KUNM

Marisa Demarco

Reporter

Marisa Demarco is a reporter based in Albuquerque, N.M. She's spent more than a decade in journalism, founding the New Mexico Compass, and editing and writing for the Weekly Alibi, the Albuquerque Tribune and UNM's Daily Lobo. She covered poverty and public health until September 2016 when she became a general assignment reporter at KUNM. 

Ways to Connect

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

 


Let’s Talk New Mexico 10/4 8am: Around the country, voter participation is surging, and people are predicting the midterms in November will see a big turnout. Still, plenty of eligible people—even folks who are registered—don’t cast their ballots. Are you planning not to vote? Do you distrust politicians, government and the two-party political process? Are you tired of extreme rhetoric and ideological divisions? Do you dislike negative campaign ads? Are you frustrated with who’s on your ballot?

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More folks are experiencing homelessness around the country, and Albuquerque’s mayor says the numbers are up here, too. Mayor Tim Keller talked about the pros and cons of what his predecessor Richard Berry rolled out, and how the city can create a system that’s easy to navigate for people who don’t have a place to live.

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Let's Talk New Mexico 9/20 8 am: Prisons in New Mexico don’t have enough medical staff, and advocates say this means people don’t get the help they need—even when their injuries and illnesses are severe. Are you incarcerated? Or do you have friends or family members in state prisons? Are you concerned about their health? Email LetsTalk@kunm.org, tweet #letstalkNM or call in live during the show on Thursday morning: 277-5866.

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

Hundreds of students around the state are affected by the Trump administration’s amped-up immigration rhetoric, and teachers are seeing the effects in their classrooms. The New Mexico Dream Team held a training for University of New Mexico faculty, instructors and staff on Friday.

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The state fired the private company in charge of prisoner health care and gave the contract to another company after a 2016 investigation into dangerously bad medical care in prisons by the Santa Fe New Mexican. But in the two years since the change, millions of dollars in fines have been leveled against the new private health care provider. 

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The American Civil Liberties Union says laws against panhandling around the country violate free speech rights. The local branch of the ACLU sent letters to 10 cities in New Mexico on Monday, August 28, demanding that they strike down those panhandling bans.

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New Mexico’s struggled for years with how to handle Real ID and created a two-tiered system where people have an option for an alternative license or identification card. A legal settlement announced on Tuesday, Aug. 21, will force the Motor Vehicle Division to accept more types of documentation for people who opt out of Real ID.

Courtesy of the City of Albuquerque

Let's Talk New Mexico 8/16 8a: Did you know that you can check out cake pans, WiFi hotspots and ukuleles from Albuquerque Public Libraries? You can skip expensive gym bills and work out for free—lift weights, get on a cardio machine—at some community centers. What do you know about that's free? What free resources do you find useful? What do you wish was offered for free? Email LetsTalk@kunm.org, tweet with #LetsTalkNM or call in live during the show. 

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Horrifying and fatal cases of child abuse and neglect are pervasive in New Mexico. People here are asking the question: How do we stop this? Nationally, evidence is showing that prevention is the key.

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

Seven red states filed a lawsuit in May arguing that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy, or DACA, is unconstitutional because Congress never voted on it. A District Court judge in Texas will hear arguments on Wednesday, Aug. 8, about whether to issue an emergency halt to DACA.

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

People detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement around the country describe harsh conditions and even abuse inside facilities. Transgender women seeking asylum in the United States are often held by ICE in a separate pod at a detention center near Grants, New Mexico. On Friday, July 27, advocates saw a small victory when some women were released.

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

Sometimes people who've experienced hardship are in a unique position to know what other folks in trouble need. That’s Marion Goodluck.

Every day, weekends, in the middle of the night—she thinks about and plans for the American Indian Women’s Center. It doesn’t exist yet, but she knows from her own lived experience that Albuquerque needs a domestic violence shelter made by and for indigenous people. Her organization is hoping to secure funding from the city and state for an all-nations center that’s welcoming, that feels like a home and a site for healing. 

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Congress is spending billions more than it ever has to fight the opioid epidemic affecting the nation. Some of that money is going to rural areas, and there was some concern that the rural communities being targeted were almost entirely white.

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New evidence has shattered the widely believed narrative of how 10-year-old Victoria Martens was killed in Albuquerque. Right after her death in 2016, detectives interviewed her mother Michelle, and based on that, they pinned the homicide on her and two other adults. But two years later, the District Attorney says that story is false, and DNA evidence points to another killer, who’s still out there.

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

People around the state are used to seeing the flows in local rivers fluctuate. But this year, sandbars have started to widen and connect, and riverbanks are growing by yards. In some places down South, it’s completely dry for miles. KUNM caught up with journalist Laura Paskus of the New Mexico Political Report in a dry patch of the Rio Grande on Thursday morning. 

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

UPDATE: The Office of the Medical Investigator determined that the bones construction workers found are ancient and not related to the gravesite discovered in 2009.

Courtesy of Gen. Michele LaMontagne

It’s June—Pride month—and Brig. Gen. Michele LaMontagne of the Air National Guard just became the second woman ever to obtain that rank in New Mexico earlier this year. At her promotion ceremony, the general emphasized the strengths of diversity among the ranks. She spoke with KUNM about changes in the military during her 26 years of service.

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

Dozens of transgender people seeking asylum were part of the caravan that crossed the border about a month ago. One woman was transferred to a detention facility in New Mexico, and she died days later. Demonstrators gathered at the Immigration and Customs Enforcement field office in Albuquerque Wednesday afternoon to march, chant and demand answers.

Hannah Colton / KUNM

Heavily contested primaries like New Mexico’s congressional races can sort of tear parties apart, UNM Professor Lonna Atkeson said. That’s especially true when outside organizations start pumping money into candidates. "To see the groups come in and spend a lot of money with candidates who largely have the same ideological agenda is interesting."

Courtesy of Jill Werhane of Miami, N.M.

UPDATE 6/12 7p: The Ute Park Fire is now 92 percent contained and containment lines are holding around the fire as of Monday. Some smoke and flames may be visible in coming weeks until there's rain, but the burning won't cause the fire to grow, according to the New Mexico State Forestry Division. 

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UPDATE 6/9 7a: The evacuation orders for residents of Ute Park were lifted Friday, according to the New Mexico State Forestry Division. The Ute Park Fire is now 77 percent contained as it burns through pockets of vegetation within the perimeters of the fire. Crews will be patrolling and chipping up debris from thinning operations. Some firefighters are being reassigned to other incidents. 

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UPDATE 6/8 8a: Firefighters have corralled the Ute Park Fire on its western edge although Ute Park remains evacuated. The fire has consumed 36,740 acres and is 66 percent contained. Its still producing some smoke that is affecting Cimarron and surrounding areas. According to the New Mexico State Forestry Division, no homes have been burned but 219 are still threatened.

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UPDATE 6/6 7a: Growth of the Ute Park Fire has slowed as hot shot crews work directly on the western flank of the fire. Helicopters are dropping water, according to the New Mexico State Forestry Division, and no additional structures have been destroyed after the 14 that burnt at the Philmont Scout Ranch last week. The fire is now 30 percent contained. 

Ute Park remains under mandatory evacuation while residents of Cimarron were allowed to return to their homes on Monday. 

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UPDATE 6/4 5p: : The Ute Park fire in northeastern New Mexico spans more than 36,000 and remains about 23 percent contained. Sunday’s rain stalled the fire’s growth but didn’t stop it. The cause is still under investigation.

State Forestry Division spokesperson Wendy Mason said the good news is that lightning from the weekend’s storms did not start any new fires. But the forecast this week shows no rain in the area. "It’ll probably be going for a couple of weeks because it is so large and there is still a lot of dry fuel out there," Mason said.

People were allowed to return home to the village of Cimarron in phases on Monday afternoon, but the evacuation order was still in place for Ute Park, and the blaze was threatening 219 homes there.

It’s likely the blaze will move west, Mason said. Because most of the state is experiencing dry conditions, it’s been a busy fire season so far, she said, and there’s still a ways to go.

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New Mexico’s been fighting the opioid epidemic for decades, but it wasn’t until last year that the federal government declared it a public health emergency. Congress just pumped up the budget for fighting the epidemic by billions, including $100 million for rural areas. But none of the rural counties in our state were targeted for that money. Now that’s changing.

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

Congress boosted the budget for the battle against the opioid epidemic this year, and a chunk of it—$100 million—is slated for treatment and prevention in rural communities. But something about how lawmakers chose to prioritize that money caught a New Mexico health official by surprise: the funding is focused on counties that are mostly white.

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

The federal government is distributing grant money to counties to fight opioid addiction. But Española and the surrounding area might not get any of it, even though communities there have struggled for years with some of the highest overdose death rates in the country.

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Let’s Talk New Mexico 5/10 8a: About one in four New Mexicans has an EBT card in their wallet that they use to buy food. We’re continuing the conversation this week about food assistance and new work requirements that Congress is considering in the 2018 Farm Bill.

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Only a small handful of lockups around the country let new moms who are behind bars breastfeed their infants. But the Bernalillo County jail—the biggest in the state—rolled out a policy that allows female inmates to feed their babies, or to pump milk for them.

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Let's Talk New Mexico 4/26 8a: Call 277-5866. We're talking about the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, and whether people in our state can access it. We'll also talk about the Farm Bill proposed in Congress, which would increase work requirements for people using SNAP, along with other changes. Have you applied for SNAP? How did the process go for you? Or what do you think of work requirements for people participating in this programs? How can people in New Mexico get the food they need? Email letstalk@KUNM.org, tweet #letstalkNM or call in live during the show. 

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

For decades, families in New Mexico have been missing out on food and medical assistance that they’re eligible for under federal law. Records show that things have gotten better in recent months. Still, the issue’s been in court for 30 years, and a federal judge says one problem is a lack of accountability within the state’s Income Support Division

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.

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

All around the United States, students filed out of their classrooms on Wednesday, March 14, to stand for school safety. It’s been a month since the mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida.

In New Mexico, school administrations had mixed reactions to the planned walkouts. Over the last couple of weeks, KUNM followed the students at an arts charter school in Albuquerque, as they organized with the support of school staff.

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