The newest, most expensive casino-resort on the Strip opened Wednesday with fireworks, fanfare and predictions that it would reshape Las Vegas.
During an hourlong ceremony in the porte-cochere of the 61-story, glass and steel Aria, MGM Mirage officials and others associated with CityCenter hailed the $8.5 billion, 18 million-square-foot development for its potential to transform the city and wake Nevada from economic slumber.
About 400 media and invited guests attended the ceremony, held next to the Lumia fountain and the curved wall Focus, two of CityCenter’s water features designed by WET.
The public got its first look at Aria after a fireworks display was launched from atop the hotel at 11 p.m.
An hour before the fireworks, fewer than 100 people had gathered at the barriers outside and traffic on the Strip was flowing easily. The crowd swelled to a few hundred by the time the fireworks show began.
Other portions of CityCenter opened earlier this month.
A ‘BEAST’ FROM NEVADA
The Pentagon confirmed the existence of what experts call the latest addition to the Air Force’s fleet of Nevada-based, remotely piloted spy planes: the RQ-170 Sentinel, aka the “Beast of Kandahar.”
Like the much-publicized Predator and Reaper unmanned aerial systems, the Sentinel is home-based at Creech Air Force Base in Indian Springs and probably was tested at classified locations in central Nevada, including Area 51.
UNIONS BALK AT PAY CUTS
At least two of the unions that represent Las Vegas city employees are balking at the prospect of a 16 percent pay cut over the next two years, despite the city’s stance that layoffs are inevitable if wages aren’t rolled back and raises eliminated.
Members of the Las Vegas City Employees Association and the union representing the city’s marshals contend they already have taken a big hit and that the proposed 8 percent cuts in each of the next two budget years are too much.
METRO TAPS THE BRAKES
Clark County Sheriff Doug Gillespie announced several changes to Metropolitan Police Department driving policies to change the culture in a force that has lost three officers in fatal accidents this year.
Officers now are restricted from driving more than 20 mph over posted speed limits, except in vehicle pursuits. The amount of training officers receive in their first five years on the job will double. And officers will be required to wear seat belts unless they might need to get out of the car quickly at a crime scene.
NEW AD IS A WILDCAT
Arizona athletic director Jim Livengood has been hired as UNLV’s new AD.
One of the first and biggest tests for the 64-year-old Livengood, who spent the last 16 years at Arizona, will be to find a new football coach for the hapless Rebels.
KENNY, HERRERA SET FREE
Former Clark County Commissioner Erin Kenny, who went to prison about two years ago for accepting bribes while in office, was released from home confinement.
A Federal Bureau of Prisons spokeswoman said Kenny, 48, left a Las Vegas halfway house Oct. 1 and was allowed to finish out her sentence at home.
She will be under supervision for the next three years.
Fellow disgraced commissioner Dario Herrera completed his confinement on political corruption charges on Monday.Week In ReviewMore Information
The Las Vegas Valley Water District’s rank out of 100 large water utilities in a study of drinking water quality by a national environmental watchdog group.
Boyd Gaming’s offer for all 18 casinos owned by Station Casinos, which is in the midst of bankruptcy reorganization.
Number of homeless people — 39 men and three women — who died on valley streets in 2009, according to the Clark County coroner’s office.
Nevada’s jobless rate in November, down from a record high of 13.3 percent in September. Experts cite a shrinking labor pool, not economic recovery.
“Me and a couple friends have built a nice bankroll for this night.”
who showed up at Wednesday’s opening of Aria with money in hand to test the myth that Megabucks slot jackpots hit within the first three days that a new resort opens its doors.
“Makes for a soggy sandwich.”
Project Manager Jim McDonald
Describing working conditions at the site of an intake pipe being built to supply water to Las Vegas from deep in Lake Mead. Miners at the bottom of a 600-foot access shaft next to the lake work in a downpour of thermally heated groundwater that seeps from the rock surrounding them.
“At this point in time? It’s where you turn right to go to Reno.”
Beatty Town Advisory Board member, when asked to define the community of about 1,000 residents 120 miles north of Las Vegas. A research project by Nye County officials recently revealed that Beatty was never officially formed and appears to have no legally recorded boundaries.
CITYCENTER CONSTRUCTION TIMELAPSE
KIDS TALK ABOUT SANTA
CIRQUE DU SOLEIL “VIVA ELVIS”
UNLV BASKETBALL vs. SOUTHERN UTAH UNIVERSITY
ARIA HOTEL PREOPENING NEWS CONFERENCE
SHERIFF GILLESPIE ON NEW METRO DRIVING RULES
UNLV BASKETBALL vs WEBER STATE UNIVERSITY