Las Vegas Sun

March 24, 2019

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Columnist Elizabeth Foyt: Nevada Restaurant Association to honor Wiesner at dinner

Elizabeth Foyt's social column appears Wednesdays. Reach her on-line at [email protected]

The Nevada Restaurant Association (NRA) has announced that Tom Wiesner, proprietor of Big Dogs Hospitality Group and well-recognized entrepreneur, past Clark County commissioner and current University of Nevada System regent, will be recognized as the 1999 NRA "Educator of the Year." Ceremonies to honor Wiesner will be led by Bud Cranor, Gov. Kenny Guinn's Southern Nevada director.

Now in its second year this annual "Scholarship Awards Dinner," a project dear to the heart of NRA members, is slated for Oct. 19 at Paris Las Vegas. Tickets are $175 per person, which includes a gourmet dinner, entertainment and silent auction to be held in the Paris' Versaille Ballroom.

Ten $1,000 academic scholarships will be awarded to deserving students enrolled in food service and hospitality programs at any Nevada-based college or university. Students wishing to apply by the Oct. l deadline are encouraged to request applications by calling the NRA offices at 878-2313.

Arts gala

Friday evening's gala to honor Nevada Arts Ambassador Toni Tennille and state Sen. Dina Titus was a triumph for the Nevada Arts Advocates (NAA). Established in 1997 as a nonprofit corporation to promote cultural arts as a fundamental part of the quality of life in our state, its primary goal is to increase funding for the Nevada Arts Council, the major provider of government grants to the arts in Nevada. NAC receives funds from the National Endowment for the Arts and matching state funds.

The Nevada Arts Advocates gala, the first ever hosted, was also the first black-tie dinner dance to be held in the Grand Ballroom of The Resort At Summerlin. Arriving guests, among them Dr. Marcia and Keith Neel, Mary Ann Hantout, state Sen. Valerie Wiener, Tim and Sherry Quillin and Assemblyman Mark Manendo, walked through a river of Clark County's finest young musicians, all members of the orchestra program at Bonanza High School and directed by Shelly Berger. In the rotunda, adjacent to the ballroom, Edward and Eleanore Doumani, Mary Ann Ferguson, Peggy Brown, Joanne Nivison, Vince and Julie Shader and David Kasdan enjoyed champagne and cocktails while listening to the sweetest of harp duets by Caryn Gott and her daughter, Michelle.

Encircling the room were spectacular pieces created by Nevada artists for the silent auction chaired by William "Bill" Marion with Judy Kropid and Jean Norton. Bidding was brisk, with Eric and Lottie Polis, state Sen. and Mrs. Ray Rawson, Gary Gray with his wife, as well as Assemblywoman Chris Giunchigliani, Gil and Edythe Yarchever, Dorothy Kemp and John Norton participating with enthusiasm.

This special evening included a delightful dinner enhanced by performances from the Nevada Opera Theatre artists, as well as singer-actress Brenda Epperson Doumani of the "Young and the Restless" fame. It was led by Nevada Arts Advocates president Roger Peltyn and singer-impressionist Bob Anderson, emcee.

Supporters of this statewide effort on behalf of the fine arts included former Gov. Robert and Paulette List, who now reside in Summerlin, as well as Persia Golden, state Sen. Randolph and Robyn Townsend, Congresswoman Shelley Berkley, Ed Janov and Shenandoah Merrick and Bob Cranley. Introduced to great applause was sculptor Joseph Palermo, now serving as executive director of the Las Vegas Art Museum, who lent his artistry to the creation of the bronze award pieces given to Toni Tennille and Sen. Titus.

Spotlighting heros

Who says America doesn't care about public education? Meeting head-to-head in competition for guests with a world class boxing match and UNLV's first home game, the "Education Hero" Award Dinner scored a knockout with 500-plus guests, each of whom paid $500 to attend. A very posh event produced by Keith Neel at the Four Seasons, the dinner to benefit the Clark County Public Education Foundation and their far-reaching projects was an occasion to honor Gov. Kenny Guinn as the 1999 "Education Hero."

Corporate representatives and individuals alike arrived to mix and mingle for this very worthy cause which seeks to enhance and improve education in our community with a special emphasis on increasing graduation rates and advancing academic achievement. Sprint Vice President/General Manager Lou Emmert with her husband, Jerry, hosted a table and included new president of Desert Research Institute, Dr. Stephen Wells, who came from Reno with his wife, Beth, for the event.

Present as well were Greg and Jo Bosse, Vicki and Steve Soares, Mike Jardine, Fred Simones and Assemblyman Mark Manendo. Surveying the silent auction treasures and those later sold in live action by volunteer Christian Kolberg were Helen Foley with David Griego, Selma Bartlett, Wendy and Pete Ernaut, Charlie and Denise Ivy and Lynne and Dr. Rob Hunter, who accompanied Ande and Glenn Christianson, Mark and Michelle Brown and John and Judy Goolsby. Nearby executives of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority included Rob and Becky Powers as well as Jim Gans -- newly appointed vice president of administrative operations.

County Commissioner Erin Kenny with Sig Rogich, Public Education Foundation president and, the 1998 "Education Hero," Billy Vassiliadis led the tribute to Guinn. It was a program rich in his history as a student-athlete, educator, family man and business leader. Most touching were the children who shared with Guinn highlights of their favorite experiences made possible by Public Education Foundation grants. Present for the award to Guinn of a beautifully crafted Nevada-themed quilt were Clark County School District trustees Shirley Barber, Dr. Lois Tarkanian and Mary Beth Scow, who enjoyed the evening with Dr. Brian Cram and Larry Spitler.

Adding a special sparkle to the evening were the generous scholarship donations made in Guinn's honor to the foundation by Sheldon and Dr. Miriam Adelson, Barrick-Goldstrike Mines and Republic Silver State Disposal. Listening attentively to the program were Bridget and Steve Phillips, Dr. Richard and Susan Moore, Dorothy Eisenberg, Marieka and Mike Meyer, Mujahid Ramadan and Randy Oakes with his daughter, Staci Brick.

Birthday celebration

Las Vegas can be justly proud of Caesars Palace pianist and recording artist David Osborne, who frequently entertains at the White House and is coordinating a star-studded celebrity evening to celebrate the 75th birthday of former President Jimmy Carter. The Carter Celebration on Oct. l will be near Carter's hometown of Plains, Ga., and serve as a fund-raiser for the restoration of a historic regional theater.

Caesars Palace music director Johnny Haig will conduct a 17-piece orchestra for the gala which will feature performances by Osborne as well as fellow Las Vegas residents the McGuire Sisters and other stars including Pat Boone, Lynn Anderson and the Indigo Girls. Giving the event that special Las Vegas touch will be an elaborately costumed Caesar, Cleopatra and a coterie of Centurions, direct from Caesars Palace. In speaking of his work to create the special birthday for President Carter, Osborne commented on his great admiration for Jimmy and Rosalyn Carter and their exemplary work with Habitat for Humanity and other worthy causes.

Induction festivies

It was a glamorous evening, an occasion of prestige and celebration for those attending the American Gaming Association's annual conference and the 10th Gaming Hall of Fame Induction Dinner. An international gathering, the event at the Mirage equally benefits the National Center for Responsible Gaming, a division of the Gaming Entertainment Research and Education Foundation, a nonprofit organization which researches pathological and youth gambling, and Safe Nest, a Las Vegas-based organization providing temporary assistance and shelter to abused women and their children.

Guests, among them R.J. Peltyn, Gus Ramos, Jack and M.J. Harvey, Toni Clark with Larry Finuf and Jewel Brooks, as well as David Atwell and Manny Cortez, were seen enjoying the opening reception in the Mirage ballroom. Joining the party was Charlie Cavagnaro, UNLV athletic director, who came direct from a UNLV Foundation smoker event at Big Dog's to join his wife Patricia and their hostess Kitty Rodman with University Regent Thalia Dondero.

Past Gaming Hall of Fame inductees J.K. Houssels, Jackie Gaughan, Frank Modica, Claudine Williams, Burton Cohen and Chuck Mathewson were among those to congratulate those honored in the 1999 ceremonies: Elaine Wynn, Eydie Gorme and Steve Lawrence, and family members of the late Jack Entratter. Seen in the crowd of Las Vegas notables were Steve Giorgione, District Court Judge James Mahan, Larry Ruvo, Robert Shay, Bobby and Donna Baldwin and Marc Schorr.

Dinner, a stellar meal created by the superb Mirage chefs, was enjoyed by the many groups of friends and longtime associates who dined together and were frequently seen table-hopping between courses of the leisurely paced meal. Seated with Ken and Carolyn Sparks were fellow guests Nancy Houssels, Mel Wolzinger, Tony Grassi and gaming consultant Joe LaGumina, who spoke of his current Detroit development projects. Nearby in the crowd were Dema Guinn, Nevada's first lady, as well as former Las Vegas Mayor Jan Laverty Jones, Irwin and Susan Molasky, Joyce Modica, David Atwell, Gladys and Steve Comer, Walt Weiss and Dot Harvey.