Daily Archives: January 28, 2010

It’s Red Flag Season in Las Vegas!

Perhaps not as well known as the hunting season in Idaho or the ski season in Vermont, Red Flag season in Las Vegas means increased activity in the sky above and around the city.  It’s a little extra noise and traffic for North Las Vegas locals to endure but for military personnel, Red Flag training exercises are an opportunity to immerse themselves in situations which would be encountered in actual combat. 

Essentially, there are two teams made up of personnel from the U.S. Air Force, Marine Corps, U.S. Navy and the Royal Air Force of the United Kingdom.  The Red team is the “aggressor” defending key targets including missile sites, tanks and airfields.  The Blue team has one mission – to attack the targets.  

The event, running Monday, January 25 to Friday, February 5, will be conducted on the 15,000 square mile Nevada Test and Training Range north of the city of Las Vegas.  Participating aircraft will depart Nellis Air Force Base twice each day, first in the mid-afternoon and later in the evening. 

Photo at right is of a F/A-18 Hornet blasting through the sun’s rays, supplied courtesy of photographer Mike Stotts.

For the first time in 16 years, Red Flag will include members from the 93rd Fighter Squadron and Maintenance Squadron from Homestead Air Reserve Base in Florida.    And the Homestead ARB F-16 “Mako” will be included in the aerial training exercises. 

“Participating in Red Flag is a huge milestone for the Air Force Reserve Command,” says Lt. Col. David W. Smith, 93rd FS commander. “This is the best training in the world to prepare pilots for integrated joint operations in the most robust air-to-air and air-to-ground combat threat environment.”

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New Senior Center Opens in Henderson, Nevada

Any large business opening is a big thing in this stifling economy- and especially one of this magnitude.  The formal grand opening for the City of Henderson Heritage Park Senior Facility will be held on Saturday, Jan. 30. 

The Senior Facility, which will replace two other older facilities, has been the topic of discussion regarding whether the reported $11.7 million spent on the Heritage Park Senior Facility and the estimated total cost of $26.2 million for the entire Heritage Park complex, was a wise investment during the current economic climate.  

At the time of the July 2008 groundbreaking, the two-year project seemed to be exactly what was necessary to meet the needs of the community.  But as funding for other commitments dried up and the financial domino effect of the mortgage crisis became more apparent, there was little consideration given to putting any kind of hold on the project.  

“Unlike a park, you can’t just leave a half-built building sitting there.” said Kim Becker, spokeswoman for the Parks and Recreation department.  Yet that is exactly what has been done at other local building sites, most notably the bankrupt Fontainebleau sitting just north of the Riviera.  

The Senior Facility, which opened for use on December 16, is a recreational center for adults over 50.  It features a commercial kitchen as well as a demonstration kitchen and the specialty rooms include a dance room, craft room, conference room and media room.  Mindful of the concerns and needs of the community, the Senior Facility also houses a wellness center and health screening rooms and the cafe and lounge area are equipped with the latest in WiFI.  But the centerpiece of this building has to be the fitness room which includes the latest in exercise equipment and the indoor aquatic area. 

“We’re very pleased to be pursuing LEED Gold certification for this building, which truly blends form and function,” said Mary Ellen Donner, director, City of Henderson Parks and Recreation Department. “So many elements are eco-friendly and energy efficient, including a ground source geothermal sustainable energy system, flooring made from recycled products, and insulated skylights and windows to optimize natural lighting. It’s a striking building that will truly enhance the quality of life for Henderson’s 50+ residents.” 

In the end it’s possible that the Henderson Parks and Recreation department will find themselves thanked by many in the Henderson community.  As money has become tighter and tighter, families are turning away from expensive hobbies and weekend entertainments and are spending more time at the park.  The reported 13.5 percent uptick in use at the six Henderson recreational centers during the last half of 2009 is expected to continue or increase, especially as this summer season begins and community pools come more into play.

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