Las Vegas Sun

October 22, 2014

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Timothy Pratt

Story Archive

“Whoops and roars” at a ... classical guitar concert?
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Why tailgating between classical guitar acts make sense.
2 Iranian refugees have tortured past, but brighter future
Refugees with similar histories are working to change one’s life of homelessness and mental problems while fighting rolls of red tape
Monday, April 12, 2010
One of the two men sits on the couch in his student-sized apartment near UNLV and sees the faces, the bodies of thousands of fellow Iranian political prisoners whom the Khomeini regime shot, hanged and blew up in the summer of 1988. He was one of hundreds who survived.
Lost in America
A writer recalls a Las Vegas family ripped apart by the immigration system - and, ultimately, violence
Thursday, Jan. 21, 2010
The first time I saw her, I was ordering a pizza. Mariam Sarkisian was a teenager helping her father, who owned the place, a typical pizzeria in a mall in the suburbs of Henderson five or six years ago.

Happy to speak for Latinos when they need a voice
Monday, Nov. 30, 2009
Rene Cantu Jr. is in demand lately. The Nevada State College vice president of multicultural affairs and vice chairman of the Las Vegas Latin Chamber of Commerce served on a panel for CNN’s Sept. 24 screening of “Latinos in America” at Springs Preserve.
Squabbles hold up help for Las Vegas' homeless
Part of a grant was to go to improve coordination among agencies. But which would be in charge of the money?
Monday, Nov. 30, 2009
Six months ago, officials trumpeted a $4.1 million plan built on federal stimulus money that would allow local nonprofit organizations to offer more of a much-needed service, help with rent and utility bills, and in a completely new way.

When you build custom cars, ‘fast and good don’t go together’
Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2009
Steve Pinto can spot gaps the width of a toothpick from across the garage. By feel, he can tell the difference between metal rubbed with sandpaper of differing grits. He speaks of colors with such names as “magnetic red.”
$60 million to stabilize neighborhoods buys five homes
Friday, Nov. 20, 2009
The Sun recently found that the three local governments receiving most of the money sent to the valley to buy, fix and resell foreclosed houses had been able to close deals on only five houses to date even though the program is nearly halfway into its 18-month time frame.
Librarian’s collection highlights people, events ‘history has left out’
Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2009
When Barbara Coleman started the African-American special collection at the West Las Vegas Library in 1999, she wanted to hold on to local history.
Changes in public housing bring fresh start for families
Monday, Nov. 16, 2009
Shea Hampton-Earl’s living room is empty, but her head is full of ideas.
This spring, she will plant a garden with tomatoes and collard greens in the back yard of the house she just moved into. And in a few years, the 36-year-old mother of seven wants to buy the house with its path that leads to a park in the back and a tree-lined street in the front.

Cities, county find buying valley homes isn’t easy
Sunday, Nov. 8, 2009
Eve Barrozo’s street is one of only five in the valley where the county has purchased houses under an 8-month-old program aimed at “stabilizing” neighborhoods.
Day of the Dead festivities bring cultures together
Saturday, Nov. 7, 2009
In the biggest single-day event in the Springs Preserve’s two-year history, thousands of Las Vegas Valley Hispanics and others rubbed shoulders, stood in lines together and otherwise swarmed the site’s 180 acres Nov. 1, drawn by a Mexican tradition known as the Day of the Dead.
The new faces of day labor
U.S. citizens are joining immigrants in store parking lots
Monday, Nov. 2, 2009
In the latest sign of the Las Vegas Valley’s economic free fall, U.S. citizens are starting to show up in the early mornings outside home improvement stores and plant nurseries across the Las Vegas Valley, jostling with illegal immigrants for a shot at a few hours of work.
‘Desperate’ Nevadans flooding help line
It’s another result of a crippling recession: More are needy
Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2009
Since the economy tanked, more Nevadans than ever are dialing the number of Nevada 2-1-1 -- a toll-free information service that United Way runs here and in 45 other states -- and they are more eager for help. Since 2007, when the recession began, the average number of monthly calls has increased 22 percent.
More welfare going to parents here illegally
The number of families with citizen children receiving aid has nearly doubled since ’07
Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2009
Jose Silva had just obtained an appointment in three weeks to see whether his family would be eligible for monthly welfare benefits. “Now I just have to not eat until then,” he joked, standing with his wife outside the state office on Flamingo Road.
New census query on immigration status would diminish state’s clout
Two GOP senators introduce amendment to keep illegal immigrants out of the count
Friday, Oct. 23, 2009
Sen. David Vitter, R-La., and Sen. Robert Bennett, R-Utah, tacked an amendment onto an appropriations bill this month that, if passed, would greatly affect Nevada because of its relatively large Hispanic population.

Mortgage scammers haven’t felt law’s effect
Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2009
Compliance with a new law aimed at regulating mortgage modification and foreclosure prevention, a runaway industry rife with scammers, is off to a slow start, causing concern for those on the front lines.
Nevada is prosecuting ACORN itself, not just individuals in it
Monday, Oct. 19, 2009
For more than 40 years ACORN has helped the nation’s poor solve their own problems.
He was ready; help was there
A new, more active approach to aiding the chronically homeless has begun to pay off
Saturday, Oct. 17, 2009
In 2004, state legislators budgeted $4.2 million for helping the hard-core homeless. It was the first time the state had targeted money at the issue.
At the time, this meant nothing to Charles Jones.
Getting psychiatric patients out of ERs
New resolve may lead to faster treatment, solution to old crowding problem
Friday, Oct. 9, 2009
Five years ago then-Clark County Manager Thom Reilly declared a crisis when about a third of the valley’s emergency rooms were filled with psychiatric patients, most of whom were waiting to be transferred to the state’s mental health hospital.
Community’s involvement has Hispanic leaders excited
Thursday, Oct. 8, 2009
Breakfast at Dona Maria Tamales Restaurant has been the setting for many a turn of the wheel as politics has followed population for the Las Vegas Valley’s Hispanics, and Wednesday was no exception.
Visas for victims: Mother with college dreams among valley's first to benefit
Monday, Oct. 5, 2009
Rosa Parra sits in a comfortable, neat kitchen, talking about how her former husband attacked her with a machete, burned down her house and kidnapped her younger son. Before he could be tried in connection with any of those allegations, he escaped to Mexico after posting bail in 2003.
Parents rally to kindly school volunteer told to take a walk
After 24 years, Frank Perone told it's against rules to volunteer as crossing guard without Metro Police supervision
Friday, Oct. 2, 2009
Frank Perone stood across the street from Wasden Elementary School nearly every school day, morning and afternoon, for 24 years.
That makes Perone, now 77, the longest-serving crossing guard in the Clark County School District. Or he was, until the school year began and Wasden’s new principal told Perone his services would no longer be needed.
The reason: Perone has been volunteering all these years, and that’s against School District rules.
Vegas figures prominently in Hispanics’ growing clout
CNN and a federal agency director looked west for input on a burgeoning segment of U.S. population
Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2009
Two very different gatherings happened within 24 hours last week in Las Vegas, each at high levels in their respective worlds, each involving Hispanics. In one, a heavyweight member of the national media sought input from valley residents on a major production, “Latino in America.” In the other, a top federal official gathered input on future legislation that would affect many of the nation’s Hispanics.
Schools give Spanish-speaking adults primer in own language first
Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2009
Hector Godoy stands in the rear of a trailer converted into a classroom, drawing lines on a board between the letter “p” and each of the five vowels.
He asks one of his 13 students, Maricela Bolaños, to sound out a series of words using those letters. Bolaños is learning to read and write, in Spanish, at 53 years old.

Radio program implores Asian population to be counted
Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2009
For the past two decades, experts have pushed the U.S. Census Bureau to get better at counting members of the fast-growing Hispanic population.

Magazines aimed at local black readers now number 3
Saturday, Sept. 19, 2009
In a first for the Las Vegas Valley, three local magazines focusing on blacks are now available to readers. They have in common monthly publication, an abiding editorial interest in “positive” news, free distribution and inspiration from Barack Obama’s presidency.
Drama is real for Imagine charter
Academy stands to lose more than $300,000 in funding as feud goes on
Thursday, Sept. 17, 2009
The dramatic buildup to tonight’s board meeting at Imagine 100 Academy of Excellence charter school has included Principal Timothy Goler’s resignation, a cascade of dueling letters to hundreds of families from two sides of an ongoing conflict and the permanent withdrawal of at least 50 students.
Why Nevada protects workers here illegally
One reason cited: To avoid ‘perverse incentives’
Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2009
A class-action lawsuit recently filed by the undocumented employees of a local cleaning company underscores that workers who are in the country illegally have many of the same workplace rights that U.S. citizens have.

Families galvanized by charter school principal’s suspension
Some consider pulling kids, which would cost charter school funding
Friday, Sept. 11, 2009
Wanda Hobbs stood on the sidewalk after dropping off her granddaughter at the 100 Academy of Excellence charter school, waiting, it seemed, for a sign. She had just found out the school’s principal had been placed on administrative leave.
In class and back on track after losing her way
With the help of social services, a single mom is back in school after a tumultuous four-year gap
Saturday, Sept. 5, 2009
As of last week, Brandice Dirden is one of more than 2,200 students filling the classrooms of Shadow Ridge High School, where she often feels out of place because she is one of the few students with a baby at home. When she started school a week ago Monday, it was the first time she had set foot in a classroom in four years.
Hispanics the focus of early push to register
Nevada hand-picked for initiative because of demographic’s clout
Thursday, Sept. 3, 2009
When political veteran Gus West spoke with Andres Ramirez in the nation’s capital this year about staging a Hispanic voter registration project somewhere in the United States, Ramirez immediately suggested Nevada. On Saturday, West, board chairman of The Hispanic Institute, based in Washington, is to announce the voter registration project’s launch.
Steps toward a more diverse future
Saturday, Aug. 29, 2009
Fourteen key Southern Nevadans sat around a conference room table in a second-floor office earlier this week, imagining a future that includes golf carts with solar panels and three-wheeled, electric motorcycles for police officers.
Latinos few in one place: Local politics
Despite growing clout, big population, Hispanics aren’t well represented
Thursday, Aug. 27, 2009
A county-sponsored panel next week will cover the history of Hispanics in the valley, which is basically a long, flat line followed by a sharp, vertical leap.
Bold plan aims to put families in foreclosed homes
County, cities together ask for nearly $370 million to revive neighborhoods
Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2009
Area municipalities have banded together to create an unprecedented proposal to use nearly $370 million in federal money to help set right neighborhoods across the valley reeling from the foreclosure crisis.

A year later, woman back to work, finally
"(Unemployment) was always someone else’s problem. But now I see that behind every percentage, there’s families."
Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2009
She tried handing out business cards on a highway off-ramp, a broad straw hat between her and the sun.
She reached a table at a casino job fair after four hours in line only to get laughed at for having a resume with too many jobs and a college degree. After months of not finding a job, and after a newspaper article about her search, estranged family and old friends called and e-mailed to offer help.
Six Questions for Harry Batiste
The 'mayor' of Foremaster Lane and Main Street
Friday, July 31, 2009
Every city needs a mayor, and the tent city around Foremaster Lane and Main Street is no exception. Harry Batiste, a 51-year-old native of Lafayette, La., has taken the job.
Police breaking up homeless corridor
Soon these sidewalks will be clear, but not everyone is pleased
Friday, July 31, 2009
Two months ago the valley’s largest and most visible tent city appeared headed for a turnaround, with bushels of money and hordes of social service workers coming to help the homeless.
Now the few remaining tents along Foremaster Lane will disappear within weeks, not because the dozens of men and women in them had somewhere better to go, but because Metro Police asked them to leave, an extension of a plan to “take back the area,” Lt. Ted Snodgrass said.
For Nevada, a late start on managing jump-start
State is behind the curve on planning, monitoring spending
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Gov. Jim Gibbons’ proposal to spend a half-million dollars on people to oversee the state’s federal stimulus money raises the question of how prepared Nevada is to handle the $2.2 billion meant to jump-start its economy.

Six questions for Sue Meuschke
Thursday, July 23, 2009
In late June the state attorney general handed out $1.1 million to groups across Nevada that help victims of domestic violence, granting the largest amount, $260,000, to the Nevada Network Against Domestic Violence.
Who’s answerable for NLV agency’s failings?
The latest: Much-audited housing authority owes gas company $165,000, lawsuit says
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
A recent lawsuit alleges the North Las Vegas Housing Authority agency owes $165,000 to Southwest Gas for work on the unfinished housing project known as Desert Mesa.
Six questions for Jaime Cruz, 'green economy' director
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Jaime Cruz was the first person to carry the title of energy manager at MGM Mirage when he took the job in 2003. The mechanical engineer went on to join a team charged with ensuring that CityCenter, the world’s largest privately funded group of buildings, is energy-efficient.
Group presses Metro Police on immigrant policy
It says federal program targeting illegal defendants for deportation is flawed
Saturday, July 18, 2009
A coalition of immigration lawyers, civil liberties advocates and community activists is pressuring Metro Sheriff Doug Gillespie to abandon a controversial eight-month-old program that identifies illegal immigrants in jail for eventual deportation.
Satisfaction survey missed many Hispanics
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Although the U.S. Census Bureau estimates that nearly 40 percent of North Las Vegas’ population is Hispanic — a higher percentage than in Clark County or in any other valley municipality — only 25 percent of survey respondents identified themselves as Hispanic.
Illness keeps many on cycle through jail
Committing crimes gets them treatment which ends with their release
Sunday, July 12, 2009
Nevada has lagged other states in numbers of public psychiatric facilities. But private hospitals in the Las Vegas Valley began closing their psychiatric wings in the 1980s. Jails have become the last hope for help, leading to a cycle of futility.
‘One stop’ center soon to be down to just one agency
As need for help grows, county’s social service plans to withdraw
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
When the Fertitta Community Assistance Center opened four years ago, speeches at the ribbon-cutting hailed it as a pioneering, one-stop collection of agencies for helping the poor, a model to follow in the future.
Authorities to mother of five: You’re being deported Monday
Ill woman could take her daughters to Armenia — or face separation
Friday, July 3, 2009
Anoush Sarkisian is not in the mood for celebrating Independence Day this year, nearly two decades after first touching U.S. soil. This Fourth of July is scheduled to be the last in Las Vegas for the 50-year-old mother of five girls. Authorities plan to deport her Monday. Sarkisian discovered this last week when she showed up for her monthly visit to local immigration authorities, and an official handed her what attorneys call a “bag and baggage” letter. It dryly informed her that “arrangements will be made for your departure to Armenia” on July 6.
Nevada jeered, American Samoa cheered for stimulus Web sites
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Nevada and American Samoa both launched Web sites in the same week of early March to keep track of the massive amounts of money that Congress had just approved under the so-called stimulus act.

Info for Iran, from UNLV
Author in asylum program uses Web to filter news, warnings back to her homeland
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
In the chaos after both incumbent and challenger crowed victory in Iran’s June 12 presidential election, an e-mail written in code landed in Moniro Ravanipour’s e-mail inbox.
Child abuse escalates with money woes
Agencies report spike in neglect, violence in recent months
Friday, June 26, 2009
With joblessness and foreclosure rates hitting record highs in the Las Vegas Valley, stressed-out parents and caregivers are more likely to abuse or neglect their children, according to experts.
Audit of NLV agency confirms dysfunction
But blame, specifics will have to wait
Friday, June 19, 2009
If a second source was needed to confirm whether the North Las Vegas Housing Authority served people poorly and squandered millions, that confirmation has arrived.

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