Friday, September 29, 2006

Vegas Girl News

Cathy Scott Appearing On Oxygen Network
Vegas author Cathy Scott will appear on the Oxygen Network (Las Vegas Cox Channel 55) on Monday, October 2, in the show Snapped: Sandy Murphy. In her book Death in the Desert, Cathy wrote about the sensational Binion murder, for which Sandy Murphy and Rick Tabish were initially convicted. Cathy spoke to my writing group just as Sandy Murphy’s retrial began. Based on her research, she told us, she predicted Murphy would be acquitted. In November 2004, Murphy and Tabish were acquitted of the Binion murder. Was Murphy a gold digger capable of murder, or a convenient patsy? Read Cathy’ book and see what you think.

Visit Cathy Scott’s website at

Red Rock Vandals
On September 16, 2006, the RJ reported that vandals had defaced 100-year-old rock art in a remote cave in Red Rock's Sandstone Quarry. About three weeks prior, my family had discovered this vandalism. I assumed Red Rock already knew that some idiot(s) went to the trouble to scramble into the cave set high in the sandstone. Years before, my husband and I climbed into that same cave and marveled at the art, and we wanted to share it with our son. Sadly, we wound up sharing a lesson about ignorance.

Yesterday, the RJ reported that fire destroyed a 120-foot portion of the boardwalk at Red Springs in Calico Basin. This area sits just outside the Red Rock most of you are familiar with. When I was growing up, it was where we picnicked. Now that Summerlin is reaching out toward Little Red Rock, how long will it be before morons destroy that, too? Even petroglyphs in the Valley of Fire have been defaced. Don’t we have enough freeways to write on?

Frances Deane – Cub Reporter
The Las Vegas Tribune, a publication I’d never heard of, has hired former County Recorder Frances Deane. Let me see if I understand this…. I can’t get a local publication to call me back, but Frances Deane got a job? I guess I should have mishandled confidential paperwork while I was still with Metro. If only I had known that the media wants more ethically challenged journalists.

Recycle Your Electronics
If you’re like every other technology-addicted person I know, you’ve accumulated a closet full of old computers, cell phones, and other outdated toys. Last week the Sun reported on our growing piles of discarded electronics – most of which contain all kinds of chemicals that don’t belong in a landfill. Before you toss your old brick cell phone, check for recycling locations.

Summerlin La Strada del’Arte
September 30 and October 1
Summerlin Centre Community Park
Admission and parking are free

Boulder City Art in the Park
October 7 and 8
Drive to Boulder City and follow the signs
Admission is free, but there is a small free for the shuttle

Zion Canyon Art and Flute Festival
October 13 – October 15

National Public Lands Day
September 30
Entrance fees waived for all National Parks/Recreation Areas:
Lake Mead, Death Valley, Zion, etc.

Southern Nevada Railway
Boulder City
Ride antique Pullman coaches
For more information, call 486-5933

Shakespeare in the Park
September 28-October 8 - Free

First Friday
October 6

Third Thursday
October 19
Water Street Art District
5 – 9 p.m.

Sax Sundays
Mount Charleston Hotel
1 p.m. Sundays
Call 872-5500

Jazz at the Lake
Every Friday from 7-10 p.m. at Lake Las Vegas

Thursday, September 28, 2006

The Fight Against Union Busting

If you’ve seen these protesters on Sahara just west of Durango, or at Charleston and Rampart, you’ve probably wondered who they are and why they’re unhappy with Target and Valley Health Systems. A couple of weeks ago I stopped to ask them just those questions

Carpenters Local 1977 is standing out in the heat every day to tell people that non-union labor used in construction and nursing drives down wages, among other things. They are simply practicing the time-honored tradition of standing with their union brothers – a tradition practiced less and less as unions loose influence. Membership in unions across the country is decreasing, and our once union-strong city (the Culinary and Teamsters built this town – literally, in some cases) now turns a blind eye to protests and strikes. Anyone remember the Frontier?

Judging from local news reports about the quality of both nursing and construction in Las Vegas, Carpenters Local 1977 has a point. On September 13 and 14, the RJ reported that the nursing union gave several local hospital failing grades for poor patient-nurse ratios. Anyone who’s been in a Las Vegas hospital can attest to the poor quality of care offered. In my experience, you’re lucky to find an RN or anyone who speaks English. On the construction side, the proliferation of construction defect lawsuits speaks for itself. And as for wages, anyone trying to make a living as a roofer or framer knows that most wages have dropped to an unlivable level.

Tona Hughes, a volunteer for the Carpenters Local, told me they’d been protesting for eight months. Valley Health Systems has yet to sit down and hear their concerns. Besides getting the cold shoulder from VHS, Tona says motorists can be hostile, throwing things and shouting profanities at them. Their sign has been vandalized and stolen, and all of the volunteers worry about vandalism to their vehicles.

Local media have ignored the protesters. Las Vegas Weekly is the only publication I found that ran anything on these people who have braved summer heat, ignorant motorists, and unresponsive corporations to exercise their freedom of speech.

The next time you’re driving on Sahara or Charleston, show Tona and the other volunteers that some people still respect workers’ rights and freedom of speech. An encouraging honk would be a good start, but if you can't bring yourself to do that, then at least don't act like a jerk.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

More Fires

Fire in the Desert

Another lightening strike at Red Rock, another fire in the desert. From my house, you could smell and see the smoke. Here’s a shot from the Boca Park parking lot of the black smoke rising in the distance. If you’re not worried about fires in the desert, you should be. Check out my August 25th post for more information about the invasive species making fuel for our fires.

Sin City Stereotypes

Today Erin Neff’s column deals with a subject that irks most long-time Las Vegans – the perpetuation of myths and misconceptions about Las Vegas. We don’t all work in the casinos. We’re not all drinking, gambling degenerates living in trailer parks in the desert. Sadly, the national media finds the stereotype more interesting than the truth. For the record, I’m a native who doesn’t gamble. Except for video poker, I don’t even know how. No strippers or show girls live on my street, although we do have one professional gambler and no one knows what the busty blonde across the street does. I’ve never worked in a casino, nor has my husband. Sadly, I have the feeling that Las Vegans will be listening to these same tired stereotypes for many more years to come.

Condos Killed?

Or at least delayed. Today’s RJ reports that Station Casinos has had a falling out with the developers slated to build high rises next to Red Rock Casino. Dare we hope that the whole thing will fall through? Success rates on local condo projects are roughly the same as what you get at roulette (I may not know how to play it, but I do know it’s a bad bet.) Red Rock is supposed to be the trendiest, hippest new joint in town. I have yet to check it out since I get angry every time I’m out for a walk and have to see that huge chunk of concrete with windows instead of the actual Red Rock Canyon. Here’s hoping that the condo craze will die and what’s left of my view will remain.

Money Talks

Although I maintain that Las Vegas is not a cesspool of vice and desperation, there’s no escaping the fact that we’re unique. What other school system in America accepts donations from strip clubs? This week Eye on Vegas reported on the “Detention” event that raised $2,500 for Clark County Schools. The “entertainers” were dressed as school girls, teachers, and librarians. I bet the attendees found it way more fun than a bake sale.


Nevada Opera Theater’s Opera Festival
September 23 and 24
MonteLago Village

Utah Shakespearean Festival
Fall is the perfect time to visit the festival – Utah has the best fall color displays in this area. Yes, I know all those people from the Midwest and East coast are rolling their eyes because our fall colors are so much wimpier than they’re used to. Get over it. Fall colors are to the East what Vegas is to neon. Just appreciate what we’ve got and see some terrific plays while you’re at it.

Super Summer Theater
Spring Mountain Ranch State Park
Check out the last play of the season!
Call 594-7529 for more details

Check out the RJ’s Living section today for a recap of upcoming theater events all over town:

Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka will be reading from his new memoir on Wednesday, September 13, 2006, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Marjorie Barrick Museum at UNLV. The reading is sponsored by The Black Mountain Institute, Las Vegas’s homegrown think tank. Call 895-5542 for more information.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

News and Events

Tule Springs

You can call it Floyd Lamb State park all they want, but it will still be Tule Springs to me. When I was growing up here, we used to have half-day school picnic trips to the park, which at that time was the only thing off the highway. You could find it by looking for the green spot in the desert. The State has been taking care of Tule Springs, but now that the City of Las Vegas is poised to take over, there’s no telling what might happen to the historic site. Rumors that the City will turn the rural-flavored park into a ball field have run rampant for years. At least the City is asking our opinion before the bull dozers arrive. Visit to give your opinion on what we should do with this piece of Las Vegas history.

State of Nevada’s web site on Tule Springs:
Channel 8’s report:

Gilcrease Orchard

Not far from Tule Springs sits Gilcrease Orchard, a secret so well-kept that this native didn’t know about it until just a few years ago. (I did, however, meet my husband when I was volunteering at the Gilcrease Bird Preserve, also in the same area.) Encroaching development endangers the orchard (along with every other tract of land in Southern Nevada). I know progress is inevitable, but do we have to pave over everything?

Great article (with pics) about the Orchard:

The recent Las Vegas Business Press Article on the orchard:

Little Red Rocks

To the west of Summerlin, a tiny clutch of red rocks and petroglyphs are partially hidden at the base of the mountains. For years, it was visited only by ATVers and vandals. Now the city is growing towards the area.

While I hope they can prevent the vandals from destroying the rock art (petroglyphs), I can’t say that I’m encouraged by what I’ve seen at the Valley of Fire and Red Rock itself. A couple of weeks ago my hubby and I took our son hiking at Red Rock. We remembered a cave we’d discovered years before, one full of petroglphys. We found the cave, along with all its defaced art. As my hubby’s aunt was fond of saying, “Fools and fools’ faces always appear in public places.”

To read more about the efforts to preserve Little Red Rocks:

Events and Programs

Yes, Las Vegas offers many things to do that don’t involve gambling! For instance:

UNLV Programs for 62+

Desert Breeze Dog Daze of Summer
10 a.m. to noon, Saturday 09-09-06, at Desert Breeze Play Pool, 8275 W. Spring Mountain. No admission fee. Must be vaccinated and on a leash (the dogs, that is. I won’t speak for the owners).

Las Vegas Wash Green Up
Saturday Sept. 30, Noon – 4 p.m.
Call 822-8400 for more info

Nevada State Railroad Museum in Boulder City
Train rides on weekends - thru Dec. 10. Call 486-5933

San Gennaro, Sept. 12, $6/$7

Ballet Under the Stars
Sept. 9 at 8 p.m., The Hills Park amphitheater
Gates open at 6:30 p.m.
Tickets $15 – adults, $4 kids.
Call 243-2623 for more info.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Housing Bubbles, Water Woes, and Warren Jeffs

Bubbling or Bursting?

The downward trend of the housing market here in Las Vegas is spawning ever more panicky articles in the local press. With a six-month supply of available housing, has our bubble burst? One day the stats show a slide, the next day we’re inching back up. Tourism may be our main claim to fame, but real estate is a serious player in our economy, employing scads of real estate agents, mortgage lenders, and construction workers. As long as Californians can still sell their houses for $700,000.00, however, our $300,000.00 homes will still attract buyers.

There’s Water in Them Thar Hills

The Las Vegas Valley Water District continues to try convincing our northern brothers that we just want a little of their water. Really. And those pesky comparisons to the Owens Valley, well, with all our modern laws, that could never happen in Nevada. Just like Yucca Mountain, right?

All Road Lead To Vegas

It’s not just degenerate drinkers, gamblers, and other low-lifes who head for Vegas when the law is hot on their tails. Saudi Arabian terrorists stop here, and most recently, Warren Jeffs, the fugitive fundamentalist Mormon. I especially enjoy hearing all the LDS leaders denouncing the FLDS and polygamy because, goodness gracious, doesn’t everyone know that in 1890 the Mormons received a revelation from God that polygamy was bad. It was just coincidental that the revelation came at the same time Utah wanted statehood. News reports stated that an iPod, cash, and other items were found in the car with Jeffs. What I want to know what he had on the iPod. While still the head honcho in Colorado City, he recorded himself singing hymns and then required his followers to listen to his vocal stylings. What, the multiple wives, hair shirts, and no cable weren’t bad enough?

Who Needs I15 Anyway?

If you’re trying to get from Southern California to Las Vegas in September or October, better break out the maps. Road work around the Devore exit will close I15 periodically during this time, so your drive from LA to LV may include Kingman. I’m sure the LVVCA is thrilled with California’s advice to drivers, which is to simply cancel their trips. Funny thing how we in Nevada manage to work on our roads and keep them open.

Events Around Town

First Friday is TODAY. Head downtown the Arts District to check out art, food, and entertainment.

The Red Rock Harvest Festival is tomorrow. Go to the visitor’s center to see displays of wildlife, dances by American Indians, and all types of informational booths.