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On the morning of Nov. 21, 1980, the sound of sirens stirred Rafael Patino from bed. "Usually when you hear sirens, they come and then they go," he said. "But these were coming and staying." When he looked out the window of his 16th-floor room, he realized that the Las Vegas MGM Grand Hotel was on fire. "I woke up my wife and we got dressed to leave," said Patino, an Irvine sales executive. "But when we walked out of the room, we couldn't see anything. The hall was pitch black with smoke.
October 6, 2009 | From A Times Staff Writer
MGM Mirage will slash prices of its high-end CityCenter condos by 30%, the company said Monday, a move intended to mollify buyers who were unsure they could close on units purchased during the Las Vegas real estate boom. The price cuts underscore the reversal of fortunes on the Las Vegas Strip. Just a few years ago, condominiums were being touted as the next stage in its seemingly unstoppable growth. Although the reductions mark a significant reversal by the gaming giant, which took deposits on about half of its 2,400 residential units, it was unclear whether the cuts were deep enough to satisfy some buyers.
June 9, 2006 | Michael J. Goodman and William C. Rempel, Times Staff Writers
Without help from a friend, James Mahan might never have become a Las Vegas state judge. Certainly he wouldn't have gotten one of the top judicial jobs in town: a lifetime appointment to the federal bench. Then again, without Mahan, his friend George Swarts would never have gotten to run an Internet porn business, a hotel-casino hair salon or a Southern California software company. Indeed, the careers of Judge James C. Mahan, 62, and his friend George C.
December 14, 2008 | Jay Jones
On New Year's Eve, the Las Vegas Strip will once again be transformed into a giant block party. About 300,000 people are expected. Revelers, however, will need to be strategically positioned to see the aerial display. Instead of being shot from the rooftops of various resorts the fireworks will be launched from atop parking garages. "These fireworks are going to be 300 feet closer to people on the Strip," says Pat Christenson, president of Las Vegas Events.
October 25, 1998 | Susan Spano, TIMES TRAVEL WRITER
I had a vision when I flew here last week for the opening of the Bellagio hotel, built center stage on the Strip behind an ersatz Italian village on a 10-acre replica of Lake Como. It was windy and cool, but breathtakingly clear, the wide desert valley where the city has mushroomed curving gently toward the dry mountains that surround it.
The new Palms resort boldly hypes itself as Las Vegas' sex- iest adult playground--a way-cool, celebrity-studded, off-Strip boutique hotel and gambling joint. It's a big boast in a town that calls itself Sin City. My wife and I decided to find out for ourselves, making the 4-month-old Palms our anchor for a weekend of classy food, high-class art and classic rock 'n' roll.
February 4, 2001 | BARRY ZWICK, TIMES STAFF WRITER; Barry Zwick is a Times assistant news editor
All of us big-time gamblers are superstitious. And we knew it was a bad omen when our blackjack instructor called in sick. Well, OK, my wife, Bobbie, and I were not quite big-time gamblers when we hit the casinos last month. We didn't even know how to play the games. We had tried one table game in our lives. It was roulette, during a brief Vegas visit last March, and we had won $175 on a $5 bet. Bitten by the gambling bug, we wanted to do it right. What better way than to attend classes?
September 6, 2006 | Corie Brown, Times Staff Writer
SOMMELIER Darren Lutz could have moved anywhere in the world for his next job after Bastide temporarily closed its doors in January, but he headed for Las Vegas. Opportunities for sommeliers are everywhere in this neon-lighted, restaurant-rich corner of the Nevada desert. But there's a catch, Lutz discovered, as have dozens of sommeliers before him. Vegas is a tough place to make a name for yourself. Sure, sommeliers make double the money they can elsewhere, but they may never be heard of again.
September 14, 2007 | H.G. Reza, Times Staff Writer
A California National Guardsman from Stanton has sued the Las Vegas Metropolitan police, alleging that injuries inflicted by two police officers have prevented him from deploying to Iraq for a second tour. Sgt. Mark England, a medic, said he suffered three fractured ribs and was hit by a Taser stun gun three times by the officers during an altercation at McCarran International Airport on March 10.
September 16, 2005 | From Associated Press
A woman accused in a multimillion-dollar armored car heist on the Las Vegas Strip surrendered to federal authorities Thursday, saying she was tired of more than a decade on the run and wanted her son to have a normal life. "I truly feel this is the right thing to do," Heather Catherine Tallchief, 33, said before turning herself in at the federal courthouse in downtown Las Vegas.
November 23, 2008 | Richard Abowitz, Abowitz is a freelance writer.
At a recent party to launch the book "Norm Clarke's Vegas Confidential: Sinsational Celebrity Tales," the Palms' Playboy Club was packed with many of the Vegas personages who populate Clarke's daily newspaper column in the Las Vegas Review-Journal: casino owner George Maloof, Strip headliner Rita Rudner, celebrity chef Kerry Simon and fellow Vegas chronicler Robin Leach. "His column doesn't just trade in stupid gossip," said Leach, himself a groundbreaker in the field of celebrity coverage.
October 21, 2008 | Nicholas Riccardi, Riccardi is a Times staff writer.
Matthew Nichols was shocked to discover the apartment across from his had a methamphetamine lab. The revelation led him and his wife to flee their neighborhood east of downtown seven years ago and buy a house where they could raise their three children safely. Last week, drugs again intruded into Nichols' life, this time on a quiet suburban street hard up against the mountains that separate the city's sprawl from Lake Mead.
October 20, 2008 | Nicholas Riccardi, Times Staff Writer
Six-year-old Cole Puffinburger was the subject of a desperate four-day search after police said he was kidnapped at gunpoint by Mexican drug dealers. But it was a bus driver who ultimately found him, healthy, unharmed and walking on an empty sidewalk here, authorities said Sunday. The driver spotted Cole walking near the Strip about 10:30 p.m. Saturday and pulled over to offer the boy a ride. When he realized who he was, the driver called police.
August 3, 2008 | Jen Leo
Vegas wants you back -- again. A "flyback" from MGM makes it easy enough to hop on the big bird and get away from L.A. for adult Disneyland. Deal: Stay two nights at the MGM Grand and get a voucher for $300 (maximum) airfare credit for a return trip. The offer also includes $25 credit toward food or entertainment (restrictions apply), 15% off spa services and select retail outlets, and two free poolside cocktails.
July 23, 2008 | Eric Sondheimer and Lance Pugmire, Times Staff Writers
LAS VEGAS -- Sitting in a chair under the basket of the Rancho High auxiliary gym was UCLA Coach Ben Howland. Four chairs away was Arizona State Coach Herb Sendek. Ten chairs down was USC assistant Bob Cantu. Their focus was Tyler Honeycutt, a 6-foot-8 senior forward from Sylmar High, as he played in the Adidas Super 64 tournament here Tuesday. Four months ago, when a high school season in which he averaged 16 points and 10 rebounds ended, Honeycutt had zero scholarship offers.
July 23, 2008 | Lance Pugmire, Times Staff Writer
LAS VEGAS -- The NCAA is working here, seven members of its staff having been assigned to cover as much ground as possible this week among the approximately 900 teams competing in four prestigious basketball tournaments. No, they're not pulling suspected cheaters off the court and into a room for polygraph tests. "It isn't about what happens in this gym that concerns us," associate director of enforcement Richard A. Johanningmeier said. Said Sandra C.
February 25, 2007 | Marc Cooper, Special to The Times
JUST inside the Flamingo casino a few steps off the Strip, a trio of pink-felted $5 blackjack tables attracts a raucous crowd of enthusiastic players. Booze flows freely, and the piped-in music rocks. As the dealers snap and slap cards out of the plastic table shoes, the players' chip stacks accordion up -- and mostly down. Losing in Vegas is often considered par for the course, but it's happening at the blackjack tables at an accelerating rate. And it's easy enough to see why.
Each year, millions of vacationers stream into Nevada's resorts to see fabulous floor shows, play golf and frolic in cerulean swimming pools. Oh, yes. They gamble, too. Most arrive by car or, particularly in the case of Las Vegas, by plane. But a small number--about a tenth of Las Vegas's 18.1 million visitors and a fifth of Laughlin's nearly 3 million visitors--arrived by buses in 1989, the most recent year for which statistics are available.
April 10, 2008 | From the Associated Press
Toni Braxton's Las Vegas shows have been canceled this week while the singer recuperates after being hospitalized with chest pain, a hotel official says. "We expect she'll return to the stage next Tuesday," Flamingo hotel-casino and Harrah's Entertainment Inc. spokeswoman Deanna Pettit said Wednesday. Pettit said the 40-year-old Grammy winner was recovering at home after her release Tuesday afternoon after precautionary tests at a Las Vegas-area hospital. The cause of Braxton's chest pain has not been made public.
March 3, 2008 | Ashley Powers, Times Staff Writer
As mysteries go, this one offers an intriguing trail of clues: A man who suddenly falls ill. A deadly toxin. Guns. An "anarchist-type textbook." Beyond the items found in Roger Von Bergendorff's motel room here, authorities have revealed little about how the 57-year-old ended up unconscious and in critical condition, possibly from exposure to the poisonous substance ricin. Von Bergendorff -- a graphic designer who was struggling financially -- was hospitalized on Feb.
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