Coronavirus in New Mexico
In the last two weeks, the landscape around us has changed and we are changing with it. COVID-19 has gone from being a distant problem to one that threatens our very livelihoods and well-being. As more confirmed cases of the infection crop up across New Mexico each day, we must reevaluate the focus of Searchlight. As of this week, coronavirus is our focus.
Our lives now
This week, we introduce a daily photo essay called Our Lives Now. Searchlight photographer Don J. Usner is traveling around New Mexico, documenting life as the COVID-19 crisis unfolds. Each day, look for a new image.
April 2, 2020 | By Nick Pachelli
The new and improved phone system for New Mexicans to file for unemployment crashed under an unprecedented load of callers.
April 1, 2020 | By Dahr Jamail
Cases of COVID-19 on the Navajo Nation are climbing as it reports seven times more cases than any other tribe.
March 30, 2020 | By Rachel Mabe
The City of Santa Fe took a new approach to curbing the spread of COVID-19 among residents who are homeless.
March 24, 2020 | By Ed Williams
Foster parents are caught between conflicting directives when it comes to visitation during the COVID-19 outbreak.
March 24, 2020 | By Amy Linn
New Mexico is home to 19 pueblos, 3 Apache tribes and a large swath of the Navajo Nation. How will they cope with the outbreak of COVID-19?
March 23, 2020 | By Ike Swetlitz
Searchlight spoke with five inmates in the Santa Fe jail: they just want to keep clean and safe from COVID-19, but they can't seem to get enough soap.
March 18, 2020 | By Ike Swetlitz
Searchlight spoke to immigration attorney, Allegra Love, to see how migrant detention centers in New Mexico will be impacted by the spread of the coronavirus.
More stories from Searchlight
March 27, 2020 | By Ike Swetlitz
New Mexico has reached a settlement in a years-long lawsuit that accused the state of failing to protect many of its most vulnerable children.
March 11, 2020 | By Christian Marquez
After decades of growth driven by oil and gas, Farmington's population is falling as the industry fades in the San Juan Basin.
March 4, 2020 | By Ike Swetlitz
On Friday, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham attempted to inform Sheila Lewis that she was no longer chair of the parole board.
It didn’t quite go as planned.
February 25, 2020 | By April Reese
The imminent closure of the San Juan Generating Station is building unease for the community as it faces giving up fossil fuels under the state’s energy transition.
February 18, 2020 | By Ike Swetlitz
February 11, 2020 | By Eli Hager
February 4, 2020 | By Ed Williams
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, Attorney General Hector Balderas and Rep. Javier Martínez are pursuing different avenues to address restraint and seclusion practices revealed by a Searchlight investigation.
January 14, 2020 | By Stephanie May Joyce
In Chaparral, one of dozens of 'colonias' in southern New Mexico, undocumented residents live in the shadows out of fear of being detained. An ICE detention facility on the edge of town keeps that fear top of mind.
January 8, 2020 | By Ike Swetlitz
Governor Lujan Grisham shared her dismay over restraint and seclusion practices in New Mexico schools, in a Q&A session with reporter Ike Swetlitz. Searchlight spoke to the Governor about her priorities moving into a new year and a new legislative session.
December 31, 2019 | By Sara Solovitch, Images by Don J. Usner
Executive Director Sara Solovitch and Photographer Don Usner sat down to talk about the best photos from Searchlight New Mexico. The images selected best captured the work that we do. Here's what they chose.
December 17, 2019 | By Nick Pachelli
Eva was among the thousands of human trafficking victims targeted and exploited in the U.S. every year, of whom only 10 percent or so are ever identified. In New Mexico, only 160 cases have been opened since 2016, and while Native Americans make up about 11 percent of the state’s population, they account for nearly a quarter of trafficking victims.
December 10, 2019 | By Ed Williams
Ryan Stewart, a 39-year-old Harvard graduate with a background in education reform who previously worked with school districts in Philadelphia and Palo Alto is the "man for the moment" to lead the Public Education Department of New Mexico.
Searchlight spoke with Stewart to get acquainted.
December 3, 2019 | By Ike Swetlitz
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham's campaign promise of transforming early childhood education in New Mexico is taking shape. After a nationwide search, Gov. Lujan Grisham nominated Elizabeth Groginsky as secretary-designate for the newly-formed Early Childhood Education and care Department.
Searchlight spoke with Groginsky to get acquainted.
November 19, 2019 | By William deBuys and Don J. Usner
November 13, 2019 | By April Reese
Stephanie Baker recently reunited with her three sons after serving 3 years in prison. Now that she is out, she is determined to create a new life and rebuild her relationships with her children -- but it won’t be easy.
OCTOBER 22, 2019 | By Lauren Villagran and Stefanie Dodt
Approximately 10,000 Mexicans cross the border each week to sell blood plasma in the U.S. Mexican donors can make more money crossing the border to sell their plasma, than working at a full-time assembly plant job, but the easy money comes with a physical toll.
OCTOBER 15, 2019 | By Ike Swetlitz
Jamari Nelson's mother pulled him out of his first-grade class at a public school in Albuquerque after he was screened in a "threat-assessment." Nelson, who is diagnosed with autism, is one of many children in special education swept up into a system originally intended to identify those who might commit mass-violence.
OCTOBER 8, 2019 | By Ed Williams
Albuquerque Public Schools District claims that the behavior management practices of restraint and seclusion do not occur in its classrooms, according to reports to the U.S. Dept. of Education. Data collected by Searchlight said otherwise.
OCTOBER 1, 2019 | By Christian Marquez
Hopewell Mann is the poorest neighborhood in Santa Fe, but for Manuel Sandoval it is home. As housing costs increase and incomes fall, some fear that the neighborhood changes could push out longtime residents like him.
SEPTEMBER 24, 2019 | By Ike Swetlitz
About three dozen New Mexicans are currently incarcerated for 30 years or more for crimes they committed as minors. However, a growing body of science argues that young brains are not fully developed — and, by implication, that children should be held to a different standard than adults.
SEPTEMBER 18, 2019 | By April Reese
SEPTEMBER 4, 2019 | By Sara Solovitch and Anthony Jackson
Leaders in education share their perspectives
For the start of the school year, Searchlight New Mexico is publishing interviews with four leading education activists. The conversations span the gamut from language immersion to teacher shortages, child trauma and what it takes to finally reform New Mexico’s schools. Here's what they said.
AUGUST 27, 2019 | By April Reese
Multiple studies support the notion that exposure to nature can be beneficial for the mental and physical well being of youth. The Outdoor Equity Fund - first of its kind in the nation - aims to introduce troubled New Mexico youth to the great outdoors by funding outings through programs like Families and Youth Incorporated.
AUGUST 20, 2019 | By Nick Pachelli
The problem of teen suicide
In 2017, Aurra Gardner was among 46 New Mexican youths between 10 and 19 who ended their own lives, and one of 16 who did so with a firearm. New Mexico has the fifth highest youth suicide rate in the country — approximately 16 per 100,000 residents, double the national average.
AUGUST 13, 2019 | By Maria Garcia
There’s a phrase in Spanish: “tener educación antes de todo” which roughly translates to “being educated above all things.” The saying refers not to formal schooling but to a strict adherence to politeness, to keeping harmony, to shunning rudeness, and to opening your home. That’s the social ethos that guides the city.
As the oil wells multiplied, the influx of heavy vehicles strained existing infrastructure and exacerbated risk for those who live along the route. Locals have a new name for this section of US 285: Death Highway. In 2018, there were 49 crashes (20 involving a heavy truck), up from 31 crashes (15 truck-related) the year before.