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Money IQ: Trust Departments—What Else Can They Do?

on May 3, 2013 - 8:04am
Money IQ
By Dara L. McKinney

Trust Departments—What Else Can They Do?

Trust Department—what’s in a name? The word “trust” is a noun, an adjective and a verb.

Common understandings of the word “trust” are: (1) as a noun: the “reliance on the integrity, strength, ability, surety, etc., of a person or thing; confidence;” and (2) as a verb: “to rely upon or place confidence in someone or something.” trust. (n.d.) Unabridged. Random House, Inc. (accessed: April 24, 2013).

In the legal world, the most common usage of

How the Hen House Turns: Talking Dogs

on May 3, 2013 - 7:31am
How the Hen House Turns: Talking Dogs
Column by Carolyn A. (Cary) Neeper, Ph. D.

The dogs are 13 now. They must walk carefully up the back steps lest they slip and fall on their arthritic hips. They are still eager to watch the birds, when I let them out into the yard to graze.

Correction—the dogs are happy to pay the price of sitting outside until early afternoon in order to receive a large milk bone reward. I can only hope that they won’t sleep through the next coyote invasion.

Kendall: Down the Rabbit Hole at County Council

on May 2, 2013 - 11:13am
The Cheshire cat in Lewis Carroll's 'Alice in Wonderland' drawn by John Tenniel (1820-1914) in the 1866 edition. Courtesy
Los Alamos Daily Post

An unusual proceeding took place at Tuesday night's County Council meeting in which GEW Mechanical, Inc. of Albuquerque was protesting the granting of a contract to Landis & Gyr Company for "Automated Metering Infrastructure" as part of the Department of Public Utilities NEDO Smart Meter Project.

Your Money: The Importance of Financial Planning

on May 2, 2013 - 8:53am
Your Money: The Importance of Financial Planning

One of my daily routines is to scan social media for articles on financial planning and investing. I am usually on the lookout for topics that jibe with questions I typically get from clients.

This week, as I’m preparing for a Social Security seminar in Santa Fe, a headline caught my eye: “Retirement Planning Falling on Deaf Ears.” In my experience, that’s almost ridiculously obvious, so it piqued my interest.

You can find the article here:

The article


Hannemann's Music Corner: Living Things

on May 2, 2013 - 8:28am
Hannemann's Music Corner: Living Things
I have a rather lovely piece of turquoise on the head of my guitar. It was a gift from a friend in Bisbee and it came with a bit of cautionary advice.
When I first met Bear there was the general, "and what do you do?" line of conversation. I told him I was a musician. He asked, "what do you play?" and I responded: I mostly play guitar and mandolin, though I can also play (to varying degrees) clarinet, harmonica, melodica, and somewhat on the piano. 
The music is folk, country, classical, spanish, light jazz and blues.

Correction to Pajarito Reads Column on the Books of Carolyn Neeper

on May 2, 2013 - 6:20am

The term "self-published" is not a correct description of Los Alamos science fiction writer Carolyn Neeper’s publishing process. The books are published by Penscript, an independent publisher. Here is a link to the story, which has been corrected to reflect the proper information.

The second book in the series, The Webs of Varok, recently won the Nautilus Book Awards Silver Medal for Young Adult Fiction.

The reviewer, Bonnie J. Gordon, apologizes for this error.


The Pain Free Athlete: Improve Your Posture Through Better Muscle Function

on May 1, 2013 - 8:47am

Jessica Kisiel
The Pain Free Athlete
Improve Your Posture Through Better Muscle Function

Have you noticed changes in your skeletal structure when looking in the mirror or viewing pictures of yourself?

Rounded shoulders? Increased or decreased arch in the lower back? One hip or shoulder higher than the other?

These postural changes may be due to loss of function in your muscles. Remember mom's words, “sit up straight!” Go ahead – adjust your body into a better position now. What changes did you make to achieve this enhanced posture?

Did you increase the

Food on the Hill: Shrimp Risotto

on April 30, 2013 - 8:44am

This week's Recipe:

Shrimp Risotto

Photo by Sue York/
2 cups of arborio rice (uncooked)
6 to 7 cups of chicken stock
2 1/2 tablespoons of butter
1 cup of chopped onions
4 cloves of garlic, pressed
1 1/2 teaspoons of dried dill weed
3/4 cup peas
1/2 cup asparagus, tips are best if you can use the rest of the stalk in something else
3 cups chopped shrimp
¾ cup parmesan cheese (not the expensive stuff)
1 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
1 teaspoon salt
12 uncut shrimp for garnish
Some good parmesan for garnish
Salt and pepper to taste

Yang: Am I Sorry For My Mistake? Well … Kind Of, Sort Of, Maybe; Let’s Discuss

on April 29, 2013 - 10:52am

Am I Sorry For My Mistake? Well … kind of, sort of, maybe; let’s discuss.
Column by ELENA YANG

Some people really hate to own up their mistakes, and some mistakes seem to be more difficult for people to admit. 

There are many factors for such reluctance or avoidance. Here are a few obvious ones: A person’s position of power and reputation, the amount of time lapsed from initial decision to the revelation, the difficulty of isolating causality (i.e. Did my words cause all the trouble?), or the magnitude of sheer embarrassment … etc. 

For instance, managers are never wrong, neither are

Solo Traveler: The Art of Renting

on April 29, 2013 - 8:04am
Solo Traveler
The Art of Renting

It dawned on me one day in Florence, that without engaging in the art of renting, all the travel I’d been doing for the last few years would not have been possible.

Still clearly a novice, I don't know every website that features places to rent. A full apartment isn’t always needed or wanted, and I’m only marginally comfortable renting a room in a home and sharing the bath.

At people post their spare rooms for rent. Sometimes a private bath is included; often the bath is shared.

A View from the Stacks: Change in the Air!

on April 27, 2013 - 7:58am
Electronic Services Manager, Mesa Public Library
Library Drive:

Over the next few weeks, you will see some changes at Mesa Public Library as plans get underway to improve the area in front of the library. 

Beginning May 1, the road in front of the library will be closed while crews make library drive into a one-way street, running from Oppenheimer Drive toward Fuller Lodge, as well as install a new, larger drive-up book drop. Improvements to sidewalks and crosswalks also are planned. 

The primary reason for this project is safety-related.

How The Hen House Turns: A Day In Our Lives

on April 26, 2013 - 7:40am
How The Hen House Turns: A Day In Our Lives
By Carolyn A. (Cary) Neeper, Ph. D.

A beautiful blue-sky day this morning. Bobbi goose has made a lovely round nest in the Hen House and is sitting there with her neck stretched out in the straw. I hope she’s just laying an egg.

Though she normally honks at me while I’m in the pen doing household chores, today on her nest, she doesn’t even flinch as I freshen up the straw. (You know what that means - a long-handle plastic cooking spoon and gloves to toss the clotted straw out.)

Meanwhile, in the Hen House pen, Lucy has been grazing on a handful


Solo Traveler: When Atheists Pray

on April 25, 2013 - 10:44am
Solo Traveler
When Atheists Pray

A combi in Mexico is a van, usually a Toyota, with bench seats installed along each wall, behind the driver's seat, and across the back. Packed solid, they can hold 20 or more people.

Combi drivers have a reputation for crazy fast driving, passing other cars on blind curves, sliding over the yellow line into oncoming traffic. Yet, miraculously, you almost never hear of a combi flying off a cliff and killing everyone. The drivers are just careful enough.

But every once in a while a driver is so bad you know your time on earth

Help With The Hard Stuff: 'Contain if Necessary'

on April 25, 2013 - 8:26am

Part 6 (of 10)“Contain if Necessary”

My last column continued William Uri’s “third-sider” roles lawyers can play that might help you with the hard stuff, focusing on the “resolve” roles of Mediator, Arbiter, Equalizer, and Healer.

This week I want to talk about Uri’s “contain” roles of Witness, Referee, and Peacekeeper, and also a hybrid activity I believe exists especially within the context of what can be called “Divorce Wars”: equalization and containment.

I agree with Uri that “unresolved conflict escalates because no one is paying

Money IQ: The 5 C’s of Mortgage Banking

on April 24, 2013 - 11:02am
Money IQ

The 5 C’s of Mortgage Banking

The five most important items when evaluating a mortgage loan application are described below: Characteristics, Capacity, Cash to Close, Character (credit) and Collateral.

Explaining the 5C’s in an understandable method is the most important tool to ensure a great customer experience.  


In mortgage lending characteristics are described as follows. It is the intent on every loan application to be able to describe the following.

1. What type of product is the customer applying for and knowing all of the

Food on the Hill: Frozen Pina Colada Pie

on April 23, 2013 - 8:12am

This week's Recipe:

Frozen Pina Colada Pie

Photo by Sue York/


2 large gram cracker crusts
½ cup sugar
12 oz cream cheese (softened)
2 teaspoons of rum flavoring extract
3 cups of sweetened coconut
2 cans of crushed pineapple in syrup (drain ONE of the cans)
8 oz French vanilla flavored cool-whip (or regular if you can’t find the French vanilla)


Photo by Sue York/

Spread the coconut out on a baking sheet and place under broiler to toast. Watch this very carefully, mix as needed. Set aside to cool.

Photo by Sue

Yang: Some Week!

on April 22, 2013 - 8:44am
Some Week!

This has been a “horrible, terrible, no good, very bad” week for the country … again. 

Ever since the Sandy Hook shooting last December, it’s been on my mind … mental health. Most of us have willingly and accidentally played frustrated psychoanalysts at one point or another. 

Even the casual phrases, “she’s a nut case,” or “he’s deranged,” however jokingly uttered, indicate that we judge others’ mental health status at times.

How The Hen House Turns: Happy Birthday DeeDee and Scooter - A Cautionary Tale

on April 19, 2013 - 2:32pm

How The Hen House Turns: Happy Birthday DeeDee and Scooter - A Cautionary Tale

By Carolyn A. (Cary) Neeper, Ph. D.

DeeDee and Scooter are 13 years old this month. It’s hard to believe how fast those years have gone—years in which my granddaughters became fine young women, and the dogs grew creaky with arthritis.

Canine genes are so wonderfully creative, you’d think they would program dogs to live longer.

They produce all sizes, all kinds of faces, and many color combinations of various types of fur.

The dogs’ tameness gene package, inherited from wolves, has been found in foxes to be just as


Money IQ: Charitable Giving Opportunities

on April 17, 2013 - 10:42am
Money IQ

Charitable Giving Opportunities

When choosing the most advantageous charitable giving strategy, individuals must evaluate a number of factors, such as their need for current income, their desire to control and preserve assets during life and after death, their specific charitable intent, as well as important tax management issues.

Charitable estate planning techniques can help achieve many of these objectives.

Letter to the Editor: Last Hour Tax Deal Violates the Spirit of Open Government

on April 17, 2013 - 9:01am

Last Hour Tax Deal Violates the Spirit of Open Government


By Meredith R. Machen and Dick Mason, Leadership Team
League of Women Voters of New Mexico

The League of Women Voters of New Mexico is concerned about the last-minute tax bill slammed through the New Mexico Legislature and the broken process. 

HB641, like any comprehensive tax legislation, has many components which will have long-term effects on New Mexico's economy.

Experts are still debating the overall cost and benefit projections, the challenges for municipalities, the difficulties of implementation,

Solo Traveler: Slow-Go Travel

on April 17, 2013 - 8:23am
Solo Traveler
Slow-Go Travel

As a retired solo traveler, cost is my main concern when I want to go anywhere.

A hotel room costs almost as much for one as for two, making traveling alone rather expensive. Hostels and pensiónes can also be a bit pricey even when the bathroom is shared.

From my perspective, the best way to extend travel funds is to travel slowly. Find an area of the world that sounds intriguing, rent a small furnished apartment and stay a while.

Food everywhere is cheaper when purchased in the markets and cooked at “home.” If the utilities

YANG: Opposites Attract? Or, We Prefer To Hang Out With Like-Minded? Handling Differences/Conflicts – Part II

on April 15, 2013 - 8:46am
Opposites Attract? Or, We Prefer To Hang Out With Like-Minded? Handling Differences/Conflicts – part II
Column by ELENA YANG

Just as differences do not automatically lead to conflicts, they don’t inevitably cause mistakes either. 

However, pushing ideas into feasible plans and on to development involves risks; that’s where potential mistakes occur. 

If most people already feel uncomfortable with voicing different opinions, proposals, or ideas, the discomfort increases with the higher risks that come with realizing such ideas or plans.

Consider this colossal mistake: “In 2011, H.P.’s

Letter to the Editor: Use Slant Drilling in WR Parks?

on April 15, 2013 - 8:00am
Los Alamos
A current public issue is whether County water wells should be drilled in County park lands on the edge of White Rock Canyon.
The public discussion has dealt little, if any, with alternative drilling technology, namely, directional drilling, also called slant drilling.
Directional drilling goes back 50 years, but major advances came as computers became commonplace.
Directional drilling is the technique of drilling wells at a slant, instead of always boring straight down.

Thoughts From the Big Chair: Jonathan Winters, Roger Ebert and A Little Late Night Talk

on April 15, 2013 - 7:27am
Thoughts From the Big Chair
Comments on Television and Associated Media From a Lifelong Addict
Jonathan Winters, Roger Ebert and A Little Late Night Talk

Hey gang. Sorry to be absent for a few weeks but work and massive amounts of pollen really gave me a bit of a time crunch and brain freeze.

This week I’m going to cover some shorter topics and next week I will have a longer essay on “The Problems and Perils of “Good TV” and Participatory Television;” my thoughts on the general changes I’ve seen in the TV landscape – both good and bad.

On to this week’s topics…

How The Hen House Turns: Rattlesnake Behavior And A Few Brief Reviews

on April 14, 2013 - 8:32am
How The Hen House Turns
By Carolyn A. (Cary) Neeper, Ph. D.
Rattlesnake Behavior And A Few Brief Reviews

At the end of Streak’s story last week, I promised a rattlesnake story.

Then I received a comment from Joy Drake for my blog at, and I decided the theme today would digress to include a note about recent research that addresses the issue she mentioned - "ascribing human emotions" to animals.

Are we imagining things when a dog smiles? Or wags its tail, or jumps around excitedly when we get out the leashes?