Friday, December 28, 2012

Ladies of the Year

When I took the time to sit down and think about it, I realized that all of my most memorable photos from 2012 involved women. Everyone knows that images of women are used to sell Las Vegas, but those sex symbols are not the only kinds of ladies that live here. One of the great things about working for the local news is getting to expose the real people beneath the veneer of this often misunderstood city. This year, I've seen teen moms struggling to make ends meet, women trying to make their Vegas dance dreams come true, pageant princesses, dollar store divas, streetwalkers, proud strippers, prom queens, bingo stars, moms, boozers, athletes and drag queens.

These are my Ladies of the Year.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Broken Chains Christmas

This was a typical Christmas Day assignment: Christian charity feeds the homeless and hearts are warmed everywhere. I expected a couple dozen hungry homeless people and a few volunteers spooning cranberry sauce and gravy onto dry turkey breast. When I arrived to the parking lot of the Harley Davidson on Eastern and Sahara around 9 in morning, I was overcome by the sight of hundreds and hundreds of people. The Broken Chains nonprofit was started by a man named Pastor Cody who was a homeless drug addict (and not a pastor) nine years ago. Eight years ago he fed a dozen homeless people in a park on Christmas Day. This year he fed more than 1,000. It was quite a sight to see, and my heart was indeed warmed just a bit.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Blue Snow

The snow scene has always been my favorite in "The Nutcracker." It has beautiful blue light and pretty ballerinas in white tutus twirling and spinning daintily though falling snow. This year's retooled show by Nevada Ballet Theatre is even more gorgeous than ever before. New costumes, brand new set decoration, and ample use of a smoke machine make the snow world seem even more ethereal.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

A Beautiful Family

Almalinda Guerrero-Gonzales has five children, and all of them have special needs. She escaped her physically abusive husband months after giving birth to an infant with Down syndrome. Her oldest, now 8, suffers from seizures and migraines; she has twin 7-year-olds, one of whom can walk only with braces on her legs; and her 5-year-old is being treated for autism, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. She was getting help from a program called Nevada PEP (Parents Encouraging Parents) but the program will lose its $200,000-a-year grant for the program two years early because of federal budget cuts.

I spent only one evening with Almalinda and her wonderful children, but their story has stuck with me during this holiday season. I cannot imagine the struggles that Almalinda goes through. Her strength is truly awe-inspiring.

 Please read the Las Vegas Sun story by David McGrath Schwartz and see more photos here.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Little Latkes

There is hardly anything cuter than little kids dressed like delicious potato pancakes. Except when you bring elderly women (and men) into the mix to ohhh and ahhh at the cute little latkes. Happy belated Hanukkah to all!