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City Workers Offer Vegas Alternative Pay Cut Plan

LAS VEGAS -- A union representing more than 1,000 city workers has offered Las Vegas officials furloughs and skipping a raise as an alternative to 16 percent pay cuts to avoid massive layoffs.

The Las Vegas City Employees Association says its members would agree to forgo a 3 percent cost-of-living increase next year and take 96 hours of furlough time next year.

Union President Don King says the union presented the plan to the city last week and has asked the city to respond by Friday. City officials have offered its worker unions the option of taking 8 percent in cuts this year and another 8 percent next year. The city council has already approved program cuts and about 146 layoffs if the unions do not agree to pay cuts.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

 

Trial Set to Begin for Indicted Former UMC Chief

LAS VEGAS -- A jury has been selected in the trial of a former director of southern Nevada's public hospital.

Dismissed former University Medical Center director Lacy Thomas could face decades in prison if he is convicted of felony theft and misconduct of a public officer. He has pleaded not guilty.

Prosecutors contend the 53-year-old Thomas steered no-bid and no-work contracts to friends and associates in Chicago. That's where Thomas used to be chief of John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital.

He was hired in 2004 to turn around the financially troubled UMC in Las Vegas. He was fired in January 2007 after auditors found UMC lost more than $34 million the previous year, and after police revealed they were investigating the contracts.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

CCSD Wants Community Input on School Budget Cuts

LAS VEGAS -- Parents, students, teachers, and other community members are now weighing in on the tough issue of school budget cuts. An online survey will gauge where everyone feels the cuts should or should not be made.

The 16 question survey only takes a few minutes to fill out.  The questions deal with critical issues such as campus security, school transportation, teacher layoffs, and even closing schools.

Strong opinions are pouring in. Some of the questions come as little surprise and garner a mixed reaction. For example,  should sports and extra-curricular activities be eliminated to save a combined $11 million dollars?

"Let the kids be kids; let them have their sports," said one parent.

"Out of everything, maybe it is sports I would cut," said another person.

UMC to Become a Teaching Hospital

LAS VEGAS -- Clark County Commissioner Rory Reid says a public-private partnership will transform University Medical Center from a public hospital into a teaching hospital.

"UMC's business model is not sustainable and it must change," he said.

UMC costs the county $145 million a year to operate. So Reid wants private companies and the medical school to share the burden to make the hospital profitable.

In a news release, Reid said, "former higher education chancellor Jim Rogers will spearhead the effort, examining successful models from across the country and bringing partners to the table from education, the medical community and the private sector.

"As we look forward we need to see where we intend to be 10 or 15 years from now," Rogers said.

Son of Federal Courthouse Gunman Arrested

LAS VEGAS -- The U.S. Marshals Service says the son of the gunman in the shootout at the Las Vegas federal courthouse has been arrested in Tennessee for making threats against federal employees in Memphis.

The chief spokesman for the law enforcement agency, Jeff Carter, says that deputy marshals took Richard Earl Nelson into custody Wednesday night in western Tennessee. Nelson also goes by the name Sir Richard.

An arrest warrant had been issued for Nelson because of the alleged threats and a violation of his probation in another case. Carter said Nelson is the son of Johnny Lee Wicks, the 66-year-old ex-convict killed in a shootout in the federal building in downtown Las Vegas this month.

Wicks was killed by federal agents on Jan. 4th after he walked into the Lloyd George Federal Courthouse and began shooting. A court security officer was killed.

 

Inquest Set in Las Vegas Federal Courthouse Shooting

LAS VEGAS -- The Clark County coroner is scheduling an inquest into the Jan. 4 shooting that left a shotgun-wielding assailant and a court security officer dead, and a U.S. marshal wounded at a federal courthouse in downtown Las Vegas.

Assistant Coroner John Fudenberg said Wednesday the coroner is required by county law to hold a fact-finding proceeding any time someone dies at the hands of law enforcement.

Fudenberg says several witnesses are scheduled for the Feb. 19 inquest, and it's expected to take most of the day. A seven-person jury will decide whether the use of lethal force in the slaying of 66-year-old gunman Johnny Lee Wicks was justified, excusable or criminal.

Authorities say Wicks fired five times, and seven guards and marshals returned 81 shots before Wicks was killed.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

Las Vegas Mayor to Change Voter Registration

LAS VEGAS, Nv --  Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman says he and his wife, Carolyn Goodman, are switching their political party affiliations to nonpartisan.

Goodman said Tuesday that he hasn't decided yet whether he'll run for Nevada governor in 2010. But he says changing his party registration from Democrat keeps his options open.

Recent polls show Goodman would be a contender for governor against several Republicans, including incumbent Gov. Jim Gibbons. Goodman is 70. If he ran as a Democrat, he would face Clark County Commissioner Rory Reid. He's the son of U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

Goodman is term limited and cannot seek a fourth term as mayor in 2011. He has said he would like Carolyn Goodman to succeed him in office.

 (Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)