Thursday, May 3, 2012

Tidbits from the 11th Issue of The Henderson Press

The evolution of The Henderson Press continues, with smaller, thinner bylines. Previous issues had bylines in bold with "Henderson Press" beneath the name of the writer. Now one font style fits all. For example, "By Jeremy Twitchell" is first, but below that isn't bold. "THP Reporter" is the same size and type as his name. Below that is his (now former) e-mail address: I like this. There's more room for potentially longer articles if need be, and especially helpful since this issue, Vol. 2, No. 6, dated March 24-April 6, 2011, has a Voter Guide for the 2011 municipal election, which may have necessitated the change in font, so there's more room for candidate statements and information about their professional and education backgrounds. This is when a local newspaper is needed the most and even before reading about these candidates, the layout looks organized and gives ample room to everyone running for various offices. I'm curious about why they want to run.

Let's see what there is in this issue:

- An article about general satisfaction with the city on various issues from a survey commissioned by the City Council and run by Kansas City-based research firm ETC Institute says that St. Rose Parkway is one of the city's fastest and busiest streets. Something to keep in mind when I begin driving these roads.

- In 2009, there were 132,395 registered voters in Henderson. For this election, there's 124,700 registered voters. There's no clear reason why.

- A record low voter turnout of 6.9% in 2005 triggered the city to establish "vote centers" throughout, in lieu of precincts, where any registered voter can vote at any of them. Voter turnout increased to 11.1% in 2007, and 14.7% in 2009. Interesting to find a city that actually wants to engage its voters.

- Statements by the candidates are at least cogent, all genuine, but one doesn't seem feasible (Does this guy realize what it would take to disconnect from the Clark County School District and establish Henderson's own school district? It likely takes more time than he could even imagine, it wouldn't be an easy task, and it wouldn't be worth getting away from the Clark County School District because everyone in Southern Nevada is connected. Doesn't matter if you live in Las Vegas, or Henderson, or Summerlin; all actions affect the entire region. A lot of people who work in Las Vegas live in Henderson (including comedy magician The Amazing Johnathan, of whom I'm a huge fan). Summerlin may not want to know Las Vegas, but they're just as connected. We're all together.

- These candidate statements also make me want to attend a Henderson City Council meeting one day. I'm curious about it, and have never been to one anywhere else. I'm sure I can find something to be interested in there much like I do with everything else in my life.

- I'm curious about who got elected. First time I think I've ever been interested in that outside of a presidential election.

- Fred Couzens has an article about improvements to be made on Water Street in downtown Henderson for a Rapid Transit bus system. Hard facts in here and Couzens handles them admirably. There's also a photo by Couzens of a bus on the Boulder Highway Express route. I hope in future issues, there are more and more photos by Couzens. They're remarkable every time.

- Couzens also has an article about Ameresco, an energy efficiency company, finishing out its contract with the City of Henderson with great success. This is his best article so far. His details about energy efficiency improvements are well-written and easy to understand for those like me who don't think about this all the time, and a black-and-white photo by him of the pool and slides at the Whitney Ranch Recreation Center should be hanging somewhere, perhaps on a wall at the City of Henderson Recreation Department, reminding employees of the good they do.

- Twitchell's best article so far is in here too, about the City Council unanimously approving construction of the Wigwam Surgical Center on the "south side of Wigwam Parkway, east of Eastern Avenue." He writes about the objections by the Scottsdale Valley Homeowners Association, which is south of the Center's property line, support by a resident of another neighborhood across from Wigwam Parkway, comments by the lawyer representing the developer, details about what the Center will contain, and how the City Council feels about it. The best articles in The Henderson Press provide a deeper connection to the community. This is one of them.

- Mayor Andy Hafen and his family had their own parade car in the 45th annual St. Patrick's Day parade. I love that as vast as Henderson is, the mayor is never too busy for such events as this one.

- Couzens is improving in community articles. He wrote about a modest philanthropist named Bob Ellis, and while he stumbled greatly with the wrong usage of "humble pie" at the beginning (believing it to mean that someone is humble, when its meaning is far from that), the rest of the article is touching. Ellis is an example of one reason I love Henderson and the rest of Southern Nevada: There's many people like this living there, good people, philanthropy or not.

- On March 27, the Henderson Symphony Orchestra hosts their 14th annual Young Artists Concert in which those young artists perform with the Henderson Symphony. No matter whose music they're playing, I would go to that, to support that.

- The Clark County Museum has a Pueblo art exhibit from March 9 to June 3. I would see that.

- In the transportation ads, someone's selling a 1995 Corvette Convertible for $13,400, with 85,000 miles on it. Supercharged. You've got to really have the money for it to want it, also the money way beyond that $13,400.

These issues are getting better and better. Interest and care are the two most important things for a community newspaper to have, and The Henderson Press has both. The Las Vegas Review-Journal can't cover Henderson all the time, and so The Henderson Press has stepped up enormously to fill the gap that would be there otherwise. Just like everything else in Southern Nevada, I'm sure it wasn't known that The Henderson Press was even needed before it started, but now that it's there, it's obvious that the city needed it. It has become an important part of the fabric of Henderson. It's believed that connections are tenuous in Las Vegas and therefore its surrounding areas. But The Henderson Press shows otherwise. There are fiercely loyal connections all around, people always willing to help, who are always friendly. To live in Southern Nevada, you can't have a fight-the-world attitude. Relax. Feel the world around you. Appreciate what's in front of you. Las Vegas survives because there is always understanding, the reputation of casinos notwithstanding. It is always there. It's the only way to survive in the desert.

I Belong to Nevada

In his book In Nevada: The Land, The People, God, and Chance, which I started reading on the way to Walmart Supercenter for a pleasant visit that I'll write about tomorrow--in appreciation of Thursdays in this valley that don't feel as combative as other days of the week--and also read while at Walmart, David Thomson describes the ideal Nevada resident:

"You have to have some of the patience and sangfroid of a ghost to get along there--you need to be not quite what you were, not quite alive to this world, but breathing history and with time in your veins."

I've got the patience and sangfroid. It comes from moving so many times, being pretty much rootless in my native Florida because nearly all the moves happened throughout there. I'm easygoing about anything. Nothing's permanent, and I understand that.

I'm not quite a film critic like I used to be; I write reviews for fun now, and while the thought of writing a book before I did it worried me to no end because of all the work involved, I want to do it again, and yet I still have to push myself to make a go of it.

I'm not quite alive to this world. I use Facebook, but not Twitter, I don't believe in keeping up on absolutely everything that's happening online, though I do read the news as necessary. I don't need to know every single movement of politicians. I don't need to know what celebrities are up to. I'm not one of those who are so wired and so connected that if their iPhone broke, they would go crazy.

Breathing history? I'm passionate about presidential history, interested in Supreme Court history, I'm reading In Nevada because I want to know everything about my future home state, and once there, I'm going to read every single Nevada history book available, while also studying New Mexico, which I want to travel throughout. I'm also interested in the origins of things and people, such as a book about pasta that I want to read and had put it on my immediate to-read stack, but then Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake by Anna Quindlen and God's Hotel by Victoria Sweet arrived in the mail yesterday from Amazon. I started In Nevada because I didn't want to carry the hardcover God's Hotel with me in Walmart. I wanted to leave it for home reading, where I can truly go deep into it.

Whenever I pass by buildings, I wonder who built them, the architects who thought of them, the construction guys who installed flooring and made columns. I look at parks and wonder what they looked like decades before our car passed them by. I think about each state and wonder how many of its citizens take pride in its history, or even pay attention to its history. I hope there are many like me. I'm always breathing history.

I'm 28. I have time in my veins, and as a writer, it's there anyway. It takes time to write a book, to write a novel. I know how I want to use time, yet I know that time does not belong to me. The clock will tick no matter what I do. But I will try for what I want in my life, in reading, in writing books, in finally having roots, feeling like I'm home somewhere.

By all this, I belong to Nevada.