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.

With two Starbucks stores in NM set to unionize, organizers feel solidarity

By: - August 22, 2022

Thursday was supposed to be Shawn Harper-Ray’s day off. That day last week at the Starbucks in Santa Fe on St. Michael’s Drive between Calle Lorca and Plaza del Sur Drive, a couple of workers called in sick. One of Harper-Ray’s co-workers contacted them to say a manager was on the clock, but refused to […]

Bernalillo County approves new Santolina plans despite public objections, water access issues

By: - August 19, 2022

Bernalillo County elected officials on Tuesday voted unanimously to approve two sets of plans for the Santolina development, over the objections of community members and the county’s own planning board. The Bernalillo County Board of Commissioners voted 4-0 to approve two requests by Western Albuquerque Land Holdings (WALH) to speed up the development’s timeline from […]

Governor praises health care workers as she further lifts COVID protections

By: - August 18, 2022

At an awards ceremony for health care workers at a high-end hotel with a cocktail dress code on Tuesday night, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham praised their collective effort to save lives from COVID. “We stood up testing. We stood up vaccinations. We stood it all up. Nobody pointed at one other group and said, ‘Your […]

Some publications blocked by new prison mail policy in NM

By: - August 12, 2022

Censorship of communication between incarcerated people and the outside world is nothing new, but something about that power dynamic changed in 2020, said Courtney Montoya, an organizer with the New Mexico chapter of the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee. Conditions are controlled by prison officials, she said, and with so many people crowded inside, people have […]

Albuquerque teen killed in fire accused of unrelated shooting

By: - August 9, 2022

The Albuquerque Police Department last Friday accused a dead Black teenager of a crime. Brett Rosenau, 15, died July 7 of smoke inhalation from a fire caused by a tear gas grenade thrown by a Bernalillo County Sheriff’s deputy, according to preliminary information from investigators with the Office of the Medical Investigator and Albuquerque Fire […]

Tear gas grenade thrown by Bernalillo County deputy caused deadly house fire, investigators say

By: - August 5, 2022

The only possible cause of the fire that killed Brett Rosenau, 15, last month was a grenade thrown by a Bernalillo County Sheriff’s deputy who was a member of the SWAT team that July night, local fire officials said Friday. The Fire/Arson Investigation Division of Albuquerque Fire Rescue ruled the fire an accident, and discussed […]

New Mexico likely to further relax COVID testing in schools

By: - August 5, 2022

As federal public health officials are set to further relax COVID-19 guidance, their New Mexico counterparts say they will closely follow the changes. The CDC is likely to update its COVID-19 guidance as soon as this week, including de-emphasizing social distancing, lifting testing guidance and quarantine timelines for schools, and increasing the focus on ventilation […]

New Mexico plans to create searchable logs of prison mail

By: - August 3, 2022

Letters written and received by people incarcerated in New Mexico prisons will soon be part of a database expanding mail surveillance in the state’s correctional facilities. The New Mexico Corrections Department is buying equipment from Florida-based company Securus Technologies and installing it at each prison.   Adult Prisons Division Director Gary Marciel told legislators the computer […]

Ankle monitor GPS data ruling may be appealed

By: - August 3, 2022

A fight between the local prosecutor and the state district court in Albuquerque over public access to the location data of people ordered to wear ankle monitors while awaiting their day in court may become a constitutional battle over the right to privacy. Thirteenth Judicial District Court Judge James Noel ruled on Monday that the […]

A school bus rounds the corner in Albuquerque

Teachers: To make extended learning work, first help students get to school

By: - August 2, 2022

As many New Mexico public schools choose not to extend their school years, teachers in Alamogordo with decades of experience say for a longer year to make sense, districts should first give students the support they need to be able to make it into the classroom in the first place. Legislative Education Study Committee Vice […]

A propane tank with red letters that read, "NO SMOKING, FLAMMABLE" sits in front of wildfire smoke from the Hermits Peak-Calf Canyon Fire in northern New Mexico.

Officials lift fire restrictions on state lands, though local bans remain in some counties, tribal nations, national parks

By: - August 1, 2022

Citing recent rains and decreased fire danger, state forestry officials on Monday lifted restrictions that have been in place since April as wildfires ignited around the state. The April restrictions on state lands prohibited smoking, fireworks, campfires and open fires on all lands not controlled by local, federal and tribal governments to reduce the chance […]

Loss of Medicaid coverage could ramp up crime in NM, lawmaker warns

By: - July 29, 2022

If authorities end the public health emergency in the fall and allow people to lose access to health care, it could lead to an increase in violent crime in New Mexico, a state lawmaker said in a hearing last week. Since the federal government declared the COVID-19 pandemic a public health emergency, people on Medicaid […]