Heidi Kyser

Journalist, writer

Posts Tagged ‘Las Vegas Nevada

Car hits kids: A post-script to pedestrian safety story

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The Las Vegas Review Journal sent a news flash this morning about a car hitting two children in front of Culley Elementary School. It reminded me of the time I spent watching pedestrians flee oncoming auto traffic on the streets of Las Vegas while reporting a recent story, Walkers Beware, for City Life.

A public information officer at the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department confirmed today’s accident was as the RJ described. It happened near Washington Avenue and Jones Boulevard in the northwest part of the valley, and both kids went to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

The PIO had no additional information, such as specifics on injuries or whether the children were in a crosswalk. As pedestrian advocate Erin Breen noted in my story, “non-life threatening” injuries are not necessarily easy to recover from.

This incident, like so many others, underscores our community’s need to address pedestrian safety issues. People who want to get involved can check out efforts like Safe Routes to School and Look Out Kids About, or contact school administrators and public officials to see what — if anything — is being done in their area.

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Little ‘hood wins journalism award

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I was happy to hear from Desert Companion Editor Andrew Kiraly this week that the magazine grabbed 13 trophies in the Nevada Press Association’s Best of Nevada Journalism 2011 awards – even happier to learn one of them was for a story I contributed, The little ‘hood that could. It took 3rd place for Best Explanatory Journalism in the magazines category. A judge commented, “This illustrates what the strength of a group can do to better a community. A very nice piece.”

Thanks to Andrew for his guidance on the story, which appears to have accomplished what we hoped (exploring the possibility of John S. Park’s success being repeated elsewhere), judging from comments readers posted online.

There is an Outside to Las Vegas

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Hooray for summer! Kids sleep late, live on cereal, play video games in their pajamas all day… and make their parents scream, “Why don’t you go outside and play, like I did when I was a kid?” Kids complain there’s nothing to do; parents complain they don’t know how to get their kids outdoors.

You can kiss all that goodbye now. Government agencies and nonprofit organizations banded together on a massive team project to help families get outdoors, as I learned in reporting this story for Boulevards Las Vegas magazine.

Under the umbrella of the Nevada Children’s Outdoor Bill of Rights, some 40 different groups worked to build  a portal to local recreational opportunities for kids. Although the project’s public funding will soon expire, Outside Las Vegas has vowed to continue spearheading the collaboration.

The website contains regularly updated information on things to do around the state; for instance, this weekend’s free fishing day at Veteran’s Memorial Park in Boulder City and Floyd Lamb Park at Tule Springs, put on by the Nevada Department of Wildlife and the City of Las Vegas, respectively.

So, parents and kids: No excuses. Step away from the game controller, make a couple mouse clicks and find what you’re going to do this weekend – outside.

Which CG will it be?

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Las Vegas City Hall in downtown Las Vegas

Image via Wikipedia

I predict the next mayor of Las Vegas will be a blond female between the ages of 40 and 80 with the initials CG. She will have extensive experience in education, upon which she has based promises to improve education in the city during her term – promises that will go largely unfilled, due to the fact the cash-strapped county and state have jurisdiction in this area. She will, as she has put it, “continue the current mayor’s development of Downtown” – much to the chagrin of Summerlin, which, despite not really needing it, would also love for the city to offer companies like Zappos millions of dollars in incentives to move to its  neighborhoods. Beyond that, I can only say for certain that the next mayor will become best buddies with Las Vegas City Manager Elizabeth “Betsy” Fretwell, who actually does all the hard work (and does a bang-up job of it, according to everyone I asked).

Any further predictions will depend on Las Vegans. Do we prefer the status quo, or are we in the mood for a changing of the guard?

That I can’t predict. To read what I know for sure about the next mayor’s job, check out my article in this week’s Las Vegas City Life.

Written by Heidi Kyser

June 2, 2011 at 9:26 am

Blvds Spotlight Is a Timely Reminder

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Kim Schaefer, managing editor of Blvds Las Vegas Magazine, gave me the honor of writing the Spotlight for the current issue.

Blvds LV Dec.-Jan. issue

I wouldn’t normally say getting an assignment is an honor. Not only is it simply my job (an equivalent would be a plumber saying it’s an honor to fix your leaky faucet), but also profiles are not the part of my job that I love best. They seem at the same time too easy and too difficult — too easy because they’re usually about one well-known overachiever on whom there is a wealth of readily available information; too difficult because it’s hard to tell a successful person’s story without falling into sycophancy.

But this was profile was exceptional. I’ll leave it to you to read the article and determine whether you agree and why.

In the meantime, I’ll say that speaking to the subject, Shannon West, came at an opportune time for me. A New Year was approaching, ending one fraught with challenges for my family and community. On top of all the usual stock-taking and resolve-making that Jan. 1 provokes, I was weighing serious questions about my own future. Against that backdrop, West offered  a poignant reminder of what gives life meaning.

This, of course, is different for everyone. I identified with West in that her work and relationships apparently define her. (A point driven home by her saying she’d resolved not to let her cancer define her.) Like her, I don’t place a high value on material possessions or praise; making a measurable positive difference in people’s lives through my actions is how I score personal points.

I’ve spent the first few work days of the New Year at my desk, plowing toward that goal, setbacks and side-tracks be damned. It helps me to think of Shannon West, and some things she said in our interview.

I believe it would also help our neighborhoods, city and state to focus this year on what defines us, or what should. After all, we’re fighting for our survival too, aren’t we?

Written by Heidi Kyser

January 5, 2011 at 12:19 pm

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