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Columns

  • On Family Law: Divorcing without going to court

    Mary Ann R. Bermester

  • Assets in Action: Spring can spark depression

    As you read this, spring has officially sprung! A few days of warm weather will put many in a good mood, just to know that warmer days are ahead of us.

    This is also a time when many often struggle with depression. Spring is a time when there is a large focus on new and improved, happiness and regrowth. Sometimes, people don’t see themselves in the same light and it can start a downhill spiral.

    You can learn a lot about a variety of topics from the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Their website at nami.org has areas of support for a variety of groups. You can learn about a certain condition, how to help a veteran or where to find support. 

    On Sunday, on CBS this morning, I saw a story about a young girl that propelled me into action. Alexandra Valoras, was a 17-year old girl with good grades, well liked, involved in clubs and didn’t appear to show any signs of struggle to her parents or her close friends. Then, after a family trip, she walked to a nearby overpass and jumped off.

  • When it comes to drinking, what is moderation?

    By Thomas Biuso, M.D.
    Senior Medical Director, United Healthcare of New Mexico

    A glass of wine with dinner, a few beers with work friends – drinking is not going to hurt you unless you overdo it. Right?

    It’s hard to say. New research shows even moderate alcohol use may have serious health outcomes.

    One recent study, published in the journal PLOS Medicine, analyzed the correlation moderate drinking has with risk of death and also the potential for developing cancer. Researchers found the risk of death increased for those who consumed one to five drinks per week. The study also found consuming five to seven drinks per week increased risk of cancer by 10 percent.

    This study highlights the potential health risks associated with drinking, even when alcohol consumption falls within the guidelines set by the U.S. government. The Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion considers safe consumption to be up to one drink per day for women and up to two per day for men.

  • Rural water project funding now available

    By Arthur A. Garcia
    USDA Rural Development, New Mexico State Director

    Not long ago, the United States was a world leader in infrastructure investments. Federal and private funding helped even the most remote communities obtain electricity, running water and access to the rest of the world through telecommunications. 

    However, recent years have not followed the same trend, and too many rural communities have been left behind. The need for improvement is great, especially for rural water and wastewater systems. 

    To put this in perspective, the American Water Works Association estimates that more than $600 billion is needed over the next 20 years to upgrade our nation’s water and wastewater systems. Unfortunately, many small and rural water systems lack access to affordable financing.

  • Entrepreneurial orbit: Businesses at heart of resource expo

    BY HOLLY BRADSHAW-EAKES

    Finance New Mexico

    Once a business gets its foot inside the door with an economic development organization like the New Mexico Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP), its opportunities for growth expand dramatically. Jack Kloepfer discovered this while navigating his Aztec, New Mexico, business beyond the line of outdoor recreation products he built from thermoplastic-coated fabrics and into products for energy and aerospace industries. The company’s relationship with New Mexico MEP has led to others, including the New Mexico Small Business Assistance Program (NMSBA), the Small Business Development Center at San Juan College in Farmington and the New Mexico Economic Development Department, where Jack’s Plastic Welding CEO Errol Baade hopes to find capital to expand production space.

  • Laundry pods are a reminder to talk to our kids

     This week, I would like to focus on how often we talk to our children and maybe provide some ideas of what we need to talk about.

    I confess, I was unaware of the laundry detergent pod challenge. I thought about putting the word challenge in quotes, but the selection of words should probably have the word stupidity in front of challenge.

    I knew of the fact that toddlers and perhaps small children may see these pods as colorful pieces of candy. Due to that, parents might need an extra reminder to store them safely and away from tiny hands. 

    I also heard and understood that patients experiencing dementia symptoms may also be confused by their colorful nature. There is an illness connection to that confusion, so again clearly a logical conclusion.

  • Time to ask: ‘How is UNM athletics paying for itself and helping the university?’

     In 2017, the University of New Mexico got itself a new president, a new athletic director and a new athletic financial officer. They have their work cut out.

    UNM athletics is such a mess that former State Auditor Tim Keller called the athletics department and its fundraising arms “an ungovernable ball of organizations.” A special audit noted nearly $700,000 in missing revenues, perks for insiders, mixing of public and private money, and years of blown budgets.

    What other college sports program has drawn its own investigative journalist and a website devoted to its excesses? For about a year, Daniel Libit and his “NM Fishbowl,” instead of the usual fawning Lobo coverage, has scrutinized the program and demanded accountability. Now Libit, turning to other pursuits, calls on New Mexico journalists to stop acting like stenographers and step up to the plate. College sports should be covered like a public institution and not entertainment, he told the online NM Political Report. Students and taxpayers should hold the department to higher standards.

  • Campaigns need to promote civil discourse, dignity

    Ideas for our coming campaign season: Respect and dignity.
    In offering these ideas as a thematic umbrella for the races for governor, U. S. Senate and, indeed, all others, I am not suggesting boredom, ponderous speeches with long explications of obscurity. Nor am I suggesting that candidates refrain from discussion of the opponent’s record.
    Candidates must talk about matters that will make a difference in voter’s lives and they must discuss these subjects with vigorous statements that will get voters’ attention. Talking about the opponent’s record is the best way to create contrast, which is necessary to provide a reason to vote one way or the other.
    The problem is how the messages are presented. Or not presented, as in the case of Albuquerque Republican mayoral candidate Dan Lewis.
    We have a long record of political nastiness. At our country’s beginning, wrote historian Gordon Wood recently in the Wall Street Journal, “The conservative and liberal parties – the Federalists and the Jeffersonian Republicans, respectively – were led by two distinguished patriots, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, and the partisan campaigns waged by their parties were bitter and scurrilous.”

  • Democracy, money at stake for the state in 2020 census

    Note: This column was first published in the New Mexico Political Report, which can be found at NMPoliticalReport.com.

    Pop quiz.
    Which of the following statements are true?

    -The census is constitutionally required in order to count every person in the U.S.
    -The census determines how much federal money—more than $6 billion—flows into New Mexico’s economy every year.
    -New Mexicans are more at risk of not being counted by the census than are people in most every other state.
    -The census is in jeopardy—and that puts New Mexicans in jeopardy.

  • Political, market solutions needed to fix health care

    Martin Hickey has been around the quadrangle in healthcare, working in public institutions (Indian Health Service and the VA) and private.
    He’s best known here as former CEO of Lovelace Health Systems, although he worked outside the state for three other companies.
    Now he runs New Mexico Health Connections, a nonprofit health insurance cooperative founded in response to the Affordable Care Act.
    In a talk before New Mexico Press Women last week, Hickey was frank about doctors, hospitals, and the healthcare system.
    “Money has rained down on top of it,” he said, referring to healthcare, and yet outcomes are worse than cheaper systems in other industrial nations. We don’t have real competition between doctors or hospitals, and hospitals are money machines.
    A physician, Hickey said he took his last exam in 1981, but he can still hang out a shingle anywhere. You may like your doctor, but you really don’t know how skilled he or she is because they’re never measured.
    Some healthcare organizations have gotten better at measuring doctors, but the only people who know the results are other doctors, so “you have physicians working with other physicians, and most of the high-cost doctors will get better or leave.” Still, he thinks all doctors should undergo a yearly simulator test.