Reno Gazette-Journal from Reno, Nevada on July 30, 1981 · Page 3
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Reno Gazette-Journal from Reno, Nevada · Page 3

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Reno, Nevada
Issue Date:
Thursday, July 30, 1981
Page:
Page 3
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Reno Evening Gazette Thursday, July 30, 19813 , Guests praise safety of re-opened Las Vegas MGM By RODNEY FOO Gazette staff writer LAS VEGAS - For the first time in eight months, the sound of coins clinking in slot machines replaced the pounding of the carpenter's hammer as the MGM Grand Hotel quietly unveiled its remodeled 26-story resort to the public Wednesday. With little fanfare, the hotel opened its doors at noon to admit gamblers, gawkers and guests into the cavernous resort that closed Nov. 21 when a fire roared through the casino floor and sent lethal smoke into hotel rooms. With unswerving unanimity, the guests expressed complete confidence in the fire safety measures that were instituted by MGM after 84 people died and 700 were injured in the blaze. Hobnobbing with patrons was actor Cary Grant, a member of the MGM board of directors. However, other MGM corporate officials took a lower profile and were unavailable for news interviews. Despite Wednesday's opening, MGM officials have labeled today as the formal reopening of the casino. No functions were being planned to mark the reopening. The hotel's aim was to take a "very low key" approach to the event, said publicist Alan Aker-son. The only allusion to the reopening was a banner hung above the hotel's hospitality desk that read, "Welcome to the Grand Event." Before guests arrived, construction workers and staff applied the final touches to the hotel-casino. Work continued on display cases and boutiques in the lower level's shopping mall while patrons slipped in and out. A ladder for a worker to reach a keno board remained poised over a centrally located casino bar as customers sidled up for drinks. The lack of publicity about the opening, however, apparently had a telling effect. Four hours after the doors opened, more than 50 dealers were presiding over empty tables, patiently waiting for gamblers. Akerson said the hotel was phasing the number of guests checking in during the week to avoid a crush of checking them into the hotel's 2,085 rooms at once. The hotel is booked solid for the weekend. That in part. was one of the reasons given for Wednesday's opening. Publicist Paul Seymour said opening was aimed at "easing" the workers back into the operation. Seven hundred rooms were scheduled to be filled Wednesday, and by late afternoon an estimated 400 rooms had been booked, Akerson said. One of the guests actor Grant drew more attention from the guests than the remodeled hotel. He was at the casino to introduce entertainer Dean Martin's opening tonight in the showroom. Grant, who is staying on the 20th floor ("And happily so."), said he does not believe the fire will hurt the hotel's future business nor tarnish its image. "I don't think we'll have to re coup our image . . . MGM has been a tremendous name," Grant said. "I don't think it's lost any aura . . .," he said. "And the stockmar-ket seems to reflect that." Twisting his head to look about the casino and its glittering chand-liers, plush red and gold carpet, and the countless number of spotless mirrors in the front desk area, the silver-haired actor said, "I think it's marvelous with the exception of Reno, there is no other casino" like it. Hotel guests were equally enthusiastic. Most had stayed at the hotel before and were invited as preferred guests. "I think it's fantastic the safest hotel in the world," said Carmen Pecoraro of Florence, N.J. Pecoraro said he has stayed at the hotel every year since its opening in 1973. Did Pecoraro have any fears about staying in the hotel? "None whatsoever," he declared, "and I'm on the 21st floor. I have all the confidence in the world.' They have a fantastic (fire .vtfety) system here." Dr. R. Garza, from McAllen, Tex., said he and his wife, Maria, usually visit the hotel four times a year. "I've been been looking forward to this opening," Garza said. "I'm just happy to be back," he said. "This looks better than the old one. No question about it." And like Pecoraro he expressed no fear about a repeat of the November fire. "Not at all. I think that this is probably the safest of all," Garza said. "Otherwise, we wouldn't have come," Mrs. Garza added. "I would say it's the best (hotel) in town," said Mrs. F. George of Los Angeles. She shrugged her shoulders at the thought of another fire. "Listen when your time comes, you're gone," she said philosophically. The Deli, the restaurant where an electrical short in a wall ignited the fire, was moderately full with diners who gabbed about the remodeled hotel. In the lower level shopping mall, where the smell of fresh paint was still prevalent, merchants were catching their first glimpse of customers in eight months. "They seem to be extremely happy," said John Berger, gener al manager of P and S Galleries. "They're also inquiring about the damage we had. But, we didn't have any damages, just a little water and smoke." Although the gallery weathered the eight-month interlude in its business, other shops weren't so lucky, Berger said. A number had given up their shops and were replaced with new merchants, he said. Cigar-chomping Sid Silinsky, owner of Princess Silinsky a leather goods shop that features purses was overjoyed about reopening. "I tell you," he said, "after eight months I am so elated I can't say enough about how good it is to be back ... in what I consider now the greatest, safest, most elegant hotel in the world." j tut ! U" zl Mi 1 Santini amasses large warchest By BRENDAN RILEY CARSON CITY (AP) - A battle royal between Democrats Howard Cannon and Jim Santini for Cannon's U.S. Senate seat is shaping up, judging from the massive campaign warchest Santini already has amassed. With the 1982 general election more than 15 months away, U.S. Rep. Santini has reported he has more than a quarter of a million dollars salted away after already spending more than $79,000. The report, filed Wednesday with the secretary of state's office, also confirms that Santini has hired powerful Las Vegas advertising executive Sig Rogich for campaign projects. Rogich got $5,678 from the congressman's "Jim Santini's People" campaign organization during the January-through-June period covered by the new report. A similar report is due from Sen. Cannon by week's end, but as of Wednesday had not been filed with Secretary of State Bill Swackhamer. The big warchest already amassed by Santini indicates that his expected challenge of Cannon may result in the most costly election battle Nevada has ever seen. Paul Bible, Santini's Northern Nevada campaign chairman, said that "perhaps well in excess of $1 million" will be needed by Santini for the race. He added that the money in the pot so far is "just a start." Bible also said a formal announcement by Santini isn't expected for another two months or so even though the likely challenge is no secret. Cannon already has said he'll seek a fifth term, and has warned that a primary battle with Santini would be "totally wasteful" and could lead to a Republican being elected to the seat.. The Santini report on file in Carson City shows that most of Santini's contributions from individuals came from within Nevada. However, about a third of the $151,000-plus he got in the past six months came from out-of-state political action committees and individuals. The report also shows that Santini had more than $183,000 in cash on hand at the start of the reporting period mostly money left over from his last campaign. Out-of-state contributors include William O'Don-nell of Chicago, who gave $1,000. O'Donnell was forced to step down as chief of Bally Manufacturing Corp. because of past dealings with two reputed organized crime figures and other problems. Irwin Molasky, longtime partner of controversial Las Vegan Moe Dalitz, gave $1,000, as did Susan Molasky. Santini als got $1,000 apiece from Jay Sarno and Stanley Mallin, partners in Ringmaster Co. Ltd. in Las Vegas. Some of the political action committees that gave $1,000 apiece represent Union Pacific, Phelps Dodge, American Hospital Association, American Medical and American Dental associations, American Horse Council and others. Biggest Nevada contributor was the Binion family of Las Vegas, owners of the Horseshoe Club. The Bin-ions were down for $6,000 since January with more given before then. Bill and Vivienne Morris of Las Vegas contributed $4,000, Jerry and Paul Helms of Sparks offered $2,000, as did Pete and Jan Simon of Jean and Ed and Fred Doumani of Las Vegas. . Among the $l,000-a-pop contributors were Boom-town owner and University of Nevada Regents Chairman Bob Cashell; Jim Cashman Jr. of Las Vegas, Jim Cashman III of Las Vegas, Perry DiLoreto of Reno, John McCune of Reno, Camden Solari of Reno, Albert Solari of Reno, Sid Doan of Sparks, Brian Wise of Carson City, Charles Dumas of Sparks, Joe Erlach of Reno, William Eurich of Sparks, Pete Barengo of Reno, Howard Byars of Reno, Gary Ca-vakis' of Reno, and Art Ham of Las Vegas. Reno Evening Gazette TELEPHONE NUMBERS General Informotion 786-8989 Circulation 786-8744 Want Ads 786-2525 Carson City News Bureau ....882-3553 Sports Line 323-4422 Missed Your Gazette? Call 786-8744 Before 7 p.m. The Reno Evening Gazelle, a Gannell Newspaper, is published every cloy by Reno Newspapers, Inc., P.O. Box 280, Reno, Nev. 89520 - 401 W. 2nd Si. Second class posloge paid at Reno, Nev. SUBSCRIPTION RATES Carrier delivery in Reno. Sparks; six afternoons SI .45 per week; six afternoons and Sunday $1 .95. Delivery outside these areas and by adult motor route; six afternoons $1.55 a week; six afternoons and Sunday morning $2.15 a week. By Mail; six days $104.00 per year; seven days $156.00 per year. Other rates on request, All rates sug gested. We reserve the right to adust the expira - ill ;! ,;a t Even 35,000 sprinklers talk to MGM computer LAS VEGAS Like the Wizard of Oz, JC-80 is all-knowing. It is the computer that sits in the MGM Grand Hotel's security offices and monitors hundreds of locations throughout the 2,085-room resort to avoid another tragedy like the Nov. 21 inferno that killed 84 people. The computer, dubbed JC-80 which denotes the manufacturer, Johnson Control of Brisbane, Calif., and the room where it is located actually consists of two units with the second unit acting as a back up. The units are tucked away behind fireproof walls and have their own electric generator in case of a power outage. ' JC-80 is constantly monitored by two people with three different shifts to ensure 24-hour surveillance of the computer's fire warnings. Trouble areas are shown on huge diagrams that divide the hotel's floors into sections. In addition, alarms are pinpointed on a video display terminal that is connected to the computer. There are more than 35,000 sprinklers in the hotel where once it only had them placed in the first two floors and the top floor. Each sprinkler is connected to the computer which can tell if one is set off and where. The computer can also determine if someone has tampered with the sprinklers by cutting off its water supply and check if water is coursing through the sprinklers' mains. There are at least four sprinklers and a smoke detector in each guest room. A small, red speaker in the ceiling of each room can be used by hotel officials to give orders to guests in case of an emergency. Altogether, the new computer and additional fire safety equipment cost the hotel $5 million, MGM publicist Alan Akerson said. A similar Johnson computer was installed in the MGM Grand Hotel in Reno during its construction in 1978. The computer system was expanded this spring to serve the hotel's new 986-room expansion. On the Las Vegas hotel's two closed-circuit television stations, actor Gene Kelly appears on videotape every five minutes to explain how the hotel's elaborate fire safety system works. One of the stations runs the message in Spanish and the other in English. 'Matchbook burglar' sparks district court jury to convict him i -ft oril , . Jo 1S3 A Washoe District Court jury Wednesday convicted a man dubbed by police as the "matchbook burglar" of 22 counts of burglary in part of a case that involved nearly 100 burglaries in a two-month period. The jury of eight men and four women took less than an hour to find Donald Lee Ferrell, 21 of Reno, guilty of all the counts charged. Washoe District Judge Roy Torvinen set Aug. 28 for sentencing Ferrell, who could receive one to 10 years in prison for each count. Deputy District Attorney John Oakes, who prosecuted the case, said there are still 60 burglary counts pend ing against Ferrell and he would wait to see the sentencing for the 22 counts before deciding if he would prosecute Ferrell further. Police were frustrated in March and April as the burglaries sometimes six a night kept hitting the Reno area, always with a trail of used matchbooks left in the office burglarized. Police theorized the matches were used by the burglar to find his way in the darkened professional offices. Police plotted the string of burglaries with colored pins on a Reno map and one detective became so involved with the case he staked out offices in the early morning hours on his own time. EUREKA iMDL 1406 m IHiVC I I !llr I' f ' i Iff if w$ with tools 3''"' " llPl NEW IN FACTORY JtkLlX SEALED CARTONS aa, ' .I'. 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