UP -- We had some great stories about veterans on our pages in the past couple of weeks. It seems, like everything else, war has been politicized lately. People talk about the fog of war, but the fog of politics seems to be obscuring some of the basic greatness of this country. Veterans Day was a day to cut through that fog. You can argue about the motivations for entering many of our recent conflicts, but you can't argue about the dedication of the vast majority of the people in our military services. When you join one of those services, you are at your country's beck and call, no matter the hour and no matter whether you are asked to fight or to repair a truck. These men and women also punish their bodies -- both in training and on tours of duty. We owe them our thanks.
DOWN -- A story about a woman who was beaten to death, allegedly by her boyfriend, was tragic. The man accused of the crime was found in the couple's home with two of the woman's children, including one they had together. This is another reminder of the persistent problem with violence against women and the impact it has on so many others -- on family and the extended family. Violence is never the right choice in these situations and men -- most abusers are men -- should seek help if they feel they can't control themselves. For women in such situations, please get out. Resources are available to help clarify what seem like financial and psychological reasons for staying. Please remember the children also could be at risk.
UP -- On the surface, the story was about providing haircuts for autistic children. It could be dismissed as a publicity stunt for Utopia Salon. But those who continued reading that story learned something. Hairstylist Sarah Shelby has a 12-year-old son with autism and she had personal experience of the ordeal that a hair cut causes. The sounds of laughter, conversation, whirring hair dryers and buzzing clippers that comfort some can be painful for a child with autism. So Shelby, who also is on the New Mexico Autism Society of San Juan County board, went looking for a salon that could provide an anxiety free environment for the haircuts. She found Utopia, which is providing a once-a-month session with a calm atmosphere and a limited number of clients in the shop at a time. We want people to know about this great, cooperative effort.
DOWN -- The region's economic downturn is having a corrosive effect on local government. Since fiscal year 2008, the city of Farmington has cut 48 positions. That's about 8 percent of the city's staff and it saved about $14.8 million over a six-year period. The city eliminated those positions through attrition, which means they didn't have to hand out the pink slips that put families into crisis. The Farmington Public Library and the city's Human Resources Department took the biggest hits -- losing about a quarter of their budgets. Unfortunately, there will be more cuts coming due to the phased in elimination of the "hold harmless payments" from the state that are meant to make up for the loss of tax revenue created by exemptions for food and medicine. Although there are some positive signs in the local oil and gas industry, recovery doesn't seem likely in the near future and some hard decision likely will be necessary.