KUNM

State Of Change

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In New Mexico, computer science courses are not mandated by the state. Many schools in metropolitan areas offer these courses, but few rural school districts do. However, one rural school district has turned to New Mexico’s Supercomputing Challenge, an annual science and engineering competition, to offer computer science education.

In Small Towns, A Way To Make Remote Work, Work

Apr 23, 2018
New Mexico PBS

Dilapidated motels line the entrance to Grants, New Mexico, signs of the boom that came and went in this town of 9,000 people. 

Reclamation work continues at the mines that once earned Grants the nickname “uranium capital of the world,” but federal figures show the mining industry employs a fraction of what it once did in the historic U.S. Route 66 town. “The uranium mines were good to us,” said Sarah Pena, 71, a lifelong Grants resident. “They brought the economy up, and there are a lot of people who are still here, who stayed.”

Tribes Lead The Way For Faster Internet Access In New Mexico

Apr 9, 2018
New Mexico PBS

 

For decades in these sparsely populated valleys and peaks in northern New Mexico, the internet has been slow, unreliable and expensive. This region is not remote, exactly.

Katharine Egli

TAOS, NM – Molly Byrnes, 34, and Jesse Hofmann-Smith, 35, can’t reliably make phone calls on their cellular network from their cozy apartment on the outskirts of Taos, but they can host real-time webinars and build websites online for clients across the country.

 

Their casita is one of about 6,300 homes and businesses in northern New Mexico connected to a high-speed fiber-optic internet network run by an unlikely source: the local electric cooperative.

 

Katharine Egli for the Solutions Journalism Network

What if big telecom isn’t the only game in town for internet service? Member-owned cooperatives and community networks are springing up around the country. And what’s more, they’re making net neutrality—unthrottled access to an open net—a core value.

Katharine Egli for the Solutions Journalism Network

Quality internet service is key to overcoming poverty, according to studies worldwide. But all over the U.S., people of color and folks with low incomes are less likely to have access to an affordable, reliable connection. Plus, big corporations are often unwilling to lay line through tough terrain without a lot of customers.

Sarah Gustavus

Let's Talk New Mexico 4/5 8a:  Internet access is expensive and often slow in rural communities across New Mexico. How might improving internet speed and access help all New Mexicans  pursue educational and economic opportunities? 

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

When the oil and gas industry takes a dive, or when extractive industries tank, so do economies in rural areas, where a lot of the jobs come from drilling, or mining, or power plants. A business incubator is helping entrepreneurs on the Navajo Nation with the idea that local skills and talents—and cash flowing in and out of local businesses—are key to independence from environmentally damaging corporations. 

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

Oil and gas drilling and mining companies come to rural areas offering jobs and cash, but they also dig into the land, pull resources out of it and create pollution. There are some folks in these regions who say the trade off isn’t fair in the long run. One organization is working on the Navajo Nation to stabilize the boom-and-bust economy of extraction by boosting local entrepreneurs and small business.

Ed Williams / KUNM/Public Health New Mexico

The Indian Health Service—the federal agency tasked with providing health services to Native American communities—has long been the go-to health care provider for tribes in New Mexico and across the country.

But in recent years, that has started to change, and a growing number of tribes are deciding that managing their own clinics and behavioral health programs will help build healthier, more resilient communities.

Leah Todd

Let’s Talk New Mexico 10/26 8a: In New Mexico and across the West, economies are changing. From agriculture to tech startups, health care and business on tribal lands, communities in New Mexico are working to adapt. 

This week on Let’s Talk New Mexico, we’re looking at communities who are coming up with solutions to the economic changes our state is facing as part of our collaboration with the Solutions Journalism Network's State of Change project.