Tag Archives: Nevada

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Erica had withdrawn in recent months, not updating her website, Facebook or Twitter accounts.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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Passage of Travel Promotion Act aims to spur growth into Las Vegas from international visitors

Las Vegas tourism officials believe the federal Travel Promotion Act legislation that was signed into law last week will lead to a marked growth in international visitors, one of the gaming industry’s few positive market segments in the challenging economic climate. 

Under the legislation, signed into law by President Barack Obama, a program will be created that will allow the United States to advertise the country as a destination for international travelers. It creates a public-private partnership for travel promotion that is partly funded by a $10 fee paid by international travelers. 

The idea for the Travel Promotion Act originated from the 1995 White House Conference on Tourism. It was revived after the economic downturn saw the United States lose some 68 million international visitors, which accounted for losses of $509 million in consumer spending, $32 million in tax revenue and 441,000 jobs, according to a study done by Oxford Economics. 

The same study found the act could potentially draw 1.6 million new international visitors to the United States, which would generate $4 billion in new spending.

Las Vegas tourism officials hope to capture some of those visitors and market separately to potential international visitors as well. 

The convention authority estimated the act would increase international visitation to 20 percent of Las Vegas’ total market share. In addition, while Oxford believes the act will be responsible for creating 40,000 tourism jobs nationally, the convention authority estimated an increase in international visitation could create another 12,000 jobs in Southern Nevada.

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Nevada’s $6.8 Billion Casino Loss in ’09 the Largest Ever

As a result of declining gaming revenues, reductions in hotel rates and reduced consumer spending, Nevada’s highest-grossing casinos generated a net loss of almost $6.8 billion in fiscal year 2009- the largest ever for Nevada. 

The huge loss resulted from a total revenue of more than $22 billion including money spent by customers on gaming, hotel rooms, food, beverage and other attractions.

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China Comes to U.S. Rescue of Maglev Train from Los Angeles to Las Vegas

Long discussed and hotly debated for years, it appears if the magnetic levitation train (called ‘Maglev’) ferrying passengers (and tourists!) from Los Angeles to Las Vegas is really to get started in earnest, it will take Chinese funding- lots of it. 

China announced last week that it is willing to loan $7  billion to build the project. 

All that is needed for the loan to go though is a promise of support from the U.S. government. 

Maglev officials said the Export-Import Bank of China is willing to lend the money with the knowledge that if the California-Nevada Super Speed Train Commission is unable to pay the funds back, federal officials will. 

What’s a little petty cash transaction between friends?

{Also, a prior article is available on the high speed Maglev train issue by Las Vegas Backstage Access.}

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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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UFC 105 Likely To Be Held In Las Vegas

MMA Weekly is reporting that Nevada State Athletic Commission Executive Director Keith Kizer confirmed that the UFC has requested the pre-Thanksgiving weekend date, November 21, at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas for UFC 105.

The UFC had thoughts of having UFC 105 outside of Las Vegas with Boston, Toronto and New York being cities brought up to potentially host the event; however, adverse legislation of MMA in those cities has put those plans on the backburner.

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Nevada Opens Mormon Cricket Season

For those of you that want to experience something different than a Las Vegas show, you might consider trekking up to Northern Nevada and watch something way different:  the Mormon cricket show. mormoncricket

Growing up to 2 inches long as adults, the Mormon crickets swarm in groups thousands strong, devouring lawns, gardens, livestock forage and crops. 

The infestation of the Mormon crickets, made infamous by nearly destroying the crops of Utah’s Mormon settlers in 1848, began spreading to Nevada about eight years ago and peeked in 2005, when roughly 12 million acres of the state were taken over by the bugs.  Now, the scope of the infestation is down to about 1 million acres. 

The biggest Nevada concentration of the crickets is reportedly north of Elk, Independence Valley, up toward Owyhee, Mountain City, and Jarbidge. 

Last year, efforts to control the pests cost about $280,000, the year the costs are predicted to be the same or a little less.

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