Charity volunteers heart of the city


Two announcements crossed my desk this week that remind me the best part of this community can be found in its network of largely unsung volunteer and charity organizations.

The first missive was from The Rape Crisis Center announcing the opening of its new office at 801 S. Rancho Drive, Suite B2. With its hotline monitored by trained volunteers, the center has been helping victims of sexual assault since 1974.

This week’s opening also served as a graduation celebration for 14 new volunteer advocates at the center. They do everything from monitoring the hotline to meeting victims at the hospital. When Executive Director Daniele Dreitzler calls their commitment “remarkable,” she knows it’s a considerable understatement. Without those volunteers and the commitment of other members of the community, the center would cease to exist. (Information: therapecrisiscenter.org.)

The second event occurs today with the ribbon-cutting at the new Veteran’s Village Thrift Store at 6029 W. Charleston Blvd. Proceeds from sales at the store will go toward the operation of Arnold Stalk’s Veteran’s Village, a downtown apartment complex designed to help former members of the military who are down on their luck in Las Vegas. And there are plenty of them. (Information: Vvlv.org.)

Stalk has devoted many years to improving the lives of the poor and troubled in this community.

WYNN-GOODMAN: Former Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman’s memoir “Being Oscar” is getting a ton of positive press. I haven’t read an endorsement from casino mogul Steve Wynn, though. And I’m not expecting one.

Goodman takes Wynn to task for failing to support his vision for downtown redevelopment. (Wynn had some experience in that area. He tried to invigorate downtown by pressing for the creation of the Fremont Street Experience.)

But perhaps Goodman’s stiffest jab is when he compares his late client Anthony Spilotro, the Chicago Outfit enforcer, with Wynn in the greed department. Spilotro, long suspected of carrying out hits for the mob, was a generous gentleman in Goodman’s eyes.

“And he had a great philosophy. He’d always say, ‘You can only eat one steak at a time,’ ” Goodman writes. “That was the difference between him and a guy like Steve Wynn or some of those other casino owners who think they have to conquer the world. Tony wasn’t like that.”

So THAT’S the difference between Wynn and Spilotro.

And just who are those unnamed other casino owners?

JUICE JUSTICE: My favorite comedian/sports bettor Lem Banker has a wicked sense of humor. He followed developments in court as former NFL star O.J. Simpson — acquitted by a Los Angeles jury in the June 1994 deaths of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ronald Goldman — attempted to win a new trial following his 2008 robbery conviction in Las Vegas.

“I hope he gets the case overturned,” Lem says. “Not the second one — the first one.”

OUR TONY: Here’s to the late R-J theater critic Anthony Del Valle, who died Tuesday after a three-month illness. He not only devoted his life to the theater craft, but he wrote gutsy and nuanced reviews for the newspaper for nearly a decade.

When editor Mark Whittington visited him in the hospital recently and asked if he had a message for associates in the newsroom, Del Valle replied, “Go see a play.”

And tell them Del Valle sent you.

ON THE BOULEVARD: Legislative Democrats not only have lost the tax battle over education funding, but they’ve also managed to lose the narrative to their GOP counterparts and Gov. Brian Sandoval. ... As the federal HOA case grinds on, some residents of the Admiral’s Point II condominium development in Henderson are attempting to determine where their construction defect settlement wound up. ... Dinner? Drinks? Dancing to Frank and Dino? That old Vegas vibe is alive and well at the Italian American Club at 2333 E. Sahara Ave. ... Local adult business operator David Cooper has prevailed at the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in his attempt to have his lawsuit against Clark County reinstated.

Have an item for Bard of the Boulevard? Email comments and contributions to jsmith@reviewjournal.com or call 702-383-0295. Follow him on Twitter @jlnevadasmith.