This is the season of Thanksgiving and my hope is that everyone had a good day and a good meal. That has not always been easy during this year of the pandemic. Many of us have had losses or illness that made the year so difficult. We are indeed living in a time that has impacted all of us in ways large and small.
I do believe we are recovering and winning against the pandemic but COVID has not yet been defeated. The next couple of months will show whether we are gaining on the virus or seeing the type of huge surge in infections we saw last year at this time. The numbers had trended positively for the past couple of weeks but then started to move up again.
We do have solutions with the availability of vaccines that have been tested to be overwhelmingly safe and effective and received by tens of millions of Americans. The testing and safety approvals now include children age 5 and older. Anyone that received the one or two doses of the vaccines more than six months ago can get a booster that has been proven to greatly improve resistance to this dreaded disease.
Unfortunately, our city is not yet at levels of vaccination where we are working to keep each of us safe. Our senior citizens understand the solution to this pandemic as 80 percent are estimated to have received the vaccine and many have now received the recommended booster vaccine. Overall, under 60 percent of our residents have been vaccinated. The target of 75 percent will require 3,000 more of our residents to be vaccinated.
I do understand there is a tremendous amount of misinformation out there about the vaccines. This newspaper too often prints some of that misinformation about vaccines and this terrible virus. We have sadly had more than 60 residents die from COVID and hundreds have been sickened.
Please speak with a knowledgeable health care provider or pharmacist about the vaccines and the testing that has been done to know the vaccines are safe and effective. These professionals may be able to discuss with you any special conditions that could be a concern. The virus is a tremendous drag on our community. We have a proven way to move beyond this.
As we approach the new year there will be successes and challenges. One of the challenges will be the direction we want to see for growth in Eldorado Valley. Former Mayor (Rod) Woodbury has again attempted to distort the efforts I and others have made to prevent sprawl from taking over in that area.
When Councilmember Claudia Bridges pushed a wastewater line being built that would have enabled sprawl, I succeeded in having that project removed. I then worked to have a project funded by the (Southern Nevada) Water Authority to reclaim our wastewater and reuse it for irrigation. This will save millions of gallons of water that will now remain in Lake Mead.
I do recognize Woodbury’s ability to work behind closed doors for his own goals. If he truly wants to prevent the sprawl he should join the effort to do so. The city of Henderson is determined to spread across Railroad Pass. Woodbury is familiar with developers with eyes on this land as he received thousands of dollars in campaign cash, including from the mayor of Henderson.
Councilmember Sherri Jorgensen is also familiar with these plans as she previously co-chaired a political action committee seeking to increase the number of homes developers could build more rapidly in Boulder City. There was an effort to “swap” premium land in Boulder City for depleted quarry land in Eldorado Valley. She was supported in her campaign with cash from those now seeking to annex that land.
I intend to continue my efforts for land in that area to remain open to recreation and conservation for the enjoyment of us all. Land just below Railroad Pass is already privately owned that may well be annexed. However, there are thousands of acres of additional land in the Sloan Canyon area that could be released by the federal government for development.
If your desire is to have that land remain open and accessible, I encourage you to contact Sen. (Catherine) Cortez Masto and ask that land be removed from the pending Southern Nevada Lands Bill. Contact other councilmembers and voice your concerns. I promise to continue working to see that area remain as open space for recreation.
Merry Christmas and happy holidays.
The opinions expressed above belong solely to the author and do not represent the views of the Boulder City Review. They have been edited solely for grammar, spelling and style, and have not been checked for accuracy of the viewpoints.
Kiernan McManus is mayor of Boulder City. He is a native of Boulder City first elected to City Council in 2017.