KUNM

Elaine Baumgartel

News Director

Elaine volunteered to answer phones during a KUNM pledge drive in 2003 and she's been unable to drag herself away from public radio ever since.  And why would she want to?  She wore many sets of headphones at the station before becoming KUNM's News Director - local anchor of NPR's Morning Edition, reporter in the KUNM newsroom, and host and producer of the KUNM Call In Show.  

As a graduate student in the Communication and Journalism MA program at UNM, Elaine completed her thesis project on the West Mesa murders and coverage of violence against women in the media.

In her spare time, Elaine likes to garden and work with ceramics in addition to spending time with her family.  

Ways to Connect

screenshot from NMleg.com

Next year’s census will set the stage for redistricting in 2021. A new report examines the history of drawing electoral districts in New Mexico and what state lawmakers could do to ensure a transparent and fair process.

Liam James Doyle/NPR

Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire is testifying before the House intelligence committee about a whistleblower complaint reportedly connected to President Trump's communication with Ukraine's president. Lawmakers have demanded to see the complaint, which had been withheld. Special coverage begins Thursday, September 25 at 7:00 a.m. on KUNM. 

Samat K Jaim via Wikimedia Commons / Creative Commons License

UPDATE 6/25: The Pine Lodge fire grew to more than 9,000 acres and is 5% contained. Find out more.

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Twenty mile per hour wind gusts blew the Pine Lodge wildfire in southeastern New Mexico away from threatened structures and toward forested areas Monday.

rawpixel.com via pexels.com / public domain

It's awards season for journalists and we're proud to annouce that the New Mexico Broadcasters Association has recogized KUNM news coverage for Excellence in Broadcasting with top awards for Breaking News, Feature News, Continuing Coverage, Legislative Coverage, Best Student Newscaster and Student Reporter. 

Debbie Lockhart / U.S. Air Force/public domain

Let's Talk New Mexico 5/9 8a: Communities across New Mexico are stepping up to help migrants seeking asylum in the U.S. What kinds of assistance and services do these folks need the most? And how can you get involved if you want to help out? This week we're talking to the folks who are organizing volunteers and providing food, shelter, clothing and medical care to asylum seekers who are being released by the federal government here. We'd like to hear from you. Email LetsTalk@KUNM.org, tweet with the hashtag #LetsTalkNM or call in live during the show. 

Arianna Sena/KUNM

Let's Talk New Mexico 3/14 8a: The 2019 state legislative session ends this weekend and lawmakers have been busy. Background checks for gun sales, recreational cannabis, funding for early childhood education, an ethics commission - what have lawmakers done this year - and what have they set aside? We talked with reporters who've been covering the session. 

Airman B. Snyder via The National Archives Catalogue / public domain

Holloman Air Force Base is the site of some incredibly high levels of groundwater contamination. Laura Paskus broke the story for NMPoliticalReport.com this week.

Kevin MacDonald of our media partner New Mexico PBS asked her his top questions in a Facebook Live chat on Wednesday. 

Monika Stawowy via PXHere / public domain

State law prohibits public school students from using medical cannabis on campus. Lawmakers in Santa Fe advanced a bill Tuesday that would change that.

As part of our legislative coverage, we’re partnering with New Mexico PBS on weekly Facebook Live interviews on legislative topics. 

Let's Talk New Mexico 1/17 8a: How is the partial federal government shutdown playing out in New Mexico as it drags on for its fourth week with no end in sight? Over 10,000 federal workers here are either furloughed or working and not getting paid. Residents are also having trouble getting healthcare, selling products, finalizing loans and deciding how much crops to plant this year. How is the shutdown affecting you and people you know? 

Arianna Sena/KUNM

Let's Talk New Mexico 1/10 8a: Education is the top priority for New Mexico's new governor and Democratic legislative leaders as the 2019 State Legislature begins a new session next week. What would you like to see lawmakers achieve in the session? What issues are most important to you? And what would you like to see news organizations cover during the session? Our panel of local journalists will discuss the top issues for the session and our coverage priorities. And we'd like to hear from you! Email LetsTalk@KUNM.org, tweet to #LetsTalkNM or call in live during the show. 

Chris M Morris via Flickr / Creative Commons License 2.0

New Mexico authorized more than $100,000 earlier this month for engineers who are working to develop a plan to divert the Gila River for agricultural uses downstream.

As Laura Paskus reports for NMPoliticalReport.com, there’s a critical deadline for the project next year and some lawmakers are questioning whether the state can meet it and get another $60 million from the federal government. 

buschap via Flickr / Creative Commons License

Let's Talk New Mexico 11/1 8a: The 2018 mid-term election is just days away on Tuesday, November 6, 2018. New Mexico voters will choose our next governor and candidates for U.S. Senate, Congress, and the state Legislature among other offices. What's driving you to the polls this year? What are the issues that you care most about this election? Are you hopeful and excited about the candidates? Or do partisan divisions and nasty campaign ads sour you on the democratic process? Maybe you can't vote, but you'd like to. Or maybe you are choosing not to vote. We'd like to hear from you. Email LetsTalk@kunm.org or call in live during the show. 

UNM via Flickr / Creative Commons License

It’s been a little over a week since University of New Mexico regents voted to eliminate 4 sports programs, despite numerous passionate objections from around the campus and the city.

The men’s soccer program was one of the cuts, but Coach Jeremy Fishbein is holding onto hope that the reaction in the community, and among some state lawmakers, might signal that all is not lost.

Matthew Keefe via Flickr / Creative Commons via Flickr

KUNM at the University of New Mexico is hiring Reporters to be local hosts/anchors for NPR magazine programs like All Things Considered and Morning Edition. Come join our award winning news team!

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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