Las Vegas Sun

September 18, 2019

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Brendan Buhler

Story Archive

If it smells like Northern Italy, it must be Bellagio
The very real - and carefully researched - world of casino aromas
Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2010
Why do casinos smell like they do? No, not the smell of menthols, sticky drinks and desperation. That's everywhere. Rather, why does the Bellagio smell like the Bellagio and why does the Venetian smell like an old man who has been wearing the same cologne for 40 years and steadily adding more as his tolerance grows?
If it smells like Northern Italy, it must be Bellagio
The very real—and carefully researched—world of casino aromas
Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2010
The very real—and carefully researched—world of casino aromas
One-man welcoming committee a human diary for Vegas visitors
Thursday, Nov. 26, 2009
Rodderick Gray pushes wheelchairs through McCarran International Airport’s terminal D, following a loop that takes him from airplane gates to taxi stands to ticketing and around and around again, pushing for about 10 miles a day. He sweats through his uniform’s baseball caps until they shine, until he can’t wash his sweat out of the caps and he has to throw them out.
Red carpet rolled out of courtroom
Treatment of Michael Jackson’s doctor after appearance before judge opens door for entire new cottage industry
Friday, Nov. 20, 2009
Showing an unprecedented level of creative initiative, the bailiffs at Clark County Family Court have launched a new tourism and job creation initiative: VIP justice.
Taxidermist says every customer has a story to tell
Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2009
Do not say that Rick Smith stuffs dead animals. He mounts them. That’s what taxidermists do.
Google Maps glitch renames Henderson
Monday, Nov. 9, 2009
Welcome to fabulous Rochester, Nev. No, not the ghost town outside of Reno. And no, we didn’t mean Rochester, N.Y.
A DMV for barbering? Not here
Hair-cutter finds it isn’t just a matter of transferring license
Friday, Oct. 30, 2009
All Vernon Williamson wanted to do was what he’s done, off and on, for the past 46 years. He wanted to be a barber.
Pigeons are his mark, the city his foe
Man willing to take war with NLV over bird biz to TV, the Web or court
Thursday, Oct. 29, 2009
Nephi S. Oliva is a man of many passions. Chief among them, at the moment, are pigeons.
Timothy O'Grady, freelance journalist and author
Friday, Oct. 23, 2009
Timothy O’Grady is a freelance journalist and the author of six books.
Firefighters glad to train in shell of Fontainebleau
Monday, Oct. 19, 2009
During the next month, the wrecked economy is going to deliver an important public safety benefit: Las Vegas Valley fire fighters are getting a chance to train for one of the city’s worst nightmares, a high-rise hotel fire. And they’ll be doing in it in a real but unfinished high rise, the stalled Fontainebleau.

Even in recession, those with extravagant tastes are spending
Friday, Oct. 16, 2009
Every week, even in the midst of the recession, patrons of high-end Las Vegas restaurants indulge in one of the world’s most expensive and evanescent ingredients: truffles. Like so much about Las Vegas, truffles are an audacious triumph of decadence over geography. Truffles are the most regional of regional foods. Found primarily in Northern Italy, Croatia and France (and cultivated in Australia), truffles grow underground amid trees and must be hunted with hogs or dogs, animals whose powerful noses can locate the pungent fungi.
Scientist builds something like Google for the bricks of life
Engines for analyzing proteins may find targets for new AIDS drugs
Monday, Oct. 12, 2009
Martin Schiller, UNLV’s newest trophy hire, is primed to run research projects that will identify the targets for the next generation of HIV/AIDS drugs.
Incubators of infidelity, Vegas and the Internet
UNLV researcher studies cheating on the Web, which she says makes the whole world Sin City
Monday, Oct. 5, 2009
You would think Katherine Hertlein has an easy job. She’s studies infidelity and she’s in Las Vegas, two things that go together like threadbare sheets in a cheap motel room rented under a fake name.

Happy (already) holidays — and shopping
On the heels of summer heat, ailing retailers gear up for Yuletide cheer and spending
Saturday, Oct. 3, 2009
The plastic Christmas trees appeared in Costco and Lowe’s just after Labor Day, when the daily high temperatures in Las Vegas still topped 100. If there’s such a thing as a “war on Christmas,” it’s time to surrender.
It isn’t marriage, but partners now have rights they’ve long sought
Thursday, Oct. 1, 2009
They’ve been together for over nine years. Most of their time revolves around the kids: dropping off, picking up, going to games and recitals, meeting with teachers, reminding about chores and nursing colds. In the evenings, their family has dinner together and yet they still find time for just the two of them, to laugh and tease and flirt and say, “I love you.”
And today, Carline Banegas and Jodie Dearborn will be one of nearly 700 couples receiving Nevada’s first domestic partnership certificates.
Scientist works in her field, out of her element
UNLV associate dean of hotel college ... studies rice ... from the desert
Friday, Sept. 25, 2009
Christine Bergman is an established laboratory scientist specializing in rice and considers herself part of the slow food movement, an advocate for environmentally responsible food that is local, sustainable and healthy.
Recession cuisine brings celebs deeper down food chain
The month’s big red carpet event is the opening of a hot dog stand on the Strip
Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2009
The celebrities strolled the red carpet, the cameras flashed, television reporters waited with their microphones and the crowd shrieked, holding cell phone cameras aloft and straining against the barrier. And thus a hot dog stand opened on the Las Vegas Strip. Oh, how the glamorous have fallen. Three years ago it seemed you couldn’t throw a $300 bottle of table service vodka on the Strip without hitting some castaway from Planet Fame.
An experiment in pop culture fun on the Strip: Anime-attired waitresses
In lounge at Monte Carlo, Japanese characters do the serving
Monday, Sept. 21, 2009
It sounded like an odd fit for Vegas. The fact is the waitresses in the new lounge at the Dragon Noodle Co. inside the Monte Carlo aren’t wearing uniforms. They’re wearing costumes.
Workers at Goodwill warehouse sort through the good, bad, weird
Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2009
At the Goodwill warehouse, racks of broken-in bluejeans are grouped by store destinations, excess stuffed animals are compressed and baled into cubes, and the enterprise has the must-and-dust smell of disturbed closets, thousands of them.
As annoyingly smoky as it is out there this week, county air quality officials say conditions aren’t particularly dangerous
Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2009
In many ways, Las Vegas is the easternmost city of Southern California. It’s where we get the largest chunk of our tourists and new residents. When Southern California’s economy catches a cold, Las Vegas gets pneumonia. And when Southern California burns, we choke. For three days (and maybe a fourth today), Las Vegas has been blanketed in a London-lite fog — and just like the famous clouds of long-ago London, it’s not fog but smoke. For us, the smoke comes from the burning of the hills above Pasadena and Glendale.
When politicians and guns get together ...
Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2009
When Nevada’s politicians gathered Tuesday to dedicate Clark County’s 2,900-acre shooting park, they all said pretty much the same thing: Guns are a constitutional right and shooting is an American pastime. Far more revealing was the body language of the politicians.
Unflattering Time magazine story puts agent in hot water
Since bragging to magazine about unethical practices she’s off job, under scrutiny
Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2009
A Las Vegas real estate agent who landed a prominent role in a Time magazine cover story is being scrutinized by state licensing officials because of her comments, has left her employer and is lying low. The story by Joel Stein in the Aug. 24 issue, “Less Vegas,” is a high-spirited and high-altitude view of the troubles facing Las Vegas, which he calls both “our most American city” and “an entire city of John Dillingers.” In the story, Brooke Boemio — “a bouncy, sweet, recently remarried 31-year-old mom” — is cast as one of the Dillingers.
Politicians mark dedication of county shooting park
$61 million park will occupy 148 acres in northern valley
Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2009
Politicians and a couple of hundred spectators gathered to dedicate the Clark County Shooting Park this morning. Speakers at the dedication included Sens. Harry Reid and John Ensign, Gov. Jim Gibbons, Rep. Shelly Berkley, County Manager Virginia Valentine and Clark County commissioners Tom Collins and Rory Reid. Sen. Reid brandished a family rifle, told of eating his mother's rabbit stew as a child and introduced NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre. LaPierre praised Reid's voting record on gun rights.
Years of energy research wins prestige, but no payoff
UNLV engineer’s solution for hydrogen production appreciated, just not by Energy Department
Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2009
Yi-Tung Chen’s problem was how to build a box with a hole that nothing can fall into or out of except for light.
All these machines, no place to show them
Rural collector of antique equipment had hopes for a museum dashed by economy
Friday, Aug. 21, 2009
Among the many victims of the recession are the arts and museums. Especially vulnerable are proposed museums, including one that would be built around 500 tractors. The tractors belong to Ron Dahl and many of them are a century old. Dahl has lots and lots of them, plus some tugboat motors, fire trucks, castoff amphibious military vehicles, an ancient milk truck, pneumatic mining jackhammers, an ore tower and several guard shacks from the Nevada Test Site. How does such a collection happen? “I had no limits and no boundaries," Dahl says.
David Stone: President of Nevada Association Services
Monday, Aug. 17, 2009
David Stone is president of Nevada Association Services, the state’s largest debt collection service for homeowners associations.
Check written in boom times bought ticket for space flight
Anticipation of adventure helped developer through market’s plunge
Monday, Aug. 17, 2009
Back in the boom days of real estate, Ken Baxter was the king of selling condo conversions, a real hot shot.
No real town hall, no problem; local radio talker hosts her own
Sunday, Aug. 16, 2009
Denied the opportunity to embarrass themselves at any official health care town hall, about 900 angry Nevadans gathered at Stoney’s Rockin’ Country bar Friday evening. Several of them expressed thoughtful concerns about the proper role and size of government. And many, many more of them blamed the nation’s woes on illegal immigrants, a stealthy Marxist coup, a missing birth certificate or a conspiracy of international bankers. The gathering was hosted by Heidi Harris, who does the angry thing on AM radio in the mornings.
A van to reflect the stages of his life
Pahrump man’s eye-catching conversions like a diary on wheels
Saturday, Aug. 8, 2009
What can you say about a man who works on the same Chevy van for 34 years? Or rather, what can the van say about the man? Because for 34 years, Paul Tunnecliff of Pahrump has been a vanner, converting and reconverting his van ’70s style. Every 10 years or so he has torn his van to pieces, stripping it down to nothing and rebuilding it in his own image.
U.S. history onboard
The old biplane this couple bought on eBay as a fixer-upper turned out to be an object freighted with historical meaning
Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2009
Matt Quy wanted a certain biplane, a Boeing PT-13 Stearman, since he was about 10 years old and growing up beside a grass runway in Minnesota. His neighbor had a Stearman, and when he’d take off, he’d do it real low, sweeping over the Quy house like he was going to rake the tiles off the roof. Young Matt Quy would draw pictures of himself flying the Stearman. He grew up to fly commercial jet liners and then, after 9/11, he joined the Air Force. He fell in love with a woman named Tina and married her. They decided to have a biplane together.
Outlet sells books as they should be: Used, cheap and plenty
Monday, Aug. 3, 2009
The best bookstore in Southern Nevada is four trailers nailed together off Highway 372 in Pahrump.
What a cranky swamp cooler can teach you about life
Sunday, Aug. 2, 2009
It first spoke to us on a bright spring morning, saying the same thing it always says: Drip, drip, drip. It was coming from inside the bedroom. Water was sheeting down the windows and more water still was pooling in the walls, bulging the paint like a hernia. It was the drops of water falling on our pillows and faces that woke my wife. She shook me awake after realizing it was raining inside.
Police ask — gasp — that we be neighborly
Caring might prevent crime as financial stresses mount, they say
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Tuesday night, Metro Police invited the public to its training facility in the northwest to be briefed on the latest crime problem: home foreclosures. This was Metro’s message: We think of foreclosures as an economic problem, but like other economic problems they can lead to social problems. Like crime. As in, financial stress might lead to drug or alcohol abuse and domestic violence. As in, squatters and drug dealers move into abandoned homes. As in, a rundown neighborhood is a target for criminals.
The incentive to save water
Company solves the problem of getting the necessary people motivated to conserve
Monday, July 27, 2009
If someday Las Vegas should die, not burned like Troy or buried like Pompeii, but abandoned like Angkor, just left like an old Plymouth by the side of the road, well, if that should happen, someday some archaeology grad students are going to wind up in the gutters of Canyon Gate.

Nellis team behaves like the enemy
‘Aggressor’ squadron stages cyber attacks to keep networks safe
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Meet Lt. Col. Robin Williams, a former B-52 bombardier. “I go by Montana,” he says (and who can blame him?). He’s the director of operations for the 57th Information Aggressor Squadron, based at Nellis Air Force Base, which is bringing the Air Force’s war games into the age of, well, “WarGames.”
Nellis air traffic controller barely feels the heat in his kitchen
Monday, July 20, 2009
Staff Sgt. Steven Williams is a local air traffic controller at Nellis Air Force Base, which means he is in charge of the busiest bit of airspace at one of the service’s three busiest bases, airspace that is crowded with an unusual variety of planes and pilots.
A look inside CityCenter’s application mill
Friday, July 17, 2009
In a sense, CityCenter is a series of giant math problems. Here’s one: how do you divide 12,000 by 145,000? A calculator won’t help, because that’s 12,000 jobs and 145,000 people applying for them.
145,000 have applied so far for 12,000 CityCenter jobs
MGM Mirage hosts job fair Thursday to fill positions for food and beverage workers
Thursday, July 16, 2009
The work of staffing CityCenter continued Thursday when MGM Mirage hosted a job fair for food and beverage workers. So far, more than 145,000 people have applied for CityCenter's 12,000 jobs. MGM Mirage processes all of these applications at a 29,000-square-foot career center. The first applicants pass through the electronic application. Meet the computers' standards and applicants are off to human resources. Human resources is interviewing about 500 people every day. So far, between 42,000 and 43,000 people have been through departmental interviews.
What our outcry over the red graffiti on the 'Fabulous' sign says about us
We’re not much for civic pride, but something about vandalism touches nerve
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Someone used a red Sharpie to scribble a few letters on a sign and the town went nuts. This was not just any sign. This one said, “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas.” Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman demanded decapitation. The reader comments on the Sun’s Web site seethed with anger.
Six questions for Glen Parshall, pawn shop manager
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Glen Parshall has been the manager of the gun and coin section of the locally owned Bargain Pawn, at 1901 Las Vegas Blvd. North, for the past 4 1/2 years and in the pawn business for 28 years. It’s his second career, he says, his first being aerospace research, where he worked on the MX missile and the space shuttle. Parshall left the industry, he says, because he couldn’t stand living in California, surrounded by Californians.
This restroom came from Italy — mostly
In the Venetian, it’s up for national award
Monday, July 13, 2009
As notable achievements go, this one doesn’t rank with the Nobel, the Oscar or even the Daytime Emmy. But if Zeffirino Ristorante in the Venetian wins the title of America’s Best Restroom, it will be no mean feat. Consider the competition: The Zeffirino edifice is up against such big city toilet cathedrals as New York’s Radio City Music Hall and the Macy’s in San Francisco’s Union Square. Past winners of this prestigious prize include Wendell’s Restaurant and the Fort Smith Regional Airport.
Eminent visitor swoops in on ink school
Tattoo academy warmly receives royalty of Las Vegas politics at grand opening
Monday, July 13, 2009
Having finished taping a red carpet to the chewing-gum-pimpled stretch of Las Vegas Boulevard that defines the no man’s land between the Strip and downtown, Brian Perkins leads a tour into the classroom of Nevada’s newest institution of higher learning.
One couple, two kids, 40 openings
With guarded hopes, they vie to help open hot dog stand on the Strip
Thursday, July 2, 2009
Steven Maples and his fiancee, Jennifer Rogers, are sitting in the back of a ballroom at Red Rock Resort, each waiting to be called for a brief job interview. Jennifer is holding their 2-year-old son, Kevin, on her hip, his blond head resting on her chest. Steven is rocking their 9-month-old son, Peter, in a car seat.
For UNLV professor, groundbreaking work in soil, water field
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Dale Devitt is, as the joke goes, out standing in his field.
6-pound burrito enters bouts with eaters as heavy favorite
Friday, June 26, 2009
When the burrito leaves the kitchen, it’s announced over a public address system like a train arriving at a station or a boxer entering a ring.
Fighting expansion on Henderson's rural edge, inch at a time
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Toxic waste dumps, hog farms, sex shops — these are the kinds of businesses that, when they announce they’re moving in, make neighborhoods rise up in revolt.
Zappos’ shy CEO has the company running on happiness
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Tony Hsieh is the CEO of Zappos, an online shoe store that employs 1,300 people, half of them in Henderson. Last year Zappos had sales worth $1 billion. Hsieh regularly appears on the cover of business magazines. He’s been on Oprah.
Business success for dummies
With lots of humanoid help, Las Vegas Mannequins’ Alison Wainwright defies the recession
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
Alison Wainwright says children who look like mannequins are creepy in a horror-movie way, like the two little girls from “The Shining.” And likewise, she says, mannequins that look like children can make your flesh crawl like an electrified centipede.
TV weathermen lectured on misused term
‘Monsoons’ do not fit definitions some use on television, expert admonishes
Friday, June 5, 2009
Let’s get it right this year. A monsoon is not a storm. It’s a season.
Imagine: No hunger in Vegas
Three Square co-founder is committed to that goal. She’s working tirelessly to make it happen
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
Julie Murray has in two years helped launch a centralized food bank for the Las Vegas Valley, taken it from her living room into a large warehouse and, in the middle of the fiercest recession in a generation, raised nearly $18 million to expand the food bank.