Las Vegas Sun

September 15, 2014

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Chamber of Commerce sues publishers for royalties

The economic slowdown apparently isn't the only financial issue facing the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce.

The chamber, which laid off staff this week, also filed suit seeking advertising revenue and royalties from the publisher of two of its publications.

The chamber lawsuit, filed in Clark County District Court, also alleges defendants Las Vegas Publications LLC and Relocation Resources LLC are now competing unfairly against the chamber by using its name, logo, membership list and contact list to sell ads for a relocation guide that competes with chamber products.

Officials at the defendant companies in Houston could not immediately be reached for comment.

The chamber lawsuit was filed by attorney Paul Larsen of the firm Lionel Sawyer & Collins.

The complaint says the companies' managing members, Carlos Van der Burg and Gilles Van der Burg, and their companies have since 2006 published the Chamber of Commerce Relocation Guide and the chamber's Buyers Guide and Membership Directory.

The suit says ad revenue and royalties are due the chamber and that Gilles Van der Burg told officials recently that at least $45,000 is owed to the Las Vegas chamber. The chamber says it has the right to audit the books of the companies to see what it's actually owed, but hasn't been granted full access to do so.

The suit seeks an order granting the chamber money it says it is owed, termination of contracts between the chamber and the defendants and an order barring the defendants from using chamber resources to publish their competing products.

Chamber spokeswoman Cara Roberts on Thursday said it would be inappropriate to comment on the litigation.

"We look forward to an amicable resolution of this issue that can be resolved informally, but so far these efforts have not been fruitful,'' she added

Earlier this week, the chamber laid off about 20 percent of its staff, or about a dozen employees out of 58 before the cuts. Roberts said that action will not affect member benefits, programs or services.

The economic decline caused the cuts, with sponsorships declining and chamber membership falling by about 250 members in the past year to about 6,550.

"The decision to reduce our workforce was difficult and not reached lightly or easily," Kara Kelley, chamber president & CEO, said in a statement. "The chamber appreciates the service and dedication of these employees. They will be greatly missed by the chamber board, volunteers, members and fellow colleagues."

The reductions in workforce were based on a reassessment of priorities as well as the cost-effectiveness of programs, the chamber said in a statement.

"The chamber has recalibrated long-term projections and we are reorganizing our operations to deliver important and timely programs and services to our members in a more efficient and fiscally sustainable manner," Kelley said. "The chamber’s dedication and commitment to our members remains strong, and we will continue to offer the same valuable benefits, services and programs."

Employees were offered a severance package including two weeks of pay, plus one week of additional pay for every year of service, as well as the option of using job placement services.

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Can you wear a recycled wedding gown or tuxedo to your wedding? Can you find gowns and tuxedos that are made from recycled materials?

We don't know. But these questions and more may be addressed when Roni Josef International Salon & Spa and the Springs Preserve host the "Eco-Elegant Bridal Affair," which organizers call "a bridal expo for the eco-chic bride-to-be."

The event showcasing "eco-conscious vendors" and offering personal consultations will benefit the American Cancer Society and the Springs Preserve. It's set for May 1 from 5-9 p.m. at the Springs Preserve, 333 S. Valley View Boulevard at U.S. 95.

General admission for the event, including its bridal fashion show, is $10 per person, $15 per couple and complimentary admission for children ages 17 and under.

VIP admission is $30 per person, $50 per couple, $10 per child ages 5-17 and complimentary admission for children ages 4 and under. Brides who purchase the VIP admission tickets will receive a luxury bridal gift bag, hors d’oeuvre reception provided by Wolfgang Puck catering, non-alcoholic beverages and a wedding cake 101 course and cake tasting with Little Pastry Chefs.

Call the Springs Preserve at 822-7705 for more information and to secure reservations, which are required.

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Verizon Wireless said it added a couple cell sites recently in Southern Nevada to expand its service. The sites expand 3G (third generation) wireless coverage in the residential and commercial areas in and around Southern Highlands and the Moapa Valley area.

The increase in network coverage and capacity accommodates more calls, e-mails, text and picture messages and wireless Internet service, Verizon said.

Verizon Wireless said the additions are on top of nearly $50 million spent in Nevada in 2008 to enhance service and coverage.

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The California hotel-casino in downtown Las Vegas is hosting the 12th Annual Lei Day Polynesian Festival May 2-3.

Organizers say the free event will feature the best of Hawaii: arts and crafts, food, activities, music and cultural demonstrations. Hawaiian dishes will be served including kalua pig, lau lau, poi, beef teriyaki sticks, hot malasadas and shave ice. Throughout the festivities there will be a continual flow of Hawaiian and Polynesian music, chants, songs and dances. The festival will feature a performance by Olomana’s Jerry Santos on May 2 and the "Island Fever Block Party" on May 3.

Parking for the free event is at Stewart and Main Street, adjacent to the California.

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Ben & Jerry’s will commemorate its 31st Annual "Free Cone Day" April 21 at the Galleria at Sunset mall in Henderson with celebrity scoopers to benefit Lied Discovery Children’s Museum and at the District at Green Valley Ranch location to benefit the Nevada Community Learning Centers (formerly Classroom on Wheels). All small cones are free with no purchase necessary, but patrons are invited to make a donation to the respective local charity.

Celebrities are being confirmed and are to be named soon.

"Free Cone Day" was launched to thank the community for its loyalty to Ben & Jerry’s and to congratulate the staff on the company’s first anniversary. It was such a huge success; it is now a tradition that is celebrated each year.

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The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Las Vegas announced three new "dining experiences'' that will introduce guests to Italian family traditions and classic comfort food.

Sunday Gravy follows the Italian family tradition of celebrating food, family, and friends over "gravy" (or pasta sauce) and authentic Italian food. Also planned are comfort food offerings Mondays and "Wine Wednesdays."

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Sunrise Health, which in March marked Colon Cancer Awareness Month, said that year-round it will continue to offer $5 EZ Detect kits.

The operator of Sunrise, MountainView and Southern Hills hospitals said the third most commonly diagnosed cancer and third cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States is colorectal cancer. Prevention and early detection through screening can drastically lower the incidence of colorectal cancer, Sunrise said.

EZ Detect recognizes the bowel problems synonymous with colorectal cancer and is the most modern, convenient and sanitary home test available, Sunrise said.

To order a kit, call 233-5300, 24 hours a day, seven days a week and ask for the Colorectal Cancer kit. Kits arrive within approximately two weeks after payment has been received.

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"Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition" at the Luxor is preparing for next week's 97th anniversary of the sinking of the luxury liner.

Guests visiting the exhibition on April 15 are encouraged to pay tribute to Titanic’s passengers by laying flowers at the Memorial Wall where the names of all 2,200 passengers and crew onboard on April 14 and 15, 1912, are displayed. Some 1,500 of those on board died in the accident.

"Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition at Luxor" says it has more than 20 never-before-seen authentic artifacts including gaming chips, passenger personal papers and decorative sections from Titanic’s famed Grand Staircase. Guests can experience the ship’s historical journey in chronological order, from the construction yards, to her maiden voyage, first and third class room re-creations, the Promenade Deck, the Grand Staircase, the sinking, to modern-day recovery efforts.

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The State of Nevada Commission on Construction Education said it has funds available and is actively seeking applicants to apply for grants.

The Construction Education Commission was created by the Legislature in 2001 to encourage programs that meet the mission of improving quality and integrity in the construction industry to attract and retain an educated and skilled workforce. It consists of one member from the Nevada State Contractors Board and six members appointed by the governor. Four members represent the construction industry, and the other two have knowledge of construction education programs.

The commission promotes programs that introduce primary and secondary school students to career options in the construction industry; encourages programs that teach business ethics, integrity, credibility and commitment to enhance the image of the construction industry; and promotes efforts to train and retain construction workers.

Grant applications are available on the Nevada State Contractors Board website at www.nscb.state.nv.us. Applications are due April 15.

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The Nevada State Contractors Board "Business Assistance Program," established to provide guidance with the license application process, is accepting reservations for a free workshop from 9 to 11 a.m., April 21, at the Henderson Board office, 2310 Corporate Circle, Suite 200.

Applicants for a contractor’s license receive information to complete the application process quickly and accurately. In additional to the workshop, applicants -- upon completion of their application --- are given the opportunity to have their applications reviewed by staff before submitting them for approval. Information in locating source documents for the application is also provided, as well as a checklist of state and local agencies and other resources.

The NSCB encourages applicants to take advantage of and attend the Business Assistance Program and says many who have attended the program said it was helpful in their application process.

For information, contact Lisa Bedsole, licensing consultant, at 486-1100, ext. 1120; or by e-mail at [email protected].

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