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July 22, 2014

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Tovin Lapan

Latino Community, Immigration and General Assignment Reporter

After working for his college paper, Tovin started his professional career in Guadalajara, Mexico, where he fell in love with the variety and excitement of working in daily journalism as well as with a sandwich called the torta ahogada. He comes to the Las Vegas Sun from the Santa Cruz Sentinel, where he covered higher education, city government and immigration. Prior to Santa Cruz, Tovin was on staff at the San Diego Union-Tribune, Miami New Times and Naples Daily News and worked as a freelance journalist for numerous publications. He has reported extensively in Latin America, including Colombia, Argentina, Bolivia and Mexico, and holds masters degrees in journalism and Latin American Studies from UC Berkeley.

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Story Archive

Government says deportations down 10 percent, percentage of criminal deportees up
Thursday, Dec. 19, 2013
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement deported 368,644 people from the country in fiscal year 2013, down approximately 10 percent from fiscal year 2012.
Biden to participate in online immigration discussion, Hispanic organizations issue midterm congressional report card
Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013
With the debate over broad immigration reform inevitably moving into 2014 and advocates regrouping for the next congressional session, Vice President Joe Biden will participate in a live Internet discussion on immigration this afternoon. Biden and Cecilia Munoz, director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, will take questions from the public on immigration in an online forum hosted by internet communication service Skype and search engine Bing from 12:45 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Bus station guard tells police he pleaded for his life with suspect in shooting
Friday, Dec. 6, 2013
A security guard who told a loiterer Thursday night to move along from in front of the downtown Greyhound bus station said he pleaded for his life when the man pulled a gun on him.
Manhole work to close part of Jones Boulevard
Friday, Dec. 6, 2013
Manhole work over the weekend will cause closures and traffic restrictions on Jones Boulevard, according to a Nevada Department of Transportation advisory.
Las Vegas sees record-setting cold, braces for snow
Friday, Dec. 6, 2013
Las Vegas kicked off December with a record-setting cold front and a second weather system moving in this weekend is expected to dust the western valley with snow on Saturday.
Judge delays sentencing in rape case for suspect in Strip shooting
Newly appointed attorneys for Ammar Harris seek, receive postponement
Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2013
Sentencing in a 2010 rape and robbery case for the man accused in a deadly shooting earlier this year on the Las Vegas Strip has been delayed into the new year. Ammar Harris, 27, is in custody and awaiting trial on three capital murder charges stemming from a Feb. 21 shooting and crash on Las Vegas Boulevard. After Harris was taken into custody, a woman who earlier accused Harris of robbery and rape resurfaced, and prosecutors reopened that case.
In brief: Boehner hires immigration adviser; fast on National Mall reaches 22 days
No timeline offered for House to debate reform
Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2013
As the Dec. 12 end of the U.S. House of Representatives' 2013 session inches closer, immigration-reform advocates are hoping for progress while House leaders are offering little concrete information on when debate on the issue will begin.
NFR Preview: Something for everyone
Friday, Nov. 29, 2013
Every December, Christenson and his colleagues help turn Las Vegas into a cowboy town when they coordinate the National Finals Rodeo competition. Increasingly, they're working on ways to open the event not only to more cowboys but to people who might not know a steer from a bronco.
'The face of hunger in Nevada is different'
Thursday, Nov. 28, 2013
Like a kid obsessed with his Christmas wish list, the Three Square Food Bank in North Las Vegas has been planning all year long for the holidays. The food bank, which was founded in 2006 and serves Clark, Lincoln, Nye and Esmeralda counties, has been searching for the best deals on turkeys and other holiday staples since the 2012 holiday season ended. This year it plans to bring in 12,000 turkeys, which will be distributed through the 600 partner agencies in the community that receive food from Three Square’s 120,000-square-foot warehouse to the people in need of assistance.
Shell game: The long, dramatic story of OD, Mandalay Bay's green sea turtle
Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2013
OD’s descent from carefree traveler to patient relegated to perpetual captivity started in 1999. Before that, he lived an adventurous life, hopping eastbound Atlantic currents to feast in the Mediterranean, before cruising back to the Florida Keys for a hot date. He traveled, ate, mingled with ladies. But in 1999, his life changed. That, coincidentally, was also the year his current home, the Shark Reef Aquarium, opened its doors at Mandalay Bay.
Trial in fatal Strip shooting, crash delayed until September
Monday, Nov. 25, 2013
The trial of a man charged with murder in a shooting and deadly car crash on the Las Vegas Strip has been delayed until September, and his new attorneys said they may need even more time to prepare.
Community coalition identifies next target of concern: Helping the valley's seniors
Sunday, Nov. 24, 2013
The super-charged growth years of the early 2000s brought shinier, grander casinos, rapid housing expansion, new jobs and a lot of seniors to Nevada. As the number of retirees in Nevada continues to climb, one local organization has begun taking a hard look at issues the elderly face.
Metro seeking suspects accused of falsifying police reports to boost credit scores
Friday, Nov. 22, 2013
Metro Police are seeking several suspects in a racketeering scheme that involved boosting credit scores through falsified police reports.
Don’t expect the rain to stop anytime soon
Friday, Nov. 22, 2013
A slow and steady rain that contributed to power outages and more than 250 traffic accidents across the Las Vegas Valley is going to hover over the area through most of Saturday, according to the National Weather Service.
Groups urge investigation of Herbalife for promises made to Hispanic distributors
Thursday, Nov. 21, 2013
A trio of organizations serving the Hispanic community says nutritional supplement company Herbalife is misleading independent distributors, promising profits that are all but unattainable, and they have asked Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto to investigate the multinational company.
Groups protest plight of immigrant detainees, seek talks with Henderson officials
Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2013
Following the release of a UNLV Law Clinic report questioning the standards of care for immigrant detainees at the Henderson Detention Center, on Tuesday evening law professor Fatma Marouf asked the Henderson City Council to meet with herself and the other authors to address their concerns.
D.C. approves licenses for undocumented immigrants
Mexican Consulate to host meeting on Nevada driver's authorization cards
Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2013
The Mexican Consulate will host an informational meeting on Thursday on the new driver's authorization cards. Nevada is one of 11 states that allows residents to drive regardless of their immigration status. Washington, D.C., approved a similar measure this week.
Immigrant detention: Is Henderson’s financial boon part of a national boondoggle?
City has been paid millions annually to house immigrant detainees, but the center and reasons for detentions come under increasing fire
Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2013
With an average detainee population of more than 200 per day, the Henderson Detention Center has been the primary facility in Nevada for housing federally detained immigrants since early 2011.
Immigration in brief: House whip says no time to pass reform in 2013; advocates continue to press
Sixteen days remain in House 2013 session
Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2013
With 16 days left in the 2013 congressional session, some politicians are already writing immigration reform's obituary, at least for this year. Reform advocates, however, are still hoping something passes before the holiday recess.
Several injured, $100,000 damage reported in apartment fire
Friday, Nov. 8, 2013
Two people suffered minor injuries and one person was transported to the hospital with smoke inhalation after a pre-dawn fire today at an apartment complex.
Man hospitalized after fall from burning building
Friday, Nov. 8, 2013
A man who was hanging from a burning building and let go just before firefighters could get a ladder to him suffered minor burns and a possible fracture in the fall, Las Vegas Fire & Rescue officials said.
Texas-based family clothing store enters Las Vegas market
Thursday, Nov. 7, 2013
Melrose Family Fashions, which made its entry into the Southern Nevada market in late October, is not just sticking its toe in the water. The Texas-based clothing store is doing a cannonball into the Las Vegas Valley with more stores on the way. Geared toward the Hispanic market, Melrose opened its first store in the area Oct. 25 at 2335 E. Lake Mead Blvd. The North Las Vegas launch included a ribbon-cutting and a raffle for a shopping spree.
Immigration in brief: Obama meets with businesses; Border Patrol rejects changes
Immigration news from around the nation
Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2013
President Barack Obama met today with business leaders, including representatives from McDonald's, Lockheed Martin and Marriott, to discuss immigration reform.
Market's mass appeal offers answer to question, 'What else are you going to do in Las Vegas?'
Each weekend, thousands of shoppers, vendors descend on Broadacres Marketplace
Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2013
Before noon on Sunday, the busiest day at the Broadacres Marketplace & Event Center, the 22-acre parking lot was packed. Drivers wiggled their cars into any available space, whether marked for parking or not. Some people had already been at the market for hours and were filtering out as more shoppers – mostly families – steadily streamed into the complex at 2930 Las Vegas Blvd. On the other side of the fence were 22 acres of concrete lined with 1,150 vendor stalls, food stands and an events area visited by tens of thousands of people each Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Two pedestrians killed outside crosswalks this week identified
Friday, Nov. 1, 2013
The Clark County Coroner’s Office has identified two pedestrians who, in separate incidents, were fatally struck by cars while jaywalking this week.
Plenty of ways across Las Vegas Valley to celebrate Day of the Dead
Events for the holiday paying homage to the deceased keep growing
Friday, Nov. 1, 2013
There are two major Day of the Dead events in the valley, one at the Winchester Cultural Center and one at Springs Preserve, in addition to many smaller events and specials offered at bars, clubs and restaurants.
Immigration supporters target GOP House members seen as amenable to reform
Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2013
With the federal shutdown over, immigration-reform advocates are getting a message out to Congress, especially its Republican members: Now is the time to pass immigration legislation and prove Capitol Hill still can function. Armed with polls targeting specific congressional districts of GOP House members who are seen as flexible on the issue, a coalition of immigration-reform supporters is telling the lawmakers that leading the way on legislation will help, not harm, them politically.
Program helps disabled veteran attain goal of crime-fighting career
Sunday, Oct. 20, 2013
Kevin LeDuc returned from four deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan relatively unscathed, only to see his hopes of a career combating crime dashed by a car accident. On Friday, he graduated from a new federal program that trains wounded veterans in the investigation of crimes against children, and he is on his way back to Las Vegas to put his new skills to use.
Immigration-reform supporters urge Las Vegas' Catholic Church hierarchy: Speak up publicly, speak out publicly
Sunday, Oct. 20, 2013
After months of coordinated activities between immigration-reform activists and Catholic dioceses across the country, including a 150-mile march in Florida ending at a Catholic church, Las Vegas' Catholic reform advocates are asking why their own bishop is not marching beside them.
Coroner IDs toddler found floating in swimming pool
Friday, Oct. 18, 2013
A toddler who died Thursday after being found floating in a backyard swimming pool has been identified as 2-year-old Kloe Ann Vidal.
Inspiring Las Vegas senior honored as AARP Nevada's top volunteer
Friday, Oct. 18, 2013
Thursday morning at Springs Preserve, the state chapter of the AARP honored Shirley Waugh during its annual volunteer appreciation ceremony. Maria Dent, AARP Nevada community outreach director, said Waugh was so dedicated to her volunteer work, she showed up to an assignment after getting into a traffic accident.
Driver dies after truck catches on fire; eastbound 215 Beltway closed at Jones
Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2013
A portion of the 215 Beltway is closed this morning after a concrete mixing truck overturned, resulting in the death of the driver, according to the Nevada Highway Patrol.
Traffic being redirected to accommodate freeway construction projects
Friday, Oct. 11, 2013
Motorists should prepare for traffic migraines, both acute and long term, as the Nevada Department of Transportation and Clark County are set to alter traffic patterns for a couple of major construction projects.
Power restored, signals reset at St. Rose Parkway, Eastern Avenue
Friday, Oct. 11, 2013
Power has been restored and traffic signals reset at the intersection of St. Rose Parkway and Eastern Avenue, according to Henderson Police.
For NLV's first Hispanic councilman, the time is now
Thursday, Oct. 10, 2013
Councilman Isaac Barron stands at the large windows of his ninth-floor North Las Vegas City Hall office, or “roost” as he calls it, and points out all the markers of his upbringing. He looks to the north and points out his old neighborhood, where, as a teenager, he fought and lost a battle against an apartment development that he thought would exacerbate problems in a high-crime area. In June, he was sworn in as the first Hispanic to ever serve on the North Las Vegas City Council.
TB deaths of Las Vegas mother, baby traced to dairy product
Health district trying to contact those who might have been infected at Summerlin Hospital
Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2013
The Southern Nevada Health District believes it has identified the initial cause of a tuberculosis outbreak that killed a Las Vegas woman in July and led to the infection of at least 26 other people.
Lost in translation: Immigration advocates raise issues with regulations for driver's authorization cards
Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2013
The establishment of a Nevada driver’s authorization card, mainly for use by immigrants in the country illegally, is wrapped up in debate over who will translate required documents and concerns the Department of Motor Vehicles will unwittingly create a fertile field for fraud.
Phoenix Zoo gives animals from embattled Las Vegas business a new home
Several entities have taken in animals, but more still need to be relocated
Friday, Oct. 4, 2013
The Phoenix Zoo announced Friday that it has taken in some animals from the embattled Southern Nevada Zoological Botanical Park, but there are still animals that need homes, according to a local animal rights advocate.
Burglary call triggers pursuit using dogs, helicopter
Friday, Oct. 4, 2013
Metro Police have caught up to four burglary suspects on the western fringe of the valley, ending an afternoon pursuit aided by a police helicopter and search dogs.
Standoff ends without violence after three hours
Friday, Oct. 4, 2013
A standoff Thursday between a man accused of domestic abuse and the Metro Police SWAT team ended peacefully after three hours when the man finally exited his home without incident, according to Metro Police.
Man killed in motorcycle crash identified as 50-year-old Henderson resident
Friday, Oct. 4, 2013
The Clark County Coroner has released the identity of a man who died when his motorcycle collided with a car Thursday morning.
Cigarettes blamed for fire at Las Vegas mobile home
Friday, Oct. 4, 2013
A can of smoldering cigarettes started a fire late Thursday that damaged a home in the Meadows Mobile Home Park, Las Vegas Fire & Rescue spokesman Tim Szymanski said.
Immigration-reform supporters push forward, even as budget battle pushes issue to back burner
Friday, Oct. 4, 2013
A few months ago immigration was atop most federal lawmakers’ agenda, but a budget standoff and looming debt-ceiling showdown have stolen the spotlight for lawmakers and the public.
With river trip behind them, students head to D.C. to seek action on water issues
Monday, Sept. 30, 2013
A trip down the Colorado River last month offered 18 students a chance to learn firsthand about water conservation issues. This week, the students are taking their knowledge to Washington, D.C., to urge lawmakers to take action to preserve water resources.
Would you pass the U.S. citizenship test?
Take a sample quiz to test your civics knowledge
Thursday, Sept. 26, 2013
According to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, 92 percent of naturalization candidates pass the English and civics tests. Applicants get two chances at both tests. If they fail twice, they have to reapply for naturalization and pay the $680 fee again. Think you would pass the civics test?
Career change provides icing on the cake for Las Vegas business owner
Thursday, Sept. 26, 2013
Nilda Arias always has had an eye for detail and a love of the miniature. She initially chose a career that ignored those talents, but in the end – with a little help from her mom – the right profession found her.
With business booming, NLV-based counterterrorism expert getting last laugh
Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2013
Doron Benbenisty does not sport the long brown locks, headband or penchant for going shirtless that the fictional John Rambo did, but Benbenisty is confident, solidly built and a student of crisis situations. His Crisis Response International center operates out of a nondescript warehouse in North Las Vegas, where a small office with pictures of men hogtied and in choke holds opens out into a big space lined with shooting targets and a storage area stocked with rubber knives, duct tape, pellet guns, dummies and other training paraphernalia.
Federal inspectors at Las Vegas zoo after complaint
Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2013
Inspectors from the U.S. Department of Agriculture visited the Southern Nevada Zoological Botanical Park today in response to a complaint from a member of the public, agency officials confirmed.
Man who aspired to be police officer dies in motorcycle crash
Friday, Sept. 20, 2013
A motorcyclist who had aspirations of joining the police force died in a traffic accident late Thursday night, according to Metro Police.
Kitchen fire displaces family of six
Friday, Sept. 20, 2013
A family of six was displaced from their home early this morning after a grease fire started in the kitchen, according to Las Vegas Fire and Rescue.

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