Mona Shield Payne / Special to the Home News
Thursday, Jan. 1, 2009 | 2:06 a.m.
As the explosion of each firework echoed through Montelago Village at Lake Las Vegas, hundreds of revelers whooped and hollered, welcoming the new year just as the minute hand ticked over to midnight.
Families kissed, champagne corks flew and countless eyes sparkled as they stared into the bursts of blue, red, green and gold.
It was officially Jan. 1, and for many people it was time to start anew, or at least finish what was started in 2008.
Contessa Smith of Henderson said that was her plan. She started a novel and planned to make 2009 the year it was finished. So far, it’s halfway done, she said.
Otherwise, her hopes were mostly based on continuing the upward slope her life had taken in 2008. In a spiraling economy, both she and her husband, Kevin Smith, had managed to earn great new jobs.
“It’s been a very good year,” she said.
For others the year hadn’t been bad, but there were a few dim spots. Kathleen Reiss of North Las Vegas spent her New Year’s at Green Valley Ranch Resort, celebrating at Quinn’s Irish Pub. Many of her family members are in the military, she said, with one brother currently stationed in Afghanistan, so war was often on her mind last year.
“I want an end to the war,” she said. “(My family members) all do.”
Many people spent their evening in a casino, slipping from bar to bar and conversing with friends old and new.
While many families were at Lake Las Vegas, and casinos were a local playground for the adults, many teenagers were finding something else to do.
More than 200 Henderson and Boulder City teens from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints spent their evening at a New Year’s Eve-themed dance. It’s something they do every year, the teens said. Rather than staying at home, it gives them a chance to get out with friends.
“This was pretty much the plan the whole time,” Basic High School student Meg Steimle, 15, said.
Many had attended in previous years, noting this year was more decorated and seemed to be all-around more fun. There were sheets piled with balloons hanging above the dance floor, with wires holding them up until midnight.
Those in charge of the dance prayed beforehand that the release would work.
As Jan. 1 ticked closer, several students said they had or were planning on following through with a few family traditions to celebrate.
Brittney Wasden, 17, of Boulder City High School, said her family often sits down for the new year to plan out their goals for the coming months.
“Sometimes we talk about personal goals, or family goals,” she said.
Classmate Ian Donnelly, 17, said he had picked up a tradition from his grandmother, of eating Sopa as a good luck dinner for the new year. It’s something the family has done every year, he said.
Frances Vanderploeg can be reached at 990-2660 or [email protected].