UP -- Matthew Hegarty overcame a mild stroke and heart surgery to start the last two games for the Notre Dame football team. Hegarty was the center for the final regular season game against Stanford and a 29 to 16 2013 Pinstripe Bowl victory against Rutgers. Hegarty's surgery repaired two small holes in his heart that caused the stroke. Hegarty's father says his son's heart is functioning better than ever. We hope this is a standout year for the 2011 Aztec High School graduate as the Fighting Irish's first string center.
DOWN -- It appears an agreement between San Juan County and the Navajo Nation to increase the law enforcement presence in the Huerfano area has been an expensive failure. Under the agreement, the county built a $511,000 police station and the Nation was supposed to provide the law enforcement personnel. The building opened in mid-2010, but has been little used. Edmund Yazzie, Navajo Nation Law and Order Committee chairman, says the nation has police staffing problems across the reservation. If staffing for the Huerfano area was not a Nation priority -- short-staffed or not -- we wonder why taxpayers were asked to build this expensive project.
UP -- In the short term, we understand that the Navajo Nation's purchase of the Navajo Mine makes sense, so we give it a qualified "up." As proponents of the purchase have said it will preserve hundreds of jobs and a revenue stream for the tribe. However, there are significant long-term challenges. Most experts agree that the U.S. market for coal will shrink as air quality regulations for power plants are tightened. This means the Nation will have to find other markets. That makes the railhead planned for Thoreau a necessity. It appears there is significant momentum toward making the railhead a reality. Eventually, an extension of the freight rail to Farmington could support increased manufacturing activity in northwest New Mexico. So, if all the pieces fall into place, this could be a positive for the entire regional economy.
DOWN -- We have been reporting on a brutal murder where the victim's throat was cut and she was thrown off a cliff, stoned and left to die. Five people have been arrested in connection to the murder and charge with murder and other crimes. Authorities have not rushed this case to a grand jury. We support that if it helps find the guilty parties and ensure that they pay for this horrific crime.
DOWN -- Aztec officials were happy to announce that a new Microtel Inn & Suites was opening in their community, The new hotel will provide quality lodging for visitors who want to enjoy Aztec Ruins National Monument and the area's other bounties. And it appeared to be a positive that local businesses were involved in the construction. But the money that was intended for payrolls and vendors has not been forthcoming. The president of a Durango insulation and drywall company that worked on the project has filed a lien against the hotel. Too many others say they are owed substantial amounts of money. An attorney for the hotel says, "It's a sensitive legal issue. It's being handled as quickly as we can." We aren't privy to those sensitive legal issues, but whoever is responsible should pay for work performed that already is generating profits.