This week on New Mexico in Focus, senior producer Matt Grubs takes a close look at the state’s COVID-19 testing capability with Sec. Kathyleen Kunkel of the NM Department of Health. New Mexico is able to test more than 5,000 people a day, but routinely falls thousands of tests short of that mark.

Correspondent Laura Paskus continues with her series of interviews with journalists around the state as they cover COVID-19 in their communities. Arlyssa Becenti is a reporter with the Navajo Times, which is based in Window Rock, Arizona, and covers the entire 27,000-square mile Navajo Nation.

Paskus also checks in with Jeff Proctor, criminal justice reporter for New Mexico In Depth and contributing editor for the Santa Fe Reporter. He’s been tracking how some 6,600 inmates in New Mexico are affected by the pandemic, and what the state is doing to protect prisoners and correctional employees from the deadly virus. 

Correspondent Antonia Gonzales looks into tribal cultural responses to the current pandemic. Native Americans across the country are finding ways to share their culture, language and traditions with one another as COVID-19 put a halt to tribal gatherings. Virtual pow-wows, beading classes, pottery making, language and story-sharing are among the many things to move online. A number of Facebook groups, town halls, and Zoom meetings are connecting tribal communities offering encouragement and positivity during these trying times. Gonzales talks with some guests about the resilience of Native people.

Senior producer Matt Grubs tackles the issue of voting during the pandemic with Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver. This week, county clerks began sending out applications for mail-in absentee ballots as they prepare for the June 2 primary. The New Mexico Supreme Court ruled last month that ballots had to be requested by voters in the upcoming election, rather than allowing clerks to skip a step and just send the ballots. Sec. Toulouse Oliver talks about her concern for public health and in-person voting.  

On this month’s episode of Our Land, we look back to 2018, when the Rio Grande dried in April after a warm, dry winter. At the time, correspondent Laura Paskus spoke with scientists whose research showed how climate change is already affecting the amount of streamflow in the Rio Grande that comes from snowmelt, especially in the spring. The river’s flow in 2020 is bearing out that grim prediction just two years later.

New Mexico in Focus is involved, informed, in-depth media airing weekly on New Mexico PBS. The program debuts Friday nights at 7 p.m. on NMPBS 5.1(KNME-HD) and appears online shortly thereafter. The show rebroadcasts on NMPBS 5.1 (KNME-HD) Sundays at 7 a.m. and on NMPBS 9.1 (WORLD) on Saturdays at 5 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m.    

Host   
Gene Grant    

IN FOCUS INTERVIEWS

Testing New Mexicans for COVID-19

Correspondent
Matt Grubs

Guests
Cabinet Secretary Kathyleen Kunkel, New Mexico Department of Health

COVID-19 on the Navajo Nation

Correspondent
Laura Paskus 

Guest
Arlyssa Becenti, reporter, Navajo Times - Diné bi Naltsoos

NM Supreme Court Rules on Inmate, Staff Testing at State Prisons

Correspondent
Laura Paskus

Guest
Jeff Proctor, reporter, New Mexico in Depth and contributing editor, Santa Fe Reporter

Tribal Cultural Response to COVID-19

Correspondent
Antonia Gonzales

Guests
Tiana Cachini, Miss Zuni

Teran Villa, Jemez Pueblo COVID-19 Response Team 

Isiah Yazzie, comedian

Primary Voting in New Mexico

Correspondent
Matt Grubs

Guest
Secretary Maggie Toulouse Oliver,  New Mexico Secretary of State
 

Our Land: Rio Grande Spring Flow and Climate Change

Correspondent
Laura Paskus
 

The Line Opinion Panel
No Line panel this week

New Mexico in Focus is the New Mexico PBS prime-time news magazine show covering the events, issues, and people that are shaping life in New Mexico and the Southwest.

NMiF takes a multi-layered look at social, political, economic health, education, and art issues, and explores them in-depth with a critical eye to give them context beyond the “news of the moment.”

The producer of New Mexico in Focus is Matt Grubs, with Kathy Wimmer, associate producer. The NM PBS Public Affairs executive producer is Kevin McDonald.

Funding for New Mexico in Focus is provided by the McCune Charitable Foundation and viewers like you.

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