Today's Opinions

  • Seeing regular folks become heroes

    On June 27, normal life stopped for all of us in Los Alamos because of the Las Conchas Fire.  
    As residents abandoned their homes to escape the fire, the firefighters of Los Alamos, including my daughter’s fiance, left their families to rush into harm’s way.  
    During the first hours of the fire, the men and women who make up the Los Alamos Fire Department provided a protective barrier between Los Alamos and the fast moving fire.
    There were no Hot Shots, helicopters with water buckets or planes with slurry, just the firefighters and personnel from Los Alamos County, making their stand by downing trees and making a barrier in order to try to get control of the direction of the fire.

  • Call for change in policy

    The situation in Los Alamos reflects so many other areas that are vulnerable to wildfires. Tragedy can be alleviated and losses kept to minimum through a change in national policy. I am referring to the policy of contracting for air fire suppression.
    Consider the C-17 Globemaster: 1. A load capacity of 170,000 lbs. (that’s  21,250 gallons of water). 2. Capable of dropping loads near ground level. 3.  There are three squadrons based at Lewis-McChord in Tacoma, Washington. 4.  Range is 2,400 nautical miles fully loaded. 5. Capable of operating from  airfields of 3,500 ft of runway and 90ft width. 6. Their mission is to:  

  • Roundabouts do work

    As we evacuated, I thought about what evacuation traffic might be like if Trinity Drive had roundabouts instead of the traffic lights currently in place.
    Guess what? Los Alamos  County police officers had to be stationed at each of these intersections to keep traffic moving in effect creating a roundabout.
    This appeared to be necessary because traffic lights turning red would have stopped traffic flow and caused backups.
    My thanks to the county police for helping us avoid the joys of sitting at a red light with no side traffic waiting to evacuate town.

    Daniel Varley
    Los Alamos

  • Firefighters just wanted to help

    The Rogers Family wishes to thank Los Alamos firefighters Danny McBride and Eric Gonzalez for their help Sunday morning, July 3.
    It was great to have a welcome-home wave from personnel at various checkpoints as we approached Los Alamos — I remember the waves when we returned after the Cerro Grande Fire.
    Small things can mean a lot; but the really “big thing” was provided by Danny McBride and Eric Gonzalez who stopped, while driving through the Cumbres del Norte neighborhood around 10 a.m., and asked if we needed help.
    I thought it might take us most of the week to unload three tightly-packed vehicles because unloading would involve carrying things up the equivalent of one to two flights of stairs.

  • Secure our borders now

    I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that we’ve got a problem with our borders, and it isn’t going away anytime soon — it’s only going to get worse unless we do something about it.
    Fortunately, some of the politicians from non-border states are beginning to get it.
    Sen. Mary Landrieu, a Democrat from Louisiana, recently had a tour of the border and concluded that we must provide more resources to secure our border.
    As someone who lives in a border state, has immersed myself in this issue, and has had a first-hand tour of the border in the El Paso sector, I couldn’t agree more with Sen. Landrieu.
    The federal government is clearly not doing enough to secure our borders, and, yes, we do need more resources.

  • Let us prepare now

    The Las Conchas Fire is mercifully coming to an end. Hopefully monsoon rains will finish it off.  
    But its effects will be long-lasting, and its size (despite the valiant efforts of firefighters) is alarming.
    After the Cerro Grande Fire, Los Alamos National Laboratory held a three-day conference on new concepts in fire suppression.
    It was widely recognized that existing suppression technology was badly outdated. The conference included experts from most agencies involved with fire fighting and research.
    Several very interesting ideas were forthcoming, but perhaps the most important one was a three-agency collaboration proposing to fight fires primarily from the air and at night when most fires are relatively dormant.

  • Viewpoint: Band of recycling fairies and more

    Do you ever wonder what happens to your recycling after you toss it into your roll cart?  
    Is there a band of recycling fairies who utilize their magic powers to sort the materials and generate new products?  Farfetched explanation?  
    Perhaps, but the fact is most people are unaware of the processes involved with recycling. But no worries, I am here to enlighten you.
    In Los Alamos County we have a single-stream recycling collection system, meaning all recyclable materials are mixed together by the resident in one cart and collected.  
    The roll cart is emptied into one of the County’s recycling collection vehicles and brought to the Eco Station.  

  • Hope where there is none

    For us in the County of Los Alamos, the view of smoke on the horizon gives us the sense of “not again.”  
    As a resident, I have experienced the La Mesa Fire, the Dome Fire, the Oso Fire, the Cerro Grande Fire and now the Las Conchas Fire.  
    But in addition, as an ecologist for 33 years, I have studied and measured the recovery of several of these fires, especially the La Mesa Fire.
    Out of the sense of hopelessness and grief of losing trees, I have found that watching the area recover from each of these fires has given me a sense of hope and awe at nature’s intricate balance and healing.  
    We sometimes see only the loss and not the miracle of rebirth.