Tag Archives: recesssion

Artist Bren Betaclan Pays it Forward– One Painting at a Time

Not everything or everyone requires a trillion-dollar federal government bailout.  Boston-based Filipino artist Bren Bataclan is committed to his personal quest of spreading happiness and hope all over the world with his inspiring paintings, one painting at a time. BrenBataclan

As a spin-off from his original “Smile Boston” project, for the past six years Bataclan has been turning many cold faces, symbolically pockmarked by the ravages of our economy, happy and beaming by stealthily leaving his cheery acrylic critters in parks, benches, libraries, trains stations, and street corners. 

Now, his “Smile Project” has spread like wildfire- in fact, his paintings are found in half the states – including on the Bellagio grounds in Las Vegas and the Strip – and in 32 countries, as well.

Betaclan simply leaves his colorful smiling paintings all over with attached no-string notes: “Take it, it’s free.” and “Everything will be OK.” 

He sees his cheerful artworks as an extension of his Philippine culture, which is proud of its people who can still muster a smile even at dire times.

“Life here can be very challenging, it’s a survival,” Betaclan said, “But people still find something to smile about.” 

Although not all of his art is for free – individual works sell from $10 to $3,000 and he has been commissioned  to do murals in schools, parks, hospitals, and showrooms, while being featured in newspapers, magazines, on television and radio – still, Betaclan is a strong believer that giving is as important as receiving, even in the worst of times.  

Don’t underestimate the determination and power of a single individual.

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Brothel Job for Suspected Killer Cop?

Drew Peterson, 55, a brash, mustachioed former Illinois police sergeant who found tabloid fame after his fourthDrewPeterson wife’s disappearance, said he’s considering a tempting brothel job offer he has received from the HBO reality show “Cathouse,” filmed at the Moonlight Bunny Ranch near Reno.                      

Brothel owner Dennis Hoff said he invited Peterson recently to spend the weekend at the Bunny Ranch and discussed working there, saying he wants to hire Peterson to head the brothel’s security detail. 

Those plans, however, are apparently on the backburner as Peterson was indicted May 7 and held on a $20 million bond for two-counts of first-degree murder in the drowning death of Kathleen Savio, his third wife, who was found dead in a dry bathtub in 2004. 

Drew Peterson seems to relish being under the media microscope since Stacy Peterson, his fourth wife, disappeared 1 ½ years ago.  He has appeared in People magazine and on multiple national talk shows– most recently to tout his new engagement to a 24-year-old woman.

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Stay and Play in Las Vegas- PLEASE!

Las Vegas visitor volume, occupancy and spending are down as businesses and casinos continue to struggle and reinvent themselves in the recession.  Now Las Vegas is turning to their residents to help them survive.  Hopefully, this will be the winning hand that convinces residents to stay and play awhile before, during, or after their regular vacations. 

There are package deals galore offered at resorts, not only in Las Vegas, but also in Primm, Boulder City, Mesquite and Laughlin. Almost every resort and restaurant is jumping on the bandwagon by offering amazing deals so sweet, locals are opting for a staycation. 

“Stay and play here” is the new Las Vegas slogan aimed at getting locals to spend money in their own backyard. “That’s what we want them to do. We want them to stay in Las Vegas and spend the night instead of traveling to other cities,” said Palms Resort Owner George Maloof. 

Maloof, along with other resort CEO’s are making a deals people can’t refuse. Half-off dinner at Paris, discounts on rooms and rides at New York New York, to name a few. 

“I think the local people just need to be reminded of how great this city is and what great amenities we have. There’s nothing like it in the world,” said Maloof. 

The deals range from entertainment, to shopping, dining and room reservations are all listed on the website http://www.stayandplayhere.com , a site created by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority and the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce. 

Almost every Las Vegas hotel and casino has jumped on the bandwagon. 

To take advantage of all the deals, all you need is your Nevada State ID.

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World’s Largest Heliport Plans Grand Las Vegas Valley Liftoff

Our economy is tanking, but don’t tell that to the thousands of tourists that daily fly in helicopters to get a birdseye view of the majestic Grand Canyon.  An average of 99 helicopters fly out daily from McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas, just six fewer than the 2005 peak.  And that doesn’t include the additional 3,500 customers that are planned to fly daily from the new Boulder City Aerocenter [Las Vegas Backstage Access April 2 article].

The first phase of the proposed 229-acre Sloan heliport, costing an estimated $115 million and projected for a mid-heliport2011 completion, will provide the home for 80 to 110 helipads.  

That will make the heliport the biggest on the planet, say Federal Aviation Administration officials. 

The heliport will also clear McCarran airport space for jetliners to bring much-needed tourists to boost the Las Vegas Valley’s economy, while safely moving helicopters away from crowded city neighborhoods. 

The FAA has recently signed off on the environmental assessment that now paves the way for the Bureau of Land Management to transfer the Sloan heliport property to Clark County.

Heliport project groundbreaking is planned for early 2010. 

Maverick Helicopters is planned to be the first tenant to lease heliport space, which may approved as early as April 7 when the Clark County commissioners meet to discuss the matter.   Two more tour operators could join Maverick in occupying the heliport.

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Crime Pays in Las Vegas?

The Las Vegas proposed mob museum – a pet project of Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman – has very few friends in Washington, but some legislators in Nevada’s Carson City capital apparently like the idea. mobmuseum

The project is on tap to receive a $300,000 grant from Nevada’s Cultural Affairs Commission, the biggest endowment ever bestowed by the agency.  Yes, the museum had originally asked for a $900,000 grant, but probably had misgivings about such a large request and later pared down their request down to $500,000.

The commission has given out 28 grants including $200,000 for the Neon Museum, $120,000 to help restore the 1850s Kiel Ranch, and $108,000 for the Las Vegas Water District to buy four railroad cottages built near the turn of the century and move them to Springs Preserve in Las Vegas.

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