Claire Voyant's Las Vegas Gossip Column

Displaying keen perception and great insight.  
She's a little bit naughty. She’s a little bit nice.  
She calls ‘em like she sees (and hears) ‘em.  

Claire Voyant  

Note: This is a past column from May 27, 2011
You can find the current column HERE

Las Vegas - May 27, 2011

Wes Winters & Ariella Nounna

Beverly Washburn & Bart Williams

We enjoyed last Sunday's Performing Arts Society of Nevada's concert, featuring pianist, singer, dancer, and all-around entertainer, Wes Winters, with his special guest, violinist Ariella Nounna. Not only has Winters been featured in tributes to Liberace (he was the winner of the 2003 Liberace Play-Alike Competition, and performed in the cabaret at the, now closed, Liberace Museum for almost five years), but much like the late showman, Wes takes great delight in presenting "undiscovered" talent, like Ms. Nounna, to the public. We learned that the 14-year-old Ariella is home-schooled and has been playing the violin since she was three. Winters can be seen and heard, Thursdays and Fridays from 5 to 8 p.m. in the Grandview Lounge at the South Point Hotel Casino and Spa, and Sundays, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., at the fabulous Mimosas & Music Brunch in ENVY The Steakhouse at Renaissance Las Vegas, 3400 Paradise Road.
Photo of Wes Winters and Ariella Nounna by Mary Millard

Also, last weekend, while lunching at the M Resort's Hash House A Go Go eatery on Saturday, we spotted a couple of actor friends enjoying themselves at a cozy corner table. Beverly Washburn was talking about her upcoming role in December Dilemma, a family-friendly holiday project that also features Richard Benjamin (My Favorite Year, Goodbye, Columbus), Tony Dow (Wally Cleaver of Leave It To Beaver fame), Ross Benjamin and Laurie Jacobson. Beverly's dining companion was Bart Williams, who was discussing his and John C. Brown's documentary, The Last First Comic, featuring, among others, Dixie Evans, Alan Young, Ed McMahon, Don Potter, Mickey Deems, Betty Rowland, Dee Ann Johnston, Suzanne Charny, and 97-year-old show business veteran, the real last first comic, Irving Benson, sharing their memories of burlesque. Both Benson and Williams have some Vegas history. Irving and Bart appeared in Top Banana at the downtown Union Plaza. Williams was also featured in the Las Vegas productions of Anything Goes, A Funny Thing Happened On the Way To the Forum, and Guys and Dolls, with Jack Jones, Maureen McGovern and Frank Gorshin.

Dixie Evans

Domenick Allen

And speaking of Dixie Evans, the burlesque icon has teamed up with Frederic Apcar Productions for the inaugural Dixie Evans Burlesque Show, taking place inside the Copa Room at the Plaza Hotel & Casino, June 3rd and 4th. Regarded as the "Marilyn Monroe of Burlesque," no one has done more to preserve the history and art of burlesque than Evans. On Friday, June 3rd, the weekend's festivities kick off at 9 p.m. (doors open at 8 p.m.), with the Las Vegas debut of Kaiju Big Battel, described as a modern conflict of epic proportions and the world's only live monster wrestling spectacle. Then, burlesque beauties from around the country will compete for a title, with the winner of this competition receiving $1,000 cash and $2,500 in prizes, including a coveted spot performing at The New York Burlesque Fest 2011, four nights' hotel accommodations at the newly remodeled Plaza Hotel & Casino and more. The winner also receives the opportunity to learn secrets of the trade from Dixie Evans in a private instruction. DJ Howie Pyro and his dancers round out the evening. On Saturday, June 4th, the Dixie Evans Burlesque Show hits the stage at 10 p.m. (doors open at 9 p.m.) starring Tempest Storm, as well as award-winning starlets, Angie Pontani, Kitten DeVille, Lucy Fur and Dixie Evans herself, performing for the first time in more than a decade. The show will also feature comedy, magic, music and daredevil and variety acts with special surprise guests. "We're excited about our return to the Plaza with some of burlesque's finest performers both past and present," said show producer, Frederic Apcar II. "This downtown icon, now being beautifully restored and remodeled, is the perfect venue for our event, which we look forward to bringing back, bigger and better, for years to come." With the Plaza's current room renovations underway, accommodations are being offered at the Las Vegas Club Hotel & Casino. Tickets to the event, as well as room specials, are on sale now and available at

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Don't forget that this is Domenick Allen's weekend back at the Suncoast. The all new concert, sponsored by Cadillac of Las Vegas, is called Vinyl, and features all Classic Rock, perfect for those parents and grandparents who have known the music all their lives, or young people who think the songs were written as music for cars, toothpaste, computers, shampoo, hamburgers or Viagra commercials! The Vinyl Band is made up of Brian Czach, drums; Marcus Vann, bass; John Wedemeyer, guitar; Dave Marinelli, keys; Bill King, trumpet; Eric Sande, trumpet; Steve Meyer, trombone; Garret Hypes, sax; and Jim D'Arrigo, sax. As for the talented ladies in the Allen/Zimmerman/Capaldi family, the Mrs., Leigh Zimmerman, just closed after her eight month return stint in Broadway's Chicago the Musical. Domenick reports that daughter, Cayleigh Capaldi, is also moving on by getting ready to close, after 10 months in 5th grade. Both Leigh and Cayleigh will be making special appearances in Vinyl. Ticket prices for Domenick Allen and Vinyl start at $15.95 plus taxes and fees. For reservations, call the Suncoast at (702) 636-7075. Domenick Allen and Vinyl kicks off a summer celebrating Classic Rock at the Suncoast, with others, including Mark Farner, formerly of Grand Funk Railroad, the Atlanta Rhythm Section, and The Lovin' Spoonful, to follow.

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Leigh Zimmerman

Cayleigh Capaldi by Jerry Metellus

The Henderson Symphony Orchestra (yes, Henderson has a symphony) presents a live orchestral screening of Charlie Chaplin's City Lights, at the Henderson Pavilion, 200 S. Green Valley Parkway, next Friday, June 3rd at 8 p.m. (gates open at 7). Conductor and musical director, Taras Krysa, will lead the HSO in a performance of the original musical score of City Lights. As HSO plays, the classic silent film will be projected on a giant screen above the orchestra. The performance also marks the 80th anniversary of Chaplin's film. This is a one time performance at the Henderson Pavilion. Tickets are $10. Seating is on a first come first-served basis. For information regarding this or other Henderson Symphony Orchestra events, please contact the City of Henderson Cultural Arts Office at (702) 267-2171, or visit the Henderson Symphony Orchestra's website at

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Charlie Chaplin's City Lights

The Rat Pack Is Back!

We are saddened to report that longtime Southern Nevada resident, Nicholas Naff, passed away in Las Vegas last Saturday, May 21st. Nick began his Las Vegas resort career in the 1960s as a member of the Sahara Hotel publicity team. Prior to that he was a writer for the Las Vegas News Bureau. When Kirk Kerkorian bought the Flamingo in 1967, he hired Nick to head the hotel's publicity and advertising department. At the Flamingo, Naff masterminded the historic "Tom Jones Fever" campaign to launch the young Welsh singer as a major Las Vegas attraction. The campaign drew world-wide publicity. While continuing to promote the Flamingo, he supervised all pre-promotion and grand opening for Kerkorian's International Hotel, which debuted in 1969. He engineered another memorable campaign for the International's opening-night attraction, Barbra Streisand. Mr. Naff became a very well-known and respected figure among members of the international entertainment press when he expertly promoted Elvis Presley's many appearances at the hotel. Working with Colonel Tom Parker, Nick helped Elvis and the International (later the Las Vegas Hilton) dominate the entertainment scene in Las Vegas for the next decade. Rumor has it, that during Elvis' February 1970 performances at the International, the Maitre d' and head waiters split $10,000 in tips per night. Nick later served as publicity and advertising director of the Aladdin Hotel. Following his resort career, Naff published a popular Las Vegas entertainment periodical, Today In Las Vegas. Nick was much admired for his work as a member of the Opportunity Village Advisory Board of Directors, serving along with the likes of Paul Anka, Morse Arberry, Jr., Larry Brown, Lynette Chappell, Jerilyn Clayton, Michael Gaughan, Sr., Judge Lloyd George, Jan Jones, Paul Lowden, Joyce Luman, Bob McDonald, Wayne Newton, Tony Orlando, Mark Robertson, Sig Rogich, Rob Roy, Larry Scheffler, Glenn Smith, E. Parry Thomas, Bill Walters, John Wasserburger, Mark Wayman, Lawrence Weekly and Steve Wynn. Naff also served as president of the Public Relations Association of Las Vegas. He was known throughout the industry as a highly creative "idea man" and a tireless worker, and was a mentor and role model to countless young professionals whom he educated, guided and nurtured. Nick Naff is survived by his devoted wife, Natalia, and children Lycia and Cory. Lycia Naff, who was born in Las Vegas and attended Bishop Gorman High School here, enjoyed a successful career as a television and motion picture actress before starting her current career as a magazine writer. A great big thank you to friend Jim Seagrave, Vice President of Advertising for Boyd Gaming, for providing us with most of the information regarding Mr. Naff's history.

Restaurateur, Randall Francis Kiefer, passed away on May 13th. Kiefer was born in Belleville, Illinois, in 1948. He grew up in Alhambra, California, moving to Las Vegas about 35 years ago. During the decades he lived here, Kiefer owned and operated Jeremiah's Steak House, The Elephant Bar, Play It Again Sam, and Kiefer's Atop The Carriage House. As a pilot, who owned his own plane, Randy became active in Angel Plane's Miracle Flights For Kids. He also served as president of the Las Vegas Restaurant Association. A number of years ago, Kiefer sold his restaurant interests to his employees and retired. Six years ago, Randy was diagnosed with a rare brain disease, Progressive Supranuclear Palsy, similar to Lou Gehrig's disease, for which there was little treatment and no cure. He was 63 when he died earlier this month. Randy Kiefer is survived by his loving family, wife, Carol; son, Brian; and daughter, Carina. No services were planned, but a celebration of his life will be held tomorrow (Saturday, May 28th) from 4 to 7 p.m. at Piero's Restaurant, 355 Convention Center Drive, in Las Vegas. Donations can be made to Cure PSP, 30 E. Padonia Road, Suite, 201, Timonium, MD 21093. To learn more about this disease, please visit

With virtually no notice, last week, a memorial service was held at Palm Mortuary in Las Vegas for actress/songwriter Dolores Fuller, who passed away on May 9th at the age of 88.

And Bob Flanigan, the lead voice of the famed Four Freshmen musical group, who passed away at the age of 84 on May 15th, will be remembered with a memorial service in the South Point Showroom, Tuesday, June 21st, from 2 to 3:30 p.m. We will have more information about this in the next couple of weeks.

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Dick Feeney's The Rat Pack Is Back! show will move from downtown's Plaza Hotel, where it has been since March 2008, to the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino's Crown Theater. The revue, re-creating the nights when Frank, Sammy, Joey and Dean held court in the Copa Room at the Sands Hotel, opens at the Rio on June 13th, where it will play at 8:30 p.m., seven nights a week. Backed by a live orchestra, the talented singer actors take you back to the '50s with the entertainers that helped earn Las Vegas the title of Entertainment Capital of the World. The 11,000 sq. ft Crown Theater offers a unique, multi-tiered, in the-round design, 900-seat venue, that should present a great space for The Rat Pack Is Back! Tickets are $49, $59 and $79, plus applicable taxes and fees.

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Delia Sheppard

On Saturday, June 4th at 7 p.m., and Sunday, June 5th at 3 p.m., Mistinguett Productions presents Showgirl Follies...A Life In Feathers and Rhinestones, at the Starbright Theatre in Sun City Summerlin. Featuring a cast of 17 performers, Showgirl Follies is a 75-minute show, highlighting the classic style of Las Vegas revues, such as Lido de Paris, Les Folies Bergere, Splash, Enter the Night, and Bravo Vegas, to name a few. The dancers who worked in many of these shows are back on stage, and still looking amazing after 25 years in the business. Produced, choreographed and directed by Mistinguett, Showgirl Follies presents beautiful dancers, gorgeous costumes, and wonderful music, all tied together with world-class comic relief. The cast of 17 performers, averaging 50 years of age, is a stunning example of experienced entertainers who rival any younger performer on the Strip today. Starring dancers, Delia Sheppard, Jack Failla, Jacqueline Koenig, Leigh Christiansen, Mary Ann Arcadipane, Timmari Putti, Stacey Lynn Johnson, Ann Bullis, Andrea Avruskin, Terry Ritter, Troy Stern Papameletiou and Kimba Anderson Munford, along with special guest stars; producer, comedian, ventriloquist and voice actor, Michael Ziegfeld (Saturday Night Live's TV Funhouse, the film 27 Dresses); singer Mark Francis (Greg Thompson's Erocktica, Broadway); Stella Milano, International Tango Singer and recording artist; and Sheldon Craig, from Broadway's Smokey Joe's Café and Ragtime. Between 1981 and 2007, Mistinguett and her partner, Greg Thompson, produced a number of Las Vegas shows, including High Voltage, Showgirls Erocktica, Skintight and Hot Stuff. Showgirl Follies is what Mistinguett calls her tribute to the performers, choreographers, directors and producers of "the shows we loved so much." Tickets for Sun City Summerlin residents are $15, and for non-residents are $18. All shows at the Starbright are first come, first served with no limit on the amount of tickets purchased. Show tickets may be purchased at Desert Vista, Mountain Shadows and Pinnacle community centers, seven days a week, from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. All ticket prices include Live Entertainment Tax. All ticket sales are check or cash (exact change required). No credit cards accepted. Tickets are non-refundable. There is no reserved seating at the Starbright Theatre, and saving seats is not permitted. For up-to-date information on Starbright Theatre shows, call (702) 240-1301.

And speaking of Vegas showbiz vets...Lou Anne Harrison Chessik, she of the Showgirl Art & Costume Exhibition and Cast & Crew Reunions fame, tells us that on Saturday evening, June 11th, a mini-reunion called Gypsy Camp will take place at the Bellagio in Las Vegas. According to Lou Anne, the gathering, being organized by John and Carter, who danced in the Lido de Paris at the Stardust Hotel/Casino and are now in the Fabulous Palm Springs Follies, is growing to a rumored 100 attendees of showgirls and boys, mostly from productions in the 1980s. For details, call (702) 630-5399.

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Swing City Dolls

Ron Smith

Producer Ed Mathews brings Hit Parade The Show, a fully-scripted book musical, to the Suncoast Showroom, Saturday, June 4th, and Sunday, the 5th, at 7:30 p.m. Based on the old radio and television show formats, Hit Parade The Show takes the audience on a journey through time, illustrated by music and dance made popular during the '50s and '60s. Snapshots of pivotal events, such as post-World War II and the progress of the '60s Civil Rights Movement will be painted during the show, stirring up emotions from the past. Hit Parade The Show presents performers regularly featured in the weekly matinee variety show, Suncoast Hit Parade, including the Ned Mills' Lionardo Orchestra, Carmine Mandia (Shades of Sinatra,) Mark Giovi (formerly with the Las Vegas Tenors,) Bobby Brooks Hamilton, Ron Smith (Tournament of Kings), The Swing City Dolls (Natalie Carson, Connie Murray and Robin Vincent), trumpet player Charly Raymond ("Sugar Blues," "Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White"), Jay Joseph, Art Vargas, and with narration by Nathan Tannenbaum. "This fully scripted production incorporates two decades of great music reflective of the times they were introduced; including the birth of rock, pop and soul," said producer Ed Matthews. "Hit Parade The Show is a living tribute to the past and brings back the fondest of memories for the audiences." Tickets are available, starting from $15.95, plus tax and convenience fees and can be purchased by calling the Box Office at 702.636.7075 or visiting

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Charly Raymond

Babe Pier

On June 20th, NIADA (National Independent Automobile Dealers Association) presents The Main Event during the welcoming reception at NIADA's 65th Convention and Expo to be held at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. Sponsored by Manheim and Black Book, the Main bout will feature Babe "The Italian Windmill" Pier vs. Orion "Fancy Feet" McAyan going at it. Announcer will be Peter Anthony, and Felix Silla will act as referee. Net proceeds will benefit the American Cancer Society.

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Maria Fletcher 1962

Maria Fletcher 2009

Las Vegas newcomer, numerologist Maria Fletcher, will be featured in the Senior Speaker Program on Wednesday, June 1st at 11 a.m. at the Winchester Cultural Center, 3130 S. McLeod, just north of Desert Inn. Maria Fletcher - Miss America 1962, former Radio City Music Hall Rockette, and Vanderbilt graduate - reveals how the ancient science of Numerology identifies and defines our life path. Our birth dates, each with its own set of characteristics, patterns and cycles, symbolize the beginning of our journey here on earth. Validated by the information these numbers provide, we are led to honor our gifts by sharing them. The Greek philosopher, Aristotle, once said: "To know yourself is the beginning of all wisdom." Illuminating the birthdays of some of the celebrities she has interviewed over the years on her television and radio shows, Maria sheds light on the archetypal life paths, making it easy for us to calculate our own. Numerology helps us look at life as an educational process. Almost a half-century after winning the Miss America crown, the still beautiful Fletcher explains how using the process of numerology can increase our ability to understand ourselves and one another. Admission is free. For more information, call (702) 455-7340.

Also at the Winchester...
The exhibit of artwork by Martin Kreloff, currently on display at the Winchester Cultural Center Gallery, will end on June 3rd. If you haven't had a chance to get over to the center to see Kreloff's Made in Vegas, we urge you to do so.

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From Las Vegas Media Group's Lisa Gioia-Acres comes this news...
Do you believe in ghosts? Maybe if you had been at the May 16th Media Group luncheon, you would. Lisa reports it was a great meeting. Jim Marsh knew three men that look for paranormal activity - the presence of those that have passed from this earth - and they came to share some of their experiences with the group. John Cushman, John Pilosi, and Justin Cimock showed video of the abandoned Belmont courthouse, the Goldfield Hotel, and the living quarters of Howard Hughes. It was fascinating and intriguing and those in attendance really had a great time contemplating the evidence. Forty-three folks attended the gathering, including former Clark County Commissioner, Thalia Dondero, and Archaeo-Nevada Society preservationist, Helen Mortensen. There were some great giveaways, thanks to Carey Burke and Milt Bozanic. If you have something fun to donate for a giveaway, it is always appreciated. Next month, Cork Proctor tells us that the speaker will be Norm Johnson, who will share his stories about the Mint 400 Road Race and other great stuff. Also, Lisa tells us that there is a local campaign seeking coloring book and crayon donations for children undergoing chemotherapy. If you wish to help, they will be collecting donations at PT's Pub, at 215 and Buffalo, June 9th from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. The Las Vegas Media Group meets for lunch at The Wedding Room, 3601 W. Sahara (on the southeast corner of Valley View), at 11:30 a.m. on the third Monday of the month. If you know where the Gallery of History is (was?) located and/or The Cellar, then you know where The Wedding Room is; Mariana's Grocery Store on one side and Kaplan College on the other. There is a handicap entrance through the alley between the college and The Wedding Room. The tasty luncheon buffet is $15. Anyone may attend, but RSVPs are a must. Remember, when you RSVP you are guaranteed a meal! Contact Lisa at (702) 245-9206, or e-mail [email protected]. The phone number for any questions or directions is 362-6712. The next Las Vegas Media Group luncheon will take place on June 20th. Mark your calendars.

Thalia Dondero & Helen Mortensen

Linda November & Artie Schroeck

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If you live in Sun City Anthem, or if you have what they refer to in Vegas as "juice," you have the opportunity to see a great show, featuring Anthem residents, Artie Schroeck and Linda November. At 7 p.m., Friday, June 10th, ARTLIN Enterprises presents a musical event, An Evening of Cole Porter Music. An eight-piece orchestra will accompany Linda and Artie as they perform at Independence Hall, 2460 Hampton Road in Sun City Anthem. Artie is a well-respected composer/arranger/producer who has worked with the likes of Frank Sinatra, Liza Minnelli, Sammy Davis Jr., Barry Manilow, Neil Diamond, Frankie Valli, Kenny Loggins, Paul Anka, Anne Murray, Petula Clark, Paul Sorvino, Joe Pesci, Kenny Rankin, Mel Torme, Joe Piscopo, Lionel Hampton, Lou Christie, John Sebastian, Ashford & Simpson and Patti Austin. On television, Schroeck has been involved with The Sunshine Boys, Night Heat, PM Magazine, Miss America, Liza In London, Liza Steppin' Out, the Tonight Show, ABC promos, and more. He has also worked on the films, You're a Big Boy Now, Deer Hunter, Hootch and Last Request, and with numerous production shows, including Tribute to Spike Jones, Liza at Radio City, Piscopo Sinatra Tribute, Paul Sorvino in Concert, Tribute to Liberace, Latin Rhythm, and Christmas with the Army Band, starring Kenny Loggins. As for Linda, otherwise known as "The Jingle Lady," she has sung on records with some of the greats, including Frank Sinatra, Dionne Warwick, Burt Bacharach, Barbra Streisand, Tony Orlando, Frankie Valli, and Engelbert Humperdinck. With thousands of jingles listed on her resume, Ms. November became known as "The Jingle Lady" or "Jingle Queen." During one period, she had more than 700 jingles playing on television and radio all over the United States. Her most famous jingle is from the commercial for Meow Mix cat food. "Meow, meow, meow, meow" became the number one jingle of all time. Currently, tickets for this terrific show are $18. After June 3rd, they are $21, and are on sale at the front desk at Sun City Anthem...if you live there. If you DON'T live there, but would like to attend, you may e-mail Linda November at lady [email protected] By the way, Ms. November has "juice."

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Grammy-winner, Al Jarreau, performs at Aliante Station's access Showroom, next Friday, June 3rd. Show time is at 8 p.m. Jarreau's unique vocal technique is one of the world's most enduring jazz styles. His innovative musical expressions have made him a highly respected and critically acclaimed performer, earning seven Grammy Awards in three different categories - jazz, pop, and R&B. Performing for more than four decades, Jarreau's most recent accolade was winning the 2007 Grammy for Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance for "God Bless the Child" with George Benson and Jill Scott. Among his other recordings are "We're In This Love Together," "Take Five," "Boogie Down," "After All," and "Mornin'." Jarreau also wrote and performed the Grammy-nominated theme to the 1980s television show, Moonlighting. Tickets for Al Jarreau are $37.50, $48.50, and $59.50, plus taxes and fees. Aliante Station is located at 7300 Aliante Parkway in far north North Las Vegas. Call (702) 692-7777, or (877) 477-7627. All ages welcome, when accompanied by an adult 21 or older.

Al Jarreau

Judge Jackie Glass

And speaking of Aliante Station, we heard that Jimmy Hopper would be performing there on June 12th. We will check into this further.

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Las Vegas judge, Jackie Glass, is taking over as host of TV's one year old syndicated legal show, Swift Justice, as original host, Nancy Grace, departs. Glass graduated from the University of Georgia in 1978 with a degree in journalism. She pursued this career as a radio and TV news reporter, and, at one time was a reporter for local Channel 13. She earned her Juris Doctor degree from the University of San Diego School of Law in 1984. Glass has been practicing law for more than 20 years. She and her husband, attorney Steve Wolfson, formed the law firm of Wolfson & Glass in 1990, where she focused on criminal cases. They practiced together for 12 years, prior to Glass being elected to Department 5 of the Clark County District Court in 2002. She took office on January 6th, 2003. Judge Glass presided over the case that sent O.J. Simpson to jail for his role in an armed robbery at the Palace Station Hotel Casino in 2008. When Glass doubled Simpson's bail to $250,000 for failing to stay away from his co-defendants in the robbery case, she stated, "I don't know, Mr. Simpson, what the heck you were thinking, or maybe that's the problem -- you weren't," Glass said." I don't know if it's just arrogance. I don't know if it's ignorance. But you've been locked up at the Clark County Detention Center because of arrogance or ignorance or both." This may be just the type of dialogue that earned Jackie Glass her new job. She will maintain her home in Las Vegas, traveling back and forth to Los Angeles to tape the television show. Swift Justice, distributed by CBS Television Distribution, was nominated for an Emmy for best legal/courtroom program in its first season. It debuted as the No. 1 new syndicated show of the season and is averaging 2.3 million viewers for the May sweep-to-date. Season 2 of Swift Justice premieres in September. We are sure many Las Vegans will be watching.

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Drive safely this Memorial Day weekend. It's a jungle out there, and some wild animals are behind the wheel.

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