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Despite Criticism, Analysts Say Las Vegas Will Recover

LAS VEGAS -- Las Vegas continues to be portrayed as the poster child for the recession. Some financial experts say things have gotten so bad, we will never recover. But local economists say that's not true, but it will take time.

A report by 24/7 Wall Street named 13 cities in the U.S. that will never recover because of the housing market and unemployment rate. Las Vegas was one of them. 

Ironically, the report came out at the same time the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce's new president takes the reigns. He's a man with experience in economic recovery.

The doom and gloom in Las Vegas is slowly starting to lift. Tourism has increased 1.5-percent this year and Jeremy Aguero with Applied Analysis says homes are selling.

"A year and a half ago there were almost 30,000 housing units for sale. Today, that number is roughly 10,000," he said.

Mandatory Spay and Neuter Law Goes Into Effect

LAS VEGAS -- Pet owners in Clark County must now have their pets spayed or neutered before four months of age or face heavy fines or even jail time. The cities of Las Vegas, North Las Vegas and Mesquite all have similar measures. 

Combine that with the county ordinance and that means nearly nine out of 10 people in southern Nevada will be required to have their pets spayed or neutered. Pet owners who violate the law could face a misdemeanor charge, which could include a fine up $1,000 and six months in jail.

For pet owners who might be worried, county leaders say they won't be doing door to door searches. 

"It's basically if they catch strays and vicious animals, dog bites or cat bite attacks, parks, because all the parks are, those are where their eyes and ears will be," said County Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani.

Henderson Approves More Buyouts for City Workers

HENDERSON, Nev.  -- Henderson city officials have approved a budget for the next fiscal year that includes a third set of voluntary buyouts.

The severance plan approved Tuesday night could cost the city up to $6 million by offering employees continuing or retiree health coverage and waiving a 10-year service requirement for sick leave payments.

The plan has previously cost about $6.4 million in benefits, which was recovered within 10 months after the employees left. Nevada's second largest city has made roughly $90 million in cuts during the past two years, including a 15 percent reduction in staff not in public safety departments. Compensation has also been reduced.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

Reward Offered in Missing Woman Case

LAS VEGAS -- Desperate for answers, family and friends of a missing valley woman, are hoping a $10,000 reward can give them leads on her whereabouts.

SIxty-seven-year-old Billie Jean James was last seen back on April 21st leaving her home near Las Vegas Boulevard and Silverado Ranch. There have been no credible leads or clues in her disappearance and Metro police are hoping the reward money can generate more leads.

Metro says another challenge they are facing is the land and desert surrounding the area where she was last seen. James's husband, Bill James, says he is prepared for the worst but praying for the best.

"Anything is possible. Every good scenario you can come up with, for some reason it doesn't make sense. I don't know what's going on, or what happened," he said.

High School Drug Testing Producing Results

HENDERSON -- It's used to be meth, then pain pills but some teens across the Las Vegas valley are taking it a step further and are smoking heroin. DEA officials it's a growing problem that some high schools are experiencing.

The drug problem has prompted some schools in the valley to randomly drug test their student athletes. Green Valley High School even took it a step further. Principal Jeff Horn believes there will be more harm if the community denies there's a problem. It's one of the reasons he's been so vocal about the drug problem his school has faced and is now overcoming even after years of scrutiny.

Memorial Scheduled for LPGA golfer

HENDERSON -- A May 19 memorial has been scheduled for LPGA golfer Erica Blasberg, who died suddenly at her home in suburban Henderson as she prepared for a tournament in Alabama.

Her body was found Sunday afternoon by police responding to a 911 call. They aren't saying how she died or who placed the call. Her agent says she had packed her bags for the Bell Micro LPGA Classic in Mobile. Chase Callahan says police haven't given him or her family "any indication of anything."

Police have not said if they suspect foul play. Clark County Coroner Michael Murphy said a ruling on a cause of death was pending blood and tissue tests that could take four to six weeks to complete. The memorial will be held at the Eagle Glen Golf Club in Corona, Calif. Private burial will follow.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

Winds Slam the Las Vegas Valley

LAS VEGAS -- It was clean up day after heavy winds whipped the Las Vegas valley overnight. Trees were uprooted and patio furniture was flying. The winds weren't quite as strong Tuesday, but some gusts reached 50 miles per hour.

First Choice Tree Service has been busy trying to keep up with all the calls they're getting to clean up downed trees.

"This is pretty typical, especially for mesquite trees. Unfortunately, we don't have the conditions here in Las Vegas to promote positive root growth," said J Zambo with First Choice.

Zambo has been in the tree business for 15 years and has never seen business so strong because of the recent windy conditions.

"It has been an unusually windy year, and I'd say we have had about 25 calls in the last three days just due to wind damage," he said.

Damage that's keeping his crew and others at First Choice working non-stop.