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Columns

  • Region should invest in clean energy

    Times have changed since solar and wind power first became available. Across the country, the cost of coal is going up, and the price of clean energy — like wind and solar — is coming down. Employment trends are changing, too.
    Today, more workers are employed in the clean energy industry than in coal mining nationwide. Since 2012, New Mexico’s solar industry has added nearly 1,000 new jobs. Almost 2,000 New Mexicans now work in our state’s growing solar economy.
    As owner of a local solar company, I’ve seen the remarkable transition to clean energy take root in our region. Solar electricity costs less than grid energy, and home and business owners are taking advantage of the opportunity to fix their energy costs for the long run.
    We’ve added 30 employees in the past year to keep up with demand. It is a really exciting time.
    In our region and throughout the United States, communities are moving away from dirty, expensive coal and toward the growing clean energy industry.
    These trends are why I was so shocked to learn that instead of investing in new technologies and growing industries, PNM and Los Alamos County Department of Public Utilities propose to double down on dirty coal and lock ratepayers into a future of expensive, outdated coal-fired power.

  • Venture Acceleration Fund helps Native-owned businesses

    Native-owned businesses in northern New Mexico are eligible for grants of up to $25,000 to spend on specialized services that will help them increase revenues and create jobs.
    One business, Than Povi Gallery, was awarded a Native American Venture Acceleration Fund grant in February 2014 to develop a marketing plan and ad campaign for the business, which moved in 2013 from San Ildefonso Pueblo to a site north of Santa Fe on U.S. 84/285. That move was partially enabled by a NAVAF grant in 2013, co-owner Elmer Torres said, and resulted in “a lot more foot traffic.”
    Torres and his wife, Deborah, both members of the pueblo, eventually hope to move their gallery to downtown Santa Fe so the many artists they represent can get greater exposure. In the meantime, though, their current location allows them to sell to a broader market. “We try to make (artworks) affordable for people in the local area,” Torres said.

  • Are extended warranties worth the cost?

    Are these costly add-ons worth the expense or simply a sucker bet intended to boost the seller’s bottom line? It depends on whom you ask.
    According to consumer watchdog organizations like the Federal Trade Commission and Consumer Reports, extended warranties and service contracts often don’t make strong financial sense. However, some people find extended warranties reassuring, especially for large purchases with electronic components that can go awry and are expensive to repair or are easily broken.
    Before you buy an extended warranty, do your research and consider these points:
    • Does it overlap with the manufacturer’s warranty? Don’t pay twice for duplicate coverage.
    • Many credit cards automatically extend the manufacturer’s warranty for up to a year on purchases — for free.
    • Before purchasing, check the company’s track record with your state’s Department of Insurance, the Better Business Bureau and independent reviewers like Angie’s List.
    • Service contracts might not cover specific product parts or repairs. If the terms don’t list a part or function as specifically covered, assume it’s not.

  • DPU must accommodate present, future residents

    We are one of the 36 households or businesses in Los Alamos that have purchased solar panels to generate electricity. Recently, the Los Alamos Department of Public Utilities (DPU) has put out information suggesting that electricity generated by the County’s solar panel owners provides miniscule benefits to the community while unfairly burdening other customers. One Board of Public Utilities member was quoted in the Los Alamos Monitor as saying that being carbon neutral is not in the best interest of the ratepayers.
    We disagree completely with this statement. Everyone sees the trees dying around us. Partly this has been caused by the drought, and partly by the trees struggling to deal with rising temperatures during the drought. Our local climate scientists believe that most of our trees will be dead by 2050. By 2099, Los Alamos will have the temperatures that Albuquerque has now. We may be living exponentially, but we will be doing it indoors with air conditioning and outdoors with no trees and no ski area.

  • Remember N.M.'s last Republican speaker?

    New Mexico and Texas were fighting over water. Wildcatters were busy in southeastern New Mexico, while uranium drilling was under way near Grants. And Albuquerque passed a strong new civil rights ordinance.
    This was New Mexico in 1952, when voters liked Ike so much that they tilted Republican in a presidential election for the first time since 1928. They re-elected Republican Gov. Ed Mechem and sent Republicans to the state House of Representatives in record numbers. A Raton rancher became the first Republican Speaker of the House since 1929.
    After a similar sweep this month, a Republican speaker will take the gavel for the first time since 1953, so it’s time to remember Alvin Stockton.
    In 1869, Stockton’s grandparents acquired four square miles around the stage station they operated on the Santa Fe Trail from Lucien Maxwell. Stockton grew up on the family ranch and got an accounting degree from Denver University.
    Elected to the House in 1951, he served four years, becoming an authority on New Mexico’s tax system. It was once said, “If you really need to get something done on behalf of agriculture in the state Legislature, you go to Alvin Stockton.” As speaker, he was so well regarded that members passed a resolution commending him for leadership and impartiality.

  • The people survive campaign spending

    An hour passed from our 3:05 p.m. polling place entrance until we left. The line of voters ahead of us had about 55 people. It was quiet. People chatted. One set of parents, new to the neighborhood and slightly nonplussed by the length of the line, tended their toddler.
    All of us were at the end of the process of campaigns spending a great of money to get our attention on behalf of a particular candidate. I read that a couple of legislative races crossed the $100,000 mark in spending by each candidate. Yet no one seemed addled or discombobulated by the spending. No one walked around the polling line mumbling, “Thank God, it’s over.”
    No doubt, calls for further regulation of campaign spending will continue from the do-gooders on the left (and a few on the right) who think that good behavior can be regulated into being. These people hate money and believe that people such as the firefighter in line behind me are too stupid to sort through messages and make a decision.
    Our Sen. Tom Udall is one of the leaders in this approach with his scary proposed amendment to the Constitution.

  • Chattering about Susana

    So Susana Martinez came out of her recent reelection campaign pretty much as just about everyone had expected.
    Way back when they were still making glitzy movie musicals, the wondrous Marilyn Monroe won hearts and superstardom with the proposition that “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend.”
    Well over a half-century later, New Mexico’s governor for-four-more-years will tell you that if you’re going to strut your stuff today — at least in electoral politics — there’s no better friend than a big, fat campaign treasury, the bigger and the fatter the better.
    From start to finish Martinez had so much cash on hand that her campaign came off as unnecessarily squandering its resources.
    Certainly that was the case in the final weeks of her campaign, long after it was abundantly clear that she had locked it up, but nonetheless continued to sling the high-priced attack TV ad mud with an abandon that appeared almost gleeful.
    Gary King never had a chance.
    The first negative ad Martinez leveled against the erstwhile Democratic nominee prominently featured remarks once made by the state Democratic Party chairman to the effect that King was one of the worst attorneys general in state history.

  • Teacher: Governor needs to listen to state education issues

    Editor’s note: Jessica McCord was born and raised in Los Alamos and for the past 10 years she has taught in the Rio Rancho school district and has taught at the University of New Mexico. McCord wrote a letter to Governor Susana Martinez after the election results were counted Tuesday night. This is the text of that letter.

  • Indicted and elected

    So, once again, fear ruled the roost as voters headed out to protect our children, our shores, and our divine national right to elect the best government money can buy.
    And what money buys is fear. Or at least fear-filled voters.
    The one good thing about the election being over is that we don’t have to listen to moronic fear-mongers telling us that Ebola-stricken blood sucking illegal aliens with webbed feet, pus oozing out of their eyeballs, and spitting caustic acid are swarming over the United States-Mexico wall with the sole intent of infecting us with diseases and bad taste in music.
    Now, whereas it is not really true that we need to start arming ourselves to fend off ISIS trained 6-year-old terrorists, it is true that the illegal alien issue is getting out of hand. But the question no one is asking is, “Who’s breaking the law?”
    Illegal is illegal and if you break the law, you should be punished. But much to the delight of political pundits, the lawmakers shout the loudest are like patrons at a cafeteria. They stroll down the aisle taking only those laws that they find appetizing and leaving the rest. It’s natural selection at its best.

  • Dealing with canine diabetes

    Canine diabetes, or diabetes mellitus, is a common disease in dogs and is the result of inadequate insulin production.
    “Canine diabetes is usually caused by an immune mediated attack on the pancreas, which is likely related to genetic predispositions,” said Dr. Audrey Cook, associate professor at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. “It may also be secondary to chronic pancreatitis, or may occur in intact females following their heat cycle.”
    Some predisposed breeds include the cairn terrier, the dachshund, and miniature poodles. Although these breeds have a higher incidence than others, all dogs have a chance of becoming affected. 
    Diabetes mellitus is known to cause excessive thirst and urination due to the high concentrations of glucose in the bloodstream.
    Glucose appears in the urine, and can predispose the patient to urinary tract infections. Left untreated, other signs such as vomiting, dehydration and lethargy are expected.