Author

Austin Fisher

Austin Fisher

Austin Fisher is a journalist based in Santa Fe. He has worked for newspapers in New Mexico and his home state of Kansas, including the Topeka Capital-Journal, the Garden City Telegram, the Rio Grande SUN and the Santa Fe Reporter. Since starting a full-time career in reporting in 2015, he’s aimed to use journalism to lift up voices that typically go unheard in public debates around economic inequality, policing and environmental racism.

Should Albuquerque’s fledgling Violence Intervention Program be the model for New Mexico?

By: - September 23, 2021

A year and a half after the launch of Albuquerque’s Violence Intervention Program, questions linger about whether it is reducing shootings in the city and should serve as a model for similar programs in other parts of New Mexico. Albuquerque’s program, started in March 2020, identifies people who are at the highest risk of being […]

Officials unveil their agenda to fight crime in Albuquerque

By: - September 22, 2021

Albuquerque police leadership and New Mexico lawmakers released a slate of proposed reforms they believe will reduce violent crime in the city and around the state. But local organizers say the proposals represent a series of steps backward. Officials with the Albuquerque Metro Crime Initiative released on Sept. 21 a “crime-fighting agenda” of 40 separate […]

Remembering Nikki Bascom

By: - September 21, 2021

Not long after a 17-year-old Nikki Bascom gave birth to her son, someone gave her a letter. It was about how the mothers of disabled children are chosen by God and given extraordinary skills to raise them. “That was Nikki,” said her mother Karri Dalton, who found the letter in a box at her home […]

Albuquerque police still sweeping homeless camps, despite CDC guidelines

By: - September 17, 2021

Richard Murray and Terryn Paul both like to draw. Sitting on the grass at Wells Park near Downtown Albuquerque on Sept. 16, they read books, smoke cigarillos and sharpen colored pencils using a knife with a pearlescent handle. They’ve been living unsheltered on the city streets for five years, repeatedly missing chances to get housing. […]

Lawmaker: APD ‘tied their own hands’ with class-action jail settlement

By: - September 16, 2021

A Democratic state lawmaker and former prosecutor says he sees a connection between rising violent crime and a 2017 settlement prohibiting Albuquerque police from arresting people accused of some misdemeanor crimes. In 2017, the city of Albuquerque settled with people incarcerated at the Metropolitan Detention Center who sued more than two decades earlier — in […]

Emergency food assistance extended through the end of the month

By: - September 14, 2021

Expanded government aid meant to keep New Mexicans from going hungry during the COVID-19 pandemic has been extended through the end of September. The program was set to expire in August, but the federal government granted New Mexico an extension. Since March 2020, U.S. residents getting help from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) have […]

Photo of Albuquerque police car

Albuquerque asks state for millions to help stop violent crime

By: - September 13, 2021

The city of Albuquerque is asking New Mexico lawmakers for $10 million to expand its Violence Intervention Program. The program, started in March 2020, identifies people who are at the highest risk of being involved in “the current cycles of gun violence,” then employs peer support workers to offer “an exit from the dangerous life […]

State needs to legalize testing strips to prevent overdose deaths, harm reduction expert says

By: - September 10, 2021

Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that is much more potent than heroin, has entered New Mexico’s drug market and can make drug use more dangerous and even fatal. Fentanyl is killing more people in the state than heroin and prescription opioids now, according to health officials.  Overdose deaths have increased in the state, with fentanyl-related deaths […]

Providers ask lawmakers to relax the rules around take-home drug treatment

By: - September 10, 2021

It took Phil Fiuty more than 20 years from the first time he thought maybe he wanted to not use drugs anymore to become sober. That’s not because of any moral failing or lack of character on his part, but illustrates his view that it can take a lot of practice to be abstinent. “It’s […]

Acequias can help fend off some climate change impacts, researchers say

By: - September 9, 2021

Centuries-old acequia systems in New Mexico can help offset some effects of climate change, according to Dr. Connie Maxwell, a researcher at the Water and Community Collaboration Lab at New Mexico State University.  Her presentation to legislators on Tuesday, Sept. 7, says acequias can mimic slowly melting snowpack, the biggest source of water in the […]

Tenant rights collective calls on Santa Fe City Council to boost protections for renters

By: - September 9, 2021

The city of Santa Fe might be ready to create its own hotline for tenants facing eviction, but activists are asking them to do a lot more. The Chainbreaker Collective said they hope city and state officials will take their recommendation to expand tenant protections — not just during the pandemic but beyond, making them […]

Behavioral health provider: ‘I just hope that we’ve learned from history’

By: - September 8, 2021

Providers are asking New Mexico lawmakers to rebuild the state’s behavioral health care system, which is still plagued by problems after former Gov. Susana Martinez caused many providers to shut down about eight years ago.   Lawrence Medina, executive director of the Rio Grande Alcoholism Treatment Program in Taos, N.M., suggested lawmakers provide funding needed to […]