Las Vegas Sun

December 20, 2014

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Las Vegas: A ‘stone’s throw’ from Mexico’s flu outbreak?

Some of the media coverage of the swine flu outbreak is bordering on the verge of hysteria. Or it's even hysterical, depending on your point of view.

Consider this dispatch from Monday's Philippine Daily Inquirer:

"Now that the Pacman vs Hitman bout is over, expect an influx of travelers from the United States within the next few days, including at least 50 congressmen, plus other VIPs who watched the fight in Las Vegas, Nevada, and who most likely had very close encounters of the sexy kind with Mexican and American hookers and therefore are very likely carriers of the swine flu virus now running amuck in Mexico, America and many other parts of the world. These congressmen very likely would expect special treatment from our immigration and health personnel at the airport and would try to skip the health measures put in place at the airports to prevent the entry of the swine flu into the Philippines."

"Note that Las Vegas is just a stone’s throw from Mexico. Many Mexicans go there to gamble or to work. People there of all nationalities have plenty of close contact with Mexicans and therefore are all potential carriers."

A few things come to mind:

-- Did the Daily Inquirer not get the memo that prostitution is illegal in Las Vegas? And, if it did happen here, wouldn't Filipino hookers be involved too?

-- If Las Vegas is a stone's throw from Mexico, I'd like to meet the stone-thrower. Would that be Superman, Hercules or Mr. Incredible?

-- It's good to know that all those businessmen flying in to Manila every day didn't have any such "close encounters" before hopping on the plane in Los Angeles, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Seoul, Shanghai, Singapore and Bangkok. Unless, of course, they took a connecting flight from Las Vegas.

***

With a boost from Cox Communications, the Las Vegas-Clark County Urban League has launched an outreach initiative. The effort is designed to educate and create awareness of the programs offered to serve children, senior citizens and families in need.

With rising unemployment, more people are expected to rely on social services such as those offered by LVCCUL.

"We have evolved into an organization that connects closely with the community in difficult economic times," said Steven J. Brooks II, LVCCUL chairman. "Our outreach initiative reflects who we are, the diversity of people we serve and how our programs benefit the community."

The centerpiece of the outreach initiative is an outdoor billboard campaign that was designed by Crear Creative Group. It consists of three billboards that will be used to promote key programs. Each billboard includes images of youth, women and seniors – representing the LVCCUL’s connection to the community it serves. In addition:

-- An A-frame campaign has been launched.

-- The organization has plans for a new Web site, including more description about programs available.

-- Cox Communications has donated $75,000 worth of air time and has agreed to help LVCCUL produce Public Service Announcements.

The Las Vegas-Clark County Urban League is an affiliate of the National Urban League, which was founded in 1910. The LVCCUL was established in 2004 and is the largest community action agency in Nevada. Its mission is to empower communities and ensure equal opportunity for low-income citizens.

For more information, see www.lvccul.org.

***

Employee volunteers from Harrah's Entertainment Inc. and Second Wind Dreams made dreams come true for three Las Vegas-area senior citizens and five elder care communities during a senior citizen event last week at the Rio hotel-casino. Thom Reilly, executive director of the Harrah's Foundation, presented the senior-focused charity with $150,000, enabling Second Wind Dreams to fulfill many more senior dreams in Las Vegas and across the country.

"We are thrilled to be working so closely with Harrah's employee volunteers and the Harrah's Foundation. When Second Wind Dreams began in 1997, we had only hoped to find such an incredible relationship," said PK Beville, founder of Second Wind Dreams and geriatric specialist. "The support -- both financial and extensive volunteer support -- we are receiving through Harrah's and the Harrah's Foundation has exceeded our expectations; their generosity and unyielding support makes these dreams a reality. Their support will also make many more dreams possible."

"Especially in today's challenging environment it is important that corporations continue to support organizations that improve the quality of life for so many people in our communities," said Reilly. "Second Wind Dreams is an organization that gives hope to so many who believe they are unworthy of dreaming."

Three dreams were granted for Las Vegas area residents and five area nursing homes received some much needed equipment:

-- Stage Performance Dream -- Gloria Richards, 87, fulfilled her dream of performing on stage one more time. A former Broadway performer, Richards took the stage in her new dress, presented to her for the occasion, to perform for nearly 150 people gathered for the event, including her fellow residents of Manor Care.

Click to enlarge photo

Shelia Silverstein (right) reacts as she is given a diploma by Dr. Sandra Owens Kane. In the background is Laurie Labishak from Second Wind Dreams.

-- Graduation Dream -- Unable to complete high school Shelia Silverstein, 75, of North Las Vegas Care Center, received a certificate of "Life-Long Achievement" from Dr. Sandra Ownes-Kane, associate professor & Harford faculty, School of Geriatric Social Work, UNLV.

-- Art Show Dream -- 84 year-old Geri Durgin, from Silver Sky, debuted her oil paintings during Thursday's event. A lifelong artist, Durgin, had always dreamed of an art show featuring her artwork. Ten oil paintings from Durgin's collection were displayed and were included in a commemorative art booklet.

-- Quality of Life Dreams -- Participating elder care communities -- Silver Sky, North Las Vegas Care Center, Silver Ridge Care Center, Desert Lane Care Center and Manor Care -- received some much-needed items to enhance the quality of life for their residents.

The Nellis Air Force Base Honor Guard presented the colors at the event. A flag folding ceremony was held in honor of Silver Sky resident, Don Johnston, 97, for his active duty service in WWII.

The Harrah's Foundation said employee volunteers from all Harrah's Las Vegas-area resorts -- Caesars Palace, Paris Las Vegas, Flamingo, Harrah's, Bally's, Rio, Bill's Gamblin' Hall and Saloon and Imperial Palace -- plan to continue to make dreams possible.

"Our senior citizens are among the most vulnerable in our communities and ironically, they have the most to teach us; they have lived through challenging economic times, high unemployment rates and budget deficits," said Dallisa Hocking, communications manager, Caesars Palace and Harrah's Entertainment volunteer. "Second Wind Dreams honors our seniors and most importantly reminds them they remain valuable members of our community."

***

Modern Healthcare magazine has named Sylvia Young, CEO of Sunrise Hospital and Sunrise Health System, as one of the "Top 25 Women in Healthcare." This national recognition program is conducted once every two years and honors female executives who are making a difference through their leadership roles in the healthcare industry.

The honorees, who represent virtually all sectors of the industry, were chosen by a panel of senior editors at Modern Healthcare based upon how well they met the following five criteria:

-- Successfully served as a leader or managed an organization or company.

-- Shown the ability or power to effect change in the healthcare industry.

-- Demonstrated a willingness to share expertise with others in the field.

-- Served as a role model or mentor to other female healthcare executives.

-- Assumed a leadership position in the industry outside of her own organization.

Modern Healthcare noted Young has exhibited these qualities throughout her career. Her leadership extends beyond Sunrise Hospital and the Sunrise Health System to her efforts at the local, state and national levels to improve the quality of the healthcare industry and affect communities in a positive manner.

***

Child Focus, a nonprofit organization dedicated to assisting the state’s foster care system, is hosting the Sixth Annual Mother’s Day Tea on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the JW Marriott resort. The event celebrates the bond of mothers, daughters, sisters, aunts and friends.

Zowie Bowie headlines the event and a special fairytale craft area will entertain the littlest of ladies. Makeovers for the teen set are available and a silent auction and raffle with prizes is planned.

Five deserving foster/adoptive mothers will also be honored at the event as winners of the My Special Mom contest sponsored by Cox Communications. Each will win a prize package worth more than $1,000, including a home computer.

***

Sun West Bank employees teamed up with students from Rex Bell Elementary School on April 28 to discuss the value and benefits of saving and spending wisely. Bank employees joined approximately 100 students in three classes to conduct discussions, watch an educational video and play games supporting the underlying message of responsible money management for Teach Children to Save Day.

Teach Children to Save Day is an annual event held in April where bankers visit local classrooms to teach the value of saving. Since the program was started by the American Bankers Association Education Foundation in 1997, nearly 72,000 bankers have taught basic finance skills to almost 3.3 million young people through participation in the Foundation’s signature programs, Teach Children to Save and Get Smart About Credit. Bankers teach lessons that focus on saving basics, prioritizing needs versus wants, how interest makes money grow and how to create a budget.

"This year marked Sun West Bank's ninth year supporting the America Banker Association's Teach Children to Save Day Program," said Lisa Easterling, senior loan servicing specialist for Sun West Bank. "The program helps young people master the first step toward financial success, learning how to save. As a community bank, now more than ever, we understand the importance of educating our youth to positively impact our future."

This year the ABA Education Foundation is calling on bankers to accept the Million Child Challenge and reach one million students with savings lessons beginning on Teach Children to Save Day and continuing throughout the year. Reaching this goal would double last year's impact when bankers taught 540,000 students. Teach Children to Save Day, nationally observed on April 21, marked the official launch of the Million Child Challenge. The new Web site brings components of the Teach Children to Save program into the homes of families across the country. The site offers tips for young people and their parents on how to set a budget, start a savings account and make deposits regularly.

The ABA Education Foundation provides financial education programs and resources that help bankers make their communities better. For more information, see www.abaef.com.

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