County allows paid fitness activities in parks

A lukewarm rain dampened an already sweat-soaked pack of fitness hounds who last week welcomed a July shower as they ran up hills, knocked out push-ups and dragged tires across the wet grass like plow horses.

The Henderson park where they huffed and groaned is aptly named Mission Hills, in part because they had to power through 15 drills, ranging from demanding to torturous, in one hour, a feat that has been dubbed “Mission Impossible.”

Also, the founder of the fitness boot camp last week accomplished a mission that she zealously pursued for 18 months: persuading Clark County officials to let her offer paid exercise classes in county parks.

Julie Johnston, who owns Boot Camp Las Vegas, can smile and describe her wrangling with county parks officials as a thing of the past.

She and the county have struck a truce, one that clears the way for other fitness professionals who want to lead groups in the county’s 94 parks.

“We’re very happy,” Johnston said. “You know, you have to compromise.”

Commissioners last week approved new language in the code enabling commercial and nonprofit groups to run paid fitness activities in the parks for a yearly fee.

Businesses pay $1,000 a year for each park they use, and nonprofit groups pay $500 per park each year.

The fee change was crucial, Johnston said, estimating that she will pay $4,000 to $6,000 a year.

Park officials initially had wanted to charge $20 an hour, which would have cost her $30,000 to $60,000 a year, she said.

The cities of Las Vegas and Henderson allow her to run boot camps at their parks at no cost as long as she follows the rules and doesn’t interfere with other park users.

Mayor Oscar Goodman assured her that he would resist any attempts by the city to impose fees on the boot camps because he thinks they are good for residents, she said. Henderson officials are observing how well her activities fit with the parks while they decide how much to charge her, she said.

“That’s why the fight with the county was so important because it’s going to set a precedent with the cities,” Johnston said.

Johnston credits a regime change or the outcome.

Jane Pike became Clark County’s acting parks and recreation director in February after her predecessor, Leonard Cash, transferred to Justice Court.

At first Pike wanted to impose hourly fees and a rule requiring Johnston to hold her classes in designated areas.

Johnston objected. She brought a group of vocal boot camp supporters to a commissioners meeting in protest.

Hourly fees combined with rules keeping her from moving freely in the parks could sink the boot camp, Johnston argued.

Pike invited Johnston to her office to resolve the dispute, which had been simmering since early 2007.

Johnston said she and Pike met weekly, delving into how the boot camp could operate without infringing on park goers. They also discussed how large the fees should be and what types of groups should pay them, Johnston said.

“This Jane Pike, she really worked out for the residents,” Johnston said. “She kept her ego out of it.”

Johnston agreed to avoid running the classes in ball fields, courts and other areas where organized teams play. She will move the group if other park goers ask to use that space.

In contrast, Cash, the former director, believed that no private enterprise should use the parks for profit, even ones that offer fitness classes, Johnston said.

Last year, Cash told the Review-Journal that if he let in one business, a swarm of entrepreneurs could invade the parks, from tennis instructors to food vendors to hot air balloonists, usurping space that families should enjoy.

Cash ordered park police to break up the boot camps. He softened his stance later, allowing Johnston to operate at Desert Breeze and Nevada Trail parks.

Pike said after she took over, she decided the county should be more flexible about paid activities. After all, the purpose of parks has evolved over the decades, she said.

“It’s much easier to say, ‘No, period. We’ve always done it that way,'” Pike said. “I think that flexibility is so important.”

A big selling point was Johnston’s assurance that boot camp participants are mobile and don’t monopolize one area for an entire hour, she said.

Pike said there’s little chance of vendors flooding into the parks. The county will decide which businesses to permit, based on how their activities fit with the parks’ recreational goals, she said.

With these changes, boot campers must contend with only one enforcer: Johnston.

“Go, go, go, go!” she barked last week at anyone slowing to catch their breaths. “Run, run, run as fast as you can go!”

Andrea Martinez, 35, a bartender training for a half-marathon, has put herself through the rigors since April, and gladly.

“I like being outdoors and having her push you,” Martinez said. “It’s good motivation.”

Valerie Gray, 55, stopped to patch up a blister on her foot after running laps, darted up and down a hill several times, and knocked out 100 sit-ups and 100 push-ups on her knees.

Gray survived a three-year bout with cancer and thought a boot camp would do her some good. Four months later, she routinely does two grueling sessions a day.

“I like it,” Gray said, flexing her right biceps. “I went from flab to muscles.”

Johnston launched the venture four years ago after intense exercise in the park helped her shed 60 pounds.

Being in a family of entrepreneurs, she originally envisioned the boot camp as a business, but is now pursuing nonprofit status. She sees herself improving fitness in people who crave something more lively than a ho-hum workout in the gym.

“They want a little crazy added to it,” Johnston said.

Contact reporter Scott Wyland at swyland@reviewjournal.com or 702-455-4519.

ad-high_impact_4
News
Alexa roots for Golden Knights to win Stanley Cup
Alexa, from Amazon's Echo smart speaker, is rooting for the Las Vegas Golden Knights to win the Stanley Cup.
Defense attorneys wrap up closing arguments in David Copperfield civil trial
Defense attorneys wrapped up their closing arguments in David Copperfield civil trial at the Regional Justice Center in Las Vegas. A British tourist is suing Copperfield, his company and others claiming he suffered a traumatic brain injury after participating in an illusion in which the magician appears to make 13 people vanish. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
President Trump talks about how to pronounce "Nevada"
At the United States Naval Academy Graduation and Commissioning on May 25, 2018, President Donald Trump discusses how to pronounce "Nevada."
Amazon's Alexa Recorded and Shared a Couple’s Conversation
Amazon's Alexa Recorded and Shared a Couple’s Conversation News station KIRO 7 reported a Portland couple’s conversation was recorded and sent to one of their contacts via their Amazon Echo device. They found out when the husband’s employee called him saying, via KIRO 7 The voice-activated assistant is used by more than 60 million U.S. consumers, according to Bloomberg. But what will happen if these devices become digital spies within our homes? Daniel Kahn Gillmor, Daniel Kahn Gillmor, to Bloomberg Daniel Kahn Gillmor, to Bloomberg Amazon Inc. issued a statement that the incident in Portland is an “extremely rare occurrence,” and the company did not state whether it was a bug or due to hacking.
Neighbor talks about 15-year-old alleged shooter
Nolan Turner, 15, who lives across the street from the 15-year-old who allegedly shot and killed his father and shot his mother talks about growing up with the teen. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas teen kills dad, wounds mom before she shoots him, police say
A 15-year-old boy shot his father to death and wounded his mother in a west valley home Thursday morning before being wounded when she got a gun and returned fire, according to Las Vegas police. Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department officers were called just after 10:45 a.m. Thursday on the 9900 block of Barrier Reef Drive, near West Sahara Avenue and South Hualapai Way. In a briefing near the scene, police said the teenager shot his dad in the head, killing him, then shot his mom, who got another gun and returned fire. They said the boy jumped a wall and ran away, but was arrested about a quarter-mile away. Both the teen and his mom were hospitalized and are expected to survive, police said. Police did not immediately identify the family members but said the man was in his early 50s and the woman was in her late 40s. K.M. Cannon/ Las Vegas Review-Journal
Las Vegas Native Troy Brown Jr. Preparing for NBA
Former Centennial High School player Troy Brown Jr., now 18 and one of the most accomplished high school basketball players in the history of Las Vegas, is back in his hometown preparing to play in the NBA. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Closing arguments at David Copperfield civil trial
Attorneys for British tourist Gavin Cox and MGM Resorts make their closing arguments in the David Copperfield civil trial at the Regional Justice Center in Las Vegas. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
UNLV Surgeon Performs Successful Rare Pancreas Surgery
Las Vegas resident Mary Duda underwent a pancreatoduodenectomy, or Whipple procedure, for her pancreatic cancer. While the grandmother of 19 recovered, her doctors say she's one of the lucky ones. Pancreatic surgery can be risky and has a high morbidity rate. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Former Las Vegas police explorer sentenced to 25 years to life in prison
Former Las Vegas police explorer Joshua Honea sentenced to 25 years to life in prison for sexual assault of a minor, but was allowed to remain free on bail pending appeal. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Golden Knights Fans Line Up to Grab Their Conference Champions Gear
Golden Knights fans lined up at City National Arena Monday to snap up Conference Champions gear and other memorabilia the day after the Golden Knights won the Stanley Cup Conference Finals. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas-Review Journal)
Las Vegas shooting survivor has surprise reunion
Oct. 1 mass shooting survivors Taylor Stovall and Parker Gabel meet for the first time since Gabel helped the injured Stovall to an ambulance the night of the shooting. Stovall, then 17, was shot in the arm. They met Friday at the Tropicana.
Hawaii volcano presser
Talmadge Magno of Hawaii Civil Defense gives an update on the Kilauea volcano
Same-Sex Weddings on the Rise in Las Vegas
Allie and Tara Shima finally tied the knot. They've been together for five years and have both been married before. This time, they wanted something simple, quick and cheap, but it still had to feel special. The couple chose Las Vegas. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Courtyard Homeless Resource Center begins building in Las Vegas
Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman and Ward 3 Councilman Bob Coffin kicked off the demolition of buildings where the Courtyard Homeless Resource Center will be built. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Father of fallen Marine to throw out first pitch
Rich Perez, father of Rich Perez Jr. who died while serving in the Marines in Iraq, talks about throwing out the first pitch at the Las Vegas 51s baseball game on Memorial Day. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
"Yanny" or "Laurel" hearing test has gone viral
'Yanny' or 'Laurel?' This Hearing Test Has Gone Viral This hearing test has gone viral on social media with some hearing "Yanny" while others swear hearing "Laurel." The voice is actually saying "Laurel," but the pitch was changed, causing some to hear "Yanny."
LVMPD Briefs on Year's Sixth Officer-Involved Shooting
Las Vegas police have identified the officer who shot a shovel-wielding woman on Saturday as 23-year-old Ondre Wills.
Police release body camera footage of shovel-wielding woman
Las Vegas police identified the woman they said threatened neighbors with a skillet Saturday night. Officer Ondre Wills, 23, shot at Sommer Richards, 34, multiple times on Big Sur Drive, near Nellis Boulevard and Desert Inn Road. Police responded to the area after receiving reports that the woman was armed with a shovel. Police said the woman chased neighbors and a security guard. Wills got between Richards and the others and repeatedly told her to drop the shovel. The woman instead turned and moved toward a person who was standing nearby before the officer fired shots. Police said she bit another officer as he attempted to render aid. Richards remains in serious but stable condition.
College of Southern Nevada Graduates 2017-18 Class
The College of Southern Nevada's graduation ceremony was held at the Thomas & Mack Center Monday. The 2017-18 class was the institution's largest in history. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Metro looking for suspect in bank robbery.
On Jan. 22, a man robbed a bank in the 8700 block of West Sahara Avenue.
Former Gov. Mike Huckabee at opening of U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, at opening ceremony of U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem, speaks about the violence in Gaza. (Debra J. Saunders/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Supreme Court strikes down law banning sports betting outside Nevada
The Supreme Court has overturned a federal ban on sports gambling. States other than Nevada will be allowed to provide bookmaking and betting at casinos and race tracks. Justice Samuel Alito said Congress can regulate sports gambling directly, but if it elects not to do so, “each State is free to act on its own.” The vote was 6-3. One research firm estimates that 32 states will likely offer sports betting within five years.
Westcare Clinic Crucial to Las Vegan's Addiction Recovery
Christian Hunt, 21, was sent to Westcare in September after he ended up on drugs and in the hospital. If it weren't for the nonprofit's Community Triage Center, Hunt said he would still be using drugs. Instead, he's been sober for six months, and stopped using methamphetamines seven months ago. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Foundation Provides Full Rides for Clark County Students
Somewhere along the banks of the Ohio River in Owensboro, Kentucky, a group of students from Sin City are pursuing a higher education. Feature on the 38 Clark County students that the Rogers Foundation has given full rides to for Kentucky Wesleyan College. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Flames engulf house in Henderson
Clark County firefighters battled a house fire early Friday morning in Henderson. The house, located near Volunteer Boulevard and Executive Airport Drive, was fully engulfed in flames about 2 a.m. Shifting winds sent massive plumes of smoke across the southern Las Vegas Valley sky. As of 3 a.m. , the cause of the fire was not known and no injuries were reported.
Harvey Weinstein’s Estranged Wife Speaks Out for First Time
Harvey Weinstein’s Estranged Wife Speaks Out for First Time Georgina Chapman was profiled for 'Vogue’s' June issue, speaking on her estranged husband for the first time since he was accused of sexual assault in October. Georgina Chapman, to Vogue Georgina Chapman, to Vogue Chapman, who has two children with Weinstein, also said she has been seeing a therapist and that has helped her move forward. Georgina Chapman, to Vogue Georgina Chapman, to Vogue Read the full profile on Chapman in Vogue’s June issue or online at Vogue.com.
Bark-Andre Furry the dog is a Vegas Golden Knights hockey fan
The furriest fan of the NHL's Vegas Golden Knights is growing into a social media sensation. Bark-Andre Furry the Jack Russell terrier has thousands of followers on Twitter and Instagram. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Suspect Sought In Robbery Attempt
Attorney Gloria Allred on case against Benjamin Sparks
Attorney Gloria Allred is representing the victim in a "sex slave" case against GOP political consultant Benjamin Sparks.
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Events
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like