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Letters

  • 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
     

  • School board should keep eye on the ball

    I read, with concern, the article in Sunday’s Los Alamos Monitor, titled “School board to consider gun resolution.” Mr. Langenbrunner tried to convince the board to endorse his view on gun control, citing health and safety of our children as the motivation. He gave interesting, and questionable, statistics related to our children and firearm injury, with emphasis on suicide.
    From there he went way off in the weeds with a suggestion that the board voice support for background checks for gun purchases and a ban on semi-automatic firearms. Wow, what logic! Background checks are already done on the vast majority of gun sales. Besides that, Mr. Langenbrunner had already stated that the guns he’s worried about come from the home, not purchases by our youth. Firearms in the home should be stored safely, not unlike the keys to the family automobile. Additional background checks will not change the availability of firearms to our youth. As far as banning semi-automatic firearms, that represents most modern firearms and has nothing to do with their danger. Revolvers or bolt-action rifles present the same danger.

  • Letters to the Editor 03-07-14

     

    Trivializing a sensitive word?

    After spending an hour talking about Judaism to the high school humanities class a few weeks ago, I took some questions, and one student raised an important issue; one I could tell was difficult for her to pose in public. Why did I think, she asked, that Jews have been labeled as obsessed with money? 

    I looked at her with my best poker-face, and asked “Will you give me a twenty for an answer?” When she meekly said no, I pretended to then disregard her and go to the next raised hand. Everyone laughed at the obvious self-mockery, and I felt that the joke had diffused the tension around us, so I could go on to speak to the subject of anti-semitism and ethnic discrimination in general. 

  • Boys, Girls State benefit students

    Senate Bill 169 has passed both houses of the legislature and is now on its way to the governor’s desk.
    Last year, the governor pocket vetoed this same bill.
    We need to make the governor aware of the benefits that our boys and girls can derive from this legislation.
    We need to contact her in every way possible to get our message to her, write a letter, send an email, send a fax, use letters to the editor, write a news article, contact “talk radio,” or make a phone call to the governor’s office.
    Here are some of the reasons for the governor to sign this legislation into law.
    Citizens are woefully ignorant of how our government works.
    • People do not have an idea of what kind of government we have.
    •  Civics is not taught in New Mexico as a singular classroom unit. It is scattered in social studies over 13-year grade levels and pieces.
    • The American Legion is an organization of military veterans that are concerned about the lack of interest in government. Hence, the programs to inform and teach young men and women the essentials of our form of government. Boys State and Girls State are sponsored by the American Legion and the American Legion Auxiliary to provide training and experience in how government is operated and how we govern ourselves.

  • Get ready for Crab Fest from Rotary Club

    Ahoy, Los Alamos! It’s time for Rotary’s 5th Annual Crab Fest, Feb. 22 at the Knights of Columbus Hall. This all-you-can-eat crab and prawn dinner, our biggest fundraiser of the year, is served family-style with coleslaw, beans, rolls, dessert and beverages. There will be chicken for those who do not care for seafood.
    The cash bar opens at 5:30 p.m.; dinner, primarily prepared by Blue Window Bistro, will be served at 7 p.m. with help from members of the Los Alamos High School National Honor Society.
    Along with dinner, you’ll be treated to guitar music by Tony Chan, and you’ll have many opportunities to bid on an abundant selection of silent and live auction items, with Jill Cook as auctioneer.
    Auctions items include a Towa golf and overnight package at Homewood Suites; a condo stay at The Village at Steamboat Springs; a Firehouse Station 3 dinner and tour; and spring clean-up by Oasis Landscape. There will also be a handmade quilt by artist Katy Korkos, antique New Mexico window frame mirrors, fine wines, jewelry and artwork, golf lessons and massage certificates and gift certificates for ciopinno, filet mignon-prawn, and sushi dinners with wine pairings. There’s even an airplane flight to Taos with Sunday brunch.

  • Aspen Ridge Lodge a positive experience

    I think until you have lived or worked in an area for a while you cannot truly know the quality of what it has to offer. I have lived at Aspen Ridge Lodge in Los Alamos for eight months.
    In that entire time, I have experienced only wonderful care and observed great professionalism by all of their staff at all levels: management, dining staff, custodial staff, nursing and care staff, activities staff, and transportation staff. I have never once observed or experienced the slightest bit of negative attitude, neglect, or mistreatment by any member of the staff toward anyone, regardless of how that person may behave.
    In fact, the Aspen Ridge employees are among the most personable and professional people I have ever encountered, particularly in one fairly large establishment. I think whoever makes the hiring selections and provides staff oversight at Aspen Ridge Lodge has done an amazing job of finding and keeping this group of terrific employees.