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Las Vegas to host its first Hempfest

LAS VEGAS -- Marijuana fans from around the world can now come to Las Vegas to get the latest on pot products and hemp.

The valley's first ever Hempfest launches Saturday near downtown and it comes at a key time when the first medical marijuana stores are just months away from in southern Nevada.

Hempfest has been a huge deal in Seattle for the past 23 years. Organizers say despite what people may envision, the event is for all ages.

Longtime concert promoter Chili Houlihan has wanted to bring Hempfest to Las Vegas for years and finally, he got his chance.

"The laws kept changing in Nevada, then, they were getting ready to license dispensaries, and it's time for a Hempfest," Houlihan said.

He is responsible for launching Hempfest without any problems. Clark County leaders have never allowed the festival until now.

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Pedestrian signals to activate on MLK Blvd. Thursday

LAS VEGAS -- Las Vegas City Councilman Ricki Barlow will activate the first of three new pedestrian signals on Martin Luther King Boulevard Thursday morning.

City leaders wanted to put in the signals after two pedestrians were killed just about a month and a half apart from each other. At first, the speed limit was reduced from 45 mph to 35 mph, but city council members thought there was more that needed to be done.

The signals that were designed to increase pedestrian safety in that area will be at intersections where the crosswalks were upgraded. At 11 a.m., Barlow will activate the signals at MLK Blvd. and Balzar Avenue.

The signal at that intersection will supplement the flasher that is on during school hours by providing all pedestrians with a flasher.

Driving You Crazy: Ramp meters at Rancho and I-15

LAS VEGAS - A viewer asks why ramp meters at Rancho Drive and I-15 are not on during rush hour or traffic jams.

The on-ramp is located near the Spaghetti Bowl area which frequently experiences gridlock during rush hours.

The Freeway and Arterial System of Transportation (FAST) handles problems with light-timing.

FAST started working on this problem last month. FAST representatives say they made some repairs to the detectors that help run the Rancho ramp meters to southbound U.S. 95 and to northbound I-15.

The meters should be working now and turning on when traffic starts to back up.

What's driving you crazy? E-mail your traffic questions and complaints to Demetria Obilor.

Public funds could be deal breaker for stadium

LAS VEGAS -- The Las Vegas City Council voted to move ahead with a proposed soccer stadium in downtown's Symphony Park with major changes to how it would be funded.

The council voted yes on the current terms but ordered the developers to work towards eliminating all use of public funds in building the stadium.

Under the current proposal, about $82 million public dollars would have gone toward the project with the developers, Cordish Companies and Findlay Sports & Entertainment, picking up about $118 million.

In addition to those terms, Cordish Companies also pledged an additional $250 million Wednesday to develop five land parcels with office space and hotels, adjacent to the proposed stadium, which is about 13 acres.

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Downtown Project laying off employees

LAS VEGAS -- Downtown Project which was founded by Zappos.com CEO Tony Hsieh is laying off 30 employees, a source tells 8 News NOW.

The project was established to redevelop downtown's East Fremont Street and encourage the growth of more businesses. 8 News NOW has learned some of the cuts are from the corporate side and community based entities involving arts and music.

The Downtown Project's communication office released a statement Tuesday afternoon:

"Since January 2012, Downtown Project has been working to help revitalize downtown Las Vegas through several hundred investments and initiatives. At this time, we are focused on streamlining our operations as we continue to execute on our plans. Doing so requires that we restructure our operations and focus on follow-on investments.

Expert: Gaming contributes billions to U.S. economy

LAS VEGAS -- Las Vegas is the king of gaming but the city has plenty of competition with some form of gaming now in 48 of the 50 states.

Batman and Robin have theirs. So does Wonder Woman and so do the guys from the "Hangover" movies but the Global Gaming Expo is much more than the latest slot machines.

"The U.S. gaming industry last year contributed $240 billion in economic activity." Adam Sacks with Oxford Economics said.

Sacks authored a brand new report on the economic impact of the U.S. gaming industry. He has crunched all the numbers studying the gaming industry's significant ripple effect, including local businesses.

"If you can think of what would happen if the gaming industry disappeared in Las Vegas and all of the employees of these casinos no longer had jobs and no longer had incomes, how that would affect everything from the grocery stores to movie theatres to the banks and so forth," Sacks said.

Police: Teen did nothing to incite deadly attack

LAS VEGAS -- No arrests have been made in the killing of a local teen who was shot at a busy intersection. Las Vegas police are hoping the public can help identify a suspect.

The shooting happened Sunday, Sept. 21.  Police say 17-year-old Jose Pena was sitting in the passenger seat of a car that was stopped at Sahara Avenue and Decatur Boulevard when another car pulled up, some words were exchanged, and someone in the second car shot into Pena's car, killing him.

Metro Police say Pena did nothing to incite the attack.

"Nobody did anything to deserve any of this. This is an innocent victim. We are looking to solve this," said Lt. Ray Steiber, Las Vegas Metropolitan Department.