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The more they change, the more they stay the same

First off, I hope you are all having a wonderful holiday season.

I sat down today to write my monthly column and I found myself staring at my computer screen with a blank look …one that’s not all too uncommon for those of you who know me.

As I try to do a few days a week, especially when the weather is cooler, I step away from the screen and take a walk in the downtown area to clear my head. I think I will do that to come up with a column topic.

OK, I’m back.

I considered writing about the struggles of a small-town newspaper. But, in the spirit of the holidays, I decided to wait on that one and go with something a bit more nostalgic.

As many of you know, I moved back to Boulder City about nine months ago to become editor. Aside from a brief period following my divorce and subsequent return after 12 years in Hawaii in 2012, I had not lived full-time in Boulder City in more than 30 years. Because I have had family and friends here, obviously I came back many, many times, including every two to three months during my 10 years in Arizona. Point being, when I moved back, it wasn’t as though I still had a mullet while wearing stone-washed jeans and a Members Only jacket the last time I was here. FYI: All three of which I rocked back in the day.

But when you visit, it’s a far cry from when you live here and the little things you notice. For example, on my walk today from my office, which is located next to the Coffee Cup, I came to realize that while a lot has changed over the years, a lot has stayed the same. And neither of those things are bad, because a community needs to grow in order to survive but without forgetting its past.

Some businesses are still thriving many decades later such as the Western &Mexican Center with its famous “Dead Cows on Sale” sign prominently displayed outside. But over the years, many businesses have come and gone but their buildings remain and with them, their memories for many of us. Next door to us is set to be a very nice deli and bar and grill. But how many of us remember buying prom corsages or boutonnieres from Edie’s Flowers? (Hand raised).

As I walked down Arizona Street, thankfully the Boulder Dam Hotel has not only been restored but is thriving after 90 years. As I approached the Boulder City Theater, as often happens, memories come flooding back to the 1980s in seeing “E.T.” with my family to going there with friends and the occasional date. The theater was the first air-conditioned building in Boulder City, which was a big draw by those working on the dam.

Across the street, kudos to Bret Runion and Desert Sun Realty for keeping the old drug store sign above theirs and the electric doors.

Around the corner from the former Central Market, it’s great to see the bowling alley is still going strong after all these years. There I learned to keep score the old-fashioned way, a skill I have not used since.

This time I decided to make my way to the high school. I know it’s not the same buildings as when I went there (insert “Oh, thank Heaven for the class of ’87”) but that, too, is not a bad thing.

When talk began about building a new high school there, many were against it. I understood. But as I mentioned to a few, it was old when we went there and despite walls being torn down to make way for new ones, with it would not go the memories we had there.

As I made my way back to Nevada Highway at the corner of Fifth Street, I remembered an old postcard from the 60s of that area with all the motels. Not much has changed, but again, not necessarily a bad thing. As I passed the National Park Service headquarters, that’s where I think the most change has occurred in Boulder City. Aside from Ace Hardware, aka Shopper Stopper for those of us who remember, most of the buildings are home to new businesses and it’s exciting to see. Over the last 15 years or so, the downtown area has become popular not only for residents to have a place to eat or meet with friends or a date for a drink, but for visitors as well. The aforementioned Coffee Cup, which has been around for many years, is a huge draw, thanks in part to great food and two appearances on “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.” More kudos to my schoolmates, chamber CEO Jill Rowland-Lagan and Boulder City Co. Store owner Tara (Leon) Bertolli for assisting in the downtown revitalization.

Thank you for indulging me in this (literal) walk down memory lane and I hope the rest of your holiday season and new year are filled with happiness, love, good health and a score above 100 at Boulder Bowl.

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