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Columns

  • Grooming tips from the experts

    Dr. Mark Stickney, a clinical associate professor at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine, was recently mentioned in the article, “Extreme Groomers Give Dogs Dazzle,” regarding creative and eccentric grooming for dogs. Everything from Mohawks, flower designs and temporary paint tattoos are created on the animal for “bonding” between a person and their pooch. Harmless yet extravagant, this extreme grooming fad is becoming increasingly popular among dog owners.
    While Dr. Stickney admits in the article that this type of grooming is not for him, he does agree that you should always be sure to keep up with your pets’ basic grooming.
    “Just bathe them whenever they need a bath,” Stickney said. “You don’t want to give them a bath more than once a week unless told to do so by your veterinarian for some sort of skin condition, any more frequently than that will only serve to dry out their skin.”

  • Misrepresentation of fluoride, vaccines

    Merilee Dannemann’s recent anti-fluoridation column (March 26) should have been tossed into the trash, not published in your newspaper. She is yet another journalist who thinks that her profession entitles her to repeat fear-mongering nonsense.
    All those anti-fluoridation bullet points she scores are copied from the nuts who have continually pushed their anti-fluoridation hobby these past very many years, as if there were some science behind it. There isn’t.
    The world has more than 60 years of experience of active fluoridation of municipal water supplies and some areas have natural fluoride in the water. Hundreds of millions of people worldwide have been consuming fluoridated water.
    There has not been a single case of anyone getting poisoned, or having any other problem caused by fluoride in drinking water. No mental retardation, no shortened life span, etc., etc. There have been immense benefits to people’s dental well being.
    The ignorant pushing of the anti-public health and anti-vaccination nonsense by the press, exemplified by Dannemann, has caused immense harm and even death to very many innocent and defenseless people, namely, children.

  • Good government and the path to protecting our state’s children

    At a neighborhood meet-and-greet for political candidates the other night, the subject of child abuse came up. Again. People are still troubled by these little faces in the news and what the state is or is not doing. Mostly not doing.
    So far, we’ve looked for somebody to stone in the public square, which isn’t helpful. One candidate has talked about solutions: Lawrence Rael, one of five Democratic candidates for governor.
    Rael talks instead about governance. It’s not snappy talk show banter, but governance is what’s missing, he says.
    These days, the constant rant is for less government, but as the current administration has shown, a smaller Children, Youth and Family Department isn’t a better department. Not until these well publicized deaths did CYFD admit it was short-staffed. Until then, understaffing was good. Returning money to the general fund was good.
    What if we could have a more efficient government, a more responsive government? A better government? That’s governance.
    I’ve been waiting for a gubernatorial candidate to say something beyond campaign slogans. Last time we had Susana Martinez campaigning against Bill Richardson. Now we have five people campaigning against Martinez and Martinez campaigning against unions and undocumented immigrants. What do they intend to do?

  • The constitutional conservative

    Here’s the frustration about talking with a libertarian. You can agree about the issues, but when you ask about solutions, the response is not intelligible as an answer — unless you speak that libertarian jargon.
    I had such a conversation recently with David Clements, who calls himself not a libertarian but a constitutional conservative. He’s running in the Republican primary for United States Senate against Allen Weh. The winner will face Sen. Tom Udall in November.
    Clements is the underdog against the well-funded and better known Weh. He’s youthful, likeable, handsome, energetic and exudes earnestness.
    Clements is reluctant to support any intervention by government, even to solve problems government has created. So I found it challenging to get specific answers about what he would do on major policy matters.
    In the Senate, would he stick with principle, even if it leads to gridlock, or seek compromise? Gridlock sometimes serves the interests of liberty, he says, but he would work with Democrats on matters where they agree. An example he offered is reducing government surveillance of private citizens.

  • Monthly job losses resume despite mining boost

    Revised job numbers for 2013 show even less growth than first reported. After the statistical one thing and another, the Department of Workforce Solutions says wage employment grew an average of 0.6 percent during the year. That’s down slightly from the 0.7 percent original estimate.
    The big part of the 2013 change came because of changes in the 2012 numbers, what DWS called “significant upward revisions” for the fourth quarter. Since job growth during the fourth quarter of 2013 wasn’t much, the 2012 changes meant a higher base for comparing 2013 against 2012 and, in turn, meant the 2013 performance became a decline. Putting it another way, initial reports last year showed job growth rates dropping during the second half of the year. After the revisions, the real situation appears to be economic stagnation and not crummy numbers.
    Two months ago, this column shared the Jan. 16, 2014, forecast from the Bureau of Business and Economic Research at the University of New Mexico. That outlook called for 1 percent wage job growth in 2013, 1.4 percent in 2014 and 1.6 percent in 2015 and 2016. At the time, the year-over-year job growth (through November) was 0.2 percent.

  • Questions still linger despite another year for superintendent

    Column as I see ’em …
    It was certainly nice to see the school board and its superintendent kiss and make up Thursday night when the board gave Gene Schmidt a one-year contract extension.
    That doesn’t mean, however, that a myriad of questions still don’t exist about their not-public-enough quarrel over the past six weeks or so.
    Nor does it explain some comments made during that quarrel by the school board president and a promise that has yet to be fulfilled by the board secretary.
    For those just joining this soap opera, Schmidt turned in his resignation following a closed-door performance review that resulting in him saying he no longer had the support of the full school board.
    Being that the board has the (questionably) legal authority to vet the superintendent in private, the public immediately began demanding answers, including who among them no longer supported the person credited with a host of accomplishments during his tenure.

  • Keep an eye out for items toxic to pets

    As caring pet owners, we are typically well aware of the various dangers that threaten our furry friends’ safety. Keeping their vaccinations up to date, making sure they are properly groomed, and providing them with the most nutritious food to ensure good health are just a few things that we tend to with the utmost importance. However, numerous pet-poisonous items commonly found around our households are often overlooked and can be detrimental to our pets’ lives.
    A large variety of household plants, foods and chemicals that are considered safe for human use are toxic to our pets. Some of the most dangerous plants to keep out of your pets reach include any flowers in the lily family, including sago palms, oleander, foxglove, castor bean, and poinsettias. Though these are bad for both cats and dogs, the toxic dose often differs between species.

  • Travel by air … part of our infrastructure

    In April, we will celebrate the one-year anniversary of re-established commercial airline service between Los Alamos Airport and Albuquerque’s Sunport.
    Many of you may recall that, last November, I voiced my support for this new service to remain operational until September 2014 by voting with five of my fellow councilors to approve a flight subsidy of $365,000 from the county’s general funds.
    In case you missed that Nov. 5 council meeting where air service was discussed — the infusion of cash was needed because early predictions that ridership on the nine-passenger Cessna Caravan (operated under contract by New Mexico Airlines) would be at or above six passengers were simply too optimistic.

  • What's love got to do with it?

    We have a rather delicate problem in our neighborhood. A couple who live down the street from my house want to get married. Now, I have no problem with “those people” living in my neighborhood. I don’t know them, but they seem to be decent enough. The problem is … well, their lifestyle isn’t exactly what many of us view as ... normal. If they want to live together, that’s OK with me, but why do they have to get married?
    They’re Presbyterians. Yeah, I know what many people would say to me. What right do I have to prevent Presbyterians from getting married? Well, first of all, you have to agree that if we allow them to get married, the next thing they’ll want is the right to adopt children or even to have one on their own. What next? Buy a house? Get a dog? It’s disgusting!

  • Symbiotic success: Incubator and its tenant companies grow together

    When Allan Sindelar joined the Santa Fe Business Incubator in 1998, both his company — Positive Energy Solar — and the incubator were in their infancy.
    Sindelar had previously made his living as a freelance carpenter and had several years’ experience designing and installing solar electrical systems. He had no background in starting and running a business.
    The incubator, meanwhile, had just opened in a 10,000-square-foot building with barely enough room for eight or nine tenant businesses. Its founder, Marie Longserre, aimed to make it an environment that nurtured entrepreneurial impulses and connected startup owners with essential resources and training.
    As the incubator’s second tenant, Sindelar’s success and that of the incubator evolved in tandem.
    Positive Energy, which graduated from the incubator in 2005, reported revenues of nearly $10 million last year and expects to double that this year. The award-winning company has 55 employees in three statewide offices.
    In that same time, the incubator has tripled its square footage and helped launch more than 140 businesses, said Longserre, its president and chief executive officer. “We have grown physically, in our reach, our offerings and our affiliations.”