Positive Pahrump: Beyond the town's 'Wild West' headlines - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

Positive Pahrump: Beyond the town's 'Wild West' headlines

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PAHRUMP, NV (FOX5) -

"If I hated it here, I would leave!" said former Hollywood Madame Heidi Fleiss.

But no one is leaving the open land a blue skies.

However, this picture of tranquility isn't what we've seen of Pahrump in recent media reports.

Some say a string of crimes has bruised the town's name.

There was an officer involved shooting.

Plus, the political drama of former District Attorney Bob Beckett after his arrests for embezzlement, fraud and DUI.

There have been a slew of drug busts.

Recently, the deadly fire that took the lives of three children and a young woman.

And, the horrific case of convicted child rapist Chester Stiles.

But those who call Pahrump home want a new headline-- a positive one.

They're starting on the web.

"I started this page to bring positive back and see if others felt like I did," said Stephanie Lopez, the woman who started the Facebook page Positive Pahrump. "As of now we have 4,000 friends on this page."

Lopez said it is a sounding board for local events and issues.

"If someone needs a power bill paid, or a child needs a backpack, it gets out from this page," Lopez explained.

We made out way across town to the Pahrump Valley Museum to get a lesson in history and the smarts that have helped the town flourish.

"There's a big perception we're very backwoods and nobody is educated," said Seline Haag, who operated the museum. "A lot of people here are actually very intelligent."

There are a number of large businesses in the area, including a family-owned winery.

And despite what critics say, no one can deny the success of the brothel business.

"People make such a big deal about the brothels, but you don't even know they're there," said Fleiss. "The brothels are a real plus to the community. Our hookers are centralized, Las Vegas has them running around rampant."

Fleiss originally re-located to Pahrump to start her own brothel, but life has change since she discovered her love of exotic birds.

Nonetheless, she's staying put.

"I really like it out here, it's very wild west, but there's a strong police force," said Fleiss. "It's a safe community, it has the normal problems Las Vegas has."

The Nye County Sheriff's Office tells us Pahrump has its fair share of crime compared to bigger cities, but the obstacles las enforcement face are unique.

"The environment we have here, the rural areas, the open desert, it's so easy for people to do crime," said Deputy Kristal Barajas. "We don't have street lights on every corner, sidewalks, businesses on every corner."

Deputies tell us homeowners have really stepped up to the plate in assisting officers.

"They'll give us leads and help us more on the streets," said Barajas.

At time red and blue light may be more common than neon.

But, residents say the small town camaraderie makes all the difference.

It's not as big and people treat you with more respect," said one resident.

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