Daily Archives: October 7, 2009

Snow Skiing in Las Vegas? Setting U.S. Record?

The Las Vegas Ski and Snowboard Resort on Mt. Charleston may be able to open earlier this year than ever before thanks to recent cold temperatures. If it opens this weekend – plans call for possibly opening this Thurs. or Friday – it will be their longest season ever.   And, if that happens, it may just well mean that this usually hotter than hell climate will be part of a new national record for winter snow– beating out every other ski resort in the country and open first. snow2

The staff at the resort says recent cold weather has allowed them to make plenty of manmade snow and that means the slopes can open early and they can hire more employees sooner- very good news for a very stale Las Vegas economy with unemployment running nearly 11 percent. 

The dip in temperatures this week is allowing snowmakers at the resort to create fresh powder sooner than ever before.   In order to pull it off and open sometime this week, the resort needs one more night of cold temperatures. He says snowmakers have been able to create all the snow in the last two nights when temperatures on Mount Charleston dropped to about 18-degrees at the 8,600-foot mountain elevation.

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Las Vegas Ranked the Second-Dumbest City in United States

When you think of someone perhaps “not having the sharpest knife in the drawer,” does that person necessarily live in Las Vegas? dumb

The Daily Beast does.  Las Vegas has just been “honored” by the Daily Beast as the second-dumbest city in the country in their first-ever study: “A city that prides itself on sin performs predictably for each of our intellectual-based criteria.” 

How was the ranking computed?  They only ranked metropolitan areas (the cities and their suburbs) of 1 million people or more, using Census data, with the definition of each greater metropolitan area defined by Nielsen. That gave them 55 U.S. cities n all. All data was then organized on a per-capita basis, so that a resident of Norfolk, Virginia, and New York, New York, had equal weight.  They we’re looking for the brainiest cities, not the biggest. 

Then they divided the criteria into two halves: Half for education, and half for intellectual environment. The education half encompassed how many residents had bachelor’s degrees (35 percent weighting) and graduate degrees (15 percent). No credit was given for “some college or some grad school”— only rewarded those who finished the race. The intellectual environmental half had three subparts. First, they ooked at nonfiction book sales (25 percent), as tracked by Nielsen BookScan, the nation’s leading provider of accurate point-of-sale data, which tracks roughly 300,000 titles each week. They focused on nonfiction as an imperfect proxy for intellectual vigor, because overall sales are dominated by fiction works that, while entertaining, aren’t always particularly thought-provoking.  They also measured the ratio of institutions of higher education (15 percent), as defined by the federal government—different than just measuring college degrees, this acknowledges that universities don’t just churn out diplomas, but instead drive the intellectual vigor of cities. Finally, many studies link intelligence and political engagement, so we weighed this, too, as measured by the percentage of eligible voters who cast ballots in the last presidential election (10 percent). (Their relatively small weighting acknowledges that numerous other local factors can affect turnout.) 

Once that had all these comparable, per-capita figures, they then ranked the cities in each category, assigning 10 points to those near the very top, and 0 to the bottom, with scores allocated between in a broad bell curve. They then added the totals, and multiplied by two, which made for a perfect score of 200, a wash-out score of 0, and an average score right at 100—close to the exact parameters of a classic IQ test. 

So, what do you think? Do you think Las Vegas deserves the IQ score of 11 that Daily Beast assigned?

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Las Vegas’ New City Hall Project Continues to Chug Along

Project plans for a new Las Vegas City Hall appear to be moving forward, despite higher than expected interest rates.  To provide a mechanism for more effective interest rates, Las Vegas is seriously looking now at using “Build America” bonds to finance their new city hall. 

By using these bonds to finance the project it will cost Las Vegas as much as $267 million, but save the city  $82 million over 30 years, based on current estimates of competitive funding methods. 

Las Vegas has already awarded a $107,800 engineering contract to design a 650-space parking garage adjacent to the proposed six-story, 303,000-sq-ft building City Hall complex at First Street and Clark Avenue.  

The complex, if and when it is finished, is planned to have a 250,000-sq-ft of office space, a 500-seat city council chamber and a public exhibition space, as well as an outdoor plaza with solar panel trees that serve as shade structures. 

Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman said recently that prospects for the project were bleak because the interest rates on one possible funding mechanism were as much as 8 percent too high. 

But Goodman says the Build America bonds are improving the viability of the project. 

The Build America bond program is part of President Barack Obama’s stimulus package which lets state and local governments issue taxable bonds for capital projects and get a direct federal subsidy payment from the Treasury Department for a portion of their borrowing costs. 

The Las Vegas City Council will be meeting today to further discuss the issue, but the final vote on whether to continue to move forward on the city hall plan won’t occur until November or December.

If approved, the Las Vegas City Hall project is expected to finish by mid-2011– and create 13,000 new jobs.

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Celebrity Involvement Fuels Las Vegas’ 2nd Annual Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction

Some serious celebrity star power will fuel excitement at the 2nd Annual Barrett-Jackson Las Vegas Collector Car Auction  (link for schedule and info) in Las Vegas starting on Oct. 7, preceeded first by a road rally at 1:30 p.m. down the Las Vegas Strip before arriving at the event headquarters at Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino. 

Bruce Willis and Don Johnson will sell vehicles from their private collections; and the “Father of the Mustang,” Lee Iacocca, will provide an exclusive chance to own one of only 45 limited edition Ford Mustangs. In a special charity auction, legendary TV host Jay Leno will sldo donate proceeds from the sale of a one-of-a kind Yamaha motorcycle to Bailey’s Café, an arts education program based in Brooklyn, NY. 

Ranging from a Lincoln Limousine used during the filming of “Die Hard,” to a powerful off-road SUV, a total of six vehicles from the celebrities will all sell at a No Reserve auction from Oct. 7 through 10. 

Because no collector car auction in Las Vegas would be complete without a nod to the “King of Rock and Roll,” Elvis Presley fans will also have the chance to own a race car used in the iconic 1964 motion picture, “Viva Las Vegas.” 

Bruce Willis, action movie star and one of Hollywood’s most recognizable leading men, will sell his 1967 Chevrolet Corvette convertible, 1968 Pontiac Firebird 400 and 1988 Lincoln Limousine.  The Copper Maroon 1967 Corvette convertible (Lot #659.3) features a powerful 427 c.i.d., 435 horsepower Tri-Power engine with a 4-speed manual transmission. Tri-Power ‘Vettes are considered by many collectors to be some of the most collectible versions of the celebrated American sports car. Willis purchased the car in El Paso, Texas, while filming “Last Man Standing.” He later shipped the car to Sun Valley, Idaho, to enjoy during summer trips.  Also a convertible, the black on black 1968 Pontiac Firebird (Lot #659.2) hails from Willis’ hometown of Penns Grove, N.J., where he used to drive to and from the Jersey Shore with his father. Originally used to take Willis to the set of his TV series “Moonlighting,” his dark blue 1988 Lincoln Limousine (Lot #659.1) was also used during the filming of the blockbuster movie, “Die Hard.” 

Lee Iacocca, known as the “Father of the Mustang,” presented the Ford Mustang to the world during a dramatic press conference at the 1964 New York World’s Fair. During his time as Ford Division president and general manager, Iacocca made the Mustang a household name. Now, Iacocca is selling one of the most anticipated limited edition versions of this iconic classic, the No. 5 Iacocca Silver 45th Anniversary Edition Ford Mustang (Lot #3000). 

Jay Leno, one of the most popular TV hosts and stand-up comedians in the country, and one of the world’s most ardent car and motorcycle collectors, will sell his Yamaha Star V-Max motorcycle (Lot #761.1) to benefit Bailey’s Café (www.baileyscafe.org) The educational program based in Brooklyn, NY, uses poetry, theater, video, writing, music, dance, cooking and fine arts to build community and inter-generational understanding and respect in inner-city neighborhoods.

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