Nevada

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Posted by sonny 03/01/2009 @ 07:00

Tags : nevada, states, us

News headlines
Foreclosures hit a record high - CNNMoney.com
Nevada continues to post the nation's highest state foreclosure rate. In April, one in every 68 housing units in the state received a foreclosure filing -- more than five times the national average. Total foreclosure activity in Nevada was up 111% from...
Nevada Gold buys three Washington casinos - Bizjournals.com
Nevada Gold & Casinos Inc. said it has completed its purchase of three casinos in the state of Washington for an undisclosed price. The Houston company (NYSE: UWN) said it's bought the Crazy Moose Casino in Pasco, Coyote Bob's Roadhouse Casino in...
Yucca Mountain is dead, long live Yucca Mountain - San Jose Mercury News
Obama's proposed budget repeats the assertion, making good on an oft-repeated campaign promise to swing-state Nevada. Experts say Yucca Mountain hasn't disappeared from the budget for reasons both practical and political....
Nevada has 21 cases of H1N1 virus, the CDC reports - Carson Times
Nevada is up to 21 cases of the H1N1 virus, according to the latest Centers for Disease Control report. Nevada reported only 9 cases on Monday. Martha Framsted, a spokeswoman for the Nevada State Health Division, said 14 of the cases are from southern...
As summer approaches, gasoline prices are heading up, AAA warns - Reno Gazette Journal
BY BILL O'DRISCOLL • bodriscoll@rgj.com • May 12, 2009 Gasoline prices are rising modestly ahead of the summer driving season that kicks off in two weeks with the Memorial Day holiday, AAA Nevada's monthly survey today shows. Nevada's statewide May...
Dethroned Miss Nevada Peeved by Miss California "Double Standard" - E! Online
Despite the magnanimity shown to Miss California Carrie Prejean, Katie Rees—Miss Nevada 2007—was out of luck when racy pics of her showed up after she won her title. And she's none too happy about what she perceives to be a "huge double standard....
Committee approves gay rights partnership bill - Las Vegas Sun
By Cy Ryan (contact) Should gay couples be allowed to have the same legal rights as married couples in Nevada? CARSON CITY – Over the objections of Republicans, the Assembly Judiciary Committee has approved a bill giving certain rights to gay couples,...
NV fire officials predict busy fire season - San Jose Mercury News
Nevada dodged a fire assault last year, but after three years of drought, officials are bracing for what they say could be a severe summer of smoke and flames. "We probably won't be that lucky again," Mike Dondero, state fire management officer,...
Sierra Nevada Summerfest Lager - Los Angeles Times
As one of California's grand old craft breweries, Sierra Nevada has always specialized in ales, but for summer it does make a wonderful lager. Summerfest is a little richer and smoother than your ordinary lager, which they credit to extra-long lagering...
Bank of Nevada's parent company's stock slips - Las Vegas Sun
By Sun Staff (contact) The stock of Western Alliance Bancorporation, parent of Bank of Nevada, slumped today after the company announced plans to bolster its balance sheet by selling $150 million of common stock to the public....

Nevada

Flag of Nevada

Nevada ( /nɨˈvæːdə/ (help·info)) is a state located in the western region of the United States of America. The capital is Carson City and the largest city is Las Vegas. The state's nickname is the "Silver State," due to the large number of silver deposits that were discovered and mined there. In 1864, Nevada became the 36th state to enter the union, and the phrase "Battle Born" on the state flag reflects the state's entry on the Union side during the American Civil War. Its first settlement was called Mormon Station.

Nevada is the seventh-largest state in area, and geographically covers the Mojave Desert in the south to the Great Basin in the north. About 86% of the state's land is owned by the U.S federal government under various jurisdictions both civilian and military. As of 2006, there were about 2.6 million residents, with over 85% of the population residing in the metropolitan areas of Las Vegas and Reno. The state is well known for its easy marriage and divorce proceedings, entertainment, legalized gambling and, in all but three counties, legalized brothels.

The name Nevada comes from the Spanish "Nevada", meaning "snow-covered". after the Sierra Nevada ("snow-covered mountains") mountain range.

In 2005, the state issued a specialty license plate via the Nevada Commission on Tourism that lists the name of the state as Nevăda to help with the pronunciation problem. The local pronunciation of the state's name is not /nɨˈvɑːdə/ (as in the "a" in "father"), but /nɨˈvæːdə/ (as in the "a" in "glad"). This plate has been discontinued by the DMV due to lack of registration requirements.

Nevada is almost entirely within the Basin and Range Province, and is broken up by many north-south mountain ranges. Most of these ranges have endorheic valleys between them, which belies the image portrayed by the term Great Basin.

Much of the northern part of the state is within the Great Basin Desert, a mild desert that experiences hot temperatures in the summer and cold temperatures in the winter. Occasionally, moisture from the Arizona Monsoon will cause summer thunderstorms; Pacific storms may blanket the area with snow. The state's highest recorded temperature was 125 °F (52 °C) in Laughlin (elevation of 605 feet (184 m)) on June 29, 1994.

The Humboldt River crosses from east to west across the northern part of the state, draining into the Humboldt Sink near Lovelock. Several rivers drain from the Sierra Nevada eastward, including the Walker, Truckee and Carson rivers.

The mountain ranges, some of which have peaks above 13,000 feet (4,000 m), harbor lush forests high above desert plains, creating sky islands for endemic species. The valleys are often no lower in elevation than 3,000 feet (900 m).

The southern third of the state, where the Las Vegas area is situated, is within the Mojave Desert. The area receives less rain in the winter but is closer to the Arizona Monsoon in the summer. The terrain is also lower, mostly below 4,000 feet (1,200 m), creating conditions for hot summer days and cool to chilly winter nights (due to temperatureinversion).

Nevada and California have by far the longest diagonal line (in respect to the cardinal directions) as a state boundary at just over 400 miles (640 km). This line begins in Lake Tahoe nearly 4 miles (6 km) offshore (in the direction of the boundary), and continues to the Colorado River where the Nevada, California, and Arizona boundaries merge 12 miles (19 km) southwest of the Laughlin Bridge.

The largest mountain range in the southern portion of the state is the Spring Mountain Range, just west of Las Vegas. The state's lowest point is along the Colorado River, south of Laughlin.

Nevada is made up of mostly desert areas, where daytime summer temperatures sometimes may rise as high as 115 °F (46 °C) and nighttime winter temperatures may reach as low as 10 °F (−12 °C). The winter season in the southern part of the state, however, tends to be of short duration and mild. Most parts of Nevada receive scarce precipitation during the year. Most rain falls on the lee side (east and northeast slopes) of the Sierra Nevada Range. The average annual rainfall per year is about 7 inches (18 cm); the wettest parts get around 40 inches (102 cm).

Las Vegas: Summer daytime highs average 94-104 degrees, and summer nighttime lows average 69-77 degrees. Winter daytime highs average 57-69 degrees, and winter nighttime lows average 37-47 degrees.

Reno: Summer daytime highs average 81-91 degrees, and summer nighttime lows average 43-51 degrees. Winter daytime highs average 45-57 degrees, and winter nighttime lows average 20-29 degrees.

Elko: Summer daytime highs average 78-89 degrees, and summer nighttime lows average 38-48 degrees. Winter daytime highs average 37-51 degrees, and winter nighttime lows average 13-26 degrees.

Nevada is divided into political jurisdictions designated as counties. Carson City is officially a consolidated municipality; however, for many purposes under state law it is considered to be a county. As of 1919 there were 17 counties in the state, ranging from 146 to 18,159 square miles (378 to 47,032 km²). In 1969 Ormbsy County was dissolved and the consolidated municipality of Carson City was created by the Legislature in its place co-terminous with the old boundaries of Ormsby County.

See History of Utah, History of Las Vegas, and the discovery of the first major U.S. deposit of silver ore in Comstock Lode under Virginia City, Nevada in 1859.

On March 2, 1861, the Nevada Territory separated from the Utah Territory and adopted its current name, shortened from Sierra Nevada (Spanish for "snowy range").

The separation of the territory from Utah was important to the federal government because of the Nevada population's political leanings, while the population itself was keen to be separated because of animosity (and sometimes violence) between the non-Mormons who dominated Nevada, and the Mormons who dominated the rest of the Utah territory. Animosity between non-Mormon settlers and Mormons was particularly high after the Mountain Meadows massacre of 1857 and the Utah War in 1857-58.

Eight days prior to the presidential election of 1864, Nevada became the 36th state in the union. Statehood was rushed to the date of October 31 to help ensure Abraham Lincoln's reelection on November 8 and post-Civil War Republican dominance in Congress, as Nevada's mining-based economy tied it to the more industrialized Union.

Nevada achieved its current southern boundaries on May 5, 1866 when it absorbed the portion of Pah-Ute County in the Arizona Territory west of the Colorado River, essentially all of present day Nevada south of the 37th parallel. The transfer was prompted by the discovery of gold in the area, and it was thought by officials that Nevada would be better able to oversee the expected population boom. This area includes most of what is now Clark County.

In 1868 another part of the western Utah Territory, whose population was seeking to avoid Mormon dominance, was added to Nevada in the eastern part of the state, setting the current eastern boundary.

Mining shaped Nevada's economy for many years (see Silver mining in Nevada). When Mark Twain lived in Nevada during the period described in Roughing It, mining had led to an industry of speculation and immense wealth. However, both mining and population declined in the late 19th century. However, the rich silver strike at Tonopah in 1900, followed by strikes in Goldfield and Rhyolite, again put Nevada's population on an upward trend.

Unregulated gambling was common place in the early Nevada mining towns but outlawed in 1909 as part of a nation-wide anti-gaming crusade. Due to subsequent declines in mining output and the decline of the agricultural sector during the Great Depression, Nevada re-legalized gambling on March 19, 1931, with approval from the legislature. At the time, the leading proponents of gambling expected that it would be a short term fix until the state's economic base widened to include less cyclical industries. However, re-outlawing gambling has never been seriously considered since the industry has become Nevada's primary source of revenue today.

The Hoover Dam, located outside Las Vegas near Boulder City, was constructed in the years 1932–1935. Thousands of workers from across the country came to build the dam, and providing for their needs in turn required many more workers. The boom in population is likely to have fueled the re-legalization of gambling, alike present-day industry. Both Hoover Dam and later war industries such as the Basic Magnesium Plant first started the growth of the southern area of the state near Las Vegas. Over the last 75 years, Clark County in Southern Nevada has been experiencing strong population growth and today encompasses most of the state's residents.

The Nevada Test Site, 65 miles (105 km) Northwest of the City of Las Vegas, was founded on January 11, 1951 for the testing of nuclear weapons. The site is composed of approximately 1,350 square miles (3,500 km2) of desert and mountainous terrain. Nuclear testing at the Nevada Test Site began with a one-kiloton of TNT (4 terajoule) bomb dropped on Frenchman Flats on January 27, 1951. The last atmospheric test was conducted on July 17, 1962 and the underground testing of weapons continued until September 23, 1992. The location is known for the highest amount of concentrated nuclear detonated weapons in the U.S.

Over 80% of the state's area is owned by the federal government. The primary reason for this is that homesteads were not permitted in large enough sizes to be viable in the arid conditions that prevail throughout desert Nevada. Instead, early settlers would homestead land surrounding a water source, and then graze livestock on the adjacent public land, which is useless for agriculture without access to water (this pattern of ranching still prevails). The deficiencies in the Homestead Act as applied to Nevada were probably due to a lack of understanding of the Nevada environment, although some firebrands (so-called "Sagebrush Rebels") maintain that it was due to pressure from mining interests to keep land out of the hands of common folk. This debate continues to be argued among some state historians today.

According to the Census Bureau's 2007 estimate, Nevada has an estimated population of 2,565,382 which is an increase of 92,909, or 3.5%, from the prior year and an increase of 516,550, or 20.8%, since the year 2000. This includes a natural increase since the last census of 81,661 people (that is 170,451 births minus 88,790 deaths) and an increase due to net migration of 337,043 people into the state. Immigration from outside the United States resulted in a net increase of 66,098 people, and migration within the country produced a net increase of 270,945 people. According to the 2006 census estimate, Nevada is the country's fastest growing state.

The center of population of Nevada is located in southern Nye County . This area the unincorporated town of Pahrump located 60 miles (97 km) west of Las Vegas on the California state line has grown 26 times in size from 1980 to 2000. In the year 2006, the town may have over 50,000 permanent residents. Las Vegas was America's fastest-growing city and metropolitan area from 1960 to 2000, but has grown from a gulch of 100 people in 1900 to 10,000 by 1950 to 100,000 by 1970 to have 2.5 million in the metro area today.

According to the census estimates the racial distributions were as follows: 65% White American, 7.1% African-American, 6% Asian-American (estimates placed them at 10%), 2% others (American Indians and Pacific Islanders) and the remaining 20% were Hispanics or Latinos of any race.

Nevada also has a sizable Basque ancestry population. In Douglas and Pershing Counties, a plurality of residents are of Mexican ancestry with Clark County (Las Vegas) being home to over 200,000 Mexican Americans alone; Nye County and Humboldt County have a plurality of Germans; and Washoe County has many of Irish ancestry. Las Vegas is home to rapid-growing ethnic communities like Scandinavians, Italians, Poles, American Jews and Armenians.

Largely African-American sections of Las Vegas ("the Meadows") and Reno can be found, but many African-Americans in Nevada are newly transplanted residents from either California and the East Coast, but the US Armed forces, hotels and domestic services attracted black Americans since the 1950s.

Since the California Gold Rush of the 1850s brought thousands of Chinese miners in Washoe county, Asian Americans lived in the state followed by few hundreds of Japanese farm workers in the late 1800s. In the late 20th century, many immigrants from China, Japan, Korea, Philippines and recently from India and Vietnam came to the Las Vegas metropolitan area with one of America's most prolific Asian-American communities, with a mostly Chinese and Taiwanese area known as "Chinatown" west of I-15 on Spring Mountain Boulevard, and an "Asiatown" shopping mall for Asian customers on Charleston Avenue/Paradise Boulevard.

According to the 2000 U.S. Census, 16.19% of the population aged 5 and over speak Spanish at home, while 1.59% speak Filipino and 1% speak Chinese languages, the majority of foreign languages are found in ethnic sections of Central Las Vegas.

6.8% of its population were reported as under 5, 26.3% under 18, and 13.6% were 65 or older. Females made up approximately 50.7% of the population. As a result of its rapid population growth, Nevada has a higher percentage of residents born outside of the state than any other state. Las Vegas was a major destination for immigrants seeking employment by the gaming and hospitality industries from South Asia and Latin America during the 1990s and 2000s, but farming and construction is the biggest employer of immigrant labor.

From about the 1940s to 2003, Nevada was the fastest-growing state in the US percentage-wise. Between 1990 and 2000, Nevada's population increased 66.3%, while the USA's population increased 13.1%. Over two thirds of the population of the state live in the Las Vegas metropolitan area.

The largest denominations by number of adherents in 2000 were the Roman Catholic Church with 331,844; the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with 116,925; and the Southern Baptist Convention with 40,233. 77,100 Nevadans belong to Jewish congregations.

The Bureau of Economic Analysis estimates that Nevada's total state product in 2006 was $117 billion. Resort areas such as Las Vegas, Reno, Lake Tahoe, and Laughlin attract visitors from around the nation and world. The state's per capita personal income in 2005 was $46,108, 11th in the nation. Its agricultural outputs are cattle, hay, alfalfa, dairy products, onions, and potatoes. Its industrial outputs are tourism, mining, machinery, printing and publishing, food processing, and electric equipment. Prostitution is legal in parts of Nevada in the form of brothels, but only counties with populations under 400,000 residents have the option to legalize it. Of the counties that can legalize it, they may choose to outlaw it if they wish, as some have. Prostitution is illegal and offenders are prosecuted in Clark County (which contains Las Vegas), Washoe County (which contains Reno), and several other counties around the state.

In portions of the state outside of the Las Vegas and Reno metropolitan areas, mining and cattle ranching are the major economic activities. By value, gold is by far the most important mineral mined. In 2004, 6.8 million ounces of gold worth $2.84 billion were mined in Nevada, and the state accounted for 8.7% of world gold production (see Gold mining in Nevada). Silver is a distant second, with 10.3 million ounces worth $69 million mined in 2004 (see Silver mining in Nevada). Other minerals mined in Nevada include construction aggregates, copper, gypsum, diotomite and lithium. Despite its rich deposits, the cost of mining in Nevada is generally high, and output is very sensitive to world commodity prices.

As of January 1, 2006 there were an estimated 500,000 head of cattle and 70,000 head of sheep in Nevada. Most of these animals forage on rangeland in the summer, with supplemental feed in the winter. Calves are generally shipped to out-of-state feedlots in the fall to be fattened for market. Over 90% of Nevada's 484,000 acres (1,960 km2) of cropland is used to grow hay, mostly alfalfa, for livestock feed.

Nevada is also one of only a few states with no personal income tax and no corporate income tax. The state sales tax in Nevada is 6.5%. Counties can assess option taxes as well, making the combined state/county sales taxes rate in some areas as high as 7.75%. Sales tax in Carson City is 7.125% in Clark County 7.75%, in Washoe County 7.375%, while sales tax in Douglas County is 6.75%.

Amtrak's California Zephyr train uses the Union Pacific's original transcontinental railroad line in a daily service from Chicago to Emeryville, California serving Elko, Winnemucca, Sparks, and Reno. Amtrak Thruway Motorcoaches also provide connecting service from Las Vegas to trains at Needles, California, Los Angeles, and Bakersfield, California; and from Stateline, Nevada, to Sacramento, California.

Union Pacific Railroad has some railroads in the north and in the south. Greyhound Lines provides some bus services.

Interstate 15 passes through the southern tip of the state, serving Las Vegas and other communities. I-215 and spur route I-515 also serve the Las Vegas metropolitan area. Interstate 80 crosses through the northern part of Nevada, roughly following the path of the Humboldt River from Utah in the east and passing westward through Reno and into California. It has a spur route, I-580. Nevada also is served by several federal highways: US 6, US 50, US 93, US 95 and US 395. There are also 189 Nevada state highways. Nevada is one of a few states in the U.S. that does not have a continuous interstate highway linking its two major population centers. Even the non-interstate federal highways aren't contiguous between the Las Vegas area and Reno area, though they are well marked by signs showing where to turn.

The state is one of just a few in the country that allow semi-trailer trucks with three trailers—what might be called a "road train" in Australia. However, American versions are usually smaller, in part because they must ascend and descend some fairly steep mountain passes.

Citizens Area Transit (CAT) is the public transit system in the Las Vegas metropolitan area. The agency is the largest transit agency in the state and operates a network of bus service across the Las Vegas Valley, including the use of double-decker buses on the Las Vegas Strip and a few outlying routes. RTC RIDE operates a system of local transit bus service throughout the Reno-Sparks metropolitan area. Other transit systems in the state include Carson City's JAC. Most other counties in the state do not have public transportation at all.

Additionally, a four mile monorail system provides public transportation in the Las Vegas area. The Las Vegas Monorail line services several casino properties and the Las Vegas Convention Center on the east side of the Las Vegas Strip, running near Paradise Road, with a possible future extension to McCarran Airport. Several hotels also run their own monorail lines between each other, which are typically several blocks in length.

McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas is one of the busiest airports in the nation. The Reno-Tahoe International Airport (formerly known as the Reno Cannon International Airport) is the other major airport in the state.

The current Governor of Nevada is Jim Gibbons (Republican); the governor of Nevada is limited by the Nevada Constitution to two four-year terms in office, by election or succession (lifetime limit). Nevada's two U.S. senators are Harry Reid (Democrat) and John Ensign (Republican). Nevada's three U.S. Representatives are Republican Dean Heller and Democrats Shelley Berkley and Dina Titus.

The Nevada Legislature is a bicameral body divided into an upper house Senate and a lower house Assembly. Members of the Senate serve for four years, and members of the Assembly serve for two years. Both houses of the Nevada Legislature will be impacted by term limits starting in 2010, as Senators and Assemblymen/women will be limited to a maximum of 12 years service in each house (by appointment or election which is a lifetime limit) - this provision in the constitution was recently upheld for legislators by the Supreme Court of Nevada in a unanimous decision (7-0), so term limits will be in effect starting in 2010. Each session of the Legislature meets for a constitutionally mandated 120 days in every odd-numbered year, or longer if the Governor calls a special session. Currently, the Senate is controlled by the Democratic Party (12 to 9 majority) and the Assembly is controlled by the Democratic Party (28 to 14 majority).

Nevada is one of the few U.S. states without a system of intermediate appellate courts.

The state supreme court is the Supreme Court of Nevada. Unlike other state supreme courts, the Supreme Court of Nevada lacks the power of discretionary review, so it must hear all appeals; as a result, Nevada's judicial system is congested.

There have been several articles accusing judges in Nevada of making biased or favored decisions as the result of case outcomes and reporting done by the Los Angeles Times newspaper (in which it raised the issue of justice for sale).

Original jurisdiction is divided between the District Courts (with general jurisdiction), and Justice Courts and Municipal Courts (both of limited jurisdiction).

Prostitution is legal in some parts of Nevada (under the form of licensed brothels). It is, however, illegal in Clark County, which contains Las Vegas; Washoe County, which contains Reno; Carson City; and some other counties.

Nevada's early reputation as a "divorce haven" arose from the fact that, prior to the no-fault divorce revolution in the 1970s, divorces were quite difficult to obtain in the United States. Already having legalized gambling and prostitution, Nevada continued the trend of boosting its profile by adopting one of the most liberal divorce statutes in the nation. This resulted in Williams v. North Carolina, 317 U.S. 287 (1942), in which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that North Carolina had to give "full faith and credit" to a Nevada divorce.

Nevada's tax laws also draw new residents and businesses to the state. Nevada has no personal income tax or corporate income tax. .

Nevada also provides friendly environment for the formation of corporations, and many (especially California) businesspeople have incorporated their businesses in Nevada to take advantage of the benefits of the Nevada statute. Nevada corporations offer great flexibility to the Board of Directors and simplify or avoid many of the rules that are cumbersome to business managers in some other states. In addition, Nevada has no franchise tax.

Similarly, many U.S. states have usury laws limiting the amount of interest a lender can charge, but Federal law allows corporations to 'import' these laws from their home state. Nevada (amongst others) has relatively lax interest laws, in effect allowing banks to charge as much as they want, hence the preponderance of credit card companies in the state.

This is a notable exception to Nevada's otherwise libertarian principles. It is notable for having the harshest penalties for drug offenders in the country. Nevada remains the only state to still use mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines for marijuana possession. However, it is now a misdemeanor for possession of less than one ounce. In 2006, voters in Nevada defeated attempts to allow possession of 1 ounce of marijuana (for personal use) without being criminally prosecuted, (55% against legalization, 45% in favor of legalization). Also, Nevada is one of the states that allows for use of marijuana for medical reasons (though this remains illegal under federal law).

Nevada has very liberal alcohol laws. Bars are permitted to remain open 24 hours, with no "last call". Liquor stores, convenience stores and supermarkets may also sell alcohol 24 hours per day, and may sell beer, wine and spirits.

Nevada voters enacted a smoking ban ("the Nevada Clean Indoor Air Act") in November 2006 that became effective on December 8, 2006. It outlaws smoking in most workplaces and public places. Smoking is permitted in bars, but only if the bar serves no food, or the bar is inside a larger casino. Smoking is also permitted in casinos, hotel rooms, tobacco shops, and brothels. However, some businesses do not obey this law and the government tends not to enforce it. Yet, in one case they did prosecute an establishment called "Bilbo's" but trial is pending until 2008.

Nevada has been ranked as the most dangerous state in the United States for five years in a row. In 2006, the crime rate in Nevada was approximately 24% higher than the national average rate. Property crimes accounted for approximately 84.6% of the crime rate in Nevada which was 21% higher than the national rate. The remaining 20.3% were violent crimes and were approximately 45% higher than other states. In 2008, Nevada had the third highest murder rate, and the highest rate of robbery and motor vehicle theft. It should be noted that many of these statistics may not totally be attributed to the citizens of Nevada themselves, but partially to the high rate of visitors entering and leaving the state as well.

Due to heavy growth in the southern portion of the state, there is a noticeable divide between politics of northern and southern Nevada. The north has long maintained control of key positions in state government, even while the population of Southern Nevada is larger than the rest of the state combined. The north sees the high population south becoming more influential and perhaps commanding majority rule. The south sees the north as the "old guard" trying to rule as an oligarchy. This has fostered some resentment, however, due to a term limit amendment passed by Nevada voters in 1994, and again in 1996, some of the north's hold over key positions will soon be forfeited to the south, leaving Northern Nevada with less power. Most people outside the state are not familiar with this rivalry.

Clark and Washoe counties—home to Las Vegas and Reno, respectively—have long dominated the state's politics. Between them, they cast 87 percent of Nevada's vote, and elect a substantial majority of the state legislature. The great majority of the state's elected officials are either from Las Vegas or Reno.

Registration is nearly evenly split between the two major parties. According to official statistics, 38.1% of voters are registered Republicans, 41.7% are Democrats and the remaining 20.1% are considered Independents. As a result, Nevada remains a swing state in both state and federal politics. Democrat Bill Clinton won the state in the 1992 and 1996 presidential elections, Republican George W. Bush won in 2000 and 2004, and Democrat Barack Obama won the state in 2008.

Nevada has voted for the winner in every presidential election since 1908, except in 1976 when it voted for Gerald Ford over Jimmy Carter. This gives the state status as a political bellwhether.

The state's U. S. Senators are Democrat Harry Reid, the Senate Majority Leader, and Republican John Ensign, chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee. Both are from Las Vegas. The Governorship is held by Jim Gibbons, a Republican from Reno.

Incorporated towns in Nevada, known as cities, are vested with home rule powers, meaning that they are given the authority to legislate anything not prohibited by law.

Unincorporated towns are settlements eminently governed by the county in which they are located, but who, by local referendum or by the act of the county commission, can form limited local governments in the form of a Town Advisory Board (TAB)/ Citizens Advisory Council (CAC), or a Town Board.

Town Advisory Boards and Citizens Advisory Councils are formed purely by act of the county commission. Consisting of three to five members, these elected boards form a purely advisory role, and in no way diminish the responsibilities of the county commission that creates them. Members of advisory councils and boards are elected to two year terms, and serve without compensation. The councils and boards, themselves, are provided no revenue, and oversee no budget.

Town Boards are limited local governments created by either the local county commission, or by referendum. The board consists of five members elected to four-year terms. Half the board is required to be up for election in each election. The board elects from within its ranks a town chairperson and town clerk. While more powerful than Town Advisory Boards and Citizens Advisory Councils, they also serve a largely advisory role, with their funding provided by their local county commission. The local county commission has the power to put before residents of the town a vote on whether to keep or dissolve a town board at any general election. Town boards have the ability to appoint a town manager if they choose to do so.

Paradise, Sunrise Manor, and Spring Valley are unincorporated towns in the Las Vegas metropolitan area.

There are 68 designated wilderness areas in Nevada, protecting some 6,579,014 acres (26,624.33 km2) under the jurisdiction of the National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service, and Bureau of Land Management.

See: List of Nevada state parks.

Although Nevada is not well-known for their professional sports, the state takes pride in college sports, most notably the University of Nevada, Reno Wolfpack of the Western Athletic Conference and the UNLV Runnin' Rebels of the Mountain West Conference. UNLV is most remembered for their basketball program, which experienced its height of supremacy in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Coached by Jerry Tarkanian, the Runnin' Rebels became one of the most elite programs in the country. In 1990, UNLV won the Men's Division I Championship by defeating Duke University 103–73, which set tournament records for most points scored by a team and largest margin of victory in the national title game. In 1991, UNLV finished the regular season undefeated. Forward Larry Johnson won several awards, including the Naismith Award. UNLV reached the Final Four yet again, but lost their national semifinal against Duke 79-77, and is referred to as one of the biggest upsets in the NCAA Tournament. The Runnin' Rebels were the Associated Press pre-season #1 back to back (1989–90, 1990–91). North Carolina is the only other team to accomplish that (2007-08, 2008-09).

Complete List of Nevada sports teams.

Nevada's nicknames are "Sagebrush State, "Battle Born State", and "Silver State", and the state's motto is "All for Our Country". 'Home Means Nevada by Bertha Raffetto is the state song. The phrase "Battle Born" is on the state flag; "The Battle Born State" is the official state slogan, as Nevada was admitted into the union during the American Civil War.

Nevada is home to Nellis Air Force Base, a major testing and training base of the United States Air Force. Nellis is reputedly the home of Area 51, a top-secret installation of which the U.S. federal government has always denied existence. Area 51 is supposedly located in Groom Lake. Some time ago, the United States Air Force confirmed that there is an operating facility at Groom Lake, but the nature of the activities being conducted at Groom Lake are classified and cannot be disclosed.

The paranormal radio talk show host Art Bell lives in Pahrump.

In the Finnish language, there is a very well known concept "huitsin Nevada", which refers to some far away place in spoken language (in a same way as a saying "from here to Timbuktu"). The origin and history of the saying is unknown. "Nevada" refers to the name of this U.S. state and "huitsin" is a slang word meaning "very" or "utter".

Nevada enjoys many economic advantages as a whole, and the southern portion of the state enjoys mild winter weather, but rapid growth has led to issues of overcrowded schools. Nevada is already home to the nation's 5th largest school district in the Clark County School District (projected fall 2007 enrollment is 314,000 students grades K-12), the state has seen rising crime levels, and problems with transportation (according to state figures, there is a 1 billion dollar shortfall in funds for road construction projects in Nevada). Most recently, there has been news of water shortfalls in southern Nevada in the years to come, due to the population increase, and the Southern Nevada Water Authority estimates that there will be water shortages by the year 2010, despite plans to import water from rural and northern Nevada. Despite this, the state remains one of the fastest growing in the country.

The residents of the communities in the Las Vegas Valley pay some of the highest car insurance rates in the nation.

Some have suggested that Nevada annex the town of Wendover, Utah, which would be merged with West Wendover, Nevada. This deal will require the permission of the Nevada and Utah legislatures, as well as the U.S. Congress.

In 2008, the "American State Litter Scorecard," presented at the American Society for Public Administration national conference, positioned Nevada next to Mississippi and Louisiana as one of the worst states for removing litter from public roadways and properties.

Recently, an economic downturn due to the house market collapse in Las Vegas (which has one of the highest home foreclosure rates in the nation), coupled with many months of declining gaming revenue and higher prices for gasoline and consumer goods has caused a 1.2 billion dollar shortfall in the state budget (which is required by the constitution to be balanced), and has caused Nevada to drain its rainy day fund of 267 million coupled with budget cuts means that hard times are ahead for the Silver state. In August 2008, it was announced that Boyd Gaming would halt construction on a 4.2 billion dollar project called Echelon, which was to replace the old Stardust Hotel & Casino, the reason cited for this is lack of funding/credit from banks, and a souring economy.

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Las Vegas, Nevada

Location of Las Vegas in Clark County, Nevada

Established in 1905, Las Vegas officially became a city in 1911. With the growth that followed, at the close of the century Las Vegas was the most populous American city founded in the 20th century (a distinction held by Chicago in the 19th century). The city's tolerance for various forms of adult entertainment earned it the title of Sin City, and this image has made Las Vegas a popular setting for films and television programs. Outdoor lighting displays are everywhere on the Las Vegas Strip and are seen elsewhere in the city as well. As seen from space, the Las Vegas metropolitan area is the brightest on Earth.

The name Las Vegas is often applied to unincorporated areas that surround the city, especially the resort areas on and near the Las Vegas Strip. This 4 mile (6.5-km) stretch of Las Vegas Boulevard is partly in the Las Vegas city limits, but mainly in the unincorporated communities of Paradise and Winchester, and continues partly into unincorporated Enterprise.

The first reported visit to the valley by someone of European descent was Raphael Rivera in 1829. Las Vegas was named by Spaniards in the Antonio Armijo party, who used the water in the area while heading north and west along the Old Spanish Trail from Texas. In the 1800s, areas of the Las Vegas Valley contained artesian wells that supported extensive green areas or meadows (vegas in Spanish), hence the name Las Vegas.

John C. Frémont traveled into the Las Vegas Valley on May 3, 1844, while it was still part of Mexico. He was a leader of a group of scientists, scouts and observers for the United States Army Corps of Engineers. On May 10, 1855, following annexation by the United States, Brigham Young assigned 30 missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints led by William Bringhurst to the area to convert the Paiute Indian population to Mormonism. A fort was built near the current downtown area, serving as a stopover for travelers along the "Mormon Corridor" between Salt Lake and the briefly thriving colony of "saints" at San Bernardino, California. However, Mormons abandoned Las Vegas in 1857. Las Vegas was established as a railroad town on May 15, 1905, when 110 acres (44.5 ha) owned by Montana Senator William A. Clark's San Pedro, Los Angeles and Salt Lake Railroad, was auctioned off in what is now downtown Las Vegas. Las Vegas was part of Lincoln County until 1909 when it became part of the newly established Clark County. The St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church near 4th and Bridger in downtown was founded in 1910. Las Vegas became an incorporated city on March 16, 1911.

Gambling was legalized in the city on March 19, 1931. On December 26, 1946, Bugsy Siegel opened the infamous Flamingo Hotel in Paradise on what would later become the Las Vegas Strip. The Hoover Dam was completed on October 9, 1936 outside of Boulder City and above ground nuclear testing was conducted at the Nevada Test Site in Nye County from 1951 to 1962. The era of megaresort casinos in Clark County began on November 22, 1989, with the opening of The Mirage.

Las Vegas started as a stopover on the pioneer trails to the west, and became a popular railroad town in the early 1900s. It was a staging point for all the mines in the surrounding area, especially those around the town of Bullfrog, that shipped their goods out to the rest of the country. With the proliferation of the railroads, Las Vegas became less important, but the completion of the nearby Hoover Dam in 1935 resulted in the growth of residents and tourism. The dam, located 30 miles (48 km) southeast of the city, also formed Lake Mead, the world's largest man-made lake and reservoir. Today, tours are offered into lesser known parts of the dam. The legalization of gambling in 1931 led to the advent of the casino-hotels, for which Las Vegas is famous. The success of the city's initial casino businesses was owed to American organized crime. Most of the original large casinos were managed or at least funded under mob figures Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel, Meyer Lansky or other mob figures at this time. With the arrival of billionaire Howard Hughes in the late 1960s, who purchased many casino-hotels and television stations in the city, legitimate corporations began to purchase casino-hotels as well, and the mob was run out by the federal government over the next several years. The constant stream of tourist dollars from the hotels and casinos were also augmented by a new source of federal money. This money came from the establishment of what is now Nellis Air Force Base. The influx of military personnel and casino job-hunters helped start a land building boom which still goes on today.

In 2006 gambling revenues in the Macau Special Administrative Region in the People's Republic of China surpassed those in Las Vegas, making Macau the largest gambling center in the world. There is no evidence as of yet to suggest that gambling growth in Macau is shifting growth away from Las Vegas.

Las Vegas is situated on the arid desert floor within Clark County. Correspondingly, the surrounding environment is dominated by desert vegetation and some wildlife, and the area can be subject to torrential flash floods. Enabling the rapid population expansion was a major addition to the city's sewage treatment capacity. The sewage treatment expansion resulted from a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency grant funded 2008 programs to analyze and forecast growth and environmental impacts through the year 2019.

The city is in an arid basin surrounded by dry mountains. City elevation is around 2030 feet (620 m) above sea level. The Spring Mountains lie to the west. As befits a desert, much of the landscape is rocky and dusty. Within the city, however, there are a great deal of lawns, trees, and other greenery. Due to water resource issues, there is now a movement to encourage xeriscapes instead of lawns. Another part of the water conservation efforts include scheduled watering groups for watering residential landscaping. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 131.3 square miles (340.0 km2), of which 131.2 square miles (339.8 km2) is land and 0.1 square miles (0.26 km2) of it (0.04%) is water.

Las Vegas' climate is an arid desert climate (Koppen climate classification BWh) typical of the Mojave Desert, in which it lies. The city enjoys abundant sunshine year-round and has about an average of 300 sunshine days a year, with very little rainfall.

The summer months of June through September are very hot and mostly dry with average daytime highs of 94–104 °F and nighttime lows of 69–78 °F ; and most days in July and August exceed 100°Fs (38°Cs) but with very low humidity, frequently under 10%.

Las Vegas' winters are of short duration and the season is generally mild, with daytime highs near 60 degrees and nighttime lows around 40 degrees. The mountains surrounding Las Vegas accumulate snow during the winter but snow is rare in the Las Vegas Valley itself. Several years apart, however, snow has fallen in the valley. Temperatures can sometimes drop to freezing (32 °F/0 °C) but winter nighttime temperatures will rarely dip below 30 degrees.

Annual precipitation in Las Vegas is around 4.5 inches (114 mm), which mainly occurs during winter but is not uncommon anytime of the year.

The United States Census Bureau 2007 estimates place the population for the Las Vegas Metropolitan Statistical Area at 1,836,333 people, and the region is one of the fastest growing in the United States. Las Vegas proper was ranked as the 32nd most populous city in the United States in 2000, and 2006 estimates have placed the city 28th in rank.

At the 2005-2007 American Community Survey Estimates the city's population was 73.6% White (51.8% non-Hispanic White alone), 11.9% Black or African American, 1.6% American Indian and Alaska Native, 6.4% Asian, 0.8% Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander, 9.6% from some other race and 3.5% from two or more races. 29.2% of the total population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

As of the census of 2000, there were 478,434 people, 176,750 households, and 117,538 families residing in the city. The population density was 4,222.5 people per square mile (1,630.3/km²). There are 190,724 housing units at an average density of 1,683.3/sq mi (649.9/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 69.86% White, 10.36% African American, 0.75% Native American, 4.78% Asian, 0.45% Pacific Islander, 9.75% from other races, and 4.05% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 23.61% of the population.

There were 176,750 households out of which 31.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.3% were married couples living together, 12.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.5% were non-families. 25.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.66 and the average family size was 3.20.

In the city the population was spread out with 25.9% under the age of 18, 8.8% from 18 to 24, 32.0% from 25 to 44, 21.7% from 45 to 64, and 11.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females there were 103.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 102.5 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $53,000 and the median income for a family was $58,465. Males had a median income of $35,511 versus $27,554 for females. The per capita income for the city was $22,060. About 6.6% of families and 8.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 5.4% of those under age 18 and 6.3% of those age 65 or over.

Las Vegas has one of the highest suicide and divorce rates of the U.S. The city's high divorce rate is not wholly due to Las Vegans themselves getting divorced. Since divorce is easier in Nevada than most other states, many people come from across the country for the easier process. It should also be noted that Las Vegas has one of the highest marriage rates of U.S. cities as well.

The primary drivers of the Las Vegas economy have been the confluence of tourism, gaming, and conventions which in turn feed the retail and dining industries. The city serves as world headquarters for the world's two largest Fortune 500 gaming companies, Harrah's Entertainment and MGM Mirage. Several companies involved in the manufacture of electronic gaming machines, such as slot machines, are located in the Las Vegas area. In the 2000s retail and dining have become attractions of their own. Tourism marketing and promotion are handled by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, a county wide agency. Its annual Visitors Survey provides detailed information on visitor numbers, spending patterns and resulting revenues.

Some technology companies have either relocated to Las Vegas or were created there. For various reasons, the Las Vegas area has had a high concentration of technology companies in electronic gaming and telecommunications industries. Some current technology companies in southern Nevada include Bigelow Aerospace, CommPartners, Datanamics, eVital Communications, Petroglyph, SkywireMedia, Switch Communications, and WorldDoc. Companies that originally were formed in Las Vegas, but have since sold or relocated include Westwood Studios (sold to Electronic Arts), Systems Research & Development (Sold to IBM), Yellowpages.com (Sold to Bellsouth and SBC), and MPower Communications.

Constant population growth means that the housing construction industry is vitally important. In 2000 more than 21,000 new homes and 26,000 resale homes were purchased. In early 2005 there were 20 residential development projects of more than 300 acres (1.2 km2) each underway.

When The Mirage opened in 1989, it started a trend of further development of the southern portion of the Las Vegas Strip. This resulted in a drop in tourism from the downtown area but many recent projects and condo construction have seen an increase in visitors to downtown.

A concerted effort has been made by city officials to diversify the economy from tourism by attracting light manufacturing, banking, and other commercial interests. The lack of any state individual or corporate income tax and very simple incorporation requirements have fostered the success of this effort.

Las Vegas has recently enjoyed an enormous boom both in population and in tourism. The urban area has grown outward so quickly that it is beginning to run into Bureau of Land Management holdings along its edges, increasing land values enough that medium- and high-density development is beginning to occur closer to the core. As a reflection of the city's rapid growing population, the new Chinatown of Las Vegas was constructed in the early 1990s on Spring Mountain Road. Chinatown initially consisted of only one large shopping center complex, but the area was recently expanded for new shopping centers that contain various Asian businesses.

With the Strip expansion in the 1990s, the downtown area (which has maintained an old Las Vegas feel) began to suffer. The city made a concerted effort to turn around the fortunes of downtown. The Fremont Street Experience (FSE) was built in an effort to draw tourists back to the area and has proven to be popular in that regard. The multi-level Neonopolis, complete with 11 theaters (managed by Galaxy Theaters, Inc.), was built to offer more retail opportunity and services. Many highrise condo projects have also been underway as downtown is transforming into a livable neighborhood. Other promising signs emerged for the area. The city had successfully lured the Internal Revenue Service operations from the far west of the city to a new downtown building that opened in April 2005. The IRS move is expected to create a greater demand for additional businesses in the area, especially in the daytime hours.

The city purchased 61 acres (247,000 m2) of property from Union Pacific Railroad in 1995 with the goal of creating something that would draw more tourists and locals to the downtown area. In 2004 Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman announced plans for the Union Park Development which will include residential and office high-rises, The Lou Ruvo Brain Institute, an academic medical center, The Smith Center for the Performing Arts, and a new City Hall. After failed negotiations with The Related Co. on the development of Union Park in October 2005, San Diego-based Newland Communities was chosen by the city as the new development firm. The Newland contract calls for Dan Van Epp, Newland's regional vice president and former president of the Howard Hughes Corp., to oversee his company's work on Union Park. The Lou Ruvo Brain Institute is expected to be completed in 2007.

Along with the Union Park Development, other promising residential and office developments have begun construction around downtown Las Vegas. New condominium and hotel high rise projects have changed the entire Las Vegas skyline dramatically in recent years. Many large high-rise projects are planned for downtown Las Vegas as well as the Las Vegas Strip.

In 2004, the city partnered with Cheetah Wireless Technologies and MeshNetwork to pilot a wide area mobile broadband system. The pilot system is installed downtown, around the Fremont Street Experience. In 2005, on a lot adjacent to the city's 61 ac (247,000 m2), the World Market Center opened. It is intended to be the nation's and possibly the world's preeminent furniture wholesale showroom and marketplace, and is meant to compete with the current furniture market capital of High Point, North Carolina.

On October 23, 2006, plans were unveiled to build a World Jewelry Center in Downtown's Union Park. Similar to the World Market Center, the WJC will be a one stop shop for jewelry trade shows from around the world. The project proposes a 57-story, 815-foot (248 m) office tower.

The major attractions in Las Vegas are the casinos. The most famous hotel casinos are located on Las Vegas Boulevard, better known as the Las Vegas Strip. Many of these hotels are massive, carrying thousands of rooms, with their large adjoining casino areas. There are many hotel casinos in the city's downtown area as well, which was the original focal point of the city's gaming industry in its early days. Several large hotels and casinos are also located somewhat off the Strip but adjacent to it, as well as in the county around the city.

Some of the most notable casinos involved in downtown gaming are on the Fremont Street Experience which was granted variances to allow bars to be closer together, similar to the Gaslamp Quarter of San Diego.

On the first Friday of each month, the "First Friday" celebration is held which exhibits the works of local artists and musicians in a section of the city's Downtown region now called the "Arts District".

The Southern Nevada Zoological-Botanical Park, also known as the Las Vegas Zoo, exhibits over 150 species of animals and plants.

The $485 million Smith Center for the Performing Arts (currently under construction) will be located downtown in Union Park. The center will be appropriate for Broadway shows and other major touring attractions as well as orchestra, opera, and dance performances.

Las Vegas does not have major-league sports, although the metropolitan population is as large or larger than many cities that have them. The two major reasons are concern about legal sports betting and competition for the entertainment dollar, both of which Las Vegas has in abundance. The city currently has two minor league sports teams, baseball's Las Vegas 51s of the Pacific Coast League (the AAA farm club of the Toronto Blue Jays), and hockey's Las Vegas Wranglers of the ECHL (an affiliate of the Calgary Flames).

In the past, the city had teams in the Canadian Football League, the XFL and the Arena Football League. There was recent mention in the local media that the San Diego Chargers of the NFL may be considering Las Vegas as a relocation destination. There is speculation that the completion of a new arena (expected to open in 2010) will bring teams from the NBA and NHL. The city is reportedly on the short list of Major League Soccer for an expansion franchise in the near future. There have also been contacts between city officials and several Major League Baseball owners regarding relocation. The ownership of the Florida Marlins held a widely-publicized meeting with Mayor Oscar Goodman in the winter of 2004. The city was a strong candidate to be the new home of the Montreal Expos, who eventually became the Washington Nationals. It was reported that the guarantee of a new stadium built entirely with public funds swung the balance in Washington's favor. Major League Baseball held their 2008 winter meetings in Las Vegas.

High profile limited-duration sporting events have been successful. Las Vegas hosted the 2007 NBA All-Star Game. The NASCAR Sprint Cup series has drawn up to 165,000 fans. Las Vegas also hosts a significant number of professional fights, primarily boxing fights. Many of these fights (such as those in MMA's UFC) take place near downtown or on the Strip in one of the major resort/hotel/casino event centers. Mandalay Bay is frequently a top contender as a venue for the UFC. Las Vegas is often referred to as "The Mecca of boxing" , title which it often shares with New York's Madison Square Garden . Meanwhile, the amateur MMA league Tuff-N-Uff competes at The Orleans. The National Finals Rodeo has drawn thousands of fans to the city since 1985, and a contract extension was signed in 2005 keeping the event in Las Vegas through 2014. The NBA Summer League is currently held in the city, and the USA Olympic basketball team trained in the city in 2008.

The University of Nevada, Las Vegas competes in NCAA Division I in men's and women's sports. UNLV is a member of the Mountain West Conference. The College of Southern Nevada also has an athletic program, with significant success in baseball at the community college level.

There are strong athletic programs at many Las Vegas high schools, with a number of players in several sports going on to major colleges and professional careers as athletes.

In recent years, Las Vegas has been a popular destination for Hawaiians. In 2002, almost 80,000 former residents of Hawaii lived in Las Vegas, and nearly 3,000 Hawaiians visited Las Vegas every week. Las Vegas is sometimes referred to as Hawaii's Ninth Island. The city is the home to the first ABC Stores branch outside the state of Hawaii.

The City of Las Vegas government operates as a council-manager government. The Mayor sits as a Council member-at-large and presides over all of the City Council meetings. In the event that the Mayor cannot preside over a City Council meeting, the Mayor Pro-Tem is the presiding officer of the meeting until such time as the Mayor returns to his seat. The City Manager is responsible for the administration and the day-to-day operation of all of the municipal services and city departments. The City Manager also maintains intergovernmental relationships with federal, state, county and other local governments.

Much of the Las Vegas metropolitan area is split into neighboring incorporated cities or unincorporated communities. Approximately 700,000 people live in unincorporated areas governed by Clark County, and another 465,000 live in incorporated cities such as North Las Vegas, Henderson and Boulder City. Las Vegas and nearly all of the surrounding metropolitan area share a police department, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, which was formed after a 1973 merger of the Las Vegas Police Department and the Clark County Sheriff's Department. North Las Vegas, Henderson, Boulder City as well as some colleges have their own police departments.

A Paiute Indian reservation occupies about one acre (4000 m2) in the downtown area of Las Vegas.

Las Vegas, as the county seat and home to the Lloyd D. George Federal District Courthouse, draws numerous legal service industries providing bail, marriage, divorce, tax, incorporation and other legal services.

Primary and secondary public education is provided by the Clark County School District (CCSD), which is the fifth most populous school district in the nation (projected enrollment for the 2007–2008 school year is 314,000 students in grades K–12).

The University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) is in Paradise, about three miles (5 km) south of the city limits and roughly two miles east of the Strip. The University of Nevada Medical School has a campus near downtown Las Vegas. Several national colleges, including the University of Phoenix, have campuses in the Las Vegas area. Nevada State College and Touro University Nevada are both in nearby Henderson. The College of Southern Nevada has campuses in Las Vegas, North Las Vegas and Henderson. Henderson also is home to DeVry University and the Keller Graduate School of Management, as well as the University of Southern Nevada. Other private entities in the Las Vegas Valley include Apollo College, National University, ITT Technical Institute.

Citizens Area Transit (CAT Bus) is a private company providing public transportation throughout Las Vegas, Henderson, North Las Vegas and other suburban areas of the valley. Intercity bus service to Las Vegas is provided by traditional intercity bus carriers, including Greyhound; many charter services, including Green Tortoise; and several Chinatown bus lines. Amtrak California also operates Deluxe Express Thruway Motorcoach dedicated service between the City and its nearest passenger rail station in Barstow, California. Also, City Ride Bus Service is provided by the Transportation Services Division. It offers two routes in the downtown area with fares running from free to $0.50, depending on age and disabilities.

Interstates 15, 515, and US 95 lead out of the city in all four directions. Two major freeways - Interstate 15 and Interstate 515/U.S. Route 95 - cross in downtown Las Vegas. I-15 connects Las Vegas to Los Angeles, California and heads northeast to and beyond Salt Lake City, Utah. I-515 goes southeast to Henderson, beyond which US 93 continues over the Hoover Dam towards Phoenix, Arizona. US 95 connects the city to northwestern Nevada, including Carson City and Reno. US 93 splits from I-15 northeast of Las Vegas and goes north through the eastern part of the state, serving Ely and Wells, and US 95 heads south from US 93 near Henderson through far eastern California. A three-quarters beltway has been built, consisting of Interstate 215 on the south and Clark County 215 on the west and north. Other radial routes include Blue Diamond Road (SR 160) to Pahrump and Lake Mead Boulevard (SR 147) to Lake Mead.

McCarran International Airport handles international and domestic flights into the Las Vegas Valley. The airport also serves private aircraft and freight/cargo flights. Some of the general aviation traffic use the smaller North Las Vegas Airport and Henderson Executive Airport.

The Union Pacific Railroad is the only class one railroad to provide rail freight service to the city. Until 1997, the Amtrak Desert Wind train service ran through Las Vegas using the Union Pacific Railroad tracks that run through the city. Amtrak service to Las Vegas goes to Needles, California and continues on Amtrak's Thruway Motorcoach bus service. Plans to restore Los Angeles to Las Vegas Amtrak service using a Talgo train have been discussed but no plan for a replacement has been implemented. The Las Vegas Amtrak station was located in the Plaza Hotel. It held the distinction of being the only train station in the United States that was located in a casino.

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Elko, Nevada

Location of Elko, Nevada

Elko is a city in Elko County, Nevada, United States. The population was 16,980 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Elko County.

Elko is the principal city of the Elko Micropolitan Statistical Area, a micropolitan area that covers Elko and Eureka counties and had a combined population of 46,942 at the 2000 census.

Elko was first inhabited in 1868, when it was at the East end of the railroad tracks built by Central Pacific Railroad (the portion of the First Transcontinental Railroad built from California to Utah). When the railroad crews moved on, Elko remained, serving as a ranch and mining freight and supply center.

Elko is said to have been named by Charles Crocker, a superintendent of the Central Pacific Railroad. He was especially fond of animal names and added o to Elk. There is no definitive evidence of this naming history, but it has become the widely accepted version.

The first Elko County Courthouse was built in 1869.

In 1925, the Kelly Act (also known as the Airmail Act of 1925) authorized the U.S. Post Office to contract with private airlines for the feeder routes that fed the main transcontinental route. The first commercial airmail flight in the United States was on the 487 mile Airmail Route #5 from Pasco, Washington to Elko, Nevada on April 6, 1926. The flight was piloted by Leon D. Cuddeback and included a brief stop in Boise, Idaho to pick up more mail.

The 1910 replacement for the original courthouse is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The US Post Office-Elko Main, built in 1933, is also listed.

Elko is located at 40°50′11″N 115°45′56″W / 40.83639°N 115.76556°W / 40.83639; -115.76556 (40.836396, -115.765525).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 14.5 square miles (37.5 km²), all land; though the path of the Humboldt River fills from time to time.

January is normally the coldest month of the year, with an average maximum of 37.1° and an average minimum of 14.1°. July is normally the warmest month of the year, with an average maximum of 89.6° and an average minimum of 48.6°. There are an average of 42 days annually with a maximum of 90° (32°C.) or higher, and an average of 193 days annually with a minimum of 32° (0°C) or lower. Annual precipitation averages 9.9 inches, falling on an average of 79 days. Annual snowfall averages with 38.5 inches. There are normally 130 sunny days each year. The highest temperature on record is 108° on July 28, 1889, and the lowest on record is -43° on January 21, 1937. The most rainfall in one month was 5.71 inches in January 1916. The most rainfall in one year was 18.34 inches in 1983. The most snowfall in one month was 45.7 inches in January 1996. The most snowfall in one year was 100.8 inches in 1996.

As of the census of 2000, there were 20,732 people, 8,505 households, and 5,287 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,153.3 people per square mile (445.2/km²). There were 6,948 housing units at an average density of 479.6/sq mi (185.1/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 81.5% White, 0.3% African American, 5.4% Native American, 1.0% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 8.6% from other races, and 2.94% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 19.4% of the population.

There were 8,505 households out of which 40.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.8% were married couples living together, 9.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.8% were non-families. 23.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 5.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.72 and the average family size was 3.26.

In the city the population was spread out with 31.1% under the age of 18, 9.8% from 18 to 24, 31.2% from 25 to 44, 21.0% from 45 to 64, and 7.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 31.5 years. For every 100 females there were 104.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 105.3 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $48,656, and the median income for a family was $52,263. Males had a median income of $42,155 versus $26,823 for females. The per capita income for the city was $19,680. About 6.1% of families and 8.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 8.9% of those under age 18 and 8.4% of those age 65 or over.

Elko is the largest city between Salt Lake City and Reno located along Interstate 80. Passenger service to Elko is available on Greyhound Lines, Amtrak's twice-daily California Zephyr, and from SkyWest Airlines, which serves Elko Regional Airport from Salt Lake City.

Each January, Elko is the host to the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering. This festival is a week-long celebration of life in the rural West, featuring the contemporary and traditional arts that arise from lives lived close to the land. Poetry, music, stories, gear, film, photography, food – all contribute to the texture of an event that has become an annual ritual for thousands of people who value the people and cultures that live and work in the American West.

Elko is the home to the Western Folklife Center, which is regional nonprofit organization that works to expand our understanding of the everyday traditions of people who live and work in the American West. The Western Folklife Center is located Downtown in the old Pioneer hotel.

Every July, Elko is host to the National Basque Festival. The Basque people are a rich culture that has roots deep in the Elko community. The "Basco Fiasco" as it is humorously referred to, is a celebration on traditional Basque culture and its ties to the Elko community. The festival includes strong man competitions, a running of the bulls, traditional food and wine, and Basque Dancing.

Elko is home to a number of casinos, including Stockmen's, the Commercial, the High Desert Casino, the Red Lion, and the Gold Country Motor Inn. The Commercial Casino is notable for having a stuffed ten foot tall polar bear on display. For many years the Red Lion brought gamblers to Elko from many parts of the country through flights on Casino Express. The flights to Elko ended in February 2006.

Elko is also home to legal prostitutes and contains active brothels. Under Nevada law, any county with a population of less than 400,000 is allowed to license brothels if it so chooses.

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Source : Wikipedia