UP — Forty thousand eggs spread out on the Sycamore Park Community Center lawn made for a memorable Easter last week as children of all ages scrambled to collect their bounties. That's a lot of plastic eggs stuffed with treats and it represents a significant investment of time and effort. "We started filling eggs in January," said Natalie Spruell, the community center's volunteer coordinator. And after some 5,000 children had pried the eggs apart to extract the prize inside, the work started all over again. Staff and volunteers collected the shells to use again. For two months, Spruell said, they will be organizing the eggs for next year's hunt. We're happy to reprise this part of our story as an expression of appreciation for the work that went into an event that provides a day of enjoyment for this community's children.
DOWN — Southeast New Mexico is already being flagged for high fire danger. Last weekend we quoted Otero County Emergency Services Director Paul Quairoli saying, "We're definitely into fire season." That because of dry conditions and the — sometimes infernal — spring windstorms that can whip an ember into a roaring forest fire in a very short time. Conditions in our section of the Four Corners haven't been the worst in New Mexico, but with the thin mountain snowpack in Colorado and persistent drought we are still in a danger zone. (Flooding last year dumped water in a short period of time that mostly drained into the rivers doing little to change the drought trend.) However, nothing is yet set in stone. Moderate rainstorms spread through the spring and summer would help ease our drought conditions. But early rains that dry up as the hot summer approaches will encourage the growth of underbrush that dries out and provides ample tinder. Either way, we urge area residents not to play with fire. The consequences could be severe.
UP — A Bloomfield teacher and two Farmington residents qualified to run in the Boston Marathon on Monday. A year after a terroristic bombing that killed three people and injured more than 250, Boston residents and runners from around the world were looking to supplant memories of that darkness with the exhilaration of athletic competition. We're glad our area was able to participate in that laudable effort. And not just anybody could run this course. The three women — Brenda Brown of Bloomfield, and Kristin Allen and Heather King of Farmington — had to qualify by running a 2013 marathon in less than 3 hours and 45 minutes. King planned to run the marathon last year, but dropped out after injuring her calf. She was sitting at home last year when she learned of the carnage. But that didn't deter her from trying again. Brown's dream of running the Boston Marathon was born 20 years ago after finishing her first marathon in Oklahoma. Brown said she was more concerned about finishing than worried about the safety of the event. Congratulations to these three women for their hard work preparing for an event that allowed hope to rise out of destruction.
UP — We also congratulate the 77 Navajo students who qualified for scholarships under the Public Service Company of New Mexico-Navajo Nation Workforce Training Initiative. That approximately $1 million in aid is meant to help students attending San Juan College or Navajo Technical University. A well-trained workforce is an economic development tool.