Vegas Seven

Character Study

  • Character Study

    Historian Claytee D. White Prizes Diversity in Collecting City’s Stories

    By Amira Hall-Hood

    Where Las Vegas Boulevard ends, Claytee D. White’s voyage begins. The first director of the Oral History Research Center at UNLV’s University Libraries strives to unveil the colors of the city that aren’t emitted from the neon lights.

  • Character Study

    Todd VonBastiaans Keeps Art Alive and Well in the City

    By Lissa Townsend Rodgers

    While most creative folk are laser-focused on their clay or canvas, VonBastiaans sees the arts in widescreen.

  • Character Study

    Real Estate Developer Sees a Hidden Gem in a Historic Casino

    By Paul Szydelko

    On shelves behind the desk of real estate developer Joe DeSimone Jr. stand the exquisite attention to detail found in George F. Will’s Men at Work, the soaring inspiration provided by a quote from NFL legend Vince Lombardi and conservative theories espoused by Ayn Rand in Atlas Shrugged.

  • Character Study

    Meet an Attorney With Real Muscle

    By Camille Cannon

    “People are really shocked that an attorney can do things outside of just being an attorney,” says Meredith Weiner, a defense lawyer at Patti, Sgro, Lewis and Roger who also happens to double as a bikini fitness competitor.

  • Character Study

    Betsy Fretwell Manages City Expectations

    By Lissa Townsend Rodgers

    Las Vegas City Manager Betsy Fretwell was a 17-year-old high school student in Greenville, South Carolina, when she unknowingly got a glimpse into her future career.

  • Character Study

    The Show Lives On for Colorful Costume Designer Grant Philipo

    By Lissa Townsend Rodgers

    Las Vegas has been called a city of surface, where the glossy exterior conceals hard work and long hours. Under the sequins and spangles, there’s often safety pins and glue, something few people know better than designer Grant Philipo.

  • Character Study

    Mobsters’ Arbelaez Still in the Game

    By Tye Masters

    A booming voice carries across the fields of the Summerlin Soccer Complex: We have to do better! You’re being too predictable! Your first touch has to be better!

  • Character Study

    Liberty High Teacher Sustains the Art of Thought

    By Heidi Kyser

    David Butler stands at the front of a second-floor Liberty High classroom in running shoes, track pants and a black T-shirt. The walls are littered with multicolored maps and posters of famous men. He’s holding open an austere book to the first chapter, titled, “What do you mean, ‘Philosophy’?”

  • Character Study

    Nurses Find Love and Healing on the Job


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    By

    He worked nights. She worked days. Both were nurses. He’d see her arriving in the hallways of Sunrise Hospital & Medical Center as he was finishing his shift, and she always had a Starbucks coffee and a scone.

  • Character Study

    Woman of Influence

    By Heidi Kyser

    Alexia Vernon is holding a mic and surveying a roomful of well-dressed women chatting over wine and juice shots. Only someone who’s danced and performed since childhood could stand so tall and relaxed in spiked heels and a short dress stretched over a five-month-pregnant belly. It helps that Vernon, 33, is a professional speaker: She’s a career-development coach, and this is her element.

  • Character Study

    The Golden Touch

    By Jessi Acuña

    During the early days of Las Vegas’ pool-party explosion, Mervat Berry found a void in the scene: LGBT events. So in 2009 she created a gay-specific pool event, Sunkissed, at the Luxor, and later moved the party to Mandalay Bay under a new name, Hydrat.

  • Character Study

    Meet Downtown’s Ambassador of Good Chill

    By Geoff Carter

    When we heard that the Fremont East Entertainment District was getting a Downtown Project-sponsored patrol called the Downtown Rangers and headed by an ex-cop, we imagined nothing short of a jackbooted paramilitary unit, armed with tasers and brass knuckles, marching up and down Fremont to popular indie rock and forcibly instigating “serendipitous interaction.”

  • Character Study

    Prodigal Daughter

    By Rob Miech

    As UNLV basketball players high-five and joke with the ball boys and girls before a recent game at the Thomas & Mack Center, Kreigh Warkentien can’t help smiling. She spent a good part of her childhood out on that hardwood. Warkentien, 25, is UNLV’s director of basketball operations—one of only three women to hold such a post in Division I men’s basketball. But she hardly feels a stranger on the Rebels’ bench.

  • Character Study

    Capitalist Conscience

    Hard-driving 31-year-old entrepreneur Justin Anderson makes no apologies for unfettered capitalism—after all, this is a man who named his contracting firm, Galt Development, for the hero of Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged. But he also understands that people get left behind—and he’s devoted a big part of his life to helping them.

  • Character Study

    Librarian With a Future

    “We have an outstanding library system here,” says Tim McDonald—he speaks in hushed tones; eight years working in a library will do that to a person—“it’s a place to really enrich your life in a lot of ways.” He mentions the art galleries, museums and theaters that make up a part of the Las Vegas-Clark County Library District—all things I knew about. Then he tells me about things I wasn’t aware of: ESL and GED classes, citizenship classes to prepare immigrants for testing, and even adult basic reading classes—all for free.