Fifth Street

September 29, 2022

Remembering Route 91 | A wardrobe to Di for | Neighborhood patrols and an app combat water waste

Remembering Route 91: The surviving family of a shooting victim reflects on the tragedy that brought them 'closer to the city'ON OCTOBER 1, 2017, Lisa Patterson and a group of girlfriends were thrilled to have prime spots for the Jason Aldean set at the Route 91 Harvest Festival. When Lisa fell during the performance, her friends assumed she had passed out. On October 2, those friends and Lisa's husband Robert Patterson, who had sped from their Lomita, California, home to Vegas when news of the tragedy broke, would learn that Lisa had become one of the 58 victims of a mass shooting (two more died later of their injuries). Five years on, Robert and daughter Brooke reflect on the wife and mother they lost. 

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What was Lisa like as a person? What were some of your favorite things about her? 

Robert Patterson: Lisa loved being a mom. Before she passed away, Lisa was actually going to school to be a teacher to be with kids even more. She was the team mom to all my kids’ softball and soccer teams. She was at my kids’ Catholic school almost every day. 

Brooke Patterson: She was like a big part of our lives. She was involved with our school and sports. She even told me that weeks after I was born I would be at school with her because she was doing yard duty at my brother’s and sister’s school. My mom was also a very loud person. She knew everybody and everybody knew her because she just had such a distinctive personality like that. 

It’s been almost 5 years. What has life looked like for you and your family? 

RP: It was hard. There were definitely struggles through the whole five years, and there still are. Our business closed, and I mostly take care of Brooke now. I umpire the girls’ softball team … My life has completely changed from what it was before October 1. My life is nothing like it was. 

As one of the many victims from California, what was the support like that you’ve received? 

RP: Well, for me, the support came literally from everywhere, like all over the country, and Canada. Without that support, I don’t think I would have lasted.  

BP: When everything happened, there were a bunch of people dropping off food at our door. 

RP: Even to this day, a whole group of people really take care of us. There are also these plans for October 1 where we meet and have breakfast with other families who were affected. We definitely have huge support even being in California. I had a small number of friends before Lisa passed away, but then the support that I got afterwards and the people that I can turn to now is just incredible. 

Have you gotten help from the Vegas Strong Resiliency Center? 

RP: The Resiliency Center reaches out to me all the time to see how we’re doing. They really helped people a lot. My situation was completely different from others because I didn’t experience it firsthand. A lot of people who sought help from them were the ones who were there. Those people really needed that support, and I know the Center was there for them. 

What would you and your family like to see in the official 1 October memorial? 

RP: I want to focus on the 58 victims, the first responders, and the survivors. I’ve signed up to be part of the committee handling the memorial. As they said, they want to have one of the family members on board. I helped design a memorial for my wife and all the victims in Lomita. Hopefully, I can help with the vision for the memorial here in Las Vegas. 

What can people do to show support and care for those who lost someone or those who survived? 

RP: Reach out if you know someone who was there or someone who lost a family member. Reach out and let them know that you didn’t forget about them. Sometimes it’s hard because you don’t want to make them feel bad, but personally, for me, it makes me feel better to hear from people who say that they’re still thinking about me and my family or about Lisa. Just reach out. 

You’ve talked about Lisa many times. How does talking about her story in public help you? 

RP: For me, it helped a lot. We’re never guaranteed tomorrow, and I’ve been proven that many times. I think that remembering and talking about Lisa and the other victims helps to keep their stories alive. They shouldn’t be forgotten.  

‘Vegas Strong’ was the phrase that came up to show the resilience of and support for the city. What does that mean to you? 

RP: ‘Vegas Strong’ is very important to me. I wore T-shirts with that phrase for a long time. When Lisa passed away, I never blamed Las Vegas. I love the city. We used to visit all the time before that happened, and I still do many times since then for vacation. That could have happened anywhere in the United States, and, unfortunately, it happened here. Yet, I love the city even so. I think it actually brought me closer to the city with all the people I’ve met and new friends I’ve made. Others affected might not have wanted to come here again, but with all the people here who’ve reached out to me, the city has made a difference and helped me out. Even though it’s still hard to see Mandalay Bay, I don’t blame the building. I just feel Lisa’s spirit here in the city. 

You made wristbands that say ‘Live Like Lisa P.’ How would you want to see people live like her? 

RP: You know, life is, as they say, too short. That’s true. Even though she only lived to be 46, Lisa enjoyed her life. I had known her since she was 18 years old, and I knew she was really happy her whole life. More than anything, it was to go about life and do what you wanted to do, not what other people wanted you to do. And for me, that’s what I tried to do: make my wife happy. So, we just have to enjoy life like her. 

BP: ‘Live Like Lisa P’ — it kind of means that you just need to live life to the fullest because you’re not going to have forever to do everything you want to do; make memories that you want to last.


Editor's note: To read profiles of 1 October survivors and hear KNPR's segments reflecting on the five years that have passed since the shooting, see our Remembering Route 91 series

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Fits for a Princess: Royalty gets a Vegas residency at the Shops at CrystalsMY MOTHER WOKE ME up at sunrise to watch the wedding of Diana Spencer and Prince Charles. As a history buff of British heritage, she wasn’t going to miss a big royal event and, as a nine-year-old girl, I wasn’t going to miss a real-life, fairytale wedding. Of course, the marriage turned out to be less than the world expected it to be, but the bride herself turned out to be so much more: international celebrity, fashion trendsetter, social activist, taboo-breaker and, ultimately, tragic figure.

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25 years after Diana’s sudden death, she continues to fascinate, her story retold through books, films, plays and operas. As Queen Elizabeth II was being buried, Diana still held headlines with stories on how she would look today, how she would have reconciled Willam and Harry, even speculation that her ghost crashed the Queen’s funeral. A new exhibit at Crystals, Princess Diana: A Tribute Exhibition, assembles a collection of more than 700 examples of artifacts, ephemera and, of course, dresses in homage to "the People’s Princess."

The display is organized in chronological order, beginning with her childhood and progressing through her engagement, wedding, motherhood, post-royal life, and legacy. The exhibit contains as many replicas as it does actual relics: The magical wedding dress is recreated in paper, an impressive feat down to its room-filling train. There are also meticulously rendered paper versions of bridesmaid and page outfits, as well as a recreation of the scandalous strapless black gown Diana wore to her engagement party. The wedding memorabilia also includes everything from gaudy, gilt-and-portrait-adorned china to intricate seating plans to thoughtful bridesmaid thank-you notes penned by the princess herself. If you remember the woman and the day — or if you stan royalty in general — it’s a fascinating glimpse behind some extremely exalted  scenes. If not … well, it’s just an old slice of wedding cake and some pretty porcelain.

The centerpiece of the exhibition is a half-dozen of Diana’s actual gowns — a handful, really — but still the largest public collection in the world. Even the limited selection shows the range of her style: there’s a ruched and bowed pink floral Catherine Walker dress, as well as the strapless red-and-black, flamenco gown by Murray Arbeid worn with one red and one black glove (very dramatic, very ‘80s). There’s also a pale blue sequined strapless gala frock that began as a long-sleeved, high-necked gown worn for a state dinner in the Middle East — a reminder that Diana was one of the first fashionistas to rewear and remake her clothes. The exhibition also displays miniature renditions of 79 of her gowns from a collection created alongside the 1997 Christie’s auction of her dresses that raised over $3 million for cancer and AIDS charities. 

Beyond the icon's gowns, the exhibition offers an unusual, private glimpse into the girl Diana was and the woman she became. There is a timeline of dozens of official holiday cards, their photos ranging from the shy-eyed bride and her husband to the elegant single mom beaming at her towheaded boys. More personal is a collection of the silly, cartoon-adorned missives the princess sent close friends and the wide range of handwritten notes and letters expressing thanks, support and sympathy. Combined with the displays about her many charitable endeavors, the photos of her hugging AIDS and leprosy patients at a time when most people refused to even be in the same room with them, it paints a picture that millions of photos never quite captured of a woman whose gift for empathy extended from her intimate circle to the world at large. 

There is also a selection of memorabilia related to other royals — Wallis Simpson’s negligee, a Kate Middleton dress, one of the queen mother’s handbags, although photos and menus from the stag party Richard Nixon held for Prince Phillip makes one speculate on what it would be like to party with Tricky Dick and the Duke of Edinburgh. There is also a selection of items related to Grace Kelly who, before her own untimely death, was a mentor and friend to the newly wed, newly royal Diana. 

The exhibit concludes with Diana’s death: photos and memorabilia from the service, a digital database of global news stories, and a reconstruction of a few of the tens of thousands of floral tributes left at the gates of her home (complete with scent). Sudden death in a paparazzi-related auto accident enshrined her legend as a sort of royal Marilyn Monroe — and not just because Elton John rewrote “Candle in the Wind'' for her funeral.

Princess Diana’s victimhood allows us to adore royalty without feeling bad about colonialism. Her activism and charitable work let us follow celebrities without feeling shallow and follow fashion without feeling wasteful. 

I remember Princess Diana's funeral. I was living in New York City and had left a riotous music industry afterparty around 6 a.m. I got into a taxi and the driver was playing the service, broadcast from Westminster Abbey. The sun rose between the skyscrapers as the choir’s voices rose in a hymn. It was not how her fairytale was supposed to end but, really, her fairytale hasn’t ended. 25 later, her fans will still come to hear it retold.

Princess Diana: A Tribute is open daily from 11 a.m. - 7 p.m. on the third floor of the Shops at Crystals (3720 S Las Vegas Blvd.)

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Water You Doing?: The Las Vegas Valley Water District patrols neighborhoods to curb water wasteWITH NEVADA UNDER stricter water restrictions, the Las Vegas Valley Water District (LVVWD) is out patrolling the city looking for water wasters.

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Cameron Donnarumma is one of about a dozen water waste investigators driving throughout the city of Las Vegas. When he finds water sprinklers in use outside of the new fall schedule, which changed the first of the month to three times a week on specific days, he first records the incident.  

"This is a non-assigned watering day, and this property is in violation of that," he says. Most times, people simply aren’t aware. 

"They see us out here, and they’re usually surprised to find out something’s going on with their sprinkler system," he says. “This property is currently watering on a non-assigned day … during the fall schedule.”  

On another street, there’s a house with sprinklers running. After recording his report, Donnarumma checks his laptop to see if this is a first-time offense or a repeat offender.  

"In this case, there are two violations occurring," Donnarumma says. "The second is over-watering. Basically, the Water District considers water leaving the property a water waste violation. So in this specific case, they received a warning in April, so that's less than 18 months ago. So it's going to be assessed as a fee."

After the first notice, the Water District will assess an initial fee.

"Fines start at $80, then they double," Cory Enus, Senior Public Information Coordinator for LVVWD, says. "So if it’s habitual, it doubles to $160, then $320, and so on, all the way up to $5,000."

Fees can be a deterrent to most, but what about the ultra-wealthy, who tend to use more than the allotted amount of water anyway? Enus says they are making some changes to the rate structure to address this issue.  

For the most part, inspectors say, people are like Richard, a community member in the southeastern Las Vegas neighborhood Donnarumma is patrolling, whose sprinklers are watering way over the time limit on his lawn.  

“Oh, so you put me on blast to the community," Richard jokes. "I had it coming." 

The difference between keeping grass or changing to desert landscaping is significant: "It went from $40 to $120 in one year," Richard says. 

Despite the cost and a rebate program, for some, the reluctance is rooted in sentiment. 

"People would be bummed, because this is the dog stop for everybody," Richard says.

But even sentimentalists can be convinced to change. 

"It’s society,” Richard reflects. “We’ve got to work together, you know what I mean?"

Quick Questions with Cory Enus, Senior Public Information Coordinator​ for LVVWD

What if someone tries to do the right thing, watering the right amount but not on the correct days? Is that still a violation?  

So it’s important to know which watering group you’re in. You just input your address (to the LVVWD website)… it’ll tell you which group you belong to.

What if I just don’t know how to run my sprinkler system?

We can schedule an educational visit and show people how to change their watering clock if they are uncertain or don’t know how to do it.

What about hand-watering? 

According to the Water District, hand-watering is allowed any time.

Are people becoming more conscientious?

I think the community's been relatively conscientious. People want to do the right thing and they want their neighbors to do the right thing. 73 gallons per square foot of grass and about 18 gallons of water for drip irrigation. So for every square foot of grass we take out… you save about 55 gallons of water per year.

Can you tell me more about how people can use the LVVWD app to report water waste?

As long as you have your location services on, (reports) will correlate to the location and time of day. You can specify the specific type of violation and a picture to go with it.

To learn more and listen to the original piece, visit KNPR


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Photos and art: Route 91 by Brent Holmes; Fits for a Princess courtesy of Princess Diana: An Exhibition; Water You Doing? by Yvette Fernandez

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