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Letters

  • 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 

  • 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