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Columns

  • Taking a simple approach

    During the recent weather crisis, when schools were shut to save energy, several school districts were stuck going ahead with school board and bond elections. The voter turnout was as low as you guessed it would be.
    It’s past time to change the way we run school elections in New Mexico. If we think systematically, perhaps we can solve several problems at once, increase voter participation, and save taxpayer money.  

  • NASA is working to clean up trash floating in space

    “Space trash” and “space junk” are terms for the man-made litter that is floating in space or otherwise stuck there.
    Much of it orbits Earth. We know the problem is real when we hear about the Orbital Debris Program Office of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) at Johnson Space Center, Houston.

  • If it’s broke - don’t fix it

    When I was 12 years old, I contracted a nasty illness and was forced to stay in the house for nearly four weeks.  
    My mother was a soap opera addict and having little else to do, I found myself watching “As the World Turns.”  

  • This ain't no scam sister

    Consultants to the Public Education Department have been in the news the past few weeks.
    Use of the consultants has been called everything from a waste of money to insulting to a scam, the latter epithet coming from an Albuquerque Journal columnist.
    Before addressing the charges, consider public education in New Mexico. In general, we spend more money and get less than nearly every state.
    According to the National Education Association, during 2009 we spent $10,999 for each student in our public K-12 schools.

  • Accessing federal funds

    The next-best thing to free money is available through two federal programs for small businesses involved in technology and innovation.
    The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program – the larger of the two – grants money to small and startup businesses to develop products, technology or services that solve pressing problems in agriculture, defense, education, energy, transportation, the environment, space exploration, health and other areas.

  • Pull plug on water bill, appoint state engineer

    Water hasn’t gotten much legislative attention this year. Maybe that’s why one bill with far reaching consequences has passed its first committee.
    HB 109 would allow water permit applicants who disagree with the state engineer’s initial decisions to appeal directly to district court. In other words, a dissatisfied applicant could bypass practice and precedent and see if the courts would hand down a more favorable decision.

  • PRC needs to get a grip

    At the height of the bitter cold that left tens of thousands of New Mexicans without heat in their homes and workplaces last month, the Village of Taos sent out a plaintive news release updating the gravity of the situation.
    “With temperatures again dropping, and communications from Taos’ community constituents becoming ever more urgent,” the release said, “Taosons are advised to take care of themselves…”
    Translated: Folks, you’re on your own.

  • Knowing which type of insurance is best

    When it comes to insurance, many people face the Goldilocks dilemma: Am I buying too much coverage, not enough, or just the right amount?
    How do you determine your proper insurance levels while ensuring you don’t waste money on unneeded coverage – or worse, leave your family exposed?

  • Whenever the economy tanks, folks inevitably rein in spending

     

       

    So many expenses, so few dollars saved. That’s the dilemma faced by millions of Americans – everyone from struggling college students to young families saving for a down payment to baby boomers approaching retirement. 

  • More money, less result

    During her campaign, Gov. Susana Martinez said that she would not cut education. Based on revised budget numbers that were released immediately after she was elected, that went out the window. Now, Martinez is proposing very modest cuts of 1.5 percent for K-12.