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Letter to the Editor: Hall Decent But Richard Far Superior

on October 4, 2012 - 6:21am

By Betty Ann Gunther

Jim Hall is a decent person, but we have a far superior Democratic candidate by the name of Stephanie (Garcia) Richard, who is running against him for representative to the New Mexico House of Representatives (Dist. 43.)

Jim Hall has been in the job as an appointee and has supported Republican issues even at the expense of Los Alamos County during the brief tenure of his appointment.

After it was revealed that a press release from Jim Hall claiming endorsements from Democratic Senators was not accurate, I found myself disappointed in Jim Hall's campaign.

He, and his

Column: Checks and Balances

on October 3, 2012 - 6:42am

By George Chandler

“Checks and balances” is the phrase that describes the interactions among the branches of a government that provides for limiting governmental excess by the separation of powers into legislative, executive and judicial sectors. 

For example in the first instance, the federal government, the legislature passes laws but those laws can only be enforced by the executive and interpreted by the judicial, the legislature can remove judges or presidents and controls their budgets but is itself greatly constrained by being bifurcated. 

And so on.

Letter to the Editor: Does Rain Really Follow the Plow?

on September 22, 2012 - 9:40am
Does Rain Really Follow the Plow? Or, can we expect better than failed expectation from Trinity Site?
By Khalil Spencer

There was once a belief that if Western settlers tilled the soil, it led to more rain, i.e., "rain follows the plow.”

That was in large part false causation, because some of the plowing was done during wet climate periods.

One could almost rephrase that Charles Dana Wilber quote in the context of the Trinity Site economic development discussion:

God speed the developer ... By this wonderful provision, which is man's mastery over the economy, the malls are dispensing


Letter to the Editor: Vote FOR Charter Questions

on September 13, 2012 - 10:58am
By Donald Machen
Los Alamos

The upcoming election gives the citizens of Los Alamos their chance to establish a clear and unambiguous method for direct citizen involvement in our county government through the initiative, referendum, and recall processes.

By voting YES on charter questions 1, 2, 3 and 4, we can simplify, yet improve, what is currently in place in our Charter, assuring that we can continue to have a role in directing county legislation.

For an informative and concise view on why we are being asked to modify our Charter, I recommend that voters read the recent Los Alamos


2012 Proposed County Charter Changes not Clearly Presented to Voters

on September 10, 2012 - 1:59pm

By Ellen Walton

This is a call to Los Alamos voters to study charter change proposals well ahead of the upcoming general election.

These 21 changes are rolled together into four groups, and are not separated by subject matter, making a clear choice by voters impossible.

To date, one can only find the full text of these proposed changes (Ordinances 598-618) at the Los Alamos Governmental Review Initiative website,, or at the Los Alamos County Clerk’s office.

Among other things, these changes will increase the signature requirements for citizen petitions, cut in half time periods


Initiative, Referendum and Recall Ballot Questions – A Path to Good Governance

on September 10, 2012 - 11:55am
By John C. Hopkins, Charter Review Committee Chair
By Chris Chandler, I&R Subcommittee Chair

The Charter Review Committee (CRC) spent more than two years studying the Los Alamos County Charter. 

After numerous public meetings and considerable debate, the CRC’s and Los Alamos County Council’s proposals relating to initiative, referendum and recall are now being presented to the voters on the fall ballot.  

The CRC approached its study of initiative and referendum (I&R) beginning with the tenet that representative democracy is the basis of our American system of

Letter to the Editor: Martin Heinrich’s Surrogates

on July 29, 2012 - 8:34am
By Vernan Kerr
Los Alamos

In the race for U.S. Senate, the ads sponsored by various environmental groups have been most irritating.

What evidence can they show that Heather Wilson's support for the oil and gas industries have resulted in harm to children or have resulted in drinking water contamination?

None! The oil and gas industries are a very important part of the economy of our state and without them we would rank at the bottom of the American state’s economies, a true welfare state.

A recent story on Martin Heinrich, who voted for Obamacare, showed how much he really cares


Column: Requiem For A Canyon

on July 17, 2012 - 6:45am

By Chick Keller
Recently we walked up what's left of Valle Canyon.
In my memory there are three Valle Canyons the lovely one pre-Cerro Grande ever changing, ever beautiful, every diverse; the post Cerro Grande one, still intact at least in the lower part, and now the post Las Conchas one, which has lost its entire forest and most of the canyon bottom.

It's hard to describe the difference.

Column: Medicaid, New Mexico, and the PPACA

on July 9, 2012 - 7:21am
By Representative Jim Hall
House District 43
  • Medicaid, New Mexico, and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA)

I attended a Medicaid conference in Washington, D.C., June 27 and 28. 

The non-partisan Council of State Governments organized the conference for state legislators to address ongoing growth in Medicaid costs and expected changes in Medicaid programs. 

This is the first of two columns on Medicaid. This column discusses the current program.  The next column will discuss Medicaid’s future in New Mexico. 

The June 28 PPACA decision by the Supreme Court makes these


Column: Open Meeting Called Into Question

on July 9, 2012 - 7:20am
By Gene Schmidt
Los Alamos Superintendent of Schools

The Los Alamos School Board strives with great diligence to comply with the statutory rules for conduct of its open meetings in order to ensure transparency in government.

A Special Board meeting was held on May 24, 2012 to approve the 2012-13 Operating Budget.

At that meeting, the Board acted to amend the salary provisions of two collective bargaining agreements with existing school employee bargaining units in order to assure that employee contracts drafted at the end of the school year properly reflected the salaries authorized

Letter to the Editor: YMCA Says Thanks

on July 7, 2012 - 10:53pm
Thank You to everyone who helped make The Family YMCA’s Independence Day Firecracker 5K Family Fun Run a success.
The event was sponsored by Los Alamos Medical Center, Los Alamos National Bank, and Southwest Safety Services of Santa Fe.

Letter to the Editor: Kiwanis Says Thanks

on July 7, 2012 - 10:48pm

Dear Editor,

Despite the damper of dry weather and fireworks show cancellation, the 2012 Fourth of July Celebration at Overlook Park was a great success.

After a few months of dangerous drought, the big rain was even welcome.

Though we canceled the festivities earlier than planned, the fun picnic setting, yummy food, wonderful music, and very cool skydiving display by the Habanero Skydiving Club made for a great afternoon and evening.

We missed the fireworks, but we still celebrate living in the United States of America – the very best country in the world to be from!

The Kiwanis Club


The Taming of the Shrew (Aspen)

on July 6, 2012 - 10:27am
Column by Carlos Valdez
Cooperative Extension Horticulture Agent
-The Taming of the Shrew (Aspen) ... this consummate white barked beauty is difficult to grow in Los Alamos landscapes.

Aspen (Populus tremuloides) are trees with admirable beauty, and it naturally follows that we want our landscapes filled with what we find beautiful.

Unfortunately, try as we might, aspen are not well adapted to domestic landscapes, even here in Los Alamos.

They are short-lived, as expected from their role in forest ecology, and even properly cared-for trees may not reach 20 years.

Aspen transplanted into


Day Journeys to the Middle of Nowhere

on July 5, 2012 - 10:21am

Travel Column by Kirsten Laskey

Discovering Tierra Amarillo

Driving down N.M. 84, we watched Los Alamos, Espanola and even the scatterings of roadside businesses in Abiquiu just slip past the windows.

Soon, there was nothing filling the windows but a gray strip of asphalt and huge, scenic landscapes.

This is when the adventure began.

My traveling partner (my mother) and I picked Tierra Amarillo to visit at random.

Photo: Tierra Amarillo Municipal Complex. By Kirsten Laskey

It was just a faint spot on the map and an oddball collection of photos on a website.

It was declared an

Why Afghanistan?

on June 17, 2012 - 9:24am

Dr. Bob Fuselier of Los Alamos with friend Blake Batten, Dr. Mohammad Khan Kharoti and graduating students in Afghanistan. Courtesy photo

Column by Dr. Bob Fuselier

The main purpose of our Afghanistan trip last month was to visit the graduation ceremonies for Green Village Schools’ Advanced Education Center (GVS-AEC) in Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand Province.

My organization (the Afghan Sister Village Project) and Blake’s organization (Project PeacePal founded by Sarah Wilkinson of Albuquerque) acted as support players for Green Village Schools, the organization that runs the

The Girls I Left Behind

on June 16, 2012 - 1:34pm

Column by Bonnie J. Gordon

I’m grateful to my friends — my new friends for giving me a chance and my old friends for hanging in there with me all this time.

I’ve done things like lose touch for 30 years until rediscovering someone of Facebook and low and behold, most of these people still want to be friends with me.

Maybe that’s less surprising than that people right here in Los Alamos put up with me on a daily basis.

You don’t get another chance with everyone. 

Some people are gone for good, whether by choice or by mischance.  

I look back and think, how could this have happened?


Letter to the Editor: Thanks For Your Support

on June 13, 2012 - 6:59am
I would like to thank everyone in Los Alamos who took the time to meet with me over the past few weeks.

I truly enjoyed getting to know my neighbors on the hill, and will continue to work with you to address issues of mutual concern as a Rio Arriba County Commissioner.

I anticipate many opportunities to strengthen regional collaboration towards clean water, economic development, educational opportunities, health care and other issues we all care about over the next few years.

Thank you once again for your support and kindness to me, and to my supporters.
Alfredo Montoya

Fire and Water: The Las Conchas Fire

on June 11, 2012 - 11:03pm

Column by State Representative Jim Hall

On June 4 and 5, I attended a conference “Impacts and Lessons Learned from the Las Conchas Fire,” sponsored by New Mexico’s Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (NM EPSCoR-- 

NM EPSCoR is funded by the National Science Foundation, and this year their focus was to research the impacts of climate change on Northern New Mexico water resources.

The Las Conchas Fire broadened their focus to the environmental impacts of wildfire--with water and water quality as an important subtext. 

The Whitewater-Baldy Complex

I = IR + SE Innovation Results from Intelligent Risk Taking and a Supportive Environment

on June 9, 2012 - 6:13am

Column by Dr. Harry Hertz 

Like many people in many companies and organizations, I have been thinking a lot about innovation lately.

In my case, the effort has been a prelude to thinking about upcoming revisions to the Baldrige Program’s 2013–2014 Criteria for Performance Excellence.

I consulted works by Rosabeth Moss Kanter, Clayton Christensen, Jeff Dyer, and Hal Gergersen, as well as numerous articles and blogs.

And my conclusion was that innovation (I) is the result of intelligent risk taking (IR) and a supportive environment (SE): I =IR + SE.

In this column, I will explore each

Letter to the Editor: What Happens When Mike Grabs George by the Ego?

on June 7, 2012 - 1:15pm

My friend Mike grabbed me by the ego, put me hard up against reality, and forced me to face my shortcomings.

Conceptually, the dialogue went something like this: “George,” he said, “you guys look like you’re hiding something. You can’t just say that signing those petitions will cost people their right to vote on the Charter Amendments. You have to explain it.” 

“But Mike,” I wailed, “this is a complicated issue. I can’t put all that information in a $68 dollar ad or a leditter. People have to do some of their own research.” 

“George,” he replied, twisting my rationality, “don’t tell me


Letter to the Editor: Why doesn't LANL patch its potholes?

on June 1, 2012 - 3:55pm

Dear Editor,

I'm wondering why Los Alamos National Laboratory lets West Road, near the Ice Rink, get so full of potholes?

There are now several in the eastbound lane that I go into the other lane to avoid.

In the past when I've called Los Alamos County to report the potholes, I discovered that this is a section of West Road that is the responsibility of the Lab to maintain.

Locating the responsible person at the Lab is always an "interesting" (time-consuming) process.

I can't understand why the Lab doesn't do routine checks of West Road to assess the potholes and quickly patch them.


Letter to the Editor: Why do a few individuals so distrust the citizens of Los Alamos?

on June 1, 2012 - 9:12am

Why is a small special interest group afraid of the voters?

The Charter Review Committee in good faith made its best recommendations to the Los Alamos County Council for improvements to the Charter. 

These were intended to clarify, remove ambiguities and to rationalize the processes that had slowly become obsolete over the years. 

Council agreed that the separate recommendations had sufficient merit to warrant sending to the voters for their approval or disapproval.

A small group of people in an organization called LAGRI does not want to let the citizens vote on the CRC recommendations.


The Red Elvises are Coming!

on May 23, 2012 - 10:34pm
Dear friends of the Los Alamos County Summer Concert Series,
The Red Elvises are coming! The Red Elvises are coming! This is going to be one of the absolute best concerts we’ve ever had in Los Alamos and it’s free.
How do you say in English, “These cats are a gas!?" 
C’mon out Friday, May 25 to Ashley Pond. The show starts at 7 p.m. and goes till 10 p.m.
The original members of the Band came out of Moscow, Russia as a folk and folk-rock band.
The band moved to Santa Monica,Calif.

OBITUARY: James "Danny" Doss

on May 22, 2012 - 4:21pm

JAMES "DANNY" DOSS 1939May 17, 2012

James “Danny” Doss, 73, of Los Alamos passed away peacefully on Thursday, May 17, 2012 with his family at his side, and is now in Paradise in the presence of his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Danny Doss was a long time resident of Los Alamos, retiring in 1999 from a career as an electrical engineer with the Los Alamos National Laboratory where he worked on a variety of projects, including particle accelerators and biomedical technology used in cancer therapy.

Many others knew Danny Doss as the author of 17 “Charlie Moon Mysteries,” the first of which


How the Affordable Care Act is Working for New Mexico

on May 14, 2012 - 9:22pm

By Sen. Jeff Bingaman

In the two years since Congress passed the health insurance reform law, called the Affordable Care Act (ACA), there has been a lot of debate about its merits. As we move closer to implementing some of the most significant pieces of that law, I’d like to highlight reasons why New Mexico will be one of the nation’s biggest winners from the improvements in the ACA.

Nearly one in five New Mexicans lacks health insurance, making New Mexico the state with the second-highest rate of uninsured in the country.