Wednesday, July 21, 2004 | 8:11 a.m.
Hooters on West Sahara Avenue proved to be both an unusual and successful venue for the debut of My Hope Chest on Thursday.
The new local nonprofit organization has a mission to help uninsured and underprivileged breast cancer survivors acquire the much-needed breast reconstruction after a mastectomy.
Cancer survivor Alisa Savoretti, in creating this organization, has brought together women business leaders to serve as the founding board. Dr. William Zamboni, director of plastic surgery for University Medical Center, will also act as advisor, and joins fellow board members Maria Nutile, attorney for the Nevada Cancer Institute, Carolyn Muse-Grant of Creative Management Group, Marsha Hamilton of Bank of Commerce, Carolyn Stephens, president of Print Please, Assemblywoman Valerie Weber and commercial developer Denise Mehocic.
Ignazio Sessa, known as "Iggie" to friends and patrons at Hooters, was sponsor to the early evening event. With his serving staff, he turned several rooms of the lounge-restaurant over to this gathering of supporters, among them Bobbi Jo Olson of Impress Communications, business consultant Dr. Andrea Goeglein, developer George Mehocic, professors Dick and Joan McGee of CCSN with their son, Brian, and Dr. Alstair Barron and his bride, Frances Dillinger-Barron.
Also attending this meet-and-greet were Dr. Ede Schmidt, John Clare with Bob Stewart, Rebecca Costa, Marlene Nevins, Paige Fleming and Marsha Hamilton. Sponsors included Saks Fifth Avenue, "Splash" at the Riviera and licensed massage therapist Melissa Kubla.
Those wishing more information are invited to call 221-9693 or go online at www.myhopechest.org.
Riding the rails
The first of seven parties celebrating the arrival of the Las Vegas Monorail was held at the Las Vegas Hilton on July 14.
Invitations to the party of the summer were cleverly shaped like Las Vegas Monorail cars and illustrated with caricatures of guests included at the evening launch party.
The party started with ceremonies saluting the late Robert Broadbent for his efforts on behalf of the monorail and other transportation projects.
Gathering for the first party (each party will be hosted by the properties with onsite monorail stations) were Rabbi Mel and Mickie Hecht, Kevin Buckley, Kurt Mische, Judge Mark and Alice Denton, William Westerman of the Riviera, architect Steve Swisher and wife Lisa, Kris Pohl, Lou Emmert and Kara Kelley, president of the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce.
Populating the crowd with a certain presence were the creatures from "Star Trek: The Experience," including those who inhabit the awesome realms of "Klingon Encounter" and "Borg Invasion 4-D," who later led the way to the Borg, Monster and other themed monorail cars.
Dining at the serving stations with live entertainment nearby were Jon Tullis with Angie Wallin, banker Selma Bartlett, Rick Truesdell with daughter Staci, Dr. John Dudek with Mary Lane, Richard Lee, Jeff Albright, University Regent Jack Scofield, Leslie Parraguirre and Cam Usher of the Las Vegas Visitors and Convention Authority.
Seen in the crowd as well was Las Vegas Hilton vice president Ira Sternberg, his wife, Gina Polovina, and Betsy Fretwell, deputy city manager for the City of Las Vegas.
Boarding the cleverly decorated monorail cars for stops at the NEXTEL-Las Vegas Convention Center, Bally's-Paris, Imperial Palace-Harrah's, Flamingo-Caesars, MGM Grand, the Sahara and the Las Vegas Hilton, were a mix of invited guests and the contractors, suppliers and other key individuals who worked together to create this massive project.
Blake Bradley, sales manager of Morris Communications' Monorail Magazine, attended with wife Jennifer, and was seen enjoying the festivities of NEXTEL's NASCAR-themed party at the Las Vegas Convention Center with Steve and Stephanie Stallworth, Amy Ayoub, Judy Hetherington, Judge Michael Cherry and Dee and Don Snyder.
Anthony Zuiker, creator of "CSI," was seen at Bally's-Paris, just one of the many enjoying the jazz tunes of the Tommy Thompson Project at one end of the platform and scenes from "Jubilee" and "We Will Rock You" at the other.
Owen Nitz, supervising trustee for the estate of Ralph Englestad, was present at the Imperial Palace-Harrah's stop, encouraging all to enjoy the bounty of offerings from a dozen restaurants at stations provided in grand style by both resorts. Breck Wall, the zany creator-star of "Bottoms Up," and dozens of lovely showgirls put leis around the necks of arrivals at the Flamingo-Caesars stop and showed the way to the Margaritaville deck, where lavish libations awaited.
At the MGM Grand, servers from Wichcraft, under the direction of Executive Chef owner Tom Colicchio (also of Craftsteak at the MGM), served tropic drinks and an array of selections from Wichcraft's new spot on MGM's Studio Walk.
The Sahara, which has adopted the motto "every night's a party," gave guests a fresh look at their eateries while David Van Such and his jazz musicians kept the entertainment coming. Bryan O'Reilly with his parents, Rene and John, Karen Dorsey, Susan Houston, John Mowbray and family, Joshua Summers and Christine Walker were also seen among the invited guests, each enjoying the bounty of monorail day passes for use in the coming year, commemorative ink pens, tickets to "Star Trek: The Experience" at the Las Vegas Hilton and 2004 monorail pins from the Imperial Palace.
Look to the future
Richard Lee, vice president of First American Title Company, gave a riveting presentation on "Future and Present Development in the Las Vegas Valley" at the Latin Chamber of Commerce luncheon Friday.
Lee's speech to a capacity crowd of 350 in the central ballroom of the Gold Coast was punctuated by aerial photos of ever-growing spheres of homes and commerce through the successive decades. He gave facts about the future 1 million citizens who are poised to join us in Southern Nevada, and gave the reasons behind design of the 27 high-rise projects already in development.
Prior to the luncheon and program, arrivals were greeted by Otto Merida, executive director of the Latin Chamber. Guests included Scott Craigie, Juan Manuel Marruenda of Fiesta Tropic Beverages, Valerie Gonzalez, Leo Ahola, western regional manager of Ahola Payroll Services, and Steve Linder of Household Finance.
Mingling in the business crowd were many political candidates and office-holders who gave time and literature to Christina Martinez, Jackie Ingram, architect Dom Cambeiro, Wendy Navarro, Reynaldo Martinez, Horatio Lopez, Lois Green, Brenda O'Boyle, Roxanne Orme and Lou Emmert of Sprint, the newly elected president of the Las Vegas Philharmonic.
Also taking part in the luncheon program was Janie Lopez, senior executive of Bank of America's mortgage division.
The Latin Chamber of Commerce meets monthly at the Gold Coast and is host to regular social events, career fairs and business expos, in addition to charitable fund-raisers. Call 385-7367 for further details.