Las Vegas Sun

October 20, 2014

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John Katsilometes discovers that finding out why the tourist crossed the road is nothing to joke about

What price a photo?

Those seeking to be shot at dawn, or dusk, or anytime in between at the Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign on Las Vegas Boulevard South seem willing to gamble with their lives for an image in front of a piece of Vegas history.

Recently John Woodrum, who owned the Klondike Hotel - at the site of the famous sign - from 1976 until closing it in June, said he was concerned about the rapidly increasing number of amateur models scrambling across Las Vegas Boulevard from the Klondike parking lot. He said that as the closing of the Klondike approached, more people than ever were racing across the road to use the sign as a backdrop. "It happens at all hours," he said. "I've watched it every day for about 30 years, and it's not getting any better."

Even more recently - last week - I asked Bobby Shelton, public information officer for the Clark County Public Works Department, about placing a crosswalk at that site. In his view, a crosswalk would only increase foot traffic at the site and would not make the road any safer.

"Our job is to make sure we have efficient highway use, and I'm not sure it's an efficient use of roadway, to be honest," he said. "It's not just whether you put a crosswalk there. You'd be stopping traffic just so people can get their photos taken at the sign. My personal belief is if you (put in a crosswalk), you'd have a constant stream of people out there on the roadway."

To start the process to place a crosswalk leading to the sign, a particularly concerned party, or organization, would have to contact the county for a study into the feasibility of such an improvement. Cost is an issue - for the project itself and, probably, to fund the salary of at least one county employee to be on-site to herd all of these visitors. So is liability. "If we're inviting people out to that median, it's a liability issue. If someone jumps the curb and gets hit, it's a liability issue." (Also, vehicles are not allowed to park on the median at the sign without a special county-issued permit, a reality that seems lost on many visitors who blithely park at the site.)

There is no easy answer - other than the obvious, to remind folks heading out to the sign to be aware of what's going on in the surrounding area before trying to cross Las Vegas Boulevard. Use common sense, in other words, in a city not famous for trumpeting that trait.

NoteMart

Viva Las Spandex: The oft-reported Cirque du Soleil/Elvis show planned for the MGM Mirage's Project CityCenter was made official Thursday. The plan is for the show to open with the hotel (construction of which is said to be moving at a quick clip) in November 2009. The hotel with the strongest Elvis affiliation is, of course, the LV Hilton, where Elvis performed from 1969 through 1976 when the property was known as the International. Hilton spokesman Ira David Sternberg said he is not aware of any Hilton executives being approached about the proposed Cirque production, but added, "Anything that reflects on Elvis in a positive way is a tribute to his tenure here at the Las Vegas Hilton. We'll never forget Elvis - the statue in front of our hotel reflects that memory."

Lead paragraph in a story in the Greensboro News & Record: "Amid the glitz and glam of the Las Vegas furniture show, the World Market Center lost a touch of its sparkle this July with a dip in attendance." The story carried a High Point, N.C., dateline, and residents of that region are acutely interested in any news from the World Market Center. The Vegas show competes with the International Home Furnishings Market, held twice a year in High Point. That show pumps about $1.2 billion into the state's economy and drew more than 100,000 visitors in April. The Vegas show (held July 24-28 ) brought in less than 50,000, a drop of about 12,000 from the World Market Center debut in July 2005, though officials here say they are not worried

On Tuesday night, longtime Vegas lounge vocalist Denise Clemente performed for an audience of about 60 at the Sahara's Casbah Lounge. On Aug. 25 she'll sing for about 65,000 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, when she performs the national anthem prior to the Eagles-Steelers exhibition game

Spago at the Forum Shops at Caesars is undergoing a major renovation. Being transformed are the main dining room and the main upstairs reception area (including the restrooms). It seems in disarray right now (that area is closed off), with new art, a new decor and a new chandelier being installed, but should be ready by Saturday night

A very good show on the cheap ($8 and $15) can be had Saturday at the Clark County Amphitheater as Dave Matthews Band guitarist Tim Reynolds takes the stage. The show starts at 8 p.m.

The fun bunch at Imperial Palace is at it again. A few months ago Sun Business Editor Jeff Simpson wrote that the hotel was among the "cheesiest" on the Strip. In response, I.P. officials delivered a wheel of cheese to our newsroom. Then I wrote, hey, great cheese wheel, but not nearly as funny as a large container of chocolate-covered peanut clusters. In response, the I.P. folks sent us a huge chocolate-covered peanut candy bar in the shape of a sun and a note saying, "nuts to you." So I said, hey, funny peanut cluster, but not as funny as a pair of size-12 Florsheim shoes (preferably black). And last week I received a Florsheim Imperial shoe box (size 12 D), inside of which were a pair of tiny black doll shoes and an I.P. greeting card that said, "Dear John, sorry for the delay. The shoes were on back order. Hope they fit. Love, your friends at the Imperial Palace." I must say, outside of a full set of Michelin radial snow tires, that is the best gift a guy could receive

See ya later: A cabbie friend reports seeing ALLYG8R on a red Hyundai Elantra.

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