Las Vegas Sun

August 10, 2022

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Columnist Elizabeth Foyt: Dinner emphasizes the education-business bond

THE RECENT Associated General Contractors-AGS dinner for vocational teachers, counselors and related school administrators was a shining example of business giving a helping hand to public education. The reception and dinner, generously hosted by AGC's Las Vegas chapter, mixed on-the-job master craftsmen, project superintendents, fiscal managers and other key personnel with educators who serve at area high schools.

Present were AGC members Chris Denney, Mike and Judy Hallgren, Ken Small, James Taylor, Steve Moss and John Jackson, as well as new members Scott Wolfe and Rick Lewis, who both work on large-scale masonry projects. Arriving principals Gail Dixon and Wayne Tanaka were among those greeted by Tony Illia and Steve Holloway and AGS chapter president Daniel Lay, joined by Dana Wiggins, Linda Gibson and Dawn Scruggs.

Kathleen Frosini, who directs the "School-to-Work, School-to-Careers" program for the Clark County School District, and later spoke eloquently on this bridge between free enterprise and education, was seen with Jimmie Garrett, Candi Schneider and CCSD Superintendent Brian Cram. Punham Mathur of The Mirage moderated the program, which emphasized the need for employees who are dependable, drug-free and capable of expanding upon strong existing skills in math and writing. Joy Fox, Sue Straub and others spoke of the great opportunities available for those prepared to be "life-long" learners.

Spotlighted as well was the successful "job-shadowing" program which recently matched teachers, including Gary Culver, career and job exploration teacher at Sunset West High School, with Hank Swantack of Commercial Air Services for a day of real-life experiences. Taking part in the informative evening were Frank and June Nails, Brooks Williams, Mike Mundt, Tom Wellman, John Lawrence, Bryan Stout and Pat Mahoney, as well as Charlotte Conger, Sue Elliot, Doris Mayes and Karen Livingston.

Kudos to Heffner

Best wishes and congratulations are in order for Van Heffner, president of the Nevada Hotel and Motel Association and the Nevada Restaurant Association, who was named 1997 Peacemaker of the Year. Sponsored by the Mediators of Southern Nevada, Inc., the award was given "in recognition of his personal contribution to the promotion of peace and harmony" and bestowed during ceremonies held earlier this season at the Palace Station hotel-casino.

One of 13 nominated, Heffner was cited as one who consistently "champions community good will." President of the two associations for more than 20 years, Heffner has served as mediator for political leaders, industry giants and special interest groups. Heffer is author of Nevada's Master Plan for Tourism, as well as the well-received "Serving Alcohol with Care" series. He also recently authored an inspirational book promoting peaceful living, "Love Dances."

The Nevada Hotel and Motel Association represents 160 member properties throughout Nevada and is affiliated with the American Hotel and Motel Association. The Nevada Restaurant Association has 400 members in the Silver State and maintains an affiliation with the National Restaurant Association.

Play time

Creative, planned with fun in mind and most worthy of charitable support, Playhouse '97, benefiting Nevada Association for the Handicapped, is slated for Saturday, Nov. 15, at The Mirage. A fabulous treasure trove of silent auction items will open the evening and continue throughout the cocktail hour, offering furniture, golf packages, original art, sports and travel packages and the chance to try many of our city's finest restaurants.

While the bidding tables promise to have great allure, the glories of the evening will arrive with the live auction of nine custom playhouses, which have been designed, built and donated by area businesses. These well-constructed structures are built in themes, including "Horsing Around" (Czarnowski Exhibits), "The Little Palace" (Caesars Palace) and other flights of fancy by supportive donors of note. Each is a true work of love from the donor group. Donna Baldwin will be mistress of ceremonies, while Marc Schorr has graciously agreed to lead the auction.

Nevada Association for the Handicapped is a Las Vegas-based organization serving the disabled. Services include employment training, vocational training and assessment, family support services, developmental child care, TDD distribution and supported/assisted living programs. Playhouse '97 is their most important fund-raiser and, for the past several years, has delighted attendees by the unique, truly wonderful creations it brings to life. Reservations for this benefit evening can be made by calling Angie Wallin, development director for NAH, at 870-7050.

New gig

Linn Thome, who enjoyed a long and productive affiliation with the Assistive Technology Center, has accepted a new position as general manager for Regent at Mira Loma, a new assisted living community in Green Valley. Recent weeks have found her immersed in corporate life at nearby facilities in Southern California and busy helping hire health care professionals.

Linn, who volunteers much of her spare time to the American Heart Association and Nevada Alliance for the Arts, has long been interested in the area of care designed for seniors, as well as those diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia. Mira Loma in Southern Nevada and elsewhere around the country offers assisted living at varying need levels for those in fragile health or needing special supervision.

Job fair

Reaching out, helping others, serving the total community are the worthy goals of the Jean Nidetch Women's Center at UNLV. Recently, the center hosted its fourth annual Job Fair, processing a remarkable 1,500 job seekers. The sponsors, who were each represented by employment recruiters and human resources personnel, included 130 Southern Nevada businesses. Taking part were NOS Communications, St. Andrews Golf Corp., Silver State Schools Credit Union, Enterprise Rent-a-Car, TRW Data Technologies and APL Health Care, to name just a few. Offered as a free service to the public, the day's end happily found 400 participants with new positions. Many more had received pertinent information, learned something of the interview process and were given the chance of future opportunities. Jean Nidetch, for whom the center at UNLV is named, helped sponsor the event and was present for the day-long event on campus.

Junior doings

Make a Difference Day, a national event which seeks to challenge Americans to stretch their hearts in new and caring ways, recently led Junior League of Las Vegas members to plan an outing for Shade Tree Shelter residents. With special thanks to Bell Trans, which donated two shuttle buses, including a handicap-accessible one, more than 30 moms and their children, who reside in the homeless shelter, were taken to Motown Cafe for a special morning.

Divided into groups, children toured around Motown Cafe with managers who showed them every corner, closet and department. The "chef" group took charge in the kitchen, where they explored the pantry and learned to measure pastas. Those with the Motown Cafe Moments tried on wigs, donned chiffon scarves and took to center stage for a bit of impromptu fun. Others, in the "manager" group, helped to seat patrons, checked orders before serving and learned about the computerized ordering system. Nearby, in the Motown store, the young "merchandise" group acquired a bit of marketing expertise as they helped to price and display the shirts and other goods. All the children received a special Motwon T-shirt.

Other highlights of this special Make a Difference Day included programs for Shade Tree moms on the importance of reading aloud to their children and learning how to help them with their homework. Furthermore, HELP of Southern Nevada gave detailed information on its "Displace Homemakers Program," which provides vocational training, job-readiness skills and other assistance to women who are re-entering the workplace.

Adding a special touch as well were the contributions of KMZQ ("Klassy") 100.5-FM listeners, who responded to a baby goods drive, which resulted in a generous supply of strollers, playpens, diapers and food for these mothers and their young children. Motown Cafe, partner with Junior League of Las Vegas for Make a Difference Day, helped the organization incorporate past and present projects, for HELP of Southern Nevada and Shade Tree Shelter were both originally begun by Junior League of Las Vegas, and Read Aloud! is a current project intended to assist parents in teaching their children to enjoy reading.

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