The Environmental Protection Agency says they'll be inspecting properties on Acoma Pueblo in western New Mexico for radioactive materials. The assessment is one of numerous being conducted in the southwest, and in Indian Country.
Since 2009, the EPA says they've been doing structural assessments of properties near former uranium mills and mines, including the Navajo Nation, Laguna Pueblo and now Acoma Pueblo.
Children who depend on free meals at school in New Mexico have a place to go this summer now that the state's summer meals program is up and running.
The pre-packaged meals usually include a sandwich, carrots or another veggie, milk or juice and fruit, and for kids who might not otherwise get lunch at home during the summer months. New Mexico's Children, Youth and Families Department doles out the money to schools and local government agencies that hand out the meals at central locations in dozens of cities. Henry Varela is CYFD's spokesman.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, or HUD for short, says the Navajo Nation has failed to spend nearly $150-million in housing grant money for fiscal year 2012. Since 2000, the Navajo Nation have almost consistently failed to spend HUD grant money.
In a letter of warning to the Navajo Housing Authority, HUD gave notice that the tribe was in violation of the Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Act.
The effects of the sequester are beginning to hit home for many of New Mexico’s federally funded social programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, that provides a small amount of grocery money for hundreds of thousands of New Mexicans each month. Several speakers at the New Mexico State Legislature's Health and Human Services Committee meeting Thursday pointed out that New Mexico leads the nation in income inequality, making it one of the poorest states in the nation.
New Mexico’s Public Defender’s office has been undergoing changes since voters approved a constitutional amendment creating an independent office last year. A commission made up of 11 members appointed by Governor Susana Martinez and state legislators will select a chief public defender by mid-October, moving the department out of the governor’s authority.
Some critically ill New Mexicans could end up paying more for their health care this year.
Almost 16 hundred New Mexicans are slated to be shifted out of a state high risk medical insurance pool into a new federal health coverage plan on July 1st. That's because the federal government is cutting funding for the state program to just over 12 million dollars.
But the new plan would cost more for the patients, many of whom suffer from HIV/AIDS, cancer, and diabetes -chronic diseases that are often quite expensive to treat.
UPDATE: Exchange board chairman J.R Damron said Monday that New Mexico will focus on having a state-run insurance exchange ready for small businesses this fall and will use a federally operated exchange to offer insurance coverage to individuals for the next year.
He said a "hybrid" approach to the exchange was necessary because the state didn't have enough time to implement its own computer system to serve individuals by a looming federal deadline.
The Mescalero Apache tribe of New Mexico says it is looking to expand it's economy by mining rare earth elements. The elements are highly sought after for their applications in high-tech and green industries.
West Nile virus cases in the Southwest are up from previous years, according to new 2012 statistics released by the Centers for Disease Control. First discovered in New York around 1999, the West Nile virus traveled west, carried by birds and mosquitoes, eventually hitting the Southwest.
States aiming to run their own health insurance exchanges, will be in need of federal grants to get those exchanges launched, and are facing a deadline today. New Mexico's application is in, but there's still a question of whether or not the exchange will be run by the state, federal government, or both.
New Mexico's federal grant request totals about $20-million dollars, and will be used for marketing, public relations, and outreach. With much of the states population living in rural areas, that outreach will be critical to the exchanges survival.
New Mexico continues to be sluggish in its recovery from the recession and according to a new report, the state lacks over 100,000 jobs.
Gerry Bradley is with New Mexico Voices for Children, a nonprofit children’s advocacy group that produced the report. He says the state needs a jobs package to fill the gap caused by job loss and lack of job growth. Bradley says state government has conducted an experiment over the last ten years- cutting taxes for high income people and corporations.
Moving into a new home is an exciting event, but for people who have experienced homelessness, the joy is especially poignant. In Santa Fe, the renovated Stage Coach Motor Inn is preserving its classic nicho and viga architecture and working to preserve a sense of permanency for some new tenants.
Mark Olson can't seem to get the smile off his face, and he has a lot to be thankful for - not so previously.
(Laughs)"Mmm, no, for awhile there I couldn't smile for a long-time because of what was happening. Still the disability is kinda depressing."
Moving into a new home is an exciting event, but for people who have experienced homelessness, the joy is especially poignant. In Santa Fe, the renovated Stage Coach Motor Inn IS preserving its classic nicho and viga architecture ... and working to preserve a sense of permanency for some new tenants. KUNM's Poverty and Public Health reporter Deborah Martinez has the story.
This audio is pending
(amby beep beep of wheelchair):
Mark Olson can't seem to get the smile off his face, and he has a lot to be thankful for.
With drought affecting much of the southwest, the Navajo Nation is working to bring water to it's citizens with the tribal government recently approving over $8-million dollars for water infrastructure projects. The Navajo Nation is roughly the size of West Virginia, has a population of around 170,000 people, and much of the Nations citizens are in need of water.
In what's thought to be the first housing program of it's kind brought to a tribal community, the Pueblo of Zuni in western New Mexico has broken ground on a series of homes financed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The "Self-help housing" program works like this: the USDA gives your community a grant to finance housing, delivers supplies to build a home, provides blue prints, then - with the help of technical volunteers - oversees community members build their own homes.
Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Health Care Act is expected to bring in much needed dollars to the chronically underfunded Indian Health Service or IHS. But tribal health experts say the main game changer in Indian country will be new health insurance exchanges. For the first time ever, the IHS, a system traditionally open only to Native Americans, will be competing for non-Indian patients in order to survive. KUNM’s Tristan Ahtone reports.
The Star Wars films have been translated into at least 50 languages, but this will be the first time a major movie, Star Wars Episode IV will be dubbed into a North American indigenous language. The translation comes from a partnership between the Navajo Nation Museum, Navajo Parks and Recreation and Lucasfilm.
Manuelito Wheeler is the director of the Navajo Nation Museum and has been working to get the film translated for over three years. He hopes the movie will serve as a tool to preserve the language.
Obama’s proposed budget for Indian Health Services is up from FY 2012 by $124 million.. The White House’s focus on increased funding to IHS programs, it’s now up to congress to make a decision on the President’s budget.
Around 25-thousand Native Americans in New Mexico will become eligible for Medicaid when the Affordable Care Act goes into effect next year. The change translates to more money for the Indian Health Service. But as KUNM’s Poverty and Public Health Reporter Tristan Ahtone explains: in Albuquerque, Medicaid expansion will also force Native health providers to deal with something they’ve never faced before: competition from non-tribal health programs.
A legislative bill signed into law Friday by Governor Susana Martinez will help victims of human trafficking get cash, emergency housing and other assistance. The new law takes effect July 1 and it also provides benefits and services for victims like child care, legal, and food assistance. Representative Gail Chasey and the nonprofit New Mexico Women's Agenda worked to develop the bill.
The New Mexico Department of Health reports that the distribution of Narcan is yielding promising results.
Often distributed through syringe exchange programs, Narcan works by causing the body to begin immediate withdrawal from heroin or prescription opioids, essentially reversing an overdose.
Brad Wharton, a drug epidemiologist with the New Mexico Department of Health, says in 2010 and 2011, with Narcan, Santa Fe County saw 12 overdose reversals and 19 heroin deaths; Bernalillo County, 96 overdose reversals and 77 heroin deaths; while in Rio Arriba County:
A dry winter, strong winds, and above average temperatures have caused the U.S. Department of Agriculture to declared much of the state to be in a drought emergency. Jeff Witte with the New Mexico Department of Agriculture says that farmers with the ability to pump groundwater will be able to plant some crops this year. However, Witte says he's optimistic that farmers and ranchers in New Mexico will be able to continue providing viable crops to the state
A report released Wednesday from the Center for American Progress, ranks New Mexico the 10th worst state in the nation for gun deaths.
The report, called "America Under The Gun," puts New Mexico's gun-death rate, 40% higher than the national average, and looked at 10 key indicators like homicide, firearm violence against women, as well violence against law enforcement officials.
This week, the Albuquerque Environmental Health Department convened a Bed Bug Conference to educate the public on bed bug basics: how to identify an infestation, how to treat it, and most importantly, how to prevent an infestation in the first place. KUNM's Poverty and Public Health reporter Tristan Ahtone went with Rita Daniels to learn about the bugs, and spread the message.