Las Vegas Sun

September 2, 2014

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Supply of hotel rooms; report shows Vegas bargains

One of the reasons newspapers, magazines and companies issue "Best of" and "Worst of" lists is to generate readership and attract customers. Keeping that in mind, we couldn't resist sharing this:

SANTA MONICA, Calif. -- Bad hair days can happen anywhere, but in these cities it's practically a chronic condition.

That's from the company TotalBeauty.com, which ranks Las Vegas No. 4 on its new list of the "cities with the worst hair."

The top offenders, according to the company, are Corpus Christi, Texas; Olympia, Wash.; and Pittsburgh.

After Las Vegas, the bad-hair cities are Phoenix; Pensacola, Fla.; Fresno, Calif.; Houston; Tucson, Ariz.; and New Orleans.

You'd think hurricanes would cause lots of bad hair days in Corpus Christi and New Orleans. But, in fact, TotalBeauty.com said its rankings are based on everyday factors such as humidity, sunshine, wind, rain, water hardness, pollution levels and the number of beauty salons per capita.

At this time, this is something Nevada legislators probably don't need to worry about.

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Here's some actual news from yet another "Best of" report:

Despite dreary business conditions that have pushed the Las Vegas unemployment rate to 10.1 percent in February vs. 5.5 percent in February 2008, the city moved up 20 notches in the Forbes.com annual rankings of the Best Places for Business and Careers.

In comparing the nation's 200 largest metro areas, Las Vegas ranks No. 92 in the 2009 rankings, up from No. 112 last year. Despite widespread problems in the big gaming, construction and real estate industries, Las Vegas ranked No. 3 in the nation for job growth over the past five years and No. 11 for projected job growth through 2011.

Compared with cities in the West that Las Vegas competes with to attract businesses, Las Vegas did fairly well. It trailed Boise, Albuquerque, Denver and Seattle; but was ahead of San Diego, Reno, Phoenix, San Jose, Salt Lake City and Los Angeles.

Still, Las Vegas received poor marks for having lots of subprime mortgages and was dragged down by a relatively high cost of doing business, high cost of living, high crime rate and a relative lack of cultural offerings.

And here is something legislators might pay special attention to as they consider cutting public and higher education budgets: Las Vegas for the second year in a row ranked No. 167 for educational attainment -- meaning the work force here is less educated than in the other cities.

The top-ranking cities in this and other studies -- places like Seattle (Microsoft) and Raleigh, N.C. (Research Triangle Park) -- typically benefit from a substantial and sustained investment in education that creates a business environment attractive to technology companies.

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SpringHill

Construction continues at the SpringHill Suites Las Vegas Convention Center Tuesday. The 24-floor building is set to open Aug. 1.
Launch slideshow »

There's an over supply of hotel rooms in Las Vegas, but lodging giant Marriott International Inc. is forging ahead with its newest local property. The 299-suite, 24-floor SpringHill Suites Las Vegas Convention Center plans to open Aug. 1, General Manager Bruce Belcoure said.

The property is on Paradise Road at Riviera Boulevard. It's across the street from the Las Vegas Convention Center and the Las Vegas Hilton, and is on the same block as the Riviera hotel-casino and the massive Fontainebleau resort still under construction and that will offer 3,800 flats and suites.

At first glance, it appears the SpringHill Suites will compete with other Marriott properties serving the Convention Center. Those are operated under the Marriott Suites, Residence Inn, Courtyard and Renaissance brands.

But look for Marriott to position the property to compete instead against other hotel operators on and near the Strip. The SpringHill Suites boasts that its suites are 25 percent larger than comparably priced Convention Center hotels. Business travelers and conventioneers can use the property's outdoor rooftop pool and bar, its restaurant and five flexible meeting rooms seating more than 350 people.

Belcoure said Marriott has the management contract for the property, which is owned by Whiteco, an Indiana-based investor in hotel projects around the country.

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More about filling hotel rooms: The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority is out with what it acknowledges are obvious results of a national consumer survey. The LVCVA commissioned the "take a break" study, which analyzes America's vacation behaviors and attitudes.

The study found 75 percent of Americans desire more satisfaction from life and 93 percent of Americans indicate that taking a break can increase their satisfaction.

"It's an important message to reinforce, particularly given the pressure in today's economy,'' said Terry Jicinsky, LVCVA senior vice president of marketing. "Las Vegas has always been an exciting and stress-free escape.''

Lifestyle expert Joe Robinson, the "Work to Live" author, said in an LVCVA press release: "We find much more satisfaction in the experience and memories of a vacation than in material things. That's why a getaway to one of America's favorite adult playgrounds, Las Vegas, makes for the perfect escape, especially now with the variety of deals and the amount of activities to explore."

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In a related development: Microsoft's Live Search Farecast issued its 2009 summer travel forecast and highlighted Las Vegas as a destination where there will be plenty of bargains.

The company said airfare to domestic destinations will be down more than 9 percent and to Europe down 19 percent from 2008, while U.S. hotels have dropped summer rates 14 percent.

Farecast's top bargain destinations include London, Miami and Las Vegas, "Due to a steep drop in tourism, travelers can play in Las Vegas for a fraction of the cost. Premium hotels in Las Vegas have dropped (rates) 30 percent on average since last summer, and staggering deals are available in many hotels on and off the Strip," Live Search said.

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Further proof of the good deals in Las Vegas has arrived from travel company Travelzoo, which held its annual awards ceremony last week.

Among hotels nationally and internationally, it said Wynn Las Vegas was named "leading provider of lodging deals by an upscale or boutique property."

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Gaming industry executives will support research and responsible gambling April 27 at the 11th annual AGEM/AGA Golf Classic presented by JCM Global at Cascata in Boulder City.

Sponsored by the Association of Gaming Equipment Manufacturers and the American Gaming Association, the AGEM/AGA Golf Classic is an annual fundraiser for the National Center for Responsible Gaming, a national nonprofit organization that funds research on gambling disorders and increases awareness about responsible gaming.

Since its inception, the event has raised nearly $700,000 for the NCRG, including a record $100,000 last year.

"The industry's continued support of the NCRG has enabled us to fund groundbreaking research into gambling disorders, create innovative science-based education and training resources, and increase awareness about responsible gaming among key audiences," Glenn Christenson, chairman of the NCRG, said in a statement.

For registration or sponsorship information, contact Teri Abou at 702 651-0000 or [email protected].

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Las Vegas Meetings by Harrah’s Entertainment announced a new streamlined process for catered event and group dining reservations across seven local properties. The Catering and Restaurant Sales team allows those planning business or social events to make one call to book group dining functions at Bally’s Las Vegas, Caesars Palace, Flamingo Las Vegas, Harrah’s Las Vegas, Imperial Palace, Paris Las Vegas and the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino. The new 20-person sales team will help clients sort through more than 50 restaurant and nightclub options and book banquet facilities.

Key names associated with the project are Michael Massari, vice president of meeting sales and operations for Las Vegas Meetings by Harrah’s Entertainment; and Michele Polci, director of catering and restaurant sales.

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Harry Winston Diamond Corp. of Toronto, operator of a jewelry and timepiece salon at the Forum Shops at Caesars and similar shops around the world, said its annual results were hurt by the economic downturn.

Earnings of $70.1 million, or $1.15 per share, for the year ended Jan. 31 were off from a profit of $106.4 million, or $1.82 per share, in the 2007 fiscal year.

Annual sales of $609.2 million were down from $679.3 million.

The company both mines and sells diamonds.

"Credit is the vascular system of the diamond industry. Its rapid decline last October shocked the diamond supply chain to a sudden standstill that persisted into this year," Chairman and Chief Executive Robert Gannicott said in a statement. "We now see some tentative recovery in the diamond market, albeit from a reduced base compared to six months ago. Diamonds are underpinned by their deeply rooted use in bridal ceremonies throughout the world ... We are well positioned for an improvement in global economic conditions."

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JPMorgan Chase, the company that bought Washington Mutual, said it's opening a foreclosure prevention center in Las Vegas on April 8 at 500 N. Rainbow Blvd. Chase said homeowners with Chase, Washington Mutual (WaMu) and EMC loans who need assistance can meet privately with foreclosure prevention advisers at the center. This is one of 24 such homeownership centers opening around the country, said Chase, which says that since 2007 it has helped prevent 330,000 foreclosures with such efforts.

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The 11th annual Spring ArtWalk is set for April 25-26 at the Trails Village Center in Summerlin. The free event, open to the public, includes entertainment, volunteer opportunities and kids' art activities. There will be street shows, live music and a juried art show. For information, see web.mac.com/mjholman.

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Click to enlarge photo

Anthony Cabot

Lewis and Roca attorney Anthony Cabot was named "Star Notable Practitioner" in the Chambers Global Gaming & Gambling Edition 2009. Cabot is a partner in the Gaming Section of the firm's Las Vegas office. His practice focuses on Internet gambling, gaming law and administrative law.

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Sam's Town hotel-casino is celebrating its 30th anniversary on April 11.

The property opened in March 1979 as a locals casino, a rarity at the time. Sam’s Town was named after Boyd Gaming’s co-founder Sam Boyd (father of Bill Boyd, now the company’s executive chairman).

The anniversary celebration will include an appearance by Bill Boyd, a champagne toast and cake served to guests. Throughout April, photographs and memorabilia collected over the 30-year history of Sam’s Town will be on display near the Poker Bar in the casino.

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A rock 'n' roll-inspired Cadillac Ranch restaurant opens in Town Square in mid-April. The 12,000-square-foot bar and grill includes a 1959 Cadillac, mechanical bull riding and an all-American menu with a Southwest flair.

Cadillac Ranch is on the second level of the entertainment court, across from Rave Motion Pictures.

The Cadillac Ranch chain already has restaurants in Cleveland, Cincinnati, National Harbor, Md., and Tempe, Ariz.

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For the third consecutive year, construction professionals teamed up March 7 to help nearly 100 Junior Girl Scouts between the ages of 8 and 11 learn about industry career opportunities and earn their "Ms Fix It'' badges.

Click to enlarge photo

Zach Roether and Geoffrey Godzik of McCarthy Building Companies help Olivia Smistad try on construction safety gear.

The event was sponsored by the local chapter of the National Association of Women in Construction and the Girl Scouts of Frontier Council.

"Each year this event gets better and better," said Judy Smith, vice President of NAWIC Las Vegas Chapter 74 and Girl Scout troop leader. "The construction industry, particularly here in Las Vegas, presents women a wealth of potential career opportunities. The workshops provide a fantastic way for these young ladies to get a glimpse of the variety of jobs available in the construction field."

Working in groups of about 15-20 girls, in eight interactive 30-minute workshops, the girls scouts learned about safety and tried on protective equipment, designed their own signs, installed pavers, worked with power tools, painted and replaced door locks and hinges.

"The girls really got into it," said Karie Lawson of McCarthy Building Companies, who headed a safety workshop. "They loved trying on the safety gear and it was exciting to be able to share some fun and knowledge with those who could be the next generation of NAWIC members."

Participants also included representatives of Cal/Pac Painting, LF Harris and Co., Par 3 Landscaping, M-Truss, Young Electric Sign Co. and Tomboy Tools.

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