‘Unexpected Nevada’ photo exhibit debuts at new Nevada State Museum, Las Vegas

Monumental

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CARSON CITY, Nev. — Pictures of Nevada rendered in vivid color through a process called high dynamic range imaging will be among the first exhibits on display at the new Nevada State Museum, Las Vegas at the Springs Preserve.

The Nevada State Museum, Las Vegas is set to re-open Oct. 28 — Nevada Day — at its new location in the Las  Vegas Springs Preserve. The 70,000-square-foot Nevada State Museum at the Springs Preserve is double the size of the former museum at Lorenzi Park and includes a 2,500-square-foot changing exhibit gallery that will house the “Unexpected Nevada” photo exhibit.

Featuring 22 images taken by photographer Cameron Grant, “Unexpected Nevada” depicts the state’s landscapes and landmarks in dramatic color. Grant used the high dynamic range photography technique to enhance the pictures, and then printed them on an aluminum background to add to the images’ luminosity.

“Nevada is a place of unexpected beauty, with wide-open deserts and stunning mountain ranges,” Gov. Brian Sandoval said. “Presenting this information in a new and exciting way is one of the many important functions of our newest state museum. For Nevadans and visitors, the Nevada State Museum, Las Vegas is an opportunity to discover and re-discover this great state.”

“Unexpected Nevada” will be on display through April 2012. Also on exhibit in the museum’s permanent gallery will be displays on Nevada history, natural history and paleontology. The facility includes a research library, a store and community meeting spaces for rent.

“We are able to offer a more complete picture of Nevada at this new museum,” Peter Barton, administrator for the Nevada Division of Museums and History, said. “It’s also an important community resource.”

The $51.5 million Nevada State Museum, Las Vegas is at the Springs Preserve, the 180-acre cultural institution with museums, exhibits, gardens, interpretive trails, event space and more. Visitors to the Nevada State Museum at the Springs Preserve will pay one fee that allows entry into the preserve as well as the museum. The new museum will be open four days a week, Friday through Monday.

Nevada State Museum at the Springs Preserve prepares for a Nevada Day opening

A mammoth skeleton greets visitors to the new State Museum at the Springs Preserve in Las Vegas.

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CARSON CITY, Nev. — The Nevada State Museum, Las Vegas will re-open Oct. 28 — Nevada Day — at its new location in the Las Vegas Springs Preserve. The 70,000-square-foot Nevada State Museum at the Springs Preserve is double the size of the former museum at Lorenzi Park and boasts permanent and temporary exhibit space, a research library and educational labs. The opening coincides with Gov. Brian Sandoval’s declaration of October as Nevada History Month.

“Museums play a key role in society — they engage people with their heritage and they stand as a place of learning and education,” Gov. Brian Sandoval said. “I’m pleased that this important cultural resource is opening, for both Nevadans and visitors to enjoy.”

A mammoth skeleton greets visitors to the new State Museum at the Springs Preserve in Las Vegas.

Highlights at the new museum include the first dinosaur fossils documented in Nevada, Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel’s 1946 Flamingo stock certificate, mineral specimens from Nevada mines, preserved Nevada wildlife and Las Vegas showgirl costumes. Through interactive exhibits, video presentations and other displays, visitors will learn about Nevada’s people, geography and history.

The $51.5 million museum is at the Springs Preserve, the 180-acre cultural institution with museums, exhibits, gardens, interpretive trails, event space and more. Built on the site of artesian springs that once nourished desert life, the Springs Preserve is owned by the Las Vegas Valley Water District and showcases water conservation. Visitors to the Nevada State Museum at the Springs Preserve will pay one fee that allows entry into the preserve as well as the museum.

“This new museum is a great asset to Nevada, both for visitors and residents,” Peter Barton, administrator for the Nevada Division of Museums and History, said. “It tells a multi-faceted story of our state, and provides a place for researchers and students to learn more about Nevada.”

The Nevada State Museum at the Springs Preserve, funded by a 2001 bond issue, was completed in 2009, but state budget issues kept the doors closed until earlier this year, when lawmakers approved funding to complete the exhibits and hire staff. The Springs Preserve also is helping by providing marketing and staff support, as well as a portion of admissions revenue. The new museum will be open four days a week, Friday through Monday.

Governor’s Conference on Tourism set for Nov. 29-30 in Las Vegas

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CARSON CITY, NEV. — Nevada’s top tourism professionals will discuss economic issues and important topics facing tourism in 2012 at the Governor’s Conference on Tourism Nov. 29-30 in Las Vegas, Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki, chairman of the Nevada Commission on Tourism (NCOT), said.  The conference, celebrating NCOT’s 27th year, also will focus on the state’s new branding campaign, social media and much more.

More than 250 hoteliers, tour operators and others involved in Nevada tourism are expected to gather for this event at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino.

“The Governor’s Conference is an annual opportunity for those in the tourism industry to share ideas and learn about new initiatives,” Krolicki said. “Tourism is the leading economic engine for this state, and it’s important for those involved to draw inspiration and ideas from each other to stay at the top of their game.”

The conference offers presentations by industry leaders; breakout sessions on such topics as health and wellness tourism; a panel discussion with resort CEOs; and plenty of networking opportunities.

“With all the changes and challenges to our industry and within our state this past year, it’s a good time to gather, take stock and move forward with solid ideas for the future,” Larry Friedman, interim director for the Nevada Commission on Tourism, said. “The Governor’s Conference is where we do that.”

Conference speakers include representatives from the United States Travel Association, NTA and the Corporation for Travel Promotion, national organizations whose work has wide-ranging impact on the travel industry and Nevada.

For more information on the Governor’s Conference on Tourism and to register, visit the website governorsconference.org. You can also register by phone at 775-784-4046 or 1-800-233-8928.

To get the latest conference news and updates, like us on Facebook:  www.facebook.com/NVGovConference.

Save the date for the 2011 Governor’s Conference on Tourism

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Mark your calendar for Nov. 29-30, 2011, and plan to attend the 2011 Nevada Governor’s Conference on Tourism at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino Las Vegas. Early bird registration is $195 and will open in August. The Governor’s Conference on Tourism is put on by the Nevada Commission on Tourism every year to inform the tourism industry on new trends within the industry and to create an atmosphere for networking and expanding business opportunities among industry professionals. www.travelnevada.com

Patriotism, partying and pyrotechnics distinguish Nevada’s Fourth of July events

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CARSON CITY, Nev. — From boat regattas to steam train rides to breathtaking fireworks, Nevada offers plenty of ways to celebrate Independence Day. This summer, make the most of the holiday by attending one of the state’s many spectacular Fourth of July events.

“Nevada has a distinctive role in American history, given our entry into the Union during the Civil War,” Larry Friedman, Nevada Commission on Tourism interim director, said. “We celebrate that heritage with plenty of Fourth of July events — and Nevada’s geographic and cultural diversity means there are so many different types of events on offer.”

Plan ahead for the festivities, whether they include a big-city blowout or they involve a charming rural festival.

  • Las Vegas fireworks: Station Casinos properties once again will offer a city-wide pyrotechnics display, with fireworks going off at five Station Casino properties: Aliante Station, Green Valley Ranch resort, Fiesta Rancho, Texas Station and Red Rock Resort.
  • Star Spangled Sparks: This perennial event in Sparks includes a day of festivities at the Sparks Marina, followed by a rousing fireworks show in nearby Victorian Square. Events start at dawn, with free hot-air balloon rides. Also enjoy a Sparks Idol contest modeled after the TV show “American Idol”; a boat regatta in which people build homemade watercrafts out of cardboard, then test them in the Sparks Marina; and an array of food and vendor booths. The fun is capped off in the evening with a fireworks show sponsored by John Ascuaga’s Nugget. For more, see the website www.janugget.com/events-calendar/star-spangled-sparks.asp.
  • Steam train rides in Ely: It may be a small town just off the old Pony Express route, but Ely does holidays with a bang. Wake up early for a breakfast hosted by White Pine County, followed by a traditional parade at 11 a.m. and children’s games in Ely’s Broadbent Park. For a novel view of fireworks, head for the Nevada Northern Railway, where a historic steam train heads up Robinson Canyon , where passengers can see the show, or catch the pyrotechnics at the White Pine County Golf Course. For more, see the website www.elynevada.net.
  • Elko fireworks: The annual fireworks show coordinated by Nevada Assemblyman John Ellison and sponsored by Ellison Electric and other community groups is the highlight of Independence Day in Cowboy Country. The pyrotechnics display runs about 45 minutes and is preceded by speeches by members of the VFW and POW*MIA. For more, see the website www.elkocva.com.
  • Virginia City sticks with tradition: The historic mining town digs deep into tradition this year, offering classic July 4 fireworks and entertainment. A parade down C Street is set to start at noon, and David John and the Comstock Cowboys will perform their repertoire of songs about America, cowboys, horses and the Old West at 5 p.m., with fireworks to follow after sundown.

Get ready to revel this July 4: From Lake Tahoe to Boulder City, there are unique celebrations from one end of the state to the other. From big-city pyrotechnics to patriotic speeches, you’ll be sure to have plenty from which to choose. For more information on this and other summer fun in Nevada, visit www.TravelNevada.com.

Angle spokesman blames Las Vegas foreclosure rate on Reid

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New numbers released today show an increase in foreclosures across 75 percent of America’s metropolitan areas during the first half of 2010. Nevada is among the states worst hit by this increase, and the numbers show Las Vegas as the worst city in the entire country for foreclosures. One in every 15 homes in Las Vegas has been foreclosed upon.

Researchers assert that the prime cause of these high foreclosure rates is no longer the toxic loans of the housing crisis but the staggering unemployment rate. Nevada’s 14.2 percent unemployment rate–the highest in the nation–has left the state particularly vulnerable to these new rounds of foreclosures.

Jerry Stacy, a spokesperson for U.S. Senatorial candidate Sharron Angle, said that Sen. Harry Reid’s failed economic programs continue to worsen the circumstances facing Nevadans.

“Harry Reid’s policies have caused Nevadans to lose their jobs and now their homes. Nevadans can’t wait around–they need help today, and it’s not ever going to come from Harry Reid,” Stacy said. “We need a senator with fresh ideas that can return us to prosperity–a senator like Sharron Angle.”

Our next discovery… a new Nevada

By Dan Klaich, Nevada System of Higher Education Chancellor

Now nine months into my service as chancellor, I have frequently been asked if I am enjoying my job. I have answered honestly that in the current circumstances there is not a lot of joy in the Nevada System of Higher Education. We are currently implementing budget reductions mandated by the Special Session which will require programs and jobs to be eliminated System-wide. For those of us who have spent the better part of our adult lives building this System, taking it apart piece by piece is quite simply heartbreaking. While we have talked about budget cuts for more than two years, and have already implemented previous cuts, we are now moving from large numbers and percentages to people’s lives and students’ futures. Jobs will be lost and quality programs will be eliminated. Doors to opportunity will be slammed shut in the faces of many Nevadans.

Notwithstanding the dire nature of the task at hand, we were reminded this past week of just why education is so important and why the fight we are engaged in to save it is critical to the future of our state and our nation.

This week, in both northern and southern Nevada, the 23rd DRI Nevada Medal was awarded to a distinguished international scientist. This award symbolizes everything that is critical about higher education to our state. The presentation itself brought together every part of our state, from the governor and our legislators, to business leaders, teachers and students. All came together to celebrate science, which as we all know is essential to our nation’s future and, indeed, our national security. And what science we saw!

Dr. Robert Ballard dazzled us all. Internationally acclaimed for his exploration of the ocean floor, or, as he describes it, “inner space,” Ballard is probably most recognized for his discovery of the wreckage of the Titanic. During his remarks, he described discoveries on the ocean floor that could explain the origins of life and he did so by not only connecting to a lay audience, but more importantly, emphasizing the necessity of relaying these messages to our school children — our next generation of scientists. Having reached the pinnacle of his profession, Ballard has never forgotten the childhood wonder of science and the unknown that inspired him to pursue a lifetime of discovery. Indeed, he has formed foundations and led efforts to ensure that science, and the latest technology highway upon which it rides, comes to every child in our public schools.

This youthful 67-year old gave us all a lesson in lifelong learning. When asked what his most important discovery was, Ballard quickly responded, “My next one.”

He ended his lecture with a brief explanation on how a new undersea technology, which he first conceived of almost 20 years ago, would be launched in less than two weeks. The technology, which combines surface vessels, tethered robotics, satellites and the Internet, can beam a discovery on the ocean floor to any computer screen in the world. More important to Ballard, was the fact that the information can be beamed to and controlled by students in schools throughout our country.

The last image he showed us from his lecture slides was one I challenge you to imagine. It was that of a young girl, probably 11 or 12, backlit so that you could only see her face. Her head was tilted slightly upward, mouth slightly open, and her eyes were wide with a look of wonder, as something marvelous was seen and comprehended for the first time.

This is the look that each of us must see every day and keep before us during these hard times. It is the reason we get up every morning. It is the reason we fight for education, our students, our teachers, our faculty and our institutions.

It is the look of the future.

It is the new Nevada which we must discover and which together we will build.

Sincerely,

Dan Klaich
Chancellor
Nevada System of Higher Education

Text of Sen. Reid’s remarks to kick off ‘Driving Nevada Forward’ tour

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LAS VEGAS – Nevada Sen. Harry Reid kicked off his “Driving Nevada Forward” bus tour in his hometown of Searchlight Monday. Following the morning event with more than 100 of his neighbors, Reid boarded the campaign bus and headed for a solar plant in El Dorado Valley, an event with first-responders in Pahrump, and ended the day at a rally in Las Vegas with more than 1,500 supporters.

In Searchlight, Reid thanked Nevadans for their support, talked about the challenges facing the Silver State and discussed his vision for creating jobs and strengthening Nevada’s economy.

Following the evening rally in Las Vegas, Reid’s “Driving Nevada Forward” tour headed north for events in Minden and Carson City Tuesday morning.

Below are Reid’s remarks as prepared for delivery in Searchlight:

To everyone here this morning, thank you for coming out to my hometown.

Searchlight is so much a part of who I am and what drives me as I serve Nevada in the Senate.  Against fairly long odds, I’ve been fortunate to rise to the position I hold.

That’s what makes this country so great – that someone like me, who came from this little mining town, can serve Nevada as Senate Majority Leader.  I am grateful to have this position that allows me to do what I can for my home state.  I want every child in this great country to have the same opportunity – whether they are from Searchlight, Elko or west Las Vegas.

That what this campaign and our “Driving Nevada Forward” bus tour are all about–getting our state and our country back on track and laying the foundation for a brighter tomorrow.

Times are tough right now, but we can’t forget where we were headed.  That’s why we took action to stop the bleeding in our economy.

We passed the Recovery Act, which prevented a bad situation from getting worse.  It’s bringing $2.1 billion into Nevada and is protecting tens of thousands of jobs.

We passed the jobs agenda, which is helping put Nevadans back to work.  We made a down payment on that in our first of many Jobs Bills, which includes tax cuts for small businesses to jump start hiring; tax credits to keep employees on payroll; and investments in roads and bridges to create jobs.

We passed the Travel Promotion Act, which is investing in the backbone of Nevada’s economy.

This will create 6,000 jobs this year alone by promoting Nevada and nation around the world.

We can’t talk about strengthening Nevada’s economy in the short or long term without talking about strengthening Nevada’s education.

We need an education system that will produce a workforce that will attract employers to our state.  That’s why we are helping Nevada veterans through the 21st Century G.I. Bill of Rights.  It’s why we took steps to make student loans more affordable.  And that’s why I have been pushing state leaders to help position Nevada so it can compete for Race to the Top funding.

Education is particularly vital as we lay the foundation for Nevada’s clean energy economy.

From here, I’m going to visit Copper Mountain Solar, the largest solar energy project in America, and an example of the types of jobs that are coming our way.

I’ve helped bring hundreds of millions of dollars to invest in this important industry that will create jobs here and diversify our state’s economy.  Some of that money will go toward building an energy transmission line that will create 1,000 jobs and allow Nevada to take full advantage of our clean energy resources.

Jobs are obviously a critical priority and we are continuing to address this challenge, but we are facing a host of other challenges as well – such as our broken health care system.

Like unemployment, no state knows this challenge better than Nevada, with one of the highest uninsured rates in the nation.

The legislation we passed will help Nevadans by putting them in control of their health care instead of insurance companies; closing the Medicare Donut Hole so seniors can afford their prescriptions; cutting premiums for Nevada families by an average of $2,000; and providing tax credits to help small businesses provide health insurance to their employees.

There’s a lot we’ve been able to do to address our state’s challenges.  But don’t think for a minute that our work is done.

Nevada families are suffering—I get that.  I know the struggles and the heartache many Nevada families are feeling, because I’ve been there myself.  That is why I am committed to doing everything I can to turn things around.

Will it happen overnight?  No, it’s going to take some time.  But I will not rest until Nevadans have confidence that the job they have today will be there for them tomorrow, that they will be able to keep the homes they have worked so hard to build, and that their children will get an education.

“Driving Nevada Forward” isn’t just a campaign slogan, it’s my commitment to all of you that I will continue to work hard to create jobs, get our economy back on track and create a future full of opportunity for Nevada’s generations to come.  I hope you will join me on this journey to get Nevada moving again.

Thank you again for being here this morning and thank you for all of your support.

Gov. Gibbons recommends 10 percent cuts to state agencies and education, lawmakers say no deal done yet

by Sean Whaley
Nevada News Bureau

CARSON CITY, Nev. — Nevada Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford said today that dozens of cuts proposed by Gov. Jim Gibbons to help erase an $881 million budget shortfall are ideas only, at least for now.

“There is no plan in place at this point,” said Horsford, D-Las Vegas. “We’ve been given a list of ideas from the governor’s office and that’s all they are, ideas.”

Gibbons’ proposed 10 percent cuts would generate $418 million in savings, less than half the total shortfall. No solutions have been presented yet on how to fill the remainder of the gap. The cuts would require 235 layoffs in state agencies, with 136 of those coming from the closure of the Nevada State Prison in the capital.

Horsford said hearings this week and next will give lawmakers the information they need to come up with a final plan to balance the budget during a special session expected later this month or in early March.

Lawmakers of both parties and from both houses said before the start of the hearings that the challenge of balancing the budget requires cooperation by everyone. That cooperation has been in evidence with Gibbons and his staff, lawmakers said.

Those hearings got off to a tough start however, when Jim Wells, deputy superintendent of the Nevada Department of Education, said his office believes the public school system will need $44 million more in state support than was forecast by the Economic Forum last month. That would make the shortfall $925 million.

“You’re trying to get us over the $900 million mark,” said Senate Minority Leader Bill Raggio, R-Reno.

Wells said one idea under consideration for public education to meet the 10 percent, $167 million budget reduction target would be eliminating one day of the 180-day school year, which would save approximately $13 million. It would require a change to state law, he said.

Raggio said if such a cut were made, it should be a non-instructional day where teachers spend the day in staff development.

Walt Rulffes, superintendent of the Clark County School District, said increasing class sizes by one student in grades one through 12 would mean the elimination of 400 teaching positions and result in $26.5 million in savings in his district.

Dealing with the budget cut in the district entirely by increasing class sizes would require an expansion of every class by six students and mean the elimination of 2,322 teaching positions for a savings of $159 million, he told lawmakers.

To achieve the cut by reducing the school year, 17 days would have to be cut, Rulffes said.

“I think it’s graphic from that that there isn’t a single fix to this, it is going to have to be a combination of items,” he said.

Assembly Minority Leader Heidi Gansert, R-Reno, asked if any of these proposals could occur this year, or if the bargaining agreements with teachers are inviolable.

Rulffes said his proposals are aimed at next year because agreements with teachers are closed this year. Both sides would have to agree to reopen the agreements to modify them, he said.

Not all of the $418 million in savings proposed by Gibbons involves cuts. Included in the dozens of proposals is taking nearly $9 million from the low-level radioactive waste fund, which is used for monitoring and mitigation. Also proposed is a fee increase to fully cover the costs of the Nevada State Health Division to inspect and permit licensed facilities, which would generate $550,000 in new revenue. A $1.8 million “problem gambling” fund would also be diverted to cover the shortfall.

Also proposed is an increase in the premium paid by low-income families to enroll in the Nevada Check Up health insurance program, from $25 a quarter to $75 a quarter for the lowest income families. Families with higher incomes would see premium increases as well. About $1.1 million would be generated from the increases.

Another recommendation is closing the Summit View Youth Correctional Center in Las Vegas effective March 1 for a savings of $3.7 million. About 30 layoffs would occur. The inmates would be moved to other youth facilities in Elko or Caliente or would participate in an early release program.

And while Gibbons pledged not to raid local government funds, his plan does include a 10 percent reduction in support to Washoe and Clark counties for child welfare programs for a savings of $8.1 million.

One of the proposed layoffs has a more personal connection to Gibbons. His plan proposes to eliminate the position of assistant to the First Lady since there will be no First Lady because of his recent divorce from Dawn Gibbons.

Reid hails the Gold LEED Certified CityCenter project as boon for jobs, tourism

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Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) today lauded the grand opening of the new CityCenter complex.  The opening of the $8.5 billion ‘city within a city’ marks the successful completion of the largest private development project in the world.

The MGM Mirage development has earned six Gold certifications from the US Green Building Council for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). The project created 12,000 jobs and has directed $700 million in contract work to minority businesses in the state.

“Today is a great day for Nevada and the Las Vegas Strip, and I congratulate the entire MGM Mirage team for making it possible,” Reid said. “This is an important project for the state of Nevada.  It has created thousands of jobs, will help strengthen the state’s economy and has set the standard for responsible, environmentally conscious development.

“At a time of financial difficulty, I was asked to help keep the project moving forward and I did so on behalf of the thousands of Nevadans who worked to build CityCenter and those who are now tasked with its successful operation. I congratulate everyone involved in making this vision a reality and I look forward to visiting the project again very soon.”