UP — Bloomfield welcomed seven new full-time firefighters to its fire department this week. The hires were made possible by a $1 million Federal Emergency Management Agency grant (an example of federal government help that will save lives) and will pay those salaries for two years. Now the department has 10 firefighters to serve about 8,000 people in a city that recently doubled its size through an annexation. They also will respond to emergencies at oil and gas plants in the annexed area. The additional full-time firefighters will allow the department to comply with National Fire Protection Association standards for staffing, response times and operations. It's unclear what will happen when the grant runs out. Some are hoping that tax revenue from increased oil and gas production will provide the needed funding. Any town with aspirations for growth or improvement must have adequate services, chief among them fire and police. We support the expansion and hope city leaders find a way to continue that service beyond the two years — oil boom or no oil boom.
DOWN — Another piece of asphalt belonging to Navajo Route 367 in Upper Fruitland split off and slid down a hill toward the San Juan River. The road has been closed since the first section broke off more than a year ago. And area residents have been predicting there would be more. It's not clear what is causing the damage. Some claim it was shoddy construction, but the people who built it say it meets the required design standards. Others say the problem is water seeping into the ground from an irrigation ditch that borders the road. Either way, the road needs to be fixed. It's not just the inconvenience of having to take the long way around — there could be safety issues. We'd like to see some action before there is loss of life or property related to the limited access to homes and other structures in that area.
UP — We were glad to see that a male bear cub was handled humanely this week when it was spotted near a road in Kirtland. A New Mexico Department of Game and Fish officer shot the bear with a tranquilizer dart and it was released into the Carson National Forest near Taos. Particularly for those who live in rural areas, spring is a good time to remember to keep your garbage in a secure container, preferably indoors, until you dispose of it. Bears that scavenge garbage tend to lose their fear of humans, which can be deadly for bears and humans.
DOWN — Recent stories on another accused pedophile were full of tragic facts. The man allegedly raped three young girls — his stepdaughters. The girls' mother spoke to The Daily Times in hopes that others might recognize warning signs she did not. She said he treated her like a queen and was "the man of a woman's dream." And he spent lots of time with her girls, helping them with homework and taking them to the park. But she began to notice that he spent too much time with them and didn't seem to want them to be alone with her. He became abusive toward his wife and worked to turn the girls against her. By the time law enforcement is involved, young lives have been forever altered, in horrible ways. We urge family members to be alert to the warning signs of this particularly loathsome crime.