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Today's Opinions

  • Policy changes to watch for in Republican controlled Congress

    Energy is going to be front and center when the Republicans take control of both houses.
    The past six years have seen taxpayer dollars poured into green-energy projects that have raised electricity rates. Meanwhile, Republicans have touted the job creation and economic impact available through America’s abundant fossil-fuel resources.
    Big changes in energy policy are in the works because a wealthy country is better able to do things right. A growing economy needs energy that is efficient, effective and economical — which is why countries like China and India will not limit energy availability and why Republicans want to expand access in the United States.
    What energy policies should we watch?
    Keystone pipeline
    • Post-election, the Keystone pipeline has suddenly leapt to the front of the lame-duck-legislation line.
    • The question remains whether the White House will approve the bill, though spokesman Josh Earnest hinted at an Obama veto. A veto would further anger his union supporters. With many Democrats already on board and a push for more support from union leadership, the new Congress may be able to pass it again — this time with a veto-proof majority.
    Federal lands

  • The real mission of LANL

     
    I have read the recent Santa Fe New Mexican stories on the Valentine’s Day radiation leak at WIPP, Director Charlie McMillan’s response to Los Alamos National Laboratory employees in the Los Alamos Monitor and Greg Mello’s various comments on WIPP and LANL.
    I think it is time that someone spoke up about the real mission of Los Alamos Scientific (later National*) Laboratory.
    When my family and I came to Los Alamos in October 1969, I began working in group N-6. Which has had many names and divisions over the years; at present it is NEN-1. In late 1989, Norris Bradbury was just beginning his 25th and last year as the second director of LASL. Julius Robert Oppenheimer (Oppie), the lab’s first director appointed Norris as director when he went back to academia in October 1945.

  • Pet Talk: Choosing a dog trainer

    Choosing a good dog trainer is much like finding the right teacher for your child. Assertive but caring, attentive and knowledgeable — there are many important qualities to keep an eye out for when making this crucial decision. In order to choose one wisely, it is advised that dog owners call, interview and observe a trainer prior to hiring them.
    “There are numerous ways to train dogs. In addition, each animal has his/her own learning style and preferred motivators,” said Dr. Bonnie Beaver, professor at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. “The American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior, or AVSAB, endorses training methods that allow animals to work for things (such as food, play, affection) that motivate them, rather than techniques that focus on using fear or pain to punish them for undesirable behaviors.”
    A good rule of thumb is to avoid any trainer who displays methods of physical force that may harm your dog, including ones who routinely use choke collars, shock collars, or any other physical punishment as a primary training method. Look for a trainer who uses reward-based training with treats, toys and play instead.

  • Supporting transparency is good for the economy

    Day in and day out, the New Mexico Foundation for Open Government is on the front lines, supporting the public’s right to know.
    FOG has been educating, advocating and litigating for transparency and accountability in our government for almost 25 years.
    So what? Why should you care? Isn’t access to public records a game of inside baseball that only political wonks and the press play? If you care about the state of the economy, you should care about open government. It’s not just about transparency and good government. It’s also about jobs and economic development, say a growing number of experts and policymakers.
    Journalists were the first to push for access to public records in the ’60s and ’70s to find out what government was doing and to hold public officials accountable. However, today requests for public records are predominantly filed by businesses, outnumbering requests from the press by three or four to one, according to one nationwide survey.

  • Overall health could be improved with help of dental therapists

    We have a dental crisis in New Mexico. Our state is underserved and many areas do not even have a practicing dentist.
    Many across our state go without dental care, and those who do get care in rural areas have to travel a long way to get it. For several years, I worked as a dentist in Fort Sumner, and I treated patients from a lot of areas to include Santa Rosa, Roswell, Santa Fe, Vaughn, Albuquerque and some from Texas border towns.
    Many of my patients spent several hours in a car each way just to get care at our clinic. Some came simply because they knew me. Others came because we used a sliding payment scale based on income and didn’t turn anyone away. Still others couldn’t get an appointment elsewhere. There are so few dentists, and even fewer who accept Medicaid, so our clinic was their best choice.
    By the time they arrived, some had advanced oral disease, and most were in desperate need of extractions, partially due to lack of education and poor access to dental care that many could not afford.

  • Top talent being discussed at MLB's Winter Meetings

    SAN DIEGO (AP) — Clayton Kershaw is considered the top pitcher in baseball, with three Cy Young Awards in four years for the Los Angeles Dodgers, an NL Most Valuable Player award and a $215 million, seven-year contract.
    Max Scherzer may be seeking an even bigger deal as his talks on the free-agent market move forward.
    “I’m not sure Kershaw is relevant,” agent Scott Boras said Wednesday at the winter meetings, “because he’s not a free agent.”
    Jon Lester became the first top-level, free-agent starting pitcher to reach an agreement this offseason, a $155 million, six-year deal with the Chicago Cubs that came together late Tuesday night and still must be finalized.
    Scherzer turned down an offer from Detroit last March that would have paid $144 million from 2015-20.
    Kershaw, meanwhile, has the largest contract for a pitcher in total dollars and has the sport’s highest average salary at $30.7 million.
    “The prominent pitchers that have signed, (Justin) Verlander or (Felix) Hernandez or Kershaw, were not free-agent players,” Boras said. “And certainly if you put a performance like Kershaw into a free-agent market, you’re going to get a much, much different calibration of value.”

  • Pet Talk: Cold weather tips for pets

    As the temperatures begin to drop, many pet owners worry about their pets spending time outdoors. Here are some tips for keeping the four-legged members of your family warm and safe during the winter months.
    For smaller pets, keeping them inside as much as possible during the colder weather can be the most beneficial. If your pet is primarily an indoor pet, this shouldn’t be much of a change. Nonetheless, short exposure to the outside cold can be fine and is usually not detrimental to the pet’s health.
    “Dogs and cats shiver a lot like people. This action is used to help generate body heat in cold climates,” said Dr. Alison Diesel, clinical assistant professor at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. “If your pet shivers while outside, shorten the length of your trips together to help reduce this trembling. Providing extra bedding like blankets and towels will also keep your pets warm and cozy.”
    Signs that your pet is uncomfortably cold may include excessive whining, shivering, appearing anxious, slowing down or stopping and looking for a warm place to burrow. If they begin to exhibit any of these behaviors, you should bring them inside (if outside), or wrap them in a blanket in a warm room.

  • Statewide Biz Calendar promotes business-building connections

    New Mexicans never have to wonder where they can go to widen their professional networks or learn the skills that will grow their businesses or advance their careers.
    The online business calendar — or Biz Calendar for short — offers the most comprehensive cache of information about the business events, workshops, meetings, certification classes and professional gatherings that are happening anywhere in the state today, tomorrow, next week and later in the year.
    Public and private service providers use the collaborative web-based calendar to inform the business community about what they’re offering, and economic development organizations use it to connect their local businesses to resources designed to help create jobs and raise the quality of life in New Mexico communities.
    The Biz Calendar began as a project of the nonprofit arm of New Mexico Community Capital in 2007, with support from New Mexico’s Economic Development Department, the Finance Authority and the Small Business Development Network. Organizers aimed to distribute information about events hosted by nonprofits and government agencies.