News 88.9 KNPR
Classical 89.7 KCNV

member station

Desert Companion

Random Access Memory: July

July 1, 2011: Medical marijuana activist Pierre Werner pleads guilty to felony charges of operating a storefront dispensary, named Dr. Reefer, which under Nevada’s Medical Marijuana Act is illegal. According to authorities, patients in need must grow their own.

July 2, 1937: Judge Jack Lewis proclaims a crackdown on moochers and drunk drivers, saying: “I will not have the women of this city — mothers, wives, daughters — accosted by vagrants or drunk drivers.”

July 3, 1937: A local headline trumpets “AMELIA STILL ALIVE!” after ham radio operators in L.A. report hearing SOS transmissions from missing aviatrix Amelia Earhart.

July 4, 1913: According to one citizen, “The most happy Fourth of July in our little city’s history ended with fireworks on Fremont St.”

July 5, 1957: The largest firework ever set off in the U.S., Operation Plumbbob Hood, five times the size of the Hiroshima atomic bomb, “fulminates for half a minute into the traditional cloud whose height hits 49,000 feet at the Nevada Test Site, 65 miles away.”

July 6, 1971: Musician Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong, a mainstay at the Tropicana Hotel, dies in New York City, at 71.

Support comes from

July 7, 1950: Area residents are warned to pay their garbage fees and pick up messes around their cans or they’ll receive no trash collection services.

July 8, 2011: Radiation levels are being closely watched within the National Security Site, the former Nevada Test Site, as wildfires caused by lightning consume 6,000 acres of land near where many nuclear explosions were detonated.

July 9, 1930: Former ice company employee Art Shaw, “demented for some time,” jumps from the hospital’s second story and, while running away, is beheaded by a moving train.

July 10, 1937: Transient Jack Wallace appears in court on vagrancy charges “for staging epileptic fits on Fremont St.” to con people out of their money.

July 11, 1991: State Senator Joe Neal is the first African-American to serve as acting governor of Nevada while the governor and lieutenant governor are out of state.

July 12, 1950: For violently dragging his wife across a Downtown street after she’d been yanked from a bar, Earl Harmon is fined $25 by Judge Walter Richards, who remarks: “Days of the Stone Age when fond hubby could drag fond wifey by the hair and get away with it are gone forever.”

July 13, 1981: Controversy surrounds the daytime greyhound races in 110-degree heat at Las Vegas Downs, threatening to shut down the dog-racing track in Henderson.

July 14, 1937: A newspaper ad touts: “It’s swell to feel swell. To guard your health demand FRESH cigarettes. You can’t buy stale with Old Gold.”

July 15, 1962: About 50 protesters against nuclear testing, members of “Women Strike for Peace,” march on the Vegas Strip.

July 16, 2008: Nevada Highway Patrol officer Edward Lattin, 46, is jailed on $50,000 bail, accused of smoking marijuana before crashing his vehicle while off-duty, killing Ying Warren, 49, of Las Vegas.

July 17, 1962: In town to see a nuclear blast at the Test Site, U.S. Attorney General Robert Kennedy reveals he has no interest in investigating legalized gambling in Nevada, and says, “What happens in Nevada should be decided by the people of Nevada.”

July 18, 1926: High school student Vera Miles has won first prize in the Third National Meat Story contest, sponsored by the National Livestock and Meat Board.

July 19, 1937: When the Navy halts its extensive search for Amelia Earhart, who has visited our city twice, a headline declares: “NAVY RECORDS AMELIA AS DEAD.”

July 20, 1983: Vice officers arrest prostitute Dorothy Rolfe, 48, a former Nevada congressional candidate, for operating “a sex torture chamber” on South Sixth Street, where she allegedly “whips and verbally humiliates clients for $150.”

July 21, 1980: Deep Throat with Linda Lovelace and Debbie Does Dallas with Bambi Woods are playing at the “art cinemas” in town.

July 22, 2008: Catlynne Shaw, 12, dies from a heart attack after riding the Circus Circus Adventuredome’s Canyon Blaster rollercoaster.

July 23, 1990: When the NCAA suspends UNLV’s basketball team from postseason play next year, 200 fans line up near Maryland Parkway at Tropicana Avenue to drop their pants and have their pictures taken “mooning” the NCAA Infractions Committee.

July 24, 1983: Local schoolboy Andre Agassi, 13, is getting national attention for his precocious tennis talent.

July 25, 1933: “I’m happy to see that gent depart,” says Police Chief Orren Boggs when transient Harry Lewis, “the dirtiest, most odorous man ever in jail here,” is freed and leaves town.

July 26, 1932: “Marihuana fag sellers” Jose Orozco and Bulste Perez receive lengthy jail sentences for possession of several “marihuana” cigarettes.

July 27, 1962: FBI counterspy Mathew Cvetic, 53, secretly embedded for years in the Communist Party, dies from a heart attack in Hollywood. He once labeled Vegas “the focal point for espionage in the Southwest.”

July 28, 1932: Traveling to L.A. to give America’s Distinguished Flying Cross to Amelia Earhart “for her wonderful feats in aviation,” Vice President Charles Curtis stops here and speaks to 2,000 onlookers at the train station.

July 29, 1953: Southern Nevada Telephone officials predict dial phones throughout Clark County by 1955.

July 30, 1905: School funds are exhausted as 250 students plan to attend our town’s only schoolhouse this year — “a small tent erected to accommodate last year’s 17 pupils.”

July 31, 1937: Fresh barracuda is 19 cents a pound at Safeway.


Sources: Las Vegas Age; Las Vegas Morning Tribune; Las Vegas Review-Journal; Las Vegas Sun

More from

If you’ve enjoyed this read, wait until you get your hands on a bunch of these reads from contemporary voices mining the good stuff from Las Vegas — all laid out in a gorgeous design experience. Subscribe. It comes to your house. For real!