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Thumbs Our high country lowdown on the news - Aug. 9, 2013

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By Optic Editorial Board

THUMBS DOWN! SHERIFF TAKES THE FIFTH
The controversy surrounding the Mora County Sheriff’s Office just won’t go away. The latest chapter involves Sheriff Thomas Garza invoking his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination in a lawsuit filed against him by two employees he fired. Garza has every right to invoke his constitutional protections; it’s just unfortunate that he’s in a position where he has to do it. We’ve said this before, but it’s worth repeating. Given the criminal charges filed against him and the civil litigation, Garza should resign.

THUMBS UP! LET’S GIVE THANKS FOR A WET JULY
It’s official. According to the National Weather Service in Albuquerque, the Las Vegas area received 4.39 inches of rain in July. That’s well above our average for July going back to 1981. The rainfall has meant that the city has been able to keep its water storage at about 60 percent. But we remain in a drought, and we all need to continue conserving water.

THUMBS UP! A BUSY WEEKEND
Last weekend’s Places With a Past Tour and Over the Edge production drew sizable crowds. The historic buildings tour drew both natives and visitors. The collection of homes and buildings featured gave people in Las Vegas a wonderful glimpse of what life in Las Vegas in the late 1800s must have been like. The Over the Edge production was well written and hilarious, and it demonstrated the immense talent we have in this area. Kudos to organizers of those events and all the other Heritage Week activities. And let’s not forget that there’s a lot going on this weekend as well with the San Miguel/Mora County Fair and the Meadow City Music Festival.

THUMBS DOWN! FUNDING STANDOFF
The state’s decision to withhold Medicaid payments to behavioral health providers, including TeamBuilders, appears shortsighted. It’s critical to hold providers accountable, but there should be a way of doing that without creating chaos. The state’s handling of this situation appears to us to be Draconian, and our guess is that innocent employees and clients will be the ones who suffer.

AND WE QUOTE
“This is a blessing to have all this rain. We weren’t anticipating we were going to have it.”
— City Utilities Director Ken Garcia, referring to the amount of rain our area received in July.