GrowBLOX Sciences to Open First of Four Commercial Cultivation Labs, Despite Difficult Nevada Climate

Plant to Medicine LinkedInNevada’s nascent medical marijuana industry faces strict testing and custody requirements, hurdles many struggling companies have been unable to overcome, but GrowBLOX Sciences continues to defy the trend, announcing their 30,000 sq. ft. Cultivation Labs are set to finish construction and begin operations before the end of the year.

The cannabis market is a complicated beast, a brand new industry, ripe with potential riches yet fraught with perilous dangers, impediments varying in origin and severity from state to state.

In a handful of States everything is rosy, with medical marijuana markets functioning smoothly and helping patients, while in a handful more recreational cannabis laws are going over like gangbusters. Meanwhile less fortunate States aren’t faring quite as well, with convoluted legislation or unexpectedly strict testing requirements keeping cannabis from reaching the market. Luckily for GrowBLOX Sciences, Nevada is a prime example of the latter.

This is good news for GrowBLOX Sciences and their investors because, since their inception, they’ve been approaching cannabis cultivation from a biotech background, and anything less than a scientifically validated, safe product was never going to be an option. At this point, the only thing precluding their medicinal cannabis making it to market, is cultivating a crop for commercial harvest.

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The EPA and Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Finally in the Game

In the United States’ recent history, republican administrations have not been the best friends of the environment, but that was not always the case. Decades ago the quality of the ecosystem was much less of a partisan issue, recognized as a necessity for all citizens, and it was actually President Richard Nixon that proposed the Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA was established shortly thereafter on December 2, 1970, yet. Since its inception the agency has done a lot to protect many aspects of our environment from waste and pollution, including the air we breathe, under the Clean Air Act, signed into law the same year. But it wasn’t until January 2, 2011, that the EPA first began regulating Greenhouse Gasses (GHG).

The road to our new protections was a long and hard fought one, at first fought against the EPA itself. On October 20, 1999 the International Center for Technology Assessment petitioned the EPA to regulate greenhouse gases emitted by new motor vehicles in order to reduce the effects of global warming. The agency, however initially declined to take action on the petition, claiming not to have the authority to act on climate change, as the issue did not fall under its traditional powers to regulate emissions directly harmful to humans.

Furthermore the agency went on to explain that even if it were within their power to act on the petition they would not do so, for two reasons: the first being that to do so would not be effective in combatting global warming. The second, and more troubling reason, was that such action would go against the Bush administration’s policies, which aimed at further investigation into the legitimacy of the climate change issue and its causes, as well as encouraging efforts by private parties such as voluntary reductions and technological advances. EPA Logo

On April 2, 2007, the Supreme Court found, in Massachusetts v. EPA, 549 U.S. 497 (2007), that GHGs, are air pollutants covered by the CAA. The Court found that the “EPA was required to determine whether or not emissions of GHGs from new motor vehicles cause or contribute to air pollution which may reasonably be anticipated to endanger public health or welfare.” So under pressure from the courts the agency began the investigative process they had been putting off for nearly a decade.

Almost exactly two years later, in April 2009 under the new democratic presidential administration, the EPA proposed a finding that greenhouse gasses do in fact contribute to air pollution that may threaten public health. In early December of that year the Administrator signed two findings on GHG, under section 202 of the CAA: Continue reading

Pimpin’ Aint Easy, But it Pays the Bills

CocaineBrooklyn is a prostitute who frequents the bars in the downtown scene on a regular basis, always with a different man on her arm. She is young and brunette, speaks with a distinct New York accent and generally has a smile on her face. But she did not feel comfortable giving an interview. She wasn’t sure her man would like it and she wasn’t sure she’d be comfortable being quoted. So she pointed the way to her pimp “Downtown Brown.”

I met Brown at his condo Friday afternoon. Tall, skinny and muscular at age 37, he met me at the door in a pair of slacks, a tank top undershirt and a do-rag on his head. He welcomed me, told me that Brooklyn had said I was nice and he’d be happy to talk to me for a while. On the counter stacks of twenties stand beside a toaster and a pile of cocaine. We sat across from one another at his kitchen table and talked: first, for a few minutes, about my bar and how long I’d been bartending, before moving into my time at UNLV and his time at college at Fresno State.

Brown came from Minneapolis Minnesota and spent some time in Georgia as well. He went to college in Fresno on a basketball scholarship. He was successful and enjoyed it but in school he was injured and did not garner enough attention to get drafted to the NBA. Instead Brown pursued his dream in the less fashionable way, playing briefly in Japan, before joining the Las Vegas Rattlers, now known as the Aces, of the American Basketball Association.

It was a way to live his dream, but the pay was not good and he lived in a city that whose nightlife demanded attention and a better paycheck. Growing up hustling had always been around Brown’s life. His uncle Billy lived down the block and had been pimping as long as he could remember. His cousin across the street was known as the Prince of Darkness.

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Climate Changing Priorities – Editorial

windmill and plantIf you watch the news, it is difficult to identify a single problem facing the United States to name as the most dire, as our around the clock news cycle bombards viewers with crisis after crisis, it seems to be a litany of woes.

Some would say it is the quagmire that is the Affordable Care Act, others would say the Tea Party’s obstructionism or the tragically frequent gun violence in the, while many would argue there is nothing hurting our country more than the ever widening wealth gap. While these concerns certainly carry their fair share of problems, no issue threatens the future of the U.S., and every other nation, more than the connected damages of rampant over consumption and climate change.

The last decade has produced nine of the ten hottest years on record leading to severe droughts that have led to near constant forest fire threats across the southwest, especially in California, dwindling harvests in the heartland and devastated fish populations across the country. Changing weather patterns have led to unprecedented natural disaster damage across the Northeast and a mind boggling stream of storms disrupting travel and commerce on a regular basis.

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Viva Las Loathing

IMG_1125It’s shortly after 9 p.m. Monday when we pull into the Circus Circus parking garage. I’m three beers in and four shots to the wind, glad not to be driving. My girlfriend and I watched the football game at our bar a few blocks away and indulged in a goodly number of adult libations. I figured that for a school assignment, it would likely be deemed inappropriate were I to get into a Raoul Duke state of mind, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to walk in Thompson’s footsteps sober.

We parked on the bottom floor of the abandoned lot, only steps from the door. “This place is dead as disco,” Chrystal said skeptically as she flicked the totally legal, doctor prescribed marijuana cigarette away from the car. “I mean, I know it’s a Monday, but really? This is depressing.”

She was right, there were few people to be seen as we walked through the glass doors into the lobby. “Don’t worry,” I assured her confidently as I held the door like a damn gentleman. “It’ll be great, I just have to find the Carousel bar real fast, that and the American Dream.”

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Alicia Shepard, UNLV’s 2013 Guest Professor Makes a Difference in Student’s Lives, Sets Example with Her Own.

Alicia Shepard

“I never worked on the high school newspaper, never worked on the college paper, I was lucky the guy that I worked for saw something in me … basically I’m very nosy.”

Alicia Shepard’s career in journalism took her by surprise, then led her across the country and halfway around the world. She wrote for a number of years for “American Journalism Review” and has contributed to the “New York Times,” “The Washington Post” and the “Chicago Tribune.”

Shepard served as the public editor for “National Public Radio,” and has taught journalism across the nation. In 2012 she joined the UNLV Greenspun School of Journalism as a guest professor, bringing the school the instant credibility of a nationally renowned media figure.

In her undergraduate studies at George Washington University, Shepard focused neither on journalism nor communications, instead majoring in English and minoring in biology. “I always thought I wanted to be a high school English teacher,” she confessed.  Her senior year however, fate intervened. “I needed a part time job and I saw there was a news bureau the needed an assistant,” Shepard remembers. “I had no interest or knowledge of journalism other than getting the newspaper every morning at home.”

But she was in the door. “It was at a place called ‘Scripts League Newspaper’, a small family owned chain that had papers all over the country.” Once there she learned the ropes as she was taught to rewrite press releases and do smaller stories. “I had an aptitude for it and I liked it and he offered me a job when I graduated. I thought what the heck I’ll do it for a year. And of course I loved it.”

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Rebel Bingo Brings the Circus to Your Dobber

Rebel BingoBingo is not exactly the hip gaming craze that excites the masses, not the masses under fifty at least. But the traveling circus that is Rebel Bingo is trying to change that by infusing the simple game with crazy prizes, competitive face-offs for prizes, sexed up punked out girls talking dirty and a liberal dose of liquor.

The event, that has previously graced Las Vegan guests at LVH and the Boulevard Pool at the Cosmo, on July 18, held court at the Act nightclub inside the Palazzo Casino. Act makes earns its fame from the side show theatrics that is nightly injects into the standard local nightclub life, thus it seemed like a perfect environment to host this bombastic underworld party of Bingo and debauchery. No one appeared to blink as the costumed wanderer on stilts shimmied through the crowd surrounding the dance floor.

The show started a little late but with much enthusiasm from the MC as he called the crowd to the stage. He introduced his troupe, laid down the rules and the Bingo began. Continue reading

The Best Elvis in Las Vegas

Chad Collins Ultimate Elvis

Las Vegas is a mecca for impersonators and tribute artists. Currently tourists can talented performers from around the country portraying many of their favorite artists, from the Rat Pack and Barbara Streisand to the Bee Gees Britney Spears and Michael Jackson. But no star of song or screen is mimicked as often and with such praise as the King, Elvis Presley.

Las Vegas’s love affair with Elvis has been documented and related through television specials on the man himself as well as in movies galore from the Flying Elvi shown in “Honeymoon in Vegas” to the plethora of impersonators used as the backdrop for “3000 Miles to Graceland.”

On May the 4th Annual Las Vegas Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest was held on Fremont Street in front of thousands of spectators. With twenty contestants performing over two days there were plenty of Elvi representing a number of infamous Elvis looks to choose from.

Over the course of two days these performers sang and shook their hips across the stage for the judges and the applauding crowd. But at the end of the day there was room for only one Elvis to grace the stage as Las Vegas ultimate Elvis impersonator, and that Elvis was Chad Collins.

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Chad currently portrays Elvis at the Little White Wedding Chapel on Las Vegas Boulevard. Although this is his first time performing on stage as Elvis Chad is an old hand at the tribute artist game. He began his career as a performer, impersonating Tim McGraw and made his name performing the character for Legends in Concert throughout the first decade of 2000’s.

As the winner of the Las Vegas leg of the competition The contest serves as a preliminary round for the Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest which takes place in Memphis during Elvis Week. As the winner of this year’s preliminary round in Las Vegas, Collins will proceed to the semifinals during Elvis Week 2013 in Memphis, Tenn.

Since it was launched in 2013 the Ultimate Elvis contest has become a highlight of  Elvis Week in Memphis, which attracts more than 70,000 fans from across the globe.

Collins will be continuing his gig performing marriages as Elvis on the strip, he will also be seen this month in The Best of Vegas Summer Variety Show, where he will be performing as both Elvis and Tim McGraw in the same show for the first time. He can also be seen singing and playing guitar in his new band Easy 8’s, who recently performed on Fremont Street on the 4th of July.

 

Beat the Heat, Cheap Summer Movies in Vegas

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Las Vegas is Hotter than Hell. Residents of the city may not be surprised to hear this, especially in the midst of this debilitating heat wave that has been encompassing the Southwest the past few weeks. But according to Steven Slivka‘s article for the Las Vegas Review Journal, “Las Vegas’ hottest June ends with a 117-degree high, tying the record,” not only did the final day of June tie the record for the hottest day on record (followed by a night featuring temperatures as high as 111-degrees), but the month set a new record for hottest June in the city’s history.

People have suffered injuries already and the city is reminding people to stay inside, keep water around and stay hydrated. The city is also pushing their plethora of cooling stations, which offer everyone from the families to the homeless a chance to cool off and get wet in the water, as Riley Snyder covers in his article “Cooling Stations Help Those out and about Around the Valley Beat the Heat,” earlier this month in the Las Vegas Sun.

For many people however, even splashing around in the water may not be quite enough to alleviate the soul crushing sun’s rays. Such citizens are in luck as a handful of the valley’s movie theaters are making it easier than ever to hide from the heat for a couple hours at a time.

On the strip AMC theaters at Town Square, formerly Rave, offer $5 movies every weekday before noon as well as normal matinees after.

Most theaters have matinees every weekday where patrons can get tickets for a few dollars off the standard price, but there a couple places where movie goers can get even better values. Regal Cinemas’ locations at Green Valley Ranch and the Colonade on South Eastern both feature $6 Tuesdays for all movies not shown in 3-D or I-Max. The two theaters also offer significant discounts on those special screenings as well.

Across town at the Brendan Theaters inside the Palms Casino, there are variety of deals as customers can enjoy $5 movie Mondays or the 2 for $22 Tuesdays special, which features two tickets, two popcorns and two sodas.

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Of course there is no better value offered on a daily basis than Tropicana Cinemas. Located at the corner of Tropicana and Pecos, the renovated second run theatre shows movies that have recently left most theaters, but have yet to hit DVD on digital big-screens for only $1.50 per a ticket. There patrons get one last chance to catch a flick they may have missed before they are forced to watch on a smaller T.V. screen, or the chance to catch a favorite one more time at a fraction of the price. They even have $1 hot dogs. What more can a moviegoer ask for?

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Hottest Reggae Nightclub in Vegas Lies in the Naked City

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Las Vegas is internationally famous for its bright and bustling Strip. The bright lights and the jumbo screens invite tourists and locals alike inside with the promise of endless parties and sex. Sweaty bodies in their tight shirts and tiny skirts await inside countless cliched nightclubs writhing to tunes spun by DJ’s, some famous across the world and others famous across the city.

Around the city numerous venues have tried for years to establish themselves as competitors in the city’s nightlife market. The vast majority of these places appear with a flash but most are gone as quick as lightening. In his article, “Does Las Vegas Have a Nightclub Bubble?” for Seven Magazine earlier this year, David G. Swartz suggested that such flops could be a problem that soon move from off strip attempts into the heart of Vegas’ nightlife scene itself, on Las Vegas Boulevard.

But not everyone is suffering from such failings. On the edge of the Arts district, just past the Naked City and about halfway between the main Strip and Fremont street, sits the Aruba Hotel. Nestled between two of the city’s most prominent quick hitch wedding chapels and across the street from one of its sleaziest fully nude strip clubs, the Aruba is what now remains of the formerly famous Hotel Thunderbird.

For much of the week the motel is as quiet as the rest of the neighborhood, far from the glitz and glamour of the party city’s hubs. But every Saturday night the Thunderbird Lounge and Club Aruba come alive as DJ Handgun spins the beats for the most continuously successful reggae event the city has seen over the last decade. According to Catherine Nguen, the event, Positive Vibrations’, head promoter, the weekly dance hall party consistently sees between four and five hundred patrons on a weekly basis, with a line frequently out the door.

“I’ve been playing reggae for twenty years,” says DJ Handgun, “I’ve been here at the Aruba Hotel since 2005 and weekly since 2006. Playing dancehall, roots and soca.” When asked how he has been able to keep his event so successful week after week, in an out of the way venue his answer was simple. “Me and my partner, DJ Charlo, we play the best music, we have the best vibes,” he answers. “It’s good people and good times, we draw them in from California, the Caribbean and even Africa … they keep coming back because we play what they are here to hear. No one else does.”

You can hear electronic dance music on almost any block almost anywhere you find crowds in Las Vegas. If you want to hear Reggae, you go the Aruba Hotel.