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Thumbs: Our high country lowdown on the news - March 8, 2013

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By Optic Editorial Board

THUMBS DOWN! YOU JUST KNEW IT WAS COMING. John Singletary, who lost his homes in a gas explosion two years ago, is suing the city of Las Vegas. The suit seeks an unspecified amount in compensation for damages and other costs.
In February 2011, the 73-year-old Singletary was asleep in his Church Street home when the kitchen area exploded into a fire. It spread through his home, and though he and his dog got out, the adobe structure was a total loss. Singletary’s suit alleges, among other things, that the city’s gas line leading to the house was cracked, and gas migrated into the kitchen and caused the explosion.
It didn’t look good for the city immediately after the fire and it doesn’t look good now. Still, it’s now up to the judicial system to decide. We hope the resolution that comes will be fair and equitable for all sides.

THUMBS DOWN! BILLING ERRORS. Meanwhile, the city Utilities Department faced another problem last week when a number of water customers were overcharged on their February bills. The problem actually began with the January bills, when an apparent software glitch undercharged customers. To correct that error, the city added the undercharged amount to February’s bill, but in doing so it inadvertently pushed a lot of the customers into higher rate structures, which left them with much higher water bills.
The city has promised not to cut off anyone’s water if they can’t pay the bill they were sent, and is working to correct the bills. Let’s hope it’s fixed sooner rather than later.

THUMBS UP! ASSOCIATION BUILDING. The effort to reopen the skating pond in the Gallinas Canyon has taken another big step forward as a group has revived the Montezuma Skating Pond Association. It’s first public event is from 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday at the pond — if it’s deemed safe enough for skating.
Billed as the Montezuma Skating Pond Chill, there will even be a few skates available to use, free of charge, if the ice is thick enough. Sounds like great fun for the whole family.

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AND WE QUOTE

“I am very grateful.” — Gene Parson, after the West Las Vegas School Board voted unanimously to extend his contract as superintendent by a year, after a lengthy executive session.