COLUMN: Riverwalk is an overall plus

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By David Giuliani

A couple of weeks ago, I attended a more than two hour meeting on a proposed pedestrian-bicyclist path along Cinder Road. Backers touted it as a desirable extension of the riverwalk here in town.

However, opponents claimed that the riverwalk is poorly maintained and that Cinder Road residents should expect the same thing.

Up to that point, I had never walked or run on the entire length of the riverwalk. I have chosen other places for exercise over the years, including the tracks at Robertson High School and Highlands University.

So I decided to take a look at the riverwalk for myself. I started on the barely visible dirt portion at Independence Avenue and ended up at Mills Avenue, along a portion recently improved by the State Employees Credit Union.

Yes, there was vandalism — nothing that even looks remotely attractive, just illegible scribbles. And I could see some trash along the path. But it was nothing like the pictures handed out at the meeting, which focused on a few isolated areas where litter is a severe problem.

In all, despite the maintenance problems, the current path is a big plus for Las Vegas.

I detoured from the riverwalk in a couple of places and learned a few more things about our community.

Because I had never run on the West Las Vegas track, I decided to give it a try, going around two times. The recently improved track is of the same quality as the one used in the Olympics in Beijing, I am told. To its credit, West, like Robertson and Highlands, allows the public to use the track.

We must all make sure the West track is treated well. At Robertson, I often see kids going on skateboards and bikes around the track, which technically aren’t allowed. But, like most people, I fear making a scene and telling them that it’s against the rules. Besides, the sign with the rules disappeared long ago.

After the Robertson track was completed some years ago, football players were told not to use their cleats on the track during practice. That rule doesn’t seem to apply anymore.

Let’s hope West doesn’t allow its players to walk with their cleats over the quality track. Maybe they could place a plank over the track to allow the players to cross.

Near Highlands, I left the riverwalk to run on campus. The dorms under construction seem to be nearing completion. It’s quite a large building, with hundreds of rooms. It will be a big attraction for Highlands.

When Highlands decided to build the dorms last year, I was doubtful that they would be ready by the fall of 2009, as the university promised they would. In fact, I bet Don Pace, my fellow reporter, that it wouldn’t get done on time. I have reported on any number of large construction projects in my time as a reporter, and many end up behind schedule.

Franken Construction, the contractor, focused on getting all of the outside work done before the cold weather hit, then the crews shifted to the interior. A warmer winter surely helped the project, but I believe it would have been timely even if we endured the average winter.

To make a long story short, I‘m afraid I lost the wager. But I’m not sure what we bet. I’m hoping Don is equally as forgetful.

• • •

A Rowe resident called me last week to tell me that he had been scammed. He received a letter in which some distant company offered to hire him as a mystery shopper.

They gave the retired man a $2,600 check, and he cashed it. The firm asked him to shop at a number of places and report on the customer service. Then the company asked him to go to a MoneyGram location and send the scamming firm $2,000, money he had from the original $2,600. The company apparently promised to give him the money back; it supposedly just wanted to find out about the service at the MoneyGram location.

He sent the money, and now he’s found out about a stop-payment order on the $2,600 check. His Las Vegas bank is now requiring that he pay up, but it has been gracious enough to have him do that in payments. But that’s a big hit on a Social Security recipient.

Be very wary of such offers. It’s a cliché, but it’s worth repeating over and over: If something seems too good to be true, it probably is.

David Giuliani is managing editor of the Las Vegas Optic. He may be reached at 425-6796 or dgiuliani@lasvegasoptic.com.