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
 

Pages

Regional
10:01 am
Tue April 21, 2015

NM Dental Health Care Professional Shortage Third Greatest in Nation

Anthony NM resident Maria Alvarez's insurance doesn't cover the dental care she needs. So she gets relief from her dental health issues using a home pain relief remedy- Cooking cloves soaked in water.
Credit Simon Thompson

    

Read more
Regional
6:01 am
Fri April 10, 2015

Climate Change Scientist And Skeptics Both Preparing For Water Scarce Future

Mesilla Valley Pecan Farmer Greg Daviet says when surface water allocations are low he waters his farm with ground water.
Credit Simon Thompson

Mega drought, climate change or a combination of the two scientists and climate change skeptics may not see eye to eye on what’s behind dryer weather and increasingly scarce water supplies in New Mexico but many agree on the need to dramatically improve water management. 

Read more
Regional
5:05 am
Tue April 7, 2015

Magdalena Water Use Reduced By More Than 50 Percent After Water Crisis

Magdalena Water Utility Manager Steve Bailey checks on the villages ground water wells. He now checks the villages three wells every single month to avoid the water crisis of almost two years ago,
Credit Simon Thompson

In June of 2013, a small New Mexico village ran out of water.  Magdalena is home to about a thousand people in the central part of the state. Hydrologists regard the village as a canary in the coal mine; a taste of what the future could hold for New Mexico if rising temperatures and scarce water supplies aren’t managed for the future. Almost two years Magdalena’s recovery is shaping the state’s ground water policy. 

Read more
Regional
11:57 am
Wed April 1, 2015

Dona Ana Communities Concerned Dairy Waste Plan Does Not Go Far Enough To Protect Ground Water

Dairy cows get a feed at one of the farms on 'Dairy Row' just south of Las Cruces.
Credit Simon Thompson

According to New Mexico State University New Mexico dairies generate one hundred eighty million dollars in economic impact annually in Dona Ana County alone… But that might be coming at the expense of some communities scarce ground water resources.  

While a number of dairies in Dona Ana County will tasked with new ground water monitoring requirements- County residents are concerned they won’t go far enough to protect their drinking water.

Read more
Regional
5:59 am
Mon March 23, 2015

Job To Career Readiness Boot Camp Attacks Dona Ana Work Force Issues

Job seekers sign up for the Job to Career Readiness Boot Camp at Dona Ana Community College.
Credit Simon Thompson

Economic development projects throughout New Mexico and Dona Ana County- prioritize job creation- That’s usually done by convincing out of state companies to move in, set up and bring jobs with them. But that might be putting the horse before the cart. Companies operating in the region say they can’t find enough capable workers. Simon Thompson went to a Job to Career Readiness Boot Camp to report on what is being done to improve the quality of Dona Ana County’s workforce.   

Read more
Regional
10:07 am
Fri March 20, 2015

New Signs Installed As Organ Mountains Desert Peaks Moves Towards Broader Visitor Engagement

Bureau of Land Management Las Cruces district officer Bill Childress cuts the ribbon on the first official sign in the Organ Mountains Desert Peaks National Monument.
Credit Simon Thompson

 

It has almost been a year  since President Obama designated the Organ Mountains Desert Peaks National Monument. In the lead up to the anniversary community groups have been working on projects to promote the site. Economists say these projects are key to the monument generating the projected 7.4 million dollars economic activity every year.

About 50 volunteers armed with shovels, rakes and wheel barrels met up at the foot of the Organ mountains for a working day in the weekend sunshine.

Read more
Regional
7:27 am
Mon March 16, 2015

Is The City Of Las Cruces Effectively Enforcing The Minimum Wage Law?

Amber Care employs 318 people in Las Cruces.
Credit Simon Thompson

Employees of Amber Care an in home personal care provider in Las Cruces say they haven’t been getting paid the Las Cruces minimum wage. Unlike Albuquerque- Las Cruces doesn’t threaten criminal or financial penalties to companies boycotting the city’s  minimum wage. A Las Cruces city councilor is considering on a policy that could change that.

On January 1st of this year Las Cruces minimum wage workers saw a wage increase from $7.50 an hour to $8.40.

At least they were supposed to.

Read more
Regional
9:29 am
Mon March 9, 2015

New Mexico Data On State Water Supply Not Sufficient For Future Planning

A ground water well that is used to irrigate a pecan orchards south of Las Cruces
Credit Simon Thompson

New Mexico has been in a sustained drought since 2002 far longer than experts predicted.  And scientists from NASA, Cornell and Columbia University are warning if climate change continues the way it has the drought may get a lot worse.  As Simon Thompson reports some water experts say New Mexico is trailing far behind other southwestern states in developing strategies for sustained growth and water access.

Read more
Regional
6:00 am
Tue March 3, 2015

950 Las Cruces Students Walk Out On PARCC Test

About 100 Mayfield High School Students walked out on the PARCC test in protest.
Credit Simon Thompson

Nearly one thousand Las Cruces students staged a walkout Monday protesting the increasing number and intensity of high stakes tests. They say an overemphasis on testing is ruining their education.

Students at Mayfield High School in Las Cruces walked out to protest a new standardized test being administered throughout New Mexico.

The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, known as the PARCC test.

About 100 students walked out at Mayfield. And 950 throughout the Las Cruces Public Schools.

Read more
Regional
10:35 am
Mon March 2, 2015

Las Cruces Public School Students Walk Out On PARCC Test In Protest

Mayfield High School Students Protest PARCC Test
Credit Simon Thompson

Many Las Cruces students staged a walkout Monday protesting the increasing number and intensity of high stakes tests. They say an overemphasis on testing is ruining their education.

Students at Mayfield High School in Las Cruces walked out to protest a new standardized test being administered throughout New Mexico:  the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, known as the PARCC test.

About 100 students walked out at Mayfield.

Read more
Regional
10:22 am
Sun March 1, 2015

Are New Mexico's Economic Initiatives Aimed In Wrong Direction?

Kitchen staff at Italian restaurant Bella Luca serve up the night's dinner menu. Economists say businesses with a stake in the local community like this one may have more economic staying power.
Credit Simon Thompson

According to MIT, mid-size companies, that’s businesses with 10 to 99 employees, generate 35% of jobs nationally.  And these companies are better at creating middle class jobs in high-skilled areas. New Mexico economic initiatives are not focused on supporting the growth of these companies.

Read more
Regional
6:16 am
Thu February 19, 2015

Help Or Hindrance: Evaluating State Economic Incentive Programs

Chiuahaha Governor Horacio Duarte Jaquez, Senator Tom Udall and Governor Susana Martinez celebrate the opening of the Union Pacific Inter-modal facility in Santa Teresa
Credit Simon Thompson

Creating jobs and generating development in New Mexico has largely been approached by giving business incentives and tax exemptions. But some economists say those tools don’t offer a guaranteed return on investment.  Some lawmakers are proposing an end to wasteful programs with a way to evaluate incentives.

MVEDA; The Mesilla Valley Economic Development Alliance has what is called an economic base approach to generating jobs and economic growth. Davin Lopez is the CEO of the Alliance.  

Read more
Regional
7:42 am
Fri February 13, 2015

Is Compulsory Voting The Remedy For Low Voter Turnout?

Dona Ana County Deputy Clerk Scott Krahling says compulsory or mandatory voting could address a lot of issues facing the US political system. But that Americans voters would take to it or that it could be implemented.
Credit Simon Thompson

In the November midterms, voter turnout in New Mexico and Texas was just below the national average of less than 37 percent, the lowest it’s been in the U.S in 72 years. 

It’s led many analysts to question the U.S. political system’s capacity to represent its people. The International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance ranks the U.S. 120th for voter turnout internationally.

The countries at the top of the list like Belgium, Singapore and Australia, which is number 1, all have compulsory voting policies. 

Read more
Regional
6:27 am
Thu February 5, 2015

Developers Say Las Cruces Arroyo Plan Still Needs Further Review

A bulldozer prepares surface land adjacent to an arroyo for a residential development.
Credit Simon Thompson

Las Cruces is finalizing its arroyo management plan and the city council could vote on it in the coming months.  Despite almost a decade of delay some property developers say more research and discussion is needed.

It doesn’t rain often in Las Cruces but when it does it can really pour

Lupe Archuleta has lived in Las Cruces for 35 years, she says she had no idea how the nearby arroyo could damage her East Mesa home until a major downpour years after she moved in.

Read more
Regional
6:07 am
Tue February 3, 2015

Regional Water Conservation Efforts Await Congressional Reauthorization

Texas Water Resources Institute hydrologist Zhuping Sheng says that the region is going to have to get more creative with water conservation if it is going to continue developing.
Credit Simon Thompson

Southern New Mexico and West Texas surface water levels are just slightly above hundred-year lows.   Meantime legislation that funds regional water conservation research and development is about to expire.

Elephant Butte, the area’s major reservoir is at low levels in the fall, it was less than ten percent full.

Read more
Regional
8:14 am
Wed January 21, 2015

Fort Bliss Shooting Highlights Broader VA Dysfunction

El Paso Veteran Nick D' Amico passed away in 2013 while waiting for medical care from the El Paso VA .
Credit Simon Thompson

Every day 22 U.S. veterans commit suicide. The recent murder-suicide that took two lives at Fort Bliss is raising questions about the VA’s ability to manage ongoing mental health issues facing returning soldiers Simon Thompson reports.

Read more
Regional
9:10 am
Mon January 19, 2015

A Fork In the Road: Keystone XL Pipeline Debate Mirrors NM Dilemma Over Future Energy Generation

The San Juan facility outside Farmington New Mexico Emits About 13,054,091 tons of Carbon Dioxide when running at full capacity (2006)
Credit Sierra Club NM

As many as 150 demonstrations, in 50 states protested House approval of the Keystone XL pipeline last week.  For many, even in states like New Mexico far from the pipeline route the debate represents a broader question over the future of energy generation in the US. 

Read more
Regional
6:00 am
Wed September 24, 2014

Stand4KidsNM: State Education Policy Critics Gagged And Silenced

Credit Simon Thompson

Krazy Kathy Korte, that is what some are calling the Albuquerque mother and outspoken critic of education policies developed by the Martinez administration.

Korte’s advocacy group Stand4kids New Mexico has put education at the center of the November election. But a Republican lawmaker has filed a complaint against the group’s conduct with the Secretary of State.

Kathy Korte was elected to the Albuquerque Public School board, right after Susana Martinez became governor and began her campaign to overhaul public education.  

Read more
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.

Read more
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

 

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more

Pages