Our network

Housing Market May Be Rebounding

LAS VEGAS -- As more people are finding new jobs, the housing market is getting a boost. Nationally, the number of people behind on their mortgage payments has dropped for the first time in four years.

Across the country, homeowners are finally starting to catch up with payments and experts say Las Vegas is improving as well.

"In the last 18 months, people have been faced with either, 'You make your mortgage payment or we take your house,' and a lot of people say, 'Ok, take my house because the mortgage is twice what the value is,' and that is starting to stop," said mortgage expert Roger Rothberg.

Thanks to some improvements in the job market, people are now catching up with payments. Those who can't afford the homes they're in have let them go, giving the battered housing market a chance to heal.

Federal Dollars to Help Hungry Kids

LAS VEGAS -- New federal legislation could help feed millions of hungry children in the United States and thousands in Southern Nevada. The program would allow kids to take food home during the weekends and holidays.

Right now, 45-percent of the students in the Clark County School District receive free or reduced meals. For many of these students there is no food at home. Congresswoman Dina Titus has a plan to change that.

At McCall Elementary, Principal Maria Chairez says 100-percent of her students receive the free and reduced lunch program. While they all qualify for free or reduced meals for breakfast and lunch, it's when they're not in school she worries.

"We have over 95-percent attendance. Why is that? They like coming to school. Why do they like coming to school? Part of that is because we give them food," she said.

Las Vegas Schools Facing 1,000 Layoffs

LAS VEGAS  -- Cash-strapped Clark County school trustees are poised to lay off more than 1,000 employees by July 1 unless the Las Vegas-based district can find another way to close a big budget shortfall.

Board members of the nation's fifth-largest school district approved a tentative spending plan late Wednesday that aims to close most of a $140 million budget gap left by reduced state funding and declining property tax revenues. The board has until June 8 to submit a final balanced budget to the state.

Administrators say classroom and administrative positions are on the block. But specifics haven't been made public. Officials say they hope the district's four employee unions will agree to concessions including salary reductions and furlough days to reduce the number of layoffs.

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

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.

Expert Says Las Vegas Housing Market Healing

LAS VEGAS -- The Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors says home sales jumped 33 percent in March as buyers rushed to beat the deadline for the home buyer tax credits.

The group unveiled its latest numbers at a panel discussion on the Las Vegas housing market Wednesday morning.

Panelists say the emphasis in the coming year will be on short sales. GLVAR President Rick Shelton says he also expects there to be more foreclosures on the market because banks are not willing to work with homeowners on reducing their loans. He says that will result in more homeowners opting to do a short sale. Currently, short sales make up about half of the houses that are for sale in the market.

The panel says home prices are beginning to stabilize with the median home price for a single-family home at $136,000 which is up slightly from February. There has been an increase in home sales for the past 15 months.

Budget Deadline Nears for Clark County School District

LAS VEGAS -- Some big changes are expected for the Clark County School District in the coming months. School board members meet Wednesday to adopt a tentative budget designed to cut $123 million.

One of the proposals -- eliminating year round schools -- would save $18 million. Already school board members have agreed to change 21 schools from a year-round schedule to a nine-month schedule.

"I think it'll give them a chance to save money," said Shaunrice Hill, a former student.

Even with that change, there are still 55 schools operating 12 months a year. Some parents want that to change.

"I have older kids who are in a traditional nine month school, so we're able to take our vacations the same if we are all on a nine month school," said Delilah Ascencion, parent.

Virgin Atlantic Expanding Flights to United Kingdom in 2011

LAS VEGAS-Virgin Atlantic announced today that it will begin twice weekly service between Las Vegas and Manchester in the United Kingdom. The flights will begin in April 2011. The new flights will fly out of Las Vegas on Thursdays and Sundays.

Virgin Atlantic spokesperson said that the decision to expand their Manchester flying program underlines Virgin Atlantic's commitment to flying to long-haul destinations from regional airports in the United Kingdom.