Saturday, October 31, 2009

Royal Vandalism

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Sun (Front page) Joke!

High-tech photography may be answer to vandalism on trail

Las Vegas Sun — 117 days ago

The Clark County Commission will look at a high-tech way to combat graffiti Tuesday, illuminating a connection between vandalism, parks and wasted dollars.

Are knuckleheads spray-painting our parks?

In a sense. Ne'er do wells are vandalizing, dumping trash and attacking people on the Flamingo Arroyo trail, according to a Clark County staff report.

The urban trail, when it's complete, will stretch 8 miles from the Clark County Wetlands Park to Maryland Parkway, near UNLV. The county received $14.4 million in Southern Nevada Public Lands Management Act funding to build the trail. The money comes from federal land sale proceeds and is typically used to build parks and trails. (The Clark County Shooting Park, a portion of which is expected to open this fall, was built with about $64 million of the land-sale money.)

The county now hopes to get a chunk of the federal money to use in a different way.

What way is that?

To purchase high-tech security cameras to catch the people who are vandalizing, assaulting people and dumping garbage on the trail.

At Tuesday's meeting, the commission will consider requesting an additional $141,000 in SNPLMA funding for that purpose. If approved, the money will pay for 23 cameras, 43 mounting brackets, eight dummy cameras and their installation.

Word is the cameras are on par with the robot sentries in Robocop, including the ability to call out warnings and such.

They are high-tech, but they aren't equipped with any kind of weaponry, like in the movie. According to the county, the cameras are solar-powered and sense motion within 100 feet. When they detect movement, the cameras take high-resolution digital photos. They are equipped with a flash for nighttime work and can identify license plate numbers up to 250 feet away in total darkness, the county report states.

And they can talk.

They can what?

The cameras have a voice message option that can broadcast a verbal warning to the trespasser, the county report says.

Have they been tested?

The county borrowed two such cameras from Las Vegas and mounted them in areas riddled almost nightly with graffiti for three weeks. One area was graffiti-free for more than a week and was only tagged a few times in the remaining two weeks. The second area was vandalized but only in areas beyond the visual reach of the camera.

So what do these vandals have to do with parks — other than defacing them, that is?

If they didn't carry out the vandalism that created the need for the cameras, the $141,000 would be available for park building.

Wednesday was the 100th birthday of Clark County. To commemorate the milestone, the county last week unveiled a touring history exhibit in the rotunda of the Clark County Government Center.

For a governmental body, 100 years isn't much. But you wouldn't believe how much you don't know about the county's history.

Try these questions, courtesy of county museum Director Mark Hall-Patton, who just published a book on the history of Clark County street names, Asphalt Memories.

Where is the oldest operating post office in the county?


True or false: Clark County wasn't recognized in the Nevada Constitution until 1980?

True. Voters had to approve the constitutional change to include Clark County; it was not a unanimous vote.

In what year did the first car make an overland trip to Clark County?

In 1916, from Los Angeles. Before that, Hall-Patton said, cars were shipped in by train.

How is Oquendo Road related to a bar?

It's named after a Rudy L. Oquendo, who tended bar at the Thunderbird Bar in the 1940s and 50s.

What odd tale is connected to downtown's Colanthe Avenue?

Colanthe was the real name of Florence Murphy, who helped found the North Las Vegas Air Terminal and was the first female vice president of Bonanza Airlines. She agreed to have a street named after her only if Colanthe was used and only if Larry G. McNeil, Bonanza Airlines' president, agreed to allow his middle name, Gilmary, be used to name another street — Gilmary Avenue.

Joe Schoenmann can be reached at 455-6175 or at

Copyright 2009 Las Vegas Sun

Monday, October 26, 2009