• If you could eliminate 4 percent of your debt with one pen stroke, you’d want to do that wouldn’t you — especially if it meant removing some redundancy from your expenditures? For example, if you are renting an apartment and it includes free cable Internet access, but you were also paying for DSL through the phone company, you’d quickly cancel your DSL service.

  • There are many places in the U.S wherea the value of education may seem abstract, but in Los Alamos that value is tangible. It can be seen and felt.

    Education built this town and it remains one of the best educated population in the country. To cite a typical example, 60 percent of Los Alamos residents have bachelor’s degrees, compared to 24 percent in the country as a whole, according to the last census.

    Even with hard choices in store for our community’s educational future, Los Alamos is more fortunate than most.

  • SANTA FE — What will come from the special legislative session that started Saturday? It may be the state’s most important special session ever.

    Gov. Bill Richardson and lawmakers will have to plug a budget hole of some $700 million. That’s a $700 million shortfall that has occurred since last March when the 2009 session ended.  By August, it was up to $400 million. In September, it climbed to $550 million. And now it’s October.

  •   Why are education and other state services being cut. What is the problem? When the New Mexico Legislature passed $1 billion in tax cuts for corporations and the rich in 2003, this created a budget deficit which lawmakers balanced with increased tax revenues from higher oil and gas prices. After the energy prices dropped, the deficit reappeared. But the 2009 State Legislature refused to repeal the $1 billion in tax cuts for corporations and the rich in order to balance the deficit.

  •   In Connecticut, possession of illegal drugs is a one-year jail term for first offense violators. Most states will lock you up for possession of a single marijuana joint. A gram of cocaine can result in a seven-year prison sentence in New Hampshire. You can get 30 days in jail just for selling a cigarette to a minor.

  • The “Cash for Clunkers” program for new cars may have ended, but the Internal Revenue Service wants to remind taxpayers that many people might overlook another special break available. If you buy a new vehicle this year, there’s a special federal tax deduction available that can help you save money — in some cases, hundreds of dollars. This tax break will allow people who buy a new vehicle in 2009 to deduct the sales and excise taxes they pay when they file their tax return next year.

  • I just saw a television ad sponsored by the U.S. Citizens Association about health care reform. I am all for airing a particular point of view, but I strongly oppose outright misrepresentations. The entire ad focuses on socialized medicine. Under socialized medicine, the government owns health care facilities and employs all health care professionals. There is no insurance. There is just health care for little or no payment. It is tax supported.

  •   The cat is killing me. I’ve had my ‘Tommy,’ as I call him, for about 3 years now and the darn thing is driving me crazy. Tommy used to be quiet, and kept a distance most of the time, but for the past 18 months he’s been driving me up the wall. I know some people love ’um, give them a feeling of contentment, but I just can’t jump up and down about mine, even when the darn thing is being good.

  • Gov. Bill Richardson has it right. He continues to speak out for holding public schools harmless in a special session of the legislature and he has been consistent and firm in that commitment.

  • Close your eyes and imagine you are in a huge football field. It is completely dark and all you can see are the stars in the firmament. It is a life challenge: you must run toward the other extreme of the field as fast as you can in order to survive.

    Now, imagine you are at the same place, but this time the field is filled with obstacles. Your challenge is the same — how fast can you run? Will you make it to the other extreme without deadly collision?

  • It is my observation from discussing the location of the county’s proposed Municipal Building with friends as well as strangers that the “silent majority” of Los Alamos residents would like the new structure to be on the original site by Ashley Pond.

  • During the peanut butter scare early this year, when millions of brown baggers were deprived of a favorite staple, my family kept eating peanut butter. No worries. That’s because our preferred brand is Sunland Inc.

    Portales-based Sunland not only makes good peanut butter, it’s a New Mexico success story. Sunland, which operates the state’s only peanut butter plant, is also the nation’s largest producer of organic peanut butter.

  • Parents, do you want your child to learn more than what is usually taught in school? In my opinion, your kid should be clubbed. Yeah, at least once a week, a good club makes all the difference in the world.

  •  My environmental column in the Monitor Tuesday (Oct. 6) extolled the virtues of Myra McCormick and the Bear Mountain Lodge she bequeathed to The Nature Conservancy.

       Bad news from Silver City came the next morning.

    A business story in the Albuquerque Journal was headlined: “Nature Conservancy’s Bear Mountain Lodge Near Silver City Succumbs to Budget Woes ... NO MORE GUESTS.”

    The space between the two-story headings was filled with a large color photo of Ms. McCormick sitting on the low white wall in front of the lodge.

  • I believe most in this community would have been happy to let the Vives-Hull lawsuit end with the jury verdict and all move on with our lives. Instead, Mr. Vives’ lawyer, Paul Mannick, chose to keep the issue alive by his abusive assault on Linda Hull in his letter to the Monitor. What’s wrong, Mr. Mannick, couldn’t prove your case in court and now you have to justify your legal fees to your client by airing your closing arguments again?

  • The decision by Los Alamos County Council on Sept. 28 to find a new path for Trinity Place and the Los Alamos economy was a gutsy move. 

    It was also the right thing to do. It means that Los Alamos will be designed with Los Alamos in mind. It is a first step toward an economically independent and self-reliant economy and community. Though it may take a bit longer, it will be well worth the wait. 

  • People are unusual animals. We spend a lot of time watching mediocre T.V., but we also describe our thoughts in written language.  We pour beer on our heads at football games, but we also study the whole history of life on Earth preserved in fossils.

    It’s not our biceps that make us people special, but our thoughts. What makes our thinking so complex, able to soar with the poets and solve problems with an engineer?

  • Despite a recent Monitor article, I have not seen the reported abundance of rattlesnakes on Barranca Mesa, not even one. Maybe the raccoons are feeding on them and anything else they can find. They are nightly and, occasionally, daily visitors in my neighborhood and have attacked pets to protect their young.

    Wildlife managers claim trapping them is useless because they will return to their territory many miles away from release.  Their abundant replacements will also fill in for them. One local raccoon mom has three offspring doing the dining tour this fall.

  • Although I have tried many cases to juries, I have never encountered more intelligent, educated or thoughtful jurors than those who decided Thomas Edward Vives vs. Linda Hull. The citizens of Los Alamos County have every reason to be proud of them.


    This month marks 10 years since the passing of Myra McCormick of Silver City, N.M. Her legacy grows. As her lasting gift to The Nature Conservancy, the sturdy friend of the environment left to them the guest ranch she owned and operated for 41 years. A visit to www.bear