Top Stories of 2014

From a youth baseball team that galvanized our community to a senseless tragedy that devastated it, here were seven other stories that made headlines in and around Southern Nevada this year.

Las Vegas’ diamond gems: Mountain Ridge Little Leaguers and Astros slugger Chris Carter. | Little League photo by Gabe Ginsberg

Las Vegas’ diamond gems: Mountain Ridge Little Leaguers and Astros slugger Chris Carter. | Little League photo by Gabe Ginsberg

Cliven Bundy vs. the Feds

Back in early spring, the Bureau of Land Management sought to carry out federal orders to remove rancher Cliven Bundy’s cattle, which had been grazing on BLM-administered land near Bunkerville. Bundy refused to budge, and neither did the armed supporters who came to his defense. That led to a lengthy standoff—which was catnip for national news organizations—before federal authorities eventually withdrew from the area. The dispute, which dates to 1993, remains unresolved.

A Different Kind of Toke

The medical marijuana movement finally made its way to Nevada this year, with some very prominent members of our community submitting applications (and receiving approval) to operate the Valley’s first med-marijuana dispensaries, which are expected to open in early 2015. Among the lucky few to be given the “green” light: Sig Rogich, onetime political adviser to Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush during the “Just Say No” era.

Fallen Heroes

On June 8, the Valley was shaken by the news that Metropolitan Police officers Alyn Beck, 41, and Igor Soldo, 31, had been shot dead while having lunch at a pizza restaurant in east Las Vegas. The two assailants, Jerad and Amanda Miller, ambushed the officers in the restaurant, murdered them, then overtook a nearby Walmart, shooting and killing a third victim. After an in-store standoff between officers and the assailants, the nightmare ended when police shot and killed Jerad Miller, and Amanda Miller turned her gun on herself.

A Big Hit

In more uplifting news, for the first time in history, Nevada placed a representative in the Little League World Series. The team of wide-eyed 12-year-olds from Mountain Ridge Little League arrived in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, in August and did the community proud: They advanced all the way to the U.S. championship game, falling one game short of facing South Korea for the title. After the players returned to Las Vegas, the city held a parade in their honor, and Mayor Carolyn Goodman presented them with a key to the city.

Diamond Gems

For more than two decades, Greg Maddux systematically and unassumingly put together one of the most dominant pitching careers in Major League Baseball history. On July 27, the Valley High School alum received the ultimate recognition for his efforts when he was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility. Among the other inductees was slugger Frank Thomas, a longtime Henderson resident who was also enshrined in his first year on the ballot.

Driving a Hard Bargain

For years, Nevada lawmakers have been stressing the need for this gambling mecca to diversify its economy. In September, they put their money—a lot of money—where their mouths are, agreeing to a $1.3 billion tax-incentive package for electric-car manufacturer Tesla Motors to open a massive battery plant 20 miles east of Reno. Governor Brian Sandoval projects the plant, which is scheduled to open in two to three years, will create 22,000 jobs for the state.

Same Old, Same Old

On the Las Vegas Strip, 2014 will go down as the year everything old became new again. In May, the Cromwell opened on the northeast corner of Las Vegas Boulevard and Flamingo Road, taking over where Bill’s Gamblin’ Hall (and before it Barbary Coast) left off. A couple of months later, SLS Las Vegas finally emerged from the bones of the Sahara, and the Delano brought a South Beach vibe to the spot once occupied by THEHotel. Perhaps acknowledging that bigger isn’t necessarily better, the Strip is banking on the “boutique” trend.

Honorable mention:

> Downtown Project downsizes with layoffs > Linq/High Roller opens to rave reviews > Uber comes (and goes) > Rock in Rio announces 2015 Vegas shows > Giada De Laurentiis adds a woman’s touch to fine-dining scene > Vegas Nocturne and Rose.Rabbit.Lie. part ways (controversially) > Soccer stadium gains momentum, then stalls > NHL flirts with Las Vegas > Downtown Summerlin swings open doors > We say goodbye to Nevada icons Bob Faiss and Jim Rogers.

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Three things you don’t want to do in the final days of 2014: let Amanda Bynes make your New Year’s Eve plans (you probably won’t make it to 2015 if you do); give your wife a gift card to Lane Bryant for Christmas (you definitely won’t make it to 2015 if you do); and dive into college football’s bowl-betting season without developing (and sticking with!) a solid game plan.