Wednesday, Feb. 11, 2004 | 8:12 a.m.
"Pieces of Eight -- A Pirate Story" was the theme for Saturday's 18th annual Heart of Gold Ball, a splendid affair held at The Rio.
The annual fund-raising gala for the American Heart Association provides money for far-reaching educational programs and research.
Dr. Nicholas Tselikis, cardiologist and founding partner of Nevada Vascular Center, was selected as the 2004 medical honoree, and Steve Schorr, vice president of Cox Communications and a community leader, was the 2004 business honoree.
Karla Perez, chief executive officer of Spring Valley Hospital, served as chairwoman. Perez was lovely in her red gown, which was a vivid reminder of the national heart-healthy "Go Red for Women" campaign launched by the American Heart Association to educate women about their vulnerabilities to heart disease, stroke and heart attack (see next item).
Bruce Thompson and Bea Goodwin co-chaired the silent auction committee, providing a rich bounty of items that were displayed at tables adorned with jewel-filled treasure boxes, sea shells and ancient coins on sugar-white sand.
Drinking Captain Morgan rum punch, the guests in attendance, including Dr. Mohamed Ahmed with Dee Hyland, Dr. Jerry and Cheryl Routh, Randy and Karen Campanella, Kelly and Bob Twells, Cynthia Josef, Lucy Stewart, Ivan Spence, Christian Peel and Lou Lovelace, lingered in the auction area to bid generously.
Marty Salts, volunteer for the gala, had the pleasure of introducing an adorable Shih Tzu puppy to live-auction bidders Troy and Selma Bartlett, Hollie Schorr, Ira Sternberg and wife Gina Polovina, Ron Heitman and Sierra Health executives Amy Coleman and Yvonne Betron.
Discussing a possible bid on another puppy, a teddy bear-like golden retriever, were gala sponsors Dr. Joseph and Sirpa Kaufman, who purchased a golden Labrador puppy at a premium price at the 2003 Heart of Gold Ball.
Ron and Michelle Salts, who each chose to try their Valentine's luck with $100-an- opportunity drawing tickets, took home the $8,000 heart-shaped diamond pendant created by Mordichai the Jeweler with black and white diamonds.
The awards ceremony during dinner led off with Tselikis, who spoke generously of his colleagues and the Southern Nevada medical community and gave special tribute to his parents' sacrifices that made medical school a reality.
Schorr, a former news anchor and news director and heart disease patient, spoke of his first heart attack at age 28, the two he has suffered since that time and of the physicians and medical advances that have made a difference in his life.
Christian Kolberg, volunteer auctioneer, later directed the live auction and the drive for direct donation sponsorships to support children attending the Heart Association's summer camp program. Also seen in the crowd of supporters for this event were Judi Boyer, Mike Sexton, Howard Stutz and Freddie Kelsey.
The "Go Red for Women" campaign for heart health was launched on Thursday across America by the American Heart Association to alert women to the real dangers of heart disease.
Dr. Pamela Ivey, a cardiologist/partner with Cardiovascular Consultants of Nevada, was keynote speaker at a "Go Red for Women" tea at the Ritz-Carlton, Lake Las Vegas. She gave a presentation on how heart disease and stroke are the No. 1 and No. 3 cause of death for American women.
Using colorful diagrams and statistics, Ivey explained the risk factors of smoking (including second-hand smoke), diabetes, obesity, high cholesterol and blood pressure and the necessity of regular exercise.
Rep. Jon Porter's wife, Laurie, who underwent open heart surgery as a child, also spoke at the event.
The afternoon gathering was sponsored by St. John Boutique (Forum Shops at Caesars), which created a line of heart-supportive "Go Red" fashions and jewelry to raise funds for heart research and education.
Guests included Kathy Warnke with her mother, Audrey Harsna, and niece Jennifer Simich of Republic Services, Judy Reich, Bill Kenyon, American Heart Association board member Lucy Stewart, Mary Vail with her mother, Nora Leon, and Julie Jones. Also seen were Elaina Bhattacharya, Melissa Nelson, Julie Lateef, Evi Allen and Pat Campbell.
Kim Mervne, formerly of Escada Boutique and owner of the new La Belle Boutique, provided a fashionable array of designer sportswear, business attire and evening gowns from her high-end resale store in Green Valley.
Models for the charitable event included Leslie Pittman of Station Casinos, joined by JoAnna Brooks, Lorraine Gorman, Christine Milburn and Wendy Shelton. Coordinating the elegant tea were American Heart Association staffers Robin Camacho, Judith Mitchell and Barbara Wood.
A curious business community flocked to the new Hilton Grand Vacations resort Thursday.
Built on the north end of the Strip, the property stands on land once occupied by the El Rancho Vegas, a pioneer gaming resort that perished by fire in the early 1960s.
Hilton Grand Vacations, with its soaring tower structure, is splendidly art deco (or as they prefer to call it, desert deco) in design and filled with a shining sense of light and luxury.
Welcoming guests was Stephen Bollenbach, president and chief operating officer of Hilton Hotels Corp., who reminded attendees about the two Hilton Grand Vacations resorts already in operation on land adjacent to the Flamingo Las Vegas and Las Vegas Hilton.
Presented during the brief program were some healthy Las Vegas statistics on Hilton Grand Vacations members who tend to stay and play (and yes, gamble and dine well) for longer periods than our average tourist.
Catered by At Your Service, the reception in the domed central entry was attended by Lt. Gov. Lorraine Hunt, Ed Guthrie, David Love, Van Hefner, Nancy Wong, vice president of ARCATA Associates Engineering; Julie Shaefer, Fabbi Vaquez, Jerry and Lou Emmert and Kara Noordin, joined by Barbara Dempsey, Mel Carter and Darwin Paustian.
Cam Usher of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, just back from a trade and sales mission to China, was seen speaking of her trip with Jackie Brett, Mike Unger, Alex Canales and former Gov. Bob Miller.
Roger Peltyn of Martin & Martin Civil Engineering, who worked on the Hilton Grand Vacations project, explained that three additional towers are planned for the site, with equally lovely amenities and Strip views. Prior to the tour through the apartment-like suites was the announcement of Realtor Fafie Moore as the evening's winner for a vacation stay.