Archive for September, 2010

A Weekend of Food and Culture for Las Vegas

Sunday, September 26th, 2010

Las Vegas residents are enjoying two very popular fall festivals this weekend.  The 38th annual Greek Food Festival runs through Sunday evening at St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church. Unless you have attended in previous years, it is hard to imagine how large and festive and delicious this festival really is. Upwards of 20,000 people are expected to attend over the course of three days, indulging in a raucous mix of live music, dancing and truly authentic Mediterranean cuisine. The theme of this year’s festival couldn’t be more appropriate … Honoring Our Military Troops and Their Families.

Not to be overshadowed or outdone is the Summerlin Art Festival at the Summerlin Centre Community Park on Town Center Drive. The Summerlin master-planned residential masterpiece is celebrating it’s 20th anniversary this year, which only adds to the offerings and activities planned. A personal favorite of mine is the stunningly beautiful chalk work done on the park sidewalks. You can’t imagine without seeing for yourself how elaborate, colorful and beautiful this “sidewalk art” really is. The Summerlin Arts Festival also features great food, live music and special performances by the Nevada Ballet Theater dancers. For the first time this year, the festival will be smoke free (even as an outdoor event) thanks to the Southern Nevada Health District.

Black Mountain Institute of Las Vegas Welcomes Jim Lehrer

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010

The Black Mountain Institute of Las Vegas, an International Center for Creative Writers and Scholars, holds public symposiums involving the nation’s top names in literature (among it’s many scholarly activities).  This highly significant contribution to literary culture, based right here in Las Vegas, is one of the jewels of our public life. The institute will be presenting “The Death of Old News” at the University of Nevada Las Vegas student union ballroom tonight at 7pm. In attendance will be one of my all time favorites in the news business … Jim Lehrer of the PBS Newshour as well as Alex Jones – director of the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics, and Public Policy at Harvard University. There is no charge to attend this timely and highly relevant discussion and the public is enthusiastically invited. This is a great opportunity to hear the views of leading minds on the subject of where the news business is headed in the 21st century and how cable channels and the Internet influence the information dissemination process. Hope to see you there !!

Elizabeth Warren to set up Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

Monday, September 20th, 2010

The Michelle Sterling Las Vegas Real Estate Team is fully supportive of President Obama’s choice of  Elizabeth Warren to set up the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. In case you are not familiar with her work and her views, we suggest a visit to the website of Charlie Rose PBS where you will find a video library that includes multiple appearances on the broadcast over the past 18 months.  In watching these interviews you will discover a woman of depth and integrity who is beyond qualified to take on the huge responsibilities for which she has been charged by the President.

Warren will head a steering committee responsible for establishing the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and getting it up and running. This tactical maneuver by Obama was necessary to avoid nomination/confirmation issues involving Senate Republicans and their very close friends in the financial industry. We fully expect the President to eventually nominate Warren to lead the very bureau that she is now charged with creating from scratch. Our expectation is that her performance as  assistant to the President and special advisor to the secretary of the Treasury during the CFPB development process will further elevate her credentials to the point where serious Republican opposition to a future nomination would be counter productive.

Rhodes Ranch Las Vegas Golf

Wednesday, September 15th, 2010

One of my favorite golf courses to play in all of Las Vegas is Rhodes Ranch Las Vegas. I should admit that a big part of the reason is the wide fairways and forgiving nature of the course, which tends to fit my rather shaky golf game better than a desert target layout. This is not to say that Rhodes Ranch lacks in challenging holes and anyone who plays there can tell you that the Par 3 number 3 hole is nothing to laugh at. However, I do find it to be one of the most relaxing and enjoyable courses to play in Southern Nevada. The mountain scenery is stunning and the water holes are very aesthetically pleasing, even if they blow a hole through my score card often times. The course is about to reopen after the annual overseed (September 16th) and play will be cart path only for the first few weeks. This naturally means that I will be receiving the added benefit of plenty of walk-related exercise as my ball is seldom in the middle of the fairway!

The Michelle Sterling Las Vegas real estate team also spends quite a bit of time showing property in Rhodes Ranch specifically, as we find it to be researched and requested through our website on a frequent basis. Two of the agents on our team, Mike Antos and Christina Cova, are among the most knowledgeable and experienced real estate professionals in Las Vegas for the Rhodes Ranch master plan. If you have never viewed homes in Rhodes Ranch or played the golf course, make it a point to do so. I think you will find it to be time well spent.

Further Gains in Las Vegas Tourism

Saturday, September 11th, 2010

In addition to securing the number one destination choice for travelers over the Labor Day weekend (for the third year in a row), Las Vegas has shown additional signs of improvement in the tourist industry over the summer. The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority reported yesterday that our July visitor numbers clocked the largest year-over-year increase since December of 2005. More than any other single source, the increase appears to be largely attributable to a summer surge of “drive in” visitors from next door California. The fortunes of  the Las Vegas Strip have always been closely tied to the willingness of Californians to jump in their cars and zip across the Mojave Desert for some neon inspired entertainment, so this should come as no big surprise. It is not at all unusual for Vegas visitors to give us a call while in town to spend a few hours looking at Las Vegas foreclosure homes and Las Vegas short sales during their vacation. As a result, we get an opportunity to collect anecdotal evidence about how people are feeling about their future economic fortunes. Our client conversations bear out what we read in the financial press, namely that people are more cautious and tend to spend less even when they take a vacation. Bearing that in mind, it seems clear that higher visitor numbers are an important first step in the economic revitalization of the Las Vegas Strip, but that real recovery will depend on a stronger economy and improved consumer confidence nationwide.

Las Vegas for Labor Day Weekend

Friday, September 3rd, 2010

Las Vegas offers such a great selection of things to do, people to see and places to go that it is no surprise that so many want to join in on the fun.  According to Orbitz.com Las Vegas is the top travel destination in the country for Labor Day weekend.  It is the third consecutive year that Las Vegas has been the number one tourist destination for the Labor Day Holiday.

Las Vegas also came in at the number one spot for AAA bookings coming from Southern Californians. Vegas.com says that Las Vegas bookings are up ten percent over 2009. Both airfare and room rates are higher than they were last year, so to see an increase is encouraging. Room rates are up five percent over last year, but down 23 percent from 2008.  The increase is especially good news in light of the fact that we have 7,500 more rooms than we did last year at this time. The projections are that there will be more people here but they will spend a little less than in previous years. But given the state of the economy, to be able to fill the rooms is still a win for Las Vegas.

The Michelle Sterling Las Vegas Real Estate Team welcomes our visitors. Taking into account today’s low prices, we encourage you to consider that second home or vacation home you’ve been thinking about. Or who knows, maybe you’ll fall in love with our amazing city and decide to relocate altogether. We’d love to be your Las Vegas Realtors and help you find that special Las Vegas Home.

Wherever you vacation this weekend, have fun and be safe.

The Uplifting Las Vegas Story of Fire Station Six

Thursday, September 2nd, 2010

We hear lots of not so good news in Las Vegas these days. We hear about a lot of Government waste these days. But today, we get some good news on both fronts!  Good news for the citizens and students of Las Vegas and yes, brace yourself, good news about creative, responsible use of public funds and facilities. The Michelle Sterling Las Vegas real estate team is proud to tell this uplifting story of effective collaboration for the public good on our blog.

A new firehouse opened in Las Vegas this week. It is the first of it’s kind in the country. Seems the city couldn’t find affordable land, and the College of Southern Nevada didn’t have enough classrooms for it’s students wanting to study fire sciences. Spearheaded by Las Vegas City Councilwoman Lois Tarkanian, the City and the College entered into a joint effort to house fireman and educate students in the same facility.  The land the firehouse sits on was donated to The City of Las Vegas by the College of Southern Nevada.

Station 6, located on the West Charleston Campus of CSN has three classrooms for CSN fire science students, an exercise room for firefighters, as well as a kitchen and sleeping areas for the firemen.  A glass wall gives students a front row view of the station’s equipment room, as well as a real life glimpse into the day-to-day life of firefighters. Taking it one step further, Bart Mangino, Principal of nearby Bonanza High school worked hard to create a career technical academy for his high school students. Those students will be able to earn college credits through the program. 

And to top it all off: the building came in under budget and includes solar panels to save money on energy. In a time of abundant negativity and mud-slinging, it truly is uplifting to see our community leaders collaborating on solutions that benefit the public, provide education and save money!  Wow !!  It is a good news day for Las Vegas without question. 

Let’s hope none of us ever need the services of Station 6 at our Las Vegas homes. But if we do, isn’t it comforting to know they are there.