Hannah Colton

Interim News Director, Public Health Reporter

Currently serving as interim news director at KUNM, Hannah Colton covers education, Albuquerque politics, and anything public health-related. She started at KUNM as a substitute news host in 2016, and worked as a freelance reporter and host for KSFR Santa Fe Public Radio and National Native News before joining KUNM full time in  2018. She's grateful to have gotten her start in radio at KDLG (another 89.9 FM) in Bristol Bay, Alaska. 

David Stanley via Flickr CC

Let's Talk New Mexico 1/9 8a: Iran launched missiles against U.S. bases in Iraq on Tuesday, Jan. 7, after a U.S. airstrike days earlier killed top Iranian military commander Gen. Qassem Soleimani. This week on our live call-in show, we're hearing local perspectives about the growing conflict between Iran and the United States. We'll also be speaking with an expert to understand the history and context of these tensions. And we want to hear from you. What do you think of the U.S. actions in Iran? Do you fear fast escalation? Did President Trump make the right call?

Hannah Colton / KUNM

Thousands of people go without permanent housing in Albuquerque each year. Voters this fall approved $14 million taxpayer dollars for a new emergency shelter, and the City Council has approved an architect for the project. But the city’s plan is still unclear, and many people say they’d rather have several smaller sites than one big centralized shelter.

Hannah Colton / KUNM

At a town hall in Albuquerque on Wednesday, Dec. 18, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham presented her top education priorities for the 30-day legislative session that starts next month. She’s asking lawmakers to set aside $35 million to make college tuition-free for New Mexico residents starting in fall 2020, and for $300 million to start a trust fund for early childhood programs. Many attendees came looking for details on how the state is addressing serious disparities in public schools. 

Hannah Colton / KUNM

Albuquerque’s local elections this fall drew more than a dozen candidates for four City Council seats, but in the end, the governing body will change by just one. Longtime Councilor Brad Winter had his final meeting on Monday, Dec. 16.

Political newcomer Brook Bassan beat Ane Romero in the December runoff and will take the seat next month, making it the first time the nine-person council will be majority women. 

Hannah Colton / KUNM

The Albuquerque city government is considering where to build a new emergency shelter for people experiencing homelessness. Voters last month approved $14 million in bonds for the new facility, but what it will look like, and where, are still to be determined. 

Hannah Colton / KUNM

Tuesday, Dec. 10 is runoff Election Day for two Albuquerque City Council seats.

Hannah Colton / KUNM

Across New Mexico, public schools fail to provide bilingual instruction that’s appropriate for Native American students. Educators at a tribal education center in the Pueblo of Zuni have recieved a state grant to teach Zuni language in a way they say is more connected to their culture.  

courtesy of Kara Bobroff

Eight northern New Mexico schools are getting extra state funding to better serve Native American students. The New Mexico Public Education Department (PED) has awarded $800,000 dollars for indigenous education initiatives that districts will develop with tribes and community partners over a three-year period.

Hannah Colton / KUNM

The Albuquerque Public Schools board is starting its search for a new superintendent, after Raquel Reedy announced she’ll step down next summer. Community members can tell the board what they want to see in the district’s new leader online or at a series of meetings in late November and early December. 

Hannah Colton / KUNM

Throughout U.S. history, industries that dump toxic waste into the air, water and soil get put in neighborhoods where low-income people of color live. Advocates from historic neighborhoods in Albuquerque are calling for a real chance to make changes to city zoning rules, because they say the city's planning process was racially biased and ignored their concerns in favor of developers. 

Hannah Colton / KUNM

Parents, educators and tribal leaders from several Pueblos in New Mexico and the Navajo Nation gathered this week in Albuquerque to advocate for better public schooling. It’s been just over a year since a racist incident on Halloween in 2018, when students say their English teacher used a slur and cut a Native American students’ hair. Some say the district has not done enough to address the incident, and APS officials say there's a related lawsuit pending against the district. A few dozen community members attended a forum on Thursday, Nov. 14. 

InmateAid.com

Young people who have been arrested in New Mexico often have to wait for weeks or months before a judge hears their case. But the number of juvenile detention facilities has shrunk by about half since 2015, so more youth are being detained far from home. County officials say that’s a strain on the criminal justice system and it puts young people at risk.

Hannah Colton / KUNM


    

New Mexico politicians paid lip service this election cycle to a landmark education ruling about inequities in public schools. But no one was drawing a line between the Yazzie-Martinez case and an issue that’s had students walking out of classes this fall – climate change. Verland Coker, a 26-year-old Albuquerque school board candidate, makes that connection, calling out the hypocrisy of an education system here that relies on oil and gas money.

Hannah Colton / KUNM

When unknown political newcomers go up against a sitting city councilor with good name recognition, the politician who people know will usually win. Four Albuquerque City Council seats were on the ballot Tuesday, Nov. 5, and there was a big field of challengers for their seats. In two cases, the people in power did keep their positions, but longtime Councilor Isaac Benton is facing a runoff.

Hannah Colton / KUNM

Three school board seats in New Mexico’s largest district were up for grabs in this week’s election, as leaders across the state are still grappling with educational inequities surfaced by a lawsuit last year. Ballots were counted Tuesday night, and voters in Albuquerque re-elected all three sitting school board members. 

Hannah Colton / KUNM

People in far Northeast Albuquerque were set to elect a new city councilor for the first time in 20 years on Tuesday, Nov. 5. Councilor Brad Winter is giving up his seat in District 4, and three candidates campaigned for his spot. But none of them cornered over 50 percent of the vote, which is what it takes to win. So Brook Bassan and Ane Romero are heading for a runoff. KUNM spoke to voters in District 4 on Election Day.

HANNAH COLTON / KUNM

Voters in Albuquerque will choose three new school board members on Tuesday, Nov. 5. Those officials will shape the district’s budget and policies, and they’ll hire a new superintendent—all at a time when a landmark education ruling points to huge disparities in the quality of public schooling kids get across the state. KUNM’s Marisa Demarco spoke with education reporter Hannah Colton about what’s at stake with the school board race.

TaxRebate.org.uk / Creative Commons

The Albuquerque school board election this fall has six candidates vying for three seats. Candidates have raised tens of thousands of dollars, with the bulk of those campaign contributions coming from businesses and labor unions. 

KUNM

The Albuquerque Public School board members control a massive budget and policies affecting more than 80,000 students. Three seats are up for election this fall, and KUNM invited candidates on to a live radio show on Oct. 24 to ask what they hope to do about longstanding disparities related to race, language access, class and disability. 

courtesy of Kimberlee Hanson / GBCS

Gordon Bernell Charter School fills a gap in New Mexico’s education system, helping adults in jail or who have previously been incarcerated to build the skills they need to finish high school. The school’s future is uncertain after the state Legislature this year banned schools from claiming Public Education Department funding for students over age 21. Leaders at the school went before lawmakers this week to ask for a stable funding source.

Hannah Colton / KUNM

Let’s Talk NM 10/24 8a: Members of the Albuquerque Public Schools board control a massive budget and policies affecting more than 80,000 students. Plus, they’ll hire the next superintendent. On Let’s Talk New Mexico, we’ll have the APS board candidates in studio, and we want your questions for them. What inequities do you see in Albuquerque schools? What should district leadership do about disparities related to race, language access, class and ability?

Hannah Colton / KUNM

University of New Mexico faculty voted to unionize this week, which means labor relations in the future will be negotiated through two separate collective bargaining units. The win for the United Academics of UNM (UA-UNM) comes after years of organizing by faculty who say they want fair compensation and better working conditions.

Hannah Colton / KUNM

Early voting starts Oct. 19 for local elections, including the Albuquerque Public Schools board. Its members are usually retired, as it’s an unpaid position with the time commitment of a part-time job. Those constraints led one board candidate to drop out of the race this fall.

Hannah Colton / KUNM

Hundreds of University of New Mexico faculty are expected to vote on Wednesday, Oct. 16, and Thursday, Oct. 17, on whether to form a union. It’s the culmination of years of organizing by faculty, who say collective bargaining is the way to get fair compensation, and better working and learning conditions across the institution. But opponents argue that putting different kinds of faculty together in a union doesn’t make sense for UNM.

Hannah Colton / KUNM

Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women nationwide. On Tuesday, the City of Albuquerque announced the creation of a new task force that will bring together advocates and representatives from the city, Bernalillo County and the New Mexico Children, Youth, and Families Department to recommend how the city could spend money, make policy and coordinate between agencies to prevent domestic violence.

Hannah Colton / KUNM

New Mexico has failed to provide schooling that’s culturally appropriate and sufficient for many students of color – that’s according to a landmark education ruling last year. Now, school board elections are approaching for the state’s largest district. Anti-racist community organizers invited Albuquerque Public Schools board candidates to a public forum last week and questioned them on their understanding of systemic racism in schools and what they hope to do about it.

UNM CCD, NM PED

About one in 60 children is diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) nationwide, and that rate is rising. The New Mexico Public Education Department announced Wednesday a new online autism portal where families and educators can go to find resources and support.

Hans Kretzmann / Pixabay / Creative Commons

New Mexico’s behavioral health system still hasn’t recovered from 2013, when many service providers were forced to close under former Gov. Susana Martinez’ administration. Now, the Children Youth and Families Department has been awarded $12 million dollars in grant funds from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to bolster services for young people in three rural counties.

Sakeeb Sabakka / creative commons

Let's Talk NM 10/3, 8a: New Mexico could become the 2nd state in the country to make college tuition-free at four-year and two-year public institutions for eligible students. Last week, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced a proposal to pay any tuition and fees not covered by the Lottery Scholarship or other grants, regardless of family income. If you're crunching numbers for college, how would this change things? Are expenses like room, board and transportation barriers to higher education for you? Does the governor's proposal do enough to help the students who need financial aid the most? We want to hear from you! Email letstalk@kunm.org, tweet at us with the hashtag #LetsTalkNM. This show was taped on September 26, so we won't be taking live calls. 

cabriolet2008 / Flickr

Just half of New Mexico high school seniors last year filled out a form to get federal assistance in paying for college, according to state officals. Now, the state's Public Education Department is launching efforts to boost that number as part of Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s plan to make college free for New Mexicans at public institutions. 

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