Things haven’t been all bad for Las Vegas in 2020

Like many families, I grew up with three adults in our household. My grandmother on my mother’s side lived with us until I was in my teens. She was born in County Cork, Ireland, with wonderful old-world values, which she readily shared with my sister and me.

She was also inbred with several Irish traditions and superstitions and sayings, which she held as dear as the weathered Bible that was always by her bed. I learned early on that if I found a four-leaf clover, I was in for a long spell of good luck. But if I ever killed a robin, I would have lifelong bad luck. That explained why I never had a young boy’s pleasures of a BB gun or a slingshot.

After reading the newspaper every morning, my granny would share with us the good news and the bad news of the day. She said if the good news outweighed the bad, it was going to be a wonderful day. Of course, bad news sells more papers than good news, so there was something skewed with that reasoning.

I thought I’d put the good news/bad news metric to Las Vegas in recent days, to see if 2020 is as horrible as one might suspect.

Here’s some recent good news:

• The Las Vegas Raiders beat the current Super Bowl champ Kansas City Chiefs last week and looked like they too could become an elite team in the NFL.

• The Vegas Golden Knights made it to the final four teams in the National Hockey League, a strong accomplishment in just their third season. But they spoiled local puck fans by making it to the championship finals in their inaugural season, so anything less than winning Lord Stanley’s Cup seems somehow disappointing.

• The WNBA Las Vegas Aces made it to the championship final and look to be building a franchise that will be a contender for years to come. They also had the league MVP in A’ja Wilson.

• It seems totally appropriate that the Raiders and Aces have rough-around-the-edges coaches perfectly suited to our city. John Gruden is known as Chucky, for his movie character’s evil smile, and Bill Laimbeer was the centerpiece of the Bad Boys of the NBA. Both men must have been chosen by central casting.

• The Oct. 28 opening of Derek Stevens’ Circa Resort & Casino is a great shot in the arm for downtown Las Vegas. If COVID will eventually give us a break, there’s every reason to believe that all the energy that has been put forth in the downtown area will provide strong job opportunities and revenue for the heart of the city.

Resorts World is making progress towards a summer 2021 opening date. It is projected to add 7,000 jobs to a blighted economy that has left far too many unemployed and suffering and looking for a new opportunity. 

I’ll try not to make the bad news list overly long. It would be too depressing:

• As this is being written, Nevada is one of 36 states that is seeing an increase in positive COVID tests, with no substantially lowering in death rates. Ugh! New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo says we’ll all be wearing masks up to Christmas 2021.

• Our state’s unemployment rate is currently 14%, slightly worse than the national average. There is some relative good news in that back in July, just three months ago, the rate was 25.3%, one of the highest in the nation.

• It’s unsettling to realize that our COVID positive test rate seems to be moving in the wrong direction as winter settles upon us.

• We are less than two weeks out from one of the most contentious Presidential elections in the last century. The silver lining is that after Nov. 3 there won’t be any more political ads on television, even though our suspicion is the final vote count won’t be totally resolved until Christmas or beyond.

With all of that to chew on, I wish all our readers a Happy Halloween in advance. And rather than sporting those boring pale blue masks the rest of the month, how about one touting the Golden Knights or the Raiders? It might give you a hidden smile and reason to look forward.