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Letters

  • Employment rising with the sun

    One thing that doesn’t rise as consistently as the sun is our employment rate. The solar energy industry could help to change that though, because like the sun each morning, jobs in the solar industry are on the rise.
    The solar industry has added over 20,000 jobs since November 2012, a 19.9 percent increase, which is more than ten times the national employment growth rate of 1.9 percent. The best part about these jobs that are being created is that most of them are paid a living wage! Right now New Mexico is ranked 10th in the nation for solar jobs per capita.
    The solar energy industry is not only good for the unemployment crisis so many of us New Mexicans are suffering through, but it is also a positive step to a healthier environment. We have an abundance of sun here in our Land of Enchantment, and our sunsets are something we are known for.
    If we could harness more of this power from the sun, and reduce our independence on fossil fuels, then maybe we could be known as the leading state for solar energy as well! And to top it off, we would be creating much-needed jobs for New Mexicans.
    Tyler Schutte
    Albuquerque 

  • Dishonesty runs amok

    I was interested to read the story in Tuesday’s Feb. 4 Los Alamos Monitor on the scam to steal Smith’s fuel points. It is lamentable that it seems a daily occurrence to hear of yet another way dishonesty intrudes upon our everyday life.
    Since many of us in Los Alamos enjoy the advantages of being able to see excellent programs at University of New Mexico’s Popejoy Hall, I felt compelled to write of deceptive tactics used by secondary ticket sellers offering tickets at inflated prices, along with unwarranted service charges. I myself fell prey by searching for “Popejoy tickets” and going to a website whose URL looked like it was really Popejoy.
    I called the number on the website to find out if I could purchase tickets at an Albertsons ticket outlet.
    I was misled by the salesperson into thinking I couldn’t purchase tickets in person. However, I could obtain the tickets I wanted over the phone from them. I went ahead only to find out later that indeed the tickets would have been available at either Albertsons, or directly from the UNM ticket office for a much more reasonable price.

  • Charter silent on added utility

    Los Alamos Monitor regarding County Council’s discussion of the possibility of establishing a Community Broadband Network (CBN) utility made an unattributed statement to the effect that a Broadband utility could not be created under the current county charter.
    I was not at the council meeting, so I don’t know the basis for this conclusion, but as a member of the Utilities Charter Review Committee, I should point out that the current charter is silent on the issue of both adding and selling a utility.
    It simply says that “There shall be a Department of Public Utilities which shall operate the county-owned electric, gas, water and sewer utility systems...”
    Many people interpret this to mean that a new utility, not already specified in the charter, could not be added to the DPU, although only a court case can resolve this question. Due to the lack of any definitive statement in the current charter regarding the addition or sale of a utility, and after considerable discussion, the UCRC opted to add sections to the new proposed charter to clarify this issue and provide for procedures addressing both the purchase and sale of a DPU utility.

  • Positive view of Aspen Ridge Lodge

    This is in response to the negative comment in Sunday’s Los Alamos Monitor about Aspen Ridge Lodge.
    I am leaving Aspen Ridge Lodge today healed from a broken arm. Sounds simple doesn’t it?
    The first thing they gave me was a call button. Believe me, I used it around the clock. I was always answered with a smile and called by my name. I found the staff to always be courteous and treated me with dignity.
    My dog was being cared for at a nearby veterinary. Everyday I asked and Aspen Ridge Lodge staff picked him up and returned him for me.
    This is a great place to heal and live. It is a dedicated professional facility and a great asset to Los Alamos. My experience has only been positive.
    Ruth Parker
    Los Alamos

  • A step in the right direction

    Thank you councilors for recently passing the new property maintenance standards for Los Alamos! As a new resident who moved to Los Alamos from Austin, Texas about 18 months ago, I feel new property maintenance standards are badly needed and your passage of this measure is a first step in the right direction for this community.
    I appreciated how Councilor and Vice-Chair Kristin Henderson stepped up and explained in plain English why the measure is good for Los Alamos. I agree with her that improving our personal properties in Los Alamos is a step in the right direction toward positive economic development. I also agree that while the new property maintenance standards document isn’t perfect, it’s a great place to start.
    I appreciated how Councilor and Chair Geoff Rodgers also supported the measure by explaining that while many aspects of a community’s appearance may be subjective, it isn’t a subjective issue when property values drop.

  • Left out in the cold

    It was a cold, windy and busy Friday, with a sliver of snow blowing sideways through the air, and people rushing through Smiths.
    As I was leaving the store, I noticed very old and frail lady (whom I call Kim) standing outside with her little shopping bag leaning on her cane, and shivering.
    When I asked her if she needs any help, she told me that she has already called Aspen Ridge to pick her up to no avail, and she was concerned to miss the ride if she went inside. She asked me if I could call them on her behalf and find out when they will arrive. I suggested that she stay inside the store to keep warm, so that I can call Aspen Ridge and keep an eye for her ride.
    The receptionist at Aspen Ridge pleaded ignorance about receiving a call from Kim, and told me that they will send someone to pick her up. Then she called me a few minutes later, probably to verify that this was a real request.
    At that point, I asked her if her ride was on its way, the answer to which was not yet. A few minutes later, I went inside to check on Kim, and I noticed a younger lady with her scooter and shopping bag on the phone with Aspen Ridge, going through the same scenario.
    She was told that they have 66 residents, cannot get to all of them at the same time, and that we should have Kim go inside and wait for them.

  • Who sweeps the parking lots?

    Has anyone noticed that after a big snowstorm, the parking lots in front of the north-facing businesses get filled with cars before anyone can sweep, or plow the parking areas? The compacted snow becomes ice and the congealed mass is there until spring, posing a serious hazard for shoppers.
    Could a “Shadow Gang” of sweepers appointed by building owners, businesses, county maintenance and Chamber of Commerce be formed to deal with this problem?
    Our continuing dry sunny days have lulled us into avoiding thinking about the next big dump, but if snow could be swept from the shady side of downtown businesses early in the morning while it’s light and fluffy, injuries from falls (and possible lawsuits) could be prevented.
    Inez Ross
    Los Alamos

  • New Mexico needs broadband freedom

    Antiquated telecommunication regulations are holding New Mexico back. According to the 2013 Mercatus Center report “Freedom in the 50 States,” New Mexico suffers under some of the heaviest regulatory burdens of any state.
    The Rio Grande Foundation has spent a great deal of time researching and exposing many of these burdensome regulations, which can undoubtedly improve the economic climate in New Mexico at no cost to the taxpayer.
    New Mexico’s broadband regulations are a classic case of overregulation that should be addressed for the good of our rural economy.
    Greater competition inevitably leads to lower prices and greater choice for consumers. Antiquated landline phone service providers remain regulated by a 1985 law that dates before implementation of the Internet and smart-phone technology.
    This outdated regulatory scheme has hindered investment in rural broadband resources throughout our state.
    Having high-speed Internet access throughout the isolated communities of New Mexico will remain integral, if not a necessity, to spurring the rural economic growth everyone desires, while simultaneously increasing statewide effective educational opportunities.

  • Public shocked by recent cop scandal

    The recent Los Alamos Monitor coverage of the whistleblower lawsuit filed by Randy Foster, Scott Mills and Paige Early has been enlightening.
    The termination of Foster from the police department was an unwelcome surprise for many that know him to be a superb police officer, and the reasoning behind it seemed inscrutable at the time.
    The newspaper story helps to shed some light on the topic. While we only hear one side of the story in the Monitor coverage, and there is always two, one wonders how top administration officials in the county intend to defend their behavior.
    A mentally disturbed police officer, who threatens to harm the public, is removed from the situation by top-notch police officers acting in the best interest of the public.
    The disturbed police officer, who openly acknowledges his problem, sues the county and is then given a large financial settlement, while the police officers who proactively protected the public are harassed, humiliated and terminated.
    It just doesn’t compute. Unless one considers the possibility that the reputations of top county officials must be protected, and the mishandling of their duties should never bear public scrutiny.

  • Natural Helpers program offers help

    This is my fourth year teaching at Barranca. Over my years teaching here, I have had students abused, suffering from depression, stressed beyond belief, socially inept, suicidal, bullied and more. I was tired of seeing students struggle and feeling like I wasn’t doing enough. They should not be fighting these battles alone.
    If these kids are truly our future, we must invest heavily in them now. Students must learn not only how to support each other but to accept support from others. Bradford Parker, our school principal, brought Natural Helpers to my attention as a way to address the needs of our student population. After investigating the program, I agreed and with the support of Parker and Dr. Gene Schmidt, the superintendent, I worked to get this program in place for our school.
    The Natural Helpers program is for fifth and sixth grade students at Barranca. If the beginning success is any indication, this program will continue for many years. Natural Helpers is a peer-to-peer helping program, meaning students learn how to help their friends and other students who need someone to talk to. Natural Helpers are students who are identified by their peers as someone they can trust, someone who cares, and someone who likes to help others.