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Letters

  • Use slant drilling in White Rock parks

    A current public issue is whether county water wells should be drilled in county park lands on the edge of White Rock Canyon.
    The public discussion has dealt little, if any, with alternative drilling technology, namely, directional drilling, also called slant drilling.
    Directional drilling goes back 50 years, but major advances came as computers became commonplace.
    Directional drilling is the technique of drilling wells at a slant, instead of always boring straight down.
    Not only can holes be drilled at an angle, their paths can curve and bend to reach more places under ground from fewer work sites.
    A well can easily bend enough to reach places up to 1,200 feet off to any side of a drill site and thousands of feet down.
    Lateral wells can extend much farther to the side — out four miles and more — at still greater cost.
    Up to four wells can be drilled from a single drilling pad.
    The other side of the story is always cost. Directional drilling is more complex, which may add $30,000 to $100,000 to the cost of a well within the easier 1,200-foot distance from the pad.
    At more cost, the range can go out the four miles and more. These dollars have meaning only when compared with the typical cost of a vertical well: about $1 million.

  • Thanks for the support

    What a wonderful community we live and work in.
    As we waited for spring to come, the community was filled with vases of daffodils and bunches of daffodils were delivered to homes by wonderful volunteers.
    Each bunch of daffodils (2,500 this year) supports our hospice program and all profits from the sale go to direct patient care.
    We thank you all for your wonderful support. Your daffodils became a gift to many.
    Special thanks for the generous support we receive each year from BlueCross/Blue Shield and Walmart in Española, and how wonderful to have the great volunteers from RSVP and Key Club.
    We are so lucky to have you all in the lives of those we are privileged to care for.

    Sarah G. Rochester
    executive director
    Los Alamos Visiting Nurse Service 

  • In remembrance

    Sixty-nine years ago, the SS Paul Hamilton — carrying 7,000 tons of explosives — was torpedoed, resulting in the loss of the ship and all 580 men aboard. 
    The ship left Hampton Roads, Virginia, on April 2, 1944, and was headed with munitions and fresh troops to the theater of operations in North Africa.
    Near sunset, on April 20, the Hamilton was attacked by German Ju 88 bombers, 30 miles off the Coast of Cape Bengut, Algiers, in the Mediterranean Sea. 
    The attacking aircraft launched its torpedo less than 150 feet from the Hamilton.
    Immediately after the torpedo hit, a violent explosion threw debris and black smoke high in the air, and when the smoke cleared, there was no sign of the ship. 
    During the attack on that convoy, the USS Lansdale also was sunk, with the loss of its
    47 crew members.
    In a Veterans Today article, Jim W. Dean noted that, “details [surrounding the Hamilton] were classified for 50 years ... only two bodies were recovered and are buried at the Allied cemetery in Algiers.
    They were identified through fingerprints, so those two families had some closure.”

  • Caterer's agility saved evening

    On Friday night, the Blue Window Bistro suffered a plumbing disaster resulting
    in flooding.  
    This could also have been a disaster for the Los Alamos Concert Association as we had reserved the restaurant for a post-concert dinner for
    60 people following the
    performance of Amsterdam’s Calefax Reed Quintet Sunday evening.
    Instead, Melissa Paternoster and her wonderful staff flew into action and catered the dinner at the Betty Ehart Senior Center.
    Working in an unfamiliar kitchen, these great people presented us with splendid hors d’oeuvres and tableside service featuring salad, four entree choices from their regular menu and dessert.
    How they managed to do this on such short notice seems nothing short of miraculous.  
    Los Alamos is very fortunate to have this young and enthusiastic restaurateur in our midst.  
    Her community spirit is an inspiration.

    Ann McLaughlin
    artistic director
    Los Alamos Concert
    Association
     

  • Letters to the editor 4-7-13: Tuesday is Equal Pay Day

     Tuesday is Equal Pay Day. It marks how far into the year a woman must work to earn as much as a man earned in the previous year. The day is an unhappy marker of how far we have to go before we close the gender wage gap. This gap hasn’t budged in nearly a decade, leaving women and their families to suffer the effects of lost wages.

    Fifty years ago, President John F. Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act, which requires employers to give women and men equal pay for equal work. At that time women were paid 59¢ for every dollar men were paid. Today that figure is 77¢. Although we’ve made significant strides since 1963, pay parity continues to elude us.

  • Sequestration troubles

    It is amazing to me that the U.S. Congress seems incapable of altering the course, of its ill-conceived mandatory budgetary reduction (sequester), which began on March 1, 2013. The sequester grinds on even though it has been estimated by the Congressional Budget Office that it will lead to the loss of 750,000 jobs and a cut in the rate of economic growth by one third.
     At a minimum, the $80 billion across-the-board cut for FY 2013 should be reallocated so as to reduce its impact on critical social welfare programs. For example, in New Mexico, these are programs affecting health, safety, and education; i.e., our state being among the worst performers in these three areas. Also, important to local citizens are programs administered by the Department of Agriculture and the Bureau of Indian Affairs, both slated to be cut. It seems unconscionable that Congress is attempting to manage the deficit by shifting its budgetary burden onto the backs of the least fortunate Americans. Of more concern to Los Alamos, NNSA will lose ~8 percent of its funding, which may result significant recissions at LANL.

  • On school safety

    I read Gene Schmidt’s recent letter with some concern. On the one hand, of course we should keep our children safe in school. But on the other hand, we must continually ask of our policies: At what cost?
    And what is the real goal? (It is: help children build themselves into independent, successful adults.) Over-intervention instills a culture of fear in children and can disrupt development and destroy futures.
    I myself had two issues at LAHS that today would, it seems, be made into Very Big Deals, but at the time (late 90’s) appropriately were not. The first never left the classroom; I brought a flail to class as part of a presentation on the middle ages, and the teacher simply asked me to not bring it back. The second (about which I won’t go into detail in the newspaper) was dealt with internally by the high school in a firm but nurturing way and resolved.
    My point is, kids need room to make stupid mistakes that don’t follow them for the rest of their lives. I am now beginning a successful career at the lab. If my two issues had been aggressively disciplined with the involvement of external authorities, as appears to be the style now, that outcome could very well have been prevented.

    Reid Priedhorsky
    Los Alamos
     

  • More LA branding

    What’s the chance that the “Branding of Los Alamos” will be some version of  “Virginia is for Lovers?”
    I like “How I learned to Stop Worrying and Love Los Alamos”.
    We could use a Los Alamos/Rio Grande landscape in the background with one of our local councilors or “celebrities” (updated every year or so) astride.
    ‘Get to know “Los Alamos, where discoveries are made!”’ is touted by BuffaloToursLA. The latter portion (in bold) is already splashed around on the web (on tourist sites like travelguidenewmexico.com) and on the sandstone structure into town. I would have thought that this was to give LA a “handle” (brand!). So, what is the council looking for now at the cost of another $50,000?

    Joel Williams
    Los Alamo 

  • Branding LA?

    Our town made it this morning as the focus of USA TODAY’s Fifty States in the New Mexico column! Our image may now be changed to the town that is spending $50,000 for an “image change.” Los Fools, New Mexico!
    Most folks are not proud of the destruction caused by the first bombs that the U.S. dropped over Japan. But we are proud that our spot on this mountain was chosen to be the birthplace of the Atomic Age and that the scientists assembled here were able, in such a short time, to create a device that ended World War II and probably saved more lives than the number of lives lost in that destruction.
    City banners along Central proclaim “ Where Discoveries are made” I think most people who live here do think of our town in that way, along with “The Town That Energizes the Economy of Northern New Mexico.” We are also proud of our beautiful mountain setting, the hiking trails and the people who work for environmental preservation and awareness.
    We may gripe about having no bookstore, no Hallmark , no J.C. Penney, but we’re proud of our library, our schools, smartest kids in the country, and even our Blue Whale (which is no longer blue) with its Olympic size pool, (the only one at this altitude) where even Japanese swim teams come to train.

  • Student safety is non-negotiable

    In the past two weeks, three middle school students were disciplined for bringing knives to school. These incidents were reported in the local media as “deadly weapons.”
     The Los Alamos School Board has established very strict policies regarding weapons on campus to ensure student safety at all times.
    By school policy definition, any item or device which may be used as a weapon, including pocket knives (regardless of size) are considered weapons.
    By school policy definition, any weapon which is capable of producing death or great bodily harm is considered a “deadly weapon.”
    Investigation by school administrators showed that students were not intending to use the knives but were found in possession of them on school grounds.
    A knife regardless of size is considered a weapon so the police participated in the investigations.
    As such, these students were disciplined for weapons violation based on school policy.
    It is important for the community to know that student safety is non-negotiable and that students who bring weapons to school will be disciplined. Parents are encouraged to talk with their children about the importance of following rules written in school handbooks.
    Sharing this information with the public is not intended to cause alarm.