police Department held his first public meeting in town this week.

James Ginger responded to skeptics who questioned his take on what successful police reform will look like and criticized him for not including anyone from New Mexico on his 10-person team.

“Cut us a little bit of slack,” Ginger said. “Let us get our feet on the ground. Let us do a reconnoiter. Let us figure out what it is we need to do, and then we’ll have meetings like this periodically throughout the year.”

Pixabay, Creative Commons

Lawyer Wants DOJ Review Of San Juan County JailThe Daily Times, Associated Press

An attorney representing families of inmates who died while at a New Mexico county jail wants a federal investigation.

Christian Hatfield told The Daily Times in Farmington on Wednesday that his law firm is requesting the U.S. Department of Justice review medical services at San Juan County Adult Detention Center.

Taxrebate.org.uk via Creative Commons

Report: New Mexico Needs To Curb Medicaid CostsAssociated Press

Legislative analysts are warning that the price tag for providing health care to low-income New Mexicans will top more than $1 billion in state general funds by 2020 and steps need to be taken to curb costs.

Analysts with the Legislative Finance Committee released their findings Wednesday during a meeting in Albuquerque.

After a lengthy review of costs related to the state's Centennial Care Medicaid program, it's unclear whether participants are receiving more or less care.

Creative Commons

More Nonprofits Sue Over Medicaid Funding Albuquerque Journal, Associated Press

Three more nonprofits forced out of the behavioral health business when their Medicaid funding was cut off have sued the Human Services Department and the state.

The Albuquerque Journal reports The Counseling Center, Easter Seals El Mirador, and Border Area Mental Health Services filed lawsuits last week, bringing the total number of lawsuits alleging the state violated providers' rights to 10.

Skarz via Wikimedia Commons

Ex-New Jersey Police Officials Part Of Albuquerque MonitorThe Associated Press

Former New Jersey and Pittsburgh police officials are part of a court-appointed independent monitor team overseeing Albuquerque police reform.

Independent monitor James Ginger introduced the team today, which also includes a community activist from Washington, D.C.

In January, federal officials and the city selected Ginger to lead a team to monitor a settlement agreement to overhaul APD.

Battered Roads

Jun 22, 2015
Stephen Norman via Flickr / Creative Commons License

KUNM Call In Show 6/25 8a:

Many New Mexicans drive long distances for work or to visit family and friends. Have you noticed that the roads are getting worse in some areas? A new report found that about 25 percent of roads in rural New Mexico need to be repaved or repaired. But funding for roads has fallen short in recent years. Poorly maintained roads are a hassle, and can even be dangerous. What do you see in your community?

Guests: 

• Tom Church, Cabinet Secretary, New Mexico Department of Transportation 

• Sen. John Arthur Smith (D-Deming)

Albuquerque Police Department

New Mexico Officers To Face Second Degree Murder ChargesThe Associated Press

Two New Mexico police officers will face second-degree murder charges in last year's shooting death of a homeless man near a tent in the mountains where he had been camping.

Special Prosecutor Randi McGinn's office said Monday it will pursue charges against Keith Sandy and Dominique Perez that could land each officer 15 years in prison.

Both officers have denied wrongdoing in the case.

Greg Matthews via Flickr / Creative Commons License

New Mexico Governor Kicks Off Anti-DWI Campaign - The Associated Press

Gov. Susana Martinez has rolled out a new advertising campaign to raise awareness about the dangers and consequences of drunken driving.

The governor announced the campaign during a stop Friday in Albuquerque. She says drunken driving has had a devastating impact on New Mexico families and it needs to stop.

She called for tougher penalties and crackdowns by law enforcement.

New Mexico Centennial Project / Fray Angélico Chávez History Library

New Mexico Officials Eye Illegal Sale Of Historic Documents – The Associated Press

The New Mexico Commission of Public Records is worried some of the state's archival material dating back to Spanish rule may end up for sale online.

The state agency responsible for archiving New Mexico's past recently issued a warning that the sale of state public records is illegal and comes after officials have notice some documents being sold online.

We Reap What We Sow

Jun 18, 2015
ScaarAT via Flickr / Creative Commons License

By happenstance, commentator Andrea Mays caught part of a documentary on the benefits of veganism. She says it offered some jaw-dropping footage of industrial farming. While she doesn’t remember much about the veganism part, seeing those images has made it impossible for her to eat another hamburger.

academia.org

Judge Rejects Motion To Dismiss Teacher Evaluation Lawsuit - The Associated Press

A state district judge has denied a motion by the New Mexico Public Education Department to dismiss a lawsuit over the agency's contested teacher evaluation system.

The Albuquerque Teachers Federation and the American Federation of Teachers filed a lawsuit earlier this year, saying the evaluation system was punitive and based on flawed methodology.

Wikimedia Commons

The Environmental Protection Agency is considering whether to recertify an underground nuclear waste storage facility in southeastern New Mexico. It’s the first time the Department of Energy has gone through this process since a drum burst deep underground at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, leaking radiation and contaminating workers.

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.

Rita Daniels

This weekend marks Albuquerque’s 39th PrideFest, promoting a positive image of the LGBT community. But many transgender people feel like there’s still a long way to go in the fight to end discrimination.

Over one hundred people got together Thursday night at the Transgender Resource Center of New Mexico before the candlelight vigil that launches Albuquerque’s PrideFest weekend. 

401(K) 2013 / 401kcalculator.org

Wells Fargo Settles Lawsuit With New Mexico Employee Group - The Associated Press

A group representing retired public employees in New Mexico has announced that Wells Fargo has agreed to pay $50 million to settle a dispute over loses with Wachovia Bank.

The Public Employees Retirement Association of New Mexico said Thursday that the San Francisco-based Wells Fargo agreed to the payment to settle disputed claims with losses in the group's securities lending portfolio.

Jared via Flickr / Creative Commons License

Spring Rains Could Cause Later Fire SeasonThe Associated Press and Santa Fe New Mexican

Forecasters say more wet weather is making its way to New Mexico, which could result in a second fire season from August to October.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports fire management officer for the Santa Fe and Carson national forests, Bill King, says grass growth and wet snows from the rainy spring can dry out quickly.

Agomezig via Compfight

The Santa Fe National Forest Service is asking the public what kind of environmental protections they would like to see for geothermal energy development in the Jemez Mountains. The U.S.

JerryFriedman

Feds Say Southwest, Northwest Could See Catastrophic Fires - The Associated Press

Despite a wet spring over much of the nation, the Obama administration is warning of potentially catastrophic wildfires this summer, especially in the Southwest and Northwest.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Interior Secretary Sally Jewell discussed wildfire threats and fire outlook Tuesday in Denver.

Jewell says drought and climate change are increasing wildfire danger.

Public domain image.

The Department of Energy has fined the contractors that manage Los Alamos and Sandia National Laboratories nearly $1 million for mishandling sensitive material.

Dystopos

KUNM Call In Show 6/11 8a: How are the evaluations serving New Mexico's students and teachers? We talked to teachers nearly a year ago about this. A lot has happened since then. We're checking in to see what's changed and whether new teacher evals are working to improve New Mexico's education system.

We want to hear from you! Email callinshow@kunm.org, post your comments online or call in live during the show. Guests:

Arianna Sena

Gov. Martinez Begins Review Of Capital Spending BillThe Associated Press

New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez is beginning her review of a $295 million capital spending bill passed by lawmakers in special session.

Martinez said Monday she would take her time to examine the projects in the measure and may veto some if she feels the community doesn't want or need them.

She said any line-item veto won't be based on a lawmaker's vote but on if she deemed the project worthy.

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.

Laura Paskus

Thanks to technologies like hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, New Mexico is one of the top natural gas producers in the world – 27th according to the latest annual numbers from 2012 just released by the American Petroleum Institute. But there’s more to the economics of drilling than just counting rigs and tallying profits.

Jena g. . Einar E. Kvaran aka 98.20.23.52 23:59, 1 June 2009, via Wikimedia Commons

The Latest: New Mexico Legislature OKs Bills, Adjourns - The Associated Press

New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez says she was pleased that state lawmakers came together for a special session and passed measures on capital funding and tax incentives.

But the Republican stopped short Monday of saying she wouldn't veto specific line items for projects.

Arianna Sena

New Mexico Gov. Martinez Calls Special Session - The Associated Press

New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez has called a special session on a $295 million public works package and other proposals that died on the Legislature's last day.

Martinez sent out a proclamation late Friday that calls for lawmakers to report to Santa Fe on Monday at noon in an attempt to pass a capital outlay bill.

Also expected to be discussed are tax breaks and short-term funding to address shortfalls in the state court system and the Health Department.

This Year's Love via Flickr / Creative Commons License

It’s that time of year when people are spending more and more time with their dogs outside in public spaces.

Commentator Andrea Mays says she understands how they can provide companionship, assistance and safety. But she says some dog owners in Santa Fe are failing at good animal stewardship.

bill-on-the-hill via wikivoyage / Creative Commons License

Community Honors Fallen Rio Rancho Police Officer - The Associated Press

Officers from throughout New Mexico and beyond gathered with community and family members to pay their last respects to a Rio Rancho police officer shot and killed during a May 25 traffic stop.

Police escorted Officer Gregg Benner's body to the Santa Ana Star Center on Thursday morning as people lined the streets to watch the procession.

Hectore via Compfight

If you are out cruising the open roads of southern New Mexico, your ride might be a whole lot smoother and safer soon. Governor Susana Martinez is expected to sign off on a capital outlay bill next week that will throw $45 million to road projects in Lea County.

Near the oil fields in Hobbs, cracked bumpy roads riddled with potholes inches deep are the norm. 

Arianna Sena

Gov. Martinez To Call Special Session In Coming DaysThe Associated Press

Gov. Susana Martinez says she has reached an agreement with House and Senate leaders and will call a special session in the coming days.

The governor's office says the agreement includes a $295 million public works project that will increase funding for senior centers and higher education institutions around the state.

The deal also calls for highway projects to be paid for through a combination of state general funds and severance tax bonds.

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