Las Vegas Sun

October 21, 2014

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LOOKING IN ON: HIGHER EDUCATION:

Declining sales prompt CSN to refocus plant-sale program

Thursday was the last day of regular sales at the College of Southern Nevada’s Desert Garden Center, which has sold desert plants to the public for 12 years.

With sales declining, the nursery, which employs college students and supports CSN’s ornamental horticulture program, is shifting its focus to securing funding by growing native plants for government agencies.

This fiscal year the horticulture program expects to receive about $55,000 for its work on federally funded contracts, said Beth Hewitt, a CSN nursery specialist.

That’s up from about $32,000 in the previous fiscal year and about $21,000 in the 2006-07 fiscal year.

Among other projects, the college is growing native plants to restore fire-damaged areas of Red Rock Canyon. CSN plants will also be included in the landscaping for a new Red Rock Canyon visitors center.

Though the Desert Garden Center will no longer sell plants on a near-daily basis, it will continue to host events dedicated to teaching Southern Nevadans about desert flora. And CSN’s ornamental horticulture program, which enrolled about 230 students in spring, will continue to conduct plant sales throughout the year, Hewitt said.

•••

UNLV President David Ashley will formally introduce his wife, Bonnie Ashley, to the campus community Sunday at a wedding reception featuring wine, sparkling water, cider and light food including desserts, cheese and crackers.

The president, who in summer refused to tell the Sun whether he was married, declined to say when he was married.

The Ashleys are expecting 170 to 180 guests including UNLV Foundation trustees, major donors, elected officials and university staff to attend the event, which Bonnie Ashley is planning and paying for.

For catering, she has hired Sodexo, which provides dining services to UNLV.

University spokesman Dave Tonelli said in an e-mail that Tori Klein, UNLV’s special events manager, “has volunteered her services” to help plan the reception, taking leave for time during the work day that she uses to assist Bonnie Ashley with the private event.

Bonnie Ashley is paying $375, the campus rate, to rent the Blasco Event Wing of the UNLV Foundation building. The corresponding rate for people holding events there unrelated to the university would be $1,500, Tonelli said.

The Ashleys are asking guests who want to bring gifts to give donations instead to a UNLV Foundation scholarship fund that carries their names.

Bonnie Ashley, a part-time photographer and actress, said she enjoys attending UNLV events with David Ashley in part because “I believe a woman should support her husband.

“I only have had one year of college myself, so this has been a lot of fun for me ... It’s given me a little bit of a taste of the university life.”

•••

Southern Nevadans were shocked this year to learn that unsafe medical practices at a local endoscopy center had put tens of thousands of people at risk of contracting infectious diseases, including hepatitis C.

Some residents lost faith in their community’s health care workers.

“I saw the trust, respect and professional relationships between patients and the medical community eroding,” said Mitchell Forman, founding dean of Touro University Nevada’s college of osteopathic medicine.

“But as an educator,” he said, “I thought, ‘How can we turn this into a learning experience?’ ”

The endoscopy incident and other news about unscrupulous medical practices prompted Forman to approach UNLV’s film department with an idea for a joint project — a DVD containing vignettes portraying day-to-day challenges health care professionals might face.

In one, a doctor on his way out of the office treats three patients in the waiting room in about a minute. In another, a doctor dishes to a colleague about a patient who couldn’t figure out how to put on her hospital gown.

The videos come with an accompanying guide that prompts viewers to discuss related ethical issues. UNLV film students acted in the shorts, which Touro students began watching this semester in required ethics courses.

Health care providers and educators who want a free copy of the film can contact Touro at [email protected] or at (702) 777-8687.

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