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Today's Opinions

  • Letters to the Editor 10-7-16

    Teacher’s evaluation not representative of reality

    My name is Heidi Schembri, and I have been teaching for 15 years in Los Alamos Public Schools. I love my profession and have had the honor to work with many wonderful children, parents, school employees, and community members. Over the last several years, there has been much controversy over the new teacher evaluation system. Our current New Mexico teacher evaluation system rates teachers on the following criteria: “Each category is weighted according to the amount of student achievement data available for the teacher. Improved student achievement is worth from 0 to 50 percent; classroom observations are worth 25 to 50 percent; planning, preparation and professionalism is worth 15-40 percent; and parent/student surveys are worth 10 percent” (ped.state.nm.us/ped/NMTeach_EvaluationPlan.html).

  • Let’s rise above partisanship to do what’s best for students

    BY SHARON STOVER
    Republican candidate for House District 43

  • Smart supply chains outdo rules

    Regulatory engineering, as the forms of it evolve, ultimately will prevail in the world. For some five years, these columns have pictured ways of using current technology to do better, faster and cheaper regulating. New “smart” tools are very good at inspecting, reporting and assessing what they find.
    Farther on lies the frontier of engineering that bypasses regulation. There begins the next generation of smart tools that do better things than merely instruct.  
    Over time, such remedies will slow the growth of rules. Competing interests will begin to see that smart tools take care of problems more reliably than politicking does. In due course, it will seem normal to look for a smart tool instead of a regulation.  
    A leading example turns up in an unlikely place – today’s mining industry.
    A persistent problem in mining is the loss that results when drivers of heavy equipment fall asleep at the wheel. The same problem plagues airlines, trucking companies and all who share the road.

  • Letters to the Editor 9-30-16

    Check out our ‘new schools’
    during tours

    Thanks to the voters of Los Alamos and their approval of recent Los Alamos Public Schools bond elections we have three “new” schools for you to visit! The bond approvals made the funds available from property taxes and the schools partnered with the State of New Mexico for matching funds.   
    Combined with excellent construction oversight this resulted in a maximum “bang for the buck” whereas some existing facilities were maintained and some completely new facilities were constructed.
    You are invited to tour the schools, “new” and “work to be done”.   
    The high school and Topper Freshman Academy tour is scheduled for 4 p.m. Oct. 3. The middle school tours are 3:15-4:15 p.m. Friday 9:30-10:30 a.m. Saturday. The Aspen Elementary School tour is 4:30 p.m. Oct. 3. The Barranca Elementary School tour 4 p.m. Oct. 11. The Chamisa Elementary School tour is 5:30 p.m. Oct. 6 and the Mountain Elementary School tour is 3:45-4:30 p.m. Oct. 3.  The Piñon Elementary School tour is 12:30 p.m. Oct 5
    Again, a big “thank you” to the citizens of Los Alamos!
    Morrie Pongratz
    Former school board member

    Candidate Espinoza is lively, impressive

  • Espinoza supports transparency; opponent skirts campaign limits

    BY REP. NORA ESPINOZA
    Dist. 59, House of Representatives, Candidate for Secretary of State

  • Espinoza’s false attacks cover up ties to corruption, extremism

    BY MAGGIE TOULOUSE-OLIVER
    Candidate for Secretary of State

  • I encourage everyone to vote in favor of Question 1

    I am voting for county Question No. 1, to eliminate the office of sheriff in Los Alamos. I encourage everyone who believes in good government, strong public safety, and reduction of unnecessary risk, to do the same.
    Typically, a sheriff provides law enforcement in county, or rural, areas. The sheriff position in Los Alamos has no law enforcement duties, and Los Alamos has no county – only, or rural, land. All of the county land in Los Alamos is incorporated into the municipality of Los Alamos. There is not a square inch of just-county land for a sheriff in Los Alamos to stand on.
    Los Alamos became a municipal government in the 1960s. The County of Los Alamos had already been created  as a legal entity in 1949. When the Federal Government decided to no longer run Los Alamos as a Federal scientific base, in the 1960s, all of the county land was wholly incorporated into the municipality of Los Alamos.  Los Alamos remains the only city-county entity in New Mexico.
    While debating their preferred from of government, Los Alamos citizens got to choose who would provide law enforcement - a professional law enforcement agency (a police department), an elected sheriff, or both.

  • Subsidizing the cheese business

    Before you bite into your next green chile cheeseburger, pause for a moment to consider the importance of that chunk of cheese, not just to the taste of your burger but to our local economy.
    With 150 dairies averaging more than 2,000 cows each, New Mexico ranks ninth in the nation for milk production and fifth for cheese. The average New Mexico dairy ships 44 million pounds of milk a year worth nearly $6 million. Much of it goes to Southwest Cheeses in Clovis, which employs 300 people to turn 3.8 billion pounds of milk into 388 million pounds of cheese annually.
    According to NMSU’s Ag Science Center, dairy is the number one agricultural employer in the state, providing 12,524 jobs paying $600 million a year in wages. In 2014, the average dairy farm worker earned $47,811, compared to the state’s average mean wage of $42,230. At $1.5 billion, dairy is about tied with beef cattle for economic impact and together the two rival the oil and gas industry.
    But while it’s a big business, it’s not a particularly lucrative one. A milk cow eats 100 pounds of hay and grain every day. In return she produces six to seven gallons of milk. Dairy farmers live on the difference between the cost of her feed and the price of her milk, usually expressed as the cost vs. price per hundredweight of milk.