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Thumbs Our high country lowdown on the news - June 20, 2014

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By Optic Editorial Board

THUMBS UP! NEW VIETNAM MEMORIAL
Roughly 39 years after the Vietnam war ended, the 33 servicemen from northeastern New Mexico who lost their lives in it were honored with a new memorial. The names of those 33 men were carved onto flagstone to create the memorial, which was unveiled at Veterans Park last Saturday. It’s a fitting tribute to those who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

THUMBS DOWN! FALLING THROUGH THE CRACKS
An Associated Press investigation found that four in 10 new oil and gas wells near national forests and fragile watersheds or otherwise identified as higher risk have not been inspected by federal inspectors. AP found that the federal agency tasked with the responsibility is struggling to keep pace with the drilling boom that’s occurring right now. The findings illustrate why it’s critical that San Miguel County impose strict regulations on any oil and gas drilling allowed in our county. But beyond adopting a strong ordinance, San Miguel County must be ready to enforce that ordinance and take on the regulatory role necessary to protect its citizens.

THUMBS UP! LAS VEGAS IN THE SPOTLIGHT
New Mexico Magazine gave its own thumbs up to Las Vegas, in its July 2014 issue. The generous seven-page photo-and-text spread says this about the Meadow City: “The historic town is making a comeback, spurred by Wild West can-do spirit and the renovation of its landmark hotel,” the Castañeda. Gallup and Silver were also featured in the magazine.

THUMBS DOWN! GOING NEGATIVE
We knew it would happen. Still, being subjected to the constant barrage of negative political ads between Gov. Susana Martinez and Attorney General Gary King is getting old, and the general election is still more than four months away. The nasty television ads are reminiscent of the Heather Wilson-Patricia Madrid race for a congressional seat in 2006.

AND WE QUOTE
“Prevention is always the right way to go.”
— San Miguel County Fire Chief Russell Pacheco, advocating for a ban on fireworks in wildland areas and restrictions on the use of fireworks in other incorporated parts of the county. The commission voted unanimously to enact those restrictions.