UP — We are glad to hear the Shiprock Chapter is laying the foundation to bring management of the "Northern Navajo Nation Fair" back home. The fair, known locally as the "Shiprock Fair," was established more than 100 years ago, according to a chapter resolution passed this week. The chapter was "principal in organizing and staging the fair" in those early days and was "the recognized owner of the fair since 1955," the resolution states. Then, in early 1987, the chapter decided to allow the fair board to operate independently. A few months later, the Navajo Tribal Council determined that the fair should be operated by the Northern Navajo Agency Council. However, through the years various fair operators have been criticized for mismanaging the event's finances. And there have been complaints about the condition of the fair grounds. We think it's a step in the right direction to bring management of the fair back to the Shiprock Chapter. We'd like to see what some local pride of ownership can do to restore the luster of this fair, which has a deeply rooted cultural significance to our region.
DOWN — When tax revenue dries up and budgets are cut, there is a tendency to end services benefitting those who complain the least. We are talking about the homeless, mentally ill and substance addicted. Some blame the victims and say the government should not be involved. We think that is a shortsighted view that will end up costing taxpayers a significant chunk of change in the long run. Policies that create more homeless and that leave people to seek medical care in emergency rooms are not only inefficient, they can be barbaric in their impact on people's lives. When Congress was unable to agree on a budget reduction plan, automatic cuts kicked in and among the first targets were federally funded county programs that help people struggling to keep a roof over their heads. And this week we wrote about Exodus Peer-to-Peer Native Recovery, which is hoping for grant funding so it can continue to operate. Such peer-to-peer programs have proven to be effective. These programs give a boost to people who — for myriad reasons — have found themselves in desperate situations, often considering crime or suicide. Just as education can provide an equal opportunity for children, these programs give adults a second chance to become productive, taxpaying citizens. Taxpayers will pay one way or the other. Without these programs communities are left to pick up the pieces of ruined and wasted lives. For those obsessed with the bottom line, that approach does not provide a good return on investment.
UP — We love history. We'd like to think we're learning from our mistakes when we unfold the past to watch as events wind their way into the present. That allows us to evolve as a civilization — which means we are making different mistakes and learning new lessons. So we were fascinated by technological upgrades at the San Juan County Historical Society that will make it easier to take advantage of the society's growing collection. The society has applied for a grant to purchase equipment to scan large documents, some from more than a century ago. Some of the material already is available on the society's Facebook page. We encourage you to check it out. And if the spirit moves you, click the "like" button.