April 2010 

I hope everyone is enjoying the start of spring! There are some exciting events coming up in Ward 5 and we also had a very successful last quarter.

I invite everyone to join me for the Ward 5 Movies in the Park at the beautiful, newly renovated, Lorenzi Park located at 720 Twin Lakes Drive. Free popcorn will be provided while supplies last.  There will also be vendors with various treats available for purchase. 

The movies will take place:

Friday, April 23. Gate opens at 6:30 p.m. Movie starts at dusk – Wall*E
Friday, May 21. Gate opens at 7 p.m. Movie starts at dusk – The Princess and the Frog
Thursday, June 24. Gate opens at 7 p.m. Movie starts at dusk – Monsters vs. Aliens

We are very excited about having this free event in which the entire family can come out and enjoy spending an evening with me and their neighbors! We hope to see you all there.

Join Me For Nevada Moves Day April 28

I hope you have all had a chance to travel down the new bike lanes in Ward 5! If not, I hope you will join me on Wednesday, April 28, when I leave my car at home and ride my bike to work in celebration of the first ever Nevada Moves Day. The special day, designated by the Nevada Department of Transportation, encourages Nevadans to walk and bicycle to work and to school. I am also riding to draw attention to the new bicycle safety lanes that are being installed on five Las Vegas roadways.

A key priority for the City Council is to promote healthy lifestyles for all segments of the community and I want to lead by example. I look forward to this ride and I hope many Las Vegas residents will consider doing the same.

At 7:30 a.m. on Wednesday, I plan to leave the Fresh And Easy store parking lot at 3053 N. Jones Blvd., and peddle some nine miles to City Hall. My route will take me through much of the ward I represent, to arrive at City Hall at approximately 8:45 a.m.

Then, at 2 p.m. that day, I will be joined by Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) General Manager Jacob Snow and Ward 5 Bicycle Coalition representatives, at the Andre Agassi College Preparatory Academy, 1201 W. Lake Mead Blvd. The coalition is made up of representatives of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Traffic and Bicycle Units, the Clark County School District Safe Routes to School Program, the Look Out Kids About Safety Organization, the Las Vegas Bike Club, and Bikes Belong - Interbike.  We plan to talk with students about bicycle safety, the new bike lanes near the school and crossing streets safety. Two lucky students will receive a prize of a new bike, courtesy of the coalition.

My bike ride will demonstrate ways that residents can make a difference by helping the environment and engaging in healthy lifestyles. It will also draw attention to the city of Las Vegas' ambitious bike lane installation program.

With a $100,000 American Recovery And Reinvestment Act (ARRA) Community Development Block Grant (CDBG-R), bike lanes are being installed on Vegas Drive/Owens Avenue, between Rancho Drive and Bruce Street; on Washington Avenue, between Rancho and Martin L. King Boulevard; and on Smoke Ranch Road, between Rancho and Rainbow Boulevard. The grant is being administered by the city of Las Vegas Department of Neighborhood Services, with Department of Public Works staff managing the project.

Last September, two $10,000 grants helped build 3.2 miles of bike lanes in Ward 5. A $10,000 grant was provided by the Bikes Belong coalition of bike-industry retailers and suppliers and Interbike, its industry tradeshow partner. A matching $10,000 grant was provided by the RTC. The funds were used to purchase materials for new bike lane markings and signs on J Street, between Washington and Carey Avenue; and on H Street, between Bonanza Road and Lake Mead Boulevard.

The city of Las Vegas, the RTC and the Ward 5 Bicycle Coalition are working hard to make Las Vegas and Ward 5 a more bike friendly community.

New Exhibit At Las Vegas Natural History Museum

If you haven't already heard the exciting news, the Las Vegas Natural History Museum has a new exhibit that you must visit! All ages would appreciate how archeologists in the early 20th Century unearthed some of Egypt's most renowned treasures, including the Tomb of Tutankhamun. The exhibit includes a trip through a realistic entrance to Tut's Tomb and the opportunity to view artifact recreations of best-known pieces including the Golden Throne, chariots, the Golden Shrine and outer sarcophagus. These replicas are one of only two sets that were authorized by the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities! 

One of my favorite experiences is the unique opportunity to explore an Egyptian mummy. By using state-of-the-art technology, you can "scan" a mummy replica in real time and view actual medical imaging taken of a real mummy! When I heard of this attraction coming into the Cultural Corridor, I never imagined how fantastic the experience would be and I am very fortunate to have this piece of history right in the heart of Ward 5.  I encourage all to visit the Las Vegas Natural History Museum because you will be amazed.

Upcoming Helldorado Events

I hope you can all join me for the annual Helldorado festivities that will take place May 13–16 in downtown Las Vegas. Rodeo grounds open daily at 5 p.m. between Stewart and Mesquite Avenue, and Las Vegas Boulevard and Eighth Street, across from Las Vegas City Hall. Some of the exciting events include:

  • The Helldorado Rodeo, which begins at 6 p.m. on Thursday, May 13.
  • The PRCA Pro Rodeo, which begins at 8 p.m. on Friday, May 14.

You definitely don't want to miss out on the Helldorado Parade, which begins at 7 p.m. on Saturday, May 15, on the downtown Fourth Street parade route. The PRCA Rodeo begins at 9 p.m. immediately following the parade. A dazzling fireworks display will conclude the rodeo. The final rodeo performance is Sunday, May 16, beginning at 7 p.m. 

A 4,800 temporary outdoor seat arena will be built for the Helldorado Days rodeo. Don't miss this opportunity to watch the greatest cowboys and cowgirls as they arrive in Las Vegas to participate in the rodeo and earn points toward the National Finals Rodeo in December. Gates open daily at 5 p.m. with a carnival, food and exhibitors and four full days of rodeo. For all event information please visit http://www.elkshelldorado.com/.


Martin L. King Boulevard Improvement Project Update

Work on the Martin L. King Boulevard improvement project is progressing. I am very proud of this project and truly believe we will have one of the most beautiful Martin L. King roadways in America when work is completed. I appreciate your cooperation and patience as we near completion of this important project and I want to share this latest news.

Symphony Park Avenue – Discovery Drive, the east-west roadway that intersects Martin L. King and Grand Central Parkway, has the new name of Symphony Park Avenue. The street name signs were changed last month.
Symphony Park Avenue to Vegas Drive/Owens Avenue – The median islands and travel lanes are substantially complete. All of the freeway ramps and side streets are open. At minimum of two travel lanes are being maintained in each direction and work on incidental items continues. Trees and shrubs will be planted in the medians this month. The final layer of roadway asphalt will be applied sometime between May and July, when weather and temperatures permit. When the paving has sufficiently cured, the permanent traffic lane markings will be placed and work in this section will be completed.

Vegas Drive/Owens Avenue to Lake Mead Boulevard – A considerable amount of construction activity will be underway this month and next. The west side of Martin L. King was paved in early March. Paving on the east side was completed March 19. As work continues in the center sections, pedestrian and vehicle access is somewhat limited. Temporary walkways are in place to accommodate pedestrian traffic and at least two travel lanes in each direction are being maintained on Martin L. King at all times. Where construction is taking place near businesses, access is being maintained and at least one business driveway is being maintained at all times. "Business Access" signage has been placed along the roadway to guide patrons to area businesses. When work in the center lanes is completed, and when weather and temperatures permit, the final layer of roadway asphalt will be applied. After the paving has cured, the permanent traffic lane markings will be placed and crews will begin the median island landscaping. Work in this section should be completed in June or July.

Lake Mead Boulevard to Carey Avenue – During the next four to five months there will be a considerable amount of construction underway. The east side of Martin L. King was paved March 26 and work in the center section will begin soon. The underground utility relocation work should be completed sometime this month. The overhead utility lines and poles will be removed after that. Pedestrian and vehicle access is somewhat limited and traffic lane shifts continue. Temporary walkways are in place to accommodate pedestrian traffic. At least two lanes in each direction are being maintained on Martin L. King at all times. Where construction is taking place near businesses, access is being maintained and at least one business driveway is maintained at all times. "Business Access" signage is in place to direct patrons to area businesses. When work in the center lanes is completed, and when weather and temperatures permit, the final layer of asphalt will be applied. After the paving has cured, the permanent traffic lane markings will be placed and crews will begin the landscaping. Work in this section should be completed in August.

Work on the $45 million Martin L. King Boulevard improvement project started in March 2008 and is slated for completion in August of 2010. Martin L. King Boulevard will have three northbound and three southbound travel lanes, between Alta Drive and Carey Avenue. Many of the new median islands will be landscaped. Traffic flow will be improved, with dedicated turn movements at major intersections and bus turnouts along the 2.5-mile route.

Motorists should proceed with caution when driving along Martin L. King, as it is an active construction zone.

These project updates will be provided as work progresses. If you have any questions or concerns regarding the construction, please contact:

 Weekdays: Monday through Friday
   Martin L. King Boulevard Hotline (702) 253-2336
   Project Management Team (702) 538-9588

Emergencies: After hours and weekends (702) 574-8060

Thank you for your continued cooperation as the city of Las Vegas works to complete these improvements to make ours, one of the most beautiful Martin L. King Boulevards in the country.

Census Update

Hopefully by now you have had a chance to complete and mail back your Census forms. These forms will help ensure our community receives its fair share of federal resources for important programs like K-12 education, health care services, and funds to build roads and highways. For every one Nevadan who does not fill out their Census form, our state will lose approximately $10,000 over the course of the next 10 years. These are dollars that our community needs and that should rightfully flow back to our state to help Nevada families. Since our state has grown so much since the last census, the 2010 Census will also determine whether Nevada receives an additional seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. This would mean an additional voice advocating for Nevadans in Washington, D.C. As you can tell, the stakes are high and Nevada has a lot to gain during the 2010 Census. But we have to ensure that everyone is counted to ensure Nevada get its fair share. In 1990, Nevada had one of the worst undercounts in the country, but dramatically improved for the Census in 2000. State and local officials are hoping for another strong count this time.  In addition, the Census form consists of only 10 questions and takes just a few minutes to complete. It is important to note that Census information is kept confidential for some 70 years. So providing a response will not automatically result in personal information being made public or being turned over to other governmental agencies.

In May and June, Census Bureau employees will be visiting addresses that did not respond to the mailed out form.  Here are some safety tips to help you identify the Census taker:

  • All census takers carry official government badges marked with just their name
  • You may also ask them for a picture ID from another source to confirm their identity
  • Some census workers might carry a "U.S. Census Bureau" bag
  • If you still are not certain about their identity, please call the Regional Census Center to confirm they're employed by the Census Bureau.
  • Most importantly, the Census Bureau will NEVER, under any circumstances, ask to enter your home.

Your City, Your Way Town Hall Meetings Summary

I would like to thank those of you who took the time to attend the Town Hall meetings that were held by the city. Your comments and suggestions regarding city services and programs are being considered as we work to balance our budget for the next fiscal year. The results of the "Your City, Your Way" Initiative and summary reports from each Town Hall meeting are posted on our Web Site for your review. Two meetings were held in Ward 5, at the Southern Nevada Health District and the Doolittle Community Center. Turnout was good at both meetings, and residents gave some useful input about city services. One item that many of you felt strongly about was the proposed closure of the Reed Whipple Community Center. I am happy to say that based on your feedback the council partially restored funding to the Reed Whipple Community Center to keep the current programs ongoing and is exploring collecting donations from the public to match the city's General Fund contribution of $25,000 to keep the center open.

Youth Neighborhood Association Partnership Program (YNAPP)

One of the city programs that has helped our youth make a difference in our community is the YNAPP grant program. This program encourages youth to take ownership of their neighborhoods and work with adults and local businesses to improve their communities by sharing their talents and getting involved.

Stay tuned for these upcoming YNAPP Projects in Ward 5:  

Archie C. Grant Community Garden Project
On Saturday, May 8, students from Arbor View High School will provide the residents of the Archie Grant community with a newly constructed ADA accessible walkway and storage shed to enhance their community garden. 

Operation Shade Tree
Students from the Rafael Rivera Youth Council will deliver gift baskets to the residents of the Shade Tree Shelter. The YNAPP project dubbed "Operation Shade Tree" will provide an uplifting experience for the women and children residents of Shade Tree. 

Youth and residents recently partnered together on several YNAPP projects benefiting the Ward 5 community, including:

2010 Young Men's Conference
The Teens by Teens "2010 Young Men's Conference" was held on Jan. 30, 2010. In conjunction with the city of Las Vegas West Las Vegas Arts Center, YNAPP recipients hosted the conference focusing on leadership, education and mentoring. The conference was a huge success with more than 250 young men and mentors in attendance at the second annual event.  

Youth Caucus XY: Project Preparation
The Clark County Democratic Black Caucus (CCDBC) Youth Caucus presented XY "Project Preparation" on March 13, 2010. First time YNAPP grant recipients, CCDBC Youth Caucus members, presented a successful day long series of workshops and strategies to help students transition from middle school to high school. Project Preparation covered topics relating to peer pressure, family dynamics, school success and more.

YOUth can make it happen. YNAPP is a great opportunity for YOUth Engagement.
Get involved!

For more information on YNAPP, or to be placed on the interest list, contact Kelly Woods, YNAPP Program Administrator, via email at kwoods@lasvegasnevada.gov or by phone at (702) 229-5267.

ZAP In Historic West Las Vegas

Please help me welcome ZAP to our Historic West Las Vegas. ZAP is a public art project that utilizes utility boxes in the community as a canvas for artist to express what Historic West Las Vegas means to them and the community. 

The city of Las Vegas in conjunction with Clark County hired eight artists to paint art on utility boxes on Martin Luther King Boulevard, West Lake Mead Boulevard, J Street and Owens Avenue. On March 24, 2010, West Las Vegas was invited to the West Las Vegas Arts Center for an opportunity to meet and greet the selected artist and provide community input into the artists' designs. I am excited to introduce you to the selected artist:

  • Noelle Garcia   
  • Adolfo Gonzalez   
  • Kyla Hansen   
  • James Hough  
  • Darren Johnson   
  • K.D. Matheson
  • Mario Lorne Smith, Jr.
  • Joseph Watson  

The artists will be displaying their artwork that will be painted on the utility boxes in the West Las Vegas Arts Center from April 13 through April 17, 2010.  You will have an opportunity to preview the artwork that will be seen throughout the Historic West Las Vegas community and provide comments to the artist. By April 30, 2010, you will begin to see bright, vibrant, new style utility boxes throughout the Historic West Las Vegas Community. 

As your councilman, I would like to thank all of the artist, community partners, and community members for their participation in "ZAP (3) In Historic West Las Vegas."

Nevada Reading Week Celebrated Last Month

Nevada Reading Week was celebrated during the month of March. This special week was established in 1975 to encourage children to read for pleasure as well as for gaining knowledge. I had the opportunity to participate by reading to the students at Bertha Ronzone Elementary School, Rainbow Dreams Academy and Jo Mackey Elementary School.  I also took the time to express to the students the importance of reading at least 30 minutes to an hour daily in order to strive to read at least one grade level above the current grade.

What made this year's reading week memorable was that I had the pleasure of partnering with Lowe's and they graciously donated two pallets of brand new books. The books went to Bertha Ronzone Elementary School and West Preparatory Academy.  I want to publicly thank Lowe's for being a community partner this year and hopefully we can continue to work together in the name of our children and their education.

Westside School Open House Event

On Saturday, March 20, an open house event was held at the Historic Westside School to unveil a bronze plaque commemorating the school's listing on the National Register of Historic Places. The day was also a kick-off event for the restoration of the school with an open call for the community to share their vision for the final use of the property. I led an active discussion and received ideas ranging from museum to art center. I also encouraged visitors to record their memories with Claytee White, director of the UNLV Oral History Research Center. Ms. White conducted the interviews from Studio C in the KCEP radio station.

The Historic Westside School, originally known as the Las Vegas Grammar School Branch No. 1, was built in 1923. The building was the first grammar school in West Las Vegas and is the oldest remaining schoolhouse in Las Vegas. In 1948, the school expanded to accommodate a growing population during World War II. Today, the building is home to KCEP radio, and serves as a community center and offices for the Economic Opportunity Board.  I have made this project a top priority, and I am looking forward to working with the city of Las Vegas Planning & Development, Public Works, Neighborhood Services, and other city departments to coordinate the restoration project. Historical information is limited, so I am asking alumni and citizens to contact the Neighborhood Services Department at (702) 229-6269 to learn how to submit historic photos and other documents pertaining to the school.

Ward 5 Teen Town Hall

More than 300 students from six area high schools participated in the Ward 5 Teen Town Hall on Feb. 23, 2010, in the Las Vegas City Hall Council Chambers. The youth discussed a variety of current topics facing teens including peer pressure and depression. They also discussed the economy and how it has affected their homes and lifestyles. In addition, they received encouragement and information about the importance of pursuing higher education. I, along with actress Gabrielle Union and Mike P, radio personality from HOT 97.5 radio, served as hosts of the event.

This is something I look forward to every year, because it gives our young people a forum to express their views as well as offer solutions to problems they are facing. These youth are our future leaders and we need to let their voices be heard.