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Today's Opinions

  • Clubbing the graduation rate

    Newspapers recently cheered the announcement by the United States Department of Education that, for the first time in U.S. history, high school graduation rates had exceeded the 80 percent threshold.
    This is fantastic news! Just think, one out of five students doesn’t graduate! Now that is truly a reason to celebrate!
    Hmmmm, when you say it that way, it doesn’t prompt the masses to start dancing in the streets, does it?
    And when you consider the additional fact that a significant percentage of those who do graduate are not “college ready,” there’s even less reason to start shooting off fireworks. Less than half of students entering college are sufficiently prepared for college level coursework.
    And so I found it very encouraging when I read another report about how high school clubs aid in educational progress. It’s not hard to understand why joining a club would help improve a student’s class work. Much of the difficulty students encounter in high school has little to do with what’s written in textbooks and much more to do with the learning environment in which they are immersed for four years.
    Joining a single club can significantly improve a student’s chance of graduating. What more reason do we need that that to strongly encourage our students to join a club?

  • Seek details before owning pet pygmy goats

    With their playful temperaments and small, compact size, it is no surprise that pygmy goats are often sought after as pets. However, since goats are deemed livestock, you must check with your homeowners’ association or deed restriction before bringing one home. If in doing this you discover it is allowed, here are some tips for keeping your pet pygmy goats happy and healthy in their new home.
    “Although some people do keep their pet goats indoors, they are not easy to house train and due to their activity level, curiosity, and dietary needs, we recommend they are kept outdoors,” said Dr. Philippa Sprake, a clinical assistant professor at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. “They should have an outside area to play and a shelter from the elements, where hay, straw, or shavings serve as good bedding sources.”
    Their bedding, of whichever type you choose, should be changed regularly depending on the weather, size of shelter and number of goats. Keep in mind that goats do not like getting wet, and they also require a cool area to withstand the summer heat. Since goats are herd animals, having at least two housed together will help to decrease stress and allow them company.

  • Doing business with the private sector

    To serve the people of New Mexico, state government relies on goods and services provided by private-sector businesses. To ensure it spends taxpayer dollars responsibly and gets the best products at the best price, the state uses a competitive purchasing system.
    Thousands of businesses each year participate in this $5 billion economy, selling the state everything from cars, trucks, pencils and supercomputers to support services for crime victims, architectural services and museum exhibits.
    These businesses all start by learning how to navigate the procurement system — a set of procedures designed to protect public resources. The process isn’t complicated, but it can take time.
    Governor Susana Martinez created a Procurement Reform Task Force in early 2011. Led by the General Services Department, it has produced dramatic system improvements.
    All chief purchasing officers from state agencies and local governments are now required to register with the State Purchasing Agent. And starting in January, 2015, chief purchasing officers must pass a certification exam to make purchases for their agencies.

  • Support Sage Cottage nonprofit preschool

    I appreciate the stories you have been publishing regarding poverty and hunger in Los Alamos.
    I am on the board of directors for Sage Cottage Montessori Preschool, currently the only preschool in Los Alamos that accepts state-aid children. About six years ago, Cheri Host, the former owner and executive director (now deceased), decided to make Sage Cottage a nonprofit preschool so that she could provide a place for low-income children and request grants and donations to cover the cost differential.
    The aid provided by the state for childcare covers only a fraction of the costs for a full-time child, and because of various circumstances most of these children are not full-time.
    Currently, Sage Cottage has four state-aid children. Sage Cottage receives some generous support from Casa Mesita, Los Alamos National Bank, Smith’s Earn and Learn, and from designated giving through United Way. But support over the past several years has decreased, jeopardizing our ability to continue to provide this necessary service to our community.
    Those who would like to support this cause can make a tax-deductible donation by check to Sage Cottage, 142 Meadow Lane, Los Alamos, NM.
    If you would like more information about Sage Cottage, call Director Sandra Sorensen at 672-0534.

  • The quicker picker-uppers

    We have just experienced one of the many benefits of living in Los Alamos. Our loss of a large piñon tree resulted in a very sizable pile of limbs and debris.
    The bulk pick-up truck arrived on schedule and the operator efficiently and quickly loaded everything and left the area clean and presentable. Our thanks to this employee and to the county for this great service!
    Joseph and Lois Thompson
    Los Alamos

  • Great performance from Missoula

    On behalf of the Los Alamos Arts Council, I would like to thank the cast members of Missoula Children’s Theatre’s production of “Blackbeard the Pirate” for their wonderful performance.
    The Arts Council would like to thank the County of Los Alamos for co-sponsoring this event, which was also partially funded by a grant from the New Mexico Children’s Foundation.
    We would also like to thank all the parents and friends of the cast who attended the play on Saturday, as well as the staff of Crossroads Bible Church. They were wonderful to work with and made the week a complete success.  Thanks also to the Christian Church for graciously hosting our Tuesday rehearsals.
    Additionally, many thanks go the Los Alamos Arts Council board members who volunteered their time to help make this year’s production a wonderful experience for the participants and to all of LAAC supporters whose annual membership fees make programs like this possible.  
    Finally, thanks, as always to the community of Los Alamos for supporting the many programs and events presented by Los Alamos Arts Council.
    Margaret McIntyre
    MCT Chair, LAAC
     

  • See more 'Manhattan'

    Sunday evening, a crowd joined the Los Alamos Historical Society at the Time Out Pizzeria near the Bradbury Science Museum to watch and discuss the first episode of the “Manhattan” TV series. The series has potential.
    The show is a serious effort, the production values are good, it captures the times in national feeling and even in cars and music, it begins to tell many stories humanly, and the first episode effectively raises conflicts of the times. Initial conflicts are the tensions between civilians and the military; the deserty, rudimentary setting; the intense race to get the bomb first while so many people die per week in the war; and morality, both of creating super bombs and of defending the nation and families.
    We will see where the stories go.
    John Bartlit
    Los Alamos
     

  • The cost of compassion

    At a Fourth of July potluck, we asked a neighbor who commutes to California for work how he was doing. Instead of small talk, we got a tirade about how he was working to support all those jobless loafers living on government handouts. A grandmother sitting with us pointed out, gently, that we’re paying for two wars that weren’t in the budget.
    Since that conversation, the news has brought us the faces of Central American children seeking safety within our borders and the bludgeoning death of two homeless men in Albuquerque. Which makes me wonder, whatever happened to compassion? The answer is, it’s still alive, but it’s being tested.
    This neighbor is in California because he lost his manufacturing job and was out of work for months before finding another job. Fortunately, his wife was still working, so they didn’t lose everything. Lots of people have relocated and made sacrifices to get work. They can look at it two ways: If I can find work, the rest of you shiftless people can find work. Or, hey, it’s really tough out there and people could use a hand.