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This week on New Mexico in Focus, correspondent Russell Contreras talks with Elizabeth Groginsky, the first secretary of New Mexico’s newly minted Early Childhood Education and Care Department, which will launch next week. Groginsky talks about her plans for creating a cohesive and aligned pre-natal-to-five early childhood system in New Mexico. Protests against racism and debates over monuments have captivated Santa Fe, where vandals defaced a Civil War obelisk referring to Native Americans as “savage” and the city removed a statue of Don Diego de Vargas from Cathedral Park. Gwyneth Doland talks with Santa Fe Mayor Alan Webber about his approach to the conflicts. Correspondent Laura Paskus continues her conversations with journalists about their coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic as she checks in with Andrew Oxford, formerly with the Santa Fe New Mexican and now reporting for The Arizona Republic. Unlike New Mexico, Arizona took a less strict approach to dealing with the pandemic and has seen the number of cases rise. Oxford talks about the Arizona state government’s approach to the pandemic, the state’s economy and President Trump’s visit this week. Gene Grant and The Line opinion panel analyze the outcomes of the special legislative session that spanned five days – including a weekend – and debate whether lawmakers accomplished all they set out to do. The Line also takes on the ever-present COVID pandemic with updates on how it’s affecting New Mexico.

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Our Land

A Dry Rio Grande and Its Impact on Endangered Fish

On this month’s episode of Our Land, we visit the dry bed of the Rio Grande south of Socorro, New Mexico, and also talk with biologist Thomas Archdeacon about why the drying occurs, how it affects endangered fish, and why this year’s recovery of rare silvery minnows was complicated by COVID-19. New Mexico’s largest river has consistently dried in this stretch over the past two decades, and as the region continues warming, that will continue to occur. This year, the mountains that supply the Rio Grande saw near-normal snowpack for most of the winter, and yet drying still began in late May. And, as Archdeacon points out, even in years like 2019 which saw record high runoff, the river dried in the fall.

In Touch

Timely interviews that add insight and context to the news of the day

Covering COVID-19 in Arizona

As part of our series of conversations with journalists about their coverage of the novel coronavirus and its impact on their communities, correspondent Laura Paskus checks in with Andrew Oxford of The Arizona Republic. Unlike New Mexico – where Oxford formerly worked – Arizona did not mandate masks early and quickly emerged from stay-at-home orders, only to see a large spike in cases in recent weeks. Oxford talks about the situation as well as the state government’s approach to the pandemic — and about the state’s economy and President Trump’s visits to the state.