Reporters’ Notebook

PERHAPS OSCAR B. GOODMAN’S MIDDLE INITIAL stands for “bare midriff.” (Not his, thankfully.)

On Thursday, the mayor once again found himself on television with attractive young women — in this case, cheerleaders from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

In fact, he ordered a cameraman to hurry up and start filming as the mayor’s weekly news conference started, good-naturedly complaining about footage of his collapse at the opening of the Fremont East District in August.

“You get me when I’m falling over, but not when I’m with the young ladies,” the mayor said.

The cheerleaders, along with several UNLV honchos, were there to see Goodman declare Friday “Rebel Red Day” in honor of the school’s homecoming weekend.

Goodman also wanted to atone for having to wear a University of Nevada, Reno football jersey at Wednesday’s council meeting. He lost a bet with Reno Mayor Bob Cashell over the UNLV-UNR football game.

Though their uniforms exposed their toned abs, the cheerleaders looked positively Victorian compared to the bikini-clad Brazilian dancers who posed with the mayor in September to commemorate Hispanic Heritage Month.

In addition to being smart and beautiful, the cheerleaders were also quite young.

“I think I know your family, don’t I?” said Goodman, 68, after one cheerleader introduced herself.

“You do,” she responded. “My grandpa said to tell you hello.”

ALAN CHOATE

OVERHEARD ON THE SCANNER: “I can’t let this guy drive. He’s not doing a good job.”

THE NEWS THAT BARACK OBAMA AND DICK CHENEY are apparently eighth cousins was still making the rounds on Thursday when the Democratic presidential candidate made stops in Northern and Southern Nevada.

Interviewed while on a plane from Reno to Las Vegas, Obama joked about his kinship with the vice president.

“He’s on the plane with me right now. Want to talk to him?” Obama said. “We’re playing a little gin rummy.”

MOLLY BALL

OBAMA HAD ALREADY TAKEN AS MANY AUDIENCE QUESTIONS as he’d promised to at a campaign appearance in North Las Vegas on Thursday. But, seeing a sweet, serious-looking child in the front row, the Illinois senator said he’d make an exception and take one more from the little girl, who said she was 11. Awww.

“What’s your question, sweetie?” he asked.

“What are you going to do about gas prices?” the girl chirped, to laughter from the crowd.

Obama laughed, too, saying he’d expected something more age-appropriate, like what had made him want to be president.

“I thought you were going to ask me an easy question. That’s a serious question.”

Obama proceeded to give the precocious pixie a serious answer, saying he would push for energy independence and higher fuel economy standards.

MOLLY BALL

OVERHEARD AT LAST WEEK’S RENAISSANCE FAIR at Sunset Park: “It’s not every day you get your cell phone caught in your chain mail.”

GEORGE KNAPP, A KLAS-TV REPORTER, was a surprising choice to serve as grand marshal of Saturday’s Nevada Day parade in Carson City.

The sponsors of the parade, which has drawn as many as 50,000 to Carson City, decided to make “Area 51” the theme this year. While acknowledging Knapp is largely unknown in Northern Nevada, Nevada Day Inc. President Reg Creasey noted he is famous in Southern Nevada for his stories about Area 51 and the paranormal.

Area 51 is the so-called “secret” military base at Groom Lake, about 100 miles north of Las Vegas, where the U-2 spy plane and the stealth fighter were developed. According to legend, it also is the base where aliens whose aircraft have crashed are taken for study by the government.

Knapp is co-author of “Hunt for Skinwalker,” a book about UFOs and strange creatures that reportedly have been sighted at a ranch in northeastern Utah.

In becoming grand marshal, Knapp joins such luminaries as Clark Gable, Michael Landon and Frank Sinatra Jr. in serving in the role. None of them were know to consort with aliens.

ED VOGEL

LAS VEGAS MAYOR OSCAR GOODMAN was bursting to tell the Review-Journal’s editorial board about pending plans for Neonopolis, but decided to hold his tongue despite cajoling and cagey guesses from journalists in the room.

He would only say that an entertainer is looking at occupying some of the empty space in the mall that haunts the east end of the Fremont Street Experience.

When one wag cracked that Lawrence Welk probably wasn’t what downtown needed (hint: as in the late Lawrence Welk), Goodman insisted that this particular entertainer is “on fire.”

Was Lawrence Welk cremated?

When Britney Spears’ name came up, it was immediately dismissed. After all, that’s not a good location for a rehab clinic, or a GI Jane hair salon.

Goodman, however, did confirm that Spanish language broadcaster Telemundo might occupy office space there.

ALAN CHOATE

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