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Today's Opinions

  • Removing mini-shampoos from hotel rooms won’t save the environment

    BY YOSSI SHEFFI
    Massachussetts Institute of Technology

    InterContinental Hotels Group will replace mini-shampoos and conditioners with possibly more efficient bulk products by the year 2021.

    But environmental activists shouldn’t rejoice just yet.

    The announcement is yet another example – such as banning plastic straws, false sustainability claims and corporate commitments that are far in the future – that seem to be more of a PR exercise than real attempts to move the needle.

    I’m a professor of engineering and the director of the MIT Center of Transportation and Logistics. As I argue in my book “Balancing Green: When to Embrace Sustainability in a Business (And When Not To),” announcements of these kinds distract us from legitimate – and more challenging – measures we need to put in place to avoid environmental catastrophe.

    Behind the headlines

    InterContinental Hotels Group CEO Keith Barr says that replacing miniature bathroom products “will allow us to significantly reduce our waste footprint and environmental impact” at the conglomerate’s hotel chains, which include InterContinental, Crowne Plaza and Holiday Inn.

  • Los Alamos Choral Society to begin fall rehearsals

    Fall rehearsals begin on Sept. 10 for the 75th Anniversary year of the Los Alamos Choral Society. The chorus, founded in 1945 by Manhattan Project scientists, will be preparing for a gala anniversary concert on Jan. 26, 2020, in partnership with the Los Alamos Symphony Orchestra.

    The program for the concert will include Part III of Handel’s Messiah, along with works by Michael Maudlin, Mary Badarak, and Frances Meier, all New Mexico composers. The concert will conclude with a movement from the 1892 Grand Mass in E-flat by Amy Beach, the first major choral/orchestral work composed in America by a woman composer.

    Additional 2020 concerts will include a May 1 performance of Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy with the Los Alamos Community Winds, Ted Vives conducting, and an informal “Dessert Concert” of popular songs and musical theater excerpts.

    Singers in all sections are invited to join the chorus, and no auditions are required. Rehearsals are Tuesday evenings from 7-9 p.m.

    Special accommodations are available for singers wanting only to perform on the Messiah portion of the program, with rehearsals for Messiah not beginning until October.

    The kick-off session Sept. 10 will begin with sign-up and refreshments at 6:30 p.m., followed by the 7 p.m. rehearsal.

  • Letters to the Editor 8-21-19

    Wise decision to toss Save As You Throw plan

    Dear Editor,
    The Los Alamos Environmental Sustainability Board (ESB) has wisely decided to postpone plans to adopt a so-called “Save

    As You Throw” plan for completely revamping trash and recycling collection in Los Alamos. This is a good thing and it is probably best if this concept is simply abandoned entirely.

    For starters, it seems like the idea is designed to address a problem that doesn’t exist. If the desire is to reduce trash output the best approach is probably an educational campaign, not a draconian fee increase and a complete change to trash collection. And, while we all want more recycling, China’s limits on purchases of American recyclables have thrown the market into chaos. It would seem that big new changes to solid waste policy should not be considered until the market for recycled products finds its footing.

    One product that is not only consistently viable in today’s marketplace is aluminum cans. Find out for yourself by finding aluminum metal recyclers in your area if you want to pick up a little spare change for your soda and beer cans.

    This might be a better approach rather than imposing onerous new regulations that won’t actually do anything for the environment.

  • Letters to the Editor 8-21-19

    Vaping is most pervasive threat to children’s health, safety

    Dear Editor,

    Kudos to you for publishing the op-ed by Dr. Kevin Sabet, a former senior drug policy advisor to the Obama Administration. Quoting Dr. Sabet, “…vaping is rapidly becoming the latest public health crisis – delivering harmful, addictive substances to kids, some as young as middle school, undetected.”

    He further stated that “A 2017 study out of California found 11th- and 12th-graders who had used e-cigarettes had twice the risk of ongoing cough, congestion, wheezing or developing bronchitis. This means health problems now and continued consequences down the road.”  He added, “In Anchorage, Alaska, school suspensions for marijuana use and possession increased more than 141% from 2015 (when legalization was implemented) to 2017. Tragically, Colorado toxicology reports show the percentage of adolescent suicide victims testing positive for marijuana continues to increase.”

    Until our lawmakers make a change, parents and educators need to be educated about the dangers of adolescent marijuana use and the signs of vaping. They may find children in possession of vaping paraphernalia, like pen-shaped devices that look like flash drives.

  • Letters to the Editor 7-31-19

    False accusations of racism should be condemned

    Dear Editor,

    In an article penned by Los Alamos County Councilor David Izraelevitz (LA Daily Post, July 18), he talked about bubbling test tubes and Galileo, then leaped to declare, with no facts to support his accusation, that our president is racist.

    According to Merriam Webster, racism is defined as “a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race.” 

    Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), also known as AOC, accused Nancy Pelosi of being a racist. AOC is another accuser who offers no supporting facts. 

    President Trump even came to Pelosi’s defense, stating that the Speaker of the House is not a racist. Biden also has been attacked by those in his own party for working with segregationists.

  • Letters to the Editor 7-24-19

    White Rock needs a thrift shop

    Dear Editor,

    White Rock is in dire need of a thrift shop. It might be to the county’s benefit to do something. The Los Alamos thrift shops receive much more than we can use. We end up being more of a sorting center than a thrift shop. We are overwhelmed!

    A county committee could look into inviting a commercial thrift shop such as Habitat for Humanity, Savers, Salvation Army, Good Will, or similar companies. Savors, located in Santa Fe, Albuquerque and Rio Rancho, receives a lot from us through Clothing Helping Kids and Big Brothers & Big Sisters.

    Habitat for Humanity receives a fair amount from us and has shops in Espanola, Santa Fe and Albuquerque. These stores would be open six or seven days a week and would need to charge higher prices but they would be handier for the customers. Their overhead would need to include hiring sorters and clerks, maintenance, rent, etc. Our shops would be open one or two days a week with cheaper prices. Our shops are run by volunteers.

  • Letters to the Editor 7-21-19

    Offering an Olive Branch to the Polaris Charter School Governing Board

    Dear Polaris Charter School and Governing Board,

    Congratulations on working together to complete your 338-page application. It is clear that you have worked very hard on what may seem like a dissertation without the associated degree. Your grassroots work is to be commended. In reading the proposed Polaris plan, I can see many good ideas and educational approaches. I resonate with the idea of using formative assessments to develop a growth mindset for student learning.  

    This letter is to send an open invitation to meet and work together. After all, Los Alamos is a small town and we want what is best for every child in our community. Whether the Charter is approved or not, it would be great to open a line of communication, share approaches, and maximize the very limited education resources available in our community. We may even want to hold a community meeting to seek additional input from students and parents. 

  • Letters to the Editor 7-12-19

    Watch out for that foxtail, Snoopy!

    Dear Editor,

    My name is Gwen, I am 11, and I love dogs. Around town I have been noticing a lot of foxtail grass. This time of year it turns golden and has sharp seeds. 

    If dogs get into it, it could become extremely dangerous to them because it can get under their skin and doesn’t break down causing an infection.

    If left for too long the sharp seed will move deeper and require the help of a vet for removal. Dogs with curly, long ,or thick fur are more likely to get seeds in their coats. If you see any in your dogs fur, than simply brush it out. It is best to avoid grassy, open areas, and if you find foxtail in your yard, the best thing to do is to pull it up with a pair of gloves. I hope that this letter will be useful to people who don’t know how harmful this plant is and that it will help their dogs stay safe.

    Gwen

    Los Alamos