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  • This article by Betsy Marston originally appeared in the Jun 21, 2010 issue of High Country News.
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Clash of the museums

News: Jun 21, 2010
by Betsy Marston

NEVADA
That city of excess, Las Vegas, is outdoing itself by hosting not just one, but two new museums dedicated to the Mafia and the “moral turpitude of organized crime,” reports the New York Times. Is there a little problem of duplication? Not at all, says Las Vegas Mayor Oscar B. Goodman (the city is building one of the museums.) He’s a former defense lawyer whose clients were often reputed to have Mafia connections: “They are no competition because we are the real thing. Forget about it.” The “they” that don’t count include the daughter of Chicago mob boss Sam Giancana, Antoinette McConnell, who will open her museum, the Las Vegas Mob Experience, in the Tropicana casino on the Strip. Goodman’s gig, more prosaically dubbed the Las Vegas Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement, also opens next year, but in an old federal courthouse. Financed by state, local and federal grants and intended to revitalize the city’s faded downtown, Goodman’s museum will include 17,000 square feet of exhibits and feature “an interactive courtroom in which visitors can get fingerprinted.” Meanwhile, the Mob Experience has opted for a theme-park approach, which includes an exhibit inviting visitors to discover their “Final Fate.” Options are getting “made” — accepted into the Mob after killing a rival — or getting summarily “whacked.” Still, Mayor Goodman remains certain that the museum he champions will prove a winner: “My whole life has been competitive. And I don’t lose.”

NEVADA
Give a cheer to Reno, the first city to install wind turbines on the roof of its city hall, says the Reno Gazette-Journal. The 17-story roof already has two 1.5 kilowatt “hoop” turbines and a third is planned, while elsewhere in the city, a handful of other turbines are being tested for their effectiveness in different environments. Reno Mayor Bob Cashell predicted that the fastest-spinning turbine is bound to be on the southwest corner of City Hall, right over where he works: “All the hot air is coming out of my office,” he said.

THE WEST
We saw a pleasant bumper sticker the other day: “Not a native but I got here as fast as I could.” And from radio station KUYI in Arizona, which serves the Hopi Tribe, came this high-wind advisory: “The Weather Service suggests securing personal belongings on your property…” to which the announcer added, “or your neighbors might get rich!”

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