Kaveh Mowahed

Reporter, News Host

Kaveh Mowahed wears several hats in KUNM’s news department, while working toward a PhD in the History of Medicine at UNM. He started here as an intern in 2013 and has been a reporter, production assistant, host, and data analyst over the years. Kaveh studied print journalism at Arizona State University, but soon after earning his bachelor’s degree he found his love for radio. Kaveh thinks hearing is the most valuable of the senses because of how it engages the imagination. When he’s not reading about 19th century medical treatments or editing audio for the radio, he’s usually home listening to records on a very old stereo that he insists sounds better than a newer one. 

warthog9 via flickr.com CC 2.0


Let’s Talk New Mexico 9/16 8am: Property crime has dropped in New Mexico during the pandemic but violence has taken hold, dominating the news headlines recently: Albuquerque setting a new record for homicides, Santa Fe road rage killings, attacks on police officers, and perhaps most tragic – a child killed at school over bullying. While violent crime has not increased as much across the nation it feels like a lot in New Mexico, and how we choose to react to violence is a local decision. 

Province of British Columbia via Flickr, CC 2.0


Let’s Talk New Mexico 7/29 8am: Have you had trouble finding affordable child care? You’re not alone. Child care can cost over $20,000 a year in New Mexico and hundreds of child care centers closed during the pandemic, tightening the squeeze on an already precious resource. On July 1, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham announced an expanded eligibility for government assistance for child care. Starting next month New Mexican families making up to 400% of the poverty level -about $92,000 a year- are eligible for help.

UNMH


The University of New Mexico Thursday announced an incentive program to encourage students and staff to get vaccinated against COVID-19 as it prepares to open for more normal, in-person, instruction next month.

Alachua County via Flickr CC 2.0


Let’s Talk New Mexico 7/8 8am: Have you noticed “help wanted” signs in the windows of your favorite restaurants and businesses? The COVID-19 pandemic has caused chaos in the economy for more than a year, and now there’s a labor shortage. Last week Axios reported 10 million Americans out of work, yet there are 9 million vacant positions waiting to be filled. Employers are frustrated, sometimes offering higher wages and hiring bonuses to get the help they need. Others are opting to close businesses earlier or stay closed on less busy days because they don’t have the staff for normal hours. Some business owners are angry, blaming the government for the pandemic related unemployment insurance bonuses they see as motivation for workers to stay home. 

Tom.Arthur via Flickr / Creative Commons https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/


Let’s Talk New Mexico 6/17 8am: Last September, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention instituted a moratorium on residential evictions to keep people without secure incomes from losing their homes during the COVID-19 pandemic. New Mexico followed suit with a similar state-wide protection order. For ten months the moratoriums have protected thousands of New Mexico renters, but at the same time back rents have continued to accrue and landlords have gone without the income they count on. With the national order protecting tenants scheduled to expire on June 30th and no clear endpoint for the state’s moratorium, there is potential for a massive number of evictions if nothing is done. Join us this week as we discuss the national and state residential eviction moratoriums, as well as programs set up to help tenants get caught up on payments.    

Stansbury campaign

Tuesday night Albuquerque Democrat Melanie Stansbury celebrated her victory with a crowd chanting her name after winning the congressional seat left open when Deb Haaland was asked to serve as President’s Biden’s Interior Secretary.

Stansbury flouted her Albuquerque roots and a working-class upbringing through the campaign and during a victory speech at Hotel Albuquerque.

David Jackmanson / flickr / CREATIVE COMMONS

As housing prices skyrocket, unemployment persists and wages are stagnant, housing security has become urgent. A federal judge last week struck down the CDC’s eviction moratorium.

Sarah Grice via Flicker CC 2.0

 

Let’s Talk New Mexico 5/6 8am: Home prices are rising everywhere, but especially in the West. Mortgage interest rates are low, people are free to work remotely, and relocation to places like New Mexico makes sense for those wanting to escape high costs of living in other areas. But lackluster home and apartment construction in our state over the last decade means that New Mexican cities have little inventory for renters or buyers, and would-be sellers often don’t list their homes because they can’t find a replacement. These pressures are filtering down to the rental market, encouraging rents to go up.

Shelley Mann-Lev

The first week of April is National Public Health Week – a time set aside to recognize recent successes of public health workers and a time for them to reevaluate their communities’ most dire needs.

Let's Talk New Mexico 3/11 8am: There’s now a third COVID-19 vaccine available in our state and more New Mexicans than ever are getting called in to get the jab. But how will the process be affected by the state's new goal of getting all K-12 educators and early childhood professionals their first dose by the end of March? And what about kids? Should they get vaccinated?

On the next Let’s Talk New Mexico, we’ll dive into the newest phase of COVID vaccination with guests from the Department of Health and community health organizations. We'll also talk to disease and vaccine specialists and medical doctors who can answer your questions about COVID-19 and immunization.

The People's Tribune via Flickr


The New Mexico Senate last week passed Memorial 1, hoping to bring more children outdoors to learn. Eileen Everett from Environmental Education of New Mexico said their many partnerships, including with UNM Law School’s Wild Friends helped shape the legislation to bring kids’ learning out from the indoor classroom.

Nash Jones / KUNM


New Mexico says it is among the top states for getting COVID-19 vaccines into people's arms, but until more vaccine becomes available there are still more arms waiting than there are shots to give. Unmet demand has people looking for ways to get vaccinated sooner – like driving to other states or hanging around pharmacies at the end of the day. However, the New Mexico Department of Health published an order Monday creating penalties for healthcare providers who give shots out of turn and for people who are untruthful on their vaccine registrations.

Bytemarks via Flickr / Creative Commons


About 100,000 New Mexicans are on the state’s rolls for unemployment insurance right now. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, many of them qualify for longer-than-usual periods of benefits that expired last year, but have now been reinstated and extended to March 13.

Marisa Demarco


Let’s Talk New Mexico 1/21 8am: Last week, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham released her list of top legislative priorities for the year. The Governor and legislators, for the most part, agree the focus will be on pandemic recovery. That can mean new spending and creating new revenue streams, and that spending and fundraising will impact New Mexicans in a myriad of ways. Lujan Grisham asked legislators to legalize recreational marijuana, help make health insurance more affordable and to take a stand against greenhouse emissions. Legislators and interest groups have other plans to address climate change, public health and education.

New Mexico National Guard via Flickr


In 2020, after being cooped up indoors because of the pandemic New Mexicans were encouraged to get outside, go hiking, and enjoy the wilderness. And people heeded the call. But with increased usage, came an increase in calls for help. 

Ourit Ben-Haim via Flickr

Santa Fe developers have plans to build almost 400 apartments and townhomes on about 20 acres of vacant land next to the Zia Road Railrunner station. To garner city approval some of the housing must rent below market rate. But there is an option for builders to pay into the city’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund instead.

Wikimedia Commons via CC


There are many ways to vote in New Mexico this election season. If you’ve requested an absentee ballot, you can return it by mail or in person. And if you’re not yet registered, or need to update your voter registration, you can still do that in person with same-day registration at many voting locations through the end of October.

New Mexico in Focus


Early voting has already started in some states like Pennsylvania and Michigan. In New Mexico, absentee ballots will start going out October 6 and early voting starts October 17. KUNM’s Kaveh Mowahed spoke with Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver, who said folks can avoid a busy polling place by requesting an absentee ballot by October 20.

CUNY Mapping Service

After COVID-19 hit, federal officials initially gave extra time to Census collectors to count every person living in the United States. But then they decided to end the survey a month early, increasing the risk of an undercount that could cause New Mexico to lose out on hundreds of millions of dollars for housing, food assistance, childcare, transportation and more. Native Americans living in rural areas are historically undercounted, and the pandemic has made data collection even harder. Reporter Shaun Griswold, who publishes at New Mexico In Depth for Report for America, has been keeping an eye on how the Census is reaching Native populations in the state and he gave KUNM an update on that process.

Tony Webster via Wikimedia Commons CC


In the wake of continued police violence, people across the country are calling for greater accountability for police officers. Some reformers are targeting a legal doctrine called qualified immunity that makes it nearly impossible for people to successfully sue officers for civil rights violations. New Mexico lawmakers are expected to take up the issue in January’s legislative session. State lawmakers on the Criminal Justice Reform Subcommittee discussed qualified immunity with experts during an interim meeting Monday

CUNY Mapping Service


The census taken every ten years determines how much federal money goes to New Mexico programs for things like schools, small businesses, health care, food assistance and housing. The U.S. Census Bureau announced Monday that all counting, including door-to-door efforts, will end September 30th – a full month sooner than expected. The time crunch threatens efforts to get an accurate count in New Mexico, especially in hard-to-count areas including rural and tribal communities. 

Wikipedia / CREATIVE COMMONS

A group of New Mexico prosecutors, defense attorneys and advocates filed a lawsuit in federal district court Wednesday to block Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents from arresting undocumented immigrants in and around New Mexico courthouses, saying those arrests violate federal law and impede access to justice.

Ichigo121212 on Pixabay / Creative Commons


COVID-19 spreads most easily in confined spaces with lots of people, so at least a dozen states have released hundreds or thousands of prisoners early to reduce outbreaks in incarcerated populations. In New Mexico’s largest state prison in Otero County, about 80% of inmates have tested positive for the coronavirus. In April, the governor announced that some prisoners would be released to stem the spread of COVID-19, but the state prisoners still in Otero County are not eligible for release because they have a sex offense on their record. Journalist Jeff Proctor with the Santa Fe Reporter and New Mexico In Depth published a report last week about the coronavirus outbreak in the Otero County Detention Center. He spoke to KUNM’s Kaveh Mowahed about why only 71 inmates have been released statewide, and why none of them were in Otero County.

pefertig via Pixabay / Creative Commons

New Mexico could soon have a retirement plan for privately employed and self-employed workers after a bill to create an online retirement exchange passed nearly unanimously through the legislature and heads to the governor’s desk for her signature.

 

n8agrin via flickr

New Mexico is among a handful of states that allow vague reporting on spending by lobbyists – people whose business it is to push an issue at the Roundhouse or otherwise try to influence the government. A new report last month shows how money is being spent and highlights the lack of transparency when it comes to money in politics. Executive Director of New Mexico Ethics Watch, Kathleen Sabo, sat down with KUNM to talk about the group's findings.

Creative Commons

State ethics commissions tasked with investigating lawmakers for bad behavior are in a tricky position when they have to ask those same lawmakers for funding year after year. New Mexico’s Ethics Commission is not yet fully staffed or fully funded for 2020 after receiving only $500,000 from legislators last session.

Kaveh Mowahed / KUNM

 

Lyla June Johnston is spending the first week of the legislative session in Santa Fe fasting to bring attention to climate crisis. The 30-year-old scholar, organizer and artist announced last month that she'll challenge New Mexico House Speaker Brain Egolf for his seat in the Democratic primary in June. KUNM caught up with Johnston outside the Roundhouse Thursday morning, where she's been praying and talking energy policy this week.

Arianna Sena / KUNM

Last year’s State Ethics Commission Act allowed New Mexico to join the 46 states that have similar independent good government panels. The State Ethics Commission has been active since Jan. 1, but adequate funding is still in question.

Albuquerque voters cast more than 97,000 ballots in Tuesday’s election, according to Bernalillo County.

The election was the first of its kind since the statewide adoption of the Local Election Act last year which combined city, county, school board, and other local elections into one.

Kaveh Mowahed

World Cup fever hit the U.S. hard this month, and Albuquerque soccer fans are still celebrating. The Albuquerque Sol are headed to the Premier Development League playoffs after finishing their regular season Monday. Their last home game was on Saturday.

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