Local News

Local News
5:45 pm
Thu July 10, 2014

International Folk Art Market Sees First Artists From Taiwan, Bangladesh

Quilt from Bangladesh.
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.

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Local News
6:28 pm
Wed July 9, 2014

FOG: High Public Records Fees Are A Deterrent

Credit Flood via Flickr / Creative Commons License

People who request audio or video from the Albuquerque Police Department under the state’s Inspection of Public Records Act will no longer have to pay as much for DVDs or CDs.  

New Mexico Foundation for Open Government Executive Director Susan Boe said the City of Albuquerque has implemented a new policy after receiving complaints about high fees from media outlets and individuals.

The City will now charge $6.75 for DVDs and $2.75 for CDs when filling public records requests, or IPRAs.

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Local News
4:31 pm
Wed July 9, 2014

Albuquerque Changes Records Policy In Response To Complaints

The Albuquerque Police Department shares headquarters with the Bernalillo County Sheriff's Office across from City Hall.
Credit teofila via Compfight cc

The New Mexico Foundation for Open Government announced today that the City of Albuquerque will charge no more than $6.75 for DVDs and $2.75 for CDs for public records requests. This is a big win for not just journalists but everyone with an interest in accessing records that are available under the law. The change provides fair, consistent rates and lets people know what prices to expect in advance.

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Local News
5:50 pm
Mon July 7, 2014

Rain Prompts Forests To Lift Some Restrictions

View of Albuquerque from Sandia Crest in the Cibola National Forest.
Credit mnchilemom via Flickr / Creative Commons License

Three national forests in New Mexico have decided to lift some fire restrictions thanks to recent rains.

The Gila National Forest in southern New Mexico says it will be lifting its fire restrictions Tuesday morning. That means forest visitors will be able to have campfires again in undeveloped areas across the forest.

Forest Supervisor Kelly Russell is still urging visitors to ensure their campfires are cold to the touch before leaving their camp or retiring for the night.

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Local News
5:10 pm
Thu July 3, 2014

Fireworks Banned, Sort Of

Credit 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.

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Local News
3:49 pm
Thu July 3, 2014

Taos Teacher Rebuffs Bonus

Taos High School teacher Francis Hahn turned down thousands of dollars from the state saying everyone from custodians to cooks to middle school teachers are responsible for a student's success.

  

A Taos High School Advanced Placement English teacher has turned down a $5,000 bonus from the state education department, criticizing Governor Susana Martinez’s education initiatives.

When Francis Hahn received a letter from the Public Education Department informing him that his application for a stipend for teaching AP students had been approved, he was confused. The literature and composition teacher had never heard of the bonus, so he made some calls and found out the reward was based on his students’ AP test scores from a couple of years ago.

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Local News
6:47 am
Thu July 3, 2014

US Marshals Deputy Fatally Shoots Fugitive In NM

The U.S. Marshals Service says a deputy has fatally shot a fugitive in southwest Albuquerque while trying to serve a federal arrest warrant.

They say deputy U.S. Marshals and task force officers from the District of New Mexico weren't injured in Wednesday's incident.

Details of the shooting weren't immediately released.

KOB-TV reports Albuquerque police responded to the scene on reports of a possible dead body along with the Office of the Medical Investigator.

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Local News
6:41 am
Thu July 3, 2014

Drought Won't Stop Fireworks In Dry Western States

Credit Billy Wilson Photography via Flickr

Arizona's largest city has gone months without any measurable rain, and neighboring New Mexico is in the midst of four years of severe drought.

But you'll still see and hear fireworks sparkle and pop this Fourth of July, despite the dangerously high threat of wildfires.

While some places in the West ban fireworks or greatly limit what you can light up, other states are going in the opposite direction.

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Local News
7:11 pm
Tue July 1, 2014

New Plan For ABQBioPark Mimics Rivers Of The World

Under the proposed master plan, animals at the zoo would be grouped with other species that share the same environment in the wild.
Credit ABQ Biopark

 

The state's largest biopark held its third and final feedback session this week on a new master plan that would dramatically change the zoo's catwalk. The area made up of caged caves with bobcats in one stall, clumped right next to tigers, would no longer exist.  

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Local News
6:01 pm
Tue July 1, 2014

Deadline Extended For Kirtland Cleanup Plan

Albuquerque's drinking water wells are being threatened by millions of gallons of jet fuel from Kirtland Airforce base that leaked for decades.
Credit Rita Daniels

 

Kirtland Air Force Base’s deadline to submit a plan to remove toxic chemicals from Albuquerque's groundwater has been extended by 30 days. The base is required to show the state that clean up of a decades old fuel leak is underway by the end of the year.

The Air Force was under a June 30th deadline to submit a plan to the state environment department that describes how they would remove a plume of ethylene dibromide - or EDB – from groundwater that feeds city drinking water wells.

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Local News
5:11 pm
Mon June 30, 2014

Favorable Weather May Slow Wildfire

Management efforts of the Diego Fire burning in the Santa Fe National Forest near Abiquiu reservoir have been upgraded after the fire grew exponentially on Sunday afternoon.
Credit Rita Daniels

UPDATE 7/2 11:30a: The Associated Press reports a wildfire burning in northern New Mexico's Jemez Mountains continues to expand but officials say expected favorable weather may help.

Officials said Wednesday morning says the lightning-sparked Diego Fire has burned more than five square miles, an increase of about 400 acres since Tuesday.

However, the fire remained zero percent contained.

Still, some residents say they felt isolated and uninformed about the fire's dangers. And ranchers who have livestock roaming in the fire area are worried about their cattle.

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Local News
4:18 pm
Thu June 26, 2014

FCC Chairman To Hear Young New Mexicans

A television broadcast tower.
Credit 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.

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Local News
5:38 pm
Wed June 25, 2014

Advocates: Renewable Energy Saves Water

PNM has plans to increase solar energy production but critics say a new proposal is not enough.
Credit Sierra Club and 350 New Mexico

A group of environmentalists unveiled a plan today that would call for the state’s largest electric utility to increase their renewable energy portfolio.  This alternative to PNM’s plan would also drastically reduce water usage in a time of severe drought.

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Local News
5:28 pm
Sat June 21, 2014

Documentary Explores Anita Hill's Legacy

Credit Courtesy of Freida Lee Mock

  In 1991, African-American law professor Anita Hill walked into a political firestorm when she testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee during the confirmation process for Clarence Thomas, the first African-American nominee to the Supreme Court.

In a calm, dignified voice, she detailed the alleged sexual harassment she suffered from Thomas when he headed the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. It was a turning point in American history and ignited a national debate about gender equity, sexual misconduct and power in the workplace.

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Local News
5:41 pm
Mon June 16, 2014

Albuquerque Water Utility Board Demands Clean Up Of Fuel Leak

The Ridgecrest Well Number 5 is the most productive well in Bernalillo County. It is in the path of the expanding plume of contamination from the Kirtland fuel spill.
Credit Rita Daniels

On Monday members of Bernalillo County's water utility gathered around what they call the purest and most productive water well in the entire county. They demanded that the U.S. Air Force implement a more aggressive approach to dealing with the underground jet fuel leak that threatens Albuquerque's water supply.

 

In 1999 Air Force officials discovered millions of gallons of jet fuel had been leaking, probably for decades, at Kirtland Air Force Base. It's believed that toxins in the fuel are making their way towards the city's drinking water.

 

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Local News
9:50 am
Fri June 13, 2014

Legislature: Prisons Need Repairs

Recreation yard at The Old Main
Credit Ken Piorkowski via Wikimedia Commons

  SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A new legislative report says New Mexico's state-run prison system has a $277 million backlog of needed infrastructure repairs.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that the Legislative Finance Committee report released Thursday says prisons have holes in cell walls and floors, and flawed electrical, plumbing and sewer systems. The report says some of the problems could pose security threats to both inmates and correctional officers.

Limited state dollars and aging facilities are to blame.

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Local News
1:04 pm
Thu June 12, 2014

APD Releases Boyd Shooting Videos

A still from the first video that was released

  The Albuquerque Police Department have released new footage related to a March police shooting of a homeless man — a shooting that later sparked a violent protest and angry calls for reform.

Videos released late Wednesday show a number of officers surrounding 38-year-old James Boyd as police try to get him to surrender from his Sandia foothill camp site.

On one video, Boyd, who suffered from schizophrenia, is heard telling officers he doesn't want to come down because officers will shoot him. An officer responds, "no, we wouldn't."

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KUNM Call-In Show
11:17 pm
Wed June 11, 2014

What's happening at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant?

Credit wipp.energy.gov

Thu. 6/11 8a: Scientists are still searching for the root cause of the February 14th radiation leak at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP), but theories are being narrowed down and action being taken to protect workers and citizens.  We'll learn the latest developments from New Mexico Environment Department Secretary Ryan Flynn and others.  Are you getting enough information from government agencies overseeing the investigation and charged with remedying the situation to feel safe?

 

Scheduled guests:

Staci Matlock

Reporter, Santa Fe New Mexican

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Local News
4:17 pm
Wed June 11, 2014

Swarming Locusts Confound Meteorologists

The high reflectivity returns showing up on the National Weather Service radar in Albuquerque are mutated grasshoppers.
Credit National Weather Service

6/11/14 Editor's note: We are conducting follow-up research that may change the facts presented in this story.  Look for a related story soon.

About a week ago, meteorologists at the National Weather Service in Albuquerque noticed a spike of reflectivity on their radar equipment. The machine sends out pulses of electromagnetic energy, which bounce off whatever happens to be in the atmosphere. Usually, that's rain or hail.  

But the skies were pretty clear, and as the breeze blew east and then west, the pattern of reflectivity changed—literally with the winds.

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Local News
8:15 am
Tue June 10, 2014

State Criticizes Kirtland Cleanup Proposal

Kirtland Air Fore Base
Credit Wikimedia Commons

  ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico environmental regulators are criticizing Kirtland Air Force Base's proposal for cleaning up a massive underground fuel leak, saying it would threaten Albuquerque's water supply.

Kirtland's plan centers on using a Kirtland water well to remove fuel-contaminated groundwater to keep it away from a neighborhood where municipal drinking wells are located. The contaminated water then would be treated to meet drinking water standards.

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Local News
7:29 am
Tue June 10, 2014

Services held for Navajo Code Talker Chester Nez

Chester Nez

Flags were lowered across New Mexico as family and friends gathered in Albuquerque for a funeral Mass to honor the last of the original 29 Navajo Code Talkers.

Chester Nez died last week in Albuquerque. He was 93.

The Mass was held Tuesday morning in Albuquerque, with burial afterward at the Santa Fe National Cemetery.

Gov. Susana Martinez called for flags to be flown at half-staff from sunrise to sundown Tuesday. She calls Nez and his fellow Code Talkers true patriots who changed the course of history.

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Local News
10:26 am
Thu June 5, 2014

Senators Seek Money for WIPP

Credit DOE Photo

  New Mexico's two U.S. senators want President Obama to change his proposed budget to ensure that there's money for work needed at the federal government's underground nuclear waste repository in Carlsbad.

The repository has been closed since February because of a radiation release.

Sens. Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich announced Wednesday that they're urging Obama to present Congress with an amendment to his proposed budget.

The two New Mexico Democrats said Obama needs to ensure that there'll be funding to implement recommendations of investigative panels.

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Local News
10:18 am
Thu June 5, 2014

Ride-Shares Face PRC

Lyft ride-sharing cars bear a distinctive pink mustache
Credit toufeeq hussain via Creative Commons

  Two major ride-sharing companies are taking different approaches when it comes to New Mexico regulatory processes for taxi services.

Both Uber Technologies and Lyft Inc. began operating in Albuquerque in April but only Uber has filed with the state Public Regulation Commission for a permanent certificate to operate.

Lyft disputes the commission's contention that the service needs authorization by the regulators to operate in New Mexico.

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Local News
12:12 pm
Tue May 27, 2014

Biofuel Facility On Fire In Southern New Mexico

Authorities in southern New Mexico say a biofuel facility is on fire near the town of Anthony, and a half-mile area around the plant is being evacuated.

Dona Ana County officials say they've activated their emergency operations center and declared a hazardous materials emergency.

County spokesman Jess Williams says there's no word of any injuries so far, and the cause of the fire is not known. However, he says there has been a series of small explosions.

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Local News
12:01 pm
Tue May 27, 2014

Teacher Retirements Increasing In Albuquerque

Credit Night Owl City via Flickr / Creative Commons License

Albuquerque's public school district is seeing a spike in teacher retirements and resignations.

School district data show a nearly 19 percent increase in retirement filings as of early May over last year and a 44 percent increase over the year before that.

Meanwhile, non-retirement departures are up by 13 percent from last year and 32 percent from the year before that.

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Local News
6:00 pm
Thu May 22, 2014

Tracking Oil And Gas Spills In New Mexico

The new interactive map put out by the Center for Western Priorities shows oil and gas spills in New Mexico.
Credit Center for Western Priorities

The oil and gas industry is booming in New Mexico. Journalist Laura Paskus sat down with KUNM's Rita Daniels to talk about a new interactive map that shows where oil and gas spills have happened. The map, which helps us visualize the impacts the energy explosion is having on the land, was created by the Center for Western Priorities.

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Local News
7:05 pm
Tue May 20, 2014

"Blunt Adjustments" To The State's Medical Marijuana Program Explained

Proposed rule changes to New Mexico's medical marijuana program would drastically raise fees.
Credit eggrole via Flickr

After a survey last fall of card carrying medical marijuana patients in New Mexico found demand out-stripped supply, the state Department of Health has been under direct orders from a district judge to solve an annual 8,000 pound medical marijuana shortage.

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Local News
5:31 pm
Tue May 20, 2014

Udall Calls For Investigation Of Albuquerque VA Hospital

Credit expertinfantry via Flickr / Creative Commons License

U.S. Sen. Tom Udall has called for federal authorities to broaden their investigation into alleged secret waiting lists at VA hospitals to include Albuquerque after whistleblower reports that the VA hospital in New Mexico's largest city is plagued with problems.

The Veterans Affairs Department is grappling with allegations of treatment delays, preventable deaths and a cover up by top administrators that were first reported in the VA system in Arizona.

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Local News
9:23 am
Tue May 20, 2014

Tuesday News Roundup: Medical Marijuana OK'd For Injured Worker

Medical Marijuana OK'd For Injured Worker  The Associated Press

The New Mexico Court of Appeals has ruled that a worker's employer and its insurer must pay for medical marijuana for treating the employee's chronic pain from a job-related back injury.

The court upheld a decision by a workers' compensation judge that medical marijuana was "reasonable and necessary medical care" from a health care provider under terms of workers' compensation law.

The worker had a 99 percent permanent partial disability.

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Local News
5:42 am
Fri May 16, 2014

Some New Mexico Lawmakers Support Cutting Student Loan Interest Rates

Proposed legislation would allow holders of old student loans to refinance at a lower rate with the federal government.
Credit credit: Nic McPhee

With college graduation right around the corner some New Mexico lawmakers are drawing attention to a bill in Congress that would allow people to refinance their old student loans with the federal government for lower interest rates.

So far 32 lawmakers have signed onto the measure, including New Mexico’s Senator Martin Heinrich, who says the government shouldn’t be in the business of predatory lending.

“I don’t think we should be financing our government operations by charging high interest rates to student loans,” Heinrich said.

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