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The best of 2021, part 2

The dislocation caused by the pandemic encouraged the city of Las Vegas and others to woo remote workers to Southern Nevada.
Courtesy city of Las Vegas

The dislocation caused by the pandemic encouraged the city of Las Vegas and others to woo remote workers to Southern Nevada.

State of Nevada reported on all corners of our unique state in 2021, with stories coming from Native American communities to discord at school board meetings, from new thinking after the pandemic to our podcast on the Asian-American Pacific Islander experience, Exit Spring Mountain.

Among the voices:

In Nevada Public Radio’s Native Nevada podcast, artist Jean LaMarr recounted how her mother and other young Native American children embraced moments of joy while separated from their families at government-imposed boarding school: “As soon as the matron was gone, they start singing and they get up and start dancing around, just having fun and just enjoying it.

“But they always had one guard watching. As the matron came they jumped on the floor and started scrubbing the floor again.”

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Las Vegas-based tech executive Teddy Liaw said Southern Nevada should capitalize on the economic upheaval caused by the pandemic: “Here in Nevada, we've experienced really the worst and most extreme impact of COVID (in) an economy that’s completely based on tourism. All those things that really were at the center of Vegas … quite frankly, all came to a screeching halt.

“Recent American history shows us that there's this unique two-to-three-year window after these extreme In the stages of chaos, that innovation happens, entrepreneurs start completely deconstructing how the world works, and really amazing companies are unleashed upon the world.

“My message to the City Hall was, we have to see the opportunity number one, we need to seize the opportunity.”

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Clark County school board President Linda Cavazos said that children are watching the sometimes unruly trustee meetings: “Sometimes when these folks are they're very passionate and their beliefs, but they are stating things that are not true.

“They're stating an opinion and presenting it as facts. And what I stated at one of these past meetings, where we actually had to have CCSD Police come into the room and had to recess and clear everyone for the day, is that we have students watching.

We have our Clark County School District students watching. We have kids that sometimes attend the meetings. And we have middle and high school students that are texting me contacting me after the meetings. And they're dumbfounded.”

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Former Clark County School District bus driver Denise Chandler Bassett said working conditions led to the current driver shortage: “It's not an issue of not wanting to do our job. It's an issue of being treated badly. How much can you take before you finally say forget it and walk away?”

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Andrew Reyes, an assistant professor at UNLV’s School of Nursing, contributed to Nevada Public Radio’s Exit Spring Mountain podcast. He spoke in Chapter 5 about how nurses can become traumatized by the trauma they see: “The daily horror of the COVID-19 that nurses are witnessing is what we call the trauma.

“So they're exposed to a trauma, and then they also produce symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, for example, when they have nightmares, when they are having some feelings of hypervigilance, when they feel depressed.”

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Tasha Crabtree, veterinary services manager for the Animal Foundation, spoke about an extremely obese potbellied pig that had been found abandoned: “There's really no way to know why she was abandoned, but my initial thought would be that they may not have anticipated having an animal this large.

“A lot of people will get pigs that they think are gonna stay small, and they don't stay small.”

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TV personality Elvira talked about meeting Elvis Presley in Las Vegas when she was working as a teenage showgirl: “He told me about spiritualism. He talked about numerology, astrology, and that you create your own future.”

“He directly told me this is no place for a 17-year-old girl. I always tell people if it wouldn't have been for Elvis telling me to leave town when I was the youngest showgirl in Vegas, I would now be the oldest.”

Editor's note: These stories came from the second half of 2021. Highlights from the first half can be found here.

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