Thumbs - Our high country lowdown on the news - July 27, 2012

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THUMBS UP! UNDER BUDGET. Good news for Las Vegas and its City Council — Finance Director Pamela Marrujo told councilors last week that the city ended its fiscal year in the black. General fund expenses alone came in about $800,000 under budget, while general fund revenues were $351,000 over budget. That’s the kind of year-end report we like to see.
This is where fiscal conservatism pays off, the result of a tight budget and careful spending. Keeping such a surplus for a rainy day — or perhaps we should say, a continuing drought — will keep the city in a better position to address future problems as they arise.

THUMPS UP! THE ROAR OF MONEY. Enter the iron horses and their riders for the seventh annual Rough Rider Motorcycle Rally this weekend. And with it comes the sound of money changing hands, from bikers’ wallets to business cash registers. That alone is reason enough to welcome them to town.
Of course, another reason is that Las Vegans are just that way — friendly to visitors and welcoming to those who enjoy the unique historical and cultural elements of our town. So welcome, Mr. and Ms. Biker, we hope you’ll enjoy “the original” Las Vegas enough to return for another visit soon.

THUMBS UP! LEADING THE WAY. Highlands University is improving its recycling program yet again, this time with a new baler, which will generate revenue and increase the efficiency and production of its operation.
Are we the only ones who see how the university’s recycling program is outshining the city’s? Let’s hope that when the city/county hub-and-spoke recycling project gets off the ground, it will catch up with the quality of Highlands’ operation.

THUMBS UP! LIGHT ON THE MONSOONS. We’re getting rain, but not enough of it. Every day there are clouds, but they seldom “burst.” Instead, they “leak” — just enough to brighten our spirits but not enough to offset the parched countryside.
The last couple of days have been refreshing, but we need much more. Here’s hoping, but not really expecting, better precipitation in August.

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“I loved my husband dearly ... He wasn’t only my husband. He was my best friend.”
Suzanne Aguilar, after pleading guilty to second-degree murder for the 2011 stabbing death of her husband, Michael Martinez, at a hearing in which she was sentenced to 10 years in prison.