Ask a Native

Homeless people keep approaching me in store parking lots asking for money. What’s the best way to handle this?

Last year, I walked into the men’s restroom at the Town Square Borders, only to be greeted by an apparently homeless man, naked from the waist down, sponge bathing in the sink. I was moving too swiftly to change direction, so I hurriedly took care of business and absconded without washing my hands. I’m sure you understand.

While our heartstrings may be tugged by the sights and stories of those approaching us in parking lots, don’t buy in. Thieves, creeps, weirdos and worse ply their scams in parking lots, trying to take advantage of our emotionally distracted and physically burdened post-shopping state.

My advice? Avoid those unneccesary parking-lot entanglements. Then go home and write a check to a local charity.

Aren’t the real natives the Paiutes? What do you think they think about downtown revitalization?

Actually, it is believed the Anasazi originally settled the Las Vegas area, building pit houses in the location of Big Springs (now the Springs Preserve) in about 750 A.D.—well before the Paiutes’ arrival in about 1000 A.D.

Still, the Paiutes were here before European interlopers arrived via the Spanish Trail. The subsequent development wasn’t pretty for the Paiutes, and the arrival of the railroad almost completely displaced them. A sympathetic local rancher, Helen J. Stewart, ultimately deeded 10 downtown acres to the Paiutes for a colony.

Today, the land is home to a smoke shop, a mini-mart and many of the tribe’s administration buildings. And while much of today’s tribal energy is invested in the facilities at the Snow Mountain reservation just north of town—which has three golf courses, a restaurant and more—the Paiutes would likely welcome downtown revitalization that stretched a little farther north, to the intersection of Main Street and Washington Avenue.

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