Our Building and Safety Department is getting in the holiday spirit with their director, Chris Knight, playing the role of Kris Kringle.
Our Building and Safety Department is getting in the holiday spirit with their director, Chris Knight, playing the role of Kris Kringle.
We all remember the August 25 storm that dumped unprecedented amounts of rain in the northwest section the valley. The wildfire on Mt. Charleston earlier in the summer had left a bare mountainside that, when combined with heavy rainfall, led to a gigantic mess in the valley. The end result, after the water receded, was heavy vegetation and debris flows into the Kyle Canyon Detention Basin, which is located at the far west end of Grand Teton. Thankfully, our Public Works department had a plan.
The first focus of cleanup was in the public street areas, and City crews removed approximately 10,000 cubic yards of debris from the streets. That volume is equivalent to a football field six feet deep with rock, mud, vegetation and trash.
We are now working to remove the heavy sediment deposits in the Kyle Canyon Basin. The debris equates to a football field with a 72-foot-depth of rock, soil and pieces of partially burned trees and brush. Although we will use some of the debris to fill erosion areas around the basin, most of the material will need to be disposed of. Normally, this type of contaminated debris would be put directly into a landfill, which would put total cleanup costs near $9 million.
City staff has worked diligently to find alternative disposal options. These efforts will result in the disposal of a significant amount of the materials in a nearby gravel pit which is being reclaimed, at much lower transport and disposal costs. These various efforts should reduce the costs by several million dollars, thanks to the hard-work and quick-thinking of our Public Works department.
City of Las Vegas employees represented at last weekend’s Santa Run!
Mayor Goodman sponsored the entry fees for the first 100 employees, who took her up on her offer, including: Jack Manning, Cheryl Manning, Nicole Torres, Nicole Aversa, Lasharla Purtue, Heather Bendele, Eddie Jackson, Sonja Smith, Nora Gonzalez, Lisa Moreira, Tracy Ford, Karla Limon, Mary Hastings (retired Municipal Court employee) Carly Helbert, Lupe Gonzalez, Christy Beckwith and Delfina Flores.
Thousands of Santas ran past the new Downtown Container Park, where a praying mantis shot fire balls into the air, and participants were delighted by a mime balancing on a ball and juggling for their amusement. Many of the employees walked but some of them ran the entire 3.1 miles. Go Team City!
Each year at City Hall, we help showcase the city’s lesser well-known art talent pool: public employees. For several years, we have sought out the best artists that public agencies, like Clark County, the State of Nevada and our own city employees, have to offer. Art pieces submitted this year were no exception and the top works are now being featured in the Chamber Gallery on the second floor of City Hall through January 2. Seven city employees are featured this year and we caught up with three of them to learn more about their works of art.
Margaret DeClerk, Communications
Margaret is a long-time artist and always looking for opportunities to showcase her work. An artist for most of her life, she decided early on that being a “starving artist” wasn’t for her and, instead, decided to pursue graphic design in college. She still enjoys any opportunity to showcase her work and is thrilled when it is selected. She even occasionally gets to indulge the artist in her by creating special drawings for the Mayor’s birthday card, Christmas card and other random projects from time to time.
Since she enjoys detailed realism in her art, the name of her piece in the Chamber Gallery is, fittingly, “Get Yourself Together, Margaret.” It shows her portrait on scattered puzzle pieces and was inspired by this past year leading up to her birthday, which happened to be the day before the exhibit opened. “This year has been one of getting myself together. I now have a clearer idea of what I want in my life and how I want to spend my time,” she explained.
Working on it when she could find time on weekends, she first glued a printed photo to a child’s jigsaw puzzle and then cut the pieces out before using colored pencils to finish it. “I love working in Prismacolor pencils because I can build the color in layers and get all the detail I want,” she said.
She is currently working on a piece for the Chinese New Year for the Mayor’s Gallery at the Historic Fifth Street School.
Johnathan Bren Southerland, Facilities Management
Bren began airbrushing professionally in 1994 after attending some workshops in southern California. Four years later, he was recognized as part of their staff and got so entrenched in it that he eventually wrote a how-to article which was published in “Airbrush Action,” a well-known airbrushing magazine.
In his work, Bren leans more towards realism and generally airbrushes mostly cars and motorcycles. His “Harley-Davidson”piece took him approximately nine months to complete. The chrome on the painting was especially challenging and is his favorite part of the piece.
He was notified of the exhibit by a city employee who knew of his artistic talent. “I had missed out on being included in past years and wanted to make sure I entered this time around,” he explained. “I feel fortunate to have been included.”
Sandra Ward, Cultural Affairs
A long-time artist, Sandra has been serious about contributing to the art scene locally since 2009.
Her art piece “Worship, Study of” was inspired by the changing ways humankind worships the female form and, in particular, the Venus de Willendorf stone sculpture that is thought to be an ancient fertility goddess.
“Retrato de la Dama,” was inspired by the annual days of the dead holidays in Mexican culture. “I love the tradition of honoring our passed loved ones and the often humorous portrayal of death,” she explained.
Although it is a slow and methodical process, she loves working with wood. Her treatment stems from a printmaking background. Each piece is cut and carved and/or routed then painted with special attention and detail. Her pieces are typically labor intensive and take her, at minimum, two months.
“I look forward to this exhibit each year and commend the city for offering this opportunity to employees,” she finished.
Swing by the Chamber Gallery on the second floor of City Hall to see more of these unique works of art.
Below average temperatures will hit the valley this week. A freeze watch has also been issued from Wednesday night to Saturday morning. Lows are projected to be below freezing through at least Tuesday of next week. Follow these tips to stay safe in cold weather:
Dress appropriately before going outdoors. The air temperature does not have to be below freezing for someone to experience cold emergencies such as hypothermia and frostbite. Wind speed can create dangerously cold conditions even when the temperature is not that low. When dressing, keep in mind that: 1) mittens provide more warmth to your hands than gloves, 2) most of your body heat is lost through your head so wear a hat, and 3) dress in warm layers so you can remove items if you get too warm.
Recognize the symptoms of hypothermia that can be a serious medical condition: confusion, dizziness, exhaustion and severe shivering. Seek medical attention immediately if you have these symptoms.
Recognize frostbite warning signs: gray, white or yellow skin discoloration, numbness, and waxy feeling skin. Seek medical attention immediately if you have these symptoms.
Keep anything that can burn, such as clothing, furniture, mattresses, and paper products at least three feet away from any heat sources such as furnaces, space heaters, fireplaces, stoves and water heaters.
With freezing temperatures, water pipes may freeze. If a pipe freezes, do not use a torch or any type of flame to thaw the pipe. The sudden increase in temperature will cause the ice to expand quickly and explode. If a water pipe bursts, turn off the water at the main shut-off valve.
Do not let your car run in the garage to heat up. After you start the car, make sure the garage door is open and move the car out as soon as you can. Even with the garage door open, lethal levels of carbon monoxide from the exhaust pipe can seep into the home.
Never run an electric generator or other fossil fuel appliance in the home, including the garage. These devices produce deadly carbon monoxide gas.
Be aware of any moisture on the roadways, especially at night. Water from lawn sprinklers on the road at night can freeze, causing the roadway or sidewalks to be icy. Remember that bridges and underpasses freeze faster than regular road surfaces. Even the smallest amount of moisture can cause the road surface to be hazardous.
Give new life to your old markers by dropping them off at the fourth floor of City Hall, the West Las Vegas Arts Center or Charleston Heights Arts Center. The city is collecting used markers as part of the national Crayola ColorCycle program. Not only will you save the markers from ending up in a landfill, they will be recycled by Crayola and created into usable fuel, which can then be used to heat a home, run a car or cook food. According to Crayola, one box of markers creates enough energy to cook an egg, make toast and brew one pot of coffee. This program is another important part of the city’s Sustainability Initiative, and just another way #vegasgoesgreen!
Look for the artistic drop-boxes that were created from recycled materials by students from the city’s Rainbow Company Youth Theater, who are gearing up for their upcoming “Scrooge, The Musical” performance. The production will be performed Dec. 6, 7, 13 and 14 at 7 p.m., and Dec. 8, 14 and 15 at 2 p.m., at the Charleston Heights Arts Center, located at 800 S. Brush St. Tickets are available now at $5 per person. To purchase tickets, visit www.artslasvegas.org (there is no online fee) or call (702) 229-6553 or 229-6383. Advance purchase is recommended.
Many of us are busy preparing for Thanksgiving tomorrow. But did you know that more cooking fires happen on Thanksgiving than any other day of year? It’s important to take safety precautions to ensure that the holiday is a happy and safe one.
Stove and Oven
Keep your oven clean. In a dirty oven, grease drips from the turkey pan can create a fire. Remove any flammable items, like paper products or decorations, away from the stove area. Also keep children at least three feet away.
Don’t let them burn unattended. If you leave the room, blow them out. Also consider investing in LED candles.
Carbon monoxide poisoning can happen when you’re running the stove and oven in a poorly ventilated area. When cooking, open the doors and/or windows every few hours to help circulate the air.
Don’t put objects into fireplaces that are gas-powered. If your fireplace is solid fuel, don’t overload it. The top of flames should be visible through the doors and should not reach up into the chimney.
Always follow directions. Make sure that the turkey is thawed and dry. The fryer should be at least 10 feet away from your house and should never be used indoors or in the garage. Since oil overflow is what usually causes fryer fires, heat the oil and turn off the flame when lowering the turkey in. Once the turkey is in, turn the flame back on.
Get more safety tips on our website. Have a happy and safe holiday!
City Hall is excited about the newest addition to our seventh floor break room: a new kitchen composter! Instead of tossing our food scraps and coffee grinds in the garbage, employees are encouraged to place these items, among others, in the NatureMill® composter that will convert them into fertile compost material. We are hoping to add one to every break room in City Hall in the near future.
So what is compost and why is it beneficial? Compost is simply decomposed organic matter that enhances the quality of existing soil by increasing its ability to retain water, nutrients and air resulting in a healthier, more productive garden. Since food and yard waste accounts for a significant portion of our waste stream, composting provides a sustainable alternative to filling up our landfills. By eliminating the need for expensive fertilizers, composting also saves money and replaces products that contain harmful chemicals which eventually find their way into our waterways.
If you are interested in composting at your home, visit the following links that provide additional information on how to get started:
These behind-the-scene photos show the cast of “Scooge, The Musical” getting ready for opening night on Dec. 6. The Rainbow Company Youth Theatre will present the upbeat and lyrical story of Ebenezer Scrooge and his miserly ways just in time for Christmas.
The musical will be performed Dec. 6, 7, 13 and 14 at 7 p.m., and Dec. 8, 14 and 15 at 2 p.m., at the Charleston Heights Arts Center, located at 800 S. Brush St. Tickets are available now at $5 per person. To purchase tickets, visit www.artslasvegas.org(there is no online fee) or call (702) 229-6553 or 229-6383. Advance purchase is recommended.
A large cast of enthusiastic actors sing and dance their way through Charles Dickens’ classic tale, musically directed by Joseph L. Cottone and costumed by guest designer Gail Lehtinen. According to director Karen McKenney, “There are 39 people of all ages in the cast, so it’s been a challenging job, but we’re sure the results are going to please the audience.”
The Rainbow Company is a program of the city of Las Vegas. For more information about the Rainbow Company or to register for upcoming classes, call (702) 229-6553 or go online to www.artslasvegas.org
Pictured: Don Jacobson, Project Manager, IT.
The City of Las Vegas was recognized by the Center for Digital Government as a preeminent city at the National League of Cities Congress of Cities. The City received recognition for its ranking among the Top 5 Digital Cities. What this means is that City is comparable to other Top 5 large cities such as Seattle, Boston and Philadelphia for its innovative use of technology to better serve the community and to engage the public.
What citizens and business people want from the City is “transparent” government. They want to know what’s going on city-wide and how it relates to them. They want to be able to have a voice in decisions regarding services provided. They also want any interactions they have with the City—from information searches to payments—to be easy, fast and efficient. Lastly, they want to be able to carry out such transactions 24/7 wherever they are using whatever device they have, especially smartphones.
To meet these expectations, the City expanded its presence on social media and opened up the data it holds to allow everyone to contribute to ideas for making government run more smoothly. The open data and analytics provide stakeholders a real-time measure of performance against strategic objectives. The City has also employed new strategies to consolidate services and to improve communication. By investing wisely in technology and sharing services, the City has saved money in these financially challenging times.
To be considered for ranking, the City identified 10 initiatives in four categories that illustrated its commitment to improve how it conducts its business and ultimately better serve the public despite fiscal constraints. The City’s successes demonstrate the transformative power of innovation to improve delivery of services. Large tech-savvy digital cities are models of excellence nationally, and the City of Las Vegas is among the top five.