Astronaut gets badly needed ride

Golden Nugget owner Tilman Fertitta provided a plane that rushed astronaut Mark Kelly to the bedside of his wife, wounded Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.

According to the Houston Chronicle, Kelly took Fertitta up on his offer because it was the quickest solution and because he didn’t want to be open to criticism for taking an Air Force or Navy plane.

Kelly, who has flown on three space shuttle flights, joined his wife within hours of the shooting rampage in Tucson, Ariz., which left six dead and 14 wounded at a political gathering.

Fertitta — CEO of Landry’s billion-dollar empire, based in Houston, of amusement parks and family eateries — has been a close friend of Kelly for some time.

REPORT ‘ridiculous’

Elaine Wynn is dismissing as “ridiculous” a report that she has dined but once at Alex restaurant at Wynn Las Vegas since it opened six years ago.

After it was confirmed that Alex Stratta’s luxe restaurant was closing this Saturday, local free-lancer Steve Friess wrote in a blog that a chef at Alex indicated that Wynn hadn’t returned and that her former husband, Steve Wynn, “was an increasingly rare presence as well.”

Stratta said he recalled the Wynns, when they were married, coming in together more than a dozen times, at table 32 or the chef’s table. “I couldn’t count the other times they were in. She always ordered fish, with a white burgundy wine. She didn’t like cream, didn’t like butter.”

Elaine Wynn, responding by e-mail, said the restaurant “was and will always be one of my most favorite restaurants anywhere, anytime.”

“It was intended to be a place to go to on special occasions, something that is rare to distinguish in these days of casual dining.”

She added, “It was deliberately meant to be a ‘rare’ offering. When I would choose to go there, it was with great thought and anticipation. Alex was a place to be savored. I would never have viewed it as a once-a-week place.”

She called Stratta “one of America’s most gifted chefs.”

Stratta said the closing was not about the food: “People don’t want the three-dinner, super high-end fine dining.”


LPGA Tour stunner Natalie Gulbis, who resides at Lake Las Vegas, has confirmed to that she and rising PGA star Dustin Johnson, 25, are dating. …

Happy 87th birthday this week to local golf and singing legend Don Cherry.


“Desperate Housewives” star Eva Longoria, doing a photo shoot at Beso, in Crystals at CityCenter, over the weekend. She has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, citing debts of nearly $5.7 million. She has promised a more hands-on approach. … Andy Dick, escorted out of the Brenden Theatres in the Palms on Saturday. Earlier in the day, he and Pauly Shore were asked to leave the porn convention at the Sands Expo and Convention Center. They appeared to be filming a show. … A baby carriage with infants, spotted on the Adult Video News red carpet Saturday at the Palms. … At Sammy Hagar’s Cabo Wabo Cantina at Miracle Mile Shops in the Planet Hollywood Resort on Saturday: Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo, watching the NFL playoff games, and soon-to-be father of twins Nick Cannon, having lunch Saturday. … Boston Red Sox owner John Henry dining with friends Saturday, including Mike Mills, bassist for alternative rock band R.E.M., at Todd English P.U.B. in Crystals. … At “Viva Elvis,” in Aria, on Saturday: Tamra Barney from “The Real Housewives of Orange County” and boyfriend Eddie Judge.


“New York City’s sanitation workers were accused of drinking on the job during the blizzard. At least something was getting plowed.” — David Letterman

Norm Clarke can be reached at 702-383-0244 or Find additional sightings and more online at

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