Taken for a Ride
Residents battle BMX and the city
From her living room window, 85-year-old Mary Trujillo has a full view of her newest neighbor, the Duke City BMX track. Her husband, 89-year-old Felix Trujillo, can hear announcements over the stadium loudspeaker booming through their bedroom, which is nestled in the middle of the house. Every Sunday, after morning mass, the Trujillos avoid going home, so as not to feel harassed by the noise, crowds and traffic BMX brings to their block. The open-air arena, which launched last fall, was erected to keep kids off the streets. Meanwhile, it’s driving the neighbors out of their homes—and into court.
See For Yourself—You've seen this picture: An angry Arab youth with a rifle, or dust from an explosion rising from bombed-out buildings while people run scared through the streets. Violence, anger and war riddle the images we see coming from the Gaza Strip and Iraq.
Waste Pit Blitz
How New Mexico deals with legacy waste at Los Alamos
In 1943 the United States was in need of a centralized place to host the Manhattan Project, a two-billion-dollar military undertaking staffed with hundreds of thousands of employees racing to develop the atomic bomb before Nazi Germany. Sixty-four years later, with the war that established the lab long over, Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) continues to develop nuclear weapons. Unfortunately, these operations have been to the detriment of soil and groundwater, as the 36-square-mile lab now houses hundreds of waste sites contaminated with dangerous substances, some of which have already shown up in water supplies. Currently the lab is in the midst of what might be an even larger undertaking than building the bomb: Cleaning up decades of dumping, over acres and acres of land before 2015.
The Mosquito and the Elephants
The mayor-Council showdown over a tax cut delay amounting to about $9 million headlined the June 4 meeting. Three other bills, all deferred, put the amount involved into context. A proposed new software system for the administration would cost $25 million. A proposed restriction on tax increment development districts in fringe developments could keep hundreds of millions in the city's tax base. And tighter energy conservation standards for construction would lower city utility bills for decades.
Ortiz y Pino
We Are What We Eat
Our culture of corn
Congress is once again considering the reauthorization of the Farm Bill. That’s been going on periodically for most of my conscious life, but until I finished reading Michael Pollan’s devastating analysis of American agriculture, The Omnivore’s Dilemma, a month ago, I have to admit I never paid much attention to the issue.
Odds & Ends
Dateline: India—Wildlife officials in India have found a high-tech way to trap wayward leopards—with cell phone ringtones. So far six leopards that have strayed too close to villages have been lured into traps by ringtones playing the calls of roosters, goats and cows, said H.S. Singh, chief conservation research officer in the western Indian state of Gujarat. “Now instead of using live bait, sounds of animals have been downloaded as ringtones on mobiles, which are attached to speakers kept behind cages and then played at regular intervals,” Singh said last Tuesday. “The leopard drawn by the sound is an unsuspecting victim,” Singh said, adding that the trick only worked at night. All the leopards were later released unharmed in forests away from the villages, Singh said.