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Fresh Ideas: Home means Nevada

Anne Macquarie
For the Nevada Appeal

My husband, our 1-year-old son and I moved to Carson City 23 years ago looking for a good small town in which to raise our kids. We arrived here and spent the next 18 years doing the usual family stuff: scouting, youth sports, camping, science fairs – and now the kids have gone off into the larger world. They probably won’t come back to live here – there aren’t enough jobs. But my daughter told me the other day she’s glad she grew up in Carson City. She says none of her college friends have old friends like hers – best friends who she’s known since preschool. That’s worth something, those kinds of relationships.

I brought my values with me to Carson City. Those closest to my heart are environmental values. I was born and raised in a national park and convinced, practically from birth, of the value of environmental protection (national parks), and good government (the National Park Service). These values place me firmly in the progressive camp – and I’ve been moving to the left as the right moves further to the right – a natural reaction I suppose, a kind of balancing. These political views put me to the left of probably 80 percent of the residents of Carson City – as readers of my columns are doubtless aware. So I still feel like an outsider, despite having raised my family here and devoted uncounted hours to various community endeavors.

I was planning to use this column to lambaste our U.S. Rep. Dean Heller for his recent vote against EPA regulation of greenhouse gases – indeed, his vote against climate science in general. But then something happened last week. A young man whom I’ve known – not well, but I knew Eric in the way you keep an eye on kids in a small town – lost his life in an accident. So my heart was not in lambasting anybody.

I’ve been reading some of the Facebook traffic about the tragic losses of young lives that Carson City has suffered lately, and I’ve noticed that in a bittersweet way these losses are pulling our kids together. My daughter’s friend Ann put it this way: “Just want to say I am so proud to come from such a tight knit community. We might talk s— about Carson once in a while, but I would do anything for all you guys I grew up with. Whether we’re friends or not, if you’re from Carson, we’re family.”

That pretty much says it for me. So this column is about understanding that this is my home – this community that’s provided lifelong friends and that knows how to mourn together. Three cheers for Carson City.

• Anne Macquarie, a private sector urban planner, is a long-time resident of Carson City. ꆱ