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AUGUST 2014
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Aug. 21, 5-7:30p. A philanthropic social event to mingle; enjoy mixologist Juyoung Kang’s tasty libations and live music by Spadoni. Proceeds...   
August 23 at the West Las Vegas Library. If we learned anything from the World Cup it’s that this globe of ours is large and varied —...   
Aug. 23, 9p-1a. The gala everyone talks about all year is sure to be an unforgettable night of delicious food, top-shelf spirits and spectacular...   
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Conti's troubles continue after his death
by Heidi Kyser | posted August 19, 2014

The “strange saga of Dr. Ralph Conti,” which we wrote about in the July issue of Desert Companion, isn’t over yet, apparently. On Aug. 8, two parents filed a complaint for medical malpractice against Conti’s estate, just before the time for making such claims expired.

The plaintiffs, Franklin and Catherine Heath, say their 9-year-old daughter, Briana, became ill in late March 2012. They called Foothills Pediatrics, the business Conti both owned and worked in as a physician. Despite Briana’s being a new patient, they say, Conti took her symptoms over the phone through an intermediary and prescribed the antibiotic Cefdinir without seeing her.

According to the Heaths’ attorneys, Morris Anderson Law, Briana had a severe flu and died three days after her parents contacted Foothills. Their complaint asserts that Conti, distracted by his legal troubles, was negligent in his failure to examine and properly treat the girl. They are seeking a minimum of $10,000 in damages to cover the Heaths’ related medical and funeral costs, in addition to their pain and suffering.

As for the timing of the lawsuit, Morris Anderson’s Tara Young explains that Conti’s wife, Carol Conti, had been issued letters of testamentary on Aug. 15, 2013, for her deceased husband’s estate, which had been in probate since early that year. That started the clock ticking under Nevada law, giving parties one year to file wrongful death claims against the estate. The Aug. 8 filing, then, came in just under the wire — and adding yet another chapter to the Dr. Conti saga.



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The nuclear memo
by Andrew Kiraly | posted August 18, 2014
Christened with an atomic explosion nicknamed Able on Jan. 27, 1951, the Nevada Test Site was Uncle Sam’s garage for the nation’s nuclear testing program for more than 40 years. Over that period, it hosted more than 900 of the country’s 1,054 above- and below-ground nuclear tests before the U.S. agreed to an international testing moratorium in 1992. 
 
The site also hosted hundreds of anti-nuclear protests in which protesters would engage in acts of civil disobedience, trespassing on federal land — and being arrested — to draw attention to the U.S. government’s nuclear obsession. Famous figures who protested at the test site over the years include Carl Sagan, Martin Sheen, Robert Blake and Kris Kristofferson. 
 
But it’s safe to say that none of these guys has anything on Mike Kirby. I don’t even know if you can call him a protester or a conscientious objector; he’s something else altogether. Starting in 1958, Kirby worked at an atomic weapons depot attached to the Nevada Test Site. He writes an account of his tenure in the July London Review of Books, a bleak, funny and frightening story of a nuclear weapons mechanic who develops a conscience — but doesn’t quite know what to do with it.
 
To be sure, at first, the job is typical, rife with workplace pranks with a Dr. Strangelove twist:
Kohler, who liked to have his fun with people, sneaked a couple of dummy detonators into a case of live ones, and one day in the middle of the arming sequence, took what he knew was a dummy and tossed it to poor Horpstead, who bobbled it, dropped it and dived for cover, thinking this was it. Kohler just laughed, hah hah. Big joke.
But Kirby’s first glimmers of concern emerge, ironically, from a strong think over the specific engineering of a new bomb they’re working with:
Some time in the spring, a new warhead for the Polaris arrived, the first of many that were to be shipped to the submarine fleet. I went through the warhead manual and found a number of things that disturbed me. This particular warhead was designed for use against cities. It was very compact, a weapon with a small bang and a small cross-section, but its ablative shield was an alloy of uranium, and it produced very heavy alpha fallout downwind. I thought about the world laid waste by these warheads. I wondered if you could be a good soldier and have an imagination.
Kirby’s crisis of conscience is mordant — what’s a military-trained and -bred steward of the nation’s nuclear program to do when he begins to have grave moral qualms about what he’s doing? 
 
He writes a couple memos. But in these memos are volumes of anguish, worry, obsession and confusion — perhaps twisted reflections of the horrific potentialities humming inside the nuclear warheads in the depot with their unlocked weapons connectors. 
 


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Dog days of swimming
by Andrew Kiraly | posted August 15, 2014

When the Vegas heat notches in the triple digits, everyone loves a refreshing dip in the pool. Well, almost everyone.



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