.....Advertisement.....
.....Advertisement.....

Opinion

  • If Colorado’s leaders are smarter than those in New Mexico, something I don’t believe, they can’t be that much smarter.
    After all, to determine our performance in a host of categories, we can freeload off Colorado and save work and money.
    The reference here is to the just-released 10th edition of “Toward a More Competitive Colorado,” a comprehensive look at nine general categories, each with up to a dozen components. To find the report, go to metrodenver.org and look in the research and reports section.
    New Mexico’s various national rankings are what this column and the next are about. But the other important point, maybe the important point, is that things can change and change for the better. In 2013, Colorado was third for job growth. It was 49th in 2002 after what the report calls “the ‘dot.bomb’ recession.”
    Many of the comparisons are ugly. But facing these things offers a place to begin a vision. Colorado seems to be in the top handful on just about everything. New Mexico, well, not so much.
    Necessarily the report deals with the past. Most tables use data through 2013. In the present, New Mexico tied Idaho for 34th place among the states in job production performance between October 2013 and 2014. Alaska was the only state losing jobs during the year.

  • Editor’s note: The following letters were written by sixth graders from Aspen Elementary School regarding recent renovations and rededication of the school. Keep reading for more letters through the week.

    This new building that Los Alamos has built is beautiful!
    One thing that surprised me about the new building was the architecture. The architecture around the whole school is just amazing and beautiful. Another thing that surprised me was the media center. The media center has a fireplace and couches so you can read quietly.
    One thing that was eye-catching in the building was the Aspen trees all over the school. The trees in the windows of the media center are incredible! Another thing that was eye-catching was the dining hall. It is very neat and beautiful.
    Something that will take some time getting used to is the hallways that take you everywhere. I think the hallways are amazing; you don’t pay attention where you’re going because everything is amazing! Other things that will take some getting used to are the different types of stairs to go down because all lead to different parts of the building. I am most excited about the sinks in the hallway, because you can wash your hands before you eat.

  • Amid Republican glee, Democrats find themselves picking up the pieces following the drubbing they took at the November elections.
    Back on Capitol Hill, one of those pieces, Nancy Pelosi, the former Democratic Speaker who spent the past four years as Democratic House minority leader, seemingly emerged unscathed by the defeat her party suffered in Congress.
    By all accounts she’ll keep her post as minority leader for another two years, although you’ll find any number of Democrats — rank-and-file on up — who suspect someone other than Pelosi at the head of their decimated party in the House might be the better part of wisdom.
    At the Roundhouse here in New Mexico, on the other hand, leadership changes run rampant.
    For the first time in most New Mexicans’ memories, a certified, honest-to-goodness Republican will wield the gavel as Speaker at the state House of Representatives when the Legislature convenes next month.
    Back in the 1980s Republicans basically controlled the state House for a period of time in a coalition engineered with a few turncoat Dems, one of whom, a gentleman named Gene Samberson, they picked to be Speaker.
    But with the upcoming 60-day legislative session, Rep. Donald Tripp of Socorro is slated to become New Mexico’s first Republican House Speaker in over 60 years.

  • The most wonderful time of the year is upon us, and what better way to prepare for the holidays than including your furry friends in the festivities? However, with all of the hustle and bustle of this busy season, we often forget to adapt our celebrations for the safety of our pets. Here are some ways to keep Fido and Fluffy safe while rockin’ around the Christmas tree.
    When it comes to decorating your home, there are a few items to leave behind if you have a curious dog or cat lurking around. Animals are often attracted to the sparkly tinsel and ribbons left lying out, and these can easily obstruct their digestive tract if ingested, often requiring emergency surgery. Make sure to keep these decorations out of reach or out of sight.
    “Mistletoe especially can cause vomiting and diarrhea, as well as neurologic signs such as seizures,” said Dr. Stacy Eckman, clinical assistant professor at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. “Other holiday plants, such as poinsettias, can also cause vomiting and diarrhea when eaten.”

  • Since the genesis of the human race, the advance of civilization has been defined by the quality of its regulating. Yet, the word evokes emotions as varied as the looks people fashion on their faces.  
    Regulation is older than written history. The first “regulation” of cavemen by cavemen was throwing rocks to fortify a point of disagreement. As the Stone Age drew on, a new means of enforcement appeared on the scene, namely, the stone axe.
    Slowly, regulatory systems improved. Peer pressure had promising effects among small groups. As groups grew larger, tribal customs grew with them and evolved to be tendrils of religions.
    Time passed. Regulation took more standardized forms, as in the Ten Commandments. Recall those brief decrees against killing, adultery, stealing, bearing false witness and coveting.  
    Businesses sprouted and spread. Entrepreneurs began to see they could build larger markets if they could reach customers farther from their shop.
    But selling things at a distance first requires standardized and enforceable weights and measures and then a trusted means of money exchange — the dawn of banking. In other words, doing business at a distance requires more regulation and inspection.

  • Making a name in the art world used to mean the artist toiled in obscurity and poverty, dependent on galleries and patrons to exhibit and champion his work. This notion — that artistic creativity and business savvy occupy separate worlds — was reinforced by art schools that taught students how to make art but not how to market or sell it.
    An emerging, 21st century approach is that art making is a business and the artist should be at the controls — the chief executive officer of her own production and distribution network. This model borrows many ideas from the business world.
    Get serious about sales. Artists should tear down the contrived wall between the creative and the commercial, because distribution of artwork is just as important as production. They should school themselves in marketing, inventory and financial management, cash flow and all licensing and intellectual property laws that pertain to creative works.

  • A month ago, the United States Supreme Court refused to hear a collection of cases which raised the question of traditional marriage vs. same-sex unions.
    Now, a Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals decision may have changed all of that. By voting 2-1 to uphold same-sex marriage bans in four states under the appellate jurisdiction of the Sixth Circuit — Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee — the panel has now created a conflict between the circuits. This conflict exists because four other federal circuit courts had found bans on same-sex unions to be unconstitutional. We know now, at least according to statements from Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, that a lack of a conflict between the circuits was the reason the Supreme Court balked at hearing the earlier cases from five other states.

  •  

    "My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings. Look on my works, ye mighty and despair!”

    So wrote the English poet, Percy Shelley, in 1818.  Ozymandias, once all powerful and feared, and now nothing remains but fragments to remind us of his reign. The grandeur of a king falls into dusty ruin and oblivion, much like the decaying face of the Great Sphinx of Egypt.

    Ozymandias is a metaphor for the impermanence of all things.

    Humans, however, believe that they themselves are eternal, their fame destined to live on in historic perpetuity.

    Sorry folks. Even a diamond isn’t forever.

  • Dermatophytosis, otherwise known as “ringworm,” is a fairly common fungal infection that can affect dogs, cats and other animals.
    “The term ‘ringworm’ actually comes from the circular, ring-like lesion formed on the skin of infected people; however, the disease itself is not caused by a worm at all,” said Dr. Alison Diesel, clinical assistant professor at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.
    Dermatophytosis is a zoonotic disease, meaning it not only can be transmitted to other animals, but to people as well. An animal or person can become infected with dermatophytes from contact with another infected animal, transfer from infected materials such as bedding and grooming equipment, or from the soil.
    “Very young animals and older animals with other underlying illness are at higher risk for dermatophytes,” Diesel said.  
    “Dermatophytosis is the most common cause of alopecia, or hairloss, in cats. In addition to poor hair coat, it can also cause reddened skin, hyperpigmentation, and lesions.
    “Lesions will often involve little red bumps called papules, scabs and circular areas of hairloss. Anywhere on the body may be affected by hairloss, but face and paws will often have lesions,” Diesel said.

  • Maria-Alicia Cordova cares about her business and the community it serves. Besides offering manicures, haircuts and other personal-care services at Al’s Styling Salon in Belen, Cordova serves on the board of the Belen MainStreet Partnership — a community effort to improve the appearance and economic vitality of the city’s downtown.
     Small Business Saturday — the Saturday after Thanksgiving — draws attention to the important role that Cordova and other independent merchants in New Mexico play in the local, state and national economy.
     “Belen has always been good to my business,” Cordova said of the venture her father started 57 years ago. “My father raised our family on salon work.”
    When communities embrace small businesses, it proves that people can thrive in small towns, she said. “Communities are sustained by local businesses — they anchor a community.”
    Business owners like Cordova are the core constituents of the New Mexico MainStreet program, an initiative of the New Mexico Economic Development Department. The MainStreet program, which started in 1985, is reviving the state’s traditional business districts through investments in infrastructure and amenities that bring new businesses and jobs back to distressed downtowns.

  • Nov. 15 is the date open enrollment is available for individual healthcare plans offered through the Healthcare.gov site, your respective health insurance marketplace (healthcare.gov/medicaid-chip/eligibility/) or independent agents in your community.
    If you’re working for a company that provides your health insurance, chances are your open enrollment period has already begun. The SHOP insurance marketplace, open to small businesses and nonprofits with 50 or fewer full-time employees, also begins taking online applications Nov. 15.
    If you buy your own personal or family coverage, don’t wait until Nov. 15 to start planning your 2015 coverage decisions — do it now.
    Here are six things you should know to get started:
    1. Timing is tight. Last year’s health insurance enrollment process lasted six months. This year, it’s only three — Nov. 15 to February 15. You may be able to enroll outside of those dates if you’re facing a major life change like a divorce, birth of a child or marriage; otherwise, that’s your window.

  • Did Susana Martinez’s campaign strategists influence the selection of her opponent? Did the Martinez machine want Gary King to be the Democratic nominee for governor?
    Brian Sanderoff thinks so.
    That was one of several points Sanderoff made in a recent talk about the forces at work in this year’s election. Despite how we prefer to think of ourselves, in many ways we voters are the captives of trends, from ethnic preferences to the unpopularity of sixth-year presidents.
    Sanderoff is president of Research and Polling and a respected analyst of New Mexico politics.
    In the Democratic primary, we recall, there were five candidates, three Hispanic and two Anglo. The Martinez campaign ran TV commercials during the primary against candidate Alan Webber. The intention, said Sanderoff, was to draw Anglo votes from Webber, which would tend to shift to King. With Hispanic voters divided, that would put King on top.  
    King, Sanderoff explained, would be the easiest candidate to beat because he has the longest public record. He has served eight years as attorney general and 10 years in the Legislature. That enabled the Martinez opposition researchers to find negative gems like the building in Moriarty that has no doubt become the best-known lease in state history.

  • As Republican legislators update goals in light of their newly won House majority, right-to-work is waking from a long slumber.
    Right-to-work laws prohibit union membership as a condition of employment. Republicans and the business community have long believed right-to-work would be good for economic development — a signal that the state is business friendly. Unions, Democrats and advocates for working people have always said that weakened unions would mean lower wages and deteriorating working conditions.
    Right-to-work has come up repeatedly, but hasn’t been a big issue for decades. In 1978, it was so hot that Bruce King almost lost his election to Joe Skeen. As governor, King vetoed right-to-work in 1979. When that veto was challenged, the state Supreme Court upheld its legality.
    For a sneak preview of the debate to come, look at the legislative session of 1981, when a gaggle of right-to-work supporters took office. One was Sen. Mickey Barnett, R-Portales, who introduced a right-to-work bill.
    House Minority Leader Hoyt Pattison, R-Clovis, argued: “The fact is, the people of our state and our nation don’t like to be told that they have to do something.” They don’t like to be told they have to pay dues to hold a job, especially when dues are used to support political candidates.

  • As Republican legislators update goals in light of their newly won House majority, right-to-work is waking from a long slumber.
    Right-to-work laws prohibit union membership as a condition of employment. Republicans and the business community have long believed right-to-work would be good for economic development — a signal that the state is business friendly. Unions, Democrats and advocates for working people have always said that weakened unions would mean lower wages and deteriorating working conditions.
    Right-to-work has come up repeatedly, but hasn’t been a big issue for decades. In 1978, it was so hot that Bruce King almost lost his election to Joe Skeen. As governor, King vetoed right-to-work in 1979. When that veto was challenged, the state Supreme Court upheld its legality.
    For a sneak preview of the debate to come, look at the legislative session of 1981, when a gaggle of right-to-work supporters took office. One was Sen. Mickey Barnett, R-Portales, who introduced a right-to-work bill.
    House Minority Leader Hoyt Pattison, R-Clovis, argued: “The fact is, the people of our state and our nation don’t like to be told that they have to do something.” They don’t like to be told they have to pay dues to hold a job, especially when dues are used to support political candidates.

  • This is part 2 of 2

    The Department of Public Utilities (DPU) has put on hold plans for a new 1 MW solar array for Los Alamos County, and there has been slow and inadequate movement in the adoption of solar PV for new and existing Los Alamos County buildings.  
    A full 8.2MWh (megawatt hour) battery storage system is already in place — as described in the county’s “Los Alamos Smart Community” publication, one that would provide stable, clean power at a rate of 25 to 50 percent on a residential neighborhood of 1,600 homes. This technology has not been utilized to its full potential yet, and it seems that the DPU is willing to put up an air of being progressive and “smart” while actually moving in the opposite direction.
    According to Department of Public Utilities (DPU) Manager Tim Glasco, solar power generated from Los Alamos County residents is “a completely uncontrolled source of power coming into our system that we don’t know when it’s going to come in, we don’t know how much is going to come in, and that wreaks havoc with the quality of power, with the scheduling of power, with reliability.”

  • Banks used to be the business center of smaller communities. Churches took care of religion. The café across from the courthouse handled politics. Crossover existed. Bankers attended church. Churches did banking. Everyone got coffee.
    Those were the days of yore.
    As of June 30, the two biggest of our 63 banks, the local versions of Wells Fargo and Bank of America, both little pieces of much bigger institutions, controlled nearly 40 percent of the New Mexico deposits. The numbers come from the FDIC, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.
    The portion of deposits held by banks with more than 5 percent of the state’s total has dropped. In 2000, Wells, B of A and First Security (which bought First National in 1993) claimed 45.6 percent of the deposits.
    Another clue to banking change lies in B of A’s main New Mexico office in Albuquerque. The lobby has places for nine tellers, “stations” as bankers call them. On May 30 five of the stations had computers with four of those five staffed during the noon hour.
    Those unneeded teller stations may have something to do with the disappearance of another “old banking” practice. The story from an Albuquerque businessman illustrates.

  • As doting pet owners, we find our dogs’ eager and curious natures utterly irresistible. After all, who can say no those puppy-dog eyes when you open up a bag of new dog treats? However, this endearing characteristic often leads to biting off more of the bone than they can chew. Literally.
    “Fortunately, dogs do not ‘choke’ as often, meaning that they don’t get things lodged in their throat causing them not to be able to breathe,” said Dr. James Barr, assistant professor at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. “Most commonly, they swallow things that are too big to pass and end up stuck in the esophagus, stomach, or intestines.”  
    Although bones and other dog treats typically don’t cause any harm, many dogs will try to swallow them whole. What looks like a bone that will last all week to you may be a quick, after dinner snack to them.
    “The most common thing that causes actual choking are dog treats like rawhides that can be swallowed,” Barr said. “Bones and rawhides to a dog that chews them well pose little threat, but dogs that want to quickly ingest their treats are the ones most likely to get things stuck in their throat. Though it’s too big to swallow, they try anyway.”

  • Boy Scouts to accept
    donations for food bank
    Your local Letter Carriers (NALC-4112) and the Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts and Venture Scouts of Los Alamos County are geared up to help LA Cares Food Bank by collecting, sorting and storing your donations of food and supplies during the Fall Community Food Drive on Nov. 22.
    Did you know that there are dozens of families, many with young children or elderly, who need help to put enough nutritious food on the table every day? So what can you do to help?
    Remember to fill a bag or box with non-perishable food and supplies and leave it by your mailbox by 10 a.m. on Saturday Nov. 22. Soon your letter carrier or a boy scout or adult scout leader will pick it up and take it to be sorted and stored by LA Cares. LA Cares relies on these donations for their monthly distributions.
    Is your cupboard as bare as Old Mother Hubbard’s? Then visit your local Smith’s Food and Drug Center in Los Alamos or White Rock where a cub scout will be waiting to accept your donations on Nov. 22 only. If you’re out of town during the food drive, then you can leave non-perishable donations year-round at the Aquatic Center or the Los Alamos County Social Services at 1505 15th St. during regular business hours.
    Need ideas on what to donate? Here are some suggestions:

  • This is part 1 of 2

    For the past 10 years, local and national trends have been that the price of solar has been sharply declining while cost and risks associated with coal and other fossil fuels are going up as evidenced by closure of half of the San Juan generating facility and a wave of divestiture.
    State and Federal incentives for homeowners and businesses adopting solar energy, including tax credits that can amount to a significant portion of the upfront solar investment have also been a significant driving force behind the rapid adoption of solar.
    In a state that is widely recognized as a natural leader for solar energy, it is stunning that the Los Alamos Board of Public Utilities (BPU) is proposing to slap its residents who operate solar systems with a steep monthly fee of $12/month. At best, this fee is seen as the Department of Public Utilities (DPU) attempt to recover the costs of distribution service. At worst, it penalizes Los Alamos County residents with a fee that does next to nothing to offset DPU operating costs and discourages other homeowners wishing to adopt renewable energy.

  • Nearly 2 million men and women served in America’s defense during the Global War on Terror. As troops return home, they face a new fight: finding a job in a highly competitive market.
    Most served in the Middle East, risking their lives for America, and ensuring an uninterrupted energy supply. They believe in the greatness of America.
    Their experiences in the military make them ideal employees for America’s oil-and-gas industry. Many companies have seen the value veterans bring to their organization and are actively recruiting veterans.
    The U.S. oil-and-gas industry has added millions of jobs in the past few years and expects to add more and more — especially with the new energy-friendly Republican-controlled Congress. Just the Keystone pipeline — which is now likely to be built — will employ thousands. Increased access to reserves on federal lands will demand more personnel. But finding potential hires that fit the needs of the energy industry in the general labor pool is difficult as they lack discipline, the ability to work in a team and, often, can’t pass a drug test. Here the fit for the veteran becomes obvious.