Thumbs - Our high country lowdown on the news`

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By Optic Editorial Board

THUMBS DOWN! STILL BURNING ... Last week in this space we decried the wildfires burning in Arizona, Colorado and here in New Mexico, then, the next day, another one broke out even closer to home. The Pacheco Canyon fire just north of Santa Fe — and not too many miles west of Las Vegas — spread quickly, billowing smoke across the Santa Fe National Forest. By Monday morning, you could smell it in the Las Vegas air.

Now, Santa Fe and Raton are both having to worry over their water supplies, as wildfires threaten the watersheds they depend on.

THUMBS UP! ... AND HOPING ... Meanwhile, the monsoon rains can’t come too soon. Here’s a reason to be hopeful, according to the Old Farmer’s Almanac and its long-range forecast for Las Vegas: “Summer will be rainier than normal, with near-normal temperatures, on average. The hottest periods will be in mid-July and early August.”

Hotter will be OK, as long as there’s plenty of rain to go with it.

THUMBS DOWN! ... AND WORRYING. Soon, the Fourth of July celebrations will get under way. Fireworks have been banned in San Miguel and Mora counties, but municipalities don’t have a legal right to do so. Consequently, it’s up to the citizenry to act responsibly.

Until the summertime rains come in abundance, the most responsible course of action is to leave the fireworks out of this year’s celebrations. Safety first, folks. We don’t need any more fires.

THUMBS UP! TAX DECREASE COMING? The Las Vegas City Schools board voted last week to restructure its debt and bring property tax relief to east-side residents — a welcome development to those who faced a nearly 30-percent increase last year because of a foul-up in the district’s finances. (The restructured debt, however, is subject to approval by the necessary state agencies before it can be completed.)

“I am hopeful that the debt restructuring will help regain the trust of the community that we can manage their investment in the Las Vegas City Schools,” board member Ricky Serna told the Optic. It’s certainly a step in the right direction, Mr. Serna.

THUMBS  UP! FIESTAS! A week from today is the mass and coronation, and the baile de las reinas, then comes the entertainment (starting Saturday, July 2), and the Las Vegas fiestas will be off and running! Find the 2011 Fiesta Guide in today’s paper and get ready to enjoy another great weekend at Plaza Park. We’ll see you there!

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“We talked about our weaknesses, which was very depressing seeing them written on a wall. And then we flipped that into how to not only make them positive but how to implement positive changes.”
— Cindy Collins, executive director Main Street, on the economic sustainability workshop held recently at Highlands University.