Las Vegas Sun

December 13, 2017

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Daniel Rothberg

Daniel moved to Las Vegas after graduating from USC. He has previously reported for The Sacramento Bee, The Los Angeles Times and KCRW as an intern. He served as a managing editor, news editor and staff writer for the Daily Trojan. He is from Los Angeles, Calif.

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Story Archive

The health of our infrastructure: How Nevada ranks and what improvements are on the horizon
Monday, Aug. 21, 2017
On its 2014 Infrastructure Report Card, the American Society of Civil Engineers gave Nevada a C- overall. But this year, ASCE representatives told legislators that the state is “on the right track,” noting improvements in highways, the renewable energy portfolio and use of drone technology. How healthy are Nevada’s bones?
From discovery to extinction: After 650,000 years roaming Nevada, newly discovered toad could be at risk
Sunday, Aug. 20, 2017
A proposed geothermal project could damage the toad habitat by pumping billions of gallons of water out from an underground reservoir.
Decades later, Las Vegas pipeline project remains stalled by legal challenges
Federal judge hears arguments in long-running fight
Tuesday, Aug. 1, 2017
In 1989, when Clark County's population was about 700,000, the Las Vegas Valley Water District faced the possibility of a water shortage going into the 21st century. The water district, a predecessor to the Southern Nevada Water Authority, proposed a multibillion-dollar pipeline to convey billions of gallons of groundwater from rural counties northeast of Las Vegas. Nearly three decades later, plans to ...
Intensifying heat waves highlight deeper concerns about climate change
Monday, July 10, 2017
The West, known for hot summers, is getting a glimpse of what the future might hold if climate change continues at the current pace. Studies show that greenhouse gas emissions, which alter Earth’s thermodynamics, make heat waves not only more likely but also more severe.
How solar events affect power generation
Monday, July 3, 2017
Solar energy efficiency varies with the weather. Utilities are used to that. And in Nevada, cloudy days are few and far between. But what happens to solar energy when Earth is hit by a more disruptive event? In August, a solar eclipse is expected to interfere with solar power in Nevada and several other ...
Big data, huge potential: Gaming sector could see great gains from acting on rich analytics
Monday, June 26, 2017
What would the “Moneyball” casino look like? As a Ph.D. candidate studying big data at UNLV, Ray Cho has given some thought to this question. Cho, who has 20 years of experience in the hotel industry, works as an analyst manager at American Casino & Entertainment Properties. With advancements in computing and machine learning, businesses across ...
Push to lift uranium mining ban revives tension over nuclear activities
Monday, June 19, 2017
In 2012, President Obama issued a 20-year ban on mining claims near the Grand Canyon. The move halted future uranium extraction projects in the region, a win for ...
Water fights: Can the free market tame the West's vital and volatile currency?
Monday, June 19, 2017
Throughout the region, from the state level to the local level, water is overallocated. That includes the Colorado River, which serves 40 million people across seven Western states and parts of Mexico. Demand is expected to rise, and questions remain about how water will be valued and portioned out. One concept has momentum ...
How to weigh in on Nevada's national monuments under review
Thursday, May 18, 2017
Until mid-July, the Interior Department will be accepting public comments on 27 national monuments, most of them located in the West, including ...
How the tortoise became politicized
Energy developers, activists for threatened species still searching for a happy medium
Monday, May 15, 2017
The desert tortoise’s lobbyists are well-known to solar developers and the country’s largest utility. They have successfully battled wind farms and rancher Cliven Bundy. As a threatened species, the squat land crawler continually frustrates developers and engages environmentalists as a rallying symbol. After years of litigation, a Virginia-based company confirmed ...
Could management shift to states even if public lands remain federally owned?
Monday, May 8, 2017
The federal government, which owns the majority of land in Nevada, Oregon and Utah, sits on nearly 47 percent of all Western land. It’s a reality that has existed since ...
EPA to leave Las Vegas when lease expires at UNLV in 2020
Friday, May 5, 2017
Officials at the Environmental Protection Agency are crafting plans to move its UNLV lab out of Las Vegas ...
What happens after Trump’s executive order on national monuments
Thursday, April 27, 2017
Using his executive authority, President Donald Trump directed Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke Wednesday to review national monument designations dating back to the Clinton administration. Since the early 1900s, presidents have used a law called the Antiquities Act to create national monuments. But the act is ...
The local ripple: How Trump's spartan budget could hit Nevada communities
Monday, April 24, 2017
With the Trump administration proposing to cut community grants for programs such as Meals on Wheels, officials in sparsely populated Lyon County are concerned about ...
EPA directed to evaluate moving LV lab to Alabama, per White House budget doc
Thursday, April 20, 2017
As part of the federal budget process, a White House office in March asked the Environmental Protection Agency to consider relocating its Las Vegas lab to Alabama or another state, according to details of an internal document shared with the Sun. The agency’s current lease with UNLV, which began housing the ...
Gauging the Trump effect on energy, the environment and land in the West
Monday, April 17, 2017
On a brisk day in late February, we pulled off a one-way, unpaved loop and watched cattle dogs guide five cows across a flat basin. Weeks of heavy winter storms meant the Southern Nevada desert’s iconic drive-by shrubbery appeared greener and fuller. Two months after then-President Barack Obama designated this 300,000-acre expanse the Gold Butte National Monument, little else had changed. The cattle remained controversial. The Bureau of Land Management continued saying it had ...
Trump, Western storms cast uncertainty on Colorado River
Monday, April 3, 2017
The situation last summer was as clear to accept as it was sobering. Prolonged drought had strained an already overallocated Colorado River, and nowhere was this more visible than at the reservoirs along the river. Behind the Hoover Dam, surface levels at Lake Mead, from which Las Vegas draws most of its water, dropped to ...
Why the West is moving away from coal (even with Trump in office)
Monday, March 27, 2017
President Trump has repeatedly pledged to revive the coal industry by rolling back environmental regulations enacted under the Obama administration. Economists argue that while regulations play a role, competitive fuel alternatives are ...
Save Red Rock group alleges county sidestepped open-meeting law
Tuesday, March 14, 2017
In its latest move to block a master-planned community near Red Rock Canyon, a nonprofit group is asking a district court to consider allegations that county officials violated open-meeting law. The move comes two weeks after the county requested that the lawsuit be dropped at ...
Nevada’s oil speculators worry about uncertain future
Assemblyman aims to end fracking in state before it gains traction
Monday, March 13, 2017
Hydraulic fracturing has been used in conventional drilling since the 1940s, but its use increased in the past several years as other innovations allowed for prospecting in untapped areas. That expansion often has come with controversy, as the practice of blasting chemicals thousands of feet into the ground has been linked to groundwater contamination and increased seismic activity. Several counties and two states — New York and Vermont — have placed moratoriums on fracking activity, and Nevada may be next.
Energy updates: Coal is out, NV Energy asks to boost rooftop solar incentives
Monday, Feb. 20, 2017
With legislation proposed last week, Nevada lawmakers will soon debate a number of energy-related issues, including the state’s renewable portfolio standards and efficiency programs ...
The battle to build near Red Rock Canyon is coming to a head — again
Monday, Feb. 20, 2017
A few miles from the Red Rock Canyon Visitor Center, a piece of land has long been tugged between development and conservation. The smoldering conflict is reaching another crescendo, with the Clark County Zoning Commission about to vote on a revised concept plan for a residential project that activists hope ...
What do you do when the desert attacks?
Monday, Feb. 6, 2017
The spines on those succulents are just waiting to dive into your skin if you get too close, and the same caution should be exercised around snakes, scorpions and the occasional Gila monster. The desert is beautiful to visit, but you need to be prepared in case it attacks (hint: not all water worries have to do with dehydration).
A Nevada woman’s death from a superbug is a ‘wake-up call’ for the continent
Monday, Jan. 30, 2017
Reno officials got a report on the “nightmare bacteria” one Thursday in late August. A Washoe County woman in her 70s had been admitted to a local hospital with a full-body response to an infection. It was carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae, or CRE, a bug resistant to all 26 federally approved antibiotics. The patient, whose identity has not been disclosed ...
Virtual reality finds a cultural partner in Las Vegas
Monday, Jan. 16, 2017
You might think virtual reality is overhyped, poised to fade out and never penetrate the mainstream, but it’s gaining traction in commercial markets. Casino operators are discussing how to integrate headsets as a VR scene emerges in Las Vegas. And with three brick-and-mortar virtual reality arcades scheduled to launch this year, the technology might ...
Regulators take ‘a first step’ toward restoring rooftop-solar rates
Monday, Jan. 9, 2017
One year after a controversial decision to slash credits for rooftop-solar customers in Nevada (and given a recent shake-up by Gov. Brian Sandoval), utility regulators wanted a course correction. Riffing on the Abraham Lincoln quote that “bad promises are better broken than kept,” they called 2016’s rate structure a “promise better left unkept.” The state’s Public Utilities Commission issued a unanimous decision ...
California’s energy needs could boost Nevada
Monday, Dec. 26, 2016
As part of a final push for clean energy in the remaining weeks of the Obama administration, the Department of the Interior approved a 728-mile power line Dec. 13 that will move wind energy from Wyoming to Southern Nevada. That wind power, which the federal agency says is enough to supply 1.8 million homes, could then be sold to Western states, especially California. ...
Caesars files paperwork to dump NV Energy
Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016
Caesars Entertainment is asking state regulators for approval to quit buying electricity from NV Energy. The gaming giant is the latest Nevada company to seek ...
With report submitted to governor, Nevada could act on opioid abuse
Monday, Nov. 21, 2016
This fall, Gov. Brian Sandoval mobilized a summit of national experts to provide recommendations about how Nevada should address addiction to prescription painkillers and opioids. He has been active on the issue, signing the Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act, which expanded access to ...
How should Nevada spend its share of $14.7B Volkswagen settlement?
Monday, Nov. 21, 2016
As the state readies to collect about $22.3 million, the focus could be on electric vehicles.
PUC hearings on Nevada solar could restore net metering rates
Thursday, Nov. 17, 2016
Nearly a year after state regulators decided to increase bills for rooftop solar customers, lawyers for NV Energy and the solar industry remain locked in a technical, often dull, argument about the quality of that new rate structure. In several daylong hearings this week, both sides came back to utility regulators with detailed analyses, dozens of witnesses and hundreds of pages of testimony. Neither side has drawn attention to ...
Uber, Lyft expand Las Vegas service with cheaper carpool option
Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2016
Within a week of one another, on-demand transportation companies Lyft and Uber launched services that allow customers to carpool ...
Treasury finds troubles with TARP in Nevada
Audit finds that mortgage-assistance program in Nevada has wasted money, not helped enough homeowners
Monday, Nov. 14, 2016
Seeking to address the housing crisis in the states most affected by unemployment, the federal government created a fund in 2010 to help homeowners pay mortgages. Nevada stood to benefit from an allocation of about $200 million as part of the Hardest Hit Fund. But six years later, half the funding has yet to be disbursed, with many homeowners turned away from the program. Although the fund — controlled by the nonprofit Nevada Affordable Housing Assistance Corp. (NAHAC) — approved payouts for thousands of homeowners in its first three years, assistance plunged ...
For supporters at Trump's Las Vegas hotel, elation with a tinge of distrust
Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2016
Inside the Trump International Las Vegas Tuesday night, a devotee of the property owner’s presidential bid croaks out the first few lyrics of the "The Star-Spangled Banner" ...
UNLV's Rebel Yell faces existential crisis
Sunday, Nov. 6, 2016
Student paper is strapped for cash and under pressure to rebrand
Cameras and trackers: SEMA gathering showcases tech products
Friday, Nov. 4, 2016
If the car industry is veering toward autonomous vehicles, Kia wants to be there. At the Specialty Equipment Market Association’s annual trade show in Las Vegas this week, the South Korean manufacturer unveiled ...
How Trump reveals a hole in Nevada’s property tax law
Thursday, Nov. 3, 2016
The Trump International Hotel, completed in 2008, opened its doors during the first wave of the economic meltdown. At the epicenter of the real estate bubble, Nevada was hit especially hard. Property values ...
Downtown Las Vegas features streetlights powered by footsteps
Thursday, Nov. 3, 2016
Las Vegas is going off the grid. Sort of. Partnering with a New York-based startup, the city announced this week that it completed the installation of four streetlights at Boulder Plaza that operate ...
Uber makes first political endorsement, backs a Nevada assemblyman
Monday, Oct. 31, 2016
On Sunday, Uber started a campaign to re-elect Republican Assemblyman Derek Armstrong, the first political endorsement the transportation company has made since ...
Brookings study shows increase in Las Vegas “gig” employment
Thursday, Oct. 27, 2016
Across the nation, the number of workers classified as independent contractors or freelancers has been increasing since the 1990s, according to analysis from the Brookings Institution. In areas like transportation and hotels, that growth has been recently intensified by “gig economy” companies such as Uber, Lyft and Airbnb.
Q&A: SolarReserve CEO discusses $5 billion Nevada project
Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2016
When California-based energy firm SolarReserve began generating electricity in Nevada at the end of 2015, the news was cast as a significant step in the future of solar power. Unlike rooftop panels or large-scale solar arrays, SolarReserve’s project ...
Trump's ventures have long fueled business, controversy in Nevada
Friday, Oct. 21, 2016
While he was maneuvering in Nevada gaming and political circles during the ’80s and ’90s, it wouldn’t be until the early 2000s that Donald Trump would begin to develop ...
Planning Commission recommends against housing development near Red Rock
Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2016
After two hours of public comments Tuesday night, Clark County planners voted against a controversial proposal to develop a master-planned community on a hill overlooking Red Rock Canyon. The Planning Commission’s unanimous vote ...
With a development near Red Rock Canyon back on the table, conservationists bristle
Monday, Oct. 17, 2016
Compared with the classic battle between development groups and activists, the forces in this decade-long scuffle are friendly, or at least familiar with each other. When interests ...
Nevada caves illuminate past climate, future challenges in the Southwest
Monday, Oct. 10, 2016
Water’s past forms the foundation of Matt Lachniet's research, including his climate studies inside Nevada caves. Cutting into stalagmites that can be 175,000 years old, the UNLV geoscience professor uses ...
Lawsuit seeks to quash initiative to end NV Energy monopoly
Friday, Oct. 7, 2016
A lawsuit asks a Carson City court to invalidate the Energy Choice Initiative, a November ballot measure seeking to end NV Energy’s monopoly and create a competitive electricity market. Opponents are not challenging the ...
5 takeaways: Task force pushes for net metering, energy efficiency, consumer protection
Thursday, Oct. 6, 2016
If recommendations to the Nevada Legislature from energy executives, renewable advocates and policymakers get fully enacted, the state's energy future could significantly change.
MGM Resorts, Wynn to stop purchasing NV Energy power Saturday
Friday, Sept. 30, 2016
Nobody will flip a switch. Lights are not expected to flutter on the casino floors. Yet 15 Strip properties owned by MGM Resorts International and Wynn Resorts will seamlessly start parting ways with NV Energy’s service at midnight, the culmination of a yearlong effort to purchase power from an alternative provider. Arguing that the move will slash bills and ...
County puts meal-delivery firms GrubHub, Postmates on notice for license violations
Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2016
Clark County officials have notified app-based delivery companies GrubHub and Postmates that they failed to comply with county licensing requirements. Notices were sent out last week after an inquiry from the Sun about whether an ordinance to regulate Uber and Lyft applied to the companies. “GrubHub and ...
Sandoval shakes up PUC by appointing 2 new commissioners
Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2016
In a move likely intended to overhaul the makeup of the Public Utilities Commission, Gov. Brian Sandoval on Tuesday appointed two new commissioners to the three-member panel ...

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