Jogging Again

Three weeks ago, I started running again, after about three or four months of inactivity. I’d wanted to get back in the habit for a while, but hesitated because I didn’t want to go through the pain.

Indeed, the first few runs were miserable, just huffing and puffing and hurting. But that awkward adjustment was necessary, and worth it. You have to power through the pain of building up rewards before you can enjoy them. Exercise yields yet another life lesson.

The best thing I’ve gotten out of this is remembering just how therapeutic jogging is, especially at night–the evenings this time of year are simply gorgeous around here; everything’s perfect for an end-of-night run. A couple of times in the last couple of weeks, I’ve come home from a long day of work, so achy and exhausted that I just had to go out running for a while. After a half hour around the streets and trails by Sandstone Ridge Park, I felt much better.

Even when it doesn’t feel good to be running again, it feels great to be running again.

 

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Two Views of This Morning’s Sunrise

Our usual air pollution, plus some extra dust courtesy of strong winds lately, have produced some especially great celestial views around here.

I just finished Arthur C. Clarke’s science fiction classic Rendezvous With Rama, and chapter one concerns an asteroid strike that destroys the Mediterranean Sea but, the story says, the whole world enjoyed the most beautiful sunrises ever for the next six months.

I really like how the rays not only leap out from behind clouds here, but clearly shoot down in front of the mountains.

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North Las Vegas Stake Pioneer Day Fireworks, July 26, 2014

Every July for 40 years, the North Las Vegas Stake of the LDS Church has put on a Pioneer Day celebration that has become legendary. Here are the fireworks from the end of last night’s festivities. Yes, they are close to the crowd, and yes, this is done with the permission and supervision of the fire department! Sorry for cutting off the first bit of the first song.

Scenes From the Recession in North Las Vegas, Pt. 1

A lot of public services are being cut around the country, I’m sure, as municipalities run out of money.  However, I think we in North Las Vegas have a uniquely extreme situation.

Everyone knows that this has been the hardest hit area in the whole country–last month, in an unprecedented move to slow the financial hemorrhaging, our city council declared a state of emergency.

As debates continue about union contracts, recreation centers, and public services in general, one desperate act by local leaders has hit my family especially close to home.

They cut the library’s hours.

This is really only a minor inconvenience, sure, and other library districts have cut their hours, also, but the result here seems acutely sad to me, and not just because my family loves the library so much.

Continue reading

Your Guide to Las Vegas Libraries

Some notes on the local libraries with which I’m most familiar:

centhills1Centennial Hills Library

Abstract:  At just a few months old, Las Vegas’s newest library is gorgeous, and conveniently located across from the YMCA by Durango and the 215. 

Highlights: Though it has (understandably, for a new library) a small collection, CHL has a terrific section for short story anthologies.  The children’s section is huge, and the study/meeting areas in the back are built to accommodate large groups. 

Lowlights: Besides the small collection (it’s surprising how much is missing from what I assume is a standard core collection–how can you not have a copy of The Brothers Karamazov on the shelf?), the rooms in the back offer little privacy for studying.  My oldest daughter hated how the floor plan puts every section in a single open area, like a warehouse.  I can’t understand why the videos are set up face-out, on a frame that looks built for magazines; isn’t it intuitive to line up videos spine-out, like books? 

cclClark County Library

Abstract: CCL is by far the biggest public library in the valley, and is almost right across the street from UNLV.  Its sprawling collection is a joy to browse: this is where you really get to experience that thrill of looking for a book and seeing a dozen similar titles that you’d never known about right next to it.  This library offers you your best chance of finding really old books, as well. 

Continue reading

Irresponsible NLV Police Union Billboards

I support the police.  I and my family have written letters of support to local law enforcement before, I’ve had letters in the newspaper showing support for them, and I’ve written about it here more than once.  When negative publicity comes to the police, I give them the benefit of the doubt. 

That’s why the North Las Vegas Police Union’s new billboard campaign upsets me so much.  It’s illogical, cheap, and incendiary–the opposite of how they usually operate.

The billboards, put up all around town this week, say things like, “Due to recent police layoffs we can no longer guarantee your safety.”  The union is trying to get the public to call in to the city council and voice outrage over budget cuts.  Read the union’s web site for this campaign here.

These billboards, and the web site, raise some difficult questions:

  • You can no longer guarantee our safety?  When did you ever?  Is such a thing possible in a free country? 
  • Your web site lists scary crime statistics in our city–are these the result of a recent spike, or are they the normal pattern for North Las Vegas?  If the latter (which it is), how do you explain your failure to live up to the previous guarantee of safety that you’ve implied?
  • Aren’t signs like this basically an advertisement to criminals that they’re more likely to get away with crime, so we can expect more crime to be committed?  If crime does go up, how can you know that it is due to the cuts in staff, and not your public campaign telling criminals that you expect crime to go up? 
  • If crime does not go up, and if the police department successfully repels any attempted increases in crime in North Las Vegas, will this union apologize to the city council and, indeed, to the city of North Las Vegas for using such underhanded scare tactics?

Honestly, in the long run, I can’t see these signs gaining the local police department much support.  It’s things like this that turn people off from unions.

North Las Vegas Election Non-Endorsements

So North Las Vegas has an election on Tuesday and I have no deep feelings about it.  In the two North Las Vegas campaigns, I like both candidates in one race, and in the other, I don’t really like either one.

In the ward 4 city council race, incumbent Richard Cherchio, who was nominated two years ago to fill a vacated spot, defends his seat from Wade Wagner. 

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Clark County / Nevada Election Endorsements

My research for this relied heavily on the endorsements offered by the Las Vegas Review-Journal and the Las Vegas Sun, both of which I studied in detail.  I also checked out some other organizations, such as Nevada Concerned Citizens‘ endorsements, my own comments from the primaries, and, of course, I googled each candidate and reviewed their web sites.  Here’s what I came up with. 

Ballot questions will be handled in another post. 

SENATE

I won’t repeat everything I’ve already said here many times about this race, but suffice it to say…

Vote for: Sharron Angle

CONGRESS, DISTRICT 1

Kenneth Wegner has not campaigned aggressively, nor has the party supported him sufficiently.  I love his signs, but that’s hardly enough to be taken seriously.  At the same time, Democratic incumbent Shelley Berkley is strong.  I saw a billboard for her last week that simply said something like, “Honesty.  Integrity.  Hard Work.”  Know what?  I can’t deny that.  She’s clean of scandals and has a good reputation. 

Basically, this race is pointless.  She’ll win by about a zillion percent. 

Still, Berkley voted for the stimulus and ObamaCare.  So…

Vote for: Kenneth Wegner

Incidentally, even though it’s not in my district, I hope people for Joe Heck instead of Dina Titus for the other Congressional seat up for grabs this year.  Titus is just as liberal as Berkley, and has run a foul, dishonest campaign against Heck.  Dr. Heck, on the other hand, is a consistently conservative leader with the dedication we need to help our state.

GOVERNOR

Meanwhile, Brian Sandoval actually is ahead of Rory Reid by about a zillion points, so this one’s pointless, too!

By the way, if all of the conservatives who oppose illegal immigration are doing it because we hate Hispanics so much, why are we giving one a landslide victory in the election for our governor?  Hmmm, maybe the left’s convenient assumptions about us aren’t accurate after all…

Vote for: Brian Sandoval

Continue reading

Your Guide To Las Vegas Libraries

Some notes on the local libraries with which I’m most familiar:

centhills1Centennial Hills Library

Abstract:  At just a few months old, Las Vegas’s newest library is gorgeous, and conveniently located across from the YMCA by Durango and the 215. 

Highlights: Though it has (understandably, for a new library) a small collection, CHL has a terrific section for short story anthologies.  The children’s section is huge, and the study/meeting areas in the back are built to accommodate large groups. 

Lowlights: Besides the small collection (it’s surprising how much is missing from what I assume is a standard core collection–how can you not have a copy of The Brothers Karamazov on the shelf?), the rooms in the back offer little privacy for studying.  My oldest daughter hated how the floor plan puts every section in a single open area, like a warehouse.  I can’t understand why the videos are set up face-out, on a frame that looks built for magazines; isn’t it intuitive to line up videos spine-out, like books? 

 

cclClark County Library

Abstract: CCL is by far the biggest public library in the valley, and is almost right across the street from UNLV.  Its sprawling collection is a joy to browse: this is where you really get to experience that thrill of looking for a book and seeing a dozen similar titles that you’d never known about right next to it.  This library offers you your best chance of finding really old books, as well. 

Highlights: They have the largest sections for short stories and genre fiction that I’ve seen.  The attached performing arts theater puts on some of the city’s most interesting productions. 

Lowlights: They have a surprisingly small children’s section, as well as small collections of videos and music.  However, their audio book collection is excellent, and they have the best stockpile of foreign films in the city. 

 

lvLas Vegas Library

Abstract: This wonderful facility is the city’s central library location, nestled in a lot that includes the Lied Children’s Museum, the Old Mormon Fort, and the Reed Whipple Performing Arts Center, great attractions all, and sits across the street from Cashman Field. 

Highlights: The best children’s section in town, no contest.  Continue reading

Illustration of Las Vegas’ Growth

Sorry for the lack of posting for the last several days, folks, but it’s Spring Break and the Huston clan spent the weekend out of town. 

Speaking of which, I saw a great object lesson showing how much our little burg has blossomed in recent years.  On the way back into Vegas from Utah, along I-15, you’ll come across one of those road signs that tells you how far it is to the next town, this one informing you thusly: “North Las Vegas  12 miles / Las Vegas  14 miles.” 

After I saw that sign, I started paying attention to the odometer.  Exactly three miles after that sign, you pass the Las Vegas Speedway.  Three miles after that gets you to the 215 exit.  Just a stone’s throw later you pass the first “official” North Las Vegas exit, for Craig Road.  Even going that far puts you well before the road sign’s promised “12 miles” until you reach the outskirts of North Las Vegas. 

Now, those signs are notoriously inaccurate, and that one has been there for decades, but how many other cities do you know of which have grown so bulbously that they now start at least half a dozen miles before they used to? 

And if you think that’s something, try coming back into Las Vegas from Reno.  That last sign warning you that Vegas is still about 19 miles away is itself now practically within the city limits.

Letter: The North Las Vegas Library District Owes Me An Apology

The following is a message I emailed to the mayor and city council of North Las Vegas this morning:

 

Dear Mayor Montandon and City Council Leaders:


I encountered a rude shock when attempting to check out two books at the Clark County Library yesterday. The librarian informed me that the North Las Vegas Library District and the Las Vegas Clark County Library District had now merged and that, as a resident of North Las Vegas, I could no longer enjoy the privileges of LVCCLD library patrons. Because of this merger, I am now allowed to check out far fewer items, for a shorter length of time, and will be bound by North Las Vegas’s far more draconian late fee policy.


The librarian had no printed material to give me about this change. I went home and checked the websites for both districts, but nothing was mentioned on either one. I receive email from the library regularly, but no announcement had come my way. Why was this process conducted so secretly? Why did this Las Vegas librarian have to apologize for North Las Vegas’s decisions?


More importantly, if the two library districts have merged, why do they have differing policies at all? If they’re going to be linked together, shouldn’t their patron policies be the same?


Or are residents of North Las Vegas to be treated as second-class citizens at libraries now? How many people will approach the circulation desk at Rainbow Library or West Sahara Library and be told that they must pay the fines that most other residents in the valley can defer, that they can only check out a fraction of the items that every one else in line may borrow, and that those items must be returned sooner? Why are we to all be embarrassed by this implied inferiority?


This is the first time I’ve ever regretted moving to North Las Vegas.


I call upon all involved to rectify this sad situation by having the North Las Vegas Library District immediately adopt the same patron policies as the Las Vegas Clark County Library District. If this matter is not quickly resolved, I intend to appear at the July 16 North Las Vegas City Council meeting to discuss it further.


Thank you for your time and attention to this matter, and thank you in advance for acting to make North Las Vegas the equal of any other part of Southern Nevada.


Sincerely,


Jamie J. Huston

 

This is not facetious: the library is a large part of my life and I take my library usage very seriously.  I find this bit of bizarre skulduggery to be grossly outrageous.  Anyone else with an interest in the matter is encouraged to also contact the city council and voice your disgust.  I hope to get positive results to this farce soon.