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Thumbs: Our high country lowdown on the news, July 12, 2019

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By Optic Editorial Board

THUMBS UP: REINA EMBRACES ROLE
It was fantastic to see Preciosa America Chavez wholeheartedly embrace her role as the 2019 Fiestas Queen last weekend. She was poised and energetic during the parade and was a great representative for this community throughout the entire weekend. Leading up to Fiestas, Chavez told the Optic she had been dreaming about this opportunity her entire life. That passion shined through loud and clear. Hopefully, her experience will encourage more young women to pursue the crown next year. It would be fantastic to see the event grow once again.

THUMBS DOWN: NMBHI EXPANSION
Last week, NMBHI announced plans to expand its nursing home care facility, increasing the facility’s bed count by 54. We believe the move is unwise at this time. As it stands, NMBHI is struggling to keep all of its departments properly staffed, leaving some employees stretched thin and overworked. The priority should be getting the existing facilities in the best shape possible before expanding any more. The patients in this area deserve the best care available. They should come before anything else.

THUMBS UP: STATEWIDE GROUPS COME TO VEGAS
The San Miguel County chapter of the New Mexico Federation of Democratic Women hosted the group’s statewide meeting last month in Las Vegas. This is fantastic to see for the local community, because any effort to bring people from around the state to this area should be applauded. There were more than 100 people at the event. All groups from this area should be encouraged to host statewide functions in town. It increases awareness of this area and brings money into the local community. If the goal is to continue to grow the Las Vegas area, involving the entire state is a great first step.

THUMBS DOWN: POTHOLES AROUND TOWN
Though potholes are an ongoing issue, it is even more magnified right now. At the end of this month, Las Vegas will host the Rough Rider Motorcycle Rally, bringing bikers from around the state to this area. The way the roads are right now, all of them will be at risk for serious injuries. Many of the potholes around town are more than a minor inconvenience. They are more of a serious safety issue. We want to see everyone have a good time at the rally, and the roads will make that more difficult. Whatever can be done in the next two weeks before this event begins needs to be done.

THUMBS UP: CONNOR HALL REOPENING
Since 2016, Connor Hall at Highlands University has been out of commission. Now, we are pleased to see that it will be returning to use for the upcoming school year. The building will be used by commuter students, who need a place to stay a couple days each week. This is a good sign of progress by Highlands, and we hope to see these positive steps continue in the future.