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Columns

  • Diving into the recycling stream

    As the Environmental Services Specialist I spend a fair deal of my time working on recycling program planning and education and outreach.  What I do not get the opportunity to do very often is get my hands dirty and see the recycling stream up close and personal.  That opportunity presented itself recently when we were down two collection vehicles and needed additional staffing to get the recyclables collected.  So I threw on my steel-toe boots, gloves and safety vest and headed out to the Western Area.  

  • Las Conchas: Fire and water

    Last week, I attended a conference “Impacts and Lessons Learned from the Las Conchas Fire,” sponsored by New Mexico’s Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research.  NM EPSCoR is funded by the National Science Foundation, and this year their focus was to research the impacts of climate change on Northern New Mexico water resources.
    The Las Conchas Fire broadened their focus to the environmental impacts of wildfire--with water and water quality as an important subtext.  The Whitewater-Baldy Complex wildfire gave the meeting added urgency.

  • Big moments in dull election

    SANTA FE —  About the only exciting results of New Mexico’s primary elections were the 1st Congressional District Democratic race and a GOP state Senate race in the northeastern part of the state. None of the statewide races were nailbiters.
     Of course, there weren’t many statewide races. New Mexico saves those for non-presidential years. The lack of much excitement kept voter participation down in the low 20-percent range.
    Albuquerque provided a classic congressional thriller for Democrats. State Sen. Eric Griego was the early leader and appeared to have the nomination locked up with many union and environmental endorsements and donations.

  • Deference to doting dads

    A day of recognition.  A day of relaxation. A day of spilt lighter fluids, burnt fingers, steaks charred beyond recognition, and ubiquitous outdoor cursing.  Yes, it’s that time of the year again.  Father’s Day is nearly upon us.
      Its history is often debated.  Most references credit Sonora Dodd of Spokane, Washington, for the inception of Father’s Day. Having been raised by her father, she decided that fathers should have a day of celebration just like mothers.  The idea was quickly encouraged by lobbying charcoal and grill companies and the first Father’s Day was celebrated on June 19, 1910.  

  • What is LAGRI really rebelling against?

    In the movie “The Wild One”, a teen malcontent played by Marlon Brando is asked, “Hey Johnny, what are you rebelling against?” and he replies “Whaddaya got?”

  • Workers' comp with a wrinkle

    The Workers’ Compensation Administration is suggesting yet another attempt to change the statutory language relating to workers who get injured while using drugs or alcohol.  Meanwhile, the workers’ compensation community is more and more concerned about workers who get addicted to drugs as a result of their injuries.

  • Uninhabited city attracts

    SANTA FE — During our recent stay in Maui, I routinely bought the little newspaper printed on the island. It carried local news and a few Associated Press stories from the mainland.
    One of those few AP stories that made it into the Maui News was about Hobbs winning a competition for the development of a nearby $400 million city with no people.
    I remembered reading about this deal before. Someone was trying to talk a city up north, maybe Santa Fe, into entering the competition for a $200 million research city to test next-generation technology.

  • 'Frontier' slips into spending talk

    Last week we looked at highlights of the 2012 legislative session, through the policy eyes of the Legislative Council Service. This week it’s the money, thorough the eyes of the Legislative Finance Committee.
    Planning spending means building the budget. The job starts with the spending expected in a given budget year, say, Fiscal Year 2012, which ends June 30. That base is matched against expected revenue for the following year, FY 13.
    For FY 13, the money will come into the general fund, the state’s main font for spending, from sales taxes (43 percent), income taxes (individual and business), energy (16 percent), investments (16 percent) of the money from energy, and from “other” (four percent).

  • No way to cultivate young farmers

    U. S. Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Kathleen Merrigan visited New Mexico recently to encourage students to think about careers in agriculture.
    New Mexico has the nation’s highest average age for farmers and ranchers, at nearly 60, and the rest of the country looks similar. Among farmers and ranchers, the over- 65 crowd is the fastest growing group, says the U.S. Census.
    The USDA has programs to help young farmers and ranchers, but the New Mexico Farm and Livestock Bureau has said the red tape is a barrier. The National Young Farmers’ Coalition is pushing for training, access to financing and credit, student loan forgiveness for new farmers, and tax breaks for selling land to young farmers.

  • Origins of evidence

     The massively reported shooting of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman in Florida spotlights key elements of a working nation. I do not mean Florida gun laws.
    The highly public tragedy by any measure you choose pries open the subject of evidence and data.
    What is evidence? What are data and how do they apply to problems?
    Courses of action follow from evidence and data. Yet, the meanings of “evidence” and “data” vary greatly, depending on which forum you think of.
     Three forums vital to an ably working nation are law, science and the public forum. How does each of them deal with evidence and data?