Las Vegas Sun

July 31, 2014

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Sun Youth Forum :

SUN Youth Forum Attracts Record High School Crowd

Enthusiasm was high, discussions were intelligent and students were numerous at the 18th annual SUN Youth Forum which was held Thursday at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

More than 800 high school students representing 15 schools throughout the Southern Nevada area arrived at the Center early Thursday and spent the day discussing topics ranging from the current energy crisis to legalizing abortion,

The Forum gives students a chance to speak out on a variety of topics.

Most of the teenager thought that conservative views outweighed liberal thinking - at least when comparing the attitudes of this year’s group with those in the past.

Pollution and what could be done about it was among the issues discussed in a group which chose to debate city, country and state government.

Lt. Gov. Harry Reid served as a moderator for the 45 students who recommended strong fines for those who litter and do not obey environmental laws.

Some students expressed concern that the pollution situation was beyond hope because as soon as something was cleaned up, someone else dirtied it again.

Governments were also discussed by a group moderated by SUN columnist Joe Delaney. Students in that session talked about the “Pains of consolidation” but also noted its good points.

Several students from Indian Springs thought the consolidation of some services would be very beneficial to their area. Peals of laughter intermingled with serious debate earmarked sessions led by Judge Robert “Mon” Mullen and Assemblyman Zel Lowman who both moderated crime and punishment seminars.

Prostitution, the pros and cons of legalizing it, brought forth emotional on both sides as did the questions of what is pornographic and what could be done about an increasing problem with rape.

The same group which took a straw poll and voted against legalizing marijuana in turn voted to change hitchhiking laws so it would be legal.

The energy problem and mass transportation were among the subjects discussed in a group dealing with the topic of “Star Spangled Nation.”

Students stated they thought transportation in Las Vegas was poor in regards to bus service and were in favor of some type of mass transportation system if it would effectively help out with the energy crisis.

All agreed that some type of government regulation concerning the energy situation was necessary, however they stipulated there should be no over-regulation either.

The University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) was the subject of debate among students attending a session on “The Blackboard Jungle” which was moderated by SUN columnist Judy Carlos.

There was a general feeling that schools having good nationally known football teams receive more recognition and funds than those that didn’t - UNLV being among the latter.

Gov. Mike O’Callaghan stopped by to chat with students for awhile.

Moderators for various sessions included James Bilbray, William Briare, Mrs. Marjory Phillips, John Zullinger, Mrs. Peggy Phillips, Dr. Heinz Rettig, Sen. Richard Bryan, John Wawema and Dr. Irving Katz.

The Junior League of Las Vegas aided in registering students who attended the SUN Youth Forum. This project is sponsored by the Las Vegas SUN and the Clark County School District.

Coordinating the event was Ruthe Deskin of the SUN and Harvey Dondero of the school district.

At the end of the afternoon session, each group voted on an individual to be a summarist- some for television and others to have summaries appear in the SUN.

Those selected to have their summaries in the SUN included: Lynnwood Johnson, Rancho; Scott Tuchman, Valley; Marian Zorn, Valley; Lisa Rottunda, Western; Mark Vincent, Gorman; Nathan Young, Chaparral and Glenn Waite, Rancho.

Appearing on television will be: Jeff Gottfriedson, Valley; David Wheeler, Rancho; Gayle Jones, Clark; Gary De Lee, Clark; Ron Kennedy, Clark; Mark Bush, Gorman and Mike Wert, Clark.

Serving as recorders for the groups were: Becky Adams, Valley; Phyllis Bradley, Clark; Diane Curtis, Clark; Beth Devine, Clark; Gayle Jones, Clark; Cathy Kuchman, Las Vegas; Bridget Hogan, Gorman; Millie Sweesy, Valley; Michele Gibson, Clark; Debbie Todd, Las Vegas; Cheryl Goff, Valley and Billie Hensy, Western.