UP — Last week's Change Labs conference at Diné College tapped into a major asset on the Navajo Nation — young, smart and eager entrepreneurs who want to use technology to better their communities. The all-day conference offered a series of workshops for groups that will hopefully play huge roles on the Navajo Nation in the coming generation — entrepreneurs, business owners and technology companies. Aside from networking, the workshops offered practical tutorials on mobile applications, using crowdsourcing to fund projects and building websites. As the Navajo Nation works to expand Internet access to its residents in the coming years, innovation in technology will take centerstage. We'd love to see Change Labs turn into an annual event.

 

DOWN — Winds have battered the Four Corners over the last week, knocking down trees, leaving thousands of people without power, and, in one family's case, decimating their home. Strong gusts of wind peeled the metal roof off Lottie and Robert Augustine's trailer in Waterflow. The family-of-seven that lived there is now turning to the community for financial assistance. While the family's tale is heartbreaking, if we know this community — and we'd like to think we do — businesses and organizations are bound to step up and help the family. That's the thing about tragedies. They shine a light on the best and worst that humanity has to offer.

 

UP — It seems that Farmington Municipal School District officials are taking parents' complaints about the standards-based grading system seriously. The district has hosted several meetings over the last few months to answer questions about the system, which replaces the traditional A-F grading system. The new system — which really isn't that new since the school board adopted it in 2009 and started implementing it in 2011 — rates students' understanding of learning goals in each subject on a scale of 0 to 4. Parents have expressed confusion over the new system, and a petition protesting the change collected about 500 signatures. More meetings are scheduled throughout the semester, and the district now has a survey on its website to solicit feedback from parents of elementary and middle school students. We can all agree parental involvement is key when it comes to students' success, so we're glad the district is taking steps to address parents' concerns.

 

UP — It must be spring because our arts and entertainment calendar is starting to fill up. There's a bunch of events happening this weekend, from author Anne Hillerman's talk at 6 p.m. today at the Farmington Public Library to the Navajo rug auction today and Saturday at the Farmington Museum. Plus, there's the Four Corners Music Festival, which runs through Saturday, in Bloomfield. Today is also the spring Art Walk, and, fittingly, the final day for art lovers to vote in the People's Choice art exhibit. The winning pieces — the ones that garnered the most votes over the last few weeks — will be announced Saturday. And now here's our shameless plug: The Daily Times is one of 15 downtown venues showing art for the exhibit, and our Community Center will be open for the Art Walk from 5 to 9 p.m. Stop by tonight to say hi and check out the artwork.