Las Vegas Sun

December 21, 2014

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Energy column:

NV Energy inks solar deal

This week, a mix of news from a few of my beats.

Energy

NV Energy has agreed to buy energy from Massachusetts-based American Capital Energy’s 20-megawatt solar photovoltaic power plant to be built near Searchlight.

The plant is expected to be completed by mid-2010 and, if built to its proposed 20-megawatt size, would exceed the country’s largest solar facility at Nellis Air Force Base that produces 14 megawatts of energy.

Construction of the plant would create 120 jobs.

Terms of the agreement, subject to Public Utilities Commission’s approval, were not disclosed.

All of the energy produced will go to NV Energy’s customers in Southern Nevada, the companies said. By 2025 NV Energy’s energy portfolio is required to include 25 percent in renewable resources and energy efficiency and conservation programs.

Utilities

Cox Communications has expanded its reach into Boulder City, now offering Cox Digital Telephone, a land-line telephone service.

Cox Business, a subsidiary of Cox Communications, is also inaugurating an array of telephone services for small- to large-sized businesses in Boulder City.

“Small businesses are often neglected by traditional telephone carriers, however we’re welcoming small business with our robust, industry-leading telecommunications network and high-quality customer care,” said Gil Rapley, vice president of Cox Business and Hospitality Network in Las Vegas.

Workplace

Just another reminder that the minimum wage goes up July 1. If your worker receives qualifying health benefits, he can earn no less than $6.55 an hour, up from $5.85 an hour.

If no qualifying health insurance is offered, then the minimum wage increases to $7.55 an hour, up from $6.85 an hour.

Also, daily overtime for workers with qualified health benefits who are on the clock for more than eight hours in a 24-hour period is required for any worker who makes less than $9.825 an hour.

Workers without health benefits are eligible for overtime after an eight-hour shift if they earn less than $11.325 per hour.

Health care

Kids are trying illicit drugs at a younger age.

In response, the Center for Addiction Medicine, led by Dr. Michael Levy, has launched an adolescent alcohol and drug intensive outpatient treatment program.

The program provides treatment for ages 14 to 17. Over the six-week course, teenagers will spend nine hours a week working on their treatment with weekly drug tests. There is also a family component.

“While the national trend for illicit drug use among teens is declining, which is promising, there is still a significant need for this type of program in Southern Nevada,” said Levy, the center’s founder and medical director. “There is a growing problem of prescription drug abuse and addiction among high school age youth. Many parents do not realize the signs of drug abuse or realize the prevalence among teenagers.”

For more information, visit addictionhelp.com.

• • •

The Foundation for Recovery is hosting an Art of Recovery exhibit through July 18 at the Tam Alumni Center Gallery at UNLV.

On display are sculptures, paintings, photography and pottery by local artists and high school students.

For more information, visit forrecovery.org.

• • •

St. Rose Dominican Hospitals has expanded its services to include inpatient hospice care. The hospital group has joined the Henderson Healthcare Center to offer inpatient care in two private rooms at the assisted living facility at 1180 E. Lake Mead Parkway.

For more information, visit strosehospitals.org.

• • •

Aid for AIDS of Nevada sent 20 children battling HIV/AIDS for two days June 17 to Camp Courage at Disneyland.

Camp Courage’s mission is to help children ages 5 to 15 overcome obstacles associated with HIV/AIDS through a therapeutic wilderness experience that helps fosters self-confidence, social interaction and social support.

• • •

I’ve taken over the energy beat from my colleague Stephanie Tavares, who has moved on to cover higher education for the Las Vegas Sun, a sister publication. I admit I’ve got big shoes to fill, but I will work hard to cover this beat with as much zeal as Stephanie did.

In this role, I will be covering utilities, including telephone, cable, satellite and Internet service; water; fuel; the traditional energy sources such as natural gas and coal, as well as the up-and-coming renewable energy sources of solar, geothermal and wind (and others as they emerge).

I will, of course, continue to also cover health care, banking, and the workplace.

Nicole Lucht covers health care, workplace, energy and banking issues for In Business Las Vegas and its sister publication, the Las Vegas Sun. She can be reached at 259-8832 or at [email protected]

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