Las Vegas Sun: Henderson mayor lays out road map for growth, development


Last year, the Henderson State of the City address was as much about the person giving it as the city itself. Then-Mayor Andy Hafen was termed out and preparing to retire after three decades as an elected official in the city. Looking back as his chapter closed was inevitable and appropriate.

This year, his successor spent most of her time looking forward, not back.

Mayor Debra March kicked off her first State of the City with a bang.

Pyrotechnics set to the tune of “Back in Black” and an appearance by the Raiderettes led into an approximately 40-minute speech that laid out a road map for economic growth and development in a city that is home to about 308,000 people and expected to grow to 390,000 over the next 20 years.

In 2017, the city issued more than 14,000 building permits and permitted nearly 11 million square feet of new construction. Residential construction permits are up more than 7 percent from the same time last year.

“That is truly remarkable,” said March. “But there will be plenty of work for us in the future, as we expect those numbers are only going to increase.”

Here are three key takeaways from the State of the City address today at the Green Valley Ranch Grand Events Center:

1. The Raiders but also west Henderson

Not surprisingly, March highlighted her speech with talk about the city’s intent to sell 55 acres of land near the Henderson Executive Airport to the Raiders for their corporate headquarters and practice facility. That deal is expected to be finalized on Feb. 6, and the facility is expected to bring $75 million of investment, hundreds of jobs in construction and development, and hundreds of additional jobs once the facility is up and running.

But March also characterized the Raiders deal as just one part of continuing growth in the western part of the city. She highlighted other projects in the area, including a 100-acre mixed-use urban center called Henderson West, which will be located east of the M Resort, as well as the Starr Road Interchange, which recently broke ground. She also hinted at “several other projects” whose details will emerge over the next few weeks.

2. Mature neighborhoods aren’t being forgotten about

March also highlighted development in some of the older parts of the city, including historic Henderson and Pittman. Water Street and other older parts of the city are undergoing infrastructure improvements as part of the city’s Complete Streets vision, which includes adding landscaping, common areas, lighting, more pedestrian space and bike-friendly roads.

Water Street is also being expanded north to connect the Water Street District with Cadence, a master-planned community that will have nearly 13,000 homes.

In the Pittman area, attracting much-needed amenities like a grocery store and health-care facilities is becoming a priority. Additionally, the city has a five-year plan for rehabilitating older homes and introducing community gathering spaces in the area. Part of those plans include a partnership with musician Carlos Santana and Habitat for Humanity.

3. Public safety is a priority

In the most touching part of the address, March acknowledged Joe and Tracy Robbins, parents of Quinton Robbins, a Henderson Parks and Recreation employee who was one of 58 people killed during the mass shooting at the Route 91 Harvest Festival.

“In a city where family means so much to us, we were heartbroken at his loss,” she said. “We celebrate Quinton and the good that he stood for.”

March said she was proud of the selfless service demonstrated by local police and firefighters during the Oct. 1 tragedy. She said the city is “more committed than ever” to public safety. To this end, the city launched an emergency operations center that integrates resources from multiple public safety agencies and departments.

She also recognized two newly appointed public safety officials — Fire Chief Shawn White and Police Chief LaTesha Watson — and their departments. White was sworn in Sept. 7, and Watson took the helm on Nov. 21.

March boasted about the fire department maintaining a cardiac survivability rate three times that of the national average, as well as the completion of the new Fire Station 91 serving Inspirada and west Henderson. She also noted upcoming expansions of Fire Station 83 on Burkholder Boulevard near Lake Mead Parkway and Fire Station 98 on Coronado Center Drive.

“When coupled with the fact that we are increasingly using smart city technologies to enhance public safety, it will streamline and improve all of our first responders’ abilities to protect residents and businesses,” March said.

To view on the Las Vegas Sun website, please click here.



Las Vegas Sun: Union, 12 off-duty firefighters shot at concert

Union officials say 12 off-duty firefighters were shot while attending a country music festival in Las Vegas, including two who were wounded while administering CPR to gunshot victims.

Angelo Aragon, president of the Professional Fire Fighters of Nevada, said Tuesday that all the firefighters survived their wounds.

Aragon said dozens of area firefighters were attending the event and about 150 from about 20 stations responded to help after the massacre.

Several off-duty firefighters described sending loved ones away from the scene as they set up triage stations and taught concertgoers to help provide emergency care such using belts as tourniquets.

Anthony Robone of the Henderson fire department said he did first aid on his older brother Nicholas who was shot in the upper chest. The brother is in stable condition.

To view the story on Las Vegas Sun website, click here.


Las Vegas Sun: ‘Time to get to work’: Off-duty firefighters acted quickly to stem casualties

When he saw people driving away in a hurry after bullets rained on a country music concert, Benjamin Kole gave an order: “Not one (vehicle) leaves without a patient, a victim.”

Although his wife begged him not to stay — “probably one the hardest decisions” he’s ever made — Jesse Gomez told her to leave and take an injured concertgoer to the hospital.

And even after he carried his wounded brother to safety, Anthony Robone returned to the killing field.

The three men are local firefighters but on Sunday were mere civilians enjoying a music festival — not worried about gunshots and not carrying any critical gear, such as radios.

But when the pops began, and continued for a harrowing 11 minutes, the first responders — along with civilians with no formal training — treated the wounded, triaged patients, set up impromptu staging areas and drove “bus loads” of injured to area hospitals.

Kole, Gomez and Robone were three of dozens of off-duty firefighters at the concert; 12 others were shot, two of them while they provided CPR, according to the International Association of Fire Fighters union.

On Tuesday, less than 48 hours after the worst mass shooting in U.S. modern history, the firefighters gathered at the Las Vegas Fire Fighters Union Hall to recount the difficult decisions — which included apologizing to the gravely wounded because “there was nothing we could do” and move on to the next victim, Kole said.

Like the accounts given by so many, they’d initially confused the cracks as “celebratory” fireworks during a Jason Aldean performance.

Kole was with a friend who is a corrections officer and when a second of about a dozen volleys initiated, “we knew it was something else.”

His friend knocked him to the ground and, seconds later, Kole realized that his daughter, Rachel Kole, who is employed by an ambulance company, was there working the concert.

The gunfire continued for several minutes, “but I never heard another gunshot” and he ran toward her location. Once they linked up and embraced each other, it was “time to get to work,” and they both continued to care for patients.

And regular citizens stuck around, listening to directions and staying calm and doing what they could, Kole said.

Jesse Gomez attended the concert with his family. The shots broke out and he realized that the sounds weren’t fireworks when the performers rushed off stage, “and they kept happening.”

As they ran, Gomez saw a woman bleeding from her head and he told his family to keep going, while he and others helped her out.

He called his wife to tell her he was going to stay behind. When Gomez met her in the parking lot, “she begged me not to go (back).”

But he did, and “he could have swore” the bullet impacts were getting closer, as if there was a gun battle a few feet away.

And he and another man “went back to work,” he said. “It was incredible how many people stayed to help.”

Civilians moved patients with tarps, trash cans, fences and “anything to carry people out,” Gomez said.

“It was very hard to walk around with someone with their loved one deceased and try to tell them that they have to move, that they can’t stay here, that they were in the line of fire,” Gomez said.

When the first rounds went off, Robone told his girlfriend that things were fine, but as soon as he determined “maybe this is gunshots,” he turned around to see that his brother was struck and that he was spitting blood.

His friend took his girlfriend to safety, and he and another friend carried his brother toward apparent medic tents. “The rounds seemed like they’d never stop,” he said.

After tending to his brother’s wounds with make-shift bandages, Robone’s training “kicked in,” he said.

Robone said he saw many dead. “Unfortunately we couldn’t help at that time.”

But he also saw a community with civilians applying pressure to wounds and taking belts off, creating tourniquets, and the selflessness from patients with survivable injuries. “I was shot in the arm, I can wait … hey that person is shot in the head or that person is shot in the neck, let them go (to the hospital),” Robone said they told first responders.

To view on the Las Vegas Sun website, please click here.


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