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Officials target future generations

A plastic box containing assorted tidbits of Clark County will be planted today in a dirt patch with a cornerstone instructing some great, great grandkid to unearth it in 2109.

That will be the county’s bicentennial.

The time capsule’s purpose is to give descendants a glimpse of the county at its centennial. Fifty items will be buried for posterity near the main entrance of the county’s Government Center.

Some items describe the economic strife that ensnared the county. Some point to other pressing problems of our time, such as a dwindling water supply. And some are plain quirky.

Most commissioners spoke Tuesday at a quick, no-frills ceremony for the time capsule, which is the final tribute to the centennial.

“No showgirls or fireworks or cakes,” Commissioner Rory Reid said, making a veiled reference to the more extravagant hoopla that Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman throws at such events.

All seven commissioners will enjoy a taste of immortality. Each chose memorabilia to represent them in 100 years.

Examples:

• Tom Collins, a big western-style belt buckle.

• Larry Brown, a signed baseball that illustrates his stint in the minor leagues.

• Lawrence Weekly, a recorded message for future senior citizens.

• Steve Sisolak, a bottle of red wine of 2009 vintage with a Clark County label.

• Chris Giunchigliani, a wooden apple-half symbolizing her teaching days.

• Susan Brager compiled photographs.

• Reid wrote letters to 22nd century citizens.

The county’s zeitgeist is captured in newspaper clippings, books, photos and DVDs.

It can be seen in an image of Las Vegas’ iconic welcome sign. The headlines resonate angst about the economic crisis and convey hope about CityCenter opening. Photos show Lake Mead’s sinking water levels.

This hodgepodge will be encased in a weatherproof box and wedged under a thick layer of concrete in a 3-foot-deep hole.

Let’s face it, unless science extends the average human life span exponentially, none of us will be around to see this monument to our bygone era cracked open.

Or witness the curious expressions of those who, upon unsealing the entombed artifacts, marvel at certain relics.

A belt buckle from a real cowboy? A baseball with real leather? And those funny discs that must be inserted in a primitive machine to create rough video images.

“The difficulty in 100 years will be finding something that will play these (DVDs),” said Mark Hall-Patton, who oversees the county’s museums.

It will be like trying to listen to the crude spinning records of 1909, which predated vinyl, Hall-Patton said. You would have to use a hand-cranked phonograph in a museum.

Reporters were told that today’s news stories about the time capsule might get put into the cache.

So if it’s 2109 and you’re reading this, kudos if Lake Mead hasn’t dried up, the Strip is powered by the earth’s magnetic waves and you’ve found a way to travel between here and Los Angeles in 20 minutes.

And oh, this is what a newspaper used to look like.

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

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