Thumbs: Our high country lowdown on the news - Nov. 23, 2012

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By Optic Editorial Board

Looking for reasons for the season? Here are three gratuities gleaned from recent events in and around Las Vegas:

THUMBS UP! THINGS TO DO. Say what you want about how Las Vegas is a sleepy little town, but there really is plenty to do here. This weekend, for example, there are Christmas fairs in the Student Center Ballroom at Highlands University; then next week there’s the Popovich Comedy Pet Theater, again on the Highlands campus (in the Ilfeld Auditorium). And don’t forget the annual Electric Light Parade, which starts at 6 p.m. next Saturday, Dec. 1, with this year’s theme “Storybook Christmas.”
Of course there’s more. And while there’s things to do all year long, Las Vegas is a great place to be for the holidays.

THUMPS UP! DEDICATION TO SERVICE. Ours is a giving community — in many, many ways. We were reminded of the value of service here just last week, with a report on the retirement of Las Vegas native Col. Joseph L. Torres Jr. after 26 years in the U.S. Air Force.
Here, there’s a history of exemplary service in the military — something that shows a true dedication and love of country for which we should all be grateful.

THUMBS UP! INTERNATIONAL FLAVOR. From the dozens of nations represented at United World College in Montezuma to the International Student Community at Highlands, the Las Vegas area is blessed with diversity. Even beyond the schools, and in our neighborhoods, there’s a rich mixture of people and cultures of which we should all be proud.

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“This year, with your help, we raised $400 and collected approximately $200 worth of various household items such as tissue paper, toothpaste, shampoo, etc., which were donated to the Ronald McDonald House of New Mexico on Nov. 8.”
— John C. Ortega of Las Vegas, in a mil gracias letter to the editor that ran Nov. 16. The Ortega family holds a heavy-medal “fest” around Halloween every year in honor of Aaron Ortega, who died in 2009 of a rare enzyme disorder. The family raised the money as a way to give back to the Albuquerque facility, after staying there when Aaron was seeking treatment.