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Manager's Memo

Finding Your Roots


Tom Axtell

In 2020, the pandemic, business and school closures, and an emotional election campaign are reshaping what we consider normal in Southern Nevada. Despite these seismic shifts, we still expect our children to be educated, public health to be preserved, jobs to be created and to enjoy some downtime. Throughout this tumultuous time, Vegas PBS is using the resources members provide to create new services to respond to the crisis.

This fall, a statewide teacher education resource will support distance education. OnePlaceNV now houses over 300,000 online digital assets for at home learning and teacher assignments. Indexed by subject and grade level, this collection of videos, lesson plans, worksheets and sample tests are drawn from PBS and other resources.

Our Nevada Week and Community Calendar programs have combined on air programming and online referral resources to provide personal health education about the evolving COVID-19 and links to our fellow nonprofits who are helping those in need. Over 150 messages a week on our channels achieve over 2.3 million views a week!

While Las Vegas looks quite different — with fewer tourists, silent entertainment venues and postponed conventions — there has rarely been a more important time to celebrate our legacy of constant reinvention. We do exactly that with this month’s world premiere of The Showgirl: A Las Vegas Icon. The newest Vegas PBS documentary celebrates the entertainers whose image became synonymous with the glitz and glamour of our home. See the premiere on Monday, September 14 at 8 p.m., then join us as we reinvent fundraising with a virtual event including exclusive bonus scenes from the documentary on Friday, September 25. Reserve now.

October 1, 2020 is the third anniversary of the mass shooting at the Route 91 Harvest country music festival in Las Vegas, where 58 people were killed. With in-person interaction limited, #VegasStrong: Connecting During COVID-19 examines the resources available for those affected, honors the lives lost and discusses the importance of staying connected to achieve long-term healing and resiliency. This local special airs on Thursday, October 1 at 7:30 p.m.

For the past 23 years, The Public Education Foundation has held an Education Hero Award Gala to celebrate public education advocates who have demonstrated courage, leadership and service. The Foundation will dedicate this year’s gala to local community heroes who stepped up to the plate during the pandemic. Join us for the first ever broadcast of Celebrating Community Heroes: The Education Hero Award Gala, on Friday, September 11 at 7 p.m. to recognize and celebrate some of these unsung individuals.

Harbor from the Holocaust is the story of nearly 20,000 Jewish refugees fleeing Nazi-occupied Europe during World War II to the Chinese port city of Shanghai. The documentary airs on September 8 at 8:00 p.m. Then don’t miss the opportunity for a virtual panel discussion to hear stories from a Shanghailander and other local community members on on Wednesday, September 16 at 2 p.m.

While our great stages remain closed, you can still enjoy musical performances recorded right here. On Ryan Ahern Live in Las Vegas on Friday, September 11 at 9 p.m., the celebrated piano master dazzles with a genre-spanning set with music from Ray Charles to Billy Joel to Queen. Then on Frankie Moreno Songs at Home with Special Guest Joshua Bell on Friday, September 18 at 8:30 p.m., enjoy a special at-home performance in Frankie’s living room with the extraordinary violinist, Joshua Bell.

Locally produced programs from Vegas PBS allow our community to celebrate our history, access resources and dedicate ourselves to helping Las Vegas, once again, reinvent itself by focusing on what’s important: our community. Through you, we are pleased to provide education, civic engagement and public health program services during this crisis, plus local entertainment to remind us what the future will offer when we overcome the virus and once again reinvent this unique desert oasis.