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Thumbs - Our high country lowdown on the news - May 4, 2012

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By Optic Editorial Board

THUMBS DOWN! DWI IN THE MORNING. State police responded to a crash scene a week ago Friday after a suspected drunken driver crashed into a telephone pole on Mountain View Drive, started to flee and crashed into a car at Seventh Street and Mountain View. Keith T. Gutierrez, 28, of Las Vegas, then ran from his vehicle to the nearby Allsup’s, where he climbed into someone’s vehicle and told the driver to get him out of there, according to the probable cause statement. But it didn’t work.

Gutierrez was charged with a list of crimes long enough to run down the fractured arm he sustained in the incident. The driver of the other vehicle, Alex Montoya, reportedly suffered severe head trauma.

THUMBS UP! CITIZENS ‘ARREST.’ To those people at the Allsup’s, who held Gutierrez down until the police and EMS could get there, we say, good job! It would have been wrong for a suspected drunken driver to successfully flee from the scene, so we think detaining him was the right thing to do.

THUMBS UP! HAND CARVINGS. Margarito R. Mondragon is to be commended for his beautiful wood sculpture, still a work-in-progress as of this writing but already quite impressive. His is a carving of Nuestra Señora de los Dolores at Plaza Park.

Other sculptures, fashioned out of old trees that have been cut down to their base, are planned for the park. The brain-child of KFUN’s Joseph Baca, it’s a great way to improve the look of the park.

THUMBS UP! GOOD INVESTMENT. Las Vegas has received other awards from the state Water Trust Board, including $1.5 million last year for a Taylor Wells project, but this year’s $600,000 to prepare a Peterson Dam upgrade is right on time.

Yes, it’s a far cry from the $120 million over 40 years that’s been estimated for a total fix to the city’s water system, but hey, one step at a time. And Peterson Dam, which holds back most of the city’s storage capacity, is a mighty big step.

• • •

AND WE QUOTE

“If you look at it on paper, we don’t look as healthy as we are, but if you look at our bank account you wouldn’t feel bad.”
— Sheryl McNellis-Martinez, Las Vegas City Schools superintendent, on the district’s finances as the closing of the fiscal year approaches.