Coronavirus

Luis Sanchez Saturno, Santa Fe New Mexican

Top New Mexico Public Health Official Announces RetirementAssociated Press

New Mexico's Health Secretary Kathyleen Kunkel on Friday announced her intention to retire once the current wave of coronavirus infections subsides.

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.

Los Alamos National Laboratory via Flickr / Creative Commons https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/

Groups Call For Meetings As US Lab Preps For Weapons Work - By Susan Montoya Bryan, Associated Press

Several groups are asking state and federal officials to hold semi-annual public meetings as Los Alamos National Laboratory prepares to resume and ramp up production of key components for the nation's nuclear weapons stockpile.

Luis Sanchez Saturno, Santa Fe New Mexican

Governor Keeps Restrictions In Place As COVID Deaths Reach 500 KUNM, Albuquerque Journal

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said coronavirus restrictions will remain in place and warned that if cases and the rate of spread continue to rise she may roll back openings as other states like Texas and Arizona have.

Canva / Creative Commons

While many in New Mexico are experiencing economic hardships during the pandemic, a new study released Tuesday, June 30, focused on its impact on Hispanic families. The results show widespread pay cuts, layoffs, and small savings accounts depleted. While some have turned to unemployment benefits or federal stimulus money to get by, undocumented immigrants are not eligible for those supports. New Mexico lawmakers are asking the state’s congressional delegation to work to include undocumented immigrants in the next round of federal relief.

Wikimedia via CC

New Mexico residents who receive food assistance will continue to get the maximum amount allowed for their household size through the end of July. The state got a month’s extension on a federal program meant to keep people fed during the pandemic.

Hannah Colton

New Mexico Judge Rejects Bid To Dismiss Education Case - By Cedar Attanasio AP/Report For America

A New Mexico judge has rejected a motion by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham to dismiss a landmark education lawsuit that was filed against the state.

pxhere via CC


In episode 82, we discuss how the question “How are you?” is part of documenting changing people and a changing globe. The answer reveals a lot about us. Are we good? We hear from a high school athlete who is worried about going back to a crowded campus, a woman who lost her mother to COVID-19, an anti-police brutality activist who sees focused protesters demanding positive local change, a community organizer whose family was torn apart after their activism, and an advocate who networks community groups to pay people to make masks. We know everyone out there is working hard in one way or another. So, how are you?  

Wallpaper Flare via CC


In episode 81, we check back for new developments on some of the impactful stories from YNMG from the past couple of months. What opportunities have been missed to make things better in this urgent time? Who's falling through the holes in the system? And what's still in front of us to do?

This story was powered by America Amplified, a public radio initiative.

Short-term vacation rental bookings are surging across the Mountain West, even as the region grapples with a growing number of coronavirus cases.

 


Governor Puts Additional Openings On Hold As COVID Cases RiseAlbuquerque Journal, KUNM

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said current restrictions on businesses because of the COVID-19 pandemic will remain in place for now.

Pixelmaniac Pictures via Wikimedia Commons CC


We come back to life’s essentials like housing and education in episode 80, and the systemic problems that can easily slip past us if we’re not vigilant. As we continue to endure, it's easy to drop the ball on issues New Mexico has been battling for years. Today we hear from journalists from around the state on how the pandemic is affecting schools and teachers, the affordability of housing, and whether the corrections system is fulfilling its human rights obligations. 

The number of positive COVID-19 cases in Colorado has been trending downward. Meanwhile, other states in the region are on the uptick.

San Juan Citizens Alliance/EcoFlight / with permission

Navajo Nation President: New Mexico Still Failing Students - By Cedar Attanasio. Associated Press/Report For America

The leader of one of the largest Native American tribes in the U.S. has called on Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham to end efforts against a court ruling ordering education improvements for members of his tribe and other vulnerable groups.

As the COVID-19 pandemic wears on, a new survey shows that depression is worsening across the nation and the Mountain West.


This story was powered by America Amplified, a public radio initiative.

A surge of out-of-staters are fleeing major cities and purchasing homes in Montana, Wyoming and other parts of the Mountain West, according to real estate agents.

 

"These out-of-state buyers are just coming in droves," said D.J. Smith, president of the Missoula Organization of Realtors. 

Gina McCaleb via Flickr

New Mexico Releases Plan For Reopening Public Schools - By Cedar Attanasio Associated Press/Report For America

New Mexico's Public Education Department is outlining a path for how schools will reopen this fall amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Under a plan made public Tuesday, the state is requiring schools to open at 50% capacity. Students will alternate between time in the classroom and continuing with online lessons at home.

The youngest stars are shown as red while more evolved stars are shown as blue.
NASA/JPL-Caltech/Harvard-Smithsonian CfA / Creative Commons

It’s a weird time. We’ve got a global pandemic, an uprising against racist police violence and a special legislative session dropped in the middle of it—the likes of which no one’s ever seen before. Maybe one that people still aren’t seeing because there have been so many access issues. In episode 79, we dig in to bring you what’s new and developing with the emergency legislative session. What bills have been passed, what is on the way and what is being held until January are just a few of the topics we cover. We talk with journalists from New Mexico PBS and the NM Political Report. We also hear from an advocate who is on the forefront of voting rights in tribal lands.

Common Dreams / CREATIVE COMMONS

New Mexico Legislature Backs Mandatory Police Body Cameras - By Morgan Lee Associated Press

New Mexico's Legislature has approved a proposal to make police body cameras mandatory for nearly all state and local law enforcement officers. 

In episode 78 we discuss what’s happening in Santa Fe at the legislative special session. It’s a unique situation up there; COVID-19 precautions have led to a locked-in session with no opportunity for citizens to attend in person. But first, we hear from organizers of the Albuquerque Juneteenth celebration commemorating 155 years since the official end of slavery in Texas, with the entire United States following soon after. 

Hotel slowdowns alone could cost states in the Mountain West more than $1.7 billion in tax revenue this year, according to an analysis commissioned by the American Hotel and Lodging Association.


According to Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the nation has yet to exit the first wave of this pandemic. Cases in the Northeast and Midwest are, in general, trending downward, but the Mountain West continues to experience local surges in COVID-19.

Arianna Sena / KUNM

In episode 77 we dive into the state’s special legislative session that started today. The primary reason for the emergency meeting is to address the unexpected budget shortfall brought on by COVID-19 and the decimation of oil and gas markets that provide much of New Mexico’s public funding.

Mark Harris via Flickr / Creative Commons https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

New Mexico Water Managers End Work On Gila River ProposalAssociated Press

A panel of New Mexico water managers has voted to end work on an environmental review related to a proposal to divert and store water from the Gila River.

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

In episode 76, we discuss criminal justice reform, from policing to prisons. We get a preview of the Albuquerque mayor and a city councilor plans to remake the public safety system. A criminal justice reporter tells us about COVID-19 in state prisons and reminds us that there is little race or ethnicity data to show us who is affected. But first, YNMG Executive Producer Marisa Demarco tells us what it was like to be at a protest this week where someone she knows was shot by a man trying to protect a statue of a genocidal Spanish conquistador. 

The United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) and United Steelworkers are now demanding emergency guidelines related to COVID-19 for the country's mines whether it's for coal, trona, gold or silver. They say voluntary guidance is not a substitute for mandatory and legally enforceable COVID-19 protocols.

Tony Webster via Wikimedia Commons CC

For years, Albuquerque and Bernalillo County have been working on strategies so police officers aren’t the primary people responding to 911 mental health calls. After weeks of Black Lives Matter protests in Albuquerque—and just days after police shot a man in crisis, hospitalizing him—Mayor Tim Keller announced today that the city will create a separate Community Safety Department to handle these kinds of call-outs by the end of the year—without taking funding from the police department. It’s unclear what the city will do to respond to the rest of the protesters’ demands around over-policing, and calls to defund and demilitarize the police.

Advanced Source Solutions via Wikimedia Commons / Creative Commons License

Monument To Spanish Conqueror Removed In New Mexico - By Cedar Attanasio And Morgan Lee Associated Press

Authorities have removed a bronze statue of Spanish conqueror Juan de Oñate in northern New Mexico amid a new wave of criticism of the memorial as an affront to indigenous people and an obstacle to greater racial harmony.

Most businesses in the outdoor recreation industry are seeing sales decline because of the novel coronavirus pandemic, and 88% are reporting that they’ve had to lay off or furlough employees.

Scientists at Colorado State University have developed a way to make sure blood transfusions don't transmit the COVID-19 virus, according to a new study.

 


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