The Pets Issue | Vegas Seven | July 20-26, 2017

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July 20–26, 2017

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The Pets Issue

Meet the animals that make our hearts melt: A mini horse, rescue kittens, pups and many more





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JULY 24

July 20–26, 2017

Meet the animals that make our hearts melt: A mini horse, rescue kittens, pups and many more

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Creatures we love to love, from therapy animals to a primadonna pig.

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

JULY 20ñ26, 2017 TO DO

13 24/7

What to do around the clock. BY JASON R. LATHAM

14 The Deal

Free roll at M Resort. BY ANTHONY CURTIS

Always a bridesmaid, never a bride, Quico was overlooked in the last two editions of the Pets Issue. This year, he graduates from sidelines to the spotlight as our striking cover model.

34 Walk All Over Me

The enduring fascination with casino carpet. BY DAVID G. SCHWARTZ

Get Up, Stand Up

Local siblings go to Washington, D.C. to advocate for juvenile diabetes research. BY RYAN VELLINGA

FEATURE

16 The Secret Life of a Las Vegas Pig Elle Tea scurries her way through the city. BY JESSI C. ACUÑA

SPACES & PLACES

37 Coming Home

The new Shannon West Homeless Youth Center. BY CHARLOTTE WALL

18 People and Their Pets Dogs and horses and tortoises, oh my!

BY JESSI C. ACUÑA, ANDY GORMAN, JESSIE O’BRIEN

22 Saving Grace

Pets for Vets brings companionship to those who have served. BY MICHAEL LYLE

23 Up Close and Personal Friends of the Wild offers an interactive animal experience in DTLV. BY ANGELA BOSCO

CONVERSATIONS

41 Southern Touch

Park on Fremont’s new chef serves up sweet and savory flavors Downtown. BY DIANA EDELMAN

42 Ask a Native

Look! Up in the sky! BY JAMES P. REZA

OUR SITES TO SEE

44 Lucky No. 7

Our favorite pet services. BY WENDOH STAFF

VegasSeven.com On the CeeLo We catch up with singer and wearer of weird costumes CeeLo Green before his string of shows at Caesars Palace at vegasseven.com/ceelo.

TASTE

SEVEN NIGHTS

25 ¡Viva La Chica!

What To Do After Dark

Explore Lorena Garcia’s Latin restaurant in The Venetian.

Concerts, nightclubs, food and experiences.

BY MARISA FINETTI

BY JASON R. LATHAM

DTLV.com

Khalid vs. Khaled

A Perfect Fit Downtown becomes the stage for A Public Fit Theatre Company.

28 Blind Taste

Dining in the Dark is a different way to experience food.

One’s a singer, the other’s a beloved social-media celebrity.

BY DIANA EDELMAN

BY ZONEIL MAHARAJ

30 Move Over, Purina

There’s a new chow in town. BY DIANA EDELMAN

[Play Here]

A trendy NYC and LA bar sets up shop on the Strip. BY JESSI C. ACUÑA

SOCIAL INFLUENCE

33 Foster the Love

A local cat mom’s Instagram adds to the conversation about kitten rescue.

[Behind the Bar]

Robert Irvine’s Public House offers an eclectic beverage program. BY BOB BARNES PLUS: Pool

parties.

RunRebs.com Brandon McCoy’s Top 5 Plays for Team USA We break down the future UNLV hoopster’s best plays from the FIBA U19 World Cup.

SpyOnVegas.com

The Hookup Find upcoming events, see highlights from the hottest parties, meet the DJs and more.

BY AMBER SAMPSON

July 20 ñ26, 2017 vegasseven.com

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BAR HALL OF FAME 2017 INDUCTEES THE COMPETITION WAS FIERCE. This year’s contest to be inducted

SATURDAY, JULY 29

into the Vegas Seven Bar Hall of Fame saw 30 bars receiving thousands of votes, with many changes in front-runners and even a come-from-behind surprise or two. Winning the North category is Fremont Street’s Griffin, proving that firepits and jukeboxes have universal appeal; the German-American Social Club earned second-place honors. On the East side, the very Vegas Italian-American Club took first prize—somewhere Sinatra is smiling—and Boulder City’s The Dillinger took the No. 2 slot. The West went to locals’ fave Jackson’s, with Nora’s and Big Dog’s Draft House tied for second. For the South, the swank, sparkling Chandelier at The Cosmopolitan was the winner, with Cleopatra’s Barge at Caesars Palace a classic second. And, as the editors’ choice selection, Downtown’s beloved O.G. dive bar, the Huntridge Tavern more than earned its spot. For full descriptions and the complete Hall of Fame roster, visit ve-

FRIDAY, AUGUST 18

gasseven.com/barhalloffame. —Lissa Townsend Rodgers

Ryan T. Doherty | Justin Weniger President Michael Skenandore Chief Financial Officer Sim Salzman Vice President, Marketing and Events Keith White Creative Director Sherwin Yumul Technical Director Herbert Akinyele Controller Jane Weigel

Letters and Story Ideas Comments@VegasSeven.com Advertising Sales@VegasSeven.com Distribution Distribution@VegasSeven.com

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VEGAS SEVEN 701 Bridger Ave., Las Vegas, NV 89101 702-798-7000 Vegas Seven is distributed each Thursday throughout Southern Nevada. © 2017 Vegas Seven, LLC. Reproduction in whole or in part without the permission of Vegas Seven, LLC is prohibited.


Publisher

Michael Skenandore Editorial EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

Melinda Sheckells MANAGING EDITOR, DINING EDITOR

Genevie Durano SENIOR EDITOR, LIFESTYLE

Jessi C. Acuña ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT EDITOR

Mark Adams EDITOR AT LARGE

Lissa Townsend Rodgers EDITORIAL ASSISTANT

Shannon Miller EDITORIAL INTERNS

Michaela Chesin, Katie Michaels, Ryan Vellinga, Charlotte Wall Senior Contributing Editor Xania V. Woodman (Beverage) Contributing Editors Michael Green (Politics), David G. Schwartz (Gaming/Hospitality) Art CREATIVE DIRECTOR

Benjamin Ward SENIOR DESIGNER

Cierra Pedro STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

Krystal Ramirez Online DIRECTOR OF DIGITAL CONTENT

Zoneil Maharaj WEB EDITORS

Jessie O’Brien, Amber Sampson CONTRIBUTING WRITER, RUNREBS.COM

Tyler Bischoff Production/Distribution DIRECTOR OF PRODUCTION/DISTRIBUTION

Marc Barrington ADVERTISING MANAGER

Jimmy Bearse Sales BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR

Christy Corda DIRECTOR OF DIGITAL SALES

Nicole Niazmand ACCOUNT MANAGERS

Brittany Quintana, Mimi Tran ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE

Robyn Weiss DIRECTOR OF SALES, BILLBOARD DIVISION

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TO DO

What to do around the clock in Las Vegas By Jason R. Latham

PHOTO BY MONA SHIELD PAYNE

Yoga on the Lawn at Downtown Summerlin

THURSDAY 20

FRIDAY 21

Live music, gift shop deals and food and drink specials are on the menu at Third Thursdays at the Springs Preserve. Start the evening with happy hour at Divine Café, and hang around for late-night fun at the Origen Museum. 5 p.m., 333 S. Valley View Blvd., springspreserve.org

It’s not just another day at the library when you’re trapped and forced to think your way out! Lockdown Escape Room is taking over the Windmill Library, where you’ll need to solve all the clues before time runs out. Get in on the escape room trend at this free, all-ages event. 10 a.m.–6 p.m., 7060 W. Windmill Ln., lvccld.org

Hopefully it won’t be too hot to enjoy Yoga on the Lawn at Downtown Summerlin. This evening’s free vinyasa class is with instructor Jennifer Knox. 7–8 p.m., downtownsummerlin.com

Finally, all those hours spent reading will pay off at the BOOKKO Literary Throwdown at The Writer’s Block in Downtown’s Fremont East neighborhood. Go head-to-head with people who think they’re so much smarter than you—and then crush them! Winners walk away with a gift card and something to brag about at parties. 7–8:30 p.m., 1020 Fremont St., thewritersblock.org

And The Bunkhouse Saloon hosts a female-focused musical showcase featuring Amy Guess, Zealyn and Bad Girls Smoking Lounge. The event, presented by Raw Femme, includes live artists and clothing vendors in the watering hole’s backyard. 8 p.m., $10–$12, 124 S. 11th St., bunkhousedowntown.com It’s Dive In Movie night at the M Resort’s pool and the hotel is screening a double feature: Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl and Jaws. If you’ve never seen Jaws on a big screen, what better way than to see it on the water, too? Bonus: It’s free. 7 p.m., themresort.com

The Positively Arts Foundation, a nonprofit that creates opportunities for students to take part in the arts, is putting on a concert at MonteLago Village in Lake Las Vegas. See some up-and-coming stars perform onstage. 7 p.m., 30 Strada Di Villaggio, lakelasvegas.com Sam’s Town Live is hosting the amateur Real MMA competition. Find a spot close to the action so you can hear the bones crunch when someone gets their

face smashed in. 7 p.m., $35, inside Sam’s Town Hotel and Gambling Hall, samstownlv.com Earth, Wind & Fire tribute band Serpentine Fire is playing the Cabaret Jazz room at The Smith Center. It’ll be a “Boogie Wonderland.” 8 p.m., $22–$35, thesmithcenter.com Comedian Daniel Tosh is in town for the first of two shows (the second is Saturday) at The Mirage. 10 p.m., $60, themirage.com And we’ll always have a special place in our hearts for Mama from Mama’s Family. Tonight comedienne Vicki Lawrence is bringing the character back for her “two-woman” show, Vicki Lawrence and Mama, at The Orleans Hotel & Casino. 8 p.m., $25, orleanscasino.com SATURDAY 22

The Mob Museum hosts a conversation with author Bernie Sindler about Lansky, Siegel and Other Notorious Wiseguys of the 20th Century. If you’re a fan of old Vegas and mob stories, you’ll want to hear what Sindler has to say. 1 p.m., ticket prices vary, 300 Stewart Ave., themobmuseum.org

July 20 ñ26, 2017 vegasseven.com

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TO DO

24/7

THE DEAL BY ANTHONY CURTIS

It’s Crafter’s Night at the Shady Grove Lounge inside the Silverton Hotel and Casino. Let your creative side cut loose as you discover all the things you can do with paper flowers. Also, the first drink is included with the ticket, so what’s to lose? 6:30 p.m., $25, silvertoncasino.com

CALLING ALL GAMBLERS— there’s another rebate deal in town. As I’ve discussed in this space before, one of the absolute best gambling deals you can come across is a rebate on losses. In essence, it’s a chance to play for an extended amount of time with almost no risk. These deals come and go at casinos around town, and the rebate is usually capped at $100. The latest, $500 on Us at M Resort, has a $500 rebate maximum. As is typical, you have to be a new sign up to the Marquee Rewards players club to participate, and both out-ofstate and local players are eligible. The redemption rules make it difficult for visitors, but this is an easy-to-play promo for locals. Here’s how it works: Go to the M and sign up for the club. Once enrolled, find your favorite slot or video poker machine and play away (with card inserted). If you get lucky and win, the money is yours to keep. If you lose, the M will give you back the loss in freeplay. You don’t get the reimbursement all at once: They’re distributed in two “bounce-back” offers sent via email “within 14 business days from the first visit.” That wrinkle will exclude a lot of visitors from playing, but it’s not a problem if you live here. The power of this promotion is in the free roll for a chance at a big hit. How big is up to you. If you get ahead by $100 and it feels good, cash out. But I’d look to walk with at least $500 or lose it all. When you get the rebates, you’ll have to play them through once. So, yes, you could lose a little. Overall, though, figure to come out way ahead on this arrangement. This is a heck of a play in terms of profit potential, but it’s also fantastic from an entertainment standpoint. Most casual gamblers aren’t able to play at levels where they might lose $500 in a session, so this is something of a hall pass for bigger play. If you normally play quarters, go ahead and fire at 50 cents or $1. Remember, this isn’t a play $500, get $500 deal. You have to lose $500 to get the entire rebate, so you’re gonna get some play. And if fortune is smiling and you hit some smaller jackpots or a big one, then that’s the best scenario of all. For table-game players, there’s a separate deal. Give your new card to a floorman and play for one hour at any limit and you’ll get a $25 meal comp. This is nowhere near as strong as the machine option, but it’s not bad (and you can probably do both). These types of offers usually last for a couple of months, but be warned that all of the promo material makes specific reference to playing in July, so get in on this one fast. 7

Looking for more stuff to do in Las Vegas? Check out vegasseven.com/calendar

Anthony Curtis is the publisher of the Las Vegas Advisor and lasvegasadvisor.com.

Steve Martin (right) and Martin Short perform An Evening You Will Forget for the Rest of Your Life at The Colosseum Sunday night.

If you’re going to the Palace Station Grand Ballroom for an evening of salsa dancing, please take someone who really wants to learn but is too afraid to ask. You’ll be doing that person a huge favor. 9 p.m., $10, stationcasinosevents.com Downtown Grand’s Freedom Beat hosts Strung Out Sessions, featuring a six-piece band that will take you on a musical journey through four decades of hits. Hopefully the free show includes a cover of Robbie Dupree’s “Steal Away.” Fingers crossed. 9 p.m., downtowngrand.com And how can you pass up the chance to see some of the biggest hitmakers of the ’80s at the Retro Futura concert at the Downtown Las Vegas Events Center? Howard Jones, the English Beat, Men Without Hats, Modern English, Paul Young and Katrina (from Katrina and the Waves) are on the bill! 8 p.m., $14–$33, 200 S. Third St., dlvec.com SUNDAY 23

Reserve a seat at Sam’s Town Live for the WWE Battleground Viewing Party. The card includes John Cena vs. Rusev in a flag match, and Jinder Mahal vs. Randy Orton for the WWE Championship. 3:30 p.m., $5, inside Sam’s Town Hotel and Gambling Hall, samstownlv.com For those looking to break into Nevada’s budding cannabis industry, Budtender Fight Club is hosting a Cannabis Education course taught by instructors already entrenched in the business. 1–5 p.m., $20, 2550 S. Rainbow Blvd., Suite 11, budtenderfightclub.com Comedy legends Steve Martin and Martin Short are at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace to perform An Evening You Will Forget for the Rest of Your Life, featuring standup, film clips, music and conversation. Don’t let the title fool you, this is something you’ll remember. 7:30 p.m., $50–$175, caesarspalace.com

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July 20 ñ26, 2017 vegasseven.com

MONDAY 24

You can find yoga classes for adults just about anywhere in Las Vegas, but what if you’re a parent trying to expose your toddler to the benefits of yoga? Luckily, Summerlin Library has a free Yoga for Kids class on today’s schedule, aimed at children ages 2–3. Register ahead of time and bring a mat! 10:15–11 a.m., 1771 Inner Circle Dr., lvccld.org Heads up: The Cosmopolitan is screening the greatest baseball movie of all time (that’s right, I said it), Bull Durham, at its Boulevard Pool. 7:30 p.m., $5, cosmopolitanlasvegas.com TUESDAY 25

Enjoy summer and seafood on the shore of Lake Jacqueline at the new Oyster Fest Tuesdays party at the Americana Las Vegas restaurant in Desert Shores. The menu includes 75-cent unlimited oysters, and $1 from every Yacht Club Vodka purchase benefits the Silver Hearts Foundation. Open 4-10 p.m., 2620 Regatta Dr., Suite 118, americanalasvegas.com Celebrate our community’s flourishing theater scene at the fourth annual Las Vegas Valley Theatre Awards at The Space. Like a true awards show, it will feature a number of performances in addition to the thank-you speeches. 6:30–10 p.m., $10, 3460 Cavaretta Ct., thespacelv.com WEDNESDAY 26

PHOTO BY K ATE MCKINNEY/SMG LINCOLN

Free Roll at M Resort


SWEET CORN PANCAKES Sweet corn pancakes, fresh berries, whipped coconut cream and agave syrup

CHICALASVEGAS.COM | @CHICALASVEGAS


The Secret Life of a

L AS V E G AS PI G AS TOLD TO JESSI C. ACUÑA

PHOTOGRAPHY ANTHONY MAIR

ST Y LING SANDY MILLE R

B E H I N D -T H E - S C E N E S V I D E O B Y A M B E R S A M P S O N AT V E G A S S E V E N . C O M / P I G S D AY O U T

ELLE TEA PIGGIE SCURRIES HER WAY THROUGH THE CITY, FROM A DAY AT THE POOL TO A MEET AND GREET AT A SHOW ON THE STRIP

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July 20 –26, 2017 vegasseven.com


“Live your truth. That’s what my dad, former Nevada Secretary of State Ross Miller, tells me. I am originally from New York, but since I was 10 weeks old, Las Vegas is where I call home. Still not even a year old, I’ve already starred in two videos, including a publicity stunt with MMA fighter Robert Burneika, which has over a million views on YouTube. You could say my acting career is burgeoning. Despite my aspirations to make it in Hollywood, I live a low-key life—albeit glamorous. Here’s a peek at my unexposed Vegas world. And don’t forget to follow me on Instagram, @elleteapiggie.”

“During the pig days of summer, find me in a cabana—I don’t sweat, people!—at my favorite spot, Wet pool deck at W Las Vegas. During the week, I’m at auditions all day long so when the weekend arrives, it’s time to play. And this babe is pool-season ready year-round, with the mermaid tankini game strong.” wlasvegas.com O P P O S I T E PA G E :

“If living to shop makes me a princess, then so be it. Fashion is an expression of who you are, so whether you want to rock grandma’s handmade outfits or your birthday suit, as you can see me doing here inside Neiman Marcus—go for it. Miss Piggy has nothing on this jelly.” In Fashion Show, neimanmarcus.com L E F T:

“Growing up in Las Vegas has its perks: endless dining options, 24/7 access and shows galore. On July 14, I attended Hard Rock Live’s grand opening of Men of the Strip starring Jeff Timmons of boy band 98 Degrees. If there’s anything this city has taught me, it’s the art of illusion. Sure, I might be eating out of the palms of their hands but, in reality, it’s quite the opposite. As the kids say, tag your sponsor.” Tickets start at $59, limited engagement runs July 21, 27–28, menofthestrip.com R I G H T:

July 20 –26, 2017 vegasseven.com


I don’t ride for a living, but r i d i n g i s m y p a s s i o n . I work to

Big

and

Small

be able to ride. Horses have been a part of my life since I was 5 years old, so I spend as much time as possible on horseback. I ride Contact five days a week, we jump two to three days a week and we compete every eight weeks. It wa s a m em or able m eeti ng .

When we imported Contact from Holland in February, he had to stay at my friend’s barn in Los Angeles for about a month before we could move him to Las Vegas. When I went out to groom him, I felt this surreal emotional connection right away, one I hadn’t felt since I was a teenager. I wasn’t able to try him out during that time because of all the mud puddles from the rainstorms, but when Contact finally came to Vegas, he recognized me. He took a deep breath, and I could just tell that he knew he was home. A bond with a horse is different from one with a dog.

LAURA FERNANDEZ LEARNS LIFE LESSONS FROM HER PETS

BY ANDY GOR MAN

P e t s : Contact, Belgian Warmblood horse; Rebel, mini horse; and Zoey, Chihuahua P e t s ’ F a v o r i t e P a s t i m e s : Contact: Snuggling, getting massaged, eating snacks, stealing straw hats. Rebel: Chasing Zoey, getting his hair braided, nuzzling up with every horse in the barn. Zoey: Attending horse shows, obsessing over children, crying when she sees a baby. A g e s : Contact: 11; Rebel: 4; Zoey: 1 O w n e r : Laura Fernandez, vertical lead for travel/tourism division at Pandora Media

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July 20 –26, 2017 vegasseven.com

While it could take years to build a relationship with a horse, dogs are quick to love—especially my Chihuahua, Zoey. She could go home with anyone and make a family. Zoey is obsessed with children and horses. She’s been known to jump into baby cradles to smother their inhabitants with kisses, and at the barn she tries to run with every horse, even though she only weighs 4 pounds.

A couple of members of our barn—Blue Ribbon Hunters and Jumpers—decided to rescue a m i n i h o r s e . We found Rebel

(named after UNLV) at a rescue in San Diego. He’s a firecracker. Over the past couple of months, he has really adjusted to being at the barn, and is probably the happiest mini horse I’ve ever met.

C a r i n g f o r h o r s e s h a s ta u g h t m e a l o t . By facing the normal

challenges that come with owning a large animal, I’ve learned many lessons, but the greatest lesson has been how to be in the now. Life is very distracting, but when you’re riding a horse there’s no room to lose focus. If you’re not in the present moment, you or your horse could be injured. Riding pushes away all the garbage in your head. It’s very meditative.


P H O T O G R A P H Y K R Y S TA L R A M I R E Z


BY JESSI C. ACUÑA

MEET THE SENATOR’S TORTOISES— JUST DON’T CALL THEM TURTLES!

Slow and Steady I s at o n a c o m m i t t e e a c o u p l e o f s u m m e r s ag o a n d h e a r d h ow d e s e r t t o r t o i s e s w e r e b e i n g t r e a t e d . People were

P e t s : Charlie, Cookie and Lucius, desert tortoises P e t s’ Favo r i t e Pa st i m e s : Sleeping! A g e s : Charlie: 7; Cookie: 5; Lucius: 1 O w n e r : Kelvin Atkinson, Nevada State Senator

treating them like they were water turtles. After a few years, they’d abandon them. I heard people were turning them in at the animal shelter, so I started researching tortoises—how to build a burrow and what kind of plants to put in it. That’s how I ended up with Charlie. M y h u s b a n d a n d I b u i lt t h e b u r r o w f r o m t h e g r o u n d u p.

We had dirt brought in and got all the cinder blocks. We also put in an irrigation system. The fencing came because we have two Jack Russells. I ’ m i n t w o d i f f e r e n t [ p e t ] r e l a t i o n s h i p s . My dogs are

more independent. [For my tortoises], I have to get in the habitat to feed them. I have to make sure they’re in their burrows and it’s secure from wind and make sure certain things aren’t in there—we discovered earlier this year that a cat was making it a home. So it’s more care with them.

Y o u h av e t o pay at t e n t i o n t o w h e n t h e y g o i n t o h i b e r n at i o n a n d w h e n t h e y c o m e o u t . My tortoises tend to hibernate in early November

and come out around the end of April. I like to interact with them, so when they’re gone that long, I wonder when they’re going to come back out. The first year, when I got Charlie, he didn’t come out, so I was concerned that he died. There’s a cinder block on the other side of his burrow that has a handle on it in case you need to get inside easily. I pulled that brick out, and he fell out. He was pissed! He was still sleeping. He looked like, “I cannot believe you just did this.” I put him back, he went back into hibernation and I didn’t see him for about two more weeks.

W e h av e p e o p l e i n t h e n e i g h b o r h o o d w h o b r i n g t h e i r k i d s ov e r a n d f e e d t h e m . I have friends online [and] they’re always [saying] “Oh, I’m coming

over.” People just can’t believe that a black man has tortoises in his backyard.


Lovable

Leo

BY JESSIE O’BRIEN

DOG MOM TERRI MARUCA SHOWERS HER ENGLISH BULLDOG WITH LOVE

G r o w i n g u p, I a lway s wa n te d a d o g . My parents would

say, “Terri, you’re allergic to dogs.” [Then] I met my boyfriend, and he had dogs all of his life. He kept telling me, “We have to get a dog.” And I’d say, “You know I’m allergic.” So I went to the allergist, and turns out I’m not allergic to dogs. … Now it’s funny to watch my parents with [Leo]. They kept telling me I could never have one; now they’re obsessed with him. I never expected I would spend so much money on an a n i m a l . … He did have a gigantic

first birthday party, and he had a step-and-repeat and a red carpet.

It was [called] Leo’s Pawty. We had party favors and cakes, and we rented out a doggy day care and a whole big room. [There were] 17 dogs there. … Some people say, “You might be a little crazy, Terri.” But, I don’t have kids, so … W e d i d ta k e L e o ’ s s p e r m , a n d w e s av e d i t i n c a s e w e wa n t t o h av e a n o t h e r l i t t l e L e o .

We pay every quarter for his sperm to be frozen.

He doesn’t like other dogs. He loves humans to no end.

… He’s very intrigued and nosy about everything. There’s one dog, Lucy, a basset hound, in the neighborhood. He sees her and they go and they give each other a kiss, but that’s it. He’s a special, special character. He’s so l ov i n g a n d s o s m a rt.

He’s probably not the most well-behaved dog. Some of that’s because of me. I’m not the sternest. But I think part of it is I’m still learning how to be a dog mom. And I don’t know how to say no. … I’m not a disciplinarian yet. I wonder if it would suck to be a real parent or not?

Best in Show Pet Sitters According to Pet Sitters International, of all the people who hire a professional pet sitter, the greatest segment is those in the 36–50 age range (42 percent), while the smallest segment of clientele is younger than 26 years old (about 5 percent). Regardless of where you fall, here are three pet sitters across the Valley that will go above and beyond to keep your furry friends company while you’re out.

High 5 Pet Care

Marc Colucci is the owner and operator of High 5 Pet Care. Currently serving the westside, Colucci is one of the few male pet sitters in the local pet sitting industry. He believes it plays to his advantage when pet owners raise concerns about larger animals, specifically dogs. All of his actions are GPS-stamped, meaning you can monitor the duration and movement of Colucci’s time spent with your pet. high5petcare.com

Crazy4Paws

Offering services in Henderson 24 hours a day, Shelley Palmer has been a full-time pet sitter for five years. Alongside meeting every pet’s needs, she also fulfills home security requests, such as bringing in mail, watering the lawn, taking out the trash and turning on and off lights. Palmer is pet CPR– and first aid– certified through Pet Tech, so she’s prepared for whatever may come her way. crazy4pawslv.com

Unconditional Love Pet Sitting P e t: Leonidas, English bulldog Age: 4 P e t ’ s Favo r i t e P a s t i m e s : Playing with his red ball at day care, saying “hi” to neighbors taking out the trash and trying to chew a formidable, unchewable toy—The Egg

Heather Cano has only five-star reviews on Facebook and petsitting network Rover and prides herself on having a genuine connection with both pets and their owners. Conducting meetand-greets before each first-time home visit, she meticulously notes every need, habit and quirk of the pets. “It’s as important as childcare, in my eyes. It’s a living being I’m caring for,” she says. “I put my best foot forward every time.” facebook.com/unconditionallovepetsitting –Charlotte Wall

O w n e r : Terri Maruca, senior vice president of public relations at Kirvin Doak

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S av i n g Grace

PETS FOR VETS BRINGS COMPANIONSHIP TO THOSE WHO HAVE SERVED B Y M I C H A E L LY L E

P H O T O G R A P H Y K R Y S TA L R A M I R E Z

N at h a n F i s c h e r g o t lost in a flashback. He doesn’t know what triggered it, but the 33-year-old Army veteran was with his 6-year-old daughter when he felt stuck in a memory of an explosion from his service in Iraq. But as he descended into the past, Spanky, his 4-year-old pit bull-terrier mix and service dog, was there to pull him back. “He just sat with me while I had this 1,000-yard stare,” Fischer says. “He never looked away. He understood what was going on and was there the whole time. That’s when I knew I had a connection with him. That’s when I knew we were battle buddies.” Looking a bit like Petey from The Little Rascals, Spanky came to Fischer as part of Pets for Vets, which partners veterans with service dogs. Part of a national nonprofit organization, the Las Vegas chapter has been around about three years. Portia Spann, a spokeswoman with the local chapter, said veterans find the nonprofit through multiple avenues, from social media and television spots to recommendations from Veterans Affairs clinics. Fischer found the organization through his VA counselor. He joined the military in 2005 and served until 2010, when he was medically retired. During that time, he was stationed in Iraq. His life changed on the night of Father’s Day in 2007 when he survived an improvised explosive device. “I don’t remember too much,” he says. “I just remember waking up in a hospital. I was never the same person since that night.” After returning to Las Vegas, he faced a rough transition. The economy was still rocky. He went through a divorce. His mental state was shaky. During therapy, he started to consider getting a service dog through Pets for Vets. The process starts with a conversation to help the organization get to know the veteran and what they need better. “Some of the veterans like to take

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long walks or go hiking,” Spann says. “If you’re the type who likes to hike a mountain, then a Chihuahua might not be the best choice.” Spann adds that the dogs go through a minimum of eight weeks of training, though it can take up to a few months depending on what skill set they need. It’s all done by Pets for Vets volunteers and staff. For Fischer, Spanky was trained to lead and check around corners and offer emotional support. “Because I have severe PTSD, I don’t do well in large crowds and don’t do well with loud [noises],” Fischer says. “I really wanted a dog to be by my side who could settle me down, search areas or check around corners for me first. They hit the nail on the head with Spanky.” After a dog is trained, the nonprofit sets up a first meeting before the veteran takes the pet home. “We don’t just drop the dog off,” Spann says. Once the service dog goes home with the veteran, the organization gives them pet food and supplies and follows up to provide long-term care. Spanky has been with Fischer for about a year and has been incorporated into the family. “My daughter calls him her little brother,” Fischer says. Every morning, it’s usually Spanky’s wet, slobbering tongue that wakes Fischer up. “And then he stays by my side the entire day,” he adds. “It doesn’t matter if he is hungry or thirsty. He won’t even go downstairs to get food until I go downstairs. And if I go back upstairs before he has eaten, he will quickly eat and rush back up to me.” As much as Spanky is there to help when times get rough for Fischer, he is also there making the family laugh. “We are kind of like Rob & Big,” Fischer says, referring to the MTV show following professional skateboarder Rob Dyrdek and his now-deceased bodyguard named Christopher “Big Black” Boykin. “We are serious when we need to be. But when we’re not serious, we are the two biggest goofballs.” 7


Up Close and Personal An interactive animal experience comes to DTLV thanks to Friends of the Wild BY ANGELA BOSCO

P H O T O G R A P H Y K R Y S TA L R A M I R E Z

This city is full of animals—from the party types to the ones at habitats and sanctuaries. And

this month, a new set of creatures descends upon the town. Danielle Hill, a native Australian who grew up on a farm taking care of animals, is transforming the former Learning Village next to Downtown Container Park into an interactive and educational zoo. With animals including reptiles and birds, Friends of the Wild’s mission is to raise awareness about reconsidering the types of pets people own. “One of our main educational goals is why you shouldn’t own an exotic pet,” Hill says. “There are so many exotic pets being looked after in a way they should not be.” Hill previously worked at Roos-N-More in Moapa, Nevada, until the zoo closed its doors last December. But that didn’t stop Hill from pursuing her dreams of starting a rescue facility for animals and providing education to the community. “I’m taking what enriched [Roos-N-More] and adding improvements,” Hill says. Friends of the Wild is an indoor and outdoor space, providing living accommodations for each animal’s needs. The animals are given adopted Las Vegas–themed names, such as two desert tortoises who go by Donny and Marie, two tenrecs (think hedgehog) named after Penn and Teller and a colorful Macaw parrot named Stardust. Hill is bringing in more animals from rescues across town. The facility plans to remain small, currently housing 10 animals, with space for 25. “When we get new rescued animals in, we make sure we have an experienced caregiver for that animal, making sure the animal is happy, healthy and interactive,” Hill says. Friends of the Wild relies on a large team of volunteers to assist its small staff. The nonprofit has already begun off-site assemblies at local schools and aims to open its brickand-mortar location at the end of July. Group tours will be available Friday through Monday. To book a visit or to learn more about volunteer opportunities, visit friendsofthewild.org.



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¡VIVA LA CHICA!

Lorena Garcia’s restaurant in The Venetian is all about sass and flavor By Marisa Finetti Photography Krystal Ramirez

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grand South American villa in The Venetian’s restaurant row is home to chef Lorena Garcia’s newest project, Chica, a melting pot of rich and robust Latin culinary creations. Famed for her infectious on-air personality in the food world, Garcia’s “Aha!” moment occurred immediately after she graduated law school and took a job as an attorney. “I didn’t even last the entire day,” she says. She abandoned that profession, enrolled in cooking school and has been making her case with Latin cuisine, culminating with Chica. The diverse menu draws inspiration from classic flavors, giving guests the opportunity to explore dishes from Venezuela, Peru, Brazil, Mexico and Argentina, and many more countries.

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Inside the Villa

The vibe of the room is sophisticated and social with a few intimate nooks and corners for those seeking privacy. Two large murals of women “guard” the restaurant, dimly lit lounges, swanky bar and seating areas, designed with beautiful woods and velvety fabrics. “We want guests to be transported to the heart of the Latin American home,” Garcia says. “The bar up front flows back through the ceviche courtyard and right into the Wall of Fire—a beautiful open kitchen showcasing rotisserie, rodízio and live-fire grilling. It’s grand and glorious.”

The Team

Executive chef Mike Minor is not new to south-of-the-border cuisine. A decade of travels with chefs Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger of Border Grill exposed him to Latin American food that’s mostly eaten on the streets and in the homes of local chefs. His made-from-scratch mantra is evident in the regional flavors in Chica’s menu. “What’s been fantastic is his excitement about learning the new cuisines that we’re introducing at Chica,” Garcia says. “And our team is top-notch— more than half are women, I might add—and they are absolutely delivering incredible food on every plate.”

Tiger’s Milk At the center of Chica’s space is the ceviche bar, where guests can get comfortable on stools and discover the day’s fresh catch as they watch ceviche being prepared. Chica specializes in Peruvian ceviche, which uses Tiger’s Milk (traditionally called leche de Tigre), a sauce made of fish and lime juice. “The taste is limey and fresh, with a bit of richness from condensed milk,” Minor says. While enjoying this sea-based delicacy, consider a wine such as a Casablanca Valley sauvignon blanc for a pairing that’s bright and fresh.

Coffee With a Conscience A good meal is not complete without a cup of café (or three). Downtown artisanal roaster Vesta Coffee, which prides itself on sustainably sourced green coffee from around the world, has custom-curated a few seasonal Central and South American selections especially for Chica. You can currently enjoy Amaybamba from Cusco, Peru, with notes of raisin, date, walnut and baking spices; Calera from Metapan, El Salvador, with rich chocolate and graham cracker flavors; and Sonora Estate from Central Valley, Costa Rica, with chocolate and caramel nuances. All three arrive in a French press with an hourglass timer that indicates when to push the plunger.


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Chica Brunch 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Sat.–Sun. Lunch 11 a.m.–4 p.m. Mon.–Fri. Dinner 4–11 p.m. daily Inside The Venetian Venetian.com @chicalasvegas Opening page: Oaxacan strip steak Opposite page, clockwise from bottom left: lemon buñuelos and coffee trio, the lady of the house This page, clockwise from top: Yucatán halibut, assorted arepas, strip steak

Food From a Latin Kitchen

Must-tries, according to Garcia, start with the assorted arepas accompanied by nata butter (a homemade Latin American butter made from boiling milk). Follow this with the Meyer Lemon Chicken, a brightly flavored protein accented by chimichurri. “I am also crazy for the short ribs, the Asado Negro, which is a very traditional Venezuelan dish,” Garcia says. “This might be Mike’s favorite dish, too. It’s slow-cooked in a rich wine sauce until the ribs almost become black. It’s sticky and unctuous and absolutely addictive.” Other entrées include the 12-ounce Oaxacan New York strip, which sits atop Minor’s mole sauce that is made with 25 ingredients (and counting). Just a finger lick offers an oasis of flavor that dives deep into the soul. “It takes six hours to make the mole, and the chili negro—with all the spices, like cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg and others—[it] makes the kitchen smell so good,” Garcia says. The Yucatán halibut is based on the cochinita pibil, a slow-roasted pork considered to be the king of Mayan barbecue. The fish is rubbed with achiote, then roasted in a banana leaf with pineapple and sweet plantains. A play on classic sides is the Mac con Queso, made with Peruvian corn, hearts of palm and spinach in a Parmesan cream gratin. The menu dances with Latin attitude right on through to dessert, which ranges from lemon buñuelos— lemon zest–filled Venezuelan doughnuts—to coconut panna cotta and arroz con leche. 7

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ellphones aren’t al- thought out. It’s closely guarded (the lowed here. Neither Levis won’t give more than a few are watches that emit hints) in order to keep guests enlight; there’s a locker gaged and guessing from start to finfor those items out- ish as they savor every bite and really side. Windows are blacked out. Walls get in touch with the flavors. are painted black. The dining room is “When we do something, we like to filled with tables and chairs … but you add more of a creative twist, so we’ve won’t ever see them. got mystery menus,” Rachel says. At Blackout (Dining in the Dark), The only thing they will hint at you’re served six courses of food (four is that the dishes are Mediterraif you’re there for lunch) in—as the nean-fusion (the kitchen can accomname suggests—total darkness. With modate most dietary restrictions) no clue as to what the dishes look like, and created by Israeli chef Irit Pinhas. it’s up to your other senses to kick in Also, the food will be on the more traand taste, touch and smell to guide the culinary journey. For owners Rachel and Avi Levi, who also run the nonprofit One Family Animal Sanctuary in Las Vegas, the concept, which opened on July 3, has been seven years in the making. The couple first jumped into the restaurant industry in 2012 with Design and Dine, launching the city’s only painting workshop that paired dinner and drinks with creative expression. The business was so successful that they opened three locations in the span of three years. “We really set ourselves By Diana Edelman apart with that, and [it] gave us the groundwork we needed to do a larger operation like Black- ditional side, so diners can figure out out,” Rachel says. “The dining attrac- what they’re eating. However, the Letion experience … it’s our niche.” vis expect most guesses to be wrong And this particular type of dining because of secret “twists.” was always in the back of their minds. Blackout is pretty straightforward. “It’s a very unique thing to do,” she Guests walk into the posh lobby says. “We thought Vegas would be the lined with high-backed banquettes. perfect place to bring something [like As soon as they leave the lobby, they it] to the dining world.” are enclosed in darkness. The server Sure, the city has had sight-free places a hand on their right shoulder food experiences before, the last of and slowly weaves them through a which took place this winter at Man- hallway into the space. darin Oriental when Twist by Pierre Diners choose from three flavor Gagnaire turned off its lights. But profiles—sweet, spicy or savory—and now it’s permanent, thanks to the then it’s a culinary journey from small Levis. The location is strategic—just bites to soup to an entrée, with dessert off the Strip, tucked behind the Rio to wrap it up. For those who want to All-Suite Hotel and Casino on Valley add booze, they can order drinks by View Boulevard in a strip mall, easily the glass, as well as a pairing package accessible to both locals and tourists. of wine or specialty cocktails. And the menu is even more The menu, which is organic when

possible, rotates seasonally to appeal to locals, making it less of a one-time meal and more of a place to come reintroduce your taste buds to flavors again and again. Expect the restaurant to offer special events in the future, such as wine tasting in the dark and music in the dark. “We want people to have a different perspective as to how their other senses are being enhanced,” Rachel explains. “The way they taste food, touch food, smell food … to really be thinking about all of these things and what they are eating.” 7

BLIND TASTE

Blackout is open daily. Lunch is served noon–4 p.m. for $45 (four courses); dinner is from 4 p.m.–11 p.m. for $65 (six courses). 871 S. Valley View Blvd. Reservations are recommended: 702-960-4000.

Dining in the Dark is a different way to experience food

Dining in the Dark takes a little getting used to. Here are some tips to prepare for the Blackout culinary adventure. • Come with an open mind. “Some people are going to be nervous when they walk in,” Rachel says. “When you get into the dark, it’s quite relaxing. Your social awareness lowers—you can’t see anyone. There’s no stress.” • Don’t be shy. Can’t quite get the fork and knife (it’s dull, don’t worry) to meet your plate? It’s OK. Hands are totally acceptable. • Trust yourself. According to Rachel, dining in the dark is more natural than you think, and when sight is out of the picture, your brain and hands pick up the slack. • Really savor with all the senses. Smell the food first, then touch it to all of the parts of your tongue—since different areas taste different things—then chew slowly. “It’s not about eating fast; it’s about eating and enjoying it,” Rachel says.

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Move Over, Purina There’s a new chow in town By Diana Edelman

Photography Krystal Ramirez

The growing consumer consciousness regarding what goes into food

has extended to our four-legged friends. Two dog food purveyors in town, Mindy Poortinga of Vegan Meals by Mindy and Marlyn Granados of Fido’s Kitchen, are meeting the needs of owners who want to switch out the overly processed ingredients in their pups’ dishes for healthier options. “People don’t always realize how many allergens are in dog food because it’s so processed,” says Poortinga, shown here, of the preservative-packed meals lining shelves. “[Pet owners] are serving food that can survive in a warehouse for five years and then wonder why [their animals] have allergies. Just like any healthy diet, your dog’s diet must be balanced with protein, veggies, starches and fats.” Her pooches, all of whom are seniors she fosters, suffered from skin allergies or couldn’t digest kibble, so Poortinga got creative, making plantbased chow for her brood and then extending the line to customized food available to the public. Granados’ story is similar. Her dogs had severe food allergies, and medicine to treat them was pricey, so she took matters into her own hands. For the past decade, she’s been using human-grade ingredients to make meals for her canines. “I believe every dog can benefit from having some sort of real food incorporated into their life,” she says. In terms of health benefits, she’s noticed more energy in older animals who were once lethargic, as well as a reduction in allergies. All-natural food isn’t for every pet, though. Darrell Dawsey, a veterinarian at Island Pet Hospital, recommends home-cooked diets only for those with special nutritional requirements because of disease or severe allergies. Otherwise, it can be difficult to formulate a well-balanced diet, which can lead to medical issues later. 7 Poortinga’s plant-based food can be ordered via email at veganmealsbymindy@gmail. com. Granados’ can be ordered online at fidoskitchen.net.

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SOCIAL INFLUENCE

Foster the Love

By Amber Sampson Photography Krystal Ramirez

A LOCAL CAT MOM’S INSTAGRAM ADDS TO THE CONVERSATION ABOUT KITTEN RESCUE

In 2011

, Nikki Martinez was in distress. After an emergency surgery led to her getting a radical abdominal hysterectomy, she was ordered to take three months of bed rest. During that time, the Las Vegas native fell into a deep depression that “took a toll on me physically and emotionally,” she recalls. Her silver lining came the day she was permitted to drive again. On her way to a doctor appointment, she happened across a small kitten that had jumped into the middle of the road. “It wouldn’t come, but I could tell it was visibly sick,” Martinez says. “I could see the green discharge on its face, and she had a raspy meow.” The kitten eventually came to her. It had an upper respiratory infection that needed to be treated, Martinez later found out during a visit to a vet. That should’ve been the end, but when Martinez later checked in to see if she could transport the animal to a no-kill shelter, she found out it was already gone. Animal control had picked it up. “Go down there and get it,” Martinez’s husband had said. And she did. For $50, she adopted the kitten, nursing it—and herself—back to health. “It was something I needed at that time,” she says. “Instead of focusing on myself and my own health problems, I was focusing on her and getting her better. I could no longer have children, but I could [carry] out my maternal instincts on her.” Martinez’s aunt and uncle wound up adopting the kitten. They named her Lola. Five and a half years later, Martinez has gone on to foster hundreds of kittens. Her Instagram profile, @myfosterkittens, which boasts about 245,000 followers, has become a platform for educating people on foster care and the epidemic of cat overpopulation. “My aunt calls this all Lola’s legacy, because that’s where it started,” she says. Martinez gets her fosters from the Nevada Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals as well as others she finds on her own. She stresses that it’s really not as

difficult to foster as people think it is. Rescue organizations never give you more than you can handle, tailoring fosters to your schedule and comfort level. They’ll also supply essentials to take care of your furry friend. From food to necessary medications and vaccines, they’ll assist you. Saying goodbye poses the real challenge. “[When] my first litter got adopted, I cried for two weeks,” Martinez says. “Like, ugly-cried at the shelter on adoption day.” How does she deal today? She keeps fostering. In between being a full-time volunteer Bible teacher, pet sitter and dog walker, Martinez currently looks after eight cats, which is less than her average of 10. “I take it to the extreme,” she admits. Martinez purposely requests critical-care foster cats—those with complications, like Sparrow, an adorably scruffy 5-weekold with a missing leg, and Bunny, a green-eyed beauty that was covered in fungus when Martinez first found her. Both have recovered phenomenally. Not all are as lucky. An expressive little kitten with the likeness of a baby Groot, Jonas was rescued from a backyard in 115-degree heat, but Martinez recently lost him in June after five days. Most upsetting, she says, is that spaying Jonas’ mother could have prevented this. That’s what compelled her to start working with the Community Cat Coalition of Clark County, a volunteer organization that performs TNR (trap, neuter and return) for free-roaming cats. “TNR stops the problem at the source,” she explains. Less breeding going on in the streets means less kittens born in harsh conditions and less need for them to enter shelters and possibly get euthanized. TNR is a more active approach to tackling cat overpopulation, but it by no means discounts fostering, which Martinez likens to a roller coaster. She says it truly comes down to giving and taking chances, because ultimately, “it takes just a little bit of effort and time to change their whole life.” 7

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SOCIAL INFLUENCE

GREEN FELT JOURNAL

By David G. Schwartz

Photography Jeff Green

Walk All Over Me THE ENDURING FASCINATION OF CASINO CARPET

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eople are fascinated by even the most mundane aspects of casino design. The slot machines, the air, even the chairs—all have come under scrutiny. But nothing, it seems, fascinates the public like what’s beneath their feet. Carpets that adorn casinos look very different, but they are somehow easy to classify—a certain mixture of garish and gaudy that balances mirth with disorientation. This, perhaps, makes the public’s curiosity about them a little easier to understand. Around 2005, I started posting pictures of casino carpets on my website. I quickly had five galleries of floor coverings from around the country and became, inexplicably, an “expert” on the subject, even though I’ve never bought a carpet for a casino, much less designed one. Eventually the people calling— first asking, then demanding—to buy casino carpet from me got to be too much, so I took down the photos. But I still get calls from reporters every now and then looking for a Grand Unification Theory of Casino Carpeting: Why do they look the way they do? Terrien Hale has been designing casino carpets since 2002. A UNLV graduate with a bachelor’s degree in fine art, she had been working as a sculptor (she was on the team that added flourishes to The Venetian) when she was recruited by Ulster Carpets, an Ireland-based firm, after an art show at the UNLV Alumni Center. Now with Brintons, a global hospitality carpet purveyor, Hale’s work has appeared in casinos including The D, Red Rock Resort, Bellagio, Paris Las Vegas, The Mirage and Wynn. So how is casino carpet created? Is there a team of psychologists mixing color and pattern to en-

GET UP, STAND UP Brother and sister head to Washington, D.C., to advocate for juvenile diabetes at Children’s Congress By Ryan Vellinga In 2011, nine-year-old Erick Leavitt and his family were driving home from Utah when something peculiar took place: They had to pull over six times to let the restless fourth grader use the bathroom,

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courage more gambling? Not exactly, although the design process does not lack for expert opinion. Usually “the casino hires a design firm that tells us what the client wants, and I interpret what they describe,” Hale says. The Bellagio, for example, started with a simple brief: “contemporary paisley.” After that initial meeting, the designers select colors and experiment with patterns in a process that can take anywhere from a week to several months. Once the carpet designers, the interior design firm and the client agree on a pattern, they move onto hand trials, which demonstrate the finished product’s color palette and weave. The floor covering that’s installed is to residential carpeting what the Bellagio Fountains are to a backyard Slip n’ Slide. Most casinos, according to Hale, use Axminster carpet 80/20 wool/nylon blend that’s woven into a jute backing in a U-shaped weave that extends its durability—a necessity on a surface that must bear up under thousands of footsteps a day. “It wears well,” she says, “the colors last.” And it’s not cheap. If you’re tempted to buy some for your rec room, be prepared to shell out $35 to $42 dollars per square yard—pad not included. Casino carpet is so distinctive, says Hale, because it’s “based on a bold commentary on the rest of the interior. It’s almost a stand-alone art piece that creates a mood for the overall casino experience.” Above all, good casino carpets hide dirt, but there’s more than just durability. The colors need to be carefully selected to maintain their pop under the unforgiving tread of patrons. Three colors close together, for example, will “muddy up” after a while.

which is unusual for a seemingly healthy boy. Confused, Erick’s mom, Michelle Leavitt, assumed he had a bladder infection and took him to the doctor when they returned to Las Vegas. After multiple blood tests, Erick was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes—the first in his family to receive the diagnosis. That day in the hospital was hectic. His mother and father were distraught as Erick was lying in the hospital bed, both of them anxiously awaiting the results. Erick was unfazed. “I just wanted doughnuts,” he says with a grin. “I did promise him doughnuts when he got out of the hospital,” says Michelle, who on the other hand was not grinning. This was just the beginning of the lifestyle change that was about to happen to Erick and his loved ones. Three years later, his younger sister Oaklie, then 10 years old, took a blood-sugar test with her brother’s meter. A few seconds later the meter

They also need to complement the rest of the interior. Hale describes meshing carpet with details in other flooring, woodwork and fabrics throughout the casino; one prime example is Wynn (pictured above), where the butterfly motif is echoed in numerous places, including the ceiling. “If it’s done right,” she says, “it creates elegance.” Done wrong, it clashes with the interior and, at its worst, is poorly installed and rarely cleaned. You may have seen a shift in carpets over the past decades. Partially, that’s because of technology: Red Rock’s carpet has 24 colors, where earlier looms could only incorporate 12 at most. Repeats—the sections of pattern—are also getting bigger; Hale mentioned the 10- to 14-foot mandalas in the Rio’s carpet as typical of current design possibilities. But there have also been visionaries. In this case, as with much else in modern Las Vegas, Steve Wynn has an outside influence. Hale credits his Bellagio carpet with being the first to bring a bold, modern pop to the casino floor and praises his design team for thinking outside of the box. This being Las Vegas, it didn’t take long for other casinos to emulate that pop. The result is a generation of casino carpets that do much more beyond conceal wear. They make a statement about the property and have become a point of pride for designers. “It didn’t used to be a priority,” Hale says, “but now firms are using carpet as a signature piece.” Which might be the least surprising, most Vegas thing we’ve learned about casino design. 7 David G. Schwartz is the director of UNLV’s Center for Gaming Research.

beeped: Her blood sugar was almost triple the recommended level. A T1D diagnosis followed. This is how the family came to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Starting with a team—Two Against 1— that participates in the JDRF One Walk to raise money for diabetes research, they’ve fundraised about $23,000 to date. The Leavitts also have been involved with other JDRF programs such as the Youth Ambassador Program, The Hope Gala and, now, on July 24-26 the 2017 Children’s Congress, which has sent hundreds of kids to Washington, D.C., to lobby for diabetes research funding since 1999. “I want to spread the word about T1D,” Oaklie says about her opportunity to represent Nevada. “Whenever I go places with an insulin pump in my arm, people come up to me and ask what it is—and that gets tiring sometimes. If we spread the word more, not everyone has to do that.”

“I want to guilt-trip them,” Erick jokingly adds. To prepare for the meeting with Children’s Congress, the kids trained with JDRF’s Speakers Bureau on how to speak and share their stories. They also prepared scrapbooks and a short video to present to the public. Although the sightseeing and bragging rights are something the kids can cherish forever, they plan to continue to represent and advocate for JDRF and Children’s Congress long after returning from D.C. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime chance for these kids to go out and talk about Type 1 diabetes and how it really affects them,” Michelle says. “It puts a face to the disease. That’s the first step. It’s not just some random thing that strangers have. It’s showing that we’re a family.” To learn more about Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, visit jdrf.org/lv



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DO GOOD

SPACES & PLACES

COM I NG HOM E By Charlotte Wall Photography Andrew Sea James

THE NEW SHANNON WEST HOMELESS YOUTH CENTER OFFERS MORE ROOMS AND AMENITIES TO BETTER SERVE THE COMMUNITY

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SPACES & PLACES

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FTER EIGHT YEARS OF DREAMING about ways to eliminate the challenges of its former Downtown facility, Help of Southern Nevada CEO and president Fuilala Riley and her staff celebrated the grand opening of a 37,000-square-foot center for youth on July 14. Serving homeless individuals between the ages of 16 and 24, the Shannon West Homeless Youth Center provides free residences and day programming that teaches life skills for independent living, such as addiction counseling, behavioral health services, on-the-job training and money management. “Nevada was ranked No. 1 in the nation for the rate of homeless youth living unsheltered on the streets, according to the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development 2016 Annual Homeless Assessment Report,” Riley says. “During the 2015–2016 school year, there were more than 14,000 homeless students enrolled in Clark County schools. The new center is able to house 166 youth, more than double what our previous center is able to house.” The former facility had one multipurpose space for programming, but the new facility has six common rooms to meet a wide range of needs. The center also boasts a computer lab on each of the three floors (a big upgrade from the single computer the former center offered), a commercial kitchen and a dining hall that accommodates all residents at once, which the Downtown location could not. In addition to the dorm rooms, there are six studio apartments known as step-up rooms in which residents can practice tenancy and living on their own—for example, putting 30 percent of their income toward rent—while still having the support and socialization of the Shannon West community. This was in response to older youth finding themselves back at the center or, worse, on the streets. The $10 million project is the first nonprofit facility that all four local governments—Clark County, City of Henderson, City of Las Vegas and City of North Las Vegas—have banded together to help fund. Bank of America–New Market Tax Credits, the Englestad Family Foundation and the Nevada Women’s Philanthropy, among many community members, also rallied behind the new building, which was constructed on a parcel behind Help’s main offices. Additional funding has come from donors who have adopted their own dorm rooms, marked by their names with plaques. “Our homeless youth have the possibility of growing up and becoming our homeless adult population,” Riley says. “In an effort to steer clear of this, the center aims to help these youth learn how to take care of themselves. … It’s truly a one-stop shop for learning self-sufficiency.” 7

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IKEA provided all of the furnishings, while the Claggetts of Claggett & Sykes Law Firm donated the computers. To sponsor a room, contact Abby Quinn at 702–836–2130. Instagram: @helpsonv helpsonv.org




CONVERSATIONS

Southern Touch CHEF RON SAPP BRINGS NEW SWEET AND SAVORY FLAVORS TO DOWNTOWN By Diana Edelman

Photography Andrew Sea James

D

owntown’s hipster hangout Park on Fremont (506 Fremont St., parkonfremont.com) has made some changes recently. At the end of May, the whimsical eatery that celebrates the great outdoors as its design motif, debuted breakfast. In June, new executive chef Ron Sapp arrived, making changes that kick the spot’s menu up a notch from typical bar fare. His goal is to expand Park’s culinary range, while maintaining the fun vibe. “Since I come from the South, I’m doing Southern-inspired [dishes],” says the chef, who moved to Las Vegas at 16 via Savannah, Georgia. The new items at Park include both sweet and savory breakfast favorites: the Hella Nutella, thick-cut brioche toast with burrata and cream cheese spread, Nutella and toasted almonds; and the Park Ranger, a beef patty topped with bacon, egg, cheese and a spicy aioli. Sapp also added a slow-roasted pastrami and smoked honey turkey breast sandwich with melted provolone and Muenster cheeses, cherry peppers, guacamole and more on a toasted garlic French roll; vegan lettuce cups

with an eggplant crumble, baby bok choy, toasted peanuts, green scallions and white miso-soy glaze; and a Greek salad. Prior to joining the Park team, Sapp worked in the kitchens of several well-known restaurants around town, including The Mansion at MGM Grand, Honey Salt and, most recently, Lola’s Louisiana Kitchen. Sapp wasn’t always going to be a chef, but when he was in college and taking general courses, his girlfriend at the time (now his wife) encouraged him to do what made him happy. “I thought back to when I was cooking with my grandma in the kitchen and the first time I flipped an egg at 6 years old,” he recalls. “If I can be happy in the kitchen, then why not do it as a career? Once you peer through that peephole into the culinary world and see that little bit, you fall in love.” 7 [Editor’s Note: Park on Fremont is owned by Corner Bar Management, which is affiliated with Vegas Seven’s publishing company Wendoh Media.]

July 20 –26, 2017 vegasseven.com

41


ASK A NATIVE

CONVERSATIONS

Loo k! U p i n th e S ky!

By James P. Reza

Photo Illustration Cierra Pedro

I remember some bright, colorful cloud formations rising over the western end of the Valley when I was a kid. Do you? What were they?

V

egas kids of a certain age share many points of reference when it comes to memories. For some of us, it was having a parent boasting a security clearance at the Nevada Test Site, and (perhaps not coincidentally) being powerfully intrigued by the possibilities of ETs and UFOs. I checked out so many UFO books from the Howard Wasden Elementary School Library that I probably should have ended up heading the X-Files myself. So imagine my excitement one balmy summer afternoon when, after moving from 7-Eleven to Circle K to 7-Eleven, trying desperately to imprint my initials on every Asteroids high-score board within biking distance, I looked up and saw a twisting, curving, multicolored cloud rising above Red Rock Canyon like a shining Chinese dragon. Breathless, I pedaled my 10-speed home at Breaking Away velocity. There was no internet then (well, there was, but civilians couldn’t access it), so I hoped the next best thing—Mom—could help. With visions of last night’s episode of Project Blue Book still rolling through my head, I threw my bike down and rushed inside. “Mom! You have to see this!” She came outside with me and peered west down our street, where the cloud, no longer coiled, had now spread and lost much of its shape. But the colors, intensified by the setting sun, were even more spectacular. “Oh, that’s a missile test. From

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Edwards,” she said. And back inside she went to finish the Shake 'N Bake. After all, the bus from Base Camp Mercury was due soon, and dad would be hungry. I later learned that Edwards was an Air Force base in the vast high desert of Southern California. The base has long played a significant role in flight and aerospace development, due in part to its isolation, but also thanks to its neighbor, the massive Rogers Dry Lake, a National Historic Landmark and convenient runway extension. Not only did Chuck Yeager first break the sound barrier in a flight based at Edwards, but this was also where multiple Space Shuttle missions touched down. Both NASA (remember them?) and the Air Force continue to conduct flight research and development here, and the base is also a site for commercial missile launches. None of that, however, is as sexy as the potential for alien aircraft and extraterrestrials that overwhelmed my brain that summer afternoon. So when Dad came home, I asked him about it. “Well,” he said. “They say it’s a missile test at Edwards…” The truth, as they say, is out there. 7 Have a question or comment about Las Vegas past, present or future? Send them to askanative@vegasseven.com.


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CONVERSATIONS

LUCKY NO. 7

We asked the WENDOH Media staff:

What’s your favorite pet service? Three Dog Bakery is the best for pet-friendly sweets. Zuko gets a custom-ordered cake from the bakery every year for his birthday party. When he’s been an extra good boy (or just gives me those puppy eyes), we take a trip across town to visit. He loves their cannolis, cream pies and carrot cake. He’s definitely not spoiled (rolls eyes). –Jordan Bruy, executive assistant The Barking Lot grooming salon has dolled up my dogs for the past 15 years. Staff members go out of their way to get to know your babies, and it shows in how comfortable mine are with them. For skittish pets, you can take them next door to the Sandy Hill Animal Clinic, which gives free sedation shots to Barking Lot customers. –Amber Sampson, web editor It may seem simple, but I adore Amazon Prime for getting my Katie Kat’s food, litter, toys, replacement

beds and treats all delivered stat. Whatever she needs to be comfortable, happy and healthy comes right to me no matter the time, so she never has to wait on my crazy schedule! –Xania V. Woodman, senior contributing editor, beverage Sun City Animal Hospital is the most professional and caring place I have ever taken my pets. I’ve never felt more comfortable leaving my dog anywhere else. Madison, my lab, had an ear infection and wouldn’t allow me to touch her. They took her in, somehow cleaned her ears and brought her back to me happy and feeling a little better. –Adam Christopher Smith, production coordinator, Life Is Beautiful Festival Wag N’ Wash Natural Food & Bakery. Owners Jeremiah and Christine care about and love their customers’ pets so much, and I can never express how thankful I am for the grooming care of my

Photography Krystal Ramirez

15-year-old lab before he died. I know he almost made it to 16 because of their food knowledge and nutritional help. R.I.P., my beloved Drake! –Kara Dennis, human resources manager Best Friends Animal Society offers a free trap, neuter, return program to help reduce the number of feral kitties in the community. My neighborhood has a lot of feral cats, and it makes me sad to see more and more roaming around without a home in this desert environment. –Ben Ward, creative director My favorite pet service comes from the Acuña family. If it takes a village to raise a child, it’s taken a metropolis of family members to keep my dog Bruno Bunny away from the cheesecake, off the couch and loved to no end. Also, shout-out to Snooty Pets for their dog de-shedding services, without which the town would be covered in his fur! –Jessi C. Acuña, senior editor, lifestyle

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