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End of an era: Nevada’s last news helicopter grounded

Updated February 28, 2024 - 11:33 am

It’s the end of an era, and an air-a, at KSNV Channel 3.

Kelly Curran, the station’s traffic reporter and meteorologist, is leaving for KCRA Channel 3 in Sacramento, that city’s NBC affiliate. Thursday is her final day at News 3.

And, the Sky 3 helicopter has been grounded. Thus ends the station’s 34-year run of sending its chopper over Southern Nevada to track traffic, weather patterns and the odd chase scene.

Sky 3 was the only helicopter employed by a news organization in the state. But the chopper wasn’t all that was soaring out of the station. So were costs to keep the bird aloft. Its final flight was New Year’s Eve.

“It was an expense that, heading into this year, we just couldn’t really justify,” KSNV General Manager Larry Strumwasser said Tuesday. “So that was the bottom line.”

The chopper, a Robinson R66, had replaced the old Robinson R44 last June. Curran had spent the the past two years as an “aerial reporter and photographer” at the station. She covered a range of elevated news stories, from the F1 traffic closures, to structure fires to train derailments.

Curran has been at Channel 3 since 2015. She will report news and weather in California’s state capital. KCRA continues to cover the region from its LiveCopter 3. Curran says she will report from the air occasionally, and also the station’s “state-of-the-art” SUV on wildfires, floods, and mountain snow.

Curran said the decision to leave the city has been difficult.

“I love Las Vegas, the mountains, the people, the entertainment, my amazing friends that have become more like family to me,” Curran said in a text Tuesday. “I miss Sky 3 every day its pilot, Patrick Edenfield. We had such a good time up there. There is nothing that will ever compare to flying down the middle of the Strip at night.”

Strumwasser said the company is already narrowing the candidates to fill the void left by Curran.

“We’re going to miss Kelly,” Strumwasser said. “She’s been such a good employee, and rock-solid on her newscasts.”

We’ll always have Paris

There seems a pulse at the hard-luck Paris Theater. Hearing from an informed camp that “Annie Get Your Gun” is planning an eight-week run, ending Dec. 15, much of it coinciding with NFR. And, a return of the “Nitro Circus” show is in the long-term horizon. This would be backed by UFC Dana White, who has confirmed his involvement.

The rest is still to be verified and tightened up, but we’re confident at least one of these projects will illuminate that venue. Then, and only then, do we summon the shaman.

Your VegasVille Moment

Master music director and trombonist Nathan Tanouye, smiling and chuckling all the way through a five-minute joke by Pete Barbutti during Sunday’s ”Joe Williams Scholarship Concert” at UNLV’s Ham Hall. The odyssey ended with the punch line, “Artie chokes, three for a dollar.” Worth the wait. As Barbutti says, “I don’t use any one-liners.”

Cool Hang Alert

It’s Easy’s (like Sunday morning, except this happens at night) Cocktail Lounge at Aria. A triple shot of superb speakeasy talent. Friday it’s the ever-sultry soul-R&B-pop artist Mecca & Friends, Saturday the ever-rocking Cassie Stone, and Sunday the ever-stylish country artist Cali Tucker. Can we ever get enough? Hours are 6 p.m. 2 a.m., intel at easysvegas.com. Find the place tucked away at Proper Eats.

John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His “PodKats!” podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at jkatsilometes@reviewjournal.com. Follow @johnnykats on X, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

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