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Today's Opinions

  • Several ways seniors can save some green

    We all love a good bargain, no matter what our age. But if you’re a senior citizen on a fixed income, finding discounted goods and services can mean the difference between making ends meet and going without.
    The good news is that tons of senior discounts are available — often for people as young as 50. One caveat right up front: Although many senior discounts are substantial, you sometimes can find better bargains — especially on travel-related expenses like airfare, hotels and rental cars. So always do your research first before requesting the senior rate.
    It can make a lot of sense to a lot of seniors to check out AARP.
    An AARP membership costs only $16 a year for anyone over age 50, including free membership for spouses or partners. Information can be found online at aarp.org.
    AARP’s discounts website features discounts on dozens of products and services including rental cars, hotels, restaurants, clothing and department store chains. AARP also offers an inexpensive driver safety course for drivers over 50 (members and nonmembers alike) that can lower auto insurance premiums by up to 10 percent or more.
    Popular AARP discounts include:
    • 20 percent discount on installation or upgrades to ADT home security systems.
    • 45 percent off membership to Angie’s List.

  • Los Alamos community is all in this together

    I would like to thank George and Chris Chandler for their letter to the editor. It’s vitally important in this community to ensure open and honest communications, to get facts and issues in front of citizens, and to work toward a shared vision and future for a better Los Alamos.
    It’s a small town and we’re all in this together. Many facts regarding the University of New Mexico-Los Alamos re-zoning request are accurate: the current zone allows only 41 units however there are currently 64 units on the 1.88 acre site.
    The site is owned by the UNM Regents and managed by UNM-LA. The re-zoning request, if approved, would allow up to 82 units. Without the request, redevelopment would be limited to 41 units.
    Prior to the decision to pursue re-zoning and the redevelopment of the site, UNM-LA conducted a thorough evaluation of the current facility. The evaluation concluded that the existing 60-plus-year-old buildings could not be renovated and brought up to current code requirements in a cost effective manner.
    I applaud nearby building owners and residents for their commitment in maintaining their properties. Unfortunately, UNM-LA cannot reverse the clock and renovate these structures. UNM-LA must look forward to providing modern student and workforce housing opportunities through the redevelopment of the 9th Street property.

  • 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 

  • A cautionary tale about earmarked funds

    “I’d like to explain to you about the Subsequent Injury Fund.”
    I used to joke that this sentence could clear a room. If you were the host of a party and your guests weren’t getting the hint that it was time to leave, you could mention the Subsequent Injury Fund and they’d be gone like a shot. I actually did this more than once.
    Even the name invites confusion. Subsequent to what? Injured when? No wonder hardly anybody paid attention.
    The Subsequent Injury Fund has been gone since 1996. I tell the story now because it’s a cautionary tale about earmarked funds. In case you didn’t notice, a few major issues in the recent legislative session, such as the early childhood education proposal, involved earmarked funding.
    The New Mexico Subsequent Injury Fund (SIF), like similar programs in many states, was a workers’ compensation program, established to encourage employers to hire workers with physical disabilities. These programs were started after the Korean War to help injured veterans.

  • 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.

  • 2006-2013: Government jobs up, then down

    Scads of state economic numbers new to me crawled from the darkness a few days ago.
    The numbers omitted government, so first, using other numbers, we will consider the performance of our leaders in weaning the state from the dark dependence on government jobs.
    The Department of Workforce Solutions is the source of the government figures. An entirely arbitrary choice, Octobers from 2006, 2011 and 2013, provide the comparison. The numbers, for wage jobs, are revised and seasonally unadjusted.
    Overall government employment declined during the period. The total, 197,400 in 2006, grew 1,700, or 0.86 percent, by 2011 and declined 4,000, or two percent, to 195,100 two years later.
    The federal sector, by far the smallest of the government employers, more than explains the changes. Federal employers hired a net of 2,300 people, a 7.6 percent increase, between October 2006 and 2011. Federal employment dropped 9.2 percent to 29,700 between from October 2011 to 2013.
    Federal employment runs about half of the state government total and less than a third of local government. All governments do different things. Geography bounds the activity.