KRWG

Michael Hernandez

Multimedia Reporter

Michael Hernandez is a multimedia reporter for KRWG Public Media. Watch his reports here at the region's homepage and on KRWG-TV's Newsmakers. You can also hear Michael's stories on KRWG-FM's Morning Edition and All Things Considered.

 

A native Tucsonan, Hernandez is no stranger to Southwestern life.

 

He got his first taste of broadcast news from a young age. At two-and-a-half years old, ABC affiliate KGUN9 visited his home to feature him in a story about early childhood education. Hernandez would eagerly watch the evening news with his grandmother after school and credits growing up on classic PBS shows like Bill Nye the Science Guy, Reading Rainbow, ZOOM! and the Saturday night lineup of British comedies for igniting his passion for public media.

 

Hernandez completed a host of internships as an undergraduate at the University of Arizona. After stints at Tucson’s NBC and CBS news stations, Hernandez interned at Arizona Public Media where he hosted “Newsbreak,” a 90-second daily newscast and reported educational stories for NPR. Additionally, Hernandez worked for UATV, the university’s student-run broadcast station, and held positions including reporter, anchor and executive producer.

 

Hernandez is a 2017 graduate of the University of Arizona’s School of Journalism and is excited to begin his career in Las Cruces. He looks forward to meeting the people of the Mesilla Valley and reporting stories its residents care about most.

Michael Hernandez

Organizers from three Las Cruces-area nonprofit groups announced a collaborative 2020 Census campaign that will focus on reaching hard-to-count communities in Doña Ana County.

At a recent press conference hosted in English and Spanish, members of faith-based advocacy group NM Comunidades en Acción y de Fé (CAFé), the Empowerment Congress of Doña Ana County and Doña Ana Communities United spoke about educational and canvassing efforts to "Get Out the Count" regionally.

Organizers said that includes canvassing door-to-door in smaller municipalities of the county like Sunland Park and Anthony along with colonias such as Berino, Chaparral, Vado, Mesquite, La Mesa, San Miguel and La Union.

Michael Hernandez

For many people who are homeless or at risk of becoming so, the Mesilla Valley Community of Hope is a sanctuary from the desert heat, monsoons and occasional snow.

The nonprofit Las Cruces shelter served nearly 3,000 clients in fiscal year 2019 and helped more than 300 people find transitional or permanent housing.

Kevin Moose is a longtime Community of Hope client.

Moose said after a series of family deaths and struggles with alcoholism, he arrived at the shelter in 2009 in search of help.

Michael Hernandez

City of Las Cruces officials recently launched a superhero-themed campaign for the 2020 Census called “Be Counted” or “Tu Cuentas” in Spanish.

“By answering the Census, our residents become superheroes, protecting the future of our community and our kids,” Las Cruces Mayor Ken Miyagishima said.

The campaign focuses on reaching traditionally undercounted groups. That includes children younger than 5, the elderly, veterans, immigrants, residents with disabilities, people facing housing instability and more.

Miyagishima said it’s “safe,” “easy,” and “critical” for residents to be counted.

Michael Hernandez

149 immigrants representing 21 countries became naturalized citizens on Jan. 17, 2020 at the Las Cruces Convention Center.

In the fourth installment of a documentary series by Michael Hernandez, Brazilian and Liberian airmen stationed at Holloman Air Force Base become American citizens, guest speaker Lorena Devyln shares her path from Mexican immigrant to U.S. District Court interpreter, and local singer Linda Goff explains why she enjoys performing the Star-Spangled Banner and America the Beautiful at naturalization ceremonies.

Michael Hernandez

Las Cruces City Council passed the resolution to support legalizing cannabis in New Mexico on a 6 to 1 vote. Mayor Ken Miyagishima opposed the measure.

“I just believe that this is the most irresponsible legislation that the Legislature has put forth in my 30 years that I’ve been monitoring politics in New Mexico,” Miyagishima said.

The Cannabis Regulation Act is a bill working its way through the state Legislature during the 2020 legislative session. Similar legislation failed the previous year.

Michael Hernandez


 

The 2020 Census will be the first census to rely heavily on online responses, according to City of Las Cruces officials. All homes should receive a mailed invitation by April 1. Residents may also respond by phone.

U.S. Census data will determine how $675 billion in federal funding will be allocated for programs like Medicare, Medicaid, Head Start, SNAP and public safety.

The Census also determines representation in Congress and how district lines in the state are drawn.

New Mexico receives more than $7 billion in federal dollars each year, according to the state Census webpage.

Michael Hernandez


 

A nationwide group of faith leaders congregated outside the Otero County Processing Center in Chaparral to protest reportedly poor conditions, mistreatment and deaths of detainees in the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Roughly 50 people including pastors, activists and community members stood in a lot located between the ICE facility and Otero County prison to demonstrate. They gave testimonials, sang and prayed.

“We don't want this to be what describes and what shows our community. Our community is more than this," Joseph Hill, pastor of the Lordsburg Assembly church, said.

Michael Hernandez

The Las Cruces town hall comes a day after Rep. Xochitl Torres Small’s forum in Silver City.

Torres Small said she’s proud of legislation passed in last year’s federal budget agreement to increase funding for early childhood education and turn White Sands National Monument into a national park.

She adds she’s pleased with bipartisan efforts in Congress to pass the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, President Trump’s trade deal to replace NAFTA.

Michael Hernandez

141 immigrants representing 19 countries became naturalized citizens on Nov. 8, 2019 at the Las Cruces Convention Center.

In the third installment of a documentary series by Michael Hernandez, Rosie Miyagishima, the wife of Las Cruces Mayor Ken Miyagishima becomes a citizen, immigrants from Mexico, Ukraine, and the Philippines share stories of their citizenship, and Doña Ana County voter registration agent Virginia Beckworth talks about the importance of signing up new voters at ceremonies like this one.

Michael Hernandez

Doña Ana County Commission Chair Lynn Ellins and District 3 Commissioner Shannon Reynolds gave “top marks across the board” in their evaluations of the County Detention Center following a December inspection.

“Overall, we were impressed with the personnel and we were impressed with the current state of the facilities which are in the process of being upgraded,” Ellins said.

But Ellins noted there's room for improvement.

Michael Hernandez


 

Patrick Davis is a city councilor in Albuquerque.

He also chairs Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s work group appointed to make recommendations for legalizing cannabis in New Mexico.

Davis said the task force came up with four main goals.

Michael Hernandez

Marco Olvera remembers the night his mother woke him and his six siblings up to escape from his abusive, alcoholic stepfather.

“She opens our door, you know, she just makes a silent move and points out the window and so I wake up my brother and we climb out of there, the window," Olvera said.

That was April 22, 2007. Before that pivotal evening, the 26-year-old said he and his family were held captive for five years in a mobile home in Deming.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

Social Security is a critical form of income for thousands of retired New Mexicans–for some seniors, it’s their only source.

But New Mexico remains one of 13 states that tax income from Social Security.

The Doña Ana County Board of Commissioners unanimously passed a resolution asking Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham to add the repeal of the state tax to the 2020 Legislative Session agenda.

Michael Hernandez

Childhood trauma takes a multitude of forms–physical, emotional and sexual abuse, divorce, neglect, poverty, substance abuse and many other examples create adverse childhood experiences, or ACEs.

Local and state leaders met at the Las Cruces Convention Center to explore how communities throughout New Mexico can work to reduce and prevent ACEs.

Michael Hernandez

Doña Ana County’s November election drew 17 percent of registered voters to the polls.

In Las Cruces, turnout was better at 22.3 percent. Las Cruces was one of about a dozen cities nationwide to use ranked-choice voting.

Deputy County Clerk Lindsey Bachman said it’s hard to pinpoint what drives turnout—but voter participation in Las Cruces was higher than 2017's 10.5 percent and 2015's 18.6 percent turnout numbers.

Michael Hernandez

Lost or stolen identification is a commonly reported problem in the homeless community.

Recently, several state agencies helped provide birth certificates, driver’s licenses and other services to people in need at the Mesilla Valley Community of Hope.

In this video essay by Michael Hernandez, Workforce Solutions Dept. Secretary Bill McCamley speaks about the aim of the event and we hear from some of those getting ID.

Michael Hernandez

Ken Miyagishima knows how to win elections.

In his career, the Las Cruces mayor has been in 14 races and won 11 of them. But the municipal race on Nov. 5 worried Miyagishima slightly because he’d never won on that day.

That didn’t make a difference.

In the City’s first ranked-choice election, Miyagishima won a fourth term, with Bill Mattiace coming in second after all nine elimination rounds.

Miyagishima said it reminded him of his first mayoral race against Mattiace in 2007.

Michael Hernandez

The 15-cent increase is based on a cost-of-living adjustment tied to the Consumer Price Index.

Economist Dr. Manuel Reyes-Loya from the Hibbs Institute for Business and Economic Research at the University of Texas at Tyler presented the study to City Council at a recent work session.

The analysis simulated the economic impact of CPI indexing from 2020 to 2022. 

Michael Hernandez

From medical marijuana to hemp crafts, the versatility of the cannabis plant was on display at the first Southern New Mexico Cannabis Expo.

More than 20 vendors set up shop in the Las Cruces Convention Center selling CBD oils, tinctures, pain relief creams—even dog treats.

New Mexico’s medical cannabis program has nearly 80,000 patients and is estimated to grow to 100,000 by 2021. That’s according to a work group report on marijuana legalization issued by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s office in October 2019.

Michael Hernandez

Las Cruces City Council candidates running for seats in Districts 1, 2 and 4 gathered at Amaro Winery to watch the results of their respective municipal elections—and women came away with wins in all three races.

Michael Hernandez spoke with some of the night's winners including City Councilor Kasandra Gandara, NM CAFé organizer Johana Bencomo and former Las Cruces Green Chamber of Commerce secretary Tessa Abeyta Stuve.

Las Cruces Fire Dept. / City of Las Cruces

Like most other cities in New Mexico, Las Cruces has significant infrastructure needs.

At a recent work session, City Council reviewed a list of $55 million in capital improvement projects to prioritize for the 2020 state legislative session.

Public safety is first on the City’s wish list.

Film Las Cruces

A day after the news that Netflix is meeting film production benchmarks in Albuquerque, the Doña Ana County Board of Commissioners approved money to boost film and television efforts in Las Cruces.

The county approved $70,000 in economic development funding for Film Las Cruces, the region’s film office and industry liaison.

District 3 County Commissioner Shannon Reynolds also serves on the Film Las Cruces board.

Michael Hernandez

With their families proudly watching, 185 immigrants representing 18 countries took the Oath of Allegiance on Sept. 20 at the Las Cruces Convention Center.

In this second documentary by Michael Hernandez, several immigrants from Mexico, including the ceremony's guest speaker, talk about their personal motivations for moving to the United States.

Michael Hernandez

187 immigrants and their families from around the world gathered at the Las Cruces Convention Center on July 19 to take the Oath of Allegiance.

That same week, President Trump told minority members of Congress in a tweet to "go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came."

In this documentary by Michael Hernandez, we''ll hear the stories of five immigrants, their responses to President Trump, and what it means to them to become American citizens.

Michael Hernandez

"One size fits all" works for Halloween costumes, but it’s not the most effective way to treat patients.

That’s why the National Institutes of Health launched All of Us, a program that aims to speed up health research by collecting data from one million adults of all backgrounds.

As part of the initiative, tour manager Angie Gonzalez traveled to New Mexico State University in a baby blue RV. She said All of Us aims to improve healthcare for future generations by taking a personalized approach to treating and preventing disease. It’s called “precision medicine.”

Michael Hernandez

There are more than 120 known gang groups in Doña Ana County, according to Las Cruces Deputy Police Chief Miguel Dominguez.

He said some gangs have a handful of members while others have hundreds. Dominguez said the overwhelming majority of organized crime is drug-related.

Michael Hernandez

Until they can vote, teenagers don’t have much say in the election process. 

That changed for a night as government students from five Las Cruces high schools questioned candidates running for Las Cruces mayor.

Oñate High School officials estimated nearly 300 people attended the forum, which featured nine out of 10 candidates in the race. The nonpartisan event marked efforts by Las Cruces Public Schools and civic groups to educate voters ahead of November’s municipal elections.

Michael Hernandez

The right to vote is a liberty many take for granted—especially young people.

While turnout rates among voters 18 to 29 increased more than any other age group in the 2018 midterms, the 36 percent participation rate was still the lowest among all ages.

To boost those numbers, members of student government at New Mexico State University signed up new voters as part of National Voter Registration Day. The nationwide campaign prompted more than 800,000 people to register in 2018.

J.R. Hernandez / UTEP Communications

The Electoral College has resulted in five elections in which the candidate with fewer votes became president. That includes George W. Bush in 2000 and Donald Trump in 2016.

Efforts to abolish the Electoral College have been gaining public support. Dr. Paul Finkelman is president of Gratz College in Philadelphia. The history professor spoke about the issue at the University of Texas at El Paso.

Finkelman said the Electoral College was explicitly designed to protect slavery. Citing debate notes from the Constitutional Convention, Finkelman said Virginia delegate James Madison proposed the Electoral College so Southern states could include slaves in the tally.

Michael Hernandez

A glass of pinot noir pairs well with meat, cheese, and for local voting rights advocates– politics.

Members of the nonpartisan group Indivisible Las Cruces gathered at Amaro Winery to watch round three of the Democratic primary debates.

Ahead of the forum, an NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll found that Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren is gaining support with Democratic voters but she and other candidates are less popular with voters overall.

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