Las Vegas Sun

April 21, 2014

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Columnist Elizabeth Foyt: Elegant tea party honors Nevada’s first ladies

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

One of the most elegant events held this season was hosted by the Nevada Women's History Project, Southern Region, at the Spanish Trails home of Jeanne and Dr. Monte Greenawalt. Tea with the First Ladies is an event to honor these Nevada women who have served our state so graciously.

Carolyn O'Callaghan, first lady of Nevada from 1971-78, attended with her daughters, Mary Colleen Miele and Teresa Duke, while Bette Sawyer (1958-66) was accompanied by her daughter, Gail. Present as well were Sandy Miller (1989-98) and Kathy List (1979-82), joined by our current first lady of Nevada, Dema Guinn, who brought with her the exquisite ball gown she wore for the 1999 inaugural events. Representing Jacklyn Laxalt (1967-70) was her daughter, Dr. Kevin Marie Laxalt-Olson, a Las Vegas resident and professor at the Community College of Southern Nevada.

The Greenawalt's spacious home provided ample room for the attending throng that enjoyed the formal tea offerings poured by Maureen Schnitzer, Jean Spiller, Joan LeMere, Carolyn Trelease, Alice Pearson, Frankie Williams, Mary Snow, Mitsi Johnson and others. Many guests took the elevator to the home's gallery level to view the inaugural gown photographs from the Nevada State Museum collection. Others, guided by Kaye Gray, Rose Irwin and Mary Gafford, watched the video "Life in the Nevada Mansion," a newly completed project of Joyce Marshall and Mariene Adrian, which features the narration of first ladies from 1959 to the present.

Jan Kennedy was seen with her video camera capturing the special moments enjoyed by guests Alice and Sara Denton, Judy Inghram, Mary Barnett with Christianne LeBon, Bernice Fischer, Colleen Haycock, Carolyn Goodman, Renee Diamond, Lilly Fong, Judy Eisenrech with Marilyn Starks, Bernie Lenz and Ethel Trione with daughter Jo Campbell. Slipping in from a Nevada Symphony Guild fund-raiser was Kaye Allen Brown.

Adding a historic note to the afternoon tea along with the displayed fashion photos was Joan Loverin, curator of the Marjorie Russell Clothing and Textile Research Center at the Nevada State Museum, who attended with Beverly Carlino Banta, executive director of the Museums, Library and Arts Foundation.

Theatre gathering

Tove Allen, founder and past president of Nevada Opera Theatre Guild, recently hosted a membership gathering at her Paradise Valley home. Incoming president Jackie Allen, with husband Tom Allen, greeted members and guests, among them Persia Golden, Tony Reiser, Florence Morgan with daughter and son-in-law Helen and Jim Sax, and Ann Nichols. Rita Hickey, who later spoke of the Nevada Opera's spring cruise from Venice to Monte Carlo, was seen with Nevada Opera President Denny Weddle. A delightful champagne, dessert and hors d'oeuvres repast was enjoyed on the patio by Jerry Morgan, Amy Green, Kadell and Leezie Kremer, Sandra Dinsmore, Margaret Conway, Sondra Lynch Mann and Beverly and Mike Mykiesen.

A brief program led by Tove Allen explained that the guild is the fund-raising auxiliary to Nevada Opera Theatre and responsible for arranging and supporting events to assist the performing company. Eileen Hayes, NOT executive director, spoke of "Carnevale de Venezia," a gala benefit dinner and dance, slated for Nov. 6 at the Venetian hotel-casino. Lia Roberts, honorary consul of Romania, is dinner chairman with a committee including Lisa Walley, Dr. Scott Brown, Dr. Howard and Jane Hoffman, Helene and Ken Walker, Elisa Del Prado and others. A superb evening of entertainment and dining has been planned. Contact NOT at 699-9775 for all the details.

Celebratory dinner

It was a celebration indeed for those marking the 20th anniversary of the Secret Witness Program of Las Vegas. This nonprofit effort allows the public to anonymously assist the police in solving crime. The anniversary gala was held at the MGM Grand Conference Center where Gary Waddell and Gwen Castaldi served as masters of ceremonies.

Following a keynote address by Under Sheriff Richard Winget, of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, ceremonies were held to thank the founding members of Secret Witness. Denise Aldrette, board chairman, assisted by Winget, provided heartfelt thanks and a momento to attending founding members Larry D. Finuf, Phyllis Hendrickson, Sommer Hollingsworth, Irwin Kishner, Ann O'Connell, Kay Sholine, Carole Vilardo and Nage Palmer. Adding their comments and commendations as well were Reps. Shelley Berkley and Jim Gibbons.

Present for the dinner event were Judge Valorie Vega and husband Howard Stutz, Anne Sliman, Gary Plumlee, Justice of the Peace Jennifer Togliatti, Gaming Control member Bobby Siller, and Jeff and Lisa Hill, as well as Andrea Balbenti, Chuck Johnson, George Togliatti and Metro Det. Russ White, who serves as director of Secret Witness.

Since its inception 68,000 anonymous telephone tips have led to the arrests of more than 8,700 criminal suspects. Secret Witness tips have led to the recovery of $58 million in stolen property, while the program has paid $1.2 million in rewards.

Bryan honored

U.S. Sen. Richard Bryan is the first man ever selected as a "spotlight" honoree by the Women's Democratic Club of Clark County. Bryan, acknowledged in ceremonies held at Mandalay Bay, shared the stage with special recognition honorees: Clark County Treasurer Laura Fitzpatrick, Congresswoman Shelley Berkley, state Sen. Maggie Carlton and Clark County Clerk Shirley Parraguirre.

Sandra Johnson and Beverly Carlino Banta chaired the annual event, which drew a large crowd including former Nevada legislator Ty Hilbrecht and wife Mercedes, Judge Sally Loehrer, Ken Christmas, Sue Strand, Ed Bernstein and Harriet Trudell, who has returned to Las Vegas after a lengthy sojourn in Washington, D.C.

Silent auction items drew bids from club President Nancy Harkness, Verlene Chiodini, Barb Clark, Jackie Seip, Charlie Waterman, Diana Wilson and Boulder City Mayor Bob Ferraro. Others in attendance were Sharon and Assemblywoman Gene Segerblom, Bruce MacRae, Laura Fitzpatrick and Helene Brus. Also in the crowd were Art and Sara Besser with Lou Gammage, as well as Si Redd, Christine Welles, Georgia Clayton and Marylee Jones. Proceeds from the event help fund local campaigns for Democratic candidates.

Giving back

A note from Brenda Haynes has alerted us to the eighth annual Nevada Philanthropy Day Awards Luncheon. Sponsored by the Las Vegas chapter of the National Society of Fund-Raising Executives, the Wednesday event honors leading philanthropic citizens and businesses. Using rigorous criteria, the Las Vegas NSFRE membership voted for the foremost businesses and individuals who have given their finest efforts in support of charitable endeavors in Southern Nevada.

Those to be recognized for their outstanding efforts for the 1998-99 year are: James E. Rogers (Philanthropist of the Year); George W. Smith (Volunteer Fund-Raiser of the Year); Southwest Gas Corporation (Corporate Giver of the Year); E.L. Wiegand Foundation (Private Foundation of the Year); KLAS Channel 8 (Media Supporter of the Year); and Nikki Sobokowski (Professional Fund-Raising Executive).

Jeffrey L. Burr and Associates, the Nevada Community Foundation, EVEREN Securities, Vincent Development and the Business Community Investment Council are co-sponsors for the luncheon event. Contact Mary Galloway at 914-2715 for reservations.

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