Thursday, May 23 2013 7:36 PM EDT2013-05-23 23:36:46 GMT
LAS VEGAS -- Air Force pilot Scott Powell returned home three weeks early from a yearlong deployment to Afghanistan, surprising his children at school. Two hours after landing in Las Vegas, Maj. PowellMore>>
Air Force pilot Scott Powell returned home three weeks early from a yearlong deployment to Afghanistan, surprising his children at school.More>>
Thursday, May 23 2013 10:57 PM EDT2013-05-24 02:57:30 GMT
LAS VEGAS -- A pedestrian was critically injured Thursday after being hit by a car about 6 p.m. at Maryland Parkway and Sahara Avenue, Metro Police said. The pedestrian, who was taken to a hospital,More>>
A pedestrian was injured Thursday after being hit by a car about 6 p.m. at Maryland Parkway and Sahara Avenue, Metro Police said.More>>
Thursday, May 23 2013 10:43 PM EDT2013-05-24 02:43:31 GMT
LAS VEGAS -- The dream of attending college came true for more than 400 Clark County students Thursday as they were awarded nearly $1 million in scholarships. Scholarships were given to 440 students thanksMore>>
The dream of attending college came true for more than 400 Clark County students Thursday as they were awarded nearly $1 million in scholarships.More>>
Thursday, May 23 2013 9:17 PM EDT2013-05-24 01:17:16 GMT
LAS VEGAS -- A North Las Vegas aerospace company is preparing to boldly go where few have gone before -- a public-private partnership with NASA that could be the start of the next space race. Nevada'sMore>>
A North Las Vegas aerospace company is preparing to boldly go where few have gone before -- a public-private partnership with NASA that could be the start of the next space race.More>>
Thursday, May 23 2013 9:05 PM EDT2013-05-24 01:05:26 GMT
LAS VEGAS -- One of the biggest killers of children in the state isn't the heat, but pools. Drowning is the third leading cause of death among children and officials are urging parents to be on high-alertMore>>
Drowning is the third leading cause of death among children and officials are urging parents to be on high-alert this summer near swimming poolsMore>>
Thursday, May 23 2013 7:44 PM EDT2013-05-23 23:44:40 GMT
LAS VEGAS -- An independent review of a state-run mental health hospital gave high marks for patient satisfaction, but said options for people needing mental health care are limited. The review was orderedMore>>
An independent review of a state-run mental health hospital gave high marks for patient satisfaction, but said options for people needing mental health care are limited.More>>
Thursday, May 23 2013 7:06 PM EDT2013-05-23 23:06:34 GMT
CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) -- Nevada is one step closer to giving voters another chance to allow same-sex marriage in the Silver State. The Assembly voted 27-14 Thursday in favor of SJR13 which repeals languageMore>>
Nevada is one step closer to giving voters another chance to allow same-sex marriage in the Silver State.More>>
Thursday, May 23 2013 6:58 PM EDT2013-05-23 22:58:38 GMT
LAS VEGAS -- The woman found dead in her home earlier in the week has been identified as 75-year-old Jean Main, according to the Clark County Coroner's Office. Main died from a gunshot wound to the head,More>>
Metro Police have released a photo of the purse that belonged to a 75-year-old woman who was found shot to death in her northwest home.More>>
LAS VEGAS -- News racks packed with adult advertisements stand on what seems like every street corner, not only on the Las Vegas Strip and downtown, but in residential areas and more are on the way.
Next month, Clark County will hold an auction for another 1,400 news rack locations. The county charges a fee per news rack but admits the fee isn't enough to cover the costs of the county team which inspects the racks on a daily basis.
Call them the smut patrol, officially they oversee news racks but there isn't what you would call news in them. The Review-Journal, for instance, has no news racks on public sidewalks on the Strip. The county and city have tried all sorts of strategies for controlling the news racks and the sleaze they foist on the public, but have been thwarted by a little thing called the First Amendment.
Every day of their working lives, Chris Bramley and two of his county subordinates prowl the streets on smut patrol.
"This one has graffiti on the back, so this rack is going to have to be violated," said Chris Bramley, Clark County Vector Control, as he inspects some racks.
Every corner, every bus stop, every high traffic pedestrian walkway has its very own collection of ramshackle news racks packed with sleazy ads for thinly-disguised prostitution services. No matter how raunchy the ads are, no matter how garish the come-ons, the smut patrol doesn't judge.
"We don't do anything about content. Our basic job is to make sure the rack is safe, in the proper location, has the proper permitting," Bramley said.
His team enforces an amazingly detailed list of legal codes which specify the size, shape, and number of news racks, which direction they face, their distance from hydrants, any litter or vermin around them, the wallet-sized cards stuck on their exteriors.
If they are broken or plastered with graffiti, the smut patrol can cite them, but that rarely means a fine — it just means owners get notified that they need to fix the problem.
In the resort corridor, every approved news rack site has a medallion embedded in the sidewalk. The medallion is like a license for that location. Each news rack at each location must have a permit sticker, indicating who owns it.
The patrol team uses laptops to verify all of this and to keep the two dozen news rack operators in the loop about their property. It's a non-adversarial relationship.
"If I have a problem, I will email the owner. They come out and make changes," said Bramley.
Already, more than 10,000 news racks sit on streets in the county and another in 2,000 in the city of Las Vegas. As the racks have spread to areas far removed from the Las Vegas Strip. The I-Team found some at Flamingo and Swenson, for instance. And smut racks can also be found outside the county building. Public disgust has mounted.
"Oh, that is awful. That is not good. You would never get that at home," said Jessica Preston, who is visiting from London.
"The little children pick them up off the floor, look mommy, boobies, stuff like that. It's just bad," said Chris Lipari, sidewalk vendor.
"Everybody's got needs, you know, so basically it's like Vegas, what happens stays in Vegas," said Robert Green, sidewalk vendor.
Despite the frequent complaints, there's a reason the smut racks have proliferated.
"One of the commissioners asked why don't we have this problem in other cities, and the answer is, the prostitution trade here generates so much money," said Michael Foley, Deputy District Attorney.
Foley oversees the news rack issues. Because of First Amendment concerns, the adult industry has been able to thwart in court every attempt to control the distribution of smut ads on local sidewalks.
County officials wanted to boost the cost of each news rack from $25 a piece to $100 in order to at least cover the expense of the smut patrol, but even that went to court and the industry agreed to a charge of $65 per rack, not quite enough to cover the costs.
"We are not allowed to make a profit on any First Amendment activities so we can't charge them -- even for a prime location -- we can't just say that's worth $500 a month," said Foley.
One of the only times local authorities can clamp down is when the material crosses the line. Owners often test to see if the patrol is paying attention. Total nudity is forbidden, but the publishers push it to the limit with strategically placed stars that don't exactly leave much to the imagination.
"The way the definition reads, it's explicit. You can see it. But basically it's from the top of the nipple down, even to the bottom of the breasts. Technically that would be a violation of the code. They will clean it up for a while and then you'll see it starting to slip back," said Foley.
On the streets, Bramley's team keeps an eye out for material that goes too far but fines or impoundment of the racks are extremely rare. The only material that is out of bounds is stuff that is not licensed for that particular rack.
"If you have a news rack that puts in a car mechanic ad, that's a violation because a car mechanic is not related," Foley said.
The 1,400 new locations that will be offered in an auction in June include many sites around local apartment complexes and a lot of sites in Laughlin. And if you think it's bad now, it could be a lot worse. The county ordinance, at least, puts limits on how many racks can be piled into one location.