Marisa Demarco

Reporter

Marisa Demarco is a reporter based in Albuquerque, N.M. She's spent almost two decades in journalism, founding the New Mexico Compass, and editing and writing for the Weekly Alibi, the Albuquerque Tribune and UNM's Daily Lobo. She began a career in radio at KUNM News in late 2013 and has covered public health for much of her time at the station. During the pandemic, she is also the executive producer for Your NM Government and No More Normal, shows focused on the varied impacts of COVID-19 and community response, as well as racial and social justice.

Max Klingensmith via Flickr CC

In episode 30, we hear from college students whose futures are seemingly on hold. Mandolin Eisenberg and KUNM's own Taylor Velazquez tell us about their experiences. (And after their interviews, host Khalil Ekulona's ready to vote for either one for U.S. pres should they run.) We also hear from National Native News anchor and New Mexico PBS correspondent Antonia Gonzales about challenges students on tribal lands are facing in trying to get their educations online. And Dr. Stephanie McIver, the counseling director for Student Health and Counseling at UNM, talks about being easy with yourself as you make sense of the pandemic's impacts on your life. 

Courtesy of NM Craft Responders

In episode 29, we hear from people who are creating resources and helping out in their communities. Longtime organizer Selinda Guerrero talks about all of the people working together on the Mutual Aid network, providing food and other necessities to folks that many government efforts don't reach. Rebecca Jones talks about the grassroots Navajo and Hopi COVID-19 relief project started by Ethel Branch. Szu-Han Ho and Miriam Langer are two N.M. college art instructors mobilizing a network of people to sew reliable masks for folks in the state. Plus, Gilbert Ramírez, deputy director of the city's Health Programs, tells us about the rent relief fund.

Moyan Brenn via Wikimedia Commons CC

In episode 28, we talk to parents about what it's like to become the primary educators of their kids—and to be at home with them pretty much around the clock. And Amy Biehl High School Counselor Kathleen Moore offers wisdom and tips on working with your teen in this new world. 

Amy G via Flickr CC

In episode 27, we hear from tipped service-industry workers about what they're facing as restaurants and bars around the state close their doors—unless you're ordering to-go. And host Khalil Ekulona calls his old boss, Ken Carson, who owns Nexus Brewery & Restaurant to talk about shuttering one location because of the impact of the COVID health measures. 

Your NM Gov is back and shifting gears with weekday news updates on coronavirus, plus community stories, resources and an eye on government response.

In episode 26, host Khalil calls his folks. Then, he talks with Karen Meyers, director of the Consumer Financial Protection Initiative about scammers who are using COVID fears to prey on people. We also hear from Aging & Long-Term Services Secretary Katrina Hotrum-Lopez about what the state's seniors need, how people can pitch in and what changes are being made around the state.

As we go through each episode, we're talking about emerging resources in our community, and we'll continue posting them here. 

Arianna Sena / KUNM

The 2020 legislative session is over. Gene Grant, host of New Mexico In Focus, recaps the biggest moments and topics, like the red-flag law (which passed), recreational marijuana (which didn't), free college tuition (partially funded) and more.

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This podcast is part of the project: Your N.M. Government. Funding for our legislative coverage is provided, in part, by the Thornburg Foundation, the New Mexico Local News Fund and KUNM listeners. 

Overnight Dreamform

Dec 29, 2019
Marisa Demarco / KUNM

Saturday 1/4 from 10 p.m.-6 a.m.: Live for a sleeping audience, it’s Overnight Dreamform. On Saturday, Jan. 4, 2020, I launched an all-night live performance. Local experimentalists played from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. Listeners tuned into KUNM on their radios or online and slept through the show. In the morning, they left us voice messages about their dreams to be incorporated into next year’s Overnight Dreamform. They're helping create a feedback loop of dreams. Now, the audio is uploaded in full above, and anyone can participate. The dream line is still open. Sleep through the show, then call 505-84-SOUND to leave your dream message. That’s 505-847-6863.

Simon Law via Wikimedia CC

Dangerous dry-cleaning chemicals leached into the soil and the aquifer under Española decades ago. The Environmental Protection Agency pulled out recently after working on cleanup for 10 years, but some of the contamination remains. Now, the state’s taking over, and ignoring investigators’ recommendation to use a different cleanup method.

SUNfoto by Austin Fisher

The Environmental Protection Agency announced that it’s done funding the cleanup of a superfund site of toxic chemicals in Española, saying that after 10 years, it’s no longer legally obligated to keep trying. The plume is as big as 75 American football fields, spreads under downtown Española, and reaches the neighboring Santa Clara Pueblo and the Rio Grande.

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

Council District 2 in Albuquerque is home to the city’s oldest neighborhoods, the ones people often think of when they’re talking about the character of this place. That’s areas like Martineztown, Barelas, Duranes, Downtown, San Jose, Well’s Park. Voters there are choosing who will represent them on the Council, which has a lot of say in how those neighborhoods grow—and which companies get to move in. KUNM spoke about balancing the past and the future with a longtime Council incumbent and the newcomer gunning for his seat in a runoff election.

FIBONACCI BLUE VIA FLICKR CC

Latino youth are feeling psychological impacts of the Trump administration’s immigration crackdown, researchers say. A committee of legislators in New Mexico on Wednesday considered how this problem impacts the state and weighed increasing access to Medicaid.

Ed Williams / KUNM

As the U.S. prepared to detonate the first atomic bomb in New Mexico in the ’40s, the federal government sought uranium on Navajo land. Decades later, hundreds of mines still haven’t been contained, and the health impacts are severe and sometimes fatal. New research is showing some babies there are being born with the radioactive metal in their bodies. Chief Medical Officer of Navajo Area Indian Health Service Dr. Loretta Christensen spoke with KUNM about the study and what researchers are finding so far.

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.

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

Public financing—where candidates can use public money to run their campaigns instead of bowing to high-dollar donors—has existed in New Mexico for years. But these days, even smaller races cost more than what’s allotted to candidates. One possible solution was Democracy Dollars, coupons distributed to eligible voters, who could donate them to the publicly financed candidates of their choice. The proposal failed by a small percentage when the votes were tallied Tuesday night.

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

Voter turnout was high around the state on Tuesday, Nov. 5, as people cast ballots for their local leaders. In Albuquerque, even though there were contested City Council races, some folks said they mostly went to the polls to weigh in on bonds and taxes for public education. 

ELEMENT5 DIGITAL VIA UNSPLASH / UNSPLASH LICENSE

Tuesday, Nov. 5, is Election Day, and all over the state, people will be choosing their local leaders and making decisions about where bond money should go. The polls are open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. The state tried out two new things this cycle as officials look to make voting more convenient.

CORECIVIC VIA FLICKR CC

The American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico on Monday, Nov. 4, filed the third in a series of lawsuits charging that prison guards are sexually assaulting and abusing women who are locked up. All three lawsuits say these individual cases are part of a larger systemic problem in the state’s Department of Corrections.

Hannah Colton / KUNM

The 10-year census count will begin next year. But there’s plenty about it that might make some folks nervous in New Mexico. Just last week, the Census Bureau asked the state for access to citizenship data through driver’s license info. The state said no, it wouldn’t turn over the records. A local policy group says these tactics should not stop folks here from participating in the census.

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

Big-money influences political races at every level around the U.S. Part of the answer, advocates say, is giving candidates access to public money for their campaigns. Albuquerque voters are weighing a ballot question aimed at making the local campaign financing system a more realistic and competitive option.

BUSCHAP VIA FLICKR / CREATIVE COMMONS

National politics command a lot of airtime and attention across the United States, but local elections can have a bigger impact on the day-to-day. A citywide election is coming up in Albuquerque. Tuesday, Oct. 8, before 5 p.m. is the deadline for folks to register to vote online. And starting Tuesday, for the first time, people will be able to register to vote in-person on the same day they cast their ballots.

Aspen Reid via CC

Hundreds of families in New Mexico are involved in child abuse and neglect cases, but the state says there aren’t enough lawyers they can appoint to represent the kids and parents. A task force met for the first time on Thursday, October 3, to weigh how to make the system work faster and better as the courts make decisions about whether children should stay with their families or in foster care.

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

The South Valley near Albuquerque has a long history of agricultural practice. Friday, October 4, marked the grand opening of a state-of-the-art greenhouse that will help local farmers and serve as a site where young people can learn the tradition. The shared greenhouse is the first of its kind, and it sits on land that was once an illegal dumpsite.

Courtesy of the New Mexico Motor Vehicle Division

Driver’s licenses have been a political football in New Mexico going on a decade now. And for the last couple of years, the state was instead issuing driver authorization cards to people in the country without legal permission—or to other folks who didn’t want a federally compliant Real ID. Tuesday, Oct. 1, marked a rollback of that policy, and anyone who isn’t seeking a Real ID can once again get a standard state driver’s license.

Courtesy of StormMiguel Florez

Before there was an internet, young lesbians in Albuquerque connected and found each other in public using a covert sonic signal. A documentary film celebrating that part of New Mexico’s Latina LGBTQ culture premieres in Albuquerque on Friday, Sept. 20. The film acknowledges and preserves a mostly unknown piece of local history.

Hannah Colton / KUNM

A sea of red hats and red shirts surrounded the Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho last night as Trump supporters gathered to chant and shout their patriotism. When he came three years ago, headlines highlighted the violent reaction to his visit to Albuquerque, though hundreds had protested peacefully for hours before that went down. This time, his campaign painted New Mexico as a winnable swing state, saying he had growing support among Hispanic voters. 

Wikimedia Commons via CC

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham sent 50 state police officers to Albuquerque this summer to fight escalating violent crime. Public records show there wasn’t much coordination between state police and Albuquerque police before they came.

Wikimedia commons via CC

For years, people who’d been in New Mexico prisons brought lawsuits and allegations about dangerously bad medical care, as well as sexual abuse by a prison doctor. According to The Santa Fe New Mexican, a report just came to light detailing the Department of Corrections failures—even though the state’s been trying to hide it.

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

Public transit ridership has been declining all around the United States for the last five years or so—even in the biggest cities. Experts say one big problem is that the bus and train systems aren’t accessible. They don’t reach the people who need them, and they don’t take people where they want to go. In Albuquerque, a group called Together For Brothers is pushing for greater transit equity, saying it’s tied to income and economic development.

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

  Let's Talk New Mexico 8/22 8a: Studies are showing there’s a relationship between whether there’s good street-lighting in an area and crime. Do unlit places in our cities create opportunities for crime? Do local governments spread lighting resources fairly? Are there unlit spots out where you live that become known sites of violence or theft? Have you ever called your local elected officials to ask about more streetlights or long-broken lights? How did it go? Wherever you live in the state, do you feel OK going for a walk in the evening? Sitting on the porch? What would help? Email LetsTalk@kunm.org or call in live during the show.

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