Character Study

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Character Study

Photo by Jon Estrada

Woman of Influence

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. Read More

Character Study

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Meet Downtown’s Ambassador of Good Chill

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.” Read More

Character Study

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Prodigal Daughter

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’ Read More

Character Study

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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 Read More

Character Study

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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 Read More

Character Study

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Guiding Lights

We heard a lot about Las Vegas’ economic miseries during the election campaign, but here, on a dirt corner near Blue Diamond Road and Rainbow Boulevard, the entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well and powered by the battery of an SUV. If you’re driving by, let off the gas pedal a bit and look closely. See that? It’s 16-year-old Andrew Choudhry. He’s using the SUV’s dome light as a flashlight, interlocking tessellation-like shapes to form a sphere. The woman standing outside the SUV? That’s his mother, Marie, and she’s adjusting a dozen or so orbs that are suspended from a canopy Read More

Character Study

Through a Gem, Darkly

Picture, if you will, a diamond grader. Hunched. Reserved. Loop nestled in his eye. Staid. Laboring in the dark, alone. Possibly Dutch. … Spiked boots. White contacts. Bat tattoos. Subdermal implants. Definitely not Dutch. Drew Beddow is much like Batman (right down to boots that could put a serious hurting on The Joker) in Read More

Character Study

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Through a Gem, Darkly

Picture, if you will, a diamond grader. Hunched. Reserved. Loop nestled in his eye. Staid. Laboring in the dark, alone. Possibly Dutch. … Spiked boots. White contacts. Bat tattoos. Subdermal implants. Definitely not Dutch. Drew Beddow is much like Batman (right down to boots that could put a serious hurting on The Joker) in that the mild-mannered public face—gemologist, Bruce Wayne, whatever—is the actual mask, and the outré avocation reveals the deeper Read More

Character Study

The Crooning Counselor

Attorney Nikolas Mastrangelo, 64, grew up in Detroit and often found himself on street corners singing harmony with his childhood friends. But then what self-respecting Motor City boy didn’t in those days of doo-wop, be-bop and rock? It never crossed his mind that music was in his future. “I came from a typical Italian Read More

Character Study

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The Crooning Counselor

Attorney Nikolas Mastrangelo, 64, grew up in Detroit and often found himself on street corners singing harmony with his childhood friends. But then what self-respecting Motor City boy didn’t in those days of doo-wop, be-bop and rock? It never crossed his mind that music was in his future. “I came from a typical Italian family: It was ‘Go get your education and start a career,’” says Mastrangelo, nattily dressed as always in a shirt and tie—an appropriate getup not only for his evening gig as an elegant crooner, but for his day job as an Read More