KNPR's State of Nevada

Monday-Friday 9:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.; 8:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
Dave Becker

NPR's State of Nevada is the essential public affairs broadcast to understand what's happening here. Newsmakers and experts give context to local issues; discussion and profile interviews explore the unique character - and characters - of our region. KNPR's State of Nevada is a daily conversation about this place we call home.

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Politics & Policy
9:39 am
Wed October 29, 2014

Clinton Visit Raises Dems’ Spirit

President Bill Clinton spoke to Las Vegans Wednesday at Springs Preserve, with an uplifting message for Democrats to get out and vote.
Credit Getty Images

Nevada Democrats have turned to the man that can rally voters from any podium, anywhere. 

President Bill Clinton spoke yesterday at the Springs Preserve before a crowd of several hundred people. And from the moment he uttered his first word, Clinton held the crowd enrapt with his anecdotes, folksy policy-talk, and plenty of red meat for the Democratic base.

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Civic Life
8:14 am
Wed October 29, 2014

Women Who Changed The Game In Las Vegas

Claudine Williams and her husband, Shelby, developed the Holiday Casino, which became the foundation for Harrah’s Hotel and Casino, in the burgeoning years of the industry. After Shelby’s death, Williams continued to improve the property until she sold her interests in 1983 to the Holiday Corporation. She flourished in an unusual domain for women during the middle of the twentieth century. She is a profile featured in "Changing the Game, Women at Work in Las Vegas, 1940-1990."
Credit Women's Research Institute of Nevada at UNLV

High heels, sequin dresses, feather boas -- the glamorous life of a Las Vegas showgirl has been a part of the appeal of the famed resort city for many decades.That's what it looks like on paper, at least.

The boom of the casino industry after a war-weary country in the 1940s appealed to both men and women looking for work. Explaining the real-life experiences of women finding economic success is one of the reasons Joanne Goodwin,UNLV history professor and director of the Women's Research Institute of Nevada, wrote "Changing the Game - Women at Work in Nevada, 1940-1990."

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Civic Life
7:50 am
Wed October 29, 2014

Nevada History Comes To Life In Elko Cemetery

Credit Getty Images

Elko Cemetery is the final resting place of more than 10,000 people. Their souls are rested, but their stories come alive once a year. 

In celebration of Nevada Day, Historian Jan Petersen unearths pieces of history while preparing for her annual cemetery tour. 

“One evening I came across school boys who knew I’ve been in Elko forever,” Petersen recalls. “They wanted a story and I told them a story of Elizabeth Potts, the only woman legally executed in the State of Nevada dated back in 1890.”

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Education
7:30 am
Wed October 29, 2014

The Birds And The Bees In CCSD

Clark County School District officials recently raised controversy with some parents after they brought to the table considerations to change the sexual education curriculum in schools.
Credit Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health

Clark County is considering an overhaul of its sexual education curriculum, and parents are concerned.

For years, the district has used an abstinence-based program to teach students about biology and sex. But recently, they began asking parents about a comprehensive sexual education curriculum designed by the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States.

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Civic Life
9:18 am
Tue October 28, 2014

Hiker Prompts Nat'l Parks Graffiti Probe

A serial graffiti vandal is believed to be behind this painting near Vernal Falls in Yosemite.
Credit Seattle Pi

It’s easy to paint over unwanted graffiti on someone’s fence. But when a nature is defaced, polluting the pristine settings in protected national parks, fixing it is a lot harder.

The National Park Service is now investigating several instances of graffiti in western parks, including Utah's Zion and Canyonlands National Parks, both of which are frequent destinations for Las Vegans looking to get away for a weekend.

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Politics & Policy
7:48 am
Tue October 28, 2014

Making Peace: Lessons From Mandela

Richard Goldstone

Violence erupted in South Africa during the transition from Apartheid to democracy between 1991 and 1994, and the nation's leaders appointed Richard Goldstone to lead a commission to get to the bottom of the tension.

He and his investigators ultimately determined that rogue police officers had instigated much of the violence, and held them accountable. For his unbiased opinions and willingness to criticize all sides of South African government, Goldstone received widespread international support.

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Politics & Policy
7:28 am
Tue October 28, 2014

Justin Jones Fights For Seat And Democratic Majority

Credit Justin Jones for Nevada

Democratic State Sen. Justin Jones represents a competitive district that has been targeted by Republican leaders.

His seat is one of three that Republicans are focusing on in an attempt to take over the state senate. And Jones could be vulnerable. In the last legislative session, he sponsored a bill to require background checks for private firearm sales, which didn't pass. Gun rights groups have targeted Jones since the 2013 session.

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Uber
11:20 am
Mon October 27, 2014

Uber Faces 'Tougher' Legal Fight In Nevada

Uber, the company that developed a smartphone app to connect those who need a ride with drivers, is under fire for its recent launch in Nevada. And it appears they don’t care.

Over the weekend, Uber launched its ridesharing services in Las Vegas and Reno. Instead of having taxis of its own, individual vehicle owners act as independent contractors who pick up and haul riders to destinations.

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Civic Life
8:28 am
Mon October 27, 2014

Community Loses Longtime Homeless Advocate

Linda Lera-Randle El was an advocate for job training and community outreach for the homeless population in Las Vegas.
Credit Las Vegas Review-Journal

Linda Lera-Randle El spent decades helping the homeless on the streets of Las Vegas.

The founder of Straight from the Streets didn't wait for the homeless to come to her -- she went to them, and could often be seen on the streets of Las Vegas, handing out supplies and food.

She worked tirelessly with other service providers to provide treatment to the homeless and get them into permanent housing. In 2004, she was honored as a Point of Light by President George W. Bush.

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Politics & Policy
7:37 am
Mon October 27, 2014

Murder-Suicide Puts Clark County Welfare System Under Microscope

Clark County Department of Family Services is under scrutiny again after the death earlier this month of a 16 month old child placed in the care of a foster family
Credit Clark County

After 16-month-old Michell Momox-Caselis was killed earlier this month in an apparent murder-suicide involving her foster father, Clark County’s child welfare system is under scrutiny.

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Food & Dining
1:33 pm
Fri October 24, 2014

Tolerance For Bad Behavior Means Bigger Paycheck For Servers

There are about 134,000 food and beverage server jobs in Las Vegas. Their skills must include the ability to deal with the unruly customer, and some of their strategies to do so may surprise you.
Credit Getty Images

Restaurant and bar patrons are accustomed to leaving a percentage of their bill as a tip to the person who served them their food and beverage. At least, the server hopes the customer will acknowledge their work with a monetary nod.

A server’s livelihood depends on his or her ability to deliver a quality customer service experience. But many have discovered the customer is not always right, especially if they cross the line when it comes to verbal or physical harassment.

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Politics & Policy
1:26 pm
Fri October 24, 2014

What That Campaign Sign Really Says

Credit Getty Images

Campaign signs are everywhere this time of year -- in neighbors' yards, on the drive to work and maybe even in the windows of local businesses.

Do they work? Or are campaign signs a waste of ink and paper? In campaigns for president or U.S. Senate, signs and bumper stickers won't make much of a difference.

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Technology
8:23 am
Fri October 24, 2014

Ubers Roll In Nevada

The ride sharing app known as Uber will now be available to residents in Las Vegas and Reno/Carson City.

Uber -- the ride sharing tech company -- launched today in Nevada. Las Vegas and Reno are the company's 223rd and 224th cities worldwide.

For those aren’t familiar with Uber — it’s a smartphone application. A rider turns on the app to find a ride and the app alerts available drivers nearby. A fare is negotiated on the spot, and then the rider can watch on a map as the Uber driver approaches. No cash is exchanged.

But don’t call Uber a taxi service.

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Halloween
8:08 am
Fri October 24, 2014

Cello To Add Creepy Factor To Silent Horror Films

Elizabeth Marshall is a cellist who will make her tribute to the season of the dead by playing in silent Halloween movies.
Credit Desert Strings

Halloween is a multi-billion-dollar industry spearheaded by legions spending untold amounts of money on fake tombstones, plastic skeletons and costumes. But classically trained cellist Elizabeth Marshall is celebrating the yearly homage to the dead through music – and silent movies.

A Las Vegas native who went to Las Vegas Academy, Marshall will accompany several silent horror classics with acoustic and electric cello at the Artifice Lounge this Saturday night.

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Business
7:36 am
Fri October 24, 2014

GOED's Steve Hill Talks Tesla, Economic Development

Steve Hill is the executive director of Nevada Governor's Office of Economic Development.
Credit Governor's Office of Economic Development

For Nevada, Tesla Motors represents an opportunity to show that its economy can diversify beyond gambling and housing. But at what price?

Nevada is offering incentives of almost $1.3 billion in exchange for Tesla building its $5 billion factory, and employing 6,500 people in Northern Nevada. Governor Brian Sandoval says the factory will add four percent to Nevada’s gross domestic product.

Over time, 4 percent translates into $100 billion in state gross domestic product.

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Civic Life
7:27 am
Fri October 24, 2014

Las Vegas Now 'More' Open For Business

Credit Vanderbilt

Las Vegas has stepped up its marketing efforts to attract gay and lesbian travelers from all over the world.

National television campaigns started earlier in the year that played off the “What happens here, stays here” mantra, and was given a boon with the appeals’ court decision to legalize gay marriage in Nevada in October.

Las Vegas positions itself as being open and welcoming to everyone. But the city isn’t known for being a gay destination, and doesn’t have the strong following of LGBT travelers such as San Francisco or Palm Springs.

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Arts & Life
8:42 am
Thu October 23, 2014

Life Is Beautiful And Art Is Subjective

A snapshot of a street art mural at the 2013 Life is Beautiful festival.
Credit Instragram user Kat Odell

Art is one of the most provocative and intriguing parts of the upcoming Life is Beautiful festival Oct. 24-26. It’s also been a defining factor of the downtown festival, which spruced up the side of more than a dozen buildings in 2013.

The murals were a hit with downtown business owners and residents alike.

One mural, however, caused a bit of controversy. It was a mural depicting a cowboy in an oversized yellow hat and three reels of a slot machine in his chest, reaching out with hands to more hands poking up from the desert floor. 

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Business
7:58 am
Thu October 23, 2014

Future Of Gaming Industry With Caesars, Slot Makers And Sports Wagers

The SLS hotel and casino opened on the north end of the Las Vegas strip in August.
Credit SLS Hotel and Casino

What’s the future of Caesars Entertainment? Will it be bankruptcy or salvation for the gaming company with the help of its creditors?

Caesars Entertainment has remained mostly quiet about its future and how it will deal with $24 billion in debt. The gaming company is trying to rally lenders to work out a restructuring plan. Some analysts believe a partially pre-negotiated bankruptcy is the most likely outcome.

But it’s not all about Caesars Entertainment.

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Health & Science
7:42 am
Thu October 23, 2014

Maintaining A Public Hospital For Las Vegas

University Medical Center has faced budget setbacks and staff layoffs. As they county's safety net hospital, the future of indigent and uninsured care may be at risk.
Credit Getty Images

  

Recent budget cuts at University Medical Center alongside layoffs has caused concern over the future of Clark County’s public hospital.

Medicaid enrollment is expanding under the Affordable Care Act. But, reimbursement from those services comes at a rate 30 percent lower than social services – resulting in a $15 million loss for the hospital. On top of that, the Clark County Commission isn’t going to bail out the hospital’s budget with emergency loans anymore.

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Civic Life
8:51 am
Wed October 22, 2014

Las Vegas Wedding Chapel Says No To Gay Marriages

Amidst the fervor of emotions and activity regarding now-legal, same-sex marriages in Nevada, some are still holding on to their convictions.

One such person happens to own a wedding chapel in Las Vegas, renting tuxes and gowns and officiating Elvis-themed ceremonies for the last 30 years. During that time, same sex ceremonies were never performed, and owner Dolly Deleon says if she has her way, they never will.

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Education
8:06 am
Wed October 22, 2014

CCSD Schools Bursting At The Seams

Overcrowded classrooms in CCSD is apparent, and the student population continues to grow year after year.
Credit Huffington Post

Over-crowded classrooms in Nevada is no longer an elephant in the room -- it's a bear of an issue staring just about everyone right in the face.

The Clark County School District (CCSD) enrolled 10,000 more students this year than just two years ago.

To deal with the all those extra students – that total is now about 318,000 pupils – the district uses 1,800 portable classrooms, some of them more than 30 years old. It also has year-round schools.

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Arts & Life
7:35 am
Wed October 22, 2014

Life Is Beautiful Festival Set To Descend On Downtown

An image from a brick art installation at the 2013 Life Is Beautiful festival. Festival organizers published photos from Instagram with the hashtag #LifeIsBeautiful.
Credit Instagram user Tucker Gumber

This weekend, Oct. 24-26, the second incarnation of the Life Is Beautiful Festival takes place in downtown Las Vegas.

There will be music acts, new public art, real grass lawns covering asphalt and finger food from fine restaurants. Billed as a "lifestyle event," the eclectic mix of performers, artists and musicians is a part of the festival's mission, which is to bring those who can inspire to those who need inspiring.

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Tonopah Art
7:48 am
Tue October 21, 2014

Artist Portrays Tonopah Solar Farm In The Big Apple

Artist John Gerrard brought a little taste of Tonopah, Nev. to The Big Apple with his art installation, Solar Reserve.

New York City, meet Tonopah, Nevada.

At least, meet its massive solar array. Irish artist John Gerrard recently unveiled an art installation featuring the Crescent Solar Energy Project in Tonopah -- a solar power plant of 10,000 mirrors on more than 1,000 acres -- in upper Manhattan.

Gerrard’s art installation, Solar Reserve, is a 28-by-24-foot wall of light emitting diodes outside the Lincoln Center.

The wall depicts the 110-megawatt solar power plant 190 miles northeast of Las Vegas in a way that stops even hardened New Yorkers in their tracks.

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Business
7:39 am
Tue October 21, 2014

Rural Nevada Residents See Bank, Brothel Closures

Beatty, Nev., has just over 1,000 residents and is losing its Washington Federal branch, and the Angel Lady's brothel has closed.
Credit Nevada Landmarks

Life in rural Nevada has its challenges.

Jobs can be scarce. A full-service supermarket is usually 70 miles from home. And a doctor’s appointment may be a two-hour trip.

For years the local bank branch has been a staple of rural life -- meeting the financial needs of farmers, ranchers and business owners. Now that’s even disappearing from rural Nevada, replaced by so-called smart ATMs.

Washington Federal is the latest bank to pull out. The bank is closing branches in Beatty, Pioche and Hawthorne. All three were purchased from Bank of America earlier this year.

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Medical Marijuana
7:27 am
Tue October 21, 2014

Recreational Marijuana Debate Heads To Carson City

As the debate on marijuana dispensaries in Clark County continues, two Las Vegas City Councilmen have expressed cautionary words from both the law and business sides of the table.
Credit Getty Images

    

A Las Vegas councilman said on KNPR's State of Nevada Tuesday that the Nevada Legislature will be forced to consider a resolution to legalize marijuana in the state.

State Sen. Richard "Tick" Segerblom, D-Las Vegas, confirmed that that 105,000 signatures have been collected on a petition to legalize marijuana. Those signatures had to be collected by mid-November in order to be admitted to the Legislature when it begins its 2015 session in January.

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Politics & Policy
4:19 pm
Mon October 20, 2014

Nevada Voters Have All The Margins Tax Power

Special interest groups have spent about $2 million trying to defeat Ballot Question 3 Nevada voters will face at the polls. The Margins Tax is a bill that would increase the margins tax on businesses in order to fund public education.

Early voting began Saturday, and the fate of the Nevada Margin Tax For Public Schools Initiative, or Margins Tax, will soon be decided at the close of Election Day.

Several groups have come together against the Margins Tax, spending about $2 million to defeat the measure on Ballot Question 3.

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News
3:58 pm
Mon October 20, 2014

Las Vegas Receives Funding To Catch Up On Untested DNA

More than 4,000 rape kits sit untested in the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department lab. New laws that require more DNA evidence to be collected for various crimes has led to the backlog.
Credit Getty Images

DNA can be a critical tool for solving crimes. New laws that require police departments to collect DNA from convicts and arrestees on crimes ranging from burglary to homicide have led to a backlog of untested DNA in Nevada.

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Politics & Policy
7:45 am
Mon October 20, 2014

Republicans Reign In Washoe County

New figures released show Washoe County might be leaning red this election season.
Credit Business News Daily

In Nevada, the political parties are divided between a geographic line in the sand: Democrats live in Clark County, Republicans live in the rural counties.

And they come together in Washoe County -- the only swing county in a swing Western state. But Washoe County may be changing. Recent figures released by the county's registrar show that Republicans have taken a commanding lead when it comes to voter registration, and now hold an advantage of 6,000 voters.

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Drugs
3:39 pm
Fri October 17, 2014

State Senator Proposes Heroin Clinics To Solve Nevada's Drug Problem

Nevada State Senator Tick Segerblom wants to implement the use of heroin clinics, places where addicts could get prescribed doses of heroin, to help fight addiction and other issues associated with addiction.
Credit Getty Images

A state senator wants to legalize heroin clinics in Nevada as a way to combat crime and fight drug addiction.

Sen. Richard "Tick"  Segerblom, D-Las Vegas, said he will introduce a bill in the 2015 legislative session to open clinics that would provide supervised drug injections to addicts. 

Along with free doses of drugs, the clinics would provide counseling and therapy. 

“The goal is to get people off the street, out of the criminal element, address their addiction and then hopefully figure out a way to get them off of the drug,” Segerblom said.

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Politics & Policy
1:35 pm
Fri October 17, 2014

It's An Ongoing Love Affair With Area 51

Desert landscaping in Nevada
Credit UNLV

To the casual observer, a remote area of Edwards Air Force Base in the Nevada desert wouldn't look like much -- a dry lakebed, the odd Joshua tree and prefab housing. But these surroundings are home to one of the most controversial government domains of the postmodern era: Area 51.

For generations, this lonely outpost at dry Groom Lake in Lincoln County has been the subject of all manner of speculation. Is it a port for visiting spacecraft? A venue for alien autopsies? Maybe, it’s a top secret military base?

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