Las Vegas Sun

April 15, 2014

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Small biz column:

Epicurean charity gives big boost to eight Nevada students

The Epicurean Charitable Foundation is awarding a record-number of scholarships to 2010 hospitality students.

The nonprofit charity awarded eight $10,000 scholarships to Nevada students this year to help pay tuition at a four-year accredited college or university of their choice.

The organization awarded six scholarships last year.

This year’s recipients are Alexia Betts, Andrea Castillo, Cindy Ureno, Jennifer Lee, Karina Saucedo, Malek Sardi, Nachely Martinez and Vedna Boskovic. All will be attending UNLV as hospitality majors this fall.

“There was a very strong pool of qualified candidates this year and through the selection process we were able to better find out about their future goals,” David McIntyre, president of the Epicurean Charitable Foundation, said in a statement. “I am confident in the ability of these eight bright, young students to excel and advance in the hospitality industry.”

The foundation’s goal is to support and groom the most talented and promising students in the next generation of hospitality executives in Las Vegas.

Most recipients are connected with a mentor from the foundation’s ranks and are given academic support and guidance and internship opportunities throughout their college years.

The scholarships can be spent on tuition, books or college fees. All of the recipients for the 2010-11 school year will be attending UNLV, where their scholarships will likely cover the cost of tuition and some supplies.

Tuition for undergraduates is currently $136 per credit plus fees. The bursar’s office puts the price of tuition and fees from $3,920 to $4,400 a year for students taking 12 credits per semester.

The Board of Regents this week is considering raising tuition in response to state budget cuts.

The Epicurean Charitable Foundation Las Vegas was founded in May 2001 and is composed of more than 40 top food and beverage executives dedicated to improving the hospitality industry and aiding the community through support of Southern Nevada’s education, and hospitality- and culinary-related organizations, charities and associations.

For more information, log on to www.ECFLV.org.

• • •

Middle school students from across Nevada last week participated in a competition to outsmart their state politicians and community leaders.

The students are submitting solutions to the state’s toughest problems as part of the Project Citizen competition.

Hyde Park Middle School, O’Brien Middle School in Reno and Koinonia Homeschool Cooperative are presenting 23 portfolios this year. One will be selected to represent Nevada at the 2009 National Conference of State Legislatures.

Project topics this year include Lake Mead and the water shortage; school safety at Hyde Park; unfinished road construction; vandalism on foreclosed homes; and secondhand smoke.

Project Citizen is administered by the federal Center for Education for Democracy Act and locally by the State Bar of Nevada. It aims to promote participation in local and state government by teaching students in grades 5-12 how to monitor and influence public policy in their communities.

Students identify a problem, gather information, examine solutions, devise their own public policy and develop an action plan. Their class portfolio is presented to a panel of civic leaders, lawyers and judges.

• • •

Low-cost cell phone company Cricket Wireless celebrated its anniversary in Las Vegas by providing free bus fare to area residents.

The free rides on the Regional Transportation Commission buses will be available systemwide from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. May 20.

Company representatives said it was a chance for the company to help residents save money for a day.

“We felt with the current economic downturn that Las Vegans could use a helping hand and decided to provide free bus rides to the entire city on May 20,” Jason Biado, area general manager for Cricket Communications, said in a statement. “Cricket wanted to find a special way to thank Las Vegas residents for a great first year of successful business in Las Vegas. Cricket knows that without the community’s support we would not have had such an amazing year. For this reason, we felt that it was important to give back to the local community where our customers and employees live and work.”

Cricket will turn three local bus shelters into “green party” locations the morning of the event.

Cricket employees at the bus shelters at Maryland Parkway and Tropicana Avenue, Charleston Boulevard and Eastern Avenue and Flamingo and Wynn roads will give doughnuts, beverages and prizes including phones with free service of three to 12 months and $20 coupons on Cricket phones or free ring tones.

The company is also taking over a bus that day where more giveaways will be held.

• • •

And finally, for those who have ever enjoyed a vacation on the sunny beaches of Santa Barbara, Calif., where I went to college, please do what you can for the survivors of the Jesusita fire.

The wildfire has destroyed dozens of homes and forced tens of thousands of residents to flee their houses and apartments.

Although the mansions of multimillionaires are getting the thrust of the TV news coverage, most residents are just regular people working in the hospitality industry, supporting trades and the local colleges and universities. The extremely high cost of living in Santa Barbara means many of these already-struggling families will have a difficult time dealing with the strain of the evacuations and recovering once the fire is out.

The Santa Barbara Red Cross chapter has been moved because of a mandatory evacuation, but is asking for donations and help on its Web site, www.sbredcross.org.

I would hope they’d do the same for us in a similar situation.

Stephanie Tavares covers utilities and law for In Business Las Vegas and its sister publication, the Las Vegas Sun. She can be reached at 259-4059 or at [email protected]

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