Vegas Seven

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    How Do You Become Elvis?

    By Caeli Chesin

    Award-winning impersonator Travis Allen channels the spirit of one of Las Vegas’ most famous icons

  • Opportunity Village’s Daryll Borges Wants Everyone to Have that Rock-Star Feeling

    By Geoff Carter

    Borges may know applause, but he’s never before known the kind that greeted him the first time he toured Opportunity Village—a local organization devoted to helping people with intellectual disabilities find their footing in the community, and even to get jobs. This was the kind of applause one gets for simply being alive, and we get it all too rarely.

  • People

    Best School Principal

    By Paul Szydelko

    Halle Hewetson Elementary School was languishing as one of Nevada’s lowest performers in 2005. Fewer than 25 percent of the students performed adequately in math, and only 15 percent performed adequately in English and language arts. That autumn, Lucille Keaton took over as principal. Today those numbers stand at 90 and 79 percent, respectively. Hewetson students ranked 10th among their peers in the state in writing last year. And a parent-teacher organization that had just 13 members in August 2005 has grown to more than 400 today.

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    Best Valets When You’re in a Tight Spot

    Here’s what you don’t want to happen when you’re rolling up to the Four Seasons for brunch with someone you’re trying to impress: The valet graciously opens the passenger door to your classic Mercedes-Benz, which then refuses to close. The safety stop has failed and the door is locked, wide open, into place. No amount of more-than-gentle nudging moves it. You start sweating as the impatient guy in the Aston Martin behind you stares you down. Forget parking; how will you even get the car home? Suddenly, the valet tells you to go enjoy your brunch.

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    Best Community Effort by a Strip Chef

    Executive chefs are not known for having a great deal of free time. But what little time Wynn Country Club executive chef Carlos Guía has he generously gives to Share Our Strength as co-chair of Las Vegas’ annual Taste of the Nation.

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    Best Looking in a Bikini

    Her name is Samantha Harris. She comes to Las Vegas via Georgia. She clearly loves her country, and we clearly love her, um, assets. If you like what you see here, head to the MGM’s Wet Republic on the first two Fridays of August as she competes with other hard-bodies in the finals rounds of the SpyOn Vegas Hot 100 contest. OK, you may resume staring ...

  • People

    Best MMA Gym Owner

    Brazilian jiujitsu black belt and UFC fighter Wanderlei Silva outshines the rest of the Las Vegas mixed-martial arts gym owners with his facility, Wand Fight Team. The gym has state-of-the art equipment, including a UFC regulation-size octagon, and is in a central location. Silva and his wife, Tea, were involved in every aspect of the gym’s design, layout and every piece of equipment. Except when it conflicts with his appearance schedule, Silva is ever-present, teaching classes and overseeing training. He calls the gym his home away from home.

  • People

    Best Local YouTube Hero

    The flourish of the cape. The swinging of the traffic cone. The invitation to suck Batman’s M(ist)er F(reez)ing … er, Batpole. There are so many moments to choose from that could be the zenith of the Batman beatdown—but what gets us every time isn’t the ground-shaking body slam or Batman’s slap-happy fight style. It’s the traumatized girl you hear off-camera wailing, “Oh, Batman, no!” You can actually hear the innocence shattering.

  • People

    Best Promise Breaker

    Oh, how we wanted to believe former U.S. Sen. John Ensign. His silver hair spoke of experience, his fatherly demeanor calmed us, his spirituality … well, that was kind of creepy. Remember the talk of presidential aspirations? The next thing we knew, the Republican’s spiritual adviser had to call him at a motel—where Ensign was communing with his best friend’s wife—to tell him to put his pants on and go home. Oh, and that $96,000 “gift” to said buddy and promises of a job did not fill us with reverence.

  • People

    Best New Vegas Ambassador

    Matthew Gray Gubler’s family has been prominent here for generations. He graduated from the Las Vegas Academy of International Studies, Visual and Performing Arts. He styles along the city streets in a vintage Mercedes-Benz diesel station wagon. He’s worked with Bill Murray and Wes Anderson. He co-stars in (and has directed two episodes of) the thinky TV drama Criminal Minds as an FBI profiling nerd. And he’s almost as likely to be found scribbling in a notebook at his neighborhood coffeehouse as he is rubbing elbows with the most interesting people in film.

  • People

    Best Promise Keeper

    Gov. Brian Sandoval had made his intentions quite clear: No new taxes. But this spring, simultaneously confronted by budgetary Armageddon and a Nevada Supreme Court ruling that the state couldn’t swipe money from cities, he accepted the extension of taxes that had been scheduled to “sunset.” Among his conservative comrades, this made him the poster-boy for promise-breaking. But if you want to get right down to it, continuing an old tax is not the same as creating a new one.

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    Best Local Hope for a 2016 Olympic Gold

    You’ve heard of Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao. Now meet Little Miss Pacman: Berenice Hernandez, a 17-year-old Canyon Springs High School student who sports an impressive 13-3 amateur record (four knockouts), packs a mean left hook (just like the southpaw champ) and has her sights set on a women’s boxing gold medal at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio. All this despite taking up the sport just four years ago, and not by choice. After getting jumped by some high-school girls when she was in middle school, Hernandez turned to the ring as a matter of self-defense.

  • People

    Best Guy to Make Lemonade When Life Deals You Lemons

    Almost 15 years ago, Carlos Ramirez suffered two strokes that left him unable to walk, talk or have any control over his motions and motor skills, but the former mechanic refused to let the tragedy define his life. After years of hard rehabilitation, Ramirez was not only able to walk again, but has taken up running for his new cause: stroke prevention. Despite still having a limp, Ramirez even recently participated in a marathon in Kona, Hawaii.

  • People

    Best Busker

    Why give your tip money to somebody whose only contribution to Strip street life is a resemblance to Bret Michaels or the purchase of a Buzz Lightyear costume? There are innovative performers sweating it out who deserve your dollars. The Las Vegas Junk Drummers, for example. This trio—siblings Rachel and Prince Davis, along with their cousin Yonus Ford—pound out mesmerizing polyrhythms on an unlikely collection of stuff: milk crates, bongos, trash cans, a skateboard and even the sidewalk itself.

  • People

    Best Radio Personality

    Mercedes Martinez is impossible to ignore—and many of us have tried. If she’s not on your radio (Mix 94.1-FM) the day after your wife has borrowed your car, she’s being voted Most Popular Las Vegan in a contest run by your favorite magazine (see WeeklySeven.com/64). Why have we (or at least our women) loved her so on the No. 1-rated Mark and Mercedes in the Morning show for more than 14 years? Is she super smart? Is she super funny? No and no.

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