Sealing the Deal

Being a part of the White House presidential advance team means nailing every detail, right down to the decorations.

Here, the team prepares for President Obama’s speech Oct. 24 in an east Las Vegas neighborhood, where he addressed the home foreclosure crisis as part of his three-hour visit.

The president refrained from warning homeowners not to blow a bunch of money here.

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Branch Whitney

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Branch Whitney

By Bob Whitby

A native of St. Louis, Branch Whitney wanted to move west since his family took a vacation in Colorado when he was 7. His wish came true in 1983, when he left the flatlands for Las Vegas, lured by the bright lights of the Strip and the majestic mountains surrounding it. After a stint as a serious blackjack player and working in sales in the health-club industry, Whitney turned his focus outdoors, exploring his first mountain in 1995. It was the first of hundreds of hikes that have covered—by his estimate—about 3,000 miles of terrain.