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Designated Drivers Hopes for Help from Bars

LAS VEGAS -- Julie Siordia at Lucky's Bar knows a drunk when she see's one.

"You have to really reason with them. They get stubborn, they don't want to listen, they think they know what's right," she said.

Bars like Lucky's pays for a service to take customers who have had too much to drink home safely. For years, Billie Smith's Designated Drivers service offered free rides home. But their grant money ran out, forcing them to charge at least $55 for two people to come and take you and your car home safely.

Once callers heard they now charged, most just hung up. "Over 200 people called us asking for free rides that we weren't able to provide. Those 200 people probably got out on the road and drove," he said.

One Dead in Double Shooting in East Las Vegas

LAS VEGAS -- Las Vegas homicide detectives are investigating a double shooting that killed one man and injured another. It happened just after noon at the Village Karen Apartments near Karen and Mountain Vista.

The victims are two long-time maintenance men who live and work at the complex. Both were shot -- one is expected to survive, but the other died here at the scene.

"We heard some shots and when I walked over there, I saw our maintenance man, Papa, was shot in the hand trying to defend himself and his assistant was lying dead on the porch," said resident Brendon Dillman.

Metro says the shooting happened while they were en route to a call of a burglary in progress at the same apartment complex.

Homicide detectives say the men were simply doing their job -- preparing to fix a broken window -- when they apparently ran into the five would-be burglars outside one of the apartment units.

Largest DUI Sweep in History Set for This Weekend

LAS VEGAS -- History will be made this Memorial Day weekend as Las Vegas police launch the largest, most concentrated DUI crackdown in the nation. An unprecedented five separate checkpoints will be executed over the next four nights at intersections notorious for DUI arrests and crashes.

The effort will involve 250 officers and civilians armed with an arsenal of equipment and expertise. All with the goal of preventing other families from having to experience the pain and suffering so many southern Nevadans already have.

Lettie Quintana awoke from a two-week coma to learn her 8-year-old son Erik was killed in a DUI crash that so severely injured her, she couldn't even attend his funeral.

"Til this day, I still ask him to forgive me because it is a mother's job to be there for her children," she said.

But Quintana has been there for Eric everyday since that 1999 crash, dedicating his memory and her life to the fight against DUI.

Police Crash Cars for Training

LAS VEGAS -- Police are creating car accidents at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. No one has been hurt. It's all part of a crash conference being held Monday.

The conference helps police departments analyze speed, driver attention and other factors that lead to accidents and looks at ways to prevent them.

There have been cars crashing into each other and motorcycles crash into cars, all to help law enforcement learn how to investigate crashes. That analysis can be the difference between guilty and innocent.

"On the criminal side, you want to make sure if you're ascertaining somebody for a misdemeanor or felony prosecution that you've dialed in who's at fault correctly, as well as if someone was going too fast or too slow," said Officer Jim Byrne with the North Las Vegas Police.

Despite Criticism, Analysts Say Las Vegas Will Recover

LAS VEGAS -- Las Vegas continues to be portrayed as the poster child for the recession. Some financial experts say things have gotten so bad, we will never recover. But local economists say that's not true, but it will take time.

A report by 24/7 Wall Street named 13 cities in the U.S. that will never recover because of the housing market and unemployment rate. Las Vegas was one of them. 

Ironically, the report came out at the same time the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce's new president takes the reigns. He's a man with experience in economic recovery.

The doom and gloom in Las Vegas is slowly starting to lift. Tourism has increased 1.5-percent this year and Jeremy Aguero with Applied Analysis says homes are selling.

"A year and a half ago there were almost 30,000 housing units for sale. Today, that number is roughly 10,000," he said.

Nellis Air Force Base Prepares for Green Flag

NELLIS AFB -- Southern Nevadans can expect increased military aircraft activity as Green Flag exercises begin on May 21st.

Missions will be flown twice daily starting May 23rd with takeoffs around 2 p.m. and again at 7 p.m. The operations will run until midnight.

The training will help provide airmen and soldiers preparing to deploy in support of worldwide combat operations. Green Flag replicates warfare conditions found in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Green Flag will end on June 4th.

 

County Draws from Reserves for Balanced Budget

LAS VEGAS -- While Clark County commissioners agreed Monday on a balanced budget, it's still unclear how many jobs could be cut and when county employees will find out.

Most commissioners agreed to take more from the county's saving's account to balance the budget. But Commissioner Steve Sisolak voted no, saying it's time to make the tough decisions on employee layoffs before it's too late.

One of the most common words commissioners used at the budget meeting was soon. Soon they would know how many county employees they'll have to lay off. Soon they would know when they'd make this tough decision.

"This has been going on for months, as I said. We've made progress," said Commissioner Rory Reid.

"We're avoiding making hard decisions," said Sisolak.

Those hard decisions affect the day to day operations of Las Vegas Metro police, fire protection, and University Medical Center.