Coaching kerfuffle threatens sports in Las Vegas schools

Coaching positions at several Las Vegas, N.M., schools are in jeopardy – including the one for West Las Vegas High’s girls soccer team that starts play next week – after the city manager said a group of ranking Las Vegas police officers didn’t follow proper procedures for outside employment when they took coaching jobs.

The issue arose Monday at a Las Vegas City Council meeting when City Manager Richard Trujillo nixed the idea of Deputy Chief Ken Jenkins, Commander Eric Padilla, Commander Chris Lopez and Lt. Pam Sandoval coaching.

“There’s a process,” said Trujillo. “You have to apply for outside employment. That’s part of the process. It has to go through the chief and then my office. I review the submission of that application. There can be no conflicts with their primary job or any other employment. That process was not followed, so we’re having to address that internally.”

But Police Chief Juan Montaño said he has been operating under a city law granting department heads the authority to approve off-duty jobs.

The jobs and their small stipends are secondary to the more important task of providing a strong authority figure for the students, he said.

“It’s not a factor about the money,” Montaño said. “It’s about mentoring and nurturing the kids. They need a strong representative, somebody who’s going to be there for them in their hardships.”

While city officials say the dispute boils down to policy, Montaño said it’s become more of a personal issue dating back to last year when Mayor Tonita Gurule-Giron’s daughter was arrested on suspicion of DWI.

“Ever since then, our relationship has been dwindling away,” he said.

The mayor said the coaching issue is not related to her daughter.

The DWI “had nothing to do with Juan Montaño, none of it ever did,” she said. “It’s absolutely untrue and unfounded, and a disgrace for Juan Montaño to make a statement like that. This is based on policy.

“The chief has to go through the city manager for approval. What has happened historically during his reign is he had made all decisions for personnel without seeking any help from human resources or anything, but there is a policy that supersedes SOP (standard operating procedure), an ordinance. The law states that he must also to go to the city manager for approval.”

The kerfuffle has come as a complete – and unwelcome – shock to Las Vegas residents, said City Councilor Barbara Perea-Casey, who found out about the situation shortly before Monday’s council meeting.

“My phone won’t stop ringing,” she said of the reaction on Tuesday. “I’ve been on the phone all day. Everybody is up in arms. I have a friend on the school board and she’s very distressed. They’re great role models for the kids. They mentor the kids, they know them, encourage them to stay out of trouble and really work with them. They buy equipment out of their own pockets, buy meals.”

City Manager Trujillo said, “Every other department did submit employees’ names to my office.”

West Las Vegas schools Superintendent Chris Gutierrez called the coaching cops “good role models for the kids.”

Gutierrez and Chief Montaño say Padilla – the West girls soccer coach – and the other officers who are coaches will continue in their dual community roles.

“We’d be put into a predicament of maybe opening up a position when we didn’t have to,” Gutierrez said. “I’ll go down the road when I get there. Right now, my coaches are coaching. It’s not my position to let them go. It’s their primary employer who they’re having to deal with, not me.”

Trujillo said he will review the applications for the officers’ outside employment that he recently received and then make a decision on them next week.

“It depends on what department they’re working in, what priorities they are responsible for and how well the department is being run at that point, and making sure their primary job is taken care of and to make sure that there is coverage while away from job,” he said.

The officers were all encouraged by Chief Montaño to take the positions, the chief said, particularly since they are primarily administrative personnel and not active patrol officers.

As for the other officers involved in the controversy, Jenkins coaches girls basketball at Memorial Middle School in the East Las Vegas Schools District, Sandoval coaches Dons softball and Lopez runs junior wrestling for West Las Vegas schools covering elementary age to 14-year-olds.

In addition, Montaño is the Dons wrestling coach and his status was not in jeopardy, Trujillo said, because he had an arrangement with a prior administration.

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The Weeknd Checks Out a Concert With Friends in Las Vegas!

The Weeknd Checks Out a Concert With Friends in Las Vegas!

The Weeknd had a guts night out with some friends!

The 27-year-old entertainer was spotted hanging with some friends at Drai’s nightclub on Sunday evening (August 13) at The Cromwell in Las Vegas.

The group had their own stage side VIP booth as they checked out a performance from Fabolous, who was spotted chatting with The Weeknd after the show.

Earlier that weekend, the entertainer and his girlfriend Selena Gomez hit up a comedy club in Hollywood for date night.

The cute couple enjoyed the performance as they laughed and spent the night with a few friends.

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Las Vegas holds off Chihuahuas

Las Vegas holds off Chihuahuas

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It was hardly a fit night out for desert creatures, desert dwellers — and pitchers.

More than a few El Paso baseball fans waited through a one hour and seven minute rain delay on a cool, wet Friday night at Southwestern University Park. But their patience went unrewarded as Las Vegas held off all late Chihuahua charges to take an 8-7 win in front of an official attendance of 8,188 fans.

It was hardly a fit night out for pitchers, either. The Chihuahua moundsmen gave up 16 hits while the Las Vegas pitchers gave up 13 base knocks. The two teams combined for 29 hits and 15 runs.

In short, it was not a night for pitchers.

It was also a disappointing night for the Chihuahuas. The El Paso club is in the hunt for a third straight Pacific Coast League Pacific Southern Division title. But the Chihuahuas failed to gain ground Friday against a club they should gain ground against.

Sacramento dropped Salt Lake 5-3 Friday and Albuquerque was rained out. The standings are still almost a dead heat. Salt Lake is 59-60. Albuquerque is in a virtual tie with a 58-59 mark. El Paso is still just two games out with a 57-62 record.

Las Vegas has struggled this season and the 51s are now 45-74. But the Chihuahuas could not get enough runs to get past them on this cool, damp evening.

Las Vegas struck early and never trailed. The 51s got a pair in the top of the first but El Paso’s Franchy Cordero countered with a solo home run. But Las Vegas stuck three more on the board in the top of the second and led 5-1.

Then, with two out in the bottom of the second, a huge bolt of lightning struck near the stadium. That was followed by a booming clap of thunder and that was followed quickly by a stiff rain.

The tarp was pulled and quite a few fans waited through the one hour and seven minute rain delay. They pulled the tarp and got back to raining base hits just after 9 p.m.

It remained 5-1 until Rocky Gale got an RBI single in the fourth, trimming the lead to 5-2.

Diego Goris got an RBI double in the fifth and Rafael Ortega followed with an RBI ground out and Nick Buss added an RBI single and, presto, this dance was tied at 5-all.

For a few minutes.

Cody Decker, the El Paso favorite who hit 48 home runs in the first two season’s of this franchise’s existence, stepped to the plate to lead off the sixth for Las Vegas. Bam. Decker did what Decker does. He hit his 185th minor league home run, this one a line shot over the right center field fence.

Las Vegas would not trail again.

The 51s pounded across two more runs in that sixth frame, leaving the home team to climb out of yet one more hole.

Cordero got a triple in the bottom of the sixth and trotted home on a Diego Goris single. The 51s lead was then 8-6 … 8-6 with a possible exciting finish for the home team.

Chase D’Arnaud pulled the Chihuahuas one heartbeat closer to an exciting finish with a solo home run over the left field wall in the eighth. All of a sudden, it was 8-7 with all sorts of possibilities looming in that exciting bottom of the ninth.

But, on this night that was hardly fit for pitchers, Las Vegas reliever Kevin McGowan thought otherwise. He retired the Chihuahuas one-two-three in the ninth, striking out two of them and draining every bit of drama smack out of this one.

Decker had a solid night on his return to El Paso, walking twice and launching that go-ahead home run.

In the end, it was a beautifully cool, uncomfortably wet night … a night that was hardly fit for pitchers and a night with a huge dose of what-if for the Chihuahuas as they continue to chase a championship.

Bill Knight may be reached at 546-6171; bknight@elpasotimes.com; @BillKnightept on Twitter.

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How Drake got his giant CN Tower replica from Las Vegas to Toronto

How Drake got his giant CN Tower replica from Las Vegas to Toronto

Toronto rapper Drake recreated his famed album cover for Views Monday night atop a replica CN Tower. The set was built over three weeks in Las Vegas and shipped to Toronto piece by piece in five tractor-trailers for OVO Fest. (champagnepapi/Instagram)
Haydn Watters

Under a gigantic, glowing replica of his beloved CN Tower, rapper Drake told the Toronto crowd gathered at Monday’s OVO Fest he had called "19 companies" to build it and they all said no.

So when Eric Pearce got the call, he too was a little skeptical it could be done.

"They came up with the concept of the design for this show rather late," said Pearce, owner of Las Vegas’ Show Group Production Services (SGPS), the outfit that helped design and build the faux tower. "It’s pretty large."

The cover of Drake’s 2016 album, Views. (OVO Sound)

The idea stemmed from the cover of the rapper’s 2016 album, Views, which features Drake perched atop the CN Tower, a moment he recreated with the replica during the show.

Pearce and his team had about three weeks to take it from design to delivery, working around the clock, seven days a week in their Las Vegas factory to build it on time. They came up with the plans on how to build it in a single weekend.

"We didn’t have time to make any models. We simply looked at photographs," he said. The rapper’s team provided a scaled reference and imagery of the tower.

Carried in 5 tractor-trailers

SGPS has handled production for Guns N’ Roses, Justin Bieber and Roger Waters’ The Wall tour. They’ve also worked with Drake on his past tours, which is why Pearce decided to say yes despite the time crunch.

It was a "very difficult" task — Pearce said a replica of that size would normally take six to eight weeks to build. The finished product took up the bulk of the stage and was clad with all of the observation deck’s features, including its signature red stripe and the Edge Walk’s trolley equipment.

"The scale of the set is two or three times the traditional rock and roll star set," Pearce said.

Once the set was built, it was tested in Las Vegas before it was shipped to Toronto for Monday’s show. The tower’s pieces filled up five tractor-trailers, which took a few days to get to Canada. The cargo was kept a tight secret the entire time.

"There was simply very little time for the word to spread," Pearce said.

The rapper posted what appeared to be blueprints for the set piece, with the caption ‘I got big plans’ the day after the concert. Eric Pearce, one of its builders, said the tower is headed back to Las Vegas for storage and is uncertain what happens to it next. (champagnepapi/Twitter)

When the tower got to the Budweiser Stage, a local crew pieced it together under the supervision of a team SGPS sent up from Las Vegas.

And now that the show’s over, Pearce said it is already on its way back to Las Vegas, where it will sit in storage for now. He’s unsure what happens next but knows that it is far too big for "conventional touring."

Pearce won’t say how much the tower cost to build or whether all the work was worth it for its short stint on stage.

"The economics of it are something you have to ask the client about."

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Farrah Abraham Shows Off Her Bare Booty in Sheer Jumpsuit in Las Vegas

Farrah Abraham Shows Off Her Bare Booty in Sheer Jumpsuit in Las Vegas

Farrah Abraham arrives at the Crazy Horse III Gentlemen’s Club to host a VIP Back Door Key Party celebrating the launch of the club’s new VIP membership program on August 4, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Revenge red carpet look? Farrah Abraham showed off her bare booty in a sheer jumpsuit during an appearance in Las Vegas on Friday, August 4.

The Teen Mom OG star, 26, debuted her new flame-red hair as she took to the red carpet before an appearance at Crazy Horse’s VIP Back Door Key Party in Sin City.

The mom of one wore a black lace jumpsuit that left very little to the imagination with its plunging neckline that exposed her tan lines and sheer fabric that revealed her nipples and bare butt.

Farrah Abrahamm arrives at the Crazy Horse III Gentlemen’s Club to host a VIP Back Door Key Party celebrating the launch of the club’s new VIP membership program.

Abraham teased her new hair color on Instagram on Friday, asking fans, “What color should I color my hair ? Single Revenge Hair ??”

The sex tape star has been involved in a public spat with ex-boyfriend Simon Saran on social media over the past few weeks.

Farrah Abraham Gabe Ginsberg/Getty Images

The pair hurled insults at each other on Twitter in mid-July after Saran mocked Abraham’s upcoming show, Single AF, and she slammed him for using her for money.

“Why are you trying to get attention, you’re pathetic & I’m a great mother, professional, friend & women. Go STOP using me for money,” she tweeted on July 11. “I’m happy I get to travel the world and meet great people unlike you at home stalking my dates and social Thank me for making you! Jealous.”

Abraham subsequently told Us Weekly that she’d served Saran with a cease and desist order.

“I’m no longer trying to be cordial or friends with my ex,” she told Us on July 19, claiming that Saran had been contacting her friends, trying to determine her whereabouts and allegedly “ruining business deals” and “stalking” her on social media.

Saran and his legal team declined to comment on the allegations at the time.

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Las Vegas From The Inside

Las Vegas From The Inside

Touring the awesome sights and sounds of Las Vegas has been an experience for millions of entertainment seeking people from all regions of the world. The big casinos and luxurious accommodations in and around the Las Vegas strip are amazing. Many visitors have tried to take in all of the attractions in a very short period of time. Needless to say, this small corner of the world that is known as Sin City holds far more than what can be experienced in one weekend.

Entertaining adventures such as The Fremont Experience and Circus Circus each can take up a full days time. Visitors most definitely need to make plans ahead of time in order to enjoy as much excitement as possible during their time in the city. That recommendation applies very much to families, tour groups and others that feel more comfortable operating off of structured plans.

The other tourism option for swimming in the Vegas pool of enjoyment is simply to jump right in and flow with the wind, so to say. This is the option that many couples and singles have chosen for many years. Spontaneity can be a good thing when it comes to having a fun filled time.

There is a great deal of construction and refacing taking place in this city currently. North LV Boulevard is experiencing a major facelift that is sure to change the local communities that it flows through. As if there is not already enough to enjoy, there is also a major sports team making the move to this wonderful city. The fan base already exists and the team is not very far from the state that it existed in for many many years.

One of the best experiences a visitor can have is to set aside a day or two for exploring local communities and the excitement they offer.