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Clark County School District

Mainly, I’m grateful for the academic calendar that called my overachieving, high-school senior stepdaughter back to the classroom, where, for at least seven hours a day, she can either think about something other than what college she’s going to next year or obsess about it around someone other than her father and me. I also confess to indulging in some guilty pleasure, watching the comedy of errors that is back-to-school in Las Vegas unfold. Being the fifth-largest district in the nation, in a city that is known for its transient population, and in a state that perpetually (and woefully) underfunds public education, CCSD scrambles each year to deal with the influx of new students, the drift of families from zone to zone and the lack of buffers (excess desks, say, or bus routes) to absorb the flux — all while trying to solve the usual problems plaguing public education, such as how to adjust to the latest government-mandated standardized tests. This year’s particular crisis, a drastic teacher shortage, makes the situation less amusing, however. That the administrators and teachers who do hold permanent positions in Clark County schools continue to show up, help each other out and attempt to impart knowledge to our kids amid the chaos makes them nothing short of heroes. — Heidi Kyser

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Bacon Jam at Carson Kitchen

I love bacon, but not in any of its currently trendy forms. A purist, I blanched when I tried a bacon cupcake: a nibble, a gagging sound and the moist thump of cupcake hitting trash can. At journalistic gunpoint, I tried the bacon martini at the Double Down Saloon. Because I was on assignment, I glugged the whole damn thing, but — and I mean no disrespect to the mad scientists behind the bar at this venerable joint — it was terrible. Afterward, I wanted to wash my mouth out with kerosene. Same with chocolate-covered bacon and bacon donuts. I unspool all that preamble so you’ll get how surprised I was when I couldn’t eat enough of the bacon jam at Downtown’s Carson Kitchen. I was wary, of course, but my friend insisted, and I’m glad she did: It was smoky and sweet and, in contrast to novelty crap like bacon cupcakes, those qualities were integrated into a distinct flavor instead of simply juxtaposed. Making all the exquisite difference. We ate other things that afternoon — do I recall a meatball? — but it’s only the bacon jam I still taste. — Scott Dickensheets

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