Fresh Ideas: On Nevada Day, colorful fall and waiting at the DMV

There is only one thing to say about the fall of 1999 and that is "Wow!" The intense golds, yellows, reds and rusts have been nothing short of spectacular. The soft warm days of the Indian summer make one glad to be alive.

Special thanks to Gov. Kenny Guinn and the first lady for graciously continuing the Carson City Halloween tradition at the Governor's Mansion. The mansion decorations were spooky and fun. Many a child will remember his or her Carson City Halloween. Also, thanks to those living near the mansion who bear the brunt of 4,000-plus trick or treaters each year.

A good job was done by Reg Creasey and his Nevada Day Committee. The parade had more than 250 entries to be organized, timed and controlled, a logistical nightmare, but it all came off without any apparent hitch. Marv Teixeira and Mary Walker did a great job of fund raising for Nevada Day which will allow the committee to operate on a year-around basis and should allow for a broader range of Nevada Day activities.

The fireworks sponsored by the Ormsby House were nothing short of incredible. Everyone, to a person, commented that they had never seen such a wonderful fireworks display anywhere, anytime. Many thanks to casino manager Bob Cashell and new owners, Al and Chris Fiegehen and Don and Valarie Lehr.

For those of you who left town for Nevada Day, boy did you miss out.

This fall also brought us the Genesis snafu and the resultant two- to six-hour waits at the Department of Motor Vehicles to register a car. I made the mistake of buying a new car in September and was subjected to the process. I went to the Carson City DMV and there were people there from all over the region - Reno, Incline Village, Sparks - all trying to avoid the even longer lines in Washoe County. I spent more time that day with these people than I did with my husband.

People do adapt; a cribbage game broke out, people read trashy novels, many chatted and joked and some complained. The DMV staff did their best under difficult circumstances.

When it was finally my turn to register my car, the process took approximately 13 minutes. The poor DMV clerk would bring up a screen, enter data, and sit and wait and wait. The process required numerous screens to be accessed and data entered. I know that my computer skills have lapsed since I used to program in the now-dead computer language, COBOL, but it is difficult to understand how 25 years of technological progress could result in increased delays and inefficiency.

Subsequent to the Genesis mess, it is revealed that the Y2K company the state had selected has filed bankruptcy. This is not reassuring.

I would encourage the Governor's Office and Legislature to investigate these contracts and to review the manner in which technology contractors are selected and monitored. The state is spending enormous amounts of taxpayer money with little apparent return.

The taxpayers have a right to know what happened to their money and to be assured that these mistakes will not be repeated. It is possible that the state requirement that it accept the lowest bid is not the most cost efficient when applied to technology.

It may be fall, but the parents of students at Carson High School are going to be asked to think about what happens in the spring, specifically what happens after the senior prom. For years, the Carson High seniors have rented condos at the lake, bought keggers and put on an all-night party. The party begins Friday night and continues through Sunday night. Unfortunately, underclassmen are invited.

Some parents, including moi, have formed a group to provide an alcohol-free, alternative, after-prom event. Principal Glen Adair has asked that a survey be mailed to all the parents of high school students in November to determine the level of interest in this idea.

Parents' response to this survey is critical if this plan is to go forward, so I would urge all CHS parents to promptly respond to the survey.

As the days of fall wane into winter, I have one piece of advice, THINK SNOW!

Linda Johnson is a wife, mother of a high school student, and an attorney. She is a 25-year resident of Carson City and has recently been appointed to serve on the Nevada Day Committee.


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