Monday, July 30, 2007

Las Vegas Headlines

Things happen so fast around here that keeping up with Las Vegas news and events is tough for a lone blogger, but I’ve been saving up my news clippings and wondered if you’d heard about…

Boy Scouts Add Realtor Badge
In case you didn’t notice this very quick news story, the Las Vegas Boy Scouts are selling their Mt. Potosi camp. They received the property for free from the government, but are now selling the property, which is expected to fetch more than $100 million. Does this mean an end to little Boy Scouts asking me for money when I’m trying to walk in and out of the grocery store? I mean, this should wipe out the need for fundraisers for quite some time, don’t you think?

Vegas Gets A Brain
Well, no, not really, but at least we have a think tank. Carol Harter, former president of UNLV, heads up our home for brainiacs, the Black Mountain Institute. BMI recently took over a literary journal, Witness, which the RJ reports will publish its first Las Vegas edition in fall. Does this mean something will be published in our city that doesn’t include a review of nightclubs? Please?

Don’t Confuse Us With The Facts
A series of bronze historical markers on Fremont Street have been found to contain several inaccuracies. Local officials were unconcerned. According a report in the Review Journal, Mayor Goodman said, “It’s a fun thing. I’m hoping people on the Fremont East are half-lit, and could care less what the markers say.” Personally, I think this story explains a lot.

Who Needs History Anyway?
Residents living in the neighborhoods bordering the Las Vegas National Golf Course (Desert Inn and Eastern) learned that development may soon ruin their vintage Vegas neighborhood. The golf course’s recent sale combined with its residential zoning may result in 500 cookie cutters replacing the golf course. According to recent reports in the Sun, current residents are looking into the requirements to acquire historical status. This is a neighborhood full of unique, old-time Vegas houses and it would be great to see something of our city preserved instead of razed. I’m so sick of seeing things blown up and torn down that I could scream.

Las Vegas Events

Looking for something to do as summer heads into its final stretch? Try one of these local events:

This Friday, August 3, 2007, is First Friday in the Arts District. Get out and show your support for art in Las Vegas.

Super Summer Theater at Spring Mountain Ranch will begin running Jesus Christ Superstar on August 8, 2007. Bring a blanket and a picnic.

Summer Jazz at the Rampart Casino wraps up its season this Wednesday, August 1, 2007, with David Van Such from 6-8 p.m. in Addison’s Lounge.

The Guggenheim’s new exhibit, Modern Masters, displays work from artists such as Manet and Piccasso.

LVAM's annual Art Roundup is on display through August 26; admission is free.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

The Threatened Pahranagat

The Pahranagat National Wildlife Refuge, located north of Las Vegas off US93, is an oasis of marshlands, ponds, and lakes. Part of its wonder is the dichotomy of its existence – on the refuge side of the US93, a lush wetlands beckons with grasses as tall as a man, huge cottonwoods, and birds in abundance. On the desert side of the highway, only yards away, stand cacti, Joshua trees, and open desert to the horizon..

The water level at the Lower Pahranagat Lake appears to be extremely low, and blossoms of some kind of orange algae mar the lake’s edges. Dried up ponds are visible everywhere. One has to wonder what effect the Las Vegas Valley Water District’s plan to pump water from the northern counties will have on this area. Global warming appears to have started the job, but the exploding population of Las Vegas may finish it off. Dr. Jim Deacon’s letter to the editor in the RJ’s June 29th issue says that the proposed pumping will affect water levels in the entire region – some as far as 1,600 feet.

At the Upper Pahranagat Lake, we saw campers and fishermen. A huge blue heron flew past us and settled into one of the massive cottonwood trees that line the lake. Trails are abundant everywhere in the area, but be careful – hunting is allowed in the preserve.

On the way to Pahranagat NWR, we passed Coyote Springs, Pardee’s planned community out in the middle of nowhere. Harvey Whittemore, the developer, is sticking to his story that this community is online and not being affected by the slow housing market. Things looked pretty deserted to me, but it was Saturday when we drove past. We saw part of a golf course, lots of construction equipment, and possibly one house in the distance. Interestingly enough, the RJ carried a couple of articles about Coyote Springs in late May. With our current water woes doing nothing but getting worse, I would think that the water availability might be more of a problem than the depressed housing market.

Coyote Springs has been controversial since its inception, and I expect we’ll be reading more about this development. Since Jim Rhodes’ Pravada in Northern Arizona has halted construction, I wouldn’t discount the possibility that Coyote Springs may run into similar problems, although our legislators are far more agreeable to questionable development deals than Arizona.