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Officer fatalities cloud 2009

For the Metropolitan Police Department, 2009 closed as its deadliest year. Four officers died, including three in crashes while driving department vehicles. The fatal crashes prompted headlines, a public outcry and a revamp of the agency’s driving policies. Yet beneath all that attention, the department’s safety record on the road has been steadily improving in recent years, according to agency figures on crashes involving its vehicles.

Welfare agency may have more than rat problem

As a columnist, I often search for the right metaphor. Only rarely does one scurry across a desk leaving pellets in its path. Today, I can say with certainty I smell a rat inside the state Division of Welfare and Supportive Services Professional Development Center at 701 N. Rancho Drive. Not only do employees in the building, once home to a Safeway, smell rats: They see them, hear them, and occasionally clean up after them.

WATER COOLER

Here are some things in news, sports, entertainment and popular culture that we’ve been talking about lately.

A futile pursuit

Our last two Democratic presidents have wasted a year each by pursuing the perceived moral imperative of comprehensive health care reform aimed at universal insurance.

District savings

State and local governments must cut more than $1.3 billion in spending to balance their books through June 2011. It’s going to be a brutal process for public employees, whose salaries and benefits consume the vast majority of operational expenses. After more than two years of slumping economic conditions and tax revenue declines, sizable layoffs and pay cuts are unavoidable.

Mining must pay its fair share

I was glad to see the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada taking on the inequity of Nevada’s mining tax (Jan. 16 Review-Journal). John Winthrop, the early American Puritan, once noted that “the rich and mighty should not eat up the pool.” The mining industry has been eating up Nevada, raking up gross profits while leaving the state little to show for 100 years of exploitation and environmental degradation.

WEEKLY EDITORIAL RECAP

Last year, a Review-Journal report exposed the abuse of University Medical Center’s emergency room by 80 illegal immigrants with failing kidneys. The dialysis treatments provided to these noncitizens costs more than $2 million per month, with the bills forwarded to Clark County taxpayers. … Nevada’s congressional delegation agreed the situation demanded a response.

A splash of cold water

Reversing a District Court decision, the Nevada Supreme Court ruled Thursday that the groundwater applications underpinning a multibillion-dollar plan to pipe groundwater to Las Vegas from east central Nevada may not be valid.

Titus said what everyone knows

Dina Titus is the last person I would have expected to channel Dick Cheney.

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