• Inadequate math aptitudes

    ound as the IQ sinks” is an amazing example of chutzpah. In a column meant for readers in Los Alamos, certainly a mathematically aware county, he tells us that today’s kids’ aptitudes are being degraded by not doing enough long division exercises.
    He harkens back to a better time when students learned how better how to do “real” calculations. Maybe some students need to do more rote exercises and can skip Euclid’s proof that the square root of two is irrational. (I change my mind. That proof is just too beautiful.) But we need to teach the students with the highest aptitude for science, technology, engineering and math too. Concepts-based math is just right for these students.
    Sure, we all need to learn some actual methods, but in my view the old school way, teaching students to do endless long divisions like 1/7=0.142857142857… is not the whole story. I wished I had learned earlier the art of estimation — how to calculate on your feet an answer that is good enough, and knowing how good is good enough.
    These are quick methods used in science and engineering but also for doubling recipes, calculating tips, estimating your gas mileage — and knowing that 29.787 MPG is not a better answer than 30 MPG.

  • Keep garbage away from wildlife

    Garbage is mixed in with trash, recycled cardboard, and papers (chicken bones, pizza boxes, paper plates not rinsed, food containers and wrappers, etc.).
    The smell of garbage attracts the bears into our communities and they become a nuisance and a dangerous threat to the lives of our families. The bear is blamed for doing what comes naturally. The bear is trapped, relocated and sometimes euthanized.
    Everyone can help alleviate these concerns by developing a few simple habits.
    For instance:
    1. Rinse all food smells off of everything you put into your trash and recycle bins.
    2. Collect garbage in a bag in the freezer until the morning of trash day.
    3. If you have to put your trash out the night before, soak some paper towels in ammonia and place them on top in the bin with the garbage.
    4. Keep your trash bins in the garage at least until the snow falls.
    Fruit trees are a problem, but if the fruit can be picked or disposed of when ripe that can help discourage intruders. At least fruit is a natural diet for bears in the wild. None of us want our address on the list of five-star restaurants for bears, or any of the wild animals that live in our canyons and forests. Please help save the lives of the local wildlife and make our communities safer by cleaning up your trash —literally.
    Joy Green

  • Equal treatment under law

    While I generally enjoy John Pawlak’s satire, and did so for most of his column on gay marriage, he has done a disservice to our County Clerk Sharon Stover.
    Pawlak complains that Stover did not take the law into her own hands, but responded to a court with her understanding of the law.
    I strongly disagree that Sharon’s argument was weak — she sought to abide by the law, as we expect of a responsible county clerk. Unless the media reports have been completely inaccurate, the details of the form are specified by law, not regulation, however strange and unusual that may seem. Note that it only required (as always) brave people to assert their rights to bring the matter to court attention.
    And wonderfully, in America, the law is trumped by the Constitution. That the law is in conflict with the state Constitution (as amended regarding Equal Rights) was determined in the proper province of the judiciary — for now at least, we’ll eventually hear what the state Supreme Court has to say.
    It is unfortunate that governments have used the religious term, “marriage”, to describe state approved formation of families, coupling, or whatever it should be called when two people who love each other seek that approval.

  • Keep all LA ‘families’ together

    Here are five things your family can do to make sure bear cubs, cougar kittens, little raccoons and skunks are not separated from their families.
    1. Don’t feed the wild animals. Throw out your hummingbird feeder. Don’t feed the deer. Feed the birds only in winter. Keep pet food bowls inside.
    2. Leash your dogs and keep your pet cats inside.
    3. Secure your garbage as best you can. Ask members of county council to consider bear-aware dumpsters, which you see frequently in Colorado. Keep smelly stuff like melon rinds out of your compost pile.
    4. If your fruit trees have fruit, pick it in a timely manner so it doesn’t tempt critters.
    5. Be kind and considerate. Remember your behavior has consequences for your whole neighborhood. At sunrise this morning two of my children were out delivering the Los Alamos Monitor in some of North Mesa’s perimeter neighborhoods.
    Even though they carry pepper spray and have been taught since they were toddlers what to do when confronted with big predators I still worry this time of the year.
    Finally, remember, a fed bear is a dead bear.
    Lynn Hanrahan
    Los Alamos 

  • Thanks for supporting UNM-LA

    As executive director for University of New Mexico-Los Alamos, I want to extend my sincere thanks for the community support we’ve received during our recent special election.
    It is very rewarding to hear personal stories from our students and alumni about their many positive experiences at UNM-LA.
    Our contributions to the quality of life in Los Alamos are amplified in the testimonials from those who have had rewarding and, for some, life-altering experiences as a result of their participation in our programs at UNM-LA.
    We are proud and gratified to share the many unique and significant accomplishments of our students, faculty and staff with the community.
    Higher education in UNM-Los Alamos promises to be the vehicle for personal and professional success and mobility. Because of local, state and other investments in higher education at UNM-LA many opportunities for the high quality education and training for current and future students were created and sustained.
    These investments have enabled UNM-LA to offer affordable, accessible and high quality teaching and learning essential to the development of our students and to our community that greatly values education.

  • Mail incompetence in Los Alamos

    I moved here from the east coast a little over a year ago, and there the mail came nearly at the same time everyday. Here the mail is delivered anytime between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m.
    Also, I seem to have the laziest delivery driver ever, because the last 12 packages sent to me were all listed as “Out For Delivery,” and yet they are never delivered that day. In fact, on two occasions I’ve stayed home just to receive a package only to watch the mailman drive down my dead end street and turn around without ever getting out of his mail van.
    Come on USPS, how about you hire some competent employees?
    Justin Tokash
    Los Alamos

  • Sympathy for baby bear

    The picture of the baby bear standing on top of the trap holding his mom was heartbreaking.
    If there was time to take a picture, why wasn’t there time to catch him, too, and relocate him with his mother? Or was she destroyed, as rumor has it?
    Pam Reynolds
    Los Alamos

  • County not using tax dollars wisely

    I went to the county building today to drop off my ballot, voting against the latest tax levy. It seems like every year we are asked to support yet another levy, for worthy causes such as school building upgrades, UNM-LA and the like.
    My husband and I work very hard for our money and are not upper-echelon labbies that bring home the big bucks … these tax hikes have a real impact on our budget. In the past five years, my taxes have increased $616. The latest levy would increase that another $168.
    We do not have unlimited funds, and even if we did, I do not trust the county to use my tax dollars wisely. Take a gander at the “Taj Majal” projects we’ve had thrust upon us in recent years: The White Rock Visitor’s Center, the Justice Center, the new Municipal Building, the Golf Course Clubhouse, Los Alamos High School and Los Alamos Middle School are all good examples. It seems that every project must be grander than the one before, and the sky is apparently the limit.

  • Vote ‘yes’ for mil levy

    I have joined with many in our community including leaders of the local Democratic and Republican parties in supporting the University of New Mexico-Los Alamos mil levy.
    As a retiree, I benefit from the training our EMS folks get at UNM-LA. We all benefit from the fire science courses our fire department personnel take at UNM-LA. Most of all the presence of this high quality institution makes Los Alamos more attractive to the “best and brightest” that the Los Alamos National Laboratory needs to attract to compete effectively for future research and development funds.
    The value of our house depends upon a vigorous and healthy LANL. Please vote “Yes” for our community, our college.
    Morris Pongratz
    Los Alamos 

  • N.M. needs to make use of solar

    The Public Regulation Commission is preparing to rule on how much New Mexico invests in renewable energy, and clean energy advocates argue that the PRC’s proposed changes would harm renewable energy development in the state. Looking at the facts, we have to agree.
    New Mexico is the second-sunniest state in the country, but we currently get less than two percent of our electricity from the sun, lagging behind cloudy states like New Jersey. Our state needs to move toward a new, thriving clean energy economy, and not stay tethered to fossil fuels, which soak up billions in federal subsidies[1] – over five times as much as all renewables combined[2] – while polluting our air and water.
    Our current policies have helped grow the amount of solar energy in New Mexico from less than 1 megawatt in 2007 to almost 200 megawatts now.
    Judging by the number of people who spoke in favor of renewables at the PRC’s hearing in Santa Fe on Tuesday, New Mexicans clearly agree that developing our solar potential is smart for our state.
    We urge the PRC to leave renewable energy policies in place, not cut them off before they reach their full potential.
    Dominick Lawton
    Environment New Mexico