Silver Dollars & Wooden Nickels: Bypass saves commuters time, deserves a dollar

The Nevada Appeal's "Silver Dollar" and "Wooden Nickel" feature recognizes positive achievements from the capital region and, when warranted, points out others that missed the mark.

Silver Dollar: Gov. Jim Gibbons and Carson City Mayor Bob Crowell on Thursday afternoon opened the long-awaited second leg of the Carson City Freeway - much to the delight of motorists who now have an alternate route around the city's congested downtown. Well, perhaps slightly less-congested downtown now that traffic is flowing on the Fairview to Highway 50 East segment.

The $45 million extension project began in fall 2007 and includes a full interchange at Highway 50 East and a half interchange at Fairview Drive. Full funding of the final leg of the freeway to the base of Spooner Summit has not been secured, but Gov. Gibbons said completion of the roadway is a "continued priority." The next phase of the construction begins in early spring.

Silver Dollar: A freeway far from home, one in Southern California during rush hour, was the scene of a recent dramatic incident for a Carson City attorney.

During a family trip, George Allison suffered cardiac arrest while riding in his son's car on Highway 101 in San Luis Obispo. His son pulled the car over and family members began attempting to revive Allison. Two motorists immediately came to the family's aid - a dentist who had recently finished his active duty with the Air Force and a public health employee working toward a nursing degree.

The two began mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and chest compressions. A highway patrol officer arrived and employed a defibrillator, which sends an electric shock to the heart. Allison was transported to a nearby hospital and released a few days later.

"The most memorable part of this is the people and how they reacted - the lady, the dentist and the highway patrolman - the things they did. They didn't hesitate. They didn't ask," he told the Nevada Appeal last week, his voice choking with emotion. "They were my guardian angels."

Wooden Nickel: A familiar economic note - taxable sales in Nevada dropped significantly, according to the latest figures from the state department of taxation.

Sales were off nearly 19 percent in July compared to the previous year, falling some $700 million. Clark County's nearly $600 million drop accounted for most of the decline. Carson City fared better than most areas with a 12.7 percent loss to $61.9 million for July.

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