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California Company Plans to Build Las Vegas Plant

LAS VEGAS -- A California company says it plans to build a $20 million manufacturing plant for solar power cells in the Las Vegas area.

Amonix Inc., which is based in Seal Beach, Calif., says the operation will employ about 278 workers. The plan was announced Saturday during a dedication ceremony in Henderson for a 308-kilowatt solar installation that the company sold to Southern Nevada Water Authority.

Amonix CEO Brian Robertson says workers will make concentrated photovoltaic solar equipment -- the same type of solar cells used to power satellites. The panels convert sunlight into electricity.

Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said at the ceremony that these types of projects are important for diversifying Nevada's economy.

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

Las Vegas Architects Get Green Recognition

LAS VEGAS -- A local architecture firm is getting national accolades, ranking 18th best in the country. But with nearly 60 percent unemployment among local architects, the company says its not just a pat on the back, the honor may keep them in the black.

The company was recently ranked among the top 20 in the country by Architect magazine.

"These are light shelves, they're made of a highly reflective material," said Mike Purtill, an associate with Tate Snyder Kimsey Architects.

Just take a tour of the company's office building and you will quickly see it is all about basics.

"Its materials, it's shape, it's usage of the materials," said Daniel Chenin, Sr. designer. Built in 1996, their Henderson headquarters is where the company designs buildings, and practices what they preach. The use of natural light saves thousands in electricity every year, and all fixtures are energy efficient.

I-Team: Anatomy of a Bank Job

LAS VEGAS -- American banks have fallen like dominos over the past two years, leading to billions in bailouts and economic turmoil, even though bankers themselves have fared pretty well.

Seven Nevada banks are among the casualties, victims not only of a troubled economy, but also of their own excesses.

A year ago, the I-Team went to see the people in charge of community Bank of Nevada after hearing the bank was in trouble. The bank president said that while all banks were being battered, we should be careful about jumping to conclusion. Five months later, government regulators seized Community Bank because it was in danger of going under. 

Other local bankers said, off the record, that Community Bank took big risks and got away with them while the economy boomed. But competitors describe Community Bank as a "bunch of cowboys" who took way too many chances.

More Nevadans Turning to Food Stamps

LAS VEGAS - The economy is taking its toll on many Americans. A record number of people are now seeking food stamp assistance. The need is also growing in Nevada. According to the national non-profit Food Research and Action Center, Nevada is seeing a huge jump in the number of people applying for food stamps.

Yvette Reid is one of those people. Out of work for nearly two years, Reid gets about $200 a month in food stamps. With a 16-year-old son at home, she says the extra money is the only way she's able to put food on the table. "When you are used to living one way and now you have to live another, you have to save and scrounge," she said. "Food stamps are just such a help. If it wasn't for that, I don't know how my family would eat."

Lake Las Vegas Resort Closes

HENDERSON, Nev. -- The Ritz-Carlton at Lake Las Vegas hotel has closed after seven years as an upscale anchor for a sprawling residential, commercial, hotel, golf and retail development in Henderson.

The closure of the 348-room luxury hotel was announced in February and took place yesterday. The 3,600-acre Lake Las Vegas development is expected to emerge from bankruptcy by the end of June.

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

More Details Surface in 14-Year-Old's Murder

LAS VEGAS -- A fight in a car may have led to the death of a teenage girl whose body was found near a day care center on Sunday.

Murder suspect Juan Rivera told police about the events surrounding the girl's death after he was arrested for murder, robbery and sexual assault. In a police report, Rivera told police he gave Diana Sotos a ride to a friend's house, and while they were waiting for the friend, he and Soto had a argument.

The police report also reveals that Rivera is the boyfriend of Soto's older sister and all of them were living in the same home.

Rivera told police that Soto scratched him and he he strangled her and dumped her body on East Owens. Rivera denies sexually assaulting the girl.

First-Time Unemployment Claims Increased

WASHINGTON -- The number of newly laid-off workers seeking unemployment benefits rose last week, a sign that jobs remain scarce even as the economy recovers. The Labor Department said Thursday that first-time claims increased by 18,000 in the week ending April 3, to a seasonally adjusted 460,000. That's worse than economists' estimates of a drop to 435,000, according to a survey by Thomson Reuters.

The report covers the week that includes the Easter holiday, and a Labor Department analyst said seasonal adjustment for Easter can be difficult since the holiday occurs in different weeks each year. California also closed its state offices for a holiday March 31, the analyst said, which likely held down the claims figures. On an unadjusted basis, claims rose by 6,500 to nearly 415,000.