MGM Donates Land for October 1 Memorial

It’s one of those things. When I am on a tour, and we drive down the Strip. As we get close to where it happened. Close to Luxor or to Mandalay Bay Resort.

Most times, nobody will say anything, but you can still almost hear them ask the question as they look out the van window, over the now fenced and shielded off empty parking lot. Occasionally I will hear a soft voice from a guest ask “Is that where…..??” and they end it there


We all remember that horrible night on October 1, 2017, when a lone gunman opened fire into the crowd attending the open-air Route 91 Harvest Festival as Jason Aldean took the stage.

58 people passed away at the Route 91 Harvest Festival and 867 were injured.
(58 Officially Died. 60 Unofficial)

October 1 Memorial

Now, MGM Resorts International is honoring those who lost their lives by donating part of the property as a proper memorial to those individuals.
MGM Resorts said that two acres of the 15-acre concert site will be used for the memorial, next to the Shrine of the Most Holy Redeemer.

No construction start date has been mentioned.

I thank MGM for finally doing the right thing and look forward to learning more about what is planned for the memorial.

Losing The Sands

The news came out last week that Las Vegas will finally lose one of the most iconic names on the Las Vegas Strip. Although many newcomers probably never even knew that it still existed, at least in the name form.

Scott Roeben’s Vital Vegas broke the news that what has been called since it was built in 1990, “The Sands Expo”, one of the world’s largest privately-owned convention centers is changing its name to better match the name of the resort it’s attached to. Starting in September, it will be known as “The Venetian Expo”.

In 1989, Sheldon Adelson and his group purchased the aging Sands casino then imploded the resort to build the Venetian and then the Pallazo.  Combined, it is now the largest hotel in the world.

Movie buffs will remember at the end of the 1997 movie CON AIR, the doomed prisoner plane crash lands on the Las Vegas Strip and ends up crashing in the main tower of the Sands. By that point, a majority of the resort had already been demolished, they saved the implosion of the front tower and entrance for the explosive movie climax (and let the studio pay for it all).

Although he demolished the resort and built a new resort with a new name, Sheldon wanted the memory of the infamous resort to live on. Mr. Adelson even changed the name of his company to The Las Vegas Sands Corporation.  Then in 1990, when he built the convention center, he called it the Sands Expo.

But times change. Sheldon Adelson passed away in January and in March, the Las Vegas resorts were sold for $6.2 Billion.

The Curious History of the Sands resort

The Sands casino resort, the renowned landmark, opened its doors in 1952 as a casino and resort with 200 rooms. . It was established by Mack Kufferman, and this new gambling resort set Las Vegas in the national spotlight as the center of entertainment and a place for celebrity hangouts.

The problems started at the beginning. Mack Kufferman, who planned to make the Sands hotel a casino, had failed to gain the gaming license, and his project shares were sold to Jake Freedman.

According to many resources, crime bosses Doc Stacher and Meyer Lansky acquired shares in it. Also, many other organized crime figures, illegal bookmakers like Mike Shapiro, Ed Levinson, and Sid Wyman, Hyman Abrams, and Jack Entratter were involved in the financing of Sands and had shares in it.

The Sands?

Initially, Freedman intended to name the hotel based on the film name ‘Holiday Inn’ released in 1942. But when being there and saw that his socks were full of sand, he decided to name it Sands (which is also the name of a race track). So, really. it was named after a race track.

However, its tagline, “A place in the sun” was named after a recently released film at that time. This idea suits the hot desert place perfectly where Sands casino resort was located.

The Famous Came Out For The Sands’ Grand Opening 

Not only the famous stars were invited but there are also more surprising details of the inauguration.

Sands Casino Opening

Sands opening advertisement on Billboard in 1952.

12,000 people visited the Sands casino resort in the first few hours of opening because it was so widely publicized.

The celebrities Arlene Dahl, Fernando Lamas, Esther Williams, and Terry Moore were invited as special guests. Moreover, there were 146 journalists at the inauguration.

Opening Night Performers

Some of the most renowned stars Danny Thomas, Jimmy McHughRay Sinatra, and his Orchestra were the initial house band, and the Copa girls, labeled “the most beautiful girls in the world” performed at inauguration night.

These performances were held in the casino’s showroom, Copa room which was the signature attraction of Sands casino resort.

Actor Danny Thomas was hired to perform for the first two weeks of the inauguration but plans needed to be changed on the second night because he had laryngitis.

Therefore, more famous stars were hired to replace Danny Thomas. Those were Jimmy Durante, Frankie Laine, Jane Powell, the Ritz Brothers, and Ray Anthony.

Jack Entratter, nicknamed “Mr. Entertainment,” took the manager position at the Sands, who was best known for his managing positions at New York Club, Copacabana. He brought numerous brightest stars of the day to the casino’s Copa Room. That made Copa the hottest ticket in America and one of the most coveted stages for performers.

The Sands and The Rat Pack 

When crime bosses Doc Stacher and Meyer Lansky acquired shares in Sands, they attracted Frank Sinatra (Member of Rat Pack, greatest musician of 20th century and best-selling musical artist of all time) to Sands. Moreover, Sinatra made his performing debut in October 1953 at Sands after an invitation from its manager Jack Entratter. Later he bought shares in the hotel and started living there during his breaks from Hollywood.

According to sources, Sinatra was not a hardcore gambler. He earned notoriety for “keeping his winnings and ignoring his losses.” The interesting part is that the mobsters involved in financing and had shares in Sands were not concerned about Frank Sinatra’s actions because Sinatra was good for business and kept bringing in the big rollers.

Films Shot at The Sands

1960, a caper film “Ocean’s 11” was shot at Sands.

1972 the Sands hosted several scenes for the movie “The Godfather

1997 – CON AIR – final demolition of the Sands main tower and casino for the ending of the movie

The Famous Owners

Howard Hughes / Summa Corporation Owned it from 1967 to 1988.

In 1983, Summa Corp had sold it to Pratt Corporation, but the new owner could not operate at a profit, and Summa regained the property.

1988 MGM Grand owned it for a few months before selling it to Interface Group.

1989 Interface group became Las Vegas Sands Corporation headed by Sheldon Adelson.

In a glance at history, one owner sold the Sands to another because their idea was not fulfilled as they wanted, or they were unable to make a profit.

Sands had 44 years of successful history regardless of who had purchased it.

Renowned Faces That Passed Through the Doors of Sands:

America’s center of attention, Sands attracted the most renowned, respected, and influential people of America. Here are a few more names other than the above-listed famous celebrities (actors and singers).

Rat Pack and their many friends – Musical group and group of entertainers

Jerry Lewis – The King of Comedy

Author Mario Puzo – Best author of crime novels

Apollo astronauts – of that time

Adnan Khashoggi – Wealthy Saudi Arms Dealer

Ronald Reagan – 40th President of U.S.

Out with the Old, in with the New 

In 1996, Sands introduced a 500-room tower in its exciting system. It gained more popularity after that and became the first of several hotels purchased by Howard Hughes (the most influential and financially successful individual). After the purchase, its final owners were  Sheldon Adelson, Richard Katzeff, Ted Bernard, Irwin Chafetz, and Jordan Shapiro. After buying out its partners, Sheldon Adelson closed it in June 1996 (25 years ago) to build a brand-new resort.

In 1989 the Sands Hotel began construction on the Sands convention center. At its completion in 1990, it was the only privately owned and operated convention center in the United States and was the second-largest convention center in the world. Today it boasts 2.2 million square feet.  As a comparison, The public-owned Las Vegas Convention Center encompasses 3.2 million square feet of total building space


Dehydrated? Know What Color Your Pee Is

Yes, I know… Las Vegas has dry heat.  However, hot is hot, and with dry heat, you can dehydrate faster than you realize.  Dehydration can kill you… So, knowing what color your urine can save your life!


Its summer in Las Vegas. That means it’s going to be hot outside. Real Hot! If you plan to walk the Las Vegas Strip or take a hike in one of our National Parks in this heat, it’s important to know what color your pee is. Seriously.  I’m betting you are wondering why I said that.   Glad you asked…

The color of your urine will tell you (or the rescuers) just how dehydrated you are.  If you didn’t know, Las Vegas is located smack dab in the middle of the Mojave Desert, and in the summertime, it gets really hot, really fast.  Not only do we have high heat, but we also have very low humidity levels.  That can mean you can become dehydrated faster than you realize.  Knowing the color of your urine can help you determine your level of hydration.

In other words: Stay Hydrated!

Want to go for a hike?  Hike in the early hours of the day. Dress in layers and wear breathable (cotton) clothing. Take water. Lots of water with you.  Take more water than you think you will need in case you are delayed, trapped, or need to help a fellow hiker who did not prepare for the elements. As well, drink a sports drink to help balance out the electrolytes.  Plus, you need to carry a salty snack with you.

cooling towels for hiking in the desert

Keep Wet, Keep Cool

In the summer, in the canyons or on a tour, I am always carrying several Cooling Towels.  Keep them wet, wrap them around your neck.  As well, don’t be afraid to share with others who may not have been as prepared as you are.  Cooling towels will help keep your body temperature under control. They are cheap and so easy to carry with you.

Water, Water, and More Water

camelbak will keep you wet with water

Carry Water with you. I recommend you get a  Camelbaks/water bladders. It’s like a backpack but filled with water. If you need to use plastic bottles (eek!) don’t forget to carry them out with you when empty.  “Pack out what you pack in” . Take the trash you created with you.  Want some brownie points?? Be a good steward of the lands and pick up some of the trash left by others. It will make you feel good and help keep our parks a little cleaner.

National Park Water Stations

Bottle Filling Stations

On some of the more popular trails in the National Parks, they are installing refill stations.  If your trail or park has one, please use it!  This helps keep the amount of litter down.  I often travel with a refillable water bottle.  It’s become my best friend when riding around town or out walking the trails.  My Favorite Water Bottle is the Thermoflask

Pack Out What You Pack In!

Let me repeat myself.  If you are going to carry disposable bottles of water (and other packaged goods) into the National Parks with you, take them back out with you.  My absolute pet peeve when hiking is finding trash,  or watching others who empty a plastic water bottle and leave it on the trail or in a tree.  Why do that?  Why can’t you use it and take it back out with you??  You brought it in full. You can carry it out empty!

The best part is that now it’s not full, which means it will be smaller when you pack it out compared to when you packed it in. So take it out with you!!  When I see some idiot liter the trails, I just want to bury their lazy ass in the desert!! SO don’t do it!!

So What Color is Your Pee?

So now we get to the reason for this post.  The important part of safe hiking and hydration.  When outside in the heat for any reason;  you need to know your health status. Are you nearing the point of dehydration?  Are you past the safety point?  To know that answer, you need to check the color of your pee. It’s that simple!

How Hydrated Are You?

Image Courtesy of NPS

Health Tip:  If you are feeling the need to drink water, you are already dehydrated and need to stop, get into the shade and drink water. Drink a sports drink to help balance out the lost electrolytes. Enjoy a salty snack and just relax.

Don’t ruin a wonderful trip to the beautiful desert. Don’t make your next stop a trip to the emergency room.  Save a Park Ranger some time and not need to be rescued.  Stay aware, stay healthy, and stay focused.  Know what color your pee is and keep it bright and pure by drinking plenty of water!!

(Originally posted Jul 19, 2019)

91 Years Ago Today

On this day, 91 years ago today, July 30, 1930, President Herbert Hoover officially authorized the immediate start of construction of Hoover Dam in Black canyon. A 35 miles jaunt outside of what was then, the little town of Las Vegas, Nevada.

President Hoover signed the Appropriation Bill (as part of the Boulder Canyon Project Act), and so Ray Lyman Wilbur, Secretary of the Interior, sent Order No. 436 to Dr Elwood Mead, Commissioner of Reclamation, which read: “You are directed to commence construction on Boulder Dam today.”

From what I have seen in the history books (and I’ve read a lot of them), that’s pretty much how it happened in sequence on this day.  Signed, sealed, and then immediately delivered!

boulder city

People and a Place to Call Home

Six Companies Incorporated, the official contractor for the project could now officially start building what is acknowledged as one of the greatest mechanical wonders on earth. Even the experts of the day didn’t think it would work. That Hoover was just using this as a jobs program to get America back on its feet and people working again.  Yet, here we are, 95 years later, still amazed at its brilliance.

The little company town of Boulder City came alive.  Boulder City was an efficiently run, well-ordered company town built by the Federal Government to house most of the workers and their families.

Over the next 5 years, while the Great Depression played out, thousands of desperate unemployed men and their families would make their move to Las Vegas, hoping to get hired on for the project.

An average payroll of 3,000 workers with peak employment of 5,251 workers in 1934.  96 men officially lost their lives building the dam while the actual death toll is rumored to be around 4-500 workers.

The first official death on the project actually happened on December 20, 1922, J.G. Tierney drowned while surveying in the waters of the Colorado River.  The final official death on the project was Patrick Tierney, 13 years to the day.  December 20, 1935.  yes, father and son!


What’s in a Name

The dam project started out as “The Dam In Boulder Canyon”  because that’s where the federal government first proposed putting the dam.  In Boulder Canyon, about 20 miles north of where the dam is today.

As the project started to become real, the name started to take on a new meaning, especially when it was decided to move the project closer to the village of Las Vegas in a place called Black Canyon. Black Canyon was better suited for creating the needed reservoir behind the dam (Lake Mead). As well as being closer to a labor pool (Las Vegas).

Hubert Hoover had his handprints all over this project. First, as an engineer, helping to pinpoint the best geological location. Then later as the Secretary of the Interior who helped negotiate the water rights treaty between the seven states where the Colorado River flowed.  To being President when it became a reality. Hoover had called it “the greatest engineering work of its character ever attempted by the hand of man.”

Hoover was a republican, so the democrats in Washington used the name “Boulder Dam” and the Republicans used the name “Hoover Dam” – For every legal document you find that says its name was Boulder Dam, you can find a legal document claiming its name was always Hoover Dam. Then you have the one you see most often in the construction documents; “The Dam In Boulder Canyon”.

On September 30, 1935, newly elected President Franklin D. Roosevelt (D) dedicated the completed dam using the name “Boulder Dam”.  In 1947, Congress passed legislation officially designating the name of the dam in honor of the president who had a lot to do with its creation. Hoover Dam.

Purpose of the Dam

The dam would tame the flood-prone Colorado River protecting cities and farms while generating cheap electricity to supply power to homes and industry, and providing work for thousands who desperately needed jobs. This helped settle the west and prove to the world that America can do anything it sets its mind to do. This made it possible for people to feel safe and confident about moving westward. That you would find a steady flow of water and a steady flow of electricity.

High scalers Hoover Dam, 1932

Don’t you love all those safety harnesses they used back in the day??

Hoover Dam by the Numbers

  • Hoover Dam was built for just $49 million ($962 million in 2021 dollars)
  • The sale of electrical power generated by the dam was used to pay for the revenue bonds used to pay for the building of the dam
  • The last revenue bond was repaid with interest in 1987
  • Hoover Dam is one of the only federal-funded projects to be debt-free
  • 4.4 million cubic yards of concrete
  • 88 million pounds of plate steel and outlet pipes
  • 6.7 million pounds of pipe and fittings
  • 45 million pounds of reinforced steel
  • 726 feet (221 meters) above Black Canyon
  • 660 feet (201 meters) wide at the base
  • 1,244 feet (379 meters) across at the top
  • It weighs 6.6 million tons
  • Lake Mead, created by the building of the dam, can hold 9 trillion gallons of water


Who’s Resorts World Opening Headliners ?

Resorts World

Finally!!  Las Vegas is coming back to life after a long year of stillness! This Vegas resurrection is marked by the biggest opening of a casino resort in more than a decade. The all-new Resorts World resort is really rolling out the red carpet for an almost never before imagined lineup of residencies.

This once-in-a-lifetime opening of the Theatre at Resorts World Las Vegas is guaranteed to be the highlight for all concert fanatics. Starting from November 2021 and moving into March 2022, the residency shows announced thus far will feature Celine Dion, Katy Perry, Carrie Underwood, and Luke Bryan.


What to Expect

Just a ‘concert’ is an understatement! The headlining residencies promise mind-dazzling performances at the new 5,000-seat Theatre at Resorts World. In the hub of parties, the 5-month long line-up of four superstars will reinvent music in Vegas. The tickets for the residency shows are available on AXS. Miley Cyrus’s opening performance is planned to be broadcasted on the hotel tower’s Strip-facing screen on July 4. If that is not enough to convince you about the grand level run, take a look at how the schedule for the shows looks like.

Celine Dion

The headlining residencies will mark a start with the iconic Celine Dion. Her special opening night performance would be supporting the COVID-19 Relief on November 5. Dion’s special relation with Vegas goes back to her being the #1 and #2 highest-grossing Las Vegas residencies. Starting November 5, Celine Dion has 10 show line-ups scheduled for

November: 5-6 / 9-10 / 12-13 / 19-20 /

When it comes to Celine, everyone’s heart shall go on being mesmerized by her!

Carrie Underwood

If you are not yet over with Celine Dion’s stage energy, prepare for Carrie Underwood’s six-show run following Dion! Her achievements have spanned across television, film, music, and even books. With more than 64 million records being sold worldwide, Underwood proves to be just the right performer for this line-up. After Thanksgiving break, Underwood has a 6-show run scheduled for December

December: 1 / 3-4 / 8 / 10-11 /

You know when Underwood said I’ll see you again? Well, it is time you do!


Katy Perry

We know it is going to be a complete sell-out show when Katy Perry’s name shows up! Perry’s “Play” would make its way through after Carrie Underwood. Not only has Katy Perry racked up 50 billion streams, but she is also one of the best-selling artists of music history. There is no doubt that Perry’s 8 shows after Christmas will take the residency line-up up a notch. She is scheduled to take over the stage on

December: 29 / 31, 2021, Yes, we get a New Year’s Eve Katy Perry performance. Can it get any better?

January: 1/ 7-8 / 12 / 14-15, 2022.

Luke Bryan

The residency shows are planned to wrap with Luke Bryan’s 6 shows run! Bryan has sacked 26 #1 hits and has around 15 billion streams. He was also titled the ‘Most Heard Artist of the Decade’ as 2020 wrapped up. Luke is the ideal candidate for these shows because he knows how to get the party started! The Vegas residency shows are scheduled to feature Luke Bryan on

February: 11-12/ 16 / 18-19 / 20


Final Thoughts

While Katy Perry in one interview says, “it’s time to plan a trip to Vegas with your girlfriends”, one could not agree more. The four superstars are promising singers and performers. The star-studded residency shows are sure to compensate for the parties missed over the last year. Each artist performing at Resorts World will bring a new dimension to music and concerts. After all, it is Vegas, and Vegas knows how to keep you up all night!