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Columns

  • Breeding better wheat

    I spent this past summer trudging through six-mile treks each weekend with two good friends.
    We walked along the edge of wheat fields outside of town.
    My friends and I qualify as middle-aged ladies, so the walks counted as significant exercise — sad but true.
    One of the interesting things about the walks was simply observing the growth and ripening of the wheat fields by which we passed.
    We depend on wheat for bread, pasta, animal feed, noodles and perhaps most importantly — fresh-baked cinnamon rolls.
    Watching a whole field of wheat grow up, turn from green to gold, and finally be harvested is a magical production that never grows old, at least for us hayseeds.

  • John Pawlak: It does make you think

    I’ve always liked miracles. They come in so many different sizes and flavors, you get to take your choice of favorites from a virtual warehouse ranging from the surprising to the truly ridiculous.  
    And of course, knowing me, it shouldn’t be a surprise that I’m not particularly interested in writing about the surprising. And so let’s get ridiculous!
    First of all, we should wash away any criticism of miracles and admit that we all like them. Miracles are a staple of life. There’s Miracle Whip (it’s a miracle if you can figure out what this stuff is.)

  • A look below the surface

    What are we going to do about this health care system? Or this polyglot of programs we have instead of a system?
    That’s one of America’s big questions, of course.
    At the recent Domenici Institute conference in Las Cruces, Dr. Mario Molina of Molina Healthcare presented some sobering statistics that add focus to the issue.
    Molina talked about a category of people called “dual eligibles.”
    We have heard that people in their last months of life are the most expensive patients. Dual eligibles are next.
    Dual eligibles are people enrolled in both Medicare and Medicaid.
    They qualify for Medicare either by age or due to a qualifying disability and for Medicaid because of low income.

  • Standing against AT&T and Mobile merger

    Access to sufficient and affordable communication choices shape our ability to share and connect to information, resources and culture.
    At Young Women United, we have been incredibly concerned about the negative impacts an AT&T/T-Mobile merger would have on young women of color and all our communities.
    We applaud the Department of Justice for filing a lawsuit to halt this takeover, and calling the potential merger out for what it really is: an anti-competitive move that would raise prices and lessen quality of services for U.S. consumers, while putting more money in the pockets of gigantic corporations.

  • Snapshots of NM news

    Ours is a big state. Few others can boast population centers 492 miles apart, the distance between Farmington and Hobbs.
    Life being life, it’s easy to forget that the other corners of the state exist, much less take the time to pay attention to them.
    A few years ago, when doing Capitol Report New Mexico, I would survey community newspaper websites, taking a snapshot of local events. Recently I did the same survey. Sunday is the best day.
    In Columbus, businessman Philip Skinner wants a separate economic development group for the village.
    Southern Luna County gets too little attention from the group in Deming, Skinner says. (Deming Headlight, Sept. 16.)

  • Plea to Demo Garden thieves

    An open letter to the people picking the vegetables from the downtown Demo Garden:
    All spring and summer, several dedicated children, led by Marion Goode and sponsored by 4H, took an empty piece of the Demo Garden, on the corner of  Oppenheimer and Central Avenue, and turned it into a vibrant vegetable garden.  
    In  doing this project, they learned a lot, beautified the town, and earned their level 1 certificate from the National Junior Master Gardener Program.
    Now as their vegetables are coming ripe — someone is stealing their produce. In early September, they found so many prized and nurtured items stolen, that it was difficult for them to pick sufficient produce to enter into the New Mexico State Fair.  

  • Rethinking redistricting process

    In all the bombast and posturing of the recently concluded special legislative session for redistricting, there were moments of clarity.
    One of the best was an exchange between two of the house’s most effective representatives, who also happen to be the majority and minority floor leaders – Reps. Ken Martinez, D-Grants, and Tom Taylor, R-Farmington.
    Martinez, rarely ruffled, possesses a fine analytical mind. Taylor, smart and personable, possesses an extra measure of common sense, which can be a rare quality in the Roundhouse.
    Both try to see the other’s side of things.
    Redistricting is the painful, once-a-decade exercise of redistributing political districts to match the redistributed population.

  • Slow traffic to ascertain need for sound barrier

    There has been a great deal of discussion regarding MIG’s proposed roundabout design for NM 502/Trinity Drive. However, another project related to NM 502 that MIG has also been involved in has received very little coverage.
    Residents of the Eastern Area have drawn the county’s attention to the increased traffic noise in their neighborhood by asking for the construction of a sound barrier – a wall – to muffle the traffic noise.  

  • Fighting the law and saving money

     The laws of physical science teach us we can neither  create nor destroy energy. But it’s also a simple fact that we can surely waste it.
    And that raises the possibility of saving money by refusing to let energy slip through our fingers.  
    Typical families in the U.S. spend about $1,900 each year on home utility bills. That’s $160 per month. Your bills may be higher if your household consumes a lot of energy, if you heat with oil or if you live where the cost of electrical power is high.  

  • Cutting to the chase

    Rep. Don Bratton, as usual, cut to the chase.
    “For the first time we have a female governor, who may proceed differently,” said the Hobbs Republican last week in the House Rules Committee. “People may have different expectations than they did 10 years ago. Redistricting is at the forefront, but the Constitution empowers the governor to put other items on the agenda, and they should be treated expediently.”
    Raul Burciaga, director of the Legislative Council Service, was instructing the committee on what the state Constitution has to say about special legislative sessions and, more importantly, on the authority allocated to the governor and to the legislature.