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Downtown Las Vegas Casinos Struggle to Lure Gamblers

LAS VEGAS - Visitors to Las Vegas are spending money.

"(My spending) could vary anywhere to four or five hundred dollars," said tourist Vellynn Chang. "I plan to spend about seven or eight hundred dollars," added tourist Gary Oliver.

But, tourists are not spending as much as they did in previous years, and downtown Las Vegas is feeling the brunt of that trend. Union Gaming Group principal Grant Govertsen says downtown cash flow is down nearly 55 percent from a peak in 2006.

"It's clearly not a pretty story when you look at both the revenue and, more importantly, the cash flow," Govertsen said. In response, downtown properties slashed room rates. While the lower rates lure customers, they hurt profitability. "Whether it's charging $125 or $25 a night, you still need roughly the same amount of people to staff that hotel," Govertsen said.

Man's Body Discovered in Motel

LAS VEGAS -- Metro is investigating the discovery of a man's body in a downtown Las Vegas motel.

Police say the body has been at the scene for some time. Police say they were contacted by a contractor doing work at the motel who reported a foul smell. 

The motel is located near Utah Ave. and 3rd Street.

Las Vegas Denied Stimulus Money Again

LAS VEGAS -- For the second time this year, the Las Vegas valley was denied millions of dollars in federal stimulus funds and it looks like a lack of private matching funds was the cause.

The money would have helped retrofit thousands of Las Vegas homes to be more energy efficient.

More than $450 million was up for grabs. Twenty-five communities were selected to get some of that money. Even though Las Vegas applied, the city was denied. Now, city and county leaders are wondering where the problem lies.

"We find out today that about every other city in the United States got it, a couple of states got it, some counties got it and we got zip," said Mayor Oscar Goodman.

The money would have gone towards making 28,000 homes and businesses energy efficient and would have also created 1,600 jobs over the next three years.

I-Team: Commission Considers Board to Oversee UMC

LAS VEGAS -- Clark County commissioners took another step Wednesday to transform University Medical Center into a full-fledged teaching hospital. But once again, commissioners took no action to relinquish any oversight of hospital operations.

Commissioners talked about a proposal to appoint an operating board to oversee UMC -- a group of professionals with hospital, medical and business expertise.

Commissioners took no action, expressing their reluctance to give up control.

Currently the commissioners serve as the UMC board of trustees and some critics suggest politicians should not be running the hospital.

The trustees considered a proposal to appoint an 11 member advisory board made up of insurance providers, medical professionals and labor, just to name a few. As proposed, the board would oversee the hospital's budget, planning and policy decisions, all subject to commission approval.

Residents March to Honor Domestic Violence Victims

LAS VEGAS -- In the last month, three women have been murdered in Las Vegas, all victims of domestic violence. But Tuesday night, one organization honored the victims and fought back.

A group of community members marched to Woodlawn Cemetery where they held a special ceremony to honor domestic violence victims.

Each participant held the name of a murder victim from the past several years. Organizers say it's more than just remembering those who lost their lives, it's about fighting back.

The march was held in honor of Brittney Lavoll. Police say Lavoll was shot and killed by her ex-boyfriend, Kevin Gipson, outside of a Jack in the Box last month.

Rebecca Ferreira, executive director of Safe Faith United, says the event is about raising awareness to a crime that, in many cases, has warning signs.

Police Make Arrest in 1983 Murder

LAS VEGAS -- Police have made an arrest in a cold case murder that happened 26 years ago at a downtown motel parking lot.

Metro arrested 51-year-old George Lawson on April 18th at his Las Vegas home. Police say Lawson admitted to the shooting 60-year-old Ismale Ceballos on December 20, 1983. The two men did not know each other.

"Someone was leaning on someone's vehicle, he said 'hey move, get out of the way,' they got into a verbal argument and then he shot him," said Lt. George Castro, Metro.

Lt. Castro says Lawson has a violent criminal history but only minor offenses in the past 20 years.

Fingerprint technology funded by a $1.9 million federal grant is credited with Lawson's capture. "We were able to discover a fingerprint that maybe we did not have the technology back then to process because maybe it wasn't as sensitive as it is today," said Lt. Castro.

First Trial in Las Vegas Hepatitis Cases Begins Today

LAS VEGAS -- Opening statements in Las Vegas' first hepatitis C civil trial took place Monday and it was a good look at how each side will present their case.

While the plaintiffs argue the pharmaceutical companies knew their vials of propofol were too large for use at the endoscopy centers, the defense says their vials were clearly marked for single use.

The plaintiff's attorney told the jury that the pharmaceutical companies being sued were the start of the entire hepatitis C outbreak. He says they were more worried about money than the patients.

"Drug companies are required to put patient safety above profits and if they put profits above patient safety, they must be held fully accountable," said attorney Robert Eglet.

Eglet is representing plaintiff Henry Chanin in the case. Chanin contracted hepatitis C from the Desert Shadow Endoscopy Center back in 2006.