Simon Thompson

Reporter/Producer

Simon Thompson is a reporter for KRWG-TV's Newsmakers.  You can also hear his reports on KRWG-FM's Morning Edition.

If you have a story idea, e-mail us.  The address is feedback@nmsu.edu

Regional
7:00 am
Thu September 18, 2014

Critics: Democratic Process Denied In Las Cruces Minimum Wage Debate

The Las Cruces City council voted 4-to-3 to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 by 2017. But the new wage law won’t necessarily be enacted. Some say the council majority is subverting the democratic process to keep the minimum wage from increasing that quickly.

State legislators passed a bill to raise New Mexico’s minimum wage to $8.50 in 2013, a bill Governor Susana Martinez vetoed. And despite calls by President Obama to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 Congress has failed to act. For local group CAFÉ, Communities in Action and Faith that was a call to action.

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Regional
6:01 am
Tue September 16, 2014

J. Paul Taylor Academy Offers Alternative To Test Driven Classroom

J. Paul Taylor Academy teacher Tamara Alexander takes her 3rd graders through their Mexican history project.
Credit Simon Thompson

 

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Regional
8:41 am
Fri September 5, 2014

Validity Of Teacher Evaluation System Questioned

State Senator Howie Morales is vocal opponent of the Public Education Department's system of teacher evaluation
Credit Simon Thompson

New Mexico public school teachers recently received their evaluations and schools received A through F grades.  Many are not satisfied with the results and are not clear about how the assessments are calculated some educators say the system does not provide the information needed to make improvements.

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Election 2014
9:16 am
Wed August 13, 2014

McCamley To Propose Marijuana Legalization Bill If Re-elected

The bill state representative Bill McCamley's is developing would mark the second legislative attempt to legalize recreational marijuana in New Mexico
Credit Simon Thompson

New Mexico  State Representative (D-33) Bill McCamley compares the states and federal government’s policy on recreational marijuana to alcohol prohibition in the 1920’s. He says people are going to buy and use marijuana whether it is legal or not- but in Washington state and Colorado a lot of that money is going to the state government.

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Regional
8:28 am
Fri August 8, 2014

No Employment Protections For Medicinal Cannabis Patients In New Mexico

Medicinal Marijuana patient Robert Pack says Hastings Book store withdrew his job offer after he failed a drug test even though he is a registered medicinal marijuana patient
Credit Simon Thompson

Robert Pack was working as the manager of ticketing and audience services for Monterrey Symphony Orchestra in Carmel, California, when he was diagnosed with adult onset epilepsy.

“I had my first seizure at work” he says.

To get it under control doctors prescribed him a string of different pharmaceuticals, the only one that worked gave him debilitating nausea, anxiety and difficulty sleeping, so his doctor recommended using cannabis medicinally.

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Regional
8:57 am
Wed August 6, 2014

Las Cruces Minimum Wage Debate Continues

States that have increased the minimum wage have seen more job growth than those that have not
Credit Simon Thompson

This week the city council voted to accept the petition signatures for a proposal to increase the wage to $10.10 an hour by 2017.  Recent economic studies indicate a higher minimum wage could be a positive step for the city.

When the federal government introduced the minimum wage, it was not indexed for inflation – so every time the cost of living has increased, the minimum wage has lost value, buying less and less.

And minimum wage increases from Congress have not kept up.

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Election 2014
6:00 am
Tue August 5, 2014

$10.10 Minimum Wage Proposal To Be Voted On By City Council

City Councillor (District 4) Nathan Small
Credit Simon Thompson

Less than two weeks ago, the city clerk determined that Comunidades en Accion y de Fe or Café  had submitted enough valid petition signatures to put an ordinance to raise the minimum wage in Las Cruces from 7.50 to 10.10 /hour by 2017 before the city council.  The council had previously approved a measure to increase the minimum wage to 8.50 by 2016.

On Monday, the city council voted unanimously to approve the city clerks certification and that the submitted petitions were sufficient to allow the ordinance to be voted on by the council.

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Regional
6:00 am
Fri August 1, 2014

Property Developers Say Las Cruces Arroyo Management Plan Will Hurt City Housing Market

Las Cruces city planner Carol McCall in the tunnels of a city managed arroyo underneath Sonama ranch blvd
Credit Simon Thompson

Whenever there is heavy rain an arroyo above the Linda Vista Estates housing development in Dona Ana County an arroyo runs like a river.

Octavio Vela's house is just yards away from it's flow. He is concerned about the damage it could do to his property.

"None of the potential problems were disclosed. The potential flooding issues and stuff like that were never disclosed it was just a matter of here is the property" he says

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Regional
4:05 am
Wed July 30, 2014

Arroyo Management Has Dona Ana County In Over Its Head

Michael Mc Whirter advises a guest over for dinner on the best way to drive through the almost 2 feet of sand covering the road in front of his drive way.
Credit Simon Thompson

Michael Mc Whirter and his family bought their house near Picacho Mountain when it was one of the only properties there.

The realtor sold them on horizon to horizon views and the surrounding desert wilderness. But what wasn’t mentioned in the sales pitch was the arroyo that runs from the back to the front of the property.

“When we bought the property it was not disclosed to us that there was an issue with run off, when we bought the property it came as a surprise to us to realize that we had water swirling on the porch" he says.

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Regional
6:00 am
Wed July 23, 2014

New Mexico Medicinal Cannabis Producers Say Reforms Need To Address Access and Security Issues

Mandy Denson is the Co-owner of Compassionate Distributors dispensary, Ruidoso- she says the New Mexico medicinal program needs to be more conscious of challenges posed by federal prohibition.
Credit Simon Thompson

Mandy Denson co-owns Compassionate Distributors dispensary in Ruidoso. She says when medicinal marijuana was approved in New Mexico and dispensaries started setting up shop they were mainly in the northern part of the state.

“Our portion of the state in southeastern New Mexico is very poor I grew up in Roswell so I am familiar with the general demographics ". She says.

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Regional
6:00 am
Mon July 21, 2014

Organ Monument Designation Key Factor In ETA's Denial Of Commercial Zoning Near Tortugas Mountain

Outdoors man and local resident Duane Mosley anxiously awaits the Extra Territorial Zoning Authorities decision on proposed commercial development near the base of Tortugas Mountain
Credit Simon Thompson

Tortugas Mountain is a site of cultural significance for the Our Lady of Guadalupe Tortugas Pueblo congregation, who climb the mountain in an annual pilgrimage to honor the Virgin Mary.  But it’s also an important place for local residents like Duane Mosley who go to the mountain to unwind, hike, and watch the sunset and the stars at night.

“It has always been a special place for me” he says “Eating the mesquite beans and watching lizards crawl around on the rocks it is something that brings me back to my center” he says.

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Regional
4:10 am
Thu July 17, 2014

ETA Denies Appeal For Commercial Zoning Near Tortugas Mountain

Residents are concerned the proposed commercial zoning of a piece of land near Tortugas mountain would ruin the surrounding recreational area
Credit Simon Thompson

On Wednesday night the Extra-Territorial Zoning Authority or ETA denied the appeal of the decision that rejected commercial zoning near Tortugas mountain.  After the 8 hour long public meeting, the 5 ETA members present voted unanimously against changing the decision.  A successful appeal would have allowed the property’s owners to build a strip mall on the site.

Dona Ana County Development Staff was the applicant making the appeal. The ETA says staff failed to prove a commercial zoning would be consistent with the comprehensive plan for the area.

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Regional
6:00 am
Wed July 16, 2014

Proposed Changes To NM Medicinal Cannabis Program Could Make Medicine Harder To Access For Patients

Different strains of marijuana are spread across the counter at dispensaries Compassionate distributor in Ruidoso New Mexico
Credit Simon Thompson

Green Crack, Super Silver Diesel Haze and Snowberry- Just three of the names given to cannabis being legally used in New Mexico to treat anything from cancer to chronic pain to post traumatic stress disorder.

The New Mexico Department of Health is proposing changes to the state's medicinal marijuana program. Dispensaries are concerned that it will make the medicine even more expensive when some patients already faced shortages and difficulty paying for their medicine.

Mandy Denson is the co-owner of Compassionate Distributors dispensary in Ruidoso.

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Regional
8:30 am
Fri July 4, 2014

Feral Pigs Challenge Ranching Community In Southeast New Mexico

A feral pig looking for food in the New Mexican wilderness
Credit Courtesy of the USDA

Feral pigs cost the U.S. $1.5 billion dollars every year. But wild pigs aren’t just endangering wildlife and native plants. The animals are threatening the livelihood of a longtime ranching community in Otero County.

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Regional
1:38 am
Wed July 2, 2014

Las Cruces Dioceses Opens Its Doors To Immigrant Families

Bishop Oscar Cantu announces the Las Cruces Dioceses project to house, clothe and feed immigrant parents and their children
Credit Simon Thompson

When someone is apprehended crossing the border illegally they are handed over to Immigration and Customs enforcement or ICE.

But they don’t have enough of facilities needed to house the minors and families coming across the border. So once they have been processed they are released on their own reconnaissance, while they wait for their immigration hearings.

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Regional
10:22 am
Mon June 30, 2014

Boosting High Tech In Southern NM Means Faster Commercialization Of University Technology

The water desalination product was developed from existing New Mexico State University technology and patents
Credit Simon Thompson

32 of New Mexico’s fastest growing tech companies saw collective growth of 14% since the recession. That is according to the ‘The Flying 40’, a list that reports on New Mexico’s tech industry progress annually. But when it comes to tech companies in the southern part of the state few are even mentioned.

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Regional
10:36 am
Fri June 20, 2014

Drone Facility Puts Holloman At The Helm Of Changing Face Of Warfare

A MQ-9 coming in for landing after at test flight at Holloman air force base in Alamogordo
Credit Courtesy of Holloman AFB

While the federal government has been cutting military budgets over the last 2 years- the Holloman remotely piloted Aircraft training program has been growing.

Students in the remotely piloted aircraft facility at Holloman Air Force Base in Alamogordo are training with two different unmanned aircrafts or drones The MQ1 "Predator" and the more powerful MQ-9 "Reaper". But not before racking hours and hours of training on simulators doing virtual missions.

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