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Joe Schoenmann

Downtown Las Vegas Reporter

A native Wisconsinite, Joe earned a journalism degree to get out of college early but wanted none of the craft after graduation. Need for a job landed him at small Wisconsin weeklies before moving to Las Vegas in 1997. He has been recognized for his magazine profiles and his investigative stories that exposed police bias against minorities.

Story Archive

  • Joe Downtown

    Friday, June 14, 2013

    Many times over the past decade or more, taxpayers and individuals have tried to save the Huntridge Theater. Nevada has given more than $1 million to, among other repairs, fix its caved-in roof. Yet for almost a decade, the place has remained in mothballs and fallen further into disrepair. Even the most stalwart historians seemed to abandon hope of saving the building, for one, because it’s so large, and secondly because of the enormous cost to do so. But then, most historians aren’t David Anderson. Or Chris O’Connell, Nicole Sligar, Melissa Clary, Brian “Paco” Alvarez, Kathleen D’Esposito Kahr or a group of others who have thrown themselves into the thankless task of volunteering their time to bring the Huntridge back to life.

  • Joe Downtown

    Wednesday, June 12, 2013

    The Las Vegas Arts District could be on a very different path had a plan to raze dozens of buildings to make way for a Downtown arena-casino complex happened.

  • Joe Downtown

    Wednesday, June 12, 2013

    One lot closes and another one maneuvers to open. A week ago, an Arkansas physician hung no-parking signs and fenced in a gravel lot downtown that had been used for years by workers and others because it offered free parking.

  • Food

    Tuesday, June 11, 2013

    Beginning July 1, the Bunkhouse Saloon will close for 60 days, giving time for Downtown Project investors who purchased the property time to refresh the space.

  • Animals

    Tuesday, June 11, 2013

    The llama parade is growing. Organizers of the parade, sponsored by Zappos, expect about 230 people – led by a llama – to march from Fremont Street to Cashman Field for Friday night’s game between the Las Vegas 51s and the Colorado Springs Sky Sox.

  • First Friday

    Monday, June 10, 2013

    As expected on a First Friday night, the hordes descended upon eastern Fremont Street. With an added police presence though, little trouble beyond a few skirmishes occurred in the burgeoning Fremont East Entertainment District, sources said.

  • Joe Downtown

    Monday, June 10, 2013

    Parking choices in downtown Las Vegas just got a bit slimmer. The free parking lot at Ogden Avenue and Sixth Street, owned by a doctor from Arkansas, was fenced over the weekend with signs warning vehicles parking there would be towed.

  • Joe Downtown

    Saturday, June 8, 2013

    A new technology has changed Craig Adkins' plans to build a shoe factory in downtown Las Vegas. Advancements in 3-D printing now have him thinking Vegas should catch the wave.

  • Joe Downtown

    Thursday, June 6, 2013

    The long-awaited opening of The Atomic has been set for Thursday, June 20.

  • Food

    Thursday, June 6, 2013

    A Mexican/American restaurant in Henderson plans to open another outlet on Fourth Street in downtown Las Vegas.

  • Celebrities

    Thursday, June 6, 2013

    “Criminal Minds” star and Las Vegas native Matthew Gubler is lending a hand toward efforts to buy, renovate and reopen the historic Huntridge Theater in Downtown Las Vegas.

  • First Friday

    Wednesday, June 5, 2013

    After tavern owners last month expressed fears that the growing popularity of eastern Fremont Street on First Friday was creating a potential powder keg — one called the street scene “ugly” — expect a much larger police presence this week.

  • Joe Downtown

    Wednesday, June 5, 2013

    Ed Fuentes recognized something familiar in the Downtown Las Vegas renaissance.

  • Joe Downtown

    Wednesday, June 5, 2013

    The fate of historic Huntridge Theater will become clear in just a few short weeks. And depending on support from locals, the 69-year-old theater will either be on its way toward resurrection or the wrecking ball.

  • Joe Downtown

    Monday, June 3, 2013

    On schedule to open its first phase on June 15, Krave Massive in downtown Las Vegas staged an open call for job applicants Monday afternoon, receiving about 100 applications within the first hour.

  • Joe Downtown

    Monday, June 3, 2013

    What’s odd about the man sitting on Fremont Street near the former mayor’s neon martini glass sculpture on the street’s median isn’t that "Clark" is homeless. East Fremont has long been a hovering ground for many of downtown Las Vegas’ homeless people. The area is changing, however.

  • Joe Downtown

    Friday, May 31, 2013

    After 18 months at Romotive, the smartphone-robot company that began in Las Vegas then moved to Silicon Valley, Jen McCabe immediately began working on plans for Fabbed Labs, a downtown 3-D printing venture.

  • Joe Downtown

    Wednesday, May 29, 2013

    To address the gripes and allay fears, Downtown Project responds.

  • Joe Downtown

    Wednesday, May 29, 2013

    In all of his travels over the past two years, Donny Squires can honestly say he hasn’t driven his multimarkered, former school bus into any city quite like Las Vegas. His 1963 Blue Bird bus — with the shell of a Volkswagen van welded on top and the faces of Shaggy, Scooby and the other kids from the Mystery Machine painted in the van’s windows — has been parked for about a week in downtown Las Vegas.

  • Joe Downtown

    Tuesday, May 28, 2013

    The Smith Center pedestrian bridge will be christened Wednesday morning by city leaders. Funding for the $4.5 million bridge, which spans the Union Pacific railroad tracks, comes from three sources: $500,000 from the Federal Highway Administration; $3.6 million from the federal Congestion Mitigation Air Quality fund; and $400,000 from the city’s general fund.

  • Celebrities

    Thursday, May 23, 2013

    Actor Ashton Kutcher ate Thursday afternoon at Eat restaurant and toured some of the many Downtown Project undertakings in the Fremont East Entertainment District.

  • Food

    Thursday, May 23, 2013

    With an opening expected in July or August, work on a new restaurant in an area of the city’s “East Village" is about to begin. Armed with roughly $75,000 in grants from the city Redevelopment Agency, owner Nicholas Akiona will be moving his PublicUs restaurant into space formerly occupied by Philly Steak Express, 1126 Fremont St.

  • Joe Downtown

    Thursday, May 23, 2013

    An unthinkable move just a few years ago may become a reality. Though four Starbucks coffee retailers already exist downtown, none exists in the Fremont East Entertainment District. That might soon change.

  • News

    Wednesday, May 22, 2013

    And you know it if you've been to First Friday lately.

  • Joe Downtown

    Tuesday, May 21, 2013

    As Scot Rutledge prepares to leave Las Vegas after seven years heading the Nevada Conservation League, he has to take some pride in how far his organization has come since he took the reins. At the same time, he admits the environmental challenges facing his organization and the state are daunting. One of the biggest, he predicts, will be if and when the state starts to deal with climate changes brought on by global warming.

  • Joe Downtown

    Monday, May 20, 2013

    One of the newest businesses to gain support from VegasTechFund is Local Motors. Founded five years ago, Local Motors uses crowdsourcing to help in the design of a car, motorcycle or other type of vehicle. John Rogers Jr., president and CEO, last week was in downtown Las Vegas, where VegasTechFund is headquartered. The fund is a tech investment group whose partners include Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh.

  • Joe Downtown

    Monday, May 20, 2013

    Work last week began on the interior demolition of the John E. Carson Hotel, 124 S. Sixth St., purchased a year ago and now part of the realm of the Downtown Project.

  • Joe Downtown

    Thursday, May 16, 2013

    Just beyond the doors of the Smith Center for the Performing Arts, a film crew is focused on Charles Ressler. Living in Las Vegas the past two years, Ressler, a New York native, has thrown himself into various roles supporting and bolstering connections between the arts, culture and community in downtown Las Vegas.

  • Joe Downtown

    Wednesday, May 15, 2013

    Residents of The Ogden high-rise in Downtown Las Vegas are buzzing about what they say is the impending sale of the building to a foreign company. The Ogden is an activity hub for the nouveau downtown tech crowd and home to Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh.

  • Joe Downtown

    Wednesday, May 15, 2013

    You don't wanna mess with a bouncer whose pro wrestling finishing move is called Death From Above.

  • Art

    Wednesday, May 15, 2013

    Galleries and art on display in the former examination rooms of downtown Las Vegas’ Emergency Arts building, a former medical clinic, will be featured in two events at the end of this month.

  • Food

    Tuesday, May 14, 2013

    The moderate prices, Muzak-less atmosphere and care taken with my chicken caesar salad – no brown lettuce, freshly grilled chicken, just-right tangy dressing – of The Grill inside Gold Spike just earned my vote as a great place to eat downtown.

  • Food

    Monday, May 13, 2013

    Uncle Joe's Pizza is staying put. I reported recently that the longtime Fremont Street restaurant had closed and would reopen in the Gold Spike, one of Downtown Project's most recent acquisitions.

  • Joe Downtown

    Monday, May 13, 2013

    Silver State Production Services wants people with stories and memories of the Huntridge Theater to tell them for the camera Wednesday night.

  • Food

    Friday, May 10, 2013

    A soon-to-open Italian sub joint, along with Mingo, a new bar/restaurant further near Casino Center Drive and Charleston Boulevard, might just give some of the new Fremont East bar/restaurants a run for their money.

  • Film

    Friday, May 10, 2013

    Freeman White III has come a long way since his first film, a documentary about buffalo grass. Next week, he’s bringing “Five Thirteen,”a film five years in the making, to Cannes for the international film festival to show to potential buyers and distributors.

  • Food

    Thursday, May 9, 2013

    There may be nothing more “Vegas” than the shrimp cocktail. Well, that is after gambling, neon signage, diminishing water resources and the mistaken belief that prostitution is legal here.

  • Joe Downtown

    Wednesday, May 8, 2013

    Computer chips easily outnumber cowboys in Downtown Las Vegas, especially as startup founders and coders find sanctuary around East Fremont Street, soon to be the backyard of dot-com retailer Zappos. But Zappos aside, Las Vegas’ persona remains firmly grounded in the Wild West myth, and downtown’s Helldorado Days, a multiday celebration of the the West’s rugged reputation, fits right in.

  • Joe Downtown

    Wednesday, May 8, 2013

    Las Vegas Strip casinos aren't there for locals, but more and more, Downtown development is.

  • Joe Downtown

    Wednesday, May 8, 2013

    Project 100, the ambitious multimodal transportation system beginning in downtown Las Vegas, is seeking several people to fill a variety of new jobs.

  • Joe Downtown

    Tuesday, May 7, 2013

    The Gold Spike reopened this week with a surprising addition: slot machines. Technicians on Tuesday morning wheeled some 10 or more machines out of a truck and onto the floor of the business, which closed April 21, less than a month ago after being purchased from Siegel Group Nevada Inc. by Downtown Project investors. After the sale was completed, Tony Hsieh, Zappos CEO and one of the Downtown Project partners, said it would not reopen as a casino.

  • Joe Downtown

    Tuesday, May 7, 2013

    One of Downtown Las Vegas’ oldest residents, the El Cortez, will be honored for winning a listing on the National Register of Historic Places. Mayor Carolyn Goodman and Councilman Bob Coffin will headline a ceremony at 4 p.m. Thursday to unveil a commemorative plaque at the hotel/casino. The city's oldest hotel to continuously operate under the same name, the El Cortez became only the second Las Vegas casino on the nation's cultural preservation list in February.

  • Joe Downtown

    Friday, May 3, 2013

    Less than a month after it closed, the Gold Spike will reopen Monday as a bar and restaurant with a large area once devoted to slot machines now home to games such as pool, darts, Golden Tee video golf and shuffleboard.

  • Joe Downtown

    Wednesday, May 1, 2013

    The festival's video will air in early June.

  • Joe Downtown

    Friday, April 26, 2013

    With many of its former employees returning, the Gold Spike casino/hotel will reopen within the next two weeks as a restaurant/bar. As expected, the business will open without a casino. And for the time being, hotel operations are shut down.

  • Joe Downtown

    Thursday, April 25, 2013

    A Las Vegas councilman wants to change a city code that forces developers to spend thousands to retrofit older buildings with energy-saving measures such as window glazing and insulation on cinder-block walls.

  • Joe Downtown

    Thursday, April 25, 2013

    The skeleton went up a few weeks ago. Now the fabric dome is in place. Slowly, the Downtown Container Park – which is more of a prefabricated cube-park since the original idea of using shipping containers has been mostly abandoned – is coming together.

  • Music

    Thursday, April 25, 2013

    Vanessa Andrea has been writing and performing songs since she was 12. Her first was an expression of acceptance for her father, then serving time in the California prison system. “Songs have been my key to surviving,” says Andrea, who at 23 sings with the voice of someone much older. She said she has worked since she was 14 to support her family. “It’s gotten me through life, saved my life, really. Dad in prison, mom addicted to drugs. Writing songs helped me get away and communicate what I felt.”

  • Joe Downtown

    Wednesday, April 24, 2013

    Let's just say the area has seen more than a food truck battle.

  • Joe Downtown

    Wednesday, April 24, 2013

    A local production company today begins filming the antics, thoughts and lives of a handful of downtown residents for an Internet series that shines light on the people behind the area’s transformation from the forsaken to the embraced.