Summerlin Sentinel


Mayor corrects record on transit in Summerlin

Although unlikely a steam engine from a century ago, little is known about a preliminary proposal to construct some sort of privately operated transit line along an unspecified section of Charleston Boulevard. Even Las Vegas City Councilwoman Victoria Seaman, who represents much of Summerlin, can't say what the transit line will look like or how far west it could run into Summerlin. Plans are expected to unfold behind closed doors in the next couple years. Photo by Pixabay

Agenda mistaken on location

For coverage click HERE

Summerlin’s hero of the week is Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman.

Had it not been for the mayor, former principal of Summerlin’s lavish The Meadows School, Summerlin residents may never have been told that a private transit line has been proposed for West Charleston Boulevard in Summerlin.

The City Council last week initiated an “exclusive negotiating agreement” with a transportation company known as Axios.

It is considering construction of a privately operated transit service - similar, perhaps, to a train or bus - along an undisclosed section of Charleston Boulevard, which stretches from Summerlin to the Las Vegas Strip to US Highway 95 south of downtown Las Vegas and into East Las Vegas.

In other words, from one end of Southern Nevada to the other.

In response to the vote, Axios will develop behind closed doors the preliminary plans for such aspects as the route, the design, the schedule, the acquisition of right of way and coordination with existing transit services, according to documents filed with the city.

However, the proposal does not specify whether Charleston Boulevard through Summerlin will be affected, or whether it will involve other portions of the major roadway.

The project first appeared on a public agenda for a City Council meeting a month ago. The item stated it impacted City Council wards 1, 3 and 5 with no mention of Ward 2 in Summerlin.

As a result, there was no reason for lawyers, doctors, bankers, real estate brokers, developers who live in Summerlin to be angry, alarmed or, possibly, relieved at news of a transit service coming to the area.

As a result, there was no cause for parents, from households earning an average annual income of $112,000 in West Summerlin, to protest or, possibly, celebrate the prospect of more public transit.

Like a puppy on the precipice of a percolating volcano, the misinformation was just about to fall into the annals of local history when the mayor came out of nowhere.

At the start of last week’s council meeting, the mayor declared the historic record shall read accurately, and verbally altered the public record to include Summerlin among the communities affected by the transit proposal.

Thank goodness.

Now, Summerlin residents know that a top-secret plan is afoot to design and build some sort of undisclosed transit service that may run west into Summerlin.

Making the circumstance more mysterious is that city staff was unable to say how the mistake occurred in the first place.

In an email response to questions from the Summerlin Sentinel, city staff refused to say whether the wrong ward was listed as a result of human error, a computer error or, possibly, a simple type-O.

While hardly an actionable offense, it must have been a mistake by someone to one degree or another.

If not a mistake, what could have been the cause of the misinformation appearing on two consecutive agendas three weeks apart?

How many alternatives can there be? Let’s see. There is a mistake … and there is … hmmm … just one more minute … it’s on the tip of my tongue.

I’ve got it, by George - intentional deceit made to look like incompetence.

Nah, that couldn’t be it.

As any former principal might tell you: It’s best to own up to a mistake, and try to not make it a second time.

Frank Geary is an award-winning journalist with 23 years experience in California and Nevada. He writes from Summerlin, Las Vegas, NV.

Published April 16, 2021

Last Week's Opinion

Backyard pools provide pleasure, pose peril

Image by Yan Krukov via Pexels

Drowning more likely in family pool

For coverage click HERE

Would you agree that a home with a toddler is no place for a boa constrictor, no matter the safety precautions?

The large snake, after all, could trap your 2-year-old in its grasp, and squeeze him until he stopped breathing.

While not a predator hungry for flesh, a residential swimming pool poses the same threat.

Drowning statistics from the Southern Nevada Health District show that 29 of the 39 fatal drownings involving Clark County children in the past five years were preschoolers under four years old.

And, in the past five years, 54% to 72% of drowning and near-drowning incidents reported to authorities occurred in residential pools.

In other words, at a pool where there isn’t a lifeguard or someone else paid to watch children swimming. Instead, a pool where parents, babysitters, grandparents, siblings are looking out for a toddler’s safety every second of every minute of every day.

If you are a parent of a toddler, you know there are opportunities for something to go wrong - even when your child is asleep. The plastic covers on door knobs. The cushions made for table corners. The lock on the toilet seat. The high chair. The playpen.

There will be that urgent text to return, or you may run between rooms while cooking, or you may have to get something from your car or you may simply fall asleep for three or four minutes.

I was at the Las Vegas Review-Journal in June 2010 when the 2-year-old son of retired football star Randall Cummingham drowned in a backyard spa at their Las Vegas home.

Cunningham, a minister at the time, had used the same spa to perform baptisms. A woman, who had been watching several children at the time, found two-year-old Christian Cunningham floating in the small body of water.

Three years earlier, my son escaped a mishap, which could have led to his drowning in an indoor pool at a hotel in Flagstaff. Although the episode lasted only seconds and was witnessed by no one else, it remains branded in my memory forever.

It was winter, and the pool was deserted. My one-year-old accompanied me to the hot tub, which was connected to the pool area by a wide, open entryway. My son sat in a chair across from me while I sat in the tub alone for five minutes or less.

While I dried off, my son walked over to the pool. He was less than 15 feet from me, but I could not see around the wall between the pool and hot tub. Three to four seconds later, I came around the corner and my son was nowhere in sight.

I ran to the doorway on the other side of the pool. I quickly glanced into the hotel lobby and the empty breakfast nook before turning back to the pool. How could he have fallen into the water without me hearing a scream or even a splash?

I ran back to the pool’s edge near the hot tub. I looked down. My bald son was about three feet below the surface, looking up at me with a calm look on his face.

He wasn’t thrashing or fighting to survive. He was looking at me, as if he was simply waiting for me to come and safely pluck him from the depths. I jumped in, and grabbed him. I was shaking more than him. I dried him off and proceeded back to our hotel room, where he spent the night wrapped in my arms.

At the time, I was the jerk who had convinced himself he had nothing to worry about when it came to drowning.

Our home in Las Vegas at the time had a wonderful, kidney-shaped pool on a quarter acre. We placed a mesh fence around the pool to protect our dog from drowning two years before my first child was born.

In addition, my spouse and I had each been on the high school swim team, and both of us had worked as lifeguards in summers during our high school and college years.

Given our background in pool safety and experience with drowning, we were more worried about black widow spiders than the backyard pool.

If you are one of the many hoping to find a Summerlin home for sale while interest rates are still low, please seriously consider the risks of a pool if you have a toddler or are planning to have one in the years ahead.

Being a parent changes everything forever. The parental order is uncompromising. It takes only seconds for a child to wander off … and, in the most tragic cases, never return.

Frank Geary is an award-winning journalist with 23 years experience in California and Nevada. He writes from Summerlin, Las Vegas, NV.

Published April 9, 2021

Holiday bunnies lead to overpopulation

For coverage click HERE

If you plan to purchase a bunny for Easter or the arrival of spring, please reconsider.

If you have already acquired a bunny or bunnies, please visit the website for a local agency known as Bunnies Matter.

In Summerlin, there are hundreds of indigenous rabbits. For some angry property owners, their proliferation and droppings make them a pest worthy of the same treatment reserved for pigeons and rodents.

However, in corners of the community not far from Summerlin, dozens of rabbits have been dumped after being purchased at pet stores, farms and elsewhere, according to Bunnies Matter.

People acquire them this time of year to serve as a prop at an Easter celebration, or, perhaps, as an adorable additive to a family photo.

For years, Las Vegas residents had abandoned their bunnies on the property of a state-run, inpatient mental-health facility on Charleston Boulevard.

Word had gotten around that was the place for bunnies after Easter ended, according to Bunnies Matter.

It didn’t help that the state, itself, introduced baby-ready bunnies to the property years earlier. The notion being that the animals had a calming influence on patients at the facility, according to Bunnies Matter.

A botched effort by the state in 2015 to remove dozens of rabbits led to a return of the rabbit population within a year.

After that, Bunnies Matter and its volunteers gathered up hundreds of rabbits from the property and found new homes for them.

The group has a shelter for abandoned rabbits at Floyd Lamb State Park, which is about a 20-minute drive north from Summerlin, and it holds an adoption fair from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays, according to the website.

As a result, the state park has become the new place for people to abandon rabbits purchased at a pet shop.

According to a recent update, the group has rescued 67 rabbits on the grounds of the large state park, and that most have been adopted.

The group is in the process of acquiring its legal, tax classification as a nonprofit organization. Also, it is working with Las Vegas city officials on the ongoing problems and looking for donations.

The website states, “There is still a lot of work to do in Las Vegas, and feeding & caring for hundreds of ‘dumped’ bunnies is very expensive.”

Hats off to Bunnies Matter this holiday weekend for 1) seeing a growing problem invisible to most of us, and doing something about it where predecessors failed and 2) reminding us that, even with the isolation and anger brought on by the pandemic, we have neighbors looking out for the weak and vulnerable.

Bunnies Matter asks for donations. If you can help, go to

Published April 2, 2021

Spring breakers can get free COVID tests

Tests in Summerlin each day after vacation

For News click HERE

For the first time since the pandemic started, the number of new coronavirus cases this week were in the single digits in each of two zip codes in Summerlin North and one in Summerlin West.

Across all three areas combined, there were an incredible total of only 20 new cases in the seven days ending Thursday, March 25, according to data from the Southern Nevada Health District.

Truly, a reason to celebrate ... and celebrate ... and celebrate some more.

Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it, the cases nearly disappeared just in time for many Summerlin families to take to the airport or the highway for a long overdue vacation during spring break.

Summerlin, along with all of Southern Nevada, has come a long way since the middle of January in pushing down the case numbers and gradually opening up businesses without seeing a spike in COVID-19 or its spreading variants.

It would be a horrible - if not lethal - shame for our community to endure another spike in cases because neighbors didn’t stay home for a consecutive spring break, or because they acted recklessly while out of town or after they returned.

If you simply must leave our gorgeous weather, snow-capped mountains, clear views and restaurants who need your business, please don’t be the patient-zero who reintroduces to Summerlin COVID-19 or one of its growing variants.

Please, congregate with people who are vaccinated. Also, wear a mask, avoid crowds and discourage hugging among family and friends.

However, mitigation measures are never 100% in stopping the spread of the virus.

To all the road warriors and jet setters on the go this week, please consider getting yourself and family members tested for coronavirus when you return.

The price is right and the testing is convenient because it is local and done by appointment to curtail unnecessary waiting.

In Summerlin, at the Vistas Community Center, 11312 Parkside Way, residents can schedule a free COVID-19 test after they return from spring break.

The free tests can be scheduled from Monday, April 5, to Friday, April 9, and on Friday, April 2 and Tuesday, April 13, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., according to Las Vegas City Councilwoman Victoria Seaman’s office. Residents can register for a mandatory appointment on Eventbrite here

Walkup testing is not permitted.

Everyone tested will receive a $5 gift card to either Dunkin Donuts or Starbucks. Anyone with questions can phone Councilwoman Seaman’s office at (702) 229-2420 or email the office at Ward2@LasVegasNevada.Gov.

Published March 26, 2021

Resolutions can create more conflict than comfort

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Clark County Commissioners this week asked for a resolution so that they might be seen as not ignoring discrimination, harassment and outright violence against our 220,000 Asian American neighbors in Southern Nevada.

On its face, a resolution seems like a wonderful, symbolic gesture of unity and support for Asian Americans at a time when national experts have seen a 150% hike in anti-Asian incidents during the pandemic.

A comfort, no doubt, to leaders in the local Asian community. And, given the low rate of anti-Asian violence reported in Southern Nevada, a resolution may prove adequate for elected officials hoping to capture the growing Asian vote.

“Fortunately we haven’t seen visible, public signs of this happening in Las Vegas,” Commissioner Tick Segerblom said Tuesday of anti-Asian violence, “but 10 percent of our population is Asian and I think it’s important to be proactive and let them know that we stand behind them.”

However, it's of little consequence.

Local authorities do not have discretion over Civil Rights violations when it comes to housing and employment, and police and prosecutors punish hate crimes - some with enhanced penalties for special groups like children and the elderly.

Nobody is going to be deterred from ignoring, harassing or assaulting their Asian American neighbor, and nobody is going to be prosecuted more severely, because elected officials approved a resolution.

To the average person, a resolution is as comforting as it is consequential.

When a motorist is yelled at for being Asian, maybe he can wave a copy of the resolution at the offender.

For the Asian kid chosen last in a pickup game at the park, maybe the resolution will convince his “friends” to let him play quarterback or striker.

For the bartender or waitress studying hard for their English-language class , will the resolution encourage customers to better conceal their laughter or disdain after they speak?

We applaud the commission for addressing the historic, boring, nauseating, never-ending conflict of racism, but resolutions do little for the victims of discrimination while sometimes serving to galvanize racists, homophobes and others bent on hate.

In about 1990, in the working-class Northern California city of Concord, the City Council established a Human Relations Commission to address racism and other issues dividing the largest city in Contra Costa County, which is east of Oakland.

A short time later, at the commission’s urging, the City Council in that conservative city approved a resolution decrying discrimination against people with the deadly AIDS virus.

The resolution said nothing about gay people, but was a catalyst for a showdown over gay rights that pitted vocal conservative Christians against militant gay activists. The most vocal on each side weren't from the community, but that didn't stop them from turning the city into a battlefield for a national debate about the spread of a deadly virus and who was to blame.

Sound familiar?

Police were required at City Council meetings for months, during which public comment looked like a Battle Royale from the old days of WWE wrestling. With buttoned up Christians, often holding bibles, in one corner and leather-clad gay militants and cross-dressers in the other.

The race for City Council that year included an evangelical Christian minister and a transvestite.

The conflict got so much attention, the two were featured on an episode of the then-popular afternoon talk show, the Donahue Show, with Phil Donahue.

The minister spoke in intolerant tones about gay people on national television, and the cross-dresser looked absolutely magnificent dressed like iconic Hollywood actress May West.

In response to the resolution, the Christian faction formed a committee. It sponsored an initiative aimed at disqualifying the City Council resolution; basically, an official statement opposing the City Council’s call for tolerance and understanding.

The measure received enough signatures to qualify for the city ballot, and voters approved it with a solid majority. The minister was elected as well. The cross dresser finished near the bottom of a long list of candidates.

So, what started out as a seemingly harmless gesture aimed at harmony and unity ended up tearing the community apart, igniting hatred and compelling residents to take sides in a dispute that defined its politics for years.

And, in the end, the entire episode was a national embarrassment for a growing city that failed to shed its reputation as a working-class, white community not very interested in newcomers or new ideas.

Frank Geary is an award-winning journalist with 23 years experience in California and Nevada. He writes from Summerlin, Las Vegas, NV.

Published March 19, 2021

Birth control measure is overdue

Image by Pexels

For Sentinel coverage click HERE

One hundred and forty- nine American women have died in combat since 9-11.

Last year, University of California, Berkeley, DNA researcher Jennifer Doudna was part of the first female duo to receive the Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

The newly-elected vice president is a woman from California, the daughter of a single mother and immigrant.

Nevada senators Catherine Cortez Masto and Jackie Rosen are among the 24 women in the U.S. Senate.

The Nevada Legislature in 2019 was the first state legislature in the country to have a female majority.

And, yet, Nevada law requires women to get a doctor’s prescription before they can purchase hormonal birth control methods from a pharmacist.

Two years ago, the female majority in the state Legislature failed in its efforts to change the law. A proposal from State Senate Majority Speaker Nicole Cannizzaro, who represents Summerlin, sailed through the Senate but died without a fight in an Assembly committee as the 120-day session expired.

Cannizzaro and many other female lawmakers have sponsored the same bill again this session. It was introduced in the Senate on Monday, International Womens’ Day.

The proposal is somewhat overdue considering at least 10 other states have done away with the prescription mandate. They include neighboring California and Utah.

Let’s hope lawmakers do not fumble the bill in the red zone this year while prioritizing special interest nonsense that is not nearly as meaningful to the everyday lives of constituents.

Proposals on school mascots, bullying, limiting judges’ authority and restricting voting can wait until this matter weaves its way through the labyrinth of the Legislature’s two houses, dozens of committees and last-minute amendments.

Women should not have to wait around a doctor’s office, endure a checkup and unwelcome questions and depart, often, with new doubts about their health or the health of their future offspring.

They should not have to then wait in line at a pharmacy for their prescription. Who gets out of their pharmacy in less than 15 minutes or more?

More than likely, most women would prefer one-stop shopping.

Lawmakers, get this done quickly, then turn your undivided attention to COVID-19 and getting the state vaccinated and back to work safely.

Frank Geary is an award-winning journalist with 23 years experience in California and Nevada. He writes from Summerlin, Las Vegas, NV.

Published March 12, 2021.

Doctors’ offices should verify vaccinations

Image by Pexels

For coverage CLICK HERE

Patients deserve to know if they are safe

Imagine a teacher who encourages bullies, or tells students that underage drinking is OK if you’re not driving.

Picture a highway patrolman not wearing a seatbelt after responding to a traffic accident that left people dead.

Or, a librarian who burns books.

Hard to imagine, isn’t it?

Although imperfect comparisons, those tragic scenarios are less likely and less lethal than the Summerlin healthcare worker who, to date, has refused to get vaccinated for COVID-19.

An informal survey last week found that some doctors’ offices in Summerlin disclosed to patients whether employees had been vaccinated, but that others were indignant in keeping the information confidential.

Not sharing such information with skittish patients is wrong. Doctors, dentists, eye doctors, etc. must do all they can lawfully to compel employees to get vaccinated, and they must disclose that information to patients.

In this COVID era, in which people often decide between their health and their income, it’s best to avoid mixed messages in healthcare. People should be able to trust the doctor, who vows to help them and who costs them so much money.

Without delay, doctors should use their office websites to post screenshots of each employee’s vaccination card and notify patients which percentage of employees have been fully vaccinated or partially vaccinated.

The Clark County Medical Society and the Nevada State Medical Association, which advocate for doctors, should do more to get healthcare workers vaccinated, and to make sure data about vaccination rates is shared with the community. If not for the health of patients, do it because transparency is good for business.

That way potential patients no longer have to wait on the phone in hopes of getting that information verbally without the benefit of seeing the actual vaccination card for verification.

Two months ago, the state gave healthcare workers the green light to cut in front of seniors, those with health problems and others for vaccinations.

A prudent maneuver given the constant danger employees at hospitals and nursing homes have faced for a year, and considering many in Southern Nevada have put off important doctor visits for fear of contracting COVID-19.

Some Summerlin offices were quick to confirm that doctors had been vaccinated, but were not as forthcoming about vaccination rates for other employees.

One reason for the disparity might be that doctors have an ethical duty to get vaccinated and to assure patients it’s safe to visit them, according to the American Medical Association.

According to the Medical Association, doctors “have an ethical responsibility to encourage patients to accept immunization when the patient can do so safely, and to take appropriate measures in their own practice to prevent the spread of infectious disease in health care settings.”

It’s just plain selfish to not be vaccinated if you 1) make your living looking after the health of others, and 2) you chose to not protect yourself, your co-workers, your patients, your income, your family and your community by getting vaccinated as soon as humanly possible.

It may be understandable to some why others in Southern Nevada fear the vaccine; why they may wait to see whether people suffer side effects from the life-saving serum developed in record time.

For healthcare workers, it is not understandable. It’s simply not OK to wait.

Why? Because you are healthcare workers for heaven’s sake.

You’re like librarians safeguarding books so they won’t get burned, or the teacher who cares about students. It’s what the community expects because the community trusts you to exercise common sense and compassion.

Wake up and get vaccinated or find a new job in which your selfishness and/or ignorance won’t get innocent people sick or killed.

Frank Geary is an award-winning journalist with 23 years experience in California and Nevada. He writes from Summerlin, Las Vegas, NV.

Published March 5, 2021

Health teachers' top priority

Photo by Burst

Amid mixed messages, teachers consistent

For parents unsure about sending children back to elementary school, there are reasons to be torn.

When looking at schools in Wisconsin, Ohio, and elsewhere, and listening to some experts, it seems safe to return to schools on Monday.

However, while we have reasons to love schools in Summerlin, those Midwest districts aren’t as large and centralized, or as diverse and impoverished as the Clark County School District.

Locally, private schools returned to classes as early as the fall. Bishop Gorman and Faith Lutheran Middle & High School brought back sports that have not returned to Palo Verde or other public high schools.

Private schools, however, are not part of a district that for years has been ranked alongside the worst in the country when it comes to test-scores, or ranked near the top for the ratio of teachers to students.

But the district’s phased approach of having younger grades return before the older students provides space for social distancing in typically crowded schools. Also, it gives schools flexibility to adjust operations when cases rise.

There are reasons for trepidation, however.

As with all things, of course, exercise caution. Contact your child’s school if you have not heard from administrators. Find out about precautions being taken.

To quote Ronald Reagan, “Trust but verify.”

Another important factor is that COVID-19 cases have nose-dived in the past month. There were 49 new cases reported in the past week across Summerlin West and Summerlin North; down from the 75 or so each of the previous two weeks.

Vaccination rates in Summerlin, meanwhile, appear on pace with much of Southern Nevada.

The primary reason for optimism is the hundreds of teachers in Clark County.

When looking at the past year, the community should applaud them for standing their ground on remote learning until vaccinations were made available.

While elected officials, business leaders, ministers and even doctors sometimes instilled fear and doubt with mixed messages, hundreds of teachers have not wavered.

Consistency and transparency builds trust.

The teachers’ actions over the past year are a reason for optimism if your child must return to school so you can get back to work and make ends meet.

Health has been the teachers’ top priority, and it’s logical that their diligence will continue in the months ahead.

Frank Geary is an award-winning journalist with 23 years experience in California and Nevada. He writes from Summerlin, Las Vegas, NV.

Published February 26, 2021

Stay vigilant despite vaccine, lower cases

Image by Pexels

An orthodontist’s office said this week that 80% of its staff members had been fully vaccinated, and that others were on their way.

The Clark County School District made plans to get young students back to campus next month, and surveyed parents to see how many older kids may show up at schools to undergo annual state testing.

Las Vegas City Hall said it plans to get back to more face-to-face operations next month as well.

Organizers of the massive Mayor’s Cup plan to go ahead with the youth soccer tournament in May, which typically welcomes teams from around the United States and from countries like Mexico, Haiti, Canada and others.

State officials did an about face this week. They said some high school sports might be played after, just last month, saying fall and winter sports would be canceled in response to case numbers.

Businesses, meanwhile, this week cracked open their doors to 35% occupancy. Not a game changer from the previous 25% limit, but a positive step on the way to 50% occupancy proposed to start next month.

The latest campaign to “get back to normal” comes as COVID-19 cases in Summerlin have dropped sharply, and as the rate of vaccinations in Clark County seems to be getting better each week.

Summerlin, in the past month, has had its lowest number of COVID-19 cases since early November.

After cases had increased week-to-week by 200 or more for nearly two months across three Summerlin zip codes, there were about 75 new cases each of the past two weeks.

The drop in cases is reason to celebrate, even more than the last two times they fell in Clark County before surging to new heights a few weeks later.

Unlike other times case numbers fell, this time around vaccinations have already been administered to tens-of-thousands in Southern Nevada.

In addition, the rate of vaccinations seems to be increasing, and a one-shot vaccine in development likely will quicken the effort further in the weeks ahead.

There are more reasons now to be optimistic than at any other time over the past 12 months.

However, it’s also a really good time to pump the brakes and double-down on occupancy limits, remote work and schooling, grocery delivery and other proven mitigation measures that got us to this point after months of pain and suffering.

Those with decent memories, remember that we have seen this movie before.

Vaccinations and a decrease in cases provides an alluring backdrop for a sequel, but the experienced film fan knows the plot won’t stray far from the original.

It’s not the time to drop your guard, no matter how hungry those around you are to get back to normal.

Stay vigilant. Stay healthy.

Frank Geary is an award-winning journalist with 23 years experience in California and Nevada. He writes from Summerlin, Las Vegas, NV.

Published February 18, 2021

Bike proposal doesn't make sense for motorists

Who has forgotten the months and months of bottleneck traffic on Summerlin Parkway for construction of the pedestrian bridge east of Rampart Boulevard?

A $9 million headache for many, however, transportation planners, elected officials and bicycle enthusiasts celebrate the bridge.

After all, it is a key piece in a growing web of paths that bicyclists use to circumvent crowded streets, and it includes the 150 miles or more of trails in Summerlin.

The hope, of course, is that there will be less traffic if there is a viable trail system for those who would consider getting out of their car and using it. Like carpooling.

Despite this expensive, win-win undertaking to give bicyclists their own pathways, for some it is not enough.

The Clark County Commission on Tuesday is scheduled to consider a proposal from Commissioner Justin Jones, of Summerlin, that would no longer require bicyclists to remain on the right shoulder of the road “when traveling at a lawful rate of speed commensurate with the speed of any nearby traffic.”

Jones' proposal also would permit bicyclists to leave the right lane to make left turns, and when the biker decides the right lane is not safe.

Unsafe conditions include parked or moving vehicles, animals, “surface hazards,” or when bicyclists determine the right lane is too narrow to travel safely alongside a vehicle.

In addition, the new rules would no longer require bicyclists to have a horn or audible device attached to their bike for safety.

If this proposal makes sense to you, it’s likely you are 1) in middle school 2) you dress each weekend in a helmet and form-fitting, bright colors and ride a bicycle or 3) you are part of the growing bicycle lobby in Southern Nevada.

Presently, the law states that bicyclists shall "ride as near to the right side of the roadway as practicable, exercising due care when passing a standing vehicle or one proceeding in the same direction. "

At the risk of being old-fashioned, this is just plain common sense for those old enough to have a driver’s license.

Cars drive in the middle of the road and bikes stay in the right lane no matter how fast they may be going and no matter what may get in their way.

Does it make sense that rush-hour traffic on Sahara Avenue or Charleston Boulevard (on the city line) should be slowed down by a lone bicyclist driving near the speed limit in the middle of the road?

Or, should traffic be slowed down because a bicyclist prefers to not ride near parked cars?

The shortcoming in Jones’ proposal is that it gives bicyclists the benefit of the doubt, and punishes motorists who do not defer to the discretion of the bicyclists.

Given roads were made for cars, and given that a car will crush a bicycle and injure or kill its rider in a collision, it’s best that traffic laws consider these facts.

And, let’s not forget, taxpayers have spent tens-of-millions of dollars on infrastructure just for the handful of people who ride bikes to work, school, the park or store.

There are bike paths, road-widening renovations that include bike lanes, pedestrian bridges, transit buses with bike holders and stations with bike racks, etc.

Given taxpayers’ large investment to appease bicyclists and improve traffic, let’s not surrender road safety, common sense or our sanity to the influential bicycle lobby.

Frank Geary is an award-winning journalist with 23 years experience in California and Nevada. He writes from Summerlin, Las Vegas, NV.

Published February 11, 2021


Would dog park stop poop, unleashed attacks?

Local government officials this week took steps to protect pets in Summerlin and the animals in the vast wilderness of Southern Nevada.

Justin Jones, who represents Summerlin on the County Commission, met little resistance from commissioners Tuesday, when he asked them to denounce competitive predator hunts.

Other commissioners, from families of hunters and sportsmen, justifiably joined in decrying the slaughter of coyotes, foxes, bobcats in a twisted pursuit of points and - in some cases - cash winnings.

A day later, Stavros Anthony, who represents Summerlin on the Las Vegas City Council, asked the city attorney and animal control officers to update animal cruelty laws.

Victoria Seaman, who also represents Summerlin, expressed concerns about neglected animals being left with their owners after an abuse claim has been substantiated.

Anthony asked city administrators to compare Las Vegas’ laws against Clark County and other neighboring jurisdictions, and to study best practices around the country before updating rules.

Summerlin pet owners and nature lovers, no doubt, will applaud the County Commission and City Council for pushing common-sense, humane measures to protect our four-legged friends.

They are overdue given other states and cities have already adopted some of the provisions proposed.

At the same time, local elected officials - including leaders from homeowner associations in Summerlin South, Summerlin North and Summerlin West - must try harder to not forget the voters, the taxpayers … the humans.

Two constant complaints from a chorus of Summerlin residents - on the Nextdoor social-media platform and elsewhere - is the proliferation of dog poop and the perpetual failure of selfish owners to leash their dogs in public.

Each household pays $50 extra a month for maintaining nice parks, trails, roadside landscaping.

How much of that revenue is wasted daily on landscapers, who take time away from other beautification efforts to pick up poop left behind by inconsiderate neighbors?

With poop-bag dispensers located across every park and along sidewalks and trails, what more must be done to sway those who tell themselves their monthly fee pays for personalized poop cleanup?

If you think it is gross to touch the feces of the dog you supposedly love, think how disgusting it is for the poor landscaper.

He was hired to keep Summerlin beautiful; not to pick up poop left behind by some lazy, inconsiderate jerk.

With crime low and residents well employed, the scariest scenario for many in Summerlin is a large, unleashed dog whose species was bred to attack.

Children, in my own household, in the past month had two encounters with large, vicious dogs that were unleashed.

A large dog was found sleeping behind bushes in a small pocket park, where parents often take toddlers to play. The animal, without tags and wearing a man's white t-shirt, appeared to have been abandoned and hungry.

The second incident occurred near Oxford Park. While on bikes, they were chased by a barking German Shepherd out for a stroll with its presumptuous, arrogant owner.

Why does it seem the people, with the most vicious breeds, harbor the delusion that they can control their animals like some sort of Beastmaster, Tarzan or Dr. Doolittle?

Often, they leave you running, jumping, yelling as their dog charges at you, jumps on you or growls at you. Why should you feel the slightest stress while trying to enjoy the park that cost you $50 a month?

How many times have you heard these fools say something stupid like, “He has never done that before,” or “I am so sorry. I don’t know what has gotten into him.”

Like, somehow, it is the victim’s fault that the unleashed beast was, somehow, provoked in unexpected, unprecdented fashion.

Enough is enough.

From a layman, amateur perspective, one solution to both problems would seem to be a dog park; just like the ones presently at parks outside Summerlin.

The massive Kellogg-Zaher Soccer Complex, alongside the Summerlin Parkway west of Buffalo Drive; Buckskin Basin, near the corner of Cheyenne Avenue and Tenaya Way; and Desert Breeze Park, on Durango Drive near Desert Inn Road, each has particular areas fenced off to separate small, medium and large dogs.

Why isn’t there a dog park in Summerlin North or in Summerlin West?

Most dog parks are built inside parks, which are constructed often in flood-control zones where homes can’t be built.

Even though Summerlin is at the top of the Las Vegas Valley, there are flood-control basins near Red Rock Canyon that could be looked at for a large regional facility like those at the other parks. You know, not far from where enthusiasts fly remote-controlled toy planes.

Or, for something smaller and closer to home for many would be the large, hilly open space between the ballfields atop Palo Verde High and the 215 Beltway.

Dog owners use the same acreage to run their pets off leash every morning and every evening.

Presently, the other purpose it serves seems to be as a burial ground for discarded Christmas trees and foul balls forgotten long ago.

How much would it cost the city, the county and the Summerlin community to erect a little more chain link fencing around the outfield fences for a dog park?

If that location does not work for environmental reasons or engineering reasons or because the city and school district can’t work together, then find another location.

Let’s do it now before the vacant land is swallowed up by population growth, which will only contribute to the problem we already have.

Frank Geary is an award-winning journalist with 23 years experience in California and Nevada. He writes from Summerlin, Las Vegas, NV.

Published February 4, 2021

Food banks, charities wrestle with demand

Desert Springs United Methodist Church, in Summerlin, on Saturday handed out meals to 147 vehicles that lined Greenmoor Lane.

The line was 50% longer than a month ago, but each person received four or five meals for a family of four as they did in December.

That means those meals were gone by Monday or Tuesday, and those parents likely were in line again this week for free food at their child’s Summerlin school or at another local church.

Some in Summerlin might convince themselves that the hungry came from outside the area, and that they will return there with their box of food.

Unfortunately, this is not the case.

The Three Square Food Bank worked with church volunteers to distribute food last weekend. That group estimates - based on recent data by zip code - that 18% of Summerlin residents can’t buy food in the midst of the pandemic.

This is the same region that has seen property values climb while they have fallen or remained flat in neighboring areas during the pandemic

This is the same area that prides itself on having the best public and private schools in Nevada.

Summerlin Little Leaguers buy their gloves new rather than from a thrift store.

Palacial shopping centers, here, feature man-made streams alongside outdoor bistros, stores devoted to nothing but perfume and a single brownie that cost 8 times more than a box of mix that makes 12.

Appearances are just that, though.

The unfortunate fact is that one in five households in Summerlin do not have enough money to buy food while also paying for rent, health insurance, diapers, etc.

If you do not live in a gated community, the ratio of hungry households may be even higher than the overall Summerlin average.

We are fortunate to have neighbors like Desert Springs United, Three Square and other organizations and individuals who look beyond Summerlin’s billboards and PR slogans to see the growing demand for charity.

Organizations like West Career and Technical Academy, which was forced this week to move its food-bank operation to Sig Rogich Middle on a moment’s notice after unforeseen problems at the school.

Rather than cancel or postpone, they overcame adversity to meet the demand that they - as school employees - know is growing in our community.

The Summerlin Council is another group that identified a need and is doing something about it. The community leaders are hosting a Red Cross blood donation Feb. 16.

In addition to collecting blood at a time hospitals are busier than ever, the Red Cross hopes to identify donors who test positive for COVID-19 and use their life-saving antibodies to help patients battling the virus in local hospitals.

Also, the city of Las Vegas child care service at Veterans Memorial Community Center is offering financial aid to families who can’t afford to pay the full rate.

If "we are in this together" is more than a slogan, we should do what we can - whether a donation of cash, personal time or sweat equity - to bolster local organizations that are sacrificing and stretching every dollar to help you or your neighbors.

Frank Geary is an award-winning journalist with 23 years experience in California and Nevada. He writes from Summerlin, Las Vegas, NV.

Common sense prevails with alcohol delivery

Popular pandemic provision made permanent

Following a pandemic pilot program, the Las Vegas City Council this week unanimously authorized liquor stores, convenience stores, restaurants and others to deliver alcohol to homes and businesses in the city.

Delivery services have been permitted under a part-time provision passed in response to the pandemic, social distancing and the fact local businesses would have suffered further without the accommodation.

Now, delivery services are here to stay - permanently.

The move, proposed by Councilman Stavros Anthony, who represents Sun City Summerlin, is a common-sense and compassionate move in a scary, uncertain time.

For seniors, the obese, those with hypertension or diabetes, a trip to the store can be an anxious - if not crippling - experience.

Anthony said he expects many aspects of daily life to change in the next two decades in response to the pandemic.

At a time when restaurants, bars and other businesses are subject to 25% occupancy limits, it’s prudent to look ahead and to think outside the margins.

As Las Vegas knows, adapt or perish; just as businesses have since the pandemic took hold last spring.

Some on the City Council expressed doubts about delivery service.

One questioned whether it was wise to increase competition for struggling “brick and mortar” liquor stores devoted to retail alcohol sales.

Another said consider the “unintended consequences” of a hasty decision, and weigh more carefully public safety concerns.

Thankfully, the majority ultimately convinced doubters to support the measure on behalf of constituents and businesses, that fuel the city’s sales-tax revenue.

So, barkeep, another round for city leaders who adapted to the times, and pushed for a proposal that proved popular and prudent during a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic.

Published Jan. 21, 2021

Frank Geary is an award-winning journalist with 23 years experience in California and Nevada. He writes from Summerlin, Las Vegas, NV.

Previous Opinions

Vaccine priority list will fracture community

Young resort workers moved ahead of parents

At a time when the pandemic has exposed fault lines that divide our community, public officials are making priority lists that threaten to splinter us further.

As many expected, the governor, a former Clark County commissioner, announced that casino workers will be granted a fast lane for vaccines.

That means elected officials appease two interests with plenty of political muscle by permitting young, healthy resort workers to cut the line for vaccinations ahead of their parents.

In doing so, the state has gone astray from the common-sense federal guidelines that call for vaccine distribution to be dictated by medical necessity rather than political or economic considerations.

That means the 22-year-old bartender goes ahead of his obese 58-year-old mother with high blood pressure and/or diabetes.

That’s the same 22-year-old who doesn’t wear a mask or socially distance because experts have said for months he is virtually immune.

He goes before his 58-year-old mother, who has isolated herself for months because she is terrified of dying.

Vaccinating resort employees is essential, elected officials contend, to help get Las Vegas’ crippled tourist economy back on track.

If waiters, bartenders, dealers, maids and other “essential” resort employees are vaccinated, guests will flock back to the gaming tables, slot machines, shops and concerts.

Nevada Resort Association Executive Director Virginia Valentine and Steve Hill, of the Las Vegas Visitors and Convention Authority, are pleased resort workers will get vaccinated before their parents, according to Thursday’s Las Vegas Sun newspaper.

Vaccinated employees will make it easier for them to market Las Vegas, they said.

In the Sun, Valentine said, “This will provide peace of mind to visitors and influence their travel decisions against other communities where the rates of vaccination among front staff would be less certain.”

Reminiscent of the Gordon Gekko playbook, the notion is that what’s good for gaming is good for all of us.

If gaming revenues pick-up, there will be more sales-tax and other public revenue for schools, police, firefighters, parks, etc.

And, in the process, elected officials pacify two groups essential to their reelection prospects.

Not only does the move make casino executives happy, but also appeases the large, powerful Culinary Union, which represents thousands of resort workers.

Campaign experts might suggest the new priority list is a win-win, while the rest of us grow more impatient and angry by the day.

Rest assured. As the governor said this week, nobody wants to get the vaccine to you and your family more than he does.

While he is no doubt sincere, people in their 50s and 60s will have to wait until casino workers and other younger, healthier neighbors go first.

So, those more likely to get very sick and die will have to wait for those far less likely to get sick and die. Seems backward because, according to federal experts, it is.

But, don’t despair if you are angry, impatient and have grey hair, 20 extra pounds and a history of voting.

At least you will be safer when you put your life at risk going to a resort while you wait days or weeks longer for that vaccine the governor can’t wait to get for you.

Frank Geary is an award-winning journalist with 23 years experience in California and Nevada. He writes from Summerlin, Las Vegas, NV.

A mask is not a political statement

Guest Opinion

Norman Wright, RN, BSN, MS, Infection Preventionist

Under Nevada law: NRS 484D.495, driving or riding in a motor vehicle in Nevada without wearing a seat belt is a misdemeanor and I bet you buckle up without even thinking. But, if you are stopped while not wearing a seatbelt would you tell the officer, “You can’t give me a ticket because, it’s my Constitutional right not to wear a seatbelt"?

If you are a passenger in a car and the driver asks you to “buckle up” would you say, “No, it’s my body and it’s my right not to wear a seatbelt”?

To most this sounds ridiculous but these are the exact arguments that those who refuse to wear a mask make to justify their “right” not to wear one.

There is a difference between not wearing a seatbelt and refusing to wear a mask. Get into an accident and it’s your head going through the windshield, you are the only one injured if you fail to buckle up. Wearing a mask and maintaining social distance not only protects you, but also others.

Getting beyond the legalities, another argument against masks is: “First the CDC and Dr. Fauci say don’t wear a mask and then all of a sudden tell us to wear one.” And that is accurate, but this was the position last March when we were learning about this novel (new) virus. On April 3, 2020, Dr. Anthony Fauci updated his previous advice and recommended people wear cloth face coverings “. . . in public settings when around people outside their household, especially when social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.”

Remember when President Trump predicted, COVID-19 would miraculously be gone by April 2020?

Unfortunately, by Jan. 12, 2021 Nevada had a total of 252,842 COVID-19 infections and 3,546 deaths. The 7-day moving average of deaths per day was 44 and the rates in Summerlin are also skyrocketing.

For the past year the information and disinformation has been overwhelming and it is time to sort fact from fiction. Again, the latest CDC information shows that masks not only protect those wearing a mask, but also others:

Wearing a mask has become politicalized to the point where people get into fights when someone refuses. Masks have become a red vs. blue issue that divides us. It is time to put our divisions aside, unite and work together to defeat the virus.

Hospitals are overburdened with COVID-19 cases. Nurses and doctors are overwhelmed trying to keep their patients alive.

Last spring President Trump said “We are at war with the virus”. On January 20 President Biden will ask everyone to fight the war by wearing a mask for the next 100 days.

Instead of fighting each other let’s join forces, recognize the virus is here, it is not a hoax, and it is killing and maiming us.

Vaccines are here. Hopefully they will bring an end to the pandemic, but there is no guarantee. The basic way to stop the spread is to socially distance, wash your hands and wear a mask.

Instead of viewing mask use through a Red vs. Blue filter, let’s see it as the Red, White and Blue thing to do.

New narrative necessary after day of despair

Photo illustration by James Geary

Parents prompted to explain events they too find difficult to digest

Thursday morning, public school students were back to math, foreign language and American history after a day off that may echo for a lifetime.

With their Cap’n Crunch or Pop Tarts on Wednesday, children also swallowed whole the ice-cold fact that the country reached yet another record with 3,775 deaths from COVID-19 the day before.

The poor parents. Is there anything they can say to kids they haven’t told them already in the past 10 months?

A daily death toll that makes a plane crash seem tame. Do you say “it is what it is” or something more heartfelt?

Later, with peanut-butter sandwiches or macaroni and cheese, children saw dozens of crimson-capped hooligans storm the U.S. Capitol; angry with lawmakers for making official the November election results.

One woman was shot and killed and three others died from medical episodes during the afternoon melee.

Meanwhile, frightened lawmakers were given gas masks while security pointed pistols at rabid protestors through broken windows and doors.

Poor parents. As they rise from the mat after the breakfast-time gut-punch, they are hit with a haymaker for lunch.

While an imperfect comparison, it’s as if John F. Kennedy were assassinated the same day that terrorists hijacked planes, toppled towers and killed more than 3,000.

It wasn’t the first time the United States was challenged.

However, it may be the first time parents of school-age children have been compelled to explain events they too have trouble digesting.

For a measure of assurance, turn off the news and social media and look locally. There is comfort in the pace of the politics, and Summerlin might be inching its way back to normal if news about the COVID-19 vaccine is reliable.

It is a time of turnover in power just as in Washington, but the process has been rather normal.

Newly-elected Clark County commissioners were sworn in Monday, replacing longtime, beloved officials who departed peacefully as dictated by term limits. That, despite one race that was decided by 15 votes after a recount and legal challenge.

The 81st Nevada Legislature is scheduled to be sworn in Feb. 1.

Meanwhile, Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman is scheduled this evening, Thursday, to deliver the annual State of the City speech as she and others have done every year at this time.

With the pandemic, the state reported last week that workers at outpatient and home-health facilities are expected to start receiving vaccinations this week.

Something to celebrate.

Maybe, sometime soon, patients - without fear of contracting COVID-19 - can undergo overdue outpatient surgery, or get their glaucoma examined or just get their teeth cleaned for the first time in months.

With children the last to be vaccinated, and concern growing over the detriment of distance learning, parents in Summerlin have a long way to go back to normal.

However, with little to see politically, and a sliver of hope with the vaccine, hopefully, parents can alter the narrative they share with their children.

Published on January 7, 2021

Frank Geary is an award-winning journalist with 23 years experience in California and Nevada. He writes from Summerlin, Las Vegas, NV.

Property values worth celebrating

Number of homes sold and values higher than year ago

Within days of the attacks on 9-11, some 15,000 employees were laid off on the Las Vegas Strip.

During the Great Recession, a friend and neighbor moved back to Buffalo after the plumbing company he worked for closed, and before his lender sold his home for one third what he had paid five years earlier. He was a great neighbor. I had to force on him $50 when he offered to replace my water heater for nothing.

Overnight, my former neighborhood in northwest Las Vegas was ruined. Wealthy out-of-town landlords paid pennies for owner-occupied homes and rented them out.

The same circumstance played out across much of Southern Nevada.

Unlike with those episodes, property values in Summerlin seem to be something to celebrate as we turn the page on a year with little to cheer about.

In looking at real estate data for the year, it appears Summerlin is in better shape than Southern Nevada overall and much of the country, despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The number of single-family homes sold increased 27% in the area bordered by Rampart Boulevard west to Red Rock Canyon and Charleston Boulevard north to Cheyenne Avenue.

According to regular updates from Las Vegas Realtors, the median sale price jumped 25% from November 2019 to last month. Meanwhile, neighboring areas have seen values stay flat or decrease as much as 10%.

The average sale price increased 12% to $569,475 last month. The median sale price jumped a staggering 26% to $515,000.

What the snapshot portends for Summerlin property owners is phenomenal, especially given historic trends and the state of Las Vegas’ tourist economy.

Just two weeks ago, Las Vegas City Council members expressed urgent concern for local businesses unable to make payroll under occupancy limits, and Gov. Steve Sisolak said some 250,000 people were out of work for 78 days during the shutdown in the spring.

He said 2019 was the first time the state saw such positive cash flow since the Great Recession a decade ago. The state, he insisted, can’t spend another 10 years climbing out of a similar fiscal ditch left by COVID-19.

So, there is a silver lining in the growing strength of Summerlin home values, and the hope that this ditch may not sink much deeper, especially with the first vaccines being administered this month in Southern Nevada.

The increase in values are simply another reminder, as we start a new year, that Summerlin is a great place to call home - hopefully throughout the New Year and for many more to come.

Published on December 31, 2020

Frank Geary is an award-winning journalist with 23 years experience in California and Nevada. He writes from Summerlin, Las Vegas, NV.

Summerlin jump starts subdued holidays

Community celebrates, despite COVID-19

In a year when disease derailed holiday tradition, appreciation goes out to those in Summerlin whose spark helped jump start the holiday spirit when it was needed most.

  • Rather than cancel out of convenience, the Summerlin Council moved forward with its annual Santa Sighting event for children, and collected from local residents donated goods that were given to the homeless near downtown Las Vegas. The council sliced the usual Santa Sighting spectacle into two drive-through events Dec. 12. Kids passing by in cars saw Santa, his elves, gingerbread men, and cartoon characters from movies like Toy Story and Frozen.

  • The Summerlin Library this month, despite pandemic occupancy limits, presented free children’s films once a week in the morning for little ones stuck at home. Films scheduled included Polar Express and The Muppet Christmas Carol.

  • Neighbors who put up lights this year are wonderful. At the very least, they provide a nostalgic distraction from COVID fatigue. Even more, they remind us that Summerlin is a special place to call home.

  • The delivery HEROES, who have shocked and thrilled in the past two weeks, beating predetermined due-dates at a time when paying extra for shipping is troublesome for many.

  • Las Vegas City Councilwoman Victoria Seaman, who represents much of Summerlin within city limits, spread warmth and cheer during a drive-through event Dec. 12 at which she handed out more than 40 gift bags to participants.

  • At Downtown Summerlin and at the Rock Rink skating rink, not all is as festive as past years. However, with holiday music playing over loudspeakers, a Christmas tree that’s hard to miss and a train whistling by, it’s easy to get caught up in the spirit of the season.

  • Visitors to the Vista Commons shopping center, Desert Foothills Parkway and Charleston Boulevard near Red Rock Canyon, were treated to music from a violinist, according to remarks on the Nextdoor social media platform. It was delightful for the violin player to share his talent, and the shopping center should be applauded if he was invited to play.

Hang in there. Stay safe.

Happy holidays to all.

Published on December 24, 2020

Frank Geary is an award-winning journalist with 23 years experience in California and Nevada. He writes from Summerlin, Las Vegas, NV.

Finances uncertain, nominee gets rubber stamp

Not time for novice on Audit Oversight Committee

With coronavirus crippling Las Vegas’ tourist economy, and Republicans in Congress opposed to bailing out states and cities, fiscal oversight is vital.

Local restaurants, bars and other businesses are wading into the red ink with occupancy limits of 25 percent enacted to slow the spread of coronavirus.

As Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman and City Council members Victoria Seaman and Michelle Fiore pointed out at the council meeting Wednesday, Dec. 16, they can’t make payroll.

Councilwoman Olivia Diaz, concerned City Hall revenue may drop, asked whether city officials could revisit a 3-year contract approved Wednesday if financial circumstances grow dire.

Last week, in his latest address to the state, Gov. Steve Sisolak said some 250,000 people were out of work for 78 days during the shutdown in the spring.

He said 2019 was the first time the state saw such positive cash flow since the Great Recession a decade ago. The state, he insisted, can’t spend another 10 years climbing out of a similar fiscal ditch left by COVID-19.

Among the uncertainty, the only thing certain is that public finances are not going to rebound for months to come.

With that fiscal backdrop in mind, the City Council appointed to the city's Audit Oversight Committee a replacement for Melanie Rollo, a senior auditor at a reputable accounting firm.

The committee oversees internal audits at City Hall; which involves reading reports from the auditor’s office, evaluating its effectiveness and providing direction on subjects for possible audits, according to city records.

Unlike Ms. Rollo, her replacement can’t be found in the directory of a financial firm.

Instead, his name for 23 years was in lights and heard over loudspeakers at race tracks like Talladega, Charlottesville and others across the country.

The City Council, without discussion, unanimously appointed race car driver Brendan Gaughan to the committee as requested by Mayor Carolyn Goodman.

Gaughan, grandson of gaming pioneer Jackie Gaughan, is one of three committee members representing the community, according to City Hall.

Just like after the 9-11 terrorist attacks - when America was afraid to fly - and after the Great Recession - when Las Vegas property values collapsed overnight - it is time for City Hall to tighten its belt financially.

With all the qualified accountants and brilliant tax attorneys in Las Vegas, the City Council should have at least discussed the appointment.

It might have been prudent to put oversight in their capable hands rather than those of a professional athlete who held a steering wheel the past 23 years.

Published December 17, 2020

Parents, students get chance to share frustration

Survey looks at campus safety, academics and school climate

Photo by Burst

Frustrated, frantic after nearly nine months of home schooling?

Anxious and angry that there seems no end in sight, especially given children will be the last vaccinated?

Whether student or parent, don’t miss your opportunity to express yourself to the Clark County School District Board, Superintendent Jesus Jara and the principal and teachers at your child’s particular school by participating in the district survey.

The survey will be available until 5 p.m., Friday, Dec. 18.

The school district is asking parents and guardians, students and staff to take a 10-minute survey to address questions about campus safety, academics and school climate.

Some questions are about the district, curriculum and other matters, and other questions are tailored to each school.

“Questions asked in the survey” according to the school district, “align with district goals, focus areas and strategic imperatives that will be used to help make improvements to schools and increase parent/guardian engagement.”

With soccer games, dance practice and piano lessons on hold in the pandemic, hopefully, parents can find 10 minutes between holiday preparations to fill out the annual survey.

Likely, there is no better way to assure that your child’s school gets off to the best start possible once the pandemic wanes, children get vaccinated and return to school in 2021.

Whether your child attends Palo Verde High, Becker or Sig Rogich middle schools, Bonner, Staton or Vassiliades elementary schools, add your voice to the survey.

Some survey questions are specific to each school, so parents and guardians will have to enter their child’s student ID number. The district assures parents that responses will remain anonymous and information presented publicly will reflect overall responses received, according to the district.

“Entering student information ensures that each school is receiving specific responses from parents/guardians to gauge its school climate,” according to the school district. “Responses to the surveys cannot be linked to any particular student, parent/guardian or staff member; therefore responders remain anonymous. Survey results will only be shared in the aggregate.”

As tough as at-home education has been for parents, most know the past nine months have taken a toll on the emotional, social and educational well-being of school children.

Help the kids eventually get their lives back, maybe, even better than before by helping your child’s school prepare for their triumphant return to campus.

Frank Geary is an award-winning journalist with 23 years experience in California and Nevada. He writes from Summerlin, Las Vegas, NV.

Published Dec. 9, 2020

Sun City a beacon for clarity, due-process as cases soar

Cars rolled along a mile-long line for coronavirus testing at Texas Station last weekend as Nevada hit about 3,000 cases and 24 deaths in one day.

November was by far the most devastating month since the pandemic began, but many in Summerlin act like all is nearly normal this holiday shopping season.

Few wear masks outdoors. Parking lots jammed at stores, restaurants. Uber cars bounding about. A dozen unmasked bicyclists shoulder to shoulder. Realtors holding open houses. Unmasked kids and adults playing baseball at Oxford Park and soccer at Community Park. An old man braving a crowded gas-station for a soda.

Nearly nine months into the pandemic, can someone please provide the phone number for the mask police? In some cases, send the paddy wagon for heavan’s sake.

In this whirlpool of vague directives, toothless mandates and months of double talk, however, Sun City Summerlin serves as a lighthouse.

Its leaders have provided the kind of clarity that comforts in a retirement community of 7,779 homes, and they have offered direction for civic leaders caught in the maelstrom of mixed messages during the pandemic.

The Sun City Summerlin Community Association Board of Directors and Mitzi Mills, its executive director, are not flirting with the coronavirus.

Instead, it appears they have adopted an aggressive, crystal-clear policy for Sun City residents who refuse to wear a mask, or refuse to practice social distancing or ignore other rules at fitness facilities, swimming pools and other shared space in Sun City.

The board approved Resolution #2020-1, which requires residents to follow rules outlined in Gov. Steve Sisolak’s directives on masks, distancing and occupancy limits.

The short resolution: 1) spells out clearly the consequences for violating the rules 2) identifies precisely the route for complaints to be filed and the person to receive and review them 3) lays out the timeline and process for verifying the complaint and 4) gives the alleged violator due process - including the option of a private or public hearing before the board.

Violators can lose their privileges at Sun City’s facilities - such as fitness centers and pools - for 60 days.

Complaints about violations are filed with the executive director, who notifies the board president and assures the alleged violator is aware of their due process rights.

“The executive director shall notify the President of the Association,” states the resolution. “Upon receipt of such notification, the President shall call a board meeting within three (3) business days to hear and determine whether or not a violation of the Directives has been committed by the alleged violator.”

The procedures detail the rights of the alleged: to a hearing before the board; to have the hearing public or private; to have an attorney.

Alleged perpetrators, who ignore rules or believe the board isn’t serious, may be in for a somewhat rude-awakening. It won't be easy to slip through the cracks.

“The alleged violator,” states the resolution, “will be notified by email and delivery to the resident’s address either by personal service or posting on the resident’s door of the alleged violation and hearing date.”

A reminder from a renowned retirement-community. Seniors, from across the country, who understand well that precautions are paramount in a pandemic.

Frank Geary is an award-winning journalist with 23 years experience in California and Nevada. He writes from Summerlin, Las Vegas, NV.

Published Dec. 2, 2020

Grateful for their sacrifice

With the pandemic breaking records daily, it's necessary this Thanksgiving to honor a handful of those who sacrificed to keep Nevada safe from coronavirus.

Doctors, nurses, staff at Summerlin Hospital: While many white-collar professionals can avoid coronavirus with telecommuting, grocery delivery and other precautions, hospital employees risk their health every day. In some cases, their sacrifice is around-the-clock as they keep safe both patients and family.

Teachers in Clark County School District: the teachers and their labor union have been a driving force in keeping the community safe. They have pushed to keep schools closed, and wrestled the Herculean challenge of on-line learning. Conversely, at some private and charter schools, teachers returned to the classrooms in September.

Summerlin Council and AYSO Summerlin: Typically, hundreds of AYSO Summerlin children play soccer weeknights and on weekends at Community Park and Crossings Park in Summerlin. To protect residents from liability, Summerlin asked the soccer league to provide additional insurance before using the fields, according to the AYSO website. The soccer league, looking to protect players and their family members, canceled the fall season and provided online, at-home training tip for kids. Both agencies lost months of revenue. Conversely, dozens of for-profit youth-soccer clubs have been playing regularly since the state lowered coronavirus restrictions a couple months ago.

Summerlin Library: The library that serves much of Summerlin adopted a pickup service in which they bring to your car books, videos and other loan items.

Palo Verde High School: With schools closed for the fall due to coronavirus, administrators are replacing the turf on the football field. The school expects the field will be finished by February.

Nevada Interscholastic Athletic Association: Unlike for-profit youth sports clubs, which returned to practice and games weeks ago, the organization that oversees high-school sports across Nevada postponed fall sports until at least February or March. The move was most prudent, and took courage given political pressure from parents and coaches hungry to play ball.

University of Nevada, Las Vegas: When the University of Nevada, Reno, and other colleges invited students back to campuses across the country, UNLV went virtual with all but a handful of classes. The move helped minimize virus spread on campus and across the community, unlike at UNR and other colleges.

Frank Geary is an award-winning journalist with 23 years experience in California and Nevada. He writes from Summerlin, Las Vegas, NV.

Published on November 25, 2020

Shootings, riots spark shock, but commonplace Covid keeps killing

A prominent TV doctor on Thursday was criticized for using the term “Humanitarian Disaster” to describe the spread of coronavirus in the United States.

He pointed to a respected national model that predicts there will be 300,000 cases daily in the United States by year’s end. Also, by Feb. 1, hospitalizations are slated to double and the tally of dead Americans will grow to 400,000.

So, along with carols and cookies this Christmas will be corpses. Hundreds of moms and dads, husbands and wives. We will raise a glass to them during the 2021 holidays.

While contemplating this once-in-a-lifetime experience, and, with Friday the 13th upon us, it seemed appropriate to look back at natural and man-made disasters from years past.

In Las Vegas in 1980, a fire erupted at the MGM Grand hotel, killing 85 people.

Nine years later, in the Bay Area, the Loma Prieta earthquake killed 69 people.

In 1992, following the verdict in the Rodney King police-beating trial, the riots in Los Angeles killed 58 people.

A year later, during an armed conflict between alleged cult members and federal agents in Waco, Texas, a fire at the cult compound killed 76 people.

In 1994, in Los Angeles, the Northridge earthquake killed 57 people.

And, three years ago, in Las Vegas, during a country-western concert on the Strip, a gunman opened fire from a hotel room above the venue. The deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history ended with 59 people killed.

All very memorable events. The gruesome details captured with headlines and newscasts for weeks afterward.

Never-ending interviews about precious lives lost, and promises from politicians that nothing like this will ever happen again.

More recently, without nearly the media coverage or public outrage, in Las Vegas last week, the coronavirus killed 73 people.

When looking at the horror of a mass shooting, earthquake or bloody riot, some may say Covid-19 is not the worst disaster in recent history.

Of course, as the numbers dictate, they might be wrong.

Dead wrong.

Frank Geary is an award-winning journalist with 23 years experience in California and Nevada. He writes from Summerlin, Las Vegas, NV.

Published on November 14, 2020

Vegas told to stay home, but tourism pushed to "protect"​ economy

During Tuesday’s Covid-19 update for Nevada, Gov. Steve Sisolak echoed leaders across the globe navigating a minefield around people’s health and their well-being.

He asked that residents for two weeks return to their lifestyles under the strict lockdown in March and April, which closed schools and businesses and forced everyone to stay home to stop the spread of coronavirus.

The latest warning from Carson City comes as the state’s 7-day infection rate is near 14 % and cases are averaging 1,320 daily.

“In the next two weeks we must see a significant reversal of the trends,” the governor said. “I do not want to implement more restrictions. I want this to improve.”

Sisolak again and again on Tuesday appropriately pushed public-health measures, but undermined his poignant pleas with appropriate deference to Las Vegas’ vulnerable tourist economy.

According to Twitter, some viewers did not know what to make of the mixed message. Others were angry. Some laughed.

Others said the speech meant little, and that they will continue to isolate and wear a mask or will continue to socialize and ignore guidelines like a fool.

It’s more important than ever, Sisolak said, to stay home, reconsider telecommuting, forgo social gatherings, have groceries delivered, wear masks and wash hands because it’s “the only way we can keep going in the right direction.”

However, with the vulnerable economy in mind, Sisolak said tourists should continue flocking to resorts “to protect our economy,” and reminded the media that spring lockdowns have had a lasting impact on the economy.

Adding to the message, YouTube on Wednesday ran ads for Las Vegas tourism.

The governor’s speech comes at a time when governors in New Mexico and Utah have re-introduced restrictions, and on the same day that nationwide coronavirus cases and hospitalizations hit records.

Coronavirus deaths across the country, meanwhile, hit the highest mark since the summer surge.

At one point, Sisolak said Tuesday he “trust Nevadans” to reverse the increase in cases, and “If we all work together, you are going to be surprised at what we can do.”

Moments later, he scolded rule breakers and threatened to impose unknown, daunting restrictions if hospitals fill up.

“I am not bluffing. I am not playing a game,” he said. “… If we continue to increase the way it is now, I don’t know what kind of restrictions we will have to put in place.”

Again and again Sisolak emphasized that shut-down restrictions, possibly like those implemented already in other states, are imminent and that he is determined to impose them if the spread of Covid-19 doesn’t subside.

However, he also did not provide even a broad notion of which restrictions are under consideration, how long they might be in place, penalties for violators, etc.

And, Sisolak fueled confusion at the conclusion of his speech when he said, “This is not a directive. This is a personal, impassioned plea for people to step up.”

In summary, nothing to see here.

Public health and economic recovery continue on a collision course, especially in tourism destinations like Las Vegas, no matter how much optimistic leaders cross fingers and wish otherwise.

Frank Geary is an award-winning journalist with 23 years experience in California and Nevada. He writes from Summerlin, Las Vegas, NV.

Published on November 12, 2020

Nevada hits record Covid-19 cases

Perhaps more compelling last weekend in Nevada than narrow victories for Joe Biden and the Las Vegas Raiders, was that Covid-19 cases are snowballing to heights not seen before.

In Nevada, 5,622 people tested positive for coronavirus from Friday through Monday, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal newspaper.

Skyrocketing numbers - like the rest of the country, Europe, Asia.

And, despite seven months of round-the-clock broadcasts forecasting the pending nightmare, we are stricken just as experts predicted long ago.

Friday’s total of 1,562 daily cases in the Silver State was 115 cases higher than the previous record high of 1,447 cases July 16; set during a summer scourge that eclipsed sunshine across the southwest.

Saturday’s total of 1,824 broke the prior day’s record by 262 cases. Sunday’s tally dropped a merciful 548 to 1,276 daily cases and Monday’s total dropped an additional 316 to 960 cases.

However, as Julia Peek and Caleb Cage, public-health officials hand-picked to lead Nevada through the pandemic, might remind us: testing numbers tend to pick-up later in the week.

In Saturday’s Las Vegas Review-Journal, Cage, who himself contracted coronavirus a few weeks ago, told Nevada residents they are in the midst of a surge.

In Tuesday’s newspaper, Peek recommended residents “change behaviors to impact the course of this disease,” such as telecommuting and postponing social gatherings.

So, the thousands of you who choose to drive an hour or more a day to an office – where Peek believes Covid-19 may be spread- rather than work remotely, Peek asks that you reconsider.

And, for those not embracing the notion of holidays with the in-laws, you should send Peek a Christmas card.

To the chagrin of some, neither Cage nor Peek announced any measures to curtail the state’s ongoing 13.6 % infection-rate, nor did they suggest the state re-impose lockdowns to stop people from getting sick as we crash head-on into flu season.

To their credit, though, they did not suggest residents keep going to casinos, bars, restaurants, youth sporting events, churches, charter and private schools, health clubs, beauty parlors, fast-food restaurants or any other discretionary destination that many have avoided since March for fear of death, a hospital bill that bankrupts them or long-term affliction like hearing loss, heart and lung scarring, dizziness, memory loss, weakened stamina and hair loss.

Of course, neither Peek nor Cage emphasized that residents avoid these specific magnets for crowds and the coronavirus that follows.

Frank Geary is an award-winning journalist with 23 years experience in California and Nevada. He writes from Summerlin, Las Vegas, NV.

Published on November 6, 2020