UP -- OK, we're looking on the bright side on this one even though the subject is dark and stormy. The recent rains have provided temporary relief from more than a decade of drought. Although there was some property damage -- including a mini-van sized sink hole in the Foothills Plaza parking lot, some road damage and debris clogged drainage ditches -- there was no loss of life. This is more rain than the state has seen since the new millenium began. We hope the rain continues to fall.

 

UP -- A portrait of U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Kenneth Lee Worley was unveiled this week at the Farmington Museum. The Farmington native, while serving in Vietnam in 1968, threw his body on a hand grenade that would have killed and wounded fellow Marines. He posthumously received the Medal of Honor two years later and is the only New Mexican to be so honored. That kind of instinctive action, taken to protect the men fighting next to him, provides an insight into the mind of a war fighter. Whether the conflict itself was necessary can be debated, but Worley's spirit of self-sacrifice demonstrates the bond forged by fighting men and women facing the horrors of war. This honorable action should be remembered for the ages.

 

DOWN -- We don't know for sure what will happen with the prosecution of two men who started a shootout in a residential Farmington neighborhood in July. But a deacade-old state court of appeals ruling could mean no one will be held accountable for the killing of Christopher Valdez. Police say Valdez was shot as he tried to chase the attackers away. However, it is possible that Valdez was killed by shots fired by an inhabitant of the home who was defending himself. If that's the case, according to the ruling, no one would be charged with murder. In many localities, people who start such insanity are held accountable for the destruction that ensues, whether or not they were directly responsible. We hope there will be justice for Valdez in this case.

 

UP -- The Shiprock Chapter has decided to try to wrangle the area's feral horse problem on its own, opting out of the Navajo Nation's program. Chapter leaders expressed concerns about sales to slaughterhouses, the use of all-terrain vehicles in the roundups and abandoned colts and fillies. The chapter talked about creating its own adoption program bosltered by rehabilitation of the horses, which members said have skills and endurance that could be useful to ranchers and farmers. This is a sticky issue because feral horses compete with livestock for forage and sometimes slowly die from starvation. We don't know whether these measures will work, but we support the chapter's decision to use its members' knowledge of horses and the land to find humane solutions to this growing problem.

 

UP -- A 17-year-old Farmington High School student went missing this week triggering a massive search. The autistic teen apparently had argued with his parents before striking out on his own. This situation had the makings of a first-class tragedy. We are happy that he was found safe and sound in Durango. Although there was expense involved, we are happy to be part of a community that reacts quickly to protect its most vulnerable members.

 

DOWN -- The New Mexico Department of Health announced earlier this week that an 84-year-old San Juan County woman succumbed to West Nile virus. Although the virus is most deadly to the elderly and people with compromised immune systems, it can cause serious complications in anyone who is infected. This is yet another reminder to protect yourself from mosquito bites, which is how the virus is transmitted. With all the rain, it is possible we will have a second mosquito season.