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April 19, 2014

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Joe Schoenmann

Downtown Las Vegas Reporter

A native Wisconsinite, Joe earned a journalism degree to get out of college early but wanted none of the craft after graduation. Need for a job landed him at small Wisconsin weeklies before moving to Las Vegas in 1997. He has been recognized for his magazine profiles and his investigative stories that exposed police bias against minorities.

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Story Archive

Joe Downtown: Bars, Mob Museum to celebrate repeal of Prohibition
Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2013
References to Prohibition Era drinking has practically gone viral downtown.
At least three businesses are celebrating the repeal of Prohibition, which was a Constitutional ban on alcoholic beverages from 1920 to 1933.
Joe Downtown: Ballet teacher's relocation sparks bigger issue with downtown redevelopment
Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2013
Welthy Silva, a ballet teacher with about 30 students in a small studio downtown, is 95 percent sure she will be moving out in a few months. But not because she wants to.
Joe Downtown: Nothing unusual — or more unusual than normal — about Zappos office on busy Cyber Monday
Monday, Dec. 2, 2013
In the brain center of one of the largest online retailers in the country, it is not immediately apparent that today is one of the busiest days of the year for and its discount site, That is, there’s nothing weird going on — beyond the fact that many employees are walking around with aluminum foil affixed to their noggins as antennae, headpieces, crowns or pointy hats.
Joe Downtown Show: We know who the millenials are, but what are they about?
Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2013
I remember my first millennial. It was the day after Zappos announced it was going to move its headquarters from Henderson into downtown’s City Hall. I was to meet Tony Hsieh at the Zappos HQ in Henderson. Waiting in a nondescript room that employees used as a shortcut, with big windows that everyone could see through, I found it a little strange. But I figured I’d be escorted to the CEO’s mahogany-walled corner office shortly. Instead, this “kid” walks in with a blue T-shirt, jeans and sneakers. “Where’s Mr. Hsieh?” I asked. "That’s me," he said.
Joe Downtown: Mural removed because it ‘didn’t reflect the spirit’ of downtown, but at least people noticed
Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2013
A piece of the Life is Beautiful festival disappeared Tuesday. One of several murals created on downtown buildings for the October festival that celebrated art, music, food and learning was painted over.
Joe Downtown: Huntridge Circle Park still plagued with homelessness
Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2013
"It’s not the sight of someone sleeping under a tree ... or wherever they happen to pass out from street fatigue or drunkenness; it’s entering a realm where many of the people suffer from mental illness."
Joe Downtown: Container Park opens as major draw for east Fremont area
Monday, Nov. 25, 2013
Now the real trek eastward begins. The downtown Container Park opened this afternoon to several hundred people, dozens of whom waited at the gate until they were allowed in after a 10-second countdown shortly after 1 p.m. People who live downtown or in the suburbs, along with tourists, were drawn to the 34-outlet mall made up of several cubic, pre-made rooms. some of them stacked three stories tall.
Joe Downtown: The next Tony Hsieh? Developer snatches up dozens of properties downtown
Monday, Nov. 25, 2013
Kamran Fouladbakhsh started buying properties downtown more than 10 years before Hsieh and his Downtown Project started snagging most of the available parcels around East Fremont Street two years ago. But over the past year, Fouladbakhsh has increased his purchases to a couple dozen or more.
Joe Downtown: Big residential project pitched for downtown, and guess who’s not behind it
Friday, Nov. 22, 2013
The biggest multi-unit, residential project to arise since Tony Hsieh arrived downtown — and one that has none of Hsieh’s fingerprints on it — is planned by two developers who believe the Arts District and south of it is going to be another boom area downtown.
Joe Downtown: Homeless can receive free foot screening, shoes Friday
Thursday, Nov. 21, 2013
Homeless people downtown will get a free foot screening and shoes tomorrow courtesy of two organizations and with the contribution of a local company.
Joe Downtown: Why this giant, burning cube can change your life
Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2013
Scott Cohen thinks if people write down their goals and aspirations, there is a better chance of achieving them. Then, burning those wishes in a giant wooden cube further improves those chances. That public ceremony is set to happen in downtown Las Vegas in March.
Joe Downtown: Where is funding coming from for all this cultural development?
Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2013
Plans to build an art museum, renovate the Reed Whipple Cultural Center and reopen the Huntridge Theatre are all underway. But who will supply the dough?
Joe Downtown: Does coffee shop manager have magic powers?
Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2013
With the holidays on the way, the lights are going up. But the Christmas lights hanging in The Beat coffee shop weren’t on this morning. The boss told the manager to turn them on.
“I can’t; they aren’t working,” she replied. “I’m not magic.”
Joe Downtown Show: Who are all these millennials populating downtown?
Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2013
Millennials are the generation now carrying the banner as we head into the next few decades. They are also a big part of the reason downtown Las Vegas is witnessing a rebirth.
Joe Downtown: No more waiting — Downtown Container Park opens Monday
Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2013
In time for Black Friday shoppers, the Downtown Container Park will open Monday. Downtown Project, which operates the outdoor mall, today confirmed Monday’s soft opening.
Joe Downtown: City to consider liquor license for Downtown Container Park
Monday, Nov. 18, 2013
With time and age restrictions in place, a liquor license for the Downtown Container Park will be up for discussion and a possible vote at Wednesday’s Las Vegas City Council meeting. The issue of alcohol at the outdoor mall — which is expected to open later this month or in December — caused some consternation months back because the mall also features a large playground.
Joe Downtown: Photo exhibit, event to focus on the people of downtown
Monday, Nov. 18, 2013
If you really want to know what’s going on downtown, look no further than its people. A photo exhibit called “Who Is Downtown?” launching Thursday night at Blackbird Studios, 1551 S. Commerce St., is a good starting point.
Joe Downtown: Neighbors say problems returning to Huntridge Circle Park
Friday, Nov. 15, 2013
The city closed Huntridge Circle Park seven years ago after a man was stabbed to death, the result of an argument over a broken sprinkler head.
Joe Downtown: Benefit corporations mix altruistic, profit motives
Thursday, Nov. 14, 2013
Downtown Las Vegas, where young, idealistic business operators are moving into the Arts District and along East Fremont Street, seemed the perfect place to hold an informational powwow about benefit corporations.
Joe Downtown: Assisted living center may be Symphony Park's next tenant
Thursday, Nov. 14, 2013
It isn't an arena, casino/hotel or walk-up, brownstone living units — all ideas once proposed and still dreamed of — but plans for a skilled nursing and assisted living center in Symphony Park are on the table.
Joe Downtown: Coterie manager Hannibal Nisperos brings the real to hip retail
Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013
"He’s that rare strain of original cool whose personal vibe becomes a statement that others follow in fashion or thought."
Joe Downtown Radio: Two councilmen weigh in on downtown's changes
Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013
On The Joe Downtown Show I talked to two people from vastly different sections of Las Vegas. One is Ward 3 Councilman Bob Coffin, who has lived downtown for decades. The other is Ward 2 Councilman Bob Beers, who represents a huge swath of land in the western valley.
Joe Downtown: Be careful what you say; downtown street lights could one day listen in on your conversation
Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013
Streets lights that could be equipped with listening devices, a possibility that is drawing the concern of the ACLU of Nevada, are being tested around City Hall downtown.
Joe Downtown: Copious festivals bring about a Bourbon Street feel
Sunday, Nov. 10, 2013
Downtown — largely East Fremont Street, the Fremont Street Experience and the Arts District — has turned into a center for festivals and events.
Joe Downtown: Veterans to get special concert at Fremont Street Experience
Friday, Nov. 8, 2013
Actor Gary Sinise, who played Lt. Dan Taylor in "Forrest Gump," started the Lt. Dan Band in 2004, has played for and supported wounded veterans ever since and will appear Saturday at the Fremont Street Experience.
Joe Downtown: Shania Twain to kick off annual Great Santa Run
Friday, Nov. 8, 2013
Next month, country music/crossover superstar Shania Twain, a fixture on the Strip, will venture downtown as grand marshal of the Great Santa Run, which returns downtown after several years at Town Square.
Joe Downtown: Competition to raise awareness about consequences of drunken driving
Friday, Nov. 8, 2013
With the number of downtown drinking establishments growing along with the area’s popularity, it’s more than appropriate for a drunken-driving awareness event to be scheduled here next weekend. The second annual Pull The Flag on Drunk Driving Downtown 360 Bowl will be staged starting Friday and ending Sunday on the athletic fields of Las Vegas Academy, 315 S. Seventh St. starting Friday and ending Sunday.
Joe Downtown: How will the Zappos-DTP relationship affect other local businesses?
Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2013
The creation of neo-Downtown as a company town is coming into vogue.
Joe Downtown Radio: How the new TV/film law will help make Las Vegas an even bigger household name
Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2013
How did a little gambling town in the middle of a desert become so well known? Marketing, largely, which includes the dozens of movies and TV shows produced or based here over the past 60 years. Today's guest on the Joe Downtown Show discusses the existing film and TV biz downtown and how he expects it to change with a new law going into effect.
Joe Downtown: Fremont Street bar owners note drop in Friday night patrons
Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2013
Barricades were up and police presence was down, but so was business in several east Fremont Street bars last Friday night. Some say that’s the price of success on the first Friday of the month.
Joe Downtown: CNN’s Anthony Bourdain dropping by The Atomic for season finale
Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2013
Someone’s going to have to start keeping track of all the free publicity being scored by The Atomic, a downtown bar on Fremont Street.
Joe Downtown: Garth Brooks reportedly visiting downtown, meeting Zappos brass
Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2013
It’s still pretty hush-hush and on the down low, but Garth Brooks is coming downtown later this week. Brooks is the country-western, cross-over musician who has sold some 70 million albums in a little more than two decades.
Joe Downtown: Take in ‘Naked Vegas’ to support brain health
Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2013
The Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health will be ground zero for a unique event tonight, bringing people together to drink margaritas, watch “Naked Vegas” and raise money and awareness for the center.
Joe Downtown: Halloween revelers to parade down Fremont Street
Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2013
Another sign that downtown is changing: the 4th Annual Halloween Parade will be held on Fremont Street. It will start in an area that even a year ago few would walk in at night, marching west to the Fremont Street Entertainment District.
Joe Downtown: Housing has to be cheaper for Downtown to be fully realized
Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2013
The Life Is Beautiful Festival made the neighborhood feel like a true city. When will it consistently be like that?
Joe Downtown: Life was Beautiful for more than 62,000 people last weekend
Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2013
More than 62,000 people attended the Life is Beautiful festival over two days last weekend — short of organizers' first estimates by far surpassing their revised estimate.
Joe Downtown Radio: High-rise living in Las Vegas
Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2013
They call some of them “the skylords” of Las Vegas. That is, those who live in one of the three high-rises downtown: Soho, Newport or The Ogden.
Joe Downtown: Against councilman’s wish, Pinches Tacos will stay Pinches Tacos
Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2013
The fight over the name of a Mexican restaurant destined for the Downtown Container Park is over. Pinches Tacos is going to keep its name, despite a Las Vegas councilman’s suggestion to change it.
Joe Downtown: Speakeasy-inspired lounge opening in Las Vegas Arts District
Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2013
A new urban lounge will bring more competition to downtown’s loaded bar scene, but it won’t be located on East Fremont Street, where much of the property is already owned by Downtown Project.
Joe Downtown: Kanye West rumor sends downtown buzzing
Monday, Oct. 28, 2013
The energy level in downtown Las Vegas the night before the Life is Beautiful festival Friday was palpable. Then the voltage got cranked up by the sighting of mega-musician Kanye West, Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh and an entourage wandering through the various festival installations.
Joe Downtown: With only minor glitches, leaders praise Life is Beautiful
Monday, Oct. 28, 2013
Despite a few minor arrests and injuries, city and police officials said Life is Beautiful was successful and that they'd like to see some parts of it become permanent. Over the two-day event, five people were arrested for misdemeanors and three people suffered minor injuries when a roughly 30-foot tower holding streamers tumbled in the wind at the entrance Sunday. Beyond that, however, the festival appeared to be a roaring success.
Joe Downtown: 'We're getting back to our roots,' Wynn says at opening of Downtown Grand
Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013
The opening comes six-and-a-half years after the closure of the Lady Luck, which was gutted by investor CIM Group and converted into the Downtown Grand.
Festivalgoers mostly well-behaved, full of praise for Life is Beautiful
Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013
The inaugural Life is Beautiful festival downtown continued to run smoothly on its second and final day, with an expected 24,000 attendees flocking to the festival grounds to take in dozens of bands, gourmet eateries, art installations and lectures at the weekendlong celebration. However, the day was not completely without incident. One of the towers at the entrance to the festival on 6th Street at Carson Avenue toppled in the wind around 4:45 p.m. No injuries were reported.
Downtown's Life is Beautiful festival off to peaceful start
Saturday, Oct. 26, 2013
The pace of life downtown was unusually mellow Saturday afternoon, the first of the two-day Life is Beautiful festival expected draw some 20,000 per day. Police reported no arrests or citations by 5 p.m. Traffic was a snap. Music filled the streets, the aroma of cooked meat and savory dishes filled the air, and people walked breezily down the streets taking in sights and sounds all too rare for the city’s urban core.
Joe Downtown: Training center will prepare homeless and unemployed for jobs
Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2013
“We take people who are on the path of hopelessness and get them back on the path of hope.”
Joe Downtown Radio: Some people downtown are comfortable being different
Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2013
Joe Schoenmann talks to Bernard Walter, aka Mister Tony, and Darla Lush about life downtown on this week's episode of the "Joe Downtown Show."
Joe Downtown: Downtown Grand guests will be 'encouraged to leave building'; Hsieh covets greater connectivity
Monday, Oct. 21, 2013
Tony Hsieh came off as a modest voice of calm amid former Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman’s outspoken ex-mob-lawyer-turned-mayor persona, as both addressed questions about downtown’s rebirth at a luncheon today.
Joe Downtown: Hotels packed and pricey for inaugural Life is Beautiful festival
Monday, Oct. 21, 2013
With rooms at Fremont Street hotel-casinos going at rates several times higher than normal this weekend, it’s easy to see why operators might be pondering the beauty of life.
Joe Downtown: Artists’ visions bring vibrancy to drab downtown walls
Sunday, Oct. 20, 2013
Work on the first of 14 murals to adorn the walls of various downtown buildings has begun.
Joe Downtown: Revelers on bikes will light up the night for 'Blinking Man' pub ride
Saturday, Oct. 19, 2013
The free ride, which has been described as “Burning Man on wheels,” begins at 7 p.m. at the Huntridge Tavern, 1116 E. Charleston Blvd.

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