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With early voting under way and Election Day fast approaching, the Battle Born State looked more like a battleground last week.

During a Thursday stop in Las Vegas to stump for Republican U.S. Senate candidate Sharron Angle, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich declared Nevada the "epicenter" of the midterm election.

The onslaught began Monday when GOP star Sarah Palin swung through Reno to plug Angle’s Senate bid and to launch a pre-election Tea Party Express bus tour across the country.

Phoenix area Sheriff Joe Arpaio stumped for Angle in Las Vegas on Tuesday, and Vice President Joe Biden campaigned in Reno on Wednesday for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.

Then on Friday, the biggest star of all: President Barack Obama, in his third Las Vegas visit this year to support Reid.

The president spoke at an outdoor rally at Orr Middle School and then attended a private Democratic fundraiser before jetting away on Air Force One on Saturday morning.


Say what now?

Sharron Angle came under fire as a video went viral of remarks she made at Rancho High School on Oct. 15, when a group of Hispanic students questioned her about one of her campaign ads on illegal immigration.

Angle, in what appeared to be a bungled message about multiculturalism, gave this response: "I don’t know that all of you are Latino. Some of you look a little more Asian to me."


Bridge opens to traffic

The Mike O’Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge, better known as the Hoover Dam bypass, quietly opened, sparing motorists the slow crawl across the dam.

The visitor parking lot and pedestrian walkway across the bridge remained fenced off as workers appeared to be putting the finishing touches on the parking area and pathway up to the structure.

Officials said the lot and path could open this week.


Vegas employees: TGIT!

Most Las Vegas city offices will close on Fridays starting in January, when city employees convert to a four-day, 9.5-hour-a-day workweek under newly approved contract concessions.

Members of the Las Vegas City Employees Association, the city’s largest union, ratified the concessions Tuesday night, and the City Council followed suit on Wednesday.

Henderson, North Las Vegas and Boulder City also work a four-day week that has most city offices closed on Fridays.


Jury: Shooting justified

The wife of a man shot dead by Las Vegas police on Aug. 27 said her husband started committing armed robberies after he lost his job, his home and his car.

Wendy Whitfield told a coroner’s inquest jury that Robert Mills, 38, was a devoted husband and father before desperation pushed him into crime and finally a fatal confrontation with police.

The jury ruled officers acted justifiably when they shot Mills at a convenience store at Nellis and Charleston boulevards.


Joblessness hits high

Unemployment in Las Vegas jumped to a record in September: 15 percent, up from 14.7 percent in August.

According to the latest figures, statewide unemployment held at 14.4 percent from August to September.

It’s the first time since January and just the second time in three years that Nevada’s jobless rate did not increase from month to month.

In all, 196,200 Nevadans lack jobs and are seeking work, including 145,400 people in Las Vegas.

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