Local News

Content from the KUNM news team and affiliated organizations.  

Class Of 2015: Setting New Priorities

9 hours ago
weng via Flickr (cropped) / Creative Commons License

Commentator Andrea Mays was asked to say a few words of inspiration at a university department’s commencement ceremony earlier this month. So, she did a little research about the prospects for the Class of 2015. 

Jared via Flickr

May Storms Helping To Fight Wildfire Season - The Associated Press and Santa Fe New Mexican

May has been an unusual month for drought-stricken New Mexico, with cool and wet storms throughout the state keeping wildfire season in check.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports a combination of factors are contributing to the latest weather trend. Experts say the arrival of El Nino and the early winter melting of snowpacks have brought some relief and increased hopes for a wet summer.

Pays Imaginaire via Flickr / Creative Commons License

KUNM received fabulous news in May! We were named Station of the Year by the New Mexico Broadcasters Association – with awards for Best Feature News, Best Continuing Coverage, Best Legislative Coverage and Best Website.

Cm0rris0n

Ted Turner Ranch In New Mexico Caught In Wolf Debate - The Associated Press, The Santa Fe New Mexican

A sprawling ranch in southern New Mexico owned by media mogul Ted Turner is caught in the middle of a dispute between the state and federal wildlife officials over management of the Mexican gray wolf.

A bid by the Ladder Ranch to renew its permit for holding wolves in captivity on the private property was recently denied by the state Game Commission.

Paige Murphy

Albuquerque City Council President To Retire At End Of Term - The Associated Press

The Albuquerque City Council's president plans to step down at the end of his current term.

Council President Rey Garduno was elected to the council in 2007.

The Democrat represents a district that includes much of the Southeast Heights, including the University of New Mexico campus, Nob Hill and the International District.

Public Domain / U.S. Senate Republican Policy Committee

KUNM Call In Show 5/21 8a: 

The Obama administration is pushing for the U.S. to sign on to a new trade agreement - the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP. The agreement would include 12 other countries throughout the Asia-Pacific region and Latin America. What do we know about the TPP and how would it impact New Mexico?

We'd like to hear from you! Email callinshow@kunm.org or call in live during the show.

Guests:

Nightscream / Wikimedia Commons

New Mexico Campuses Seeing Drop In Student Enrollment - The Associated Press and Albuquerque Journal

College campuses across New Mexico have had the sharpest decline in enrollment compared to other states in the past year, according to a new study.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, a nonprofit focused on research and education policy, has ranked New Mexico with the largest enrollment drop nationwide.

USGS

Feds To Help Farmers, Ranchers In Ogallala Aquifer Region The Associated Press

Federal officials say farmers and ranchers who depend on the Ogallala Aquifer will benefit from $6.5 million in funding.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced this week that it would be investing in projects in a handful of states with the goal of conserving billions of gallons of water to extend the life of the aquifer.

Rita Daniels

AG: Insufficient Evidence To Charge Bernalillo County DA - The Associated Press

New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas says there's insufficient evidence to prosecute the district attorney of the most populous county in the state for bribery or intimidation of witnesses.

But Balderas is criticizing Bernalillo County District Attorney Kari Brandenburg and the Albuquerque Police Department for their actions in connection with two pending investigations of Brandenburg's son.

NMFO

Health Department Facing Projected Deficit Of $6 Million - The Associated Press and Santa Fe New Mexican

The state health department is facing a project deficit of nearly $6 million.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that the department had a $27 million surplus only two years ago and its practice of contracting with private nursing services may have contributed to budget problems.

PNM Rate Hike Rejected

May 13, 2015
fallsroad via Flickr

The Public Regulation Commission voted unanimously to reject PNM’s application to raise rates by 16 percent for residential users.

red5standingby via Flickr / Creative Commons License

KUNM Call In Show Thu. 5/14 8a:  

The Albuquerque City Council passed a pay equity ordinance last week that provides incentives to companies that pay women at least 90 percent of what they pay men in comparable jobs. The ordinance is being lauded as a national model, but does it go far enough? We'd like to hear from you! Email callinshow@kunm.org, post your comments online or call in live during the show. 

Guests:

pascalk via Flickr / Creative Commons License

New Mexico Attorney General To Review Police Training Goals - The Associated Press

New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas has announced he will review the much-debated curriculum of the New Mexico Law Enforcement Academy.

Balderas said Tuesday as chair of the board that oversees the academy he also will examine if the academy is following state transparency laws and wants to make sure officer discipline is handled appropriately.

Rita Daniels

Hundreds of clean energy advocates marched in front of PNM headquarters on Tuesday during the utility’s annual shareholders meeting. The crowd called for New Mexico’s largest electricity provider to rethink its energy portfolio and continued investment in fossil fuels.

Leszek Teterycz wants PNM to replace all of the power that will be lost when two coal units are shuttered at the San Juan Generating Station with energy harnessed from the sun.

Creative Commons

Report Details Problems Impacting Teacher Retention Santa Fe New Mexican, Albuquerque Journal

New Mexico is struggling to retain teachers and one reason is low pay.

Mike Tungate via Flickr / Creative Commons License

Santolina developers and their opponents will appeal parts of the master plan for the 22-square-mile suburb at the Bernalillo County Commission meeting tonight.

Santolina was recommended for approval in December of 2014 by the planning commission.

Rita Daniels

Profits at New Mexico’s largest electric company have skyrocketed in the last few years, according to a new report, and demonstrators are planning to protest outside of PNM’s shareholder meeting Tuesday morning. 

steev hise via Flickr

Hatch Valley Farmers Strive To Protect Chile Brand - The Las Cruces Sun-News, The Associated Press

Hatch Valley farmers are banding together to protect their brand, which to them represents a long heritage of local, home-grown food.

Rusty Blazenhoff via Flickr / Creative Commons License

Officials Buzzed Over Proposed Marijuana Farm Near Roswell The Associated Press

A proposal to turn a former dairy processing plant near Roswell into a place to grow plants, specifically marijuana, isn't getting high praise from local officials.

The Roswell Daily Record reports that a joint city-county commission will meet next week to consider Pecos Valley Pharmaceuticals' request to rezone the facility as a "pharmaceutical manufacturing site."

U.S. Drought Mitigation Center

Drought conditions across much of New Mexico have been improving. According to this week’s U.S. Drought Monitor report, 55 percent of the state is in moderate to severe drought. That’s down from 97 percent at this time last year.  

This May is already one of the wettest Mays on record in Albuquerque. Climatologist David Dubois says forecasts are showing above average rainfall will continue for most of New Mexico.

Kevin Dooley via Flickr

UNM Researchers Challenge Gila River Studies - The Associated Press and Albuquerque Journal

Two University of New Mexico researchers say state water managers based their decision to pursue a multimillion-dollar diversion and storage project along the Gila River based on studies that lacked credibility.

The Albuquerque Journal reports the researchers outlined their concerns in a letter to the Bureau of Reclamation.

Hospital, Heal Thyself

May 7, 2015
Alice Popkorn via Flickr / Creative Commons License

New Mexico’s 60 hospitals weren’t rated so well in a recent report from USNews.com – they didn’t meet a standard of care on par with the top 25 nationally ranked hospitals.

Commentator Andrea Mays says hospitalization, like many experiences in life, is better in the abstract.

Read the full-length commentary here.

Albuquerque Police Department

Prosecutor In NM Police Shooting Wants More Ballistics Tests - The Associated Press

A special prosecutor reviewing the case of two Albuquerque police officers who have been charged with murder in the shooting death of a homeless man wants more ballistics testing to be done.

Randi McGinn says the scientific testing is to address defense attorneys' question about which of the two officers fired the most immediate fatal third shot into the man's back.

Rita Daniels

There is a growing demand for locally grown food in New Mexico, but farmers here are getting older. The average age is 65. However, there are programs that aim to inspire and train up-and-coming young farmers.

AllenS / Wikimedia Commons

Albuquerque Releases Internal Audit Of Taser Contract - The Associated Press

City auditors say personnel at Albuquerque's troubled police department bypassed purchasing regulations and compromised the integrity of the city's procurement process when purchasing body cameras from Taser International in 2013.

The city's Office of Internal Audit released the findings Tuesday.

They follow an equally scathing report by New Mexico State Auditor Tim Keller, which uncovered a cozy relationship involving Taser and former police chief Ray Schultz.

Junglecat / Wikimedia Commons

Albuquerque Officials Briefed On Scathing Taser Audit - The Associated Press

Albuquerque City Councilors briefed on a recent scathing state audit that uncovered a cozy relationship involving a former police chief and Taser International have varied opinions on the review.

Some want to look into tightening the city's procurement codes, while one questions how much disclosure is necessary by city officials and workers who might work as contractors.

Will Thomas

New Mexico’s largest utility company promised to have a completed coal-supply agreement for their power plant in place by last Friday but PNM missed its own deadline.

The coal-supply agreement for the San Juan Generating Station in northwestern New Mexico is one of the linchpins for the plant’s future energy production. The utility wants to shut down two units there and replace that power with nuclear, natural gas, some solar and more coal.

VIDEO: Drilling Deep Series On NMPBS

May 4, 2015

Laura Paskus is reporting our Drilling Deep series on oil and gas development in northwestern New Mexico.

She's looking at issues surrounding flaring, the cultural implications of the oil and gas development and environmental impacts, to name a few. Recently, NMPBS' Sarah Gustavus spoke with Laura about the series on a segment of New Mexico in Focus. Check it out!

BCSO

Man Dies After Being Shot By Bernalillo County DeputyThe Associated Press

A Bernalillo County Sheriff's deputy is on paid administrative leave following a south valley shooting that left one man dead.

The Albuquerque Journal reports deputies responded to a neighbor's call that an argument was taking place in a parked car. Deputies talked to the woman and tried to talk to the man, who then produced a weapon.

Environmental Protection Agency

US To Pay $13.2M For Navajo Nation Uranium Mine Evaluation The Associated Press

Navajo Nation officials say the U.S. Department of Justice has agreed to provide $13.2 million for a cleanup evaluation of 16 abandoned uranium mines across the vast reservation.

Tribal officials say the investigation of the sites is a necessary step before final cleanup decisions can be made.

The Navajo Nation encompasses more than 27,000 square miles within Arizona, New Mexico and Utah.

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