Hannah Colton

Hannah served as news director at KUNM and reported on education, Albuquerque politics, and anything public health-related. She died in November 2020.

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 got her start in radio at KDLG (another 89.9 FM) in Bristol Bay, Alaska. 

Find out more about Hannah's life here.

Hannah Colton / KUNM

The American Civil Liberties Union and prison activists have been calling on Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham to take measures to prevent a mass outbreak of COVID-19 since before her April 6 order directing the New Mexico Corrections Department to identify prisoners who could be released. As of April 29, the department says just 29 inmates have been released out of about 6,700 people in New Mexico state prisons. Advocates have been gathering outside prisons in car rallies every Friday in April, demanding the state ensure inmates’ safety during the pandemic.

Hannah Colton / KUNM

 

Inmates across the country fear for their lives as the coronavirus sweeps through overpopulated jails and prisons. People incarcerated in New Mexico say they’re not getting enough hygiene products, space to distance from one another or good information about potential spread behind the walls. Facilities have done very little testing, and the Corrections Department has been slow to follow through on Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s April 6 order to release non-violent offenders who have less than a month left on their sentences. As of April 29, just 29 people had been discharged from state prisons, despite a 2019 study that identified ten times that number of people who could be immediately released into community corrections programs.

Hannah Colton / KUNM

There have been zero confirmed cases of the coronavirus among people experiencing homelessness in Albuquerque so far, city leaders say. KUNM is following the city’s efforts to prevent an outbreak in that population, and one gap stands out: the city continues to break up unsheltered people’s encampments, despite guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention not to do so during the pandemic. The CDC says clearing encampments can worsen community spread by causing people to disperse and lose connections with service providers, and they say not to do it unless it’s to move folks into individual housing units. KUNM has more on the City of Albuquerque’s treatment of encampments during the pandemic and about one man’s experience living on the streets this past month.

piqsels.com / CREATIVE COMMONS

Let's Talk New Mexico 4/16, 8a: School staff around the state are racing to get meals, services and instruction to students stuck at home, but not all children have the tools or support they need to continue their learning. On this week’s call-in show, we’ll hear from educators about how they’re working to keep students engaged amid the public health crisis. How is the pandemic exacerbating long-standing inequities in New Mexico’s school system? How are districts working to overcome gaps in infrastructure like broadband access? What creative solutions are possible? Write us at letstalk@kunm.org or join the conversation by calling (505) 277-5866 during the show Thursday morning.

Hannah Colton / KUNM

Let's Talk New Mexico 4/2, 8a: As we near the one-month mark of living with COVID-19 in New Mexico, we'll check in with state and federal officials to hear how they're handling the latest public health challenges. What new kinds of support do you want to see from state agencies? How will Congress' $2 trillion dollar coronavirus relief bill help our state's most vulnerable people?  How are school districts and individual teachers adapting to meet students' needs and comply with state education laws? 

Jobs For Felons Hub via Flickr CC

Episode 31 is all about jails and prisons during the pandemic, and it's packed. (Plus, Your NM Gov is airing weeknights at 8 p.m. on KUNM this week.) 

We hear from:

Hannah Colton / KUNM

Let's Talk New Mexico 3/26, 8a: Life's normal pace seems to be grinding to a halt for many New Mexicans, but some things never change. Babies are born, loved ones pass away, couples get hitched -- so what do those big, life-changing celebrations and events look like in the time of quarantine? On our next KUNM call-in show, we'll speak with folks who are navigating births, deaths, and marriages during the pandemic, and helping others do the same. And we want to hear from you! Email letstalk@kunm.org or call in during the show at (505) 277-5866. 

CABQ GovTV

Since the coronavirus reached the U.S. after being first detected in China last year, there’s been a spike in cases of xenophobia and discrimination against Asians and Asian Americans across the nation. Albuquerque’s newest city councilor Lan Sena met with local Asian American community leaders this week to hear concerns and offer support. 

LANL.gov

  Let's Talk NM 3/12, 8a: In 2019, Albuquerque was listed as one of the top ten places for women in technology fields, with nearly 30% of tech jobs here filled by women. This week on Let’s Talk New Mexico, we’ll speak with women who work in science and technology -- from CNM's coding bootcamp program, to Los Alamos National Labs, to Girls Who Code clubs. What’s the outlook for women who want to get into a tech job, whether straight out of high school or as a mid-career switch?

Hannah Colton / KUNM

New Mexico Senators asked a local news reporter to leave a committee meeting Thursday at the Roundhouse, citing a Senate rule that bars recording these public meetings without permission from the head of the committee. 

Lawyers say this may be a violation of First Amendment freedom of the press, and some lawmakers want the rule changed to allow full transparency. 

courtesy of GBCS

 

UPDATE 1/31 2p: Peña-Hanson says she is no longer supporting both bills and that Gordon Bernell Charter School will focus only on HB 152.

New Mexico lawmakers are considering setting aside $6 million dollars in the higher education budget for some charter schools that educate adults. Last year, legislators changed the K-12 funding formula so public schools can no longer get money for students who are over 21. 

Hannah Colton / KUNM

The 2020 census starts in a couple months, and organizers are reaching out to populations in New Mexico that historically were undercounted. A bill to spend $8 million on outreach efforts passed its first legislative hurdle on Thursday, Jan. 23. 

Hannah Colton / KUNM

New Mexico lawmakers in 2019 set aside funding for extended learning time, which several Albuquerque schools took advantage of this year. Now, all Albuquerque public schools are being asked to consider adding 10 days to their year, sparking concern and confusion among teachers and parents at year-round schools.

Hannah Colton / KUNM

The 2020 Census is coming up this spring. The once-every-decade survey determines how much federal funding New Mexico gets for things like food and housing assistance, and the state stands to lose hundreds of millions of dollars for even a slight undercount. Now, organizers across Bernalillo County are strategizing to get as many residents as possible to fill out that form.

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.

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