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Columns

  • Hall attends several meetings

    This is the fourth in the series on State House District 43.  The district is large, diverse, and filled with active people and events.  This report is necessarily brief and only covers a few events.  
    First, there is now more background information on the Las Conchas fire, the science, and proposed policy and technical responses.  As I mentioned in my special report, one of the major events was the EPSCoR sponsored meeting on “Fire and Water: The Las Conchas Fire”.  The final meeting report is at:   nmfirst.org/_literature_139628/Town_Hall_on_New_Mexico_Fire_and_Water_Final_Report).

  • Knockoffs hurt jewelry industry

    It’s tourism season again. In New Mexico, that means it’s also time for an uptick in purchases of Indian jewelry. But of all the money spent here for jewelry purportedly made by a Native American, about half is fake.
    Visitors flying in to Albuquerque can walk into inviting shops at the airport and not find a single piece of jewelry created by a Native American artisan, according to Bruce Bernstein, executive director of the Southwest Association for Indian Art.
    They will find instead Native American-looking jewelry made in China, Syria and Jordan. This stuff is out there in abundance, even in the epicenter of jewelry making, Gallup.

  • Government can be efficient at times

    SANTA FE — What a great example of governmental efficiency and transparency. With a mere telephone request, Gov. Susana Martinez’s chief political advisor was able to get a list of all nonunion teachers in the state along with their school email addresses.
    It required considerable work by at least two divisions of the Public Education Department. It was done so fast and efficiently that the PED information officer proudly attached an email message that went to his boss, the governor, her chief of staff and, of course, her chief political advisor.

  • Program offers free tech help

    In the 29 years since he bought Santa Fe-based Herbs, Etc. from its founder, herbalist Daniel Gagnon has worked hard to meet demand from the more than 2,000 U.S. retailers that carry the liquid herbal extracts and herbal medicines he manufactures.
    Because quality control was critical to establishing and maintaining the company’s reputation, Gagnon imposed rigorous anti-microbial standards for his potions.
    Traditionally, Gagnon eliminated unwanted microbes by processing his herbs with water and alcohol. But in 2000, he developed a way to remove the alcohol to produce an alcohol-free product using olive oil and soft gel encapsulation.

  • Santa Fe officials overdo it again

    SANTA FE — Most New Mexicans outside of Santa Fe know that some pretty weird things happen in our capital city. And most of what you’ve heard is true. Here’s another one to add to your list.
    The city of Santa Fe has a number of committees and boards designed to protect our 400-year heritage. It’s a good idea. No other communities in the nation have buildings that truly are 400 years old. But Santa Fe gets carried away protecting every other building in town.
    Last week, the Historic Districts Review Board declared four Depression-Era houses across the street west of the capitol as too precious to be torn down to make way for a state executive office building.

  • Sipping the tea of ignorance

    Why do babies cry?  The reason is simple enough — they learn to do what works.  Babies learn that crying gets attention, brings food, gets them what they want at the moment.
    Adults aren’t all that different from babies.  We learn to do what works.
     While campaigning back in 2008, President Obama angered Pennsylvanian voters when he characterized them as one issue voters clinging to their ideals on guns, God or gays.

  • Hooray! We're not Wisconsin

    On the same day as the New Mexico primary, Wisconsin voters decided not to recall their governor.  
    Pundits have been busy analyzing the tea leaves about that election.  I’m considering the meaning for New Mexico.  I think simply: Thank goodness we can’t do that here. The New Mexico Constitution does not allow for recall of a governor.
    It is sometimes discussed among us policy wonks whether New Mexico should have “recall and initiative” like some other states. Recall is the opportunity to kick an elected official out of office by popular vote; initiative is the ability for citizens to put a proposal on the ballot directly, without going through the Legislature.

  • Outside capital helps growth

    Blue Skies Consulting knows a lot about building a business through strategic growth funded by outside capital.
     The Belen-based aerial photography company is a client of The Loan Fund, a community development financial institution that provides loans and other banking services to underserved markets in New Mexico.
    Blue Skies began its relationship with The Loan Fund in 2009 when it sought funding to buy aerial camera system components in preparation for the purchase of a digital aerial camera designed for high-resolution photography.

  • State gets closer to historical park

    Legislation finally has been introduced in Congress to create a Manhattan Project Historical Park. New Mexico Sen. Jeff Bingaman is the prime sponsor.
    The Senate bill is the culmination of a nine-year effort by Bingaman to recognize the founding scientific community of Los Alamos which forever changed the world. Some will say the change was for the worse yet it was a historically significant part of our nation’s history.
    Bingaman’s bill isn’t about honoring the Manhattan Project or about the bomb. It is about the incredible effort the country put forth to remain free and the scientific advances made by unlocking the secrets of atomic energy.

  • New tricks are needed

    Our new dishwasher says, right there in the operator’s manual, to push the start button twice to wash the dishes using the settings from the previous cycle. Push the button once and tiny lights identify the earlier settings. Once understood, this is very nice, even for those of us without previous experience in twice-pushing dishwasher start buttons.
    New appliances come with other surprises that, when the human habit factor is added, may mean those vaunted energy savings are less than the government assures.
    We got the new dishwasher, to start, because we had the money. Then I saw an ad about a Sears Memorial Day weekend sale.