KRWG

Simon Thompson

Reporter/Producer

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

Thompson is originally from Australia, where he graduated from Monash University with a B.A in Journalism and Politics.

After graduating, Thompson wrote features and worked as subeditor for a social culture magazine in his hometown of Melbourne.

Thompson came to the United States to travel and embark on a freelance career, sending articles to a string of publications in Australia. After realizing the gravity and extent of crucial issues begging to be covered, Thompson worked to extend his time in the U.S.

Thompson got his start in public media in Indiana at PBS/NPR stations WTIU/WFIU, shooting and producing in depth feature stories for TV and radio.

Thompson chose to come to the southwest during the polar vortex of 2013 – 2014 to report on life in the border region, master Spanish, and get as far away from any future polar vortex as possible.

As an Expat living in the U.S., Thompson has a natural inclination towards immigration issues and has focused his reporting on drug policy, education, and socioeconomic challenges in the region.

Follow Simon on Twitter @SimoThom  for story updates and news, or send him story ideas at simothom@nmsu.edu
 

According to United Health Foundation when it comes to health New Mexico ranks 37th nationally. When it comes to young people those numbers are even worse. 

‘Advocacy at work’ is a New Mexico State University” initiative project that’s training school students to teach their classmates about health issues.

Simon Thompson

A Guttmacher Institute study found teen use of contraception was higher in states with more comprehensive sex education.  New Mexico has the highest rate of teen pregnancy. But there is an effort to improve sex education the state.

Top budget officials for the state of New Mexico are placing a high priority on rebuilding state reserves that have been depleted amid a sustained downturn in the oil and natural gas sectors.

Finance and Administration Secretary Duffy Rodriguez said her agency has set a goal of restoring state reserves to 5 percent of the state's annual general fund appropriations.

Rebuilding reserves would shore up the state's credit rating to ensure low-interest borrowing and provide a buffer against economic volatility.

 

Though the University of New Mexico Board of Regents has not moved to change the school's official seal, they have created a process to consider a new one.

Regents on Tuesday voted to create a process to design a new seal and gauge the cost of adopting it.

The university's current seal, which was adopted in 1969 and depicts a frontiersman and a Spanish conquistador, has been criticized by Native American student groups as being racist. Critics say the seal reflects the state's violent past toward Native Americans.

 

New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez is offering assurances that people won't be left without health insurance as President-elect Donald Trump and fellow Republicans seek to overhaul the Affordable Care Act.

Martinez was attending a meeting of the Republican Governors Association in Florida on Wednesday where GOP governors discussed ambitions to overhaul Medicaid and health care exchanges that offer insurance policies.

KRWG/Simon Thompson

A New Mexico State University student was shot during a confrontation with a New Mexico State University police officer on the main campus in Las Cruces Monday night.

The 28 year old male has been hospitalized at University Medical Center in El Paso and is in stable condition.

New Mexico State University Police Chief Stephen Lopez said the shooting occurred after an officer responded to a report of a man with a gun at the Chamisa Village apartments on campus.

  

Daylight hasn’t broken before 500 students from the tiny Mexican town of Palomas are up and on their way to school. But it’s not your typical commute. To get to class, these kids have to cross an international border.

This election Millennials became a political force as significant as Baby Boomers. They played a key role in the outcome of last nights election. Such as those that voted third party.. a New York Times/CBS News poll taken before election day shows a whopping 36 percent of voters under 30 planned to vote for a third-party candidate. 

The called it the awakening of a sleeping giant; record numbers of Latinos turning out to vote because of Donald Trumps racist comments about Latinos and illegal immigration. But what ever 'awakening' there was didn’t deny Trump the Presidency. Religious values may have allowed a Trump to secure a larger portion of the Latino demographic than projected.

Simon Thompson

Though the Democratic Party fell short nationally, they did well in New Mexico state races. 

Angelica Rubio is under 40, Latina and now the New Mexico State House representative for district 35. Rubio beat Republican candidate Joseph Bishop.

Rubio explains the significance of her victory.

In the Dona Ana County Detention Center, more than 40 percent of the jail population is being treated for mental illness. But jails serving as mental health treatment facilities is not by design and there are regional efforts to address the number of mentally ill people in a criminal justice system designed to incarcerate, not to deliver mental health care.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, a mentally ill person going through a crisis or episode is more likely to encounter a police officer than they are to get the medical attention they actually need.  

Isela Montalban

It’s one of the largest migrations in modern history; Mexicans moving to the United States. But a 2015 Pew Research Center report revealed a reversal of that flow more Mexicans are leaving the U.S. than coming in. Institute of Mexicans Abroad data reveals that instead more and more Mexicans are going to other countries.    
“Of course, no one wants to go back to Mexico. No one! “ said Isela Montalban.

KRWG

 

NASA scientists are projecting dry conditions are only going to get exponentially more severe in the next thirty years. On KRWG 90.7 FM Voice of the Public we discuss water scarcity with experts and stake holders

KRWG Voice of the Public - Water Scarcity, hosted by Simon Thompson Featuring guests Western Resource Advocates Policy Analyst- Jorge Figueroa New Mexico Central Arizona Project Entity Director - Anthony Gutierrez Silver City Assistant Town Manager - James Marshall Friday October 21st 2016.
  

Millennials are now as large of a political force as Baby Boomers and that could determine this Presidential election. But according to the Pew Research Center to the Republican party they may be a lost generation.
One high school Republican is working to change those perceptions and recruit El Paso high schoolers into the GOP.

Drug violence drove thousands of businesses out of Ciudad Juarez between 2008 and 2011. The Juarez Business Chamber puts the number at more than ten-thousand. But a privately financed innovation hub is working to kick the city’s business sector back into gear.

The Democratic party has had a stronghold on state and local politics in El Paso, TX for more than a decade. But the El Paso County Republicans are working to reach the region's voters.

There were more than 100 people at the El Paso County Republican debate watch party.  The atmosphere was fun and festive, it felt less like a political gathering and more like a county fair.

KRWG/Simon Thompson

According to a 2016 Harvard Business school report approximately 24 percent of all business owners are immigrants. Yet they only make up 15% of the population. A regional effort is working to attract and grow foreign entrepreneurial talent and strengthen bi-national partnerships.

aecf.org

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=72uykm4pD04&feature=youtu.be

What does the U.S. have in common with Swaziland, Lesotho and Papua New Guinea? The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development reports that these are the only countries in the world that don’t have paid family or maternity leave. But there is a push to expand access to paid family leave time in New Mexico.

Daubney Harper Boland is a new Mom, she gave birth to her daughter three months ago and took off work to bond and care with her newborn.

Simon Thompson

2013 New Mexico and Texas Departments of Health data shows one quarter of Dona Ana County residents needing hospitalization are going to Texas to get those services.  But a lower Medicaid reimbursement rate in New Mexico means many Texas doctors aren’t accepting them anymore.

David Tafoya is 5 years old. His father Joshua said since his son was 18 months old he has suffered from a severe case of epilepsy.

Despite international popularity in the U.S. the century old game of rugby has largely been overshadowed by other contact sports like American football, soccer and lacrosse. This summer marks the first time since 1924 the game will be played in the Olympics. 

Simon Thompson

Midwestern manufacturing has suffered in recent years companies are moving out, taking jobs with them, unions have been weakened and wages have been stagnant. Some blame all these problems on free trade deals.  NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement, allows U.S. companies to move to Mexico and manufacture products for the U.S. market using cheaper labor .

Past and pending deals have been linked to the decline of the middle class and US manufacturing as well as the loss of U.S. jobs. But for border communities these agreements have actually boosted the economy.

 

The Deming Public Schools has been educating students crossing the border from Mexico for more than 60 years. Simon Thompson takes a look at the unique set of challenges the district faces in continuing this education legacy. 
 

Gallup poll data shows Americans consider “Immigration/Illegal aliens” the second-most important non-economic problem facing the country today.

How is this focus on the border and anti-immigrant sentiment that is becoming pervasive in national politics impacting local border communities like El Paso, Texas?

Simon Thompson

 

The deportation of a parent creates a gut wrenching dilemma:  Should the family separate?  But a New Mexico school five miles north of the border is allowing families to stay together while still providing the benefits of a U.S. education.

It is 5th grade graduation at Columbus Elementary School in New Mexico.

Recently naturalized resident Barbara Aguilera fills out a voter registration form.
Simon Thompson / KRWG

Donald Trump’s candidacy has been controversial. it’s even prompting some to apply for citizenship. And those new citizens are anxious to vote in November.

About 9 million U.S. residents are eligible to become U.S. citizens.  According to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, more of them have been going through with the naturalization process.
 
Barbara Aguilera was one of more than 100 at a recent naturalization ceremony at the Las Cruces convention center.

“I am just very excited.” Aguilera said

Joe Widmer

Alamogordo is home to largest community of German expatriates in the U.S. most of them serving in the German Air Force at Holloman Air Force base. Alamogordo is also home to the largest public German school outside Germany. 

Simon Thompson

This year’s New Mexico legislative session saw a lot of bills affecting workers and unions. Like the right to work, which would have allowed employees to get the benefits of union-negotiated contracts without having to pay union dues. Pre-emption laws, legislation that would stop cities and counties from enacting local labor laws, like raising the minimum wage. But none of it passed.

New Mexico Federation of Labor President John Henry is driving a bus across New Mexico to express appreciation for lawmakers who pushed back against these proposals.

One of the world’s best-known reporters covering drug cartel violence recently visited our region to discuss the state of the war on drugs.

Ioan Grillo is a freelance reporter with bylines in the New York Times, Reuters, and CNN as well as two books on the drug trade in Latin America. In covering the issue throughout El Salvador, Honduras, Jamaica and Mexico Grillo has documented distinct similarities that allow organized crime to flourish:  A lack of civil society and marginal infrastructure and opportunity.

Courtesy: GAFTC Holloman

For more than 20 years, a U-S Air Force Base in New Mexico has been home to Germany’s largest military installation on foreign soil. The German Air Force Flight Training Center has meant millions of dollars to the U-S government, and to the community of Alamogordo.

But now the Germans are about to pack up and leave.

Pages