The Wheel For May 14, 2020

by May 14, 2020The Wheel0 comments

Listen to Paul Vautrinot – Addiction & Recovery

The Wheel

Paul Vautrinot – Addiction & Recovery

Paul Vautrinot was born and raised in Las Vegas. He attended Las Vegas Academy of the Arts and graduated in 2005. Paul has been a person in long term recovery 2014 after having been addicted to Heroin and Methamphetamines for nearly a decade.

He is a graduate of the ABC Drug Court program based in Henderson Nevada, and currently sits on the Alumni groups board as Vice President. Paul is currently employed with Freedom House as the Program Director for Freedom Behavioral Health, The Housing Director for Crossroads Of Southern Nevada and serves as the Program Director Shine A Light.

Message From The President

Dear Rotarians,

I am a big fan of the “Lucky” books by author Deborah Coontz. While the protagonist of this book series, Lucky O’Toole and her giant hotel casino, the Babylon, are fictional, the author weaves the fictional crime story with the non-fictional city of Las Vegas. Many locations, events, strip hotels and even real-life people are woven into her stories.


One of the books in the series described how Lucky teamed up to solve a murder with a resident she knew who trusted her. This crime solver partner lived in the tunnels below Las Vegas strip area. Knowing that much of what author Coontz writes is based in fact, I decided to do some research as I had not heard of people living in the tunnels. As it turns out, not too many people knew about them either although there is much written about them.


There are volunteers from help agencies in the city who routinely go into the tunnels to offer assistance. We will hear from one such volunteer who will speak at this week’s meeting. Paul Vautrinot has an amazing story to share.


I am writing about a huge area of concern the volunteers and tunnel residents have to supplement what Paul will be sharing with us. Along with the stories of despair, addiction, and job loss, there is a menace that threatens these residents even more. In an article from 8/2016 in the Plaid Zebra, “The city of Las Vegas is located in the Las Vegas Valley in the Mojave Desert, with the Spring Mountains surrounding the area. During the monsoon season of January and February, the heavy rainfall causes flash flooding that city planners countered by constructing an extensive labyrinth of storm sewers beneath the very streets that constitute some of the most expensive real estate on the planet. ”What happens when the rains come? The tunnels are doing their job.


Much of what the residents have collected or use for their makeshift home become projectiles when the water starts raging not flowing through. When rain is predicted, volunteers go in the tunnels to sound the alarm. Las Vegas has little rainfall in a year. But if you have ever experienced the monsoon season, you know how quickly our streets flood. Imagine how quickly the water flows through these underground tunnels.


Our Clark County Fire and Rescue first responders have witnessed people flowing through the washes and have rushed to catch them. But the current is so strong it swept them away. As a result of these challenges, CC Fire and Rescue partnered with the Wet ‘n’ Wild water park to practice swift water rescue. Fortunately, these types of rescues are rare, only due I would speculate because of the low amount of rainfall each year.


How many of us remember the massive flood of July 1999? There was enough danger topside, I can only imagine what was going on in the tunnels.


The question is, how can we help? Maybe the real question is, do these residents want help? I hope our speaker will answer these questions today.


Jackie Thornhill
Las Vegas Rotary Club

Scribe – May 7, 2020

Las Vegas Rotary Club Meeting: May 7, 2020

  • President Jackie Thornhill called the meeting to order via Facebook/Zoom Live Stream event.
  • President Jackie Thornhill gave the invocation.
  • Kirk Holmes was Sergeant at Arms.
  • President Jackie Thornhill played Anchors Away and led the Pledge of Allegiance.
  • President Jackie Thornhill announcements/reminders:
    • Your quarterly and monthly contributions help fund programs keep our projects moving. Please consider donating to the permanent fund. Consider becoming a Tiberti Fellow if you are not one already.
    • Please use the QR code in the green book to sign up for events online.
    • People of Action Campaign is still live. If you have photos, please continue to send them to President Jackie Thornhill.
    • There is a spot or two in the upcoming Wheels for a virtual craft talk. Please send Jackie your headshot, logo and up to 250 words describing what you do professionally.
  • Jerry Engel helped celebrate the May Birthday Table with his harmonica.
  • David Thorson 500 Nature is Neat kits were distributed to the Creech AFB families. A bigger distribution for the families of Nellis AFB will be coming along shortly. Please watch the virtual green book to sign up to help.
  • Melanie Muldowney reminded us that the Foundation Match is still available through June 30th.
  • Major Randy Kinnamon shared that at the end of June he will take a new office in Tacoma Washington with the Salvation Army.
  • President Jackie Thornhill introduced our speaker Robert Telles who serves as the Clark County Public Administrator. Robert shared many interesting and helpful tips for estate planning. His office handles on average 500 probate cases a year assisting in the proper transfer of property from an estate to the next of kin. He recommended Revocable Living Trust based planning to avoid your estate going to probate. Throughout the year various organizations such as Vegas PBS offer no cost will fairs to assist you with planning. Whichever type of planning you choose be sure your family has copies of all the appropriate documents. He also suggested that we watch out for senior citizens we know for signs of duress. If we feel they are being exploited by family or caretakers, please call Adult Protective Services at (702) 486-6930 so they may investigate.

President Jackie Thornhill adjourned the meeting.

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