Thumbs - Our high country lowdown on the news

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By Optic Editorial Board

THUMBS DOWN! COMMUNITY TRAGEDIES. Two homicides in as many days can really shake up a small town. Joseph H. Hernandez, 45, and Sherry Anne Clancy, 61, were killed in separate incidents only a few days ago. Two men, Richard Vigil, 47, and John Brito, 44, also of Las Vegas, face charges related to Hernandez’s death, while Clancy’s housemate, 52-year-old Tamara Smith, is charged in her death.

All of these people — the victims as well as the suspects — resided in Las Vegas.

These two tragedies are the second and third homicides of 2011 for our town. On March 25, Michael Martinez was stabbed to death, and his wife, Suzanne Aguilar has been charged in that case.

Let there be peace in our town. Please, no more violence.

THUMBS UP! EVENT-FILLED WEEKEND. Contrary to the contrarians who like to say there’s nothing to do in Las Vegas, there’s almost always plenty to do — if you just look around. This Saturday, for example, there something for people interested in attending  an art show and more at a nearby village’s community center, others looking to grow their own food, and generous souls looking to help out a Japan in crisis. Check out today’s La Gente page for more about El Valle Community Center open house in Villanueva, the seed exchange at Luna Community College, and the “Jamboree for Japan” at First United Methodist Church — and more.

The problem, it seems, isn’t that nothing goes on in Las Vegas, but that too many great events bump into each other, thereby dividing people’s time and interests into conflicting schedules. We suppose it’s the price that must be paid for an overactive community.

THUMBS DOWN! DRY SPELL. The winter didn’t produce nearly enough snow, the spring is only producing wind, and all signs point to a very dry summer. The city is right to implement Stage III water restrictions, and will be completely justified in enforcing the conservation requirements.

“This year is one of the worst drought years in recent history. Statewide precipitation is less than 40 percent of normal for most of New Mexico since Jan. 1,” State Engineer John D’Antonio declared recently. And the Rio Gallinas, he suggested, offers even bigger challenges.

Conservation will have to be the name of the game in the coming weeks and months. So we’d best get used to brown over green.

THUMBS UP! BIG MAC IMPROVEMENTS. “So I don’t think I can survive four months without McDonald’s,” said one young friend on Facebook this week — but you’ll have to. Andres Zamora, owner of the Las Vegas franchise, says the store will be closed temporarily for a rebuilding and expansion project.

But no worries, young friend, the Golden Arches will be returning with a bigger and better building, and all the usual cardboard and plastic.

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“I am asking you ... to pass a resolution or issue some instructions to Chief (Christian) Montaño to make marijuana interdiction the lowest priority of the Las Vegas Police Department for expenditure of funds, equipment, manpower and other taxpayer resources.”

— Robert Jones, medical marijuana user, in a statement distributed to the Las Vegas mayor and City Council last week. So far, the city has taken no action on the request.