Public Health New Mexico

Public Health New Mexico
6:18 am
Fri April 25, 2014

Management, Safety Cited For Radiation Release At WIPP

Credit Public domain image.

Department of Energy investigators say a radiation release from the federal government's underground nuclear waste dump in southeastern New Mexico was the result of a slow erosion of safety at the 15-year-old site.

In a report released Thursday, they also say the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant near Carlsbad fails to meet federal standards for nuclear facilities and its employees bungled their response to the emergency.

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Public Health New Mexico
2:26 pm
Wed April 23, 2014

Arizona Health Company Cuts Staff In Southern NM

One of La Frontera's centers in Las Cruces. The company has let 26 employees go since mid-March.
Credit Heath Haussamen / New Mexico In Depth

La Frontera, an Arizona firm brought in last year to care for the mentally ill and those struggling with addiction across Southern New Mexico, laid off or fired 20 employees last week.

About half were laid off to reduce expenses; the rest were fired for “performance issues,” according to Dan Ranieri, Tucson, Az.-based CEO for La Frontera New Mexico.

Another six workers, including two “director level” staffers, have resigned since mid-March, Ranieri said Tuesday.

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Public Health New Mexico
9:21 am
Mon April 21, 2014

Chief Has Few Answers On Latest Police Shooting

Credit openclipart.org

  UPDATE 4/23 1:45 p: Two days after Albuquerque police shot and killed a 19-year-old female who was suspected of truck theft, the chief of the troubled department says he has little information about the latest shooting.

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Public Health New Mexico
3:03 pm
Wed April 16, 2014

APD's Mental Health Quandry

Credit Wikimedia Commons

KUNM Call In Show Thu. 4/17 8a:  The Albuquerque Police Department recently made national headlines for the shooting of a man in the Sandia foothills who was mentally ill.

How can Albuquerque police learn to interact with people with mental illness more effectively? What improvements does the U.S. Department of Justice say they need to make?

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Public Health New Mexico
3:03 pm
Wed April 16, 2014

Three POC Members Resign

Credit spacepleb: Compfight via cc

  Three members of Albuquerque’s Police Oversight Commission resigned yesterday, saying the commission lacks the ability to provide real oversight of the city’s police force.

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Public Health New Mexico
10:37 pm
Thu April 10, 2014

Oversight Commission: Our Hands Are Tied

Credit Wikimedia Commons

The Police Oversight Commission met yesterday afternoon just hours after the Department of Justice released its findings on Albuquerque’s police force.

Chair *Jeffrey Peterson opened the regularly scheduled meeting with a statement about why the Police Oversight Commission has avoided commenting publicly on Albuquerque Police Department issues. He said the volunteer committee’s members have to skirt the appearance of bias.

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Public Health New Mexico
9:25 pm
Thu April 10, 2014

Feds Find Patterns of Excessive Force in APD

A scathing report has been released by the Department of Justice that accuses Albuquerque Police Department of engaging in patterns and practices of excessive force. 

After a spike in officer-involved shootings, federal investigators spent 16 months poring over police reports and interviewing hundreds of people who claim they or their family members were victims of police brutality.  

 

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Public Health New Mexico
3:12 pm
Tue April 8, 2014

County Jail: Largest Mental Health Provider in N.M.

Credit my_southborough via Creative Commons

Bernalillo County jail Chief Ramon Rustin’s resignation took effect Monday. After three years as the head of the largest jail in New Mexico, Rustin stepped down saying he needed to meet family obligations. 

KUNM spoke with Rustin in February about mental health care at the Metropolitan Detention Center.

  Jail staff says MDC is the largest mental health provider in the state. Chief Rustin agreed. In fact, Rustin put that as No. 2 on the list of problems at the Bernalillo County lockup. So what's No. 1? Overcrowding, he said.

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Public Health New Mexico
8:37 am
Tue April 8, 2014

Public Packs Albuquerque City Council Meeting On APD

Demonstrators at the Monday, April 7 Council meeting
Credit Natalia Jacquez

APD protestors and supporters turned out yesterday evening to the city council meeting in Downtown Albuquerque. More than 300 people filled the main chamber and overflow room. Those who didn’t make it in watched TV screens in Civic Plaza outside City Hall. 

City Council President Ken Sanchez announced at the beginning of the meeting that Mayor Richard Berry would not attend. "Mayor Berry Sends his regrets about not being to attend tonight’s meeting." 

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Public Health New Mexico
4:13 pm
Mon April 7, 2014

Is Illegal Sewage Dumping Contaminating New Mexico's Drinking Water?

Editor's Note: This story has been taken down as it contained text from a Farmington Daily Times article on the same topic without proper attribution. We strive for proper attribution in our reporting and will post the KUNM News Reporting Guide when it is completed which will include details on our newsroom ethics and practices. Questions? Please contact News Director Elaine Baumgartel - elaineb@kunm.org

Public Health New Mexico
10:11 pm
Sun April 6, 2014

New ACA Numbers Show Surge In Enrollment

Credit Deborah Martinez

   

The New Mexico Health Exchange reports that a total of 51,400 people have signed up for insurance coverage, either under the Affordable Care Act or directly through health insurance companies as of March 31.

The numbers seem large because unlike past reports, this one includes insurance exchange (or marketplace) shoppers and individuals and groups purchasing plans that are separate from the ACA.

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Public Health New Mexico
4:59 pm
Fri April 4, 2014

APD Review Officer Discusses Police Oversight

An aerial view of Albuquerque's core
Credit kla4067 vis Wikimedia Commons and CC

Independent Review Officer Robin Hammer criticizes the city's Police Oversight Commission for failing to examine APD's overall policy on the use of force.

"The current commissioners have chosen not to use some of the powers they’ve already been given," she said in an interview with KUNM. "At no point in my 18 months has the Police Oversight Commission chosen to look at officer-involved shootings and to review what’s gone on."

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Public Health New Mexico
5:18 pm
Thu April 3, 2014

APD Chief Statement On Crisis Officer Contradicted

APD officers talk with James Boyd before firing on him
Credit Still from APD video footage March 16, 2014

Contrary to initial reports from the Albuquerque Police Department, no Crisis Intervention Team officers trained to de-escalate situations involving people with behavioral health issues were called to the scene of a Sandia foothills standoff that ended in the death of a camper last month at the hands of police.  

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KUNM Call-In Show
1:20 pm
Thu April 3, 2014

Albuquerque Police Department out of step with community?

  KUNM Call In Show Thu. 4/3 8a:  As Albuquerque makes national news for a series of police shootings and vigorous citizen protests, we take a look at what has shaped the interactions between citizens and the Albuquerque Police Department (APD).  What has been recommended to improve interactions and curb the use of deadly force…what has been done and has not been done, and what can we now do?  

Guests:

Jeff Proctor, KRQE

Peter Simonson, ACLU

Alan Wagman, Police Oversight Task Force

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Public Health New Mexico
12:25 am
Tue April 1, 2014

Protesters Draw Up Demands for APD

Credit Marisa Demarco

  Around 150 people gathered at the Center for Peace and Justice to create a list of demands on Monday night.

A block or so away, a couple dozen protesters gathered in front of the University of New Mexico Bookstore to continue to chant and call for reform of Albuquerque’s Police Department.

The center was wall-to-wall with activists from many backgrounds and organizations. Though opinions varied widely, the group eventually narrowed a list of 30-plus demands to three. They include:

• Release video of all shootings, including lapel and helmet camera footage

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Public Health New Mexico
3:44 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

Mayor Berry: APD Showed Restraint

Mayor Richard Berry and APD Chief Gordon Eden addressed the media this afternoon regarding yesterday's protest, which the mayor earlier characterized as "mayhem." At today's news conference, Berry reiterated that what happened was not productive and said demonstrators were attempting to escalate the situation. 

Gordon described it this way: "What was a peaceful protest turned into this mob state. They were stopping traffic and engaging people who were doing nothing more than trying to get from point A to point B." 

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Public Health New Mexico
12:18 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

Video of Sunday's Protest from The Daily Lobo

Credit A still from the Daily Lobo's weekly news broadcast show "The Howl," directed by Michael Warren.

UNM's student newspaper, the Daily Lobo, offered a special video report of yesterday's 12-hour protest of the Albuquerque Police Department. The newspaper creates a news broadcast show weekly called "The Howl," which is directed by Michael Warren. Scope the paper's coverage

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Public Health New Mexico
3:16 pm
Sun March 30, 2014

Hundreds Head To Santa Fe Health Care Event Ahead Of Deadline

Young Invincibles and older adults and families wait to sign up for healthcare in Santa Fe
Deborah Martinez

Midnight Monday is the deadline to sign up for healthcare under the Affordable Care Act.  Over the weekend in New Mexico people lined up to get covered, either through the insurance marketplace or Medicaid.  

From those in their 60s to young people under 26 covered under their parents’ plan, hundreds stood in the bright spring sunshine sign up under Medicaid, or with one of four insurance plans.

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Public Health New Mexico
6:47 pm
Fri March 28, 2014

AZ Firm Cuts Pay For NM Behavioral Health Workers

Credit Agave Health logo

One of the five Arizona companies that took over operations from New Mexico behavioral health providers last year is announcing salary reductions.  The company says it had to cut pay because it was losing money.

Agave is a non-profit corporation formed in New Mexico by Southwest Behavioral Health of Arizona.  Rather than imposing layoffs, CEO and President Jeff Jorde said the firm needs to cut salaries for its 350 employees by five percent, beginning next week. 

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Public Health New Mexico
1:50 pm
Thu March 27, 2014

ACA Adviser: New Mexico Lags Behind

Phil Schiliro with President Obama
Credit whitehouse.gov

  The deadline to sign up for health care is Monday, March 31, and New Mexico lags behind just about every other state in the country in terms of enrollment.

Phil Schiliro is the adviser to President Obama on the Affordable Care Act. He moved his family to Santa Fe in 2012 and said enrollment is critical in New Mexico.

A study completed in 2012 showed more than 400,000 New Mexicans don’t have health insurance. Only about 15,000 have signed up on the exchange.

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Public Health New Mexico
4:02 pm
Wed March 26, 2014

Big Picture: APD Shootings

Demonstrators in Downtown Albuquerque on Tuesday, March 25.
Credit Rita Daniels

Someone has posted a YouTube video claiming to represent the hacker group Anonymous and promising to launch an assault on the Albuquerque Police Department's websites. 

As a Downtown protest against APD’s use of deadly force concluded Tuesday night, officers opened fire on a man on the Westside. He died Wednesday morning. 

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Public Health New Mexico
10:30 am
Wed March 26, 2014

APD Guns Down Westside Man

Credit A still from a neighbor's cell phone video of last night's shooting

 

   ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Just hours after hundreds took to the streets to protest the Albuquerque police killing of a homeless man, officials say a man was shot dead by officers after he opened fire on police.

Albuquerque Chief Gorden Eden said the suspect was shot late Tuesday. He said police had received a call to an apartment complex about a man holding a child at gunpoint.

Albuquerque police spokesman Tasia Martinez says the suspect, whose has not been named, died this morning at a nearby hospital.

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Public Health New Mexico
10:04 am
Wed March 26, 2014

Homeless Group Calls for Homes, Not Handcuffs

Credit Victor Cassale via Flickr CC

  UPDATE: March 26, 2014—Hundreds marched Downtown last night to protest the Albuquerque Police Department's killing of a foothills camper on March 16. As the demonstration wound down, APD opened fire on a man on the Westside, who police say, fired shots at them first. The suspect died at the hospital.

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Public Health New Mexico
1:31 pm
Tue March 25, 2014

Was Crisis Officer Present When APD Shot Foothills Camper?

APD canine attacks James Boyd after police shot him
Credit A still from APD video released March 21, 2014

When police interact with people facing mental health issues, they send an officer trained in crisis intervention to defuse a volatile situation.  Those officers are key in preventing the kind of violence that ended in the death of a camper in the Sandia foothills last week.

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Public Health New Mexico
1:16 pm
Tue March 25, 2014

NCI to Study Effects of Trinity Test

The Trinity test 0.016 seconds after the explosion in Southern New Mexico on July 16, 1945.
Credit lanl.gov via Public Domain

  The National Cancer Institute will come to New Mexico this spring to investigate how much radiation people were exposed to after the Trinity test in the southern part of the state nearly 70 years ago.

The CDC studied health hazards in the New Mexico and said state residents consumed radiation via water, milk, meat and produce grown here after July 16, 1945, when the U.S. Army detonated a nuclear weapon for the first time.

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Public Health New Mexico
3:55 pm
Mon March 24, 2014

WIPP - Failure To Communicate?

Mining crews at the Department of Energy’s Waste Isolation Pilot Plant mine the north end of the WIPP repository to support new salt studies.
Credit By ENERGY.GOV [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The director of an organization that evaluated the WIPP site for over 25 years said officials aren’t doing enough to inform New Mexicans.

Dr. Bob Neill led the Environmental Evaluation Group, which provided independent technical evaluations of the WIPP project for more than two decades. He retired a year after the plant opened in 1999, and the group disbanded in 2004.

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Public Health New Mexico
8:42 am
Sat March 22, 2014

State: Feds Wrong About Decline In Behavioral Health Services

Credit David Niblack, Imagebase.net

New Mexico’s Human Services Department says more consumers, not fewer, are receiving services since the takeover last summer of a dozen behavioral health providers accused of fraud. HSD’s response is contrary to the results of a progress report by a federal oversight agency.

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Public Health New Mexico
2:00 pm
Wed March 19, 2014

Update: Nuclear Waste From New Mexico Lab May Go To Texas

Credit Nicolas Raymond via CC

03/20/14 Update: Nuclear Waste From New Mexico Lab May Go To Texas - The Associated Press

The operator of the nation's troubled nuclear waste dump in southeastern New Mexico wants to temporarily store waste from Los Alamos National Laboratory in rural West Texas until it reopens.

Waste storage at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant near Carlsbad is halted because of a Feb. 5 truck fire and a Feb. 14 radiation leak that contaminated 17 workers.

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Public Health New Mexico
4:31 pm
Tue March 18, 2014

Water Fluoridation: Poison Or Positive Public Health Initiative?

Credit Steve A. Johnson via flickr

KUNM Call-In Show Thu. 3/20 8a:  The US has been adding fluoride to water supplies for almost 70 years, and no conclusive evidence links its use to poor public health.  But in many communities, including Santa Fe and Albuquerque, the topic is highly controversial.   This week on the KUNM Call-In Show, we'll talk with advocates on both sides of the issue in advance of an April 9 town hall in Albuquerque.

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Public Health New Mexico
1:38 pm
Tue March 18, 2014

CDC: Excessive Drinking Kills New Mexicans

The rate of alcohol-attributable deaths for men is more than twice what it is for women.
Credit Douglas Muth via Creative Commons

 

Excessive drinking is among the leading causes of preventable deaths in the U.S., according to a report just released by the CDC.

Of the 11 states studied, New Mexico had the highest death rate due to alcohol use. For every 100,000 residents, there are about 51 deaths related to excessive drinking, which is almost double the median rate.

The report also tallied up all the years of potential life lost. In New Mexico, that’s a little more than 30 thousand years annually.

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