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Opinion

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    July 4, 1776 gave birth to perhaps the most revolutionary political document in the history of civilization, submitted by men who proclaimed, “with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.” 

    Pretty heavy stuff for a group of heroes who knew that their actions exposed them all to charges of treason, for which the penalty was swift and sure execution at the hands of the colonial masters whose authority they defied.

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    Another 4th of July? Didn’t we just have one last year?

    Yeah, it’s time again to watch your 12-year-old kid march in the town’s parade, make red white and blue cupcakes for a party, turn the TV to any of the 500 war movies playing on Encore, fire up the grill and show your patriotism by eating enough food to feed a family of six.

    And to truly demonstrate an undying love for America, hang a flag outside and set off some fireworks!

    What could be more true-blue American than blowing things up?

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    The Y helps people with financial aid

    Reviewing applications for financial aid is truly a humbling experience.

    I communicate with each by email or telephone, and all of them share their overwhelming relief, appreciation, joy, and gratitude because the Y’s assistance has helped them, their family or children. At our Y, this is more than 200 people helped; 72 kids in camp and afterschool care, and 140 people of all ages in healthy programs.

    Donors do important work. They help children access safe, supervised childcare so parents can work. I receive at least one scholarship application a day now as we are enrolling for Camp and After School.

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    For harried parents, the definition of true panic is realizing in April that you forgot to enroll your kids for summer day camp and now all the slots are filled. Cut to: as the school year ends, you’re feverishly trying to find adequate daycare because neither of you can take time off work to watch the kids.

    I know of one such couple; with any luck you’re more organized than they were. In fact, bonus points if you thought ahead and signed up during last fall’s open enrollment for a dependent care flexible spending account (FSA), which allows you to pay for childcare using pretax dollars.

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    Renee Frank is perfectly positioned to demonstrate that sustainable practices can improve a business’s bottom line and its “upper line” — its appeal to customers who want to do business with green companies.

    Frank is a real estate agent and a certified “ecobroker” — the leader of Steinborn and Associates’ Smart Living Team and a founding member of the Las Cruces Green Chamber of Commerce.

    Her job is to help clients choose wisely where and how they’ll live in a new home. Her mission is to help other entrepreneurs realize how quickly they’ll recover the costs of incorporating energy-efficient and sustainable features and practices by generating savings and attracting customers.

    All about orientation

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    One of the wonders of the political world was the late Gov. Bruce King. When he worked a room, no hand went unshaken and he remembered everybody’s name.

    Now that his son Gary, the Democratic candidate for governor, is the target of a fire hose of ugly ads, I can’t help but wonder what Bruce would do.

    In his autobiography, “Cowboy in the Roundhouse: A Political Life” (as told to Charles Poling), King described his campaigns and his campaign philosophy. Reading it now makes you pine for those gentler, kinder times.

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    Capital spending is supposed to be for stuff that lasts a while. We have a special affection for senior centers and borrow money against property tax receipts to pay for senior things. The technical terminology here is issuing and selling general obligation bonds subject to voter approval. Issuing the bonds will cost about $2 million. 

    The three smallest dollar amounts approved for seniors by this year’s Legislature are $500 for “other equipment” at the Ena Mitchell Senior and Wellness Center in Lordsburg, $570 for meals equipment for the Vaughn Senior Center and $840 for “other equipment” at the Mora Senior Center. 

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    When Chris Christie was re-elected governor of New Jersey last year, news reports mentioned that he received a majority of Hispanic votes, a fact considered noteworthy for a Republican in that state. Gov. Susana Martinez had spent time in New Jersey campaigning for him. Even if the national pundits didn’t say so, there was an implication that Martinez’s presence contributed to his victory.

    A couple of months ago, I happened to see a TV interview with Rick Perry, outgoing governor of Texas. Perry said he will be campaigning for the Republican candidate who is running to succeed him. And, he added gratuitously, he’ll be campaigning for Martinez in New Mexico.   

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    With the July 4 holiday come celebrations and outdoor activities that can be fun for people, but sometimes harmful for our pets. Here are some tips to keep this day an enjoyable and safe holiday for the whole family, Fido included. 

    “Fireworks can frighten dogs and cause them to escape and become injured,” said Dr. James Barr, assistant professor at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. “Make sure your pet is supervised during the day and nighttime hours as well.” The best idea is to keep dogs, particularly those with noise phobias, away from the commotion if at all possible. 

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    Happy 238th Birthday, America! It’s also the birthday of the Federal Freedom of Information Act, which appropriately was born on the Fourth of July in 1966. We hope all Americans — Republicans, Democrats and Independents — will observe this day by remembering the values that unite rather than divide us. 

    We authors of this editorial — a Democrat and a Republican — disagree on many issues, but we find common ground on the importance of transparency in government-one of the major principles upon which our country was founded several generations ago.

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    Baha’i Faith

    For information, email losalamosla@gmail.com. For general information, call the Baha’i Faith phone at 1-800-228-6483.

    Bethlehem Lutheran

    Bethlehem Evangelical Lutheran Church, a member of the ELCA, is located at 2390 North Road, 662-5151; see a map at bethluth.com.  Summer worship, at 9 a.m., runs from mid-May through mid-August. Fellowship with refreshments following the service at 10:15 a.m. The preaching is biblical, the music is lively, children are welcome and abundant, and a well-staffed nursery is provided.  All are welcome! Come join the Family!

    Bryce Ave. Presbyterian

    The church is located at 3333 Bryce Ave. The Rev. Henry Fernandez preaches, bapca.org, info@bapca.org. For information, call 672-3364.

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    In the world of business, it can be hard to distinguish between a goal and an objective, but the distinction is more than a matter of semantics. When discussing corporate strategy, the difference is critical.

    While both are tools that business owners can use to compare where they are with where they want to be, goals represent that distant accomplishment and objectives are mile markers along the way. Goals can be as hazy as an image on the desert horizon, but an objective is fixed and measureable; it follows a series of steps or a timeline.

    Goals are broad in scope and vision. Objectives are precise tasks that need to be completed for the goal to be achieved.

    Concrete and abstract

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    I’ve been accused of being rude and insulting to the NRA, unwilling to accept their arguments as to why it makes good sense to carry defensive firearms in public.

    Well, this will shock my target audience dead center, but I now admit that the NRA was right and I was wrong! I had thought their arguments were all hollow points, but I’ve come around to understanding the wisdom of these straight shooters.

    So first things first, let me apologize for jumping the gun and having written horrible things about the NRA and its members. Had I realized how intelligent they actually are, I would have wholeheartedly supported their patriotic cause.

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    The Los Alamos Venture Accelerator (LAVA) promises to transform the way we create new businesses in Los Alamos. But how do we know that the plan will work?

    As a community we’ve tried several things to encourage entrepreneurs and increase the success rate of local startups without producing the desired economic results. 

    For example, The HIVE co-work space in White Rock provided local entrepreneurs with physical space with hopes that it would germinate. The groups who funded The HIVE learned that just providing “workspace” without the inclusion of mentoring, coaching and technical assistance was not a sustainable way to encourage entrepreneurs.

    But if a physical workspace won’t make enough of a difference, what will? 

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    Talk about good news wrapped in bad: In the midst of grieving the loss of a loved one, you learn that you were named beneficiary of their 401(k) plan. Chances are you’ve got too much on your mind to make any sudden decisions about what to do with the money.

    However, don’t procrastinate too long. The IRS has ironclad rules, deadlines and penalties concerning inherited retirement accounts, which vary depending on what type of account it is. This column discusses inherited 401(k) and similar employer-provided plans.

    Under federal law, surviving spouses automatically inherit their spouse’s 401(k) plan unless someone else was named beneficiary and the surviving spouse signed a written waiver. If someone is single at death, their plan’s assets go to their designated beneficiary.

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     I must express my keen disappointment after reading former Candidate Ed Birnbaum’s op-ed, “Op-ed comments not scientifically valid” (Los Alamos Monitor, June 11). 

    As a scientist and educator, Mr. Birnbaum should have reveled at the teaching opportunity provided by Ms. Noon’s article, “EPA hides their use of ‘bad science.’” 

    He chose to respond to the article in an ad-hominem fashion, disparaging the “scientific credentials” and “agendas” of those about whom she wrote and with whom he apparently disagrees, rather than to address the merits of her claim — a time-honored Washington political maneuver. 

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    Gratitude and a plea

    This is a heartfelt thanks to members and leaders of Junior Girl Scout Troop No. 10027 for your outstanding beautification project between the Aquatic Center and the canyon trails! It is a wonderful improvement to the area and your efforts are greatly appreciated.

    How grand it would be if this special spot, and all other areas of our community, could remain free of litter for all to enjoy! 

    Once a week, on the daily morning dog walk, I collect a full bag of trash behind the Aquatic Center and on the trail that begins below the parking lot. (I know others do this as well.) By the evening walk more trash has already accumulated. The abundance of bottles, cans, plastic items and paper products of every description, which are seen along our streets and trails, does not support the local belief that we are a highly intelligent community. 

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    Why does it always take a highly-public, media-driven feeding frenzy and catastrophe like the Veteran’s Administration’s “waiting list” story to get our elected officials in Washington, D.C., off the dime to do what they should have been doing all along? Serious problems within the VA medical system are nothing new. It’s been building up for some time.

    Sen. Tom Udall, in his sixth year as a U.S. senator, is not newly advised to these problems, regardless of what his public relations spin says. He and his staff had to have known, in detail, the difficulties faced by many veterans seeking health care, but it took a national exposure of a systemic tragedy to get them to at least appear fully engaged.

    That’s shameful incompetence. Just as much as the senior administrators who are guilty of creating this debacle.

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    Heartworm disease is transmitted to an animal through the bite of a mosquito carrying heartworm larvae, which eventually settle into the blood vessels of the lungs or within the heart itself. 

    Although cats are less susceptible than dogs to heartworm infection, our feline friends are still very much at risk of heartworm disease. 

    “Cats have some innate resistance to infection, and the worms seem to prefer living in dogs rather than in cats,” said Dr. Audrey Cook, an associate professor at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. “In addition, the tests we traditionally use in dogs, such as the Knotts test and heartworm antigen tests, are not very sensitive in cats as the number of worms is much lower.”

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    The news media is being overwhelmed with accusations of “bad science” and “misinterpreted data” when dealing with the production and consumption of fossil-fuel/renewable/nuclear energy.

    Since 1974, the autonomous International Energy Association (IEA), organization has worked diligently to generate unbiased reliable/affordable/conventional/renewable energy-related data for its member/cooperating-non-member countries. Between them the 30-plus member IEA countries account for just under half of the world’s energy generation/consumption and include United States, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Korean Republic, Spain and United Kingdom. Cooperating/nonmembers include Brazil, China, India, Mexico and Russia; just under the remaining half of global generation/consumption. 

    Its reports are utilized globally by all the major energy companies, academia and environmentalists.