Las Vegas

Cowboy Christmas returns to Las Vegas

In five days the big show opens once more in Las Vegas. On November 30, 2006 we will once again play host to the National Finals Rodeo and Cowboy Christmas. With the success of Cowboy Christmas have come some new shows at the same time. Two years ago the Cowboy Marketplace at the Mandalay Bay was very disappointing. The annual Country Christmas Western Gift Expo at the Sands Convention Center is one of the best in town and definitely deserves a visit. Both Cowboy Christmas and Country Christmas are open during the day from November 30-December 9.

A commenter had suggested that Cowboy Marketplace improved last year. The neighbors who visited didn't see the improvement but it might be worth checking out if you've got extra time to kill. The website (warning annoying noisy video content plays automatically) suggests they might soon have a list of exhibitors but the site's links don't work so it's tough to tell if the "western lifestyle" exhibitors are the as seen on western TV variety or high quality products. Cowboy Marketplace is scheduled to run daily December 1-December 9.

On the road once more

It says something that I most often find time to blog of late when I'm sitting in the boarding area of an airport. It's been a whirlwind couple of weeks. I did bump into a fellow American Legion Boys' State person at the airport this morning. Thankfully he reported that his party had made an appropriate contribution to our state economy.

I'm afraid, however, that I threw off the statistical process. I was given a yellow card to time how long it takes to go through security. Though I went through about twice as fast as anyone around me.

McCarran Airport is great

I've written in the past about how exceptional McCarran airport is. Watching the rosy reflection of the sun on the pre-sunrise clouds outside I'm again prompted to take note. From parking to the gate, even with a throng of people at the security line and deep queues at the ticketing counter it took about thirty minutes to go from the car to sitting at the gate. Sure there are the things that don't make sense at any airport, like the announcement at the gate about not checking baggage from strangers... though presumably the people sitting here have already checked their bags.

Flying out of Las Vegas on Friday morning is great. What Nevadans who travel frequently know, however, is that flying home on Friday evening is a real drag. After a time on the road you're tired and just want to get home, put your feet up and relax. However, chances are very good that the plane is filled with more than a hundred people who are going to Vegas baby. For them the party is just getting going and they're happy to share their high-energy joy with everyone else. Of course it is a good thing as tax-adverse Nevada would have nothing to pay its workers with if it weren't for the donations of our out-of-town guests. All and all its a win-win but it doesn't always feel that way on Friday night.

Phantom - The Las Vegas Spectacular

We went to see Phantom - The Las Vegas Spectacular last night. It is an outstanding Las Vegas show. The quality of the music, signing, dancing and music is fantastic. And it is Las Vegas. That is it's somewhat like restaurant chains in Las Vegas - take the best restaurant chain in the world and put one in Las Vegas. The Las Vegas version will be more expensive, not as good and you'll feel rushed. That describes Phantom in Las Vegas. It is a great production of a great show, but it's been cut down and lost some of its beauty in doing so. With many scenes cut in half, and some cut all together it becomes more a frantic race to the end. Gone are the moments to pause and catch one's breath and really enjoy the show.

This comment may seem a little odd at first, but one of the things that I didn't care for was a little too much detail and not enough left to the imagination. With the exquisite theater built for the production and the fantastic special effects, combined with the speed of the show, it's tougher to get to a place where the mind is completely carried away into the fantasy of the show.

There are much better productions to be certain, but this one is pretty good. It would be helped greatly by adding the Overture back in to the production. WIthout the intermission it's a little tough to add the Overture to the second act back to the score but at least the Overture to the first act would help a lot. It is also great to see a new show in Vegas that has live music.

PICO HOLDINGS INC May 27, 2005 10-K filing

Future looking statements from PICO HOLDING's annual 10-k filing considering its subsidary VIDLER WATER COMPANY, INC.


We believe that continuing trends in Nevada and Arizona indicate strong future demand for Vidler's water rights and water storage assets.

Based on census figures, in the three years ended July 1, 2003, the population of Clark County, Nevada, which includes metropolitan Las Vegas, increased 14.6% to almost 1.6 million residents. Around 70,000 people are moving to the area annually. Currently Las Vegas takes most of its water supply from Lake Mead. Due to the continued growth in demand for water and 5 years of drought, the level of Lake Mead has reached 50 year lows. Accordingly, Las Vegas is aggressively seeking to conserve water (e.g., rules have been introduced restricting water use in new homes) and to diversify its sources of water supply. At the same time, the increasing cost of housing in Las Vegas is leading to more rapid growth in outlying areas within commuting distance.

Over time, we believe that these factors will lead to demand for water in parts of southern Nevada where Vidler owns or has an interest in water rights, including southern Lincoln County/northern Clark County and Sandy Valley and Muddy River in Clark County. If growth management initiatives are introduced in Las Vegas, this will lead to even more rapid growth in the areas surrounding metropolitan Las Vegas.

In Arizona, the continued growth of the municipalities surrounding Phoenix in Maricopa County is likely to lead to strong demand for Vidler's water rights in the Harquahala Valley. According to census estimates, the population of Maricopa County increased 9.5% in the three years to July 1, 2003, to almost 3.4 million residents. Many of the municipalities surrounding Phoenix/Scottsdale where the growth is concentrated, do not receive allotments of water from the Colorado River, and are therefore forced to find alternative supplies of water.


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