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A Little Bit of Everything
by Ken Mahal, NSC President
Originally published on  June 8, 2006 - reprinted with permission


  Being one who has attended the AARP 55Alive driving program every 3 years since reaching age 55 and now 85 this past April I still look forward to the next 8 hour session. If you have been reading the Review Journal these past months you will know they are on some kind of a kick about we older drivers and what ought to be done with us once we reach age 65 and up. For all these years I have often thought we should have a refresher course similar to the 55Alive but maybe call it the 16 to 65 Alive program for all of the youngsters under 55. I suspect the accident rate would drop considerably if we had such a program. And why not do it? If one follows how our kids in school at all ages have a tough time making passing grades and with all of the DUIs in the older age groups it might not be such a bad idea to broaden the program as suggested. According to the RJ there are 231,000 drivers age 65 and older and in the rarefied air of age 85 where I reside there are reportedly 11,000 people in that age group and growing. There seems to be a concern that we older drivers need some kind of testing or family oversight on us older folks. I can just see my kids taking on their Dad and Mother. Give me a break donít you think they know where their bread is buttered? Itís called inheritance you dummies at the RJ.
 I find it interesting when they take on us oldest of the oldest, us old timerís numbers drop so much how can they or the DMV make any kind of comparative with 85+ against all of the rest from 16 up to 85. Doesnít make much sense does it? I am fully in favor of the 55Alive program because if nothing else it makes us stop and reflect once every 3 years on how we are doing as a driver. With all of the things impacting ones life when driving it is surprising we donít kill and injure many more than we do every year. For one I know I never drive over the speed limit and I look into my side mirrors and back mirrors all of the time. I also drive every street light ahead no matter how far it is in front of me whether one block or five blocks. I also get a bit nervous if there is a van or truck in front of me where I cannot have a clear vision on the street ahead of me. And by the way I drive a van in order to have better vision by being higher than in a two or four door car.
 I wonder if most of we older drivers arenít very cautious just by the fact that the longer you live the more likely you are to be cautious and never want to be involved in any sort of a fender bender. Las egas has many problems when it comes to driving with our wide four lanes 45 miles an hour streets. I have always found this an exception in Las Vegas to most other streets in the US, donít you too? What is going on I suspect is that the 2007 legislative session will be trying to do something about we older drivers. I hope they call on several hundred of us older folk to hear our thoughts before they create some Band-Aid idea that picks everyone off, especially we older voters as noted by the RJ.
 My wife Agnes is an example of a driver over 85. Because of her illness there is no question that without considerable change she will no longer be driving. She is very fortunate to have me as her taxi driver. I can only imagine the trouble people have when there is no one able to drive any longer. This is a real heart breaker and needs to be very carefully thought out before we play tough cop with older drivers just because we are older. I would suggest that the legislature take another session working on this issue before anything is voted into law. I just think it will be something that needs more thought than was given to the legislation for the younger drivers that took two sessions before everyone got their thoughts straight on how to handle 14/15 year old drivers. The biggest problem there was when will the young drivers be experienced enough to have other young people with them? Letís face it our aging population will continue to grow considerably when the baby-boomers begin to retire.
 As for myself, several months ago the transmission went out on my van and being one of the few people without a cell-phone, the question was how do I get help? As it turns out I was only a five minute walk away from my destination where I could use the phone. I still do not have a cell-phone and wonder if I will ever break down and get one. It is just one more decision I donít want to look forward to making. Any brilliant ideas on the older driver thing will be welcome.


  The sheriff steps down and 19 other people think they would make a good replacement. How about if we can find an outstanding administrator who isnít a cop? Oh I know the police union will not go for that idea but maybe we shouldnít care about that.
  Our taxes went up less than $50 bucks but not to fall asleep because the 3% cap can be changed any time the legislature wants to do it. Most likely they would pass something in the dead of night on the last day of the legislature. At this time we do not know how the two petitions are doing. What ever happens we must stay diligent against any more increase in our taxes whether they be on our homes on any other tax they can add to or dream up.


  What a marvelous thing when government bureaucrats just do not have the money to spend even if the legislature said they could by making smaller class sizes. When we talk about class size reductions to something like 15 students per class room it turns my stomach. Why? Because I am reminded when yours truly went to school and the teacher, God bless her, she taught 3 classes in one classroom and with something like 50 kids in the room. The more I hear about the new temporary Superintendent Dr. Walt Rulffes the more I like him. I really donít think the Clark County School District needs to look for anyone else unless of course they donít want some one who seems to be doing it like it needs to be done. That is use some common sense in spite of what the teachers and parents might want. I hope he keeps it up. Staying with 12 month schools creates 25% more assignable classroom space without building another building. It makes sense to keep to the nine month schedule because the kids attend school 3 months with 1 month off giving the kids a better memory of their learning experience while at the same time getting a 30 day break every 3 months. Letís hope it stays that way. You must know that some day even the Community College of Southern Nevada (CCSD) wont need all of the class rooms when Las Vegas matures as always happens to every community. Then they can sell the old wood portables by the thousands to old people to live in down in Searchlight Nevada.