KUNM Call In Show Thu. 6/27/13 8a: One out of five New Mexico seniors doesn't get enough to eat. Why is there such food insecurity among the elderly here and what can be done? Are there seniors in your neighborhood who need assistance with meals? We'd like to hear from you! Email firstname.lastname@example.org, post your comments online, or call in live during the show.
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Host: Deborah Martinez, Poverty and Public Health Reporter
Veterans with combat disorders joined their families this week to express their frustration at how long it takes to get veterans services. Congressional representatives Steve Pearce and Michelle Lujan Grisham hosted the public forum in Albuquerque Monday.
Fans ran at high speed in the American Legion Post 13 auditorium as outside temperatures inched up to 100 degrees. Tensions were also heated among the families of veterans who've had trouble receiving healthcare services once they're off the battle field.
Only half of the Native American students in the U.S. graduated from high school in 2010, according to a new report by the non-profit publisher of Education Week. The study found Native American students graduated at a rate 30 percent lower than white students, 17 percent lower than Latino students, and 10 percent lower than African American students.
The Southwest has some of the highest rates of childhood hunger in the country. That's according to a new study that says New Mexico is the most food insecure state in the nation.
The report, authored by Feeding America, ranked New Mexico first for child hunger, followed by Arizona in third place, Nevada in eighth, Texas in ninth place, and California in 10th. Sonya Warwick is with New Mexico's Roadrunner Food Bank.
More cases of Hepatitis ‘A’ found in tainted frozen berries from Costco Wholesale have been identified in New Mexico and the southwest, with 100 people who were exposed receiving a vaccination. At least 61 people are sick and have been hospitalized in seven states, including New Mexico, according to the New Mexico Department of Health. David Selvage is an epidemiologist with DOH. He says people who have eaten the Townsend Farms Organic Anti-oxidant Blend frozen berries in the last 14 days should see their doctor or go to a clinic to get the Hepatitis-A vaccine.
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.
(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.