• Thanks to PEEC for hosting geocaching event

    I want to thank Katie Watson and PEEC for allowing me to hold a geocaching event on their grounds April 26. April 26-27 was the 12th annual international Cache In Trash Out (CITO) weekend.
    Our event’s group picked up 8 bags of trash (and a tire!) from the Olive Street Trail. Globally, more than 750 events removed an estimated 75 tons of trash.
    An additional Thank You goes to the Los Alamos Chamber of Commerce for Welcome Bags filled with information about Los Alamos and to Craig Martin for trail maps to hand out. The event brought people to town from Stanley, Albuquerque, Santa Fe, and Española.
    For a few, it was their first time in Los Alamos.
    The kids that came enjoyed PEEC’s exhibits. Everyone is looking forward to seeing the new Nature Center in the future.
    Thank you.

    Coleen Meyer
    Los Alamos

  • Council should admit it was exponentially wrong

    "Live Exponentially?"

  • Being a host family has rewards

    For the past two years, Susan and I have been host parents for two amazing young adults from overseas.
    It is an understatement to say our lives have been greatly enriched by this opportunity. In addition to the privilege of sharing their lives for almost year, we became members of their families through Skype.
    The benefits to us are hard to enumerate, but include learning the customs and some of the language of those from another country, discussing our differences (some) and similarities (many), seeing the world from a different perspective, and enjoying the presence of a teenager who has not the handicap of being your own offspring.
    Both students were sponsored and highly vetted by a State Department program. The program is extremely competitive, as exemplified by the quality of the students who make it to the United States.
    The local representative of the program has informed me that they are in need of host families for three students for the 2014-2015 academic year (the students arrive mid-August).
    Each student was one of 20 finalists out of a pool of 300-plus applicants. Their selections were based on grades, performance in school, community service work and leadership skills. 

  • Federal gorilla destroys small business

    How the 900-pound federal gorilla becomes the King Kong that clobbers small businesses?
    There’s an argument to make that businesses in Los Alamos would not be here without the government, the “900 pound Federal Gorilla.” Indeed, my 17-year-old small business and optometry practice would not have existed or grown without it. However, many times the government becomes a sort of King Kong that pounds on small businesses with over-regulation, excessive taxation and wage control.
    Over-regulation. One example is the CMS required International Classification of Diseases, 10th revision (ICD-10) codes for medical insurance billing. Currently, there are 14,000 diagnosis codes and 4,000 procedure codes. ICD-10 will replace these, with 70,000 diagnosis codes and 87,000 procedure codes. For every medical practice, this means outrageously expensive software and computer upgrades, more IT support and staff training, and more work for the doctors, with no improvement on patient care. No wonder policy experts predict a decline in the number of medical private practices over the next decade.
    Excessive taxation. There should be reasonable taxation to pay for the infrastructure necessary for success. However, excessive taxation blocks small businesses from renovation and improvement. It also creates a disincentive to expand and create new jobs.

  • New golf course waste of county dollars

    Once again the idea of a new golf course is up for consideration during the Los Alamos County Council Capital Improvement Projects meeting. I had really hoped we had put this ridiculous idea to rest but apparently the select few wish to pursue it again.
    All the benefits a new golf course would bring to the county, suggested by these select few, are purely pipe dreams. This idea is an absolute waste of county dollars. Currently rounds played are dropping and are continuing to drop. Most of the players who come out to play are ones who come out on a regular basis. Any numbers reflecting new players or increased attendance are highly inflated numbers by the golf course staff. Anyone that plays our current golf course on a regular basis can plainly see the significant drop in attendance.
    I’m sure the select few who support this idea will have a response, but all they have are dreams and ideals with no sound economic, or realistic proof that such an idea would benefit Los Alamos. All they have are dreams and speculation. There’s no proof that it will even attract more golfers from out of town or out of state. They have no studies or anything else to support a huge expense such as this. A new golf course is what they would like to have and nothing more.

  • Food drive helps needy on May 10

    The National Association of Letter Carriers and Boy Scouts of America Food Drive will be on May 10.
    They will be collecting your donated canned, boxed and dry goods. Just bag or box your donated items and place them by your mailbox on the morning of May 10.
    Our supermarkets often have case lot sales. Cases would be so helpful in filling up our nearly empty pantry. If you miss the Food Drive you may leave donated items year-round anytime during opening hours at the Aquatic Center and Los Alamos County Social Services at 1505 15th Street.
    LA Cares is Los Alamos’ Food Pantry serving eligible individuals and families in the County. We serve approximately 85 families a month with our food box distribution on the second Friday of the month and the preceding Thursday night. Qualified individuals and families must call 661-8015 by the Sunday before the distribution in order to receive a box.
    LA Cares is not just a food pantry, but an assistance program also. We served 108 families with rent and utilities in 2013.

  • Letter to the editor 04-20-14


    Questions about school board

    It felt ironic sitting between two beautiful public school principals while facing four male school board members at the recent board meeting on tax-deadline Tuesday (April 15). The fact that the only female board member and board president was not present that evening made the irony mysterious.

    Two days later, when I read the Los Alamos Monitor headline “Schmidt’s contract OK’d”, I felt the irony deepen. If Dr. Eugene Schmidt would agree to stay beyond that year, I would urge the board to abandon its search for a new superintendent, since it would be foolish to lose such a man with his qualities and capability. 

    Allow me to explain.

  • Letters to the editor 04-13-14


    Regarding WIPP

    This letter is in response to the article “Watchdog Asks for WIPP Inquiry” on April 6. The print and electronic media and “watchdog groups” have made, as is often the case, a radiation/nuclear molehill into a mountain. 

    The only reasoned article that I have read or heard on WIPP appeared a few weeks ago in the Albuquerque Journal. It was entitled “Radiation Levels after WIPP Leak Negligible.” Robert Hayes, a Certified Health Physicist according to the byline, wrote it. I wish to quote one sentence from that article: “Using data posted on the website wipp.energy.gov, Mr. Hayes writes, “The largest potential dose was at the site boundary, where a maximum dose of around 3 mrem was possible if you stood by the air sampler for the full 15 hours.” 

  • Setting the record straight

    There have been some factual inaccuracies about the School Board meeting that I wish to correct. To set the record straight:
    Dr. Gene Schmidt resigned as superintendent earlier this month.
    Dr. Schmidt has been offered a temporary appointment as Interim Superintendent for the coming year, through June 2015, while the board searches for a successor.
    This is the first and only action the School Board has taken on his employment status.
    Our intent is to have a productive year, in which we are all able to work together to make our schools the best place for our children to prosper.

    Judith Bjarke-McKenzie
    Board President

  • Vote to ban trapping

    I urge the County Council to vote in favor of the proposed resolution to support banning trapping on public lands in the county.
    Trapping is an outdated, barbaric and acruel practice that is completely unnecessary for predator control (also a questionable goal) and has no current scientific or other support (despite recent protestations of the current editor/publisher of the Los Alamos Monitor). I fully intend to sue the owner of any trap that harms myself, my family, or my pets.
    As a community that presents itself as an advanced, forward-thinking model of scientific thinking, Los Alamos really should have been a leader on banning trapping rather than coming late to the table of our surrounding counties that have already moved on this issue — but better late than never!
    Tina R. Sibbitt
    Los Alamos