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2008

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By Ralph Damiani

2008It has been a rough year. The ups and downs of the lab’s budget put a lot of people under a lot of stress.And that stress was not limited to laboratory employees.As they say, Los Alamos is the lab and the lab is Los Alamos. When it suffers, we all suffer. And many local businesses had a rough year.There were many serious matters facing us this past year - many of which have yet to be resolved. And they never may be.The situation at Los Alamos National Laboratory is far from settled. There are still some layoff and job cutback issues to be resolved.To a large degree the situation in the community is our own fault. We will sweat and shake this time of year, knowing that the budget will be an issue and just where will we be cut and how much.And when it happens, we scream. And when it is over, we fall back asleep and pretend it never happened.Then we suffer all over again next year.Today, the lab is back at work and the budget has been passed. But is is smaller and will continue to get smaller.If there is to be some real hope for some stability here, the community must find a way to do more than lab-watch and sweat.There must be some diversification. And that can happen. There are many assets here we are not taking advantage of - besides the lab.We will never be able to stand on our own without the lab, but we can do a lot better in treading water while it goes through periods of struggle.And we must.The answer is not government – either county or state government was in a mess. The solution is up to us – each of us.We think 2008 can be a great year. As the lab settles down, so will the community. Business will rebound, people's confidence will rebound and the spirit that dimmed will return here in full strength.There are some great people here, with strong visions for the future. And while there are still matters that demand attention – the situation with West Jemez Road never seems to go away -– we believe that these problems can be solved the same way the ones we faced before were – by all of us working together.But we cannot forget what happened or we will forever be condemned to repeat and repeat and repeat it.