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Biden talks minimum wage in downtown Las Vegas lunch stop

LAS VEGAS — Vice President Joe Biden stopped at a Mexican restaurant in downtown Las Vegas to make a pitch for raising the minimum wage nationally to $10.10 per

hour. Biden

had facts at his fingertips when he met for lunch Monday afternoon with three Hispanic business owners, Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman and local Democratic Congressman Steven Horsford.

The vice president said that boosting the minimum wage from the current $7.25 nationally would pump $19 billion into the national economy. He said small businesses are the life blood of the economy and raising the wage at those businesses would lift millions of people out of poverty, including 256,000 people in Nevada.

"Every time we raise the minimum wage, we talk about how it will hurt small business. The irony is it actually has helped small business," Biden said.

He said all that money would lead to more spending and ultimately more jobs.

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Stadiums built without public money a rarity in U.S.

The city of Las Vegas idea to have developers to pay for the entire proposed downtown soccer stadium is a rare one.

The Las Vegas City Council recently approved nonbinding plans for a $200 million soccer stadium that mandates no public money — but it’s a rare public-private stadium deal in this country that includes no public dollars.

Read more in the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

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.

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.

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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.

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.