Deborah Begel

Ask Deborah Begel what she likes to cover, and she’ll likely answer, “What I’m working on now.”  Now that’s the kaleidoscope of news on KSFR.  She broadcasts short news summaries weekdays mornings and some afternoons on the hour and longer ones at 7:29 a.m. and 12:06 pm.   And that’s also the way of news, she says, because news changes constantly.  New information comes in, often changing the slant and interpretation.  “That’s why it’s good to be flexible and keep my mind open,” she says.   “Listeners can decide for themselves what they think.  What can be helpful to them is providing accurate and timely information.”

In her news career, Begel reported for WBAI in New York City, where she began as a volunteer reporter and documentary producer and worked up to co-editor and co-anchor in the news room with three other journalists.  She’s also covered stories for National Public Radio, LatinoUSA, Living on Earth, Justice Talking, Pacifica National News, Monitor Radio, and National Native News, among others.

At other times in Begel’s multi-decade career, she’s delved into spoken word productions, finding herself both delighted and mesmerized with the seemingly infinite possibilities of mixing golden vocal moments with music and ambiances; add wonderful pacing and thoughtful sound design and poof! The magic appears.         She produced profiles of Nobel-Prize winning poets Derek Walcott and Czeslaw Milosz for The Poet’s Voice, a season of Selected Shorts, and the 14 part series Rural Voices Radio, which featured student writers in 13 U.S. states reading their poems, stories and essays.  She also edited narration tracks for Random House Audio Books  and did quality control for Simon & Schuster Audiobooks. 

In Arts and Public Affairs, Begel travelled from New York City to Philadelphia  to fill in for producers at Fresh Air.  She also produced documentaries on the Maya in Chiapas, Mexico, for broadcasters in Australia, Germany, Finland and France.  In New Mexico, she has produced documentaries on what life was like before tractors and technology came to the Chama Valley and a checkup on the health of democracy in Rio Arriba County for the nationally distributed series Whose Democracy Is it?.  She has also produced features on readings by authors like N. Scott Momaday, members of Tres Chicas Books, and Hampton Sides.  A video she produced, Four Stories about Water, features Navajo men and women describing their problems getting clean water.

Last but not least: sports broadcasting.  When she took the job as acting News and Sports Director at WXPN in Philadelphia, she gave her student interns at the University of Pennsylvania directions:  “You get the facts right and I’ll do my best to make you sound good.”  It worked out fine.  One student even went on to work for CNN sports broadcasting.

Today, waking up early to go produce drive time newscasts at KSFR, Begel says she feels blessed.  “I can’t wait to see what’s come over the transom  overnight,” she says, “and try to figure out what would interest our listeners.”   And, she notes, listeners are welcome to send comments and suggestions to dbegel@ksfr.org

Photo Credit | Fabian Pacheco

When the pandemic forced schools and childcare centers to shut down, more than five million American mothers gave up their jobs.  Currently, The New York Times reports that 1.3 million of these women are still out of work.

A new art exhibit at Railroad Park – Urban Ecologies -- invites visitors to add a drop of water, take photos of an old lawn mower draped in astroturf and consider the age-old question, why mow? More information is at: railyardpark.org/urbanecologies

 

Darren Vigil Gray

N. Scott Momaday’s latest book, Earth Keeper: Reflections on the American Land, looks at how humans have treated the earth. He asks people to assess how they plan to care for earth going forward.      

The print edition, published by HarperCollins books, includes pen and ink drawings by the author.  Momaday himself reads the audio version.

On Wed., April 19, writer Terry Tempest Williams will read the entire book in a Zoom session hosted by Collected Works Bookstore and Coffeehouse. Later it will be posted: CollectedWorksBookstore.com

Sometimes a photo or video changes the way people see something. So it was with the video a bystander shot of George Floyd’s death under the knee of a police officer in Minneapolis. That officer is on trial now. Professional photojournalists try to capture important, often underreported stories that are fleeting, changing and even dangerous. Recently, four photojournalists shared their insights and stories in a panel moderated by the well-known Northern New Mexico photojournalist Don Usner. 

Sales of gardening supplies have gone way up since the pandemic began.  Since we’re home, why don’t we grow some vegetables and flowers, people ask. One way to improve the health of those plants, is to create your own soil through composting your kitchen waste and yard waste.  Is it a miracle?  Or chemistry?

People who live in Northern New Mexico are treated to the sounds of sandhill cranes flying north overhead every spring. On the ground and singing their songs on branches and twigs, American robins gather to announce their return. Deborah Begel took a closer look at their flights and listened to their songs and calls.

 

Although the New Mexico Legislature failed to legalize marijuana in the session that just ended, this burning issue has the governor’s eye, and she may call a special session to finish it up.

Meanwhile, Northern New Mexico College in Espanola has begun a pilot program, an eight-week intensive course that aims to prepare workers for jobs in the New Mexico Medical Cannabis Program. Deborah Begel, who has followed the long road to legalization for decades, reports. 

President Biden’s appointment is historic. When confirmed, New Mexico two-term Congresswoman Deb Haaland will be the first Native American Interior Secretary, with oversight of vast federal lands, especially in the West. To find out what Indigenous people in Northern New Mexico think about the appointment, Deborah Begel spoke to people from three pueblos, and checked into her recent Senate hearing.

Santa Fe artist Linda Lomahaftewa helped gather about 107 pieces of her artwork for her six-decade retrospective, "The Moving Land: 60+ Years of Art by Linda Lomahaftewa" at the Museum of Contemporary Native Art, but there was only room for 77 of them. Deborah Begel has the story about some of them.

Santa Fe New Mexican

Recently Rio Arriba County got a new Commissioner to replace Leo Jaramillo, who was elected to the State Legislature last fall. Governor Michele Lujan Grisham appointed lifelong Espanola resident Christine Bustos, who works as a private insurance agent. She’s also a well-known volunteer for events like the annual Electric Light Parade. She’ll serve as a commissioner for the remainder of Jaramillo’s two-year term.

The New Mexico Wildlife Center is located in Española, just southeast of town in the Arroyo Seco valley. Folks who visit there meet injured birds, animals and snakes that have been rehabilitated, but cannot survive in the wild.  That’s one cornerstone of the education program there.  The other takes place at schools and rivers in Northern New Mexico. Here's Deborah Begel with part two of her series on The Wildlife Center.

 

It’s Science Monday — and the largest wildlife rehabilitation center in New Mexico has been caring for injured birds, mammals, and reptiles for 31 years.  Since human activity generates most of the damaging impacts on wildlife, educating the public is a big companion goal of wildlife rehabilitation efforts.  Deborah Begel has a two part series on The NM Wildlife Center.  Here is part one.

 

 

Dottie Lopez

Lowriders, Hoppers and Hot Rods — Car Culture of Northern New Mexico —opened last May at the New Mexico History Museum. That blockbuster show ended last Sunday but its run inspired Northern New Mexico College Actors to develop 12 switches, a play based on their real life stories from Espanola. 

Last weekend more than 169 graves in a Jewish Cemetery in St. Louis were vandalized. On Monday, bomb threats were called in to eleven Jewish Community Centers across the United States, including one in Albuquerque.  They turned out to be hoaxes; the FBI however is investigating the incidents.  This marks the third wave of bomb threats this year against 54 Jewish community centers  in 27 states and one Canadian province. 

The United States increased the amount of carbon pumped into the atmosphere every year over decades.  But emissions began to decline in 2007 with the great Recession.  That trend might have continued, because at the end of the Obama Administration last year, the Bureau of Land management enacted stiffer rules that require oil and gas companies to capture methane emissions on federal and tribal lands.  However, a U.S. House of Representatives Natural Resources Committee met in late January to discuss rolling back the venting and flaring rule.  House Joint Resolution 36 was sponsored by Rep.

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