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By The Staff

UP thumb ... SERVICE TO VETS. San Miguel County is purchasing a van to transport veterans to medical appointments, though long-term funding is still an issue. The state Department of Veterans Services has provided the funds to buy the van, but money is still needed to pay for its ongoing operation.

County Manager Les Montoya has said the county can provide the funding for the first year but may have to go to the state for money after that. It’s a needed and deserved service, so we’re hoping county and state officials will find a way to make pay for it over the long haul.

UP thumb ... CLOSER TO REALITY. The San Miguel County Commission has approved its own preliminary plat for a wood business park at the old Medite fiberboard factory site on the north end of Las Vegas. The Las Vegas-San Miguel Economic Development Corporation, which has been working for years to make this happen, will manage the park.

Plans are for the park to also include the county’s public works operations and a transfer station where solid waste can be transported by rail to the landfill at Wagon Mound. Nearby residents have raised legitimate health, water and covenant concerns about the development, and they must be fully addressed. The site must be clean and non-intrusive.

Overall, this is an economic step in the right direction, and we’re rooting for its success.

UP thumb ... THE RIGHT PERSON. Highlands University President James Fries — no stranger to the College of Santa Fe, since he was once its president — has been named to a state task force that will look into ways to save the college. Gov. Bill Richardson appointed Fries to the panel after Highlands attempted to take over the college in the legislative session.

Meanwhile, students at the two-year school are threatening to sue if the school closes before the semester ends — and understandably so; they would have a strong breach of contract argument. But we think they will have at least one strong advocate in Fries, who will also represent and protect Highlands’ interests at the same time.

UP thumb ... EXPANDING THE MARKET. The Tri-County Farmers Market is looking at ways to do a whole lot more. Plans are to form a farmers coop this Saturday afternoon (beginning at 1 p.m. in G-35 on the Highlands campus). A Rocky Mountain Farmers Union Cooperative Development Center representative will be present to help the group figure out how to pursue some funding and get the coop up and running.

This is a homegrown effort to boost our local economy and lifestyle in ways that will promote the culture of northern New Mexico. We encourage all who can to attend.

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“There are no common areas in that 5,000 acres.”

— Pete Domenici Jr., attorney for the Montoya family in the Tecolote Land Grant dispute, following a U.S. Supreme Court decision to let stand the dismissal of the Montoyas’ lawsuit against the land grant. The family originally sought to reassign ownership of nearly 20,000 acres, but instead they got about 5,000 acres. However, the land grant’s attorney, Clara Ann Bowler, said the Montoyas won’t have possession of part of the land grant they are claiming.