Tag Archives: Henderson

Mystery Surrounds Death of Pro Golfer Erica Blasberg in Las Vegas Suburb

Pro golfer Erica Blasberg, according to most accounts, had much going for her in life and was well liked by her golfing peers, friends and family. 

Blasberg played her only L.P.G.A. Tour event this year just two weeks ago in Mexico and tied for 44th place. 

Blasberg found great golfing success in college, winning six times in two years at the University of Arizona and then turned pro and played on the Curtis Cup team in 2004. 

One of the most photogenic women’s golfers in the country, she also inked an endorsement deal with Puma. In addition, Erica competed favorably in the L.P.G.A. Championship, U.S. Women’s Open, Women’s British Open, and Kraft Nabisco Championship. 

But last Sunday something turned horribly – and deathly -wrong.  

Henderson, Nevada police spokesman Keith Paul would only say they are continuing to investigating the 25-year-old American’s sudden and untimely death on Sunday, adding it was not immediately clear whether foul play was involved.  

The virtual freeze of information from the Henderson Police Department about her death has fueled rampant speculation.  They only say that it was not a suicide. 

TMZ, citing Erica’s father, also proclaimed that it was not a suicide. 

HLN host Nancy Grace took it a step further: “Found dead, possibly smothered to death in the bedroom of her desert home,” Grace said on her recent show. 

Erica had withdrawn in recent months, not updating her website, Facebook or Twitter accounts. 

Paul said police responded to a 911 call and were dispatched to Blasberg’s suburban three-bedroom house in Henderson, Nevada, a suburb of Las Vegas, around 3 p.m. last Sunday. Paul declined to say who made the call, saying it was part of the investigation.  

But, since then, knowledgeable sources have came forward saying the call was made by a male golfer, yet unnamed, who was inside her home at the time. 

Blasberg, whose bags were packed and waiting to go on her next L.P.G.A. tournament in Alabama this week, according to her agent, Chase Callahan, also reportedly text messaged her caddie hours before her death, saying she would not be at the tournament.  

The caddie, Missy Pederson, recently told the New York Times that Blasberg said she wasn’t going to play at this week’s Bell Micro L.P.G.A. Classic in Mobile, Alabama. 

Because the message was sent in the middle of the night, Pederson said she was worried and texted back a question about whether Blasberg was all right–  and the 25-year-old golfer never replied. 

Pederson normally caddies for Irene Cho. Cho told the Times she and Blasberg had made plans to have dinner Sunday night in Mobile, the night before Blasberg faced a qualifying round. 

Cho said Blasberg was unhappy with her golf game lately. 

“She was kind of down on herself,” Cho said. “She was upset how she played last year. I told her she has so much talent and so much beauty and so many people who love her. I didn’t want her to lose sight of all that.” 

Her dad, Mel Blasberg, says Las Vegas had become a “bad influence” and a “distraction,” and she was considering moving back home to California.  Despite this, he seems to believe it wasn’t suicide saying Erica was upbeat during practice at Southern Highlands Country Club in Henderson just days before she was found dead. 

“I never saw her more positive,” says Blasberg.  “This was a very motivated person to get to Alabama this week.” 

Police will not say how Blasberg died and the Clark County coroner only said the autopsy results were inconclusive and that determining the cause of death through blood and tissue tests could take 4-6 weeks. 

L.P.G.A. spokesman David Higdon called Blasberg’s death a “tough hit” for women’s golf. “She was a very popular player and well-liked and we’re going to miss her,” Higdon said, adding, “This is a very close-knit group of players and tour and we’re saddened by what happened.”

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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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Red & Pink Gods Shine Down on Southern Nevada at Indy 500 Race

Victory was sweet today for Indy 500 racer Helio Castroneves.  Earlier in the week he faced down and won against the IRS in court, returned to Indy Car racing in a flash, won the pole position for the 2009 Indianapolis 500, and helped his Roger Penske teamates to a rousing victory in the pitstop competition.  Then, for the ultimate coup de grace, Castroneves went on to win today the 93rd Brickyard race by a 1.9819 second margin over runner-up Dan Wheldon and third-place finisher Danica Patrick on the 2.5-mile oval track. 

Castroneves is no doubt savoring the rare racing air, adding a third Indy 500 victory to his illustrious career, reaching a status that only eight other racers have reached.   And team owner Roger Penske is probably racing to another planet with the win being his fifteenth victory at the Speedway’s premier race. 

But let’s not lose sight of our good Southern Nevada performances in the race. 

Despite the race having five yellow flags and horrendous crashes, thirty-six year old Canadian Alex “Tag” Tagliani, who lives in Las Vegas, officially driving as a rookie for Conquest Racing in All Sport/Big Red car No. 36, achieved the honor of being the best-placing first-year man with his eleventh place finish.   

Tag has a long history of competition in the former CART series and was very fortunate to get the nod by Conquest to race, bumping fellow teammate Bruno Junqueira that really had the best qualifying time, but was not their prime racer. 

Talking at Saturday’s public press conference, Tagliani said, “I was so excited to drive that I didn’t really understand what I was missing by not being in the Indianapolis 500 race. Everything came along last year. Obviously, the two series merged, we have now just one open-wheel series. I finished the season with Conquest. That got me to run with them this year. When we arrived here in Indy, I definitely didn’t realize how big this race was.” 

Not to be outdone, fellow rookie Englishman Alex Lloyd, aka Pink Lloyd, racing the pink car No. 99 sponsored by HER (Healthy Energy Revitalizer, an energy drink for women) started in the middle of the fourth row with an impressive four-lap average qualifying speed of 222.622 mph, and went on to finish the race, finishing 13th. 

Lloyd’s car owner is Sam Schmidt from Henderson, Nevada. 

Only three other rookies finished this year’s Indy 500 race:  Tomas Scheckter, 12th place; Scott Sharp, 14th place; and Ryan Briscoe, 15th place. 

Both Tagliani and Lloyd finished ahead of many veteran race car drivers including A.J. Foyt IV and John Andretti. 

Thankfully, there were no serious injuries among drivers or crew in the race, although racer Vitor Meira was transported alert and awake to Indianapolis Methodist Hospital for further evaluation of back pain and released. 

The Indy Car series takes no break this week before returning to action this weekend at the famous Milwaukee Mile on June 1st.

(Prior Las Vegas Backstage Access articles on the Indy 500 race.)

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