• An open letter to founding fathers

    ashington and Thomas Jefferson:
    You established a wonderful experiment when you set up our nation as a Republic, and it worked well for about 200 years. But then elected officials got greedy and appropriated all sorts of perks for themselves. 
    They voted lifetime pensions for themselves after they leave office. They exempted themselves from laws and regulations that they didn’t like. They, including the President, refused to enforce laws that were voted on by the people, and made new laws without going through the legislative process. They didn’t do what was best for our country, but only what was best for their re-election campaigns.
    When voters tried to remove corrupt officials from office, they discovered that hard-working honest citizens couldn’t get elected unless they were lawyers and/or had tremendous amounts of cash on hand, and/or were backed by corrupt individuals or organizations who had tremendous amounts of cash on hand.
    In almost every case, the person who wins an election is the one who spends the most money on his/her campaign. A lot of it goes into ads, which deceive the people and distort the issues.
    You would be amazed at how our country as a whole has turned its back on the God of the universe and on the solid biblical principles upon which you founded this nation.

  • Reasonable, measured approach

    nd throughout the nation is undergoing significant change. Newly introduced Common Core Standards are replacing learning benchmarks that required a generation of students to be “proficient.” Federal “No Child Left Behind” assessments used in past years called for students to be proficient as measured by Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP).
    The failure of these standards is demonstrated by the oft-reported failure of N.M. high school graduates to be prepared for college or careers. AYP standards have been replaced with New Mexico Standards Based Assessment tests that measure individual student growth during each year.
    In addition, a New Mexico teacher evaluation process that simply rated teachers satisfactory (99 percent of the time), or unsatisfactory is being replaced with a new evaluation protocol that rates teachers in five categories ranging from exemplar to minimally effective and identifies individualized areas for professional growth.
    These national and state educational changes are being rapidly implemented in New Mexico generally through mandates from the Public Education Department (PED). The relatively large number of mandated changes being rapidly implemented has led to increased frustration by a substantial number of the instructional staff in Los Alamos.

  • Profit and run

    The contractor model is not working in the case of the National Laboratories when it comes to the federal government shutdown. The corporate entities that are contracted to run these laboratories should be required under their contracts to maintain operations during a federal government shutdown using their own resources when funding is temporarily stopped.
    The resources I’m referring to are the fees they are awarded with for operating the laboratories and their corporate ability to borrow money. Wasn’t that one of the reasons to set up the federal government contractor model; a separation of national security operations from the whims of the congressional budget process?
    Corporations generally maintain continued operation of their facilities if they want to remain in business except for corporations contracted to operate federal government facilities. Contractor corporations operating the National Laboratories take the benefits of operation without the risk.
    Paul D. Richardson
    White Rock 

  • When Will Enough Be Enough?

    onals don’t normally speak out about the unbearable conditions they work under and how over worked they are.
    Yes, they speak about this with small groups of co-workers as they set out to accomplish their tasks. Now is the time you must speak out, and exercise your 1st amendment right to free speech guaranteed to us by the Constitution of the United States.
    If you don’t speak out conditions will not change and change it must. As education professionals you are not just talking about change for yourselves, but change for students. It’s not about money, it’s about students and this is what makes you education professionals!
    You filled out post cards and sent to Hanna Skandera, the Public Education Department’s Secretary-Designate, a demonstration was outside the high school, there was a union meeting with the AFT New Mexico Union President Stephanie Ly with Superintendent of Los Alamos Public Schools Eugene Schmidt in attendance.
    Several people spoke including me and told Dr. Schmidt and Ms. Ly how teachers felt about the new evaluation system, how much stress teachers were feeling, and the problems it was causing.

  • Speak out against elder abuse

    October is National Long-Term Care Residents’ Rights Month, a time to acknowledge the contributions and sacrifices many long-term care residents have made to better our community and to call attention to the rights of residents in long-term care facilities.
    This year’s theme – Speak Out Against Elder Abuse, was selected to call attention to the fact that elder abuse is an issue that shouldn’t be taken lightly.
    It is predicted that by 2025, the global population of those aged 60 years and older will more than double, from 542 million in 1995 to about 1.2 billion.
    The abuse of long-term care residents is an issue that people may not like to acknowledge or report. But physical, emotional and economic abuses are unfortunately becoming more common.
    According to a World Health Organization brief, a survey in the United States uncovered that 36 percent of nursing-home staff reported having witnessed at least one incident of physical abuse of an elderly patient in the previous year, 10 percent admitted having committed at least one act of physical abuse themselves, and 40 percent said that they had psychologically abused patients.
    It is important to give elders and individuals with disabilities a sense that this social injustice is not simply being ignored.

  • Revive the CCC as the CCR

     John Bartlit’s Sunday editorial about reviving the Civil Conservation Corps was right on!
    I had already written to President Barack Obama about hiring workers on the railroads, suggesting it be called the Civil Conservation of Railways.
    Super fast trains for the East get all the attention, but we need to repair the rail lines in New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado this year, or the Southwest Chief will be re-routed south, eliminating passenger service to several towns in Kansas, and Colorado, including Raton, Las Vegas, and Lamy in New Mexico. We don’t want to drive all the way to Albuquerque to get the train to California, or Chicago and Santa Fe will lose the Lamy access.
    Inez Ross
    Los Alamos

  • 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