More non-VA care could backfire

By Tom Philpott Military Update A report by the Department of Veterans Affairs’ inspector general and a separate “access audit” of appointment scheduling practices across VA healthcare facilities confirm system-wide abuses to distort wait times for care. It shows patients have been put at risk and shaken confidence in how VA hospitals and clinics are […]

People deserve full details on Bergdahl case

The release of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl by the Taliban, in exchange for five Taliban leaders held at Guantanamo Bay, raises a number of issues that should be addressed separately. First, it is a good thing that an American soldier who has been held by enemy forces for nearly five years is free. Regardless of […]

Father much cooler, smarter now

By Wendel Sloan Local columnist My father, Guy Sloan, died in 1990 at 71. After working around asbestos for 25 years as a carpenter at an east Texas steel mill — an 80-mile round-trip from my hometown of Mt. Vernon — he spent his final years coughing so hard his ribs would break. Otherwise, he […]

Thankful for last talk with my uncle

By Kitsana Dounglomchan Guest columnist My Uncle Dennis — nicknamed Uncle Den — served as a battalion chief for 30 years in the Alameda County fire department in California. My aunt once told me a story about Uncle Den jumping from the roof of a burning building before it caved in. He never talked about […]

State’s education excellence drive should continue

Finally. New Mexico made it to the top of an education ranking. The state’s high school graduation rate increased faster than any other state from 2007 through 2012. That’s excellent news for the state, its students and its schools. But despite boosting its rate of seniors graduating in four years by 15 percentage points over […]

Civilization exists in spite of government

By Kent McManigal Local columnist Power, organization and direction. Many people seem to feel these are good attributes to always be encouraged, but they miss the destructive potential these same qualities possess in many situations. Think of tornadoes, for example. Tornadoes have plenty of power, organization and direction, but are lacking both wisdom and ethics […]

Wind power should never be ignored

By Tom McDonald State columnist Last weekend brought a rash of tornado watches and warnings over the eastern side of New Mexico, and more than a few tornados were reported. No one was killed — which is not only fortunate but typical as well, at least in the Land of Enchantment. I grew up in […]

Walking school bus program great idea

Sometimes old ways can be best. Before the school bus was invented, most children walked to school. Today, in Rhode Island, Missouri, Iowa and other states, children are getting off the bus seats and back on their feet. An adult volunteer leads the students on their walk to class. In some districts, the “walking school […]

Online exchange being considered

By Tom Philpott Military Update Defense officials are weighing a proposal from the director of the Army and Air Force Exchange Service to allow the nation’s 22 million honorably discharged veterans, and perhaps an equal number of their family members, to shop online for military exchange products and discounts. Shoppers who use the AAFES website […]

Letter to the editor: Potholes deserve more attention than weeds

Hats off to the community members who volunteered last Wednesday to help clean up Portales MainStreet and the downtown area. We appreciate your efforts. But I really don’t think that the director of Portales MainStreet or the city of Portales realize that Main Street goes past First Street. There are so many pot holes and […]

Illegal youth costly factor to consider in reform

Increasingly young people illegally crossing into the United States over its southern border with Mexico are unescorted by family members. While some are from Mexico, most are from Central America. Some hope to locate relatives or find work. Some are just trying to escape poverty and crime in their home countries. Children includes all border […]

It’s cliche, but everyone has a story

By Wendell Sloan Local columnist It is a cliché, but — patronizing stereotypes to the contrary — everyone has a story. I have known Matt Hillsman, 78, since his 1986 arrival on the High Plains from Connecticut to pursue a master’s in archaeology — joining son Ian in college. “It’s nice you are here,” Ian […]

Enjoy your political power now

By Ned Cantwell State columnist A lot of us more seasoned New Mexicans, i.e., old people, have had a bellyful of you young folks who think you run the world. Well, you don’t. Look no further than state politics. Just days ago there was a primary election. If its turnout mirrored history, citizens over 50 […]

Everyone should have a say in who wins

Curry County’s new sheriff was not selected by a majority of residents or even a majority of voters. Wesley Waller was the overwhelmingly choice of only those registered to vote as Republicans who participated in the 2014 primary election. He has no opponent in November, unless a minority candidate signs up for a miracle run […]

Ideals didn’t change, Americans did

By Kent McManigal Local columnist How did the ideals America was founded upon — even if they were always imperfectly implemented — become so misunderstood and reviled by the majority of Americans? How did these principles become “radical,” “extreme,” and frightening? Or even “terrorism?” How did false safety and socialistic collectivism become the default position […]

Small business loans good use of tax dollars

In this political high season, if you ask the average New Mexico voter or politician what the state’s economy needs, jobs, as well as support for existing small businesses, will be high on all the short lists. But ask them for specifics on how to achieve either, and you’ll be lucky to get much beyond […]

People care more about their wallet

By Tom McDonald State columnist The big news on the energy front this week is about the Obama administration’s plan to reduce carbon emissions from coal-burning power plants by 30 percent by 2030. The intent is to clean up our air in an effort to combat global warming. That’s a critically important issue, especially for […]

Political rhetoric must give way to reality

By Tom Philpott Military Update In shaping a 2015 defense authorization bill, Congress has decided to protect the prized commissary benefit from the most worrisome budget threat to base grocery stores in decades. But military personnel are not likely to escape other key compensation curbs to include a second consecutive annual pay raise cap in […]

Less government means more opportunity

We won’t tell you how to vote on Tuesday. But here are some suggestions for finding candidates who favor less government control of our lives. • If a wanna-be public servant comes to your door and asks for your vote, ask what kind of public service they do now. If the answer is meals-on-wheels or youth […]

In good company if I die on Plains

By Wendel Sloan Local columnist For my final nap, I intend on returning to my east Texas roots. If fate disguised as an irritated reader intervenes and my final breath is on the High Plains, I will be in good company. Since 1982, I have attended funerals of far too many who awed and inspired. […]