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The Charter Review Committee ... How it All Got Started

on August 23, 2012 - 12:17pm
Column by Mike Wismer
County Councilor

With the election on the horizon, most are aware of the fact that there will be four questions on the ballot that relate to potential changes to the Charter for the County of Los Alamos, New Mexico. 

Specifically, the questions for consideration for the November 2012 election deal with the provisions for Initiative, Referendum and Recall. 

I believe it would be helpful to provide a little background on why the Charter Review Committee was formed and outline exactly what the Council tasked the Committee to do. 

In 2009, amid an environment where a variety of

Food on the Hill: Pizza

on August 21, 2012 - 7:06am

"Food on the Hill" by Sue York

This week's recipe...

Pizza

Photo by Sue York/ladailypost.com

Things that are a MUST have for this recipe:

You must have a pizza stone (also called a baking stone) for the inside of the oven. The only way you are going to get a crispy crust and the right pizza taste is if you can put a lot of heat to the crust in a fast way (pizza stone.)

The other thing you must have is parchment paper.

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Appreciative Inquiry: Examples at Individual Level

on August 20, 2012 - 11:16am

Column by Elena Yang

We can use Appreciative Inquiry principles for personal encounters.

A group leader’s administrative assistant is a young and competent woman.

But between her various personal needs, grandparents’ and parents’ illnesses, young children’s school delays and days-home, husband’s inability to support, and the organization’s constant demands of this training and that new requirement, she was not reliably at her desk answering phone calls, which made frustrated others trying to collaborate with the group. 

Should the group leader reprimand her? Lecture her?

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Seeing and Observing Part 2: A Tale of Two Mesas

on August 17, 2012 - 1:19pm
PEEC Amateur Naturalist
Column by Robert Dryja

Many of us have seen the impact of two forest fires on the Jemez Mountains.

The mountains west of Los Alamos form the rim of the Valles Caldera. 

These mountains have had two forest fires, the Cerro Grande and Las Conchas, pass through them in the past 12 years. 

The general impression given by many news organizations is that total and permanent destruction has occurred.

Indeed, half of the grassland of the Valle Grande was burnt and blackened last year.

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Column: 'Suffer Fools'

on August 13, 2012 - 10:24am

Column by Allen Weh

There should never be a time, but particularly now, that Americans should be forced to “Suffer Fools” when it comes to the people who are being paid to serve us.

Yet that is exactly what’s taking place with some currently unidentified staff members in the Obama White House, and their apparently deliberate leaking of classified information for political purposes.

Gratefully, the outcry in Congress has been largely bipartisan ... Chairman of the House Select Committee on Intelligence Mike Rogers stated “somebody committed a crime against their country,” and Sen.

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Appreciative Inquiry: Examples at Organizational Level

on August 13, 2012 - 10:23am

Column by Elena Yang

The critical first step of Appreciative Inquire (AI) lies in framing the initial question/inquiry.  Framing provides the foundation; it sets the tone; it signals the direction. 

Today, I will illustrate a couple of examples at the organizational level; next week, I will lay out two examples at the individual level.

The first organizational example is given in the book, “Appreciative Intelligence: Seeing the mighty oak in the acorn,” by Tojo Thatchenkery & Carol Metzker. 

Delaware Valley Friends School (DVFS) was established in 1986, designed as a college-preparatory

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Conscious Aging: How Will You Spend the Rest of Your Life?

on August 10, 2012 - 1:50pm

 

Column by Ann Shafer

Those of you who have retired recently or those who anticipate a retirement are faced with the same question — how will you spend the rest of your life? 

When you retire, you will probably find yourself even busier than you were at work. But there is one major question — is all that activity you now have actually meaningful to you?

If not, perhaps you need to do some serious thinking about what the activities are that mean a lot to you, or what are your passions.  

To find your passions, first think about what really motivates you. 

If your life were a book,

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Appreciative Inquiry: A Positive Method to Change an Organization

on August 6, 2012 - 2:51pm

Column by Elena Yang

People always lament that change is very difficult, especially in an organization. 

They usually don’t mean that they themselves would resist all changes, as long as they are reasonable. 

So, what’s reasonable? That, right there, begins the messy process of change. 

In a crude manner, I break organizational change into three categories:

(1) Change for the sake of making changes. It strikes me that a lot of new managers when taking on their new title feel the need to demonstrate that they are doing something different.

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Seeing and Observing Part 1: A Tale of Two Trails

on August 5, 2012 - 8:15am
PEEC Amateur Naturalist
Column by Robert Dryja

Sherlock Holmes has a lesson for us. It is taken from the story “A Scandal in Bohemia”: “When I hear you give your reasons,” I remarked, “the thing always appears to me to be so ridiculously simple that I could easily do it myself, though at each successive instance of your reasoning, I am baffled until you explain your process. And yet I believe that my eyes are as good as yours.”

“Quite so,” Holmes answered, throwing himself down into an armchair. “You see, but you do not observe. The distinction is clear.

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Column: Knitwit

on August 4, 2012 - 12:07pm

Column by Bonnie J. Gordon

Knitwit...

I’m obsessed with knitting. I read piles of knitting books and magazines and have nifty knitting equipment, such as a tape measure shaped like a sheep.

This is not even mentioning my garage full of yarn. The thing is, that even though I’ve been knitting for a while now, I’m a lousy knitter.

I’m barely past knit and purl and only recently learned to make cables. I make endless mistakes that I have to take out or choose to ignore.

I’m probably the least detail-oriented person I know.

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Will Our Grandchildren Live as Well in Los Alamos?

on August 3, 2012 - 11:03am

Column by Robert Gibson

Los Alamos is an extraordinary community. Our quality of life is among the very best in the nation. 

A major component of that quality is our economic wealth, also at the top. Why are we so fortunate? Can future generations enjoy a similar, or better, life here?

Los Alamos is a unique combination of world-renowned science, small town atmosphere, and beautiful natural environment. 

That formula is not for everyone, but it works for most of us. 

The root of our good fortune is the concentration of challenging, important, rewarding work at the Laboratory. 

That

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Pathway to Pain Free Athletics: Core Training – Are You Doing Enough?

on July 31, 2012 - 6:51am

Column by Jessica Kisiel

You have probably heard that having a strong core is important and will help with back pain, athletic performance, injury prevention, posture and the various activities of daily living.

In your effort to gain strength in this area, you may have started a program of abdominal and lower back exercises, but is this enough?

Before we consider this question we need to discuss the anatomy of the core and why yours needs to be strong.

The core of your body extends from your shoulders to below your hips.

It encompasses muscles of the torso centering around the position

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Column: Bad Management Theories Lead to Bad Organizational Practices

on July 30, 2012 - 1:52pm
By ELENA YANG
Los Alamos

When I was in graduate school, I often had disquiet feelings about certain theories, especially the ones based in economics, with neat and elegant equations, or models constructed with impeccable rationality. 

But being a student, while we might be able to voice some of our criticism in private or in class discussions, one does not foolishly challenge these theories too publicly (certainly not without research evidence) as these theories or models are usually published by well established authority figures. 

This is as much about the state of the field of

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Day Journeys to the Middle of Nowhere: South Fork

on July 25, 2012 - 7:03am

Travel Column by Kirsten Laskey

Seeing a Whole New Side to South Fork

One of the great things about leaving your front door is that you can encounter anything. Anticipation for what you might stumble upon hums loudly as you move down the road.

I heard that hum of excitement as my parents and I recently drove to South Fork, Colo., despite the fact that I have visited this tiny “burg” several times in the past.

Photo: D&RGW water tower in South Fork. By Kirsten Laskey

My parents own a parcel of land in the area and were members the Rio Grande Club golf course.

I’ve spent many afternoons

Column: Tales From Italy's Unicycle World Championships

on July 23, 2012 - 7:19am
Maxwell Schulze of Los Alamos competing in the UNICON XVI world championships this week in the small mountain village of Lajen in northern Italy. Photo by Roland Schulze
 
Dear Los Alamos,

Some of you may know me as just a unicyclist around Los Alamos. My name is Maxwell Schulze and I grew up in Los Alamos and graduated high school in 2010.

I have been unicycling for around eight or nine years and in January 2010, I traveled to New Zealand for the 2010 15th annual Unicycle World Championships known as UNICON XV.

There I competed in an event known as observed trials, which involves the

Column: Area Ponderosa Pine Trees Appear to be Dying; Should You be Concerned?

on July 18, 2012 - 12:48pm
Column by Carlos Valdez
Los Alamos Extension Horticulture Agent

The sudden appearance of drying needles, dead branches, or even dead Ponderosa Pine trees can alarm anyone, especially homeowners. 

Damage occurs throughout New Mexico where Ponderosa Pine is found growing, but is most severe in the urban setting, on the fringe of forested areas, and on shallow, rocky, or droughty soil types.

That describes Los Alamos to a tee. Trees growing near roads or in areas of soil disturbance or abundant competing vegetation are most frequently affected.

According to Danny Norlander, New Mexico

Conscious Aging: Thinking About the Rest of Your Life

on July 9, 2012 - 2:24pm

Column By Ann Shafer

This column is the first in a monthly series featuring life after retirement or after 60. 

If you are at that stage in your life, perhaps you have wondered what you are going to do with the rest of your life. 

You may have 20 or 30 years left to live; plus, like many in this age bracket, chances are you are in good physical and mental health.

There is a movement called Conscious Aging, which advocates exploring one’s life with the ultimate goal of leading a productive, meaningful life. 

Your elder years can be the richest stage of your life—a stage in which you

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Using Renewable Energy Sources

on July 2, 2012 - 6:32pm

Utilities Manager John Arrowsmith and Deputy Utility Manager Rafael De La Torre in the new DPU-NEDO Photovoltaic Array. Photo by Greg Kendall/ladailypost.com

By Greg Kendall

This morning while purusing twitter news feeds, I noticed the following snippet of news from the Albuquerque Journal:

"PNM was widely criticized last year when it told the PRC it could not comply with the state’s renewable portfolio standard for 2012, which requires public utilities to derive at least 10 percent of their electricity this year from renewable sources, such as wind and solar.

Canyon Rim Trail: June 5, 2012

on June 7, 2012 - 7:53am

PAJARITO RAMBLER...

Column by Nina Thayer

Bone dry. Los Alamos is bone dry and there are only a few wildflowers to be found. 

But I will gladly share a “secret trail” and the wildflowers I found there this morning.

 A friend and I are both recovering from recent knee replacement surgery, so we strolled at a leisurely pace the lovely new Canyon Rim Trail that parallels N.M. 502 entering town. 

We parked at the eastern trailhead immediately across the road from the Coop. There is no sign but one turns right (south) into the paved parking lot between two yellow and black striped poles. 

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Hearing Forces NM Secretary of State to Obey Law

on June 1, 2012 - 12:06am

By Cynthia B. Hall, Candidate for PRC

Chief Judge Barbara Vigil of the First Judicial District Court of New Mexico will hear arguments at 4 p.m. today (May 31) from publicly-funded PRC Candidate Cynthia B. Hall and others concerning whether New Mexico Secretary of State Dianna J. Duran should release matching funds as required by state law. 

Hall hopes for a decision today on the Temporary Restraining Order and Amended Petition for Writ of Mandamus she filed over the last week. 

This hearing has the potential to remedy the damage the Secretary of State has done to Hall and other

War on Women

on April 29, 2012 - 8:27am

My wife and I joined the "War on Women" rally and march on Saturday in Santa Fe.  With the Republican party shifting far to the right on women's issues, we felt that it is high time to join the fight against this growing trend.

We have watched with disbelief as top GOP candidates advocated for outlawing contraception on moral and religious grounds. We always believed that America had a clear seperation between church and state.

Death & Destruction on Main Hill Road

on April 23, 2012 - 11:10am

How long will it be before something is done about the dangerous conditions on the Main Hill Road at the Anderson Memorial Lookout S-curve? How many times have you heard about a crash shutting down the Main Hill Road? How many more crosses will be erected on the S-curve? How many people will we carted off in ambulances from the S-curve?

Just yesterday, four members of the Dominguez family of Los Alamos where driving up New Mexico State Route 502 on a wonderful warm spring day. At the S-Curve a motorcycle driven by Peter M.

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'Common Sense Still Applies'

on April 2, 2012 - 10:21pm

It's presidential election season and the rhetoric is ratcheting up. And because of that, it's important to get the facts and know exactly what the record is.

 

Far less important is what's being said ... especially on the campaign trail.

 

Our president was out on the campaign trail last week on a so called "energy tou.r."

 

He even stopped in New Mexico, where he traveled to the tiny oil town of Maljamar to tout his accomplishments ... a slick political move because no one would expect a big crowd.

 

Had he gone elsewhere, the reception would've likely been rougher because the

Ethical Behavior: The Baldrige Director’s Lesson

on March 31, 2012 - 5:46pm

Christine Schaefer

As any (self-certified) Baldrige geek knows, the Criteria for Performance Excellence consider legal and ethical behavior among the key requirements for high-performing leaders of any organization. In the first section, known as category 1, the 2011-2012 Criteria ask, “How does your organization promote and ensure ethical behavior in all interactions?”

Anyone who’s familiar with Baldrige Program Director Harry Hertz knows well that his personal leadership of the program since 1996 has provided many inspiring examples of ethical behavior.

 (Disclosure: He was my past but

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Dispatch from the Field: District 43

on March 18, 2012 - 1:46pm

Rep. Jim Hall

The diversity and community that exists in House District 43 is unique and rewarding for all. As your State Representative for District 43 I received many positive comments about my legislative updates from the 2012 Session and I believe constituents will want to know of my continuing work in the District. In this brief periodic column, I will continue to discuss state government concerns and issues that arise while I work with constituents and communities in District 43. If you live in District 43 and have an issue or a concern, I welcome your comments and questions.

After

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