Seven Days

The highlights of this week in your city.

Thu. 23

Tonight is your last chance to enjoy the Holiday Spectacular, 5-9 p.m. at the Springs Preserve, 333 S. Valley View Blvd. Thousands of eco-friendly LED lights have transformed the botanical gardens into a glowing wonderland, complete with snow. There’s live music, Santa’s on hand for photos, and kids can ride a miniature train or on reindeer that look suspiciously like ponies. Bring a donation of canned food and get $1 off of admission. Visit for information.

Fri. 24

It’s never too late to help. Now through Jan. 1, the Southern Nevada Chapter of the American Red Cross will be selling Gifts That Save the Day at its kiosk in the Fashion Show. A $20 purchase, for example, will provide a hot meal, $60 will purchase 10 blankets, and $100 buys phone cards for five members of the military. Instead of a gift card, stuff a donation down that stocking.

Sun. 26

Today is the beginning of Kwanzaa, the celebration of African-American culture and heritage, and it is dedicated to the principle of umoja (unity). As part of the weeklong holiday, boys and girls will graduate from the Rites of Passage mentoring program at 2 p.m. at the West Las Vegas Theater (951 W. Lake Mead Blvd.). The ceremony is free and open to the public and features the Jester Hairston Music Association performing live. For information, call 229-4800.

Tues. 28

CityCenter is a significant addition to the Las Vegas skyline, but its cultural impact is perhaps best seen from within. The CENTERpiece Gallery inside Crystals, for example, regularly features important exhibits open to the public. Right now, through Jan. 14, it is showing Size & Scale: 3D Objects, a free multimedia installation featuring sculptures from some of the country’s of top contemporary artists. The work is inspired by American pop culture, advertising and common household objects, but often leaves you with more questions than answers. For information, visit

Thu. 30

After an impressive start to the season, the UNLV men’s basketball team has hit a bit of a rough patch, including consecutive losses to Louisville and University of California, Santa Barbara. The Rebels try to regain their momentum at 7 p.m. when they take on the Central Michigan Chippewas at the Thomas & Mack Center. The Rebels should have no trouble with the team from the Mid-American Conference, as long as they don’t look ahead to facing rival BYU the following week. Visit for tickets and information.

Fri. 31

The Strip is a crazy place on New Year’s Eve and many locals try to avoid it, especially those with young kids. With this in mind, Clark County libraries are celebrating early via New Year’s at Noon at the Spring Valley, Enterprise, Whitney and Centennial Hills branches. The festivities start at 11 a.m. and feature dancing, singing and storytelling. Visit for information.

Sun. 2

If one of your New Year’s resolutions is to laugh more, a good first step might be the Sinbad show at 8 p.m. at the Orleans Showroom. The veteran comedian gets laughs with tales drawn from his own life, and has been known to draw on audience participation to keep things light. The son of a preacher, Sinbad keeps his act over-the-top without resorting to profanity, so he’s safe for the little ears. Visit for information.

Tues. 4

Without the mob, Las Vegas could have been just another desert town. So the Clark County Library District is paying respect to our gangster heritage with a series of talks throughout January. Mob Month starts at 7 p.m. at the library’s Main Theater (1401 E. Flamingo Road) with “The Law Versus the Mob.” The panel includes retired FBI special agent Dennis Arnoldy, who led a team responsible for arresting the Hole in the Wall Gang; former Mafia street soldier turned filmmaker Andrew DiDonato; and ex-mobster/active government witness Salvatore “Fat Sal” Mangiavillano, among others. It’s free and open to the public. Check for information.

Wed. 5

Whether you’re a six-string samurai or you’re just learning to tune your ax, if you play guitar you might want to check out the Guitar Society of Las Vegas. The group meets at 6:30 p.m. on the first Wednesday of each month at the Jewel Box Theater at the Clark County Library (1401 E. Flamingo Road), and it doesn’t cost a thing. All musical styles are welcomed and represented, so heavy metal shredders could end up playing flamenco, or jazz impresarios might teach punk rockers a couple new chords.

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Virginia Valentine

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Virginia Valentine

By Sean DeFrank

As Clark County manager, Virginia Valentine is charged with ensuring that some 2 million residents receive vital services such as fire protection, parks and child welfare. Her job also includes managing a $5.9 billion budget. Being an engineer, and a natural problem solver, gave Valentine the skills to do the job. The Florida native has been a Valley resident for almost 30 years. Before attaining the top spot in the county, she was assistant county manager from 2002 to 2006. Her time at the county was preceded by a four-year stint as Las Vegas city manager.



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