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Letters

  • 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    Trapping is an outdated, barbaric and acruel practice that is completely unnecessary for predator control (also a questionable goal) and has no current scientific or other support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 

  • Saying no to GE foods

    Recently, Kroger and Safeway both announced that they will not sell genetically engineered salmon in their stores. The fish in question have had their DNA altered so that they grow twice as fast. These announcements were preemptive, as the Food and Drug Administration has not even approved these salmon for market. Yet this action sends a strong message: consumers are more thoughtful than ever about the food we are putting in our bodies, and retailers are starting to respond.
    As retailers, scientists and even ethicists consider the ramifications of GE animals and crops, there is a very simple step that retailers can take right now to appeal to conscious consumers: by labeling foods already on store shelves that contain these ingredients.
    By labeling their store-brand products that contain genetically modified ingredients, Kroger and Safeway and our local chains like Smith’s and Albertsons could take a great step towards empowering consumers to make fully informed choices in the grocery aisle.

    Sean Foran
    Albuquerque

  • Teach gun safety to all

    In regard to your article “School Board to consider gun resolution” on March 9, the board only allowed James Langenbrunner from New Mexicans for Gun Safety to speak even though two of us accompanied him.
    As a teacher of 25 years at Los Alamos High School, I would have shared my own experiences as to the need for educating for gun safety. Thus, I write this letter.
    Upon arriving at school this particular morning, the faculty was informed that a certain senior had blown his head off the night before over a physics exam. Stunned and horrified, we still had to conduct our classes.
    Later his younger brother joined my Student Traveling Awareness Team for the Environment, which performed throughout the 1970s. A refuge for him, we are still close friends though he lives elsewhere, a victim of a deep psychological injury.
    A teacher friend also at the high school lost her son to suicide.
    My last year before retirement, one of a set of precocious identical twins accidentally shot the other. Fortunately, this wonderful young man survived and graduated on time.
    What did these deaths and injuries have in common? Each of these young men was an experienced hunter, well trained in the use of firearms; thus, the guns were readily available.

  • Youth mentoring takes hold in Los Alamos

    Many youth face seemingly adult problems growing up today in our fast-paced world. Familial and social problems such as custody disputes, loss of a parent, living in foster care, or witnessing substance abuse in the home can be difficult situations for any child.
    Although Los Alamos is widely recognized as being an affluent area, many of these same problems occur here. Everyday pressures many children face are exacerbated by the expectation they need to keep up with their peers academically. Social challenges cause youth to experience despair and feeling they are not important.
    Often times a child simply needs a caring adult to listen to their fears and demonstrate that everybody has problems but nobody should face their issues alone. Through mentoring, youth are able to move from risk to resiliency.
    The Family YMCA in Los Alamos is answering the need for mentors in the Reach & Rise™ mentoring program. Reach & Rise is a therapeutic mentoring program which trains mentors to use counseling techniques to support children who otherwise would be lacking enough caring supports in their life.
    Currently, Reach & Rise is recruiting volunteers to mentor children in the Los Alamos area with the first trainings beginning in May.

  • Question resignation

    I write in support of Morrie Pongratz’s request at Tuesday night’s (March 4) School Board meeting for some explanation by the Board of its reasons for not renewing Dr. Schmidt’s contract. I recall that when Dr. Schmidt became District Superintendent five years ago, Los Alamos schools had major issues regarding funding and maintaining our schools.
    He immediately held open strategic planning sessions with input from teachers, students, and the public to chart a course for our schools. On his watch major recapitalization of the high school and middle school was successfully completed. The transition out of the Trinity Site was accomplished.
    The Los Alamos schools received state and national recognition for excellence. He dealt forthrightly and fairly with the complex issues posed by new state standards and teacher assessments.
    In light of this, I was shocked to hear that Dr. Schmidt had decided to resign, apparently because he did not have the support of members of the Board.
    What could be the hidden, behind-closed-doors reasons that apparently few of us Los Alamos citizens outside the Board were even aware of?
    Don Cobb
    Los Alamos 

  • Hope for WR library

    We would like to thank everyone involved with public forums and meetings regarding the building of the new White Rock Library. The preferred building site on the corner of N.M. 4 and Sherwood Blvd. would seem to be the best location for the library. We would like to encourage the building committee to consider having a used bookstore included in the White Rock plan similar to the one we have uptown.
    There have been some comments made about not having enough volunteers to run such an endeavor. After discussing these comments with a great many people in White Rock who donate books to the Los Alamos bookstore, the great consensus is that they would welcome a used bookstore in our new Library.
    It would seem to be much easier and much more economical to include this area while building the new library than to decide years later that we could now utilize such a facility. We would certainly be willing to work with anyone who is interested in establishing a used bookstore as well as volunteering in this facility.
    Roberta and John Marinuzzi
    White Rock 

  • Keep up good work

    I just wanted to tell the new publisher that I really loved the editorial in the March 5 paper. I am so disgusted with the school board at this point because of this. Thanks for speaking out! Because he is new to town he sees things in a different perspective. Keep up the good writing.
    Becky Scarborough
    Los Alamos