Ups and downs for the week ending June 14, 2013

Up: The family of Army Sgt. 1st Class Kenneth Westbrook received the Silver Star nearly four years after he was killed in action. Losing a loved one in battle is difficult, but for the Westbrooks this is their second son killed in action in the past decade. We thank the Westbrook family for the sacrifices they have endured in service to our country.

Down: Why on earth did it take four years for the U.S. Army to pay tribute to the Westbrook family?

Up: In a ceremony in the Great Kiva at the Aztec Ruins, 10 immigrants officially became U.S. citizens. These new US citizens took an oath of allegiance to the nation and the Constitution. Congratulations and welcome to the greatest county on earth.

Down: The City of Farmington passed its 2013-2014 fiscal year budget. While that is good news, we give it a "Down" due to the necessity of using cash reserves to lessen the deficit. Management of the city budget has been very good, but economic struggles have significantly reduced gross receipts taxes, a major source of revenue for the city.

Down: Continuing drought conditions make every fire a potential disaster. Hot, dry weather has created a tinderbox condition in our area. Remember that a tossed cigarette, a campfire, controlled burn or a firecracker may spark a major fire. Please be careful during these trying conditions.

Up: San Juan County is home to many artists. Tonight you have the chance to view works of many of them during the Summer Art Walk in downtown Farmington. Stop in The Daily Times Community Center and 15 other locations from 5 to 9 p.m.

Down: San Juan County is fortunate to have the majority of the state's water flowing through its boundaries. With that comes the battle for water rights. The Navajo Nation continues to fight for water rights in a settlement case with the state of New Mexico and the federal government. Other users, including ConocoPhillips, all jockey for position and rights to our scarce resource.