Letters to the editor (02/08/12)

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We all need to pray for ourselves and country
Editor:
Let’s begin with the parish priests who provide for us the bread of life (the body, blood  soul and divinity of our Lord, Jesus Christ).
From the very beginning of the Jewish tradition, men were the priests who prayed in the temple. They were the only ones allowed in the Holy of Holies for the sacrificial ceremonies. In the Christian tradition, Jesus selected 12 men as his apostles and commissioned  them to baptize in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit and to provide His body and blood to all His people .
To this day, the priesthood is reserved for men who dedicate their lives to shepherd their flock and to provide their flock with the true manna from heaven which is the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Lord, Jesus Christ.
Why men? Because our Lord said so (who are we to say otherwise); and so for more than 2,000 years this teaching has not changed and will never change in the true Catholic faith. (Thank God for that).
Next, we have deacons, who are holy single and family men, who assist our priests in all the activities of the church, they also are privileged, among many other duties, to distribute the Body and Blood of our Lord, although they cannot “consecrate;” this is strictly reserved for the priesthood. And, again, the deaconship is reserved for men. What a wonderful gift for our community.
We are also blessed with a large group of men who perform many charitable activities in our community, including the work of promoting pro-life. These are the Knights of Columbus. The Knights also have a program for the mentoring of young men who are called the squires.
These young men are also involved in the many activities and events in our community. One, is the leading and reciting of the Patriotic Rosary for various occasions such as the Fourth of July, Veterans Day, etc.
If you have never had the opportunity to attend this Rosary celebration, you are missing out on a very patriotic and learning experience. The squires lead the Rosary, which is done on regular Rosary beads and recite for each Hail Mary.
We plead the Blood of Jesus over (name a different state for each)  and for every soul in the state. Then a “Glory Be” for the conversion of our country. Then, after each decade all verses of different Patriotic songs such as “America,” “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” “America the Beautiful,” “The Star Spangled Banner,” and “God Bless America.”
Then, after each mystery, a short  speech from one of our early patriots or founding fathers is read; i.e. George Washington, John Adams, etc.
If we really study our history (not the history that non-Christians want to teach these days and are being written in the new history books) but the true history that many of us grew up with; teach your children the truth of our Christian nation.
The squires are doing a wonderful service in reciting this Patriotic Rosary;  If you have not yet had the opportunity to participate, I invite you to attend the next one. (Hopefully soon and many time during this election year.)
It is wonderful to see our Knights and Squires and all men kneeling and praying the Rosary, kneeling and praying before the Blessed Sacrament, kneeling and praying with their families during Mass.
These are the  “real” men. The men of God. Jesus, himself, knelt down and prayed before God in the Garden of Gethsemane. What a great example.  He was showing men how to be “real” men. These men know who their Master is.
When you get on your knees before your God, people can see your humbleness. What is even more wonderful is to see men praying out in public places. Look at Tim Tebow from the Denver Broncos; he is a good example for our young men. We can truly see who his master is and where he gets his abilities to play a good game.
When you hear a man’s voice in prayer and song for our Lord; you know that there is still hope for our country for strong families, especially when you see families coming into church and taking up the pews and kneeling and praying together.
When you see this, you know that this country will survive the decline of faith and morals. God answers prayers, especially when we get on our knees before Him.
We just celebrated the Feast of the Epiphany — the 12 days of Christmas — which ended a couple of Sundays ago. The Epiphany — the manifestation — Jesus made known to the whole world-represented by the three Kings …
They knelt down. They showed us how to worship Jesus, and we must do the same. Worship on our knees. Our men kneeling down before the Lord, like the three wise men did when they saw Jesus, and as many men have knelt down adoring and praising God.
You can read about them in the Old and New Testaments and even in our old history books. Men prayed before going out to battle. Men prayed before making decisions in the Congress and in the president’s chambers.
Our country was made strong through prayer and praise of the Lord.  We must keep in mind  that when a nation removes the cornerstone (God), that is when it will crumble and fall, just like a building without its strong foundation.
So men, continue getting on your knees and praying for our country, our communities, our families; continue being “real” men.
God Bless you for your good examples and your prayers and pray for all the men who are still trying to be real men by drinking, doing drugs, having sex out of marriage, men with restless hearts.
Pray that their hearts rest in the Lord; that they also get down on their knees and pray asking their master for guidance and listening to Him and imitating Him.
God is always ready to listen. Are you one of the  “real” men?

Mary McCloskey
Los Lunas

Learning to read begins with good influences
Editor:
I’ve had an idea for a while, which I want to share. And since I’m 76, this might be a good time to do it.
As a retired fifth-grade teacher, I learned some things that worked. It occurred  to me that we all have had success, regardless of what we do or did. With just a little bit of tweaking, we can use each other’s ideas for our own benefit.
As an example, after lunch, as the kids come in, they took a book (I had 30 of them), and they followed along as I read aloud. I always used books with lots of dialogue and about kids or animals.
It settled the class down, helped foster a love of reading and I know it improved their reading skills.
Anybody can do the same for their own children. When they are little, sit them on your lap and scroll across the page as you read. The librarian can suggest age-appropriate books. Soon, you’ll be the expert.
Later, if you can, get two books so they can follow along on their own. Grandparents and aunts and uncles can be part of this too.
Please, if you have an idea that works, write to the editor and share. We can all help each other.

Nancy Faust
Belen

Human life begins at conception
Editor:
“Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
These famous words from the Declaration of Independence seem quite lost now, especially as the 39th anniversary of Roe vs. Wade, or also known as the court case that legalized abortion, (just passed). I tend to wonder to myself, where is our country headed?
Many people argue that when an abortion takes place, there is no baby there, but mere tissue. After much thought, the true question is: When does life begin? Or in many cases, when do we become a human?
According to science, the human heart starts beating 21 days after conception. Once again, another question to ponder over, is if this is not a human being, but it has human characteristics, such as a beating heart, doesn’t that make it a human being?
Now, I would like to know how is it illegal to damage eagle eggs, and punishable, we, as a country, still think it’s OK to destroy babies? Now, please tell me where is the justice in this?
I do not mean to offend anyone. I just would like you to think about this very sad reality.
All human life is sacred from natural conception to natural death. Life is sacred no matter if it is flawed, old or young. This should be common sense to everyone.
However, as French enlightenment writer Voltaire says, “Common sense is not so common.”

Montie Chavez
Los Lunas

Belen is on its way back in the black
Editor:
Two days after being sworn into office after the last Belen municipal election, the city’s finance director, who had been in that position only months, sat across the city hall conference table from the new mayor and I to let us know the city’s big secret:
The city was overspending, the deficit was in the millions and the new administration needed to take swift action to avert a more serious crisis.
Over the couple of weeks that followed, the city’s leadership learned the projected deficit, if spending continued unabated, would rise as high as $3.2 million within a year. There was talk of layoffs and rampant rumors of a state takeover due to the gross mismanagement of the budget.
The hardest decision for the city’s new leadership was to lay off 24 employees. The immediate impact was a reduction in the services available to the public.
While that action slowed the growth of the deficit, it wasn’t enough to stop it, resulting in more cuts across every department and mandatory furloughs for employees.
The year was fraught with instability. With employees stretched thin, taking on multiple positions to fill voids and working for less pay, the library and community center cut hours, streets overgrew with weeds, streetlights darkened from near abandon, potholes grew in size and almost every other city service took months when it used to take weeks.
This was the reality of a city government in financial shambles.
Two years later, the city is operating with a modest surplus around $500,000. We have rehired in several of the departments that lost employees and we’re gradually bringing back services.
We no longer worry from month to month about whether or not we’ll be able to pay the bills. Our city is finally stabilizing.
My priority over recent months has been to work with the city’s leadership to transition our city away from the instability we experienced and push it toward economic growth.
When a city has a successful economy, it also has the money it needs to provide all of the services the public needs.
Several years ago we lost Solo Cup, and since that time, with a faltering national economy, most businesses have struggled to keep their doors open, let alone expand.
We’re not retaining businesses, and we’re not attracting new businesses quick enough. I promise to keep fighting, as I have been, to make our economy a priority in city government. There are too many boarded up buildings and vacant commercial properties.
Over the next two years, I will fight for an aggressive effort to go after negligent property owners.
The city of Belen needs a major anchor business that creates jobs, circulates money within the community and attracts attention to our city. An anchor business, combined with clustering, when a number of smaller businesses locate next to one another, will get our city moving in a better direction.
The city has pursued many opportunities, coordinating our economic development efforts with a hands-on approach in city hall.
Personally, and as an example, I’ve devoted countless hours during endless meetings and late nights, increasingly since August, working to get a hospital built in the Belen area.
As has been true since the beginning, the hospital is an intricate and fragile issue, continually being challenged by political vulgarity and masochistic sabotage. We all need to stand with the hospital, strong and vocal.
Our economic opportunities will succeed only if we build a stronger administration in city hall.
Despite being understaffed and despite a recent high-profile double homicide, crime is down and our city is safer thanks to our police officers showing an active presence on our streets and increasing collaboration with other law enforcement agencies.
Our fire department, stellar in its effort to save the Del Rio Shopping Center from economically crippling fire damage, also remains understaffed.
Code enforcement is our most inadequate department, staffed by one person, who is expected to take care of every code violation in a city of 7,000 residents.
We still have “interim” and “acting” positions, terms of convenience that fail to allow those positions to be fully developed into what they ought to be — the people who build comprehensive internal consensus and bring the leadership’s vision to a vivid reality.
Personnel aren’t the only area where we can make improvements to help our businesses.
Last year, when a new restaurant tried to open its doors, its business license wasn’t issued because the business owner painted the building peach, in violation of a city law that requires “earth tone” colors.
A major franchise looking to locate on Main Street has struggled to find property to buy, with local property owners asking excessive amounts and others refusing to sell at all.
Businesses are already paying among the highest gross receipts taxes in the state, and on top of it, the city attempted to enforce fees for fire inspections and withheld business licenses when inspections hadn’t yet been conducted, catching just about everyone off guard in tough times.
As a government and as a city, we need to put an end to policies that inhibit business growth.
All elections are a referendum on the future, when, from this moment, voters choose the best path forward.
When I vote, I will vote for the two locals who won’t hesitate to speak tough in defense of Belen and who will fight every day for the growth of our local economy.

Jerah R. Cordova
Belen City Councilor
Belen