KRWG

Simon Thompson

Reporter/Producer

Simon Thompson was a reporter/producer for KRWG-TV's Newsmakers from 2014 to 2017.  Encores of his work appear from time to time on KRWG-TV's Newsmakers and KRWG-FM's Fronteras-A Changing America.

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.

 

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.

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.

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.

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.

Former Las Cruces City Councilor Nathan Small

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

Simon Thompson

Green Crack, Super Silver Diesel Haze and Snowberry- Just three of the names given to cannabis being legally used in New Mexico to treat anything from cancer to chronic pain to post traumatic stress disorder.

The New Mexico Department of Health is proposing changes to the state's medicinal marijuana program. Dispensaries are concerned that it will make the medicine even more expensive when some patients already faced shortages and difficulty paying for their medicine.

Mandy Denson is the co-owner of Compassionate Distributors dispensary in Ruidoso.

Courtesy of the USDA

Feral pigs cost the U.S. $1.5 billion dollars every year. But wild pigs aren’t just endangering wildlife and native plants. The animals are threatening the livelihood of a longtime ranching community in Otero County.

Simon Thompson

When someone is apprehended crossing the border illegally they are handed over to Immigration and Customs enforcement or ICE.

But they don’t have enough of facilities needed to house the minors and families coming across the border. So once they have been processed they are released on their own reconnaissance, while they wait for their immigration hearings.

Simon Thompson

32 of New Mexico’s fastest growing tech companies saw collective growth of 14% since the recession. That is according to the ‘The Flying 40’, a list that reports on New Mexico’s tech industry progress annually. But when it comes to tech companies in the southern part of the state few are even mentioned.

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