Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Commission Connects Katrina Relief Volunteers

FALLON, Nev. – The Nevada Commission for National and Community Service, Inc. (NCNCS), through the Katrina Resource Center at USA Freedom Corps, provides the opportunity for Nevadans to give in any capacity to residents of communities devastated by Hurricane Katrina.

The Katrina Resource Center has the capacity to connect a cadre of volunteers from groups, businesses or organizations who wish to donate their time in communities ravaged by Hurricane Katrina. Staff at the KRC are in touch with lead disaster relief agencies in each state and have the ability to match resources to needs. In addition, the Katrina Resource Center links donors to organizations and charities accepting both monetary donations as well as donated goods and services.

More information is available at www.americorpsnevada.org or directly on the USA Freedom Corps website at www.USAFreedomCorps.gov.

NCNCS is a non-profit organization dedicated to engaging Nevadans in service and volunteerism efforts. Created by Governor’s executive order in 1994, NCNCS administers eight AmeriCorps programs and the annual Governor’s Points of Light Awards. This year, 186 AmeriCorps members will assist communities in meeting critical, unmet educational, environmental, public safety, and human service needs while receiving a modest living stipend and education award. AmeriCorps and NCNCS: strengthening Nevada communities through service and volunteerism.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Governor's Points of Light Finalists Announced

FALLON, Nev. – The Nevada Commission for National and Community Service, Inc. (NCNCS) announced the names of 15 finalists to be honored during the Governor’s Points of Light Award dinner on Oct. 20 in Reno. The award program recognizes individuals and organizations for their dedication, commitment, and determination in promoting and supporting volunteerism throughout the state.

Finalists are: (Individual, North) Joan Dyer (Reno), Edward Feinhandler (Reno), and Patricia Kelly (Reno); (Individual, South) Carole Fink (Las Vegas), Steve Schorr (Las Vegas), and Joseph Vassallo (Las Vegas); (Individual, Rural) Judy Harris (Dayton), Alymae Shultz (Pahrump), and Jeff Weigel (Winnemucca).

Finalists in the Non-Profit/Service Organization category include Education Collaborative of Washoe County (Reno), Great Basin Institute (Reno), and Helping Hands of Vegas Valley (Las Vegas). Finalists in the Corporation/Business category include Bank of America (Las Vegas), Washoe Medical Center (Reno), and Wells Fargo (Las Vegas).

Finalists were selected from a field of nearly 50 nominees and were judged on their achievement through voluntary service, addressing an unmet need, innovative or unique approach, opportunities to mobilize other volunteers and endurance of an ongoing project, with exception to short-term crisis situations. One recipient in each category will receive the Governor’s Points of Light Award recognizing their service along with a monetary donation to the charity of their choice.

The awards will be presented by Governor Kenny Guinn during a dinner ceremony to be held at the Silver Legacy Resort Casino in Reno. Tickets for the dinner are $150 per person with proceeds benefiting the NCNCS and AmeriCorps programs throughout Nevada. The dinner will also feature a silent auction with items donated by businesses, celebrities and entertainers.

For more information, call NCNCS at 888-338-9759. Tickets may also be reserved online at americorpsnevada.org

Initial sponsors include Boyd Gaming Corporation, The Howard Hughes Corporation, IGT, Omidyar Network, Southwest Gas Corporation and Wells Fargo. For more information, call NCNCS at 888-338-9759. Tickets may also be reserved online at americorpsnevada.org

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Harrah’s and Employees Set $1 Million Goal

LAS VEGAS - Nevada Cancer Institute (NVCI) unveiled the Harrah’s reception area for chemotherapy patients located inside the Institute’s new flagship facility at One Breakthrough Way, 10441 West Twain Avenue. Harrah’s and its employees also announced a goal to raise $1 million for NVCI.

“This generous gift demonstrates Harrah’s and its employees’ outstanding commitment to the community and the fight against cancer,” said Heather Murren, president and CEO of NVCI. “We are thrilled to recognize Harrah’s and its employees with such a prominent space as the patient reception area. They are truly leaders in our community, and we hope this display of generosity serves as an inspiration to all Nevadan’s to join in the search for a cure for cancer.”

Harrah’s and its employees plan to contribute to their $1 million goal each year until 2007. Harrah’s Foundation will match a portion of employee contributions to the NVCI. The gift will be instrumental in helping NVCI, who will dedicate its flagship facility on September 23, 2005, in achieving its mission: To develop a comprehensive cancer research institute staffed by the finest scientists, clinicians, and caregivers. Together, we will provide hope for our community through education, support and patient-centered care. We will strive for a future without cancer through innovative translational research in basic, clinical and population science.

“What Nevada Cancer Institute has done for Nevada is immeasurable,” noted Gary Loveman, Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President, Harrah’s Entertainment. “In three years, they have exceeded our expectations and have filled the community with hope for a brighter tomorrow. They’ve made the vision of a world-class cancer center a reality for Nevadans and, in the process they’ve forever changed the healthcare landscape of our city,” Loveman said. “I would like to thank all the Harrah’s employees who have generously embraced this monumental project.”

Harrah’s Entertainment, Inc., is the world’s largest provider of branded casino entertainment. Since its beginning in Reno, Nevada 67 years ago, Harrah’s has grown through development of new properties, expansions and acquisitions. On June 13, 2005, Harrah’s Entertainment acquired Caesars Entertainment, Inc., and now owns or manages through various subsidiaries more than 40 casinos in three countries, primarily under the Harrah’s, Caesars and Horseshoe brand names.

The Nevada Cancer Institute (NVCI) is the official cancer institute for the State of Nevada. NVCI’s mission is to develop a comprehensive cancer research institute staffed by the finest scientists, clinicians and caregivers, to provide hope for the community through research, prevention, detection, (emphasis added) education, support and patient-centered care by striving for a future without cancer through innovative translational research in basic, clinical and population science.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

AmeriCorps VISTA To Recruit Members


RENO, Nevada - AmeriCorps VISTA, the United States’ “domestic Peace Corps” is announced 24 openings in seven different organizations for VISTA volunteers. An information session, which was open to the public, was held at 4:00 p.m. on July 11, 2005 at Big Brothers Big Sisters in Reno. For more information on future openings, call 352-3202.

For 40 years, AmeriCorps VISTA has been helping bring communities and individuals out of poverty. Today, nearly 6,000 AmeriCorps VISTA members serve in hundreds of nonprofit organizations and public agencies throughout the country - working to fight illiteracy, improve health services, create businesses, increase housing opportunities, or bridge the digital divide. They leave behind lasting solutions to some of our country's toughest problems.

In 1963, President John F. Kennedy spoke of a domestic volunteer program modeled after the newly established Peace Corps. The next year, President Lyndon B. Johnson declared a "war on poverty" and signed the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964. The Act created Volunteers In Service To America (VISTA) and fulfilled President Kennedy's dream. More than 130,000 individuals have dedicated a year of their lives to eradicating poverty in the United States through AmeriCorps VISTA in the past 40 years.

The first VISTA members started in January 1965, and by the end of the year, more than 2,000 members were working in the Appalachian region, migrant worker camps in California, and poor neighborhoods in Hartford, Connecticut. By 1966, there were 3,600 VISTA members serving throughout the country. Throughout the 1960s, they helped develop some of the first Head Start programs and Job Corps sites. The first members started agricultural cooperatives, community groups, and small businesses that still thrive today. 

Locally, AmeriCorps VISTA volunteers will begin to assist Big Brothers Big Sisters, Interfaith Hospitality Network, Great Basin Primary Care Association, Great Basin Outdoor School, Friends of Special Children, American Lung Association, and Food Bank of Northern NEvada.

Positions are full time volunteer assignments, focusing on resource (volunteer and/or financial) development. A “living allowance” is provided, as well as an Educational Award of $4,725 at the end of one year of service.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Harrah’s Opens Gulf Region Employee Assistance Center

LAS VEGAS – Stepping up efforts to help nearly 8,000 Harrah’s employees begin the process of recovery from Hurricane Katrina, Harrah’s Entertainment, Inc. announced the opening of the Harrah’s Gulf Coast Region Assistance Center today in Gulfport, Miss. The center, located at 11975 Seaway Road in Gulfport, is a resource for employees of Harrah’s three Gulf Region properties displaced by Hurricane Katrina. Available services include:

On-site, primary health care services. The first shipment of emergency medical supplies for the center arrived this morning from Louisville, Ky., on the company’s corporate jet; Assistance with compensation and benefits for displaced workers;
Listings of available shelters, local housing and transportation; Information on nationwide job opportunities within the Harrah’s network, and; Access to e-mail and to the Harrah’s Intranet with crucial relief and recovery information.

Employees unable to visit the center in person can call the company’s employee information line at 877-422-7466. Harrah’s is asking all displaced employees to visit the Mississippi center or call the information line so the company can account for all employees and direct them to relief services. Harrah’s anticipates opening a second employee assistance center in Louisiana in the near future.

In other updates: Harrah’s said it will make up the difference between military pay and regular pay to employees whose National Guard or Reserve units are activated for Hurricane Katrina relief efforts; The cast of Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding announced two special performances on Sunday, Sept. 11, at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. Guests making a contribution of $100 or more to the Harrah’s Employee Recovery Fund or the Red Cross will receive a free ticket to the show, while 30 percent of proceeds from the purchase of regularly-priced tickets will go to the Employee Recovery Fund. Both shows will feature guest performances by Nevada Lt. Gov. Lorraine Hunt and Las Vegas entertainer Dennis Bono;
Harrah’s readied 150 hotel rooms at its Bourbon Street hotel in Las Vegas to receive evacuees and displaced employees arriving from the Gulf Coast Region; As previously announced, Harrah’s will pay employees from its affected properties their regularly scheduled base pay, up to 90 days, and is giving these employees first preference for available jobs at other Harrah’s properties. In addition, the company has established temporary relief shelters for employees at its properties in Tunica, Miss., Lake Charles, La., and Bossier City, La.

The public can assist Harrah’s employees by visiting the company’s Web site -- www.harrahs.com – for additional information on how to help.

As more definitive news and damage assessments become available, Harrah’s will take additional steps to bolster relief efforts for its employees, and actively participate in the rebuilding of these vital communities. For more information, please visit: www.prnewswire.com/mnr/harrahs/22667/.

Harrah’s Entertainment, Inc., is the world’s largest provider of branded casino entertainment. Since its beginning in Reno, Nevada 67 years ago, Harrah’s has grown through development of new properties, expansions and acquisitions. On June 13, 2005, Harrah’s Entertainment acquired Caesars Entertainment, Inc., and now owns or manages through various subsidiaries more than 40 casinos in three countries, primarily under the Harrah’s, Caesars and Horseshoe brand names.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Show To Raise Relief Funds For Harrah's Employees

LAS VEGAS – Producers of “Tony N’ Tina’s Wedding” today announced they will offer two special performances this Sunday, Sept. 11, at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino’s Calypso Room to benefit Harrah’s Entertainment employees affected by Hurricane Katrina. The two performances are at 5 and 8 p.m. (includes dinner).

Both shows will feature guest performances by Nevada Lt. Gov. Lorraine Hunt and local entertainer Dennis Bono. Any guest who donates $100 or more to the Harrah's Employee Recovery Fund or the Red Cross will get a free ticket to one of these performances. For all other full price tickets sold to these two performances only ($78.95 plus tax a ticket for general seating, $125 plus tax for VIP seating), Tony N’ Tina’s Wedding will give a 30 percent donation to the Harrah’s Employee Recovery Fund.

“We are pleased to assist Harrah’s Entertainment employees in their recovery efforts,” said Raphael Berko, show producer. “We are counting on a great turnout this Sunday so we can make a difference in the lives of Harrah’s employees affected by Hurricane Katrina.”

Harrah’s Entertainment, Inc. continues to assist employees in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Harrah’s focus remains on the safety and health of its nearly 8,000 employees in Biloxi, Gulfport and New Orleans. The Recovery Fund, seeded last week with an initial donation of $1 million from the Harrah’s Foundation, will provide relief and recovery assistance to employees affected by the storm. In addition, a Harrah’s Employee Information Center has been created at the Harrah’s Entertainment Corporate Center in Memphis, Tenn.

The center will lead the effort to assist employees who have been evacuated and displaced by Hurricane Katrina. The Harrah’s Employee Relief hotline number is (877) 422-7466. For more information or to purchase tickets by phone, call the Rio Box Office at (702) 777-7776. For room reservations, call (800) PLAYRIO.

The show’s original New York director, Larry Pellegrini, directs and supervises the casting process of the Las Vegas version of “Tony N’ Tina’s Wedding,” which has played in more than 40 American cities, and has run successfully on Broadway for 18 years. Tony ‘n’ Tina’s Wedding is the creation of the improvisational comedy troupe, “Artificial Intelligence.”

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Prudential Searches For Youth Volunteers

CARSON CITY, Nev. - Over the past 10 years, Prudential Spirit of Community Awards have been given to more than 400 middle level and high school students across Nevada for helping the less fortunate, promoting health and safety, protecting the environment, and serving their communities through many other volunteer activities. This week the search begins to identify more young Nevadans who have made meaningful contributions to their communities over the past 12 months, as the prestigious awards program kicks off its 11th year.

These awards, presented nationwide by Prudential Financial, Inc. in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), honor outstanding community service by young people in grades 5 through 12.

"Young people who take the initiative to serve their communities through volunteerism are a great source of strength for our nation, and give us ample reason to be optimistic about the future," said Prudential Chairman and CEO Arthur F. Ryan. "We want to recognize them, encourage them, and hold them up as role models for all young Americans."

Application forms for The 2006 Prudential Spirit of Community Awards will be available over the next two months through middle level and high schools, Girl Scout councils, county 4-H agents, American Red Cross chapters, YMCAs, and member Volunteer Centers of the Points of Light Foundation & Volunteer Center National Network. They also may be obtained at www.prudential.com/spirit or www.principals.org/prudential, or by calling toll-free 888-450-9961.

Students must submit completed applications by October 31, 2005. Then, participating schools and local organizations will select Local Honorees and present them with Certificates of Achievement. These Local Honorees also will receive the President's Volunteer Service Award from the President's Council on Service and Civic Participation if they have contributed the minimum number of volunteer hours to qualify. All Local Honorees are then reviewed by a state-level judging committee, which will name the top two candidates from each state and the District of Columbia -- one high school student and one middle level student -- as State Honorees in February 2006. These State Honorees will receive $1,000 awards, engraved silver medallions, and an all- expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C., with a parent for four days of recognition events May 6-9, 2006. Runners-up at the state level will receive bronze medallions or Certificates of Excellence.

Last year, more than 20,000 students nationwide participated in The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards. In Nevada, Christopher Ruiz-Gardner, 18, of Las Vegas and John-Henry Lambin, 13, of Gardnerville were the state's top youth volunteers for 2005. Christopher, Nevada's top high school youth volunteer, was honored for organizing a community clothing drive that collected more than 15,000 articles of winter clothing and nearly $2,500 to assist the homeless. John-Henry, Nevada's top middle level volunteer, was recognized for creating "Kids Extreme," a program that supports young people who have asthma and dyslexia and seeks to educate others about these conditions.

In May 2006, a distinguished national selection committee will name America's top 10 youth volunteers of the year. These National Honorees will receive additional awards of $5,000, gold medallions, crystal trophies for their schools or organizations, and $5,000 grants from The Prudential Foundation for nonprofit, charitable organizations of their choice.

"Over the past 10 years, thousands of determined, thoughtful, and selfless young people have been recognized through the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards," said Gerald Tirozzi, executive director of NASSP. "NASSP is proud to be a part of a program that publicly recognizes the efforts of these amazing young people and we hope that it serves to inspire young people everywhere to give back to their communities and become civically engaged."

The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards represent the United States' largest youth recognition program based solely on community service, and have honored more than 60,000 young volunteers at local, state and national levels over the past 10 years. The program, which also is conducted in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, is part of a broad youth-service initiative by Prudential that includes a youth leadership training program administered by the Points of Light Foundation; a free booklet of volunteer ideas for young people offered through the Federal Citizen Information Center; and a Web site featuring profiles of outstanding youth volunteers, volunteer tips and project ideas for students, an electronic newspaper on youth volunteerism, and more (www.prudential.com/spirit).

Prudential Financial companies serve individual and institutional customers worldwide and include The Prudential Insurance Company of America, one of the largest life insurance companies in the U.S. These companies offer a variety of products and services, including life insurance, mutual funds, annuities, pension and retirement-related services and administration, asset management, securities brokerage, banking and trust services, real estate brokerage franchises and relocation services. For more information, visit www.prudential.com.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

USA Funds Steps Up With Disaster Relief

INDIANAPOLIS - USA Funds, the nation's leading education-loan guarantor, which also operates in Nevada, announced a commitment of $1 million to provide financial assistance to college students in sections of four states affected by recent hurricanes. USA Funds' financial support will provide assistance to low-income students attending schools in Alabama, Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi counties designated as federal disaster areas by the Federal Emergency Management Agency following hurricanes Dennis and Katrina.

Awards of up to $35,000 may be made to eligible postsecondary institutions that apply. Financial-aid offices at institutions awarded grants will distribute the funds to eligible students affected by the disaster to supplement the students' financial-aid packages.

Assistance of up to $750 may be given to each eligible low-income student who already receives Pell Grants or other need-based aid. The assistance may be used for immediate education-related needs or for second-term education expenses -- tuition, fees, books, room and board or other education-related expenses.

"USA Funds recognizes that low-income students are especially vulnerable to dropping out of school in the wake of such disasters, so we are providing this support to help these students stay in school and complete their studies," said Carl C. Dalstrom, USA Funds president and CEO. "This program is consistent with our nonprofit mission to support preparation for, access to and success in higher education."

For additional information about the program and to apply for a grant, campus financial-aid administrators should visit http://www.disasterrelief.scholarshipamerica.org/ .

Dalstrom noted that this marks the second year that USA Funds has supported disaster relief for college students. A grant from USA Funds provided $545,000 in emergency aid to students attending 41 postsecondary institutions in areas of five states -- Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana and Mississippi -- ravaged by four major hurricanes during 2004.

Headquartered in Indianapolis, USA Funds is a nonprofit corporation that works to enhance postsecondary-education preparedness, access and success by providing and supporting financial and other valued services. USA Funds annually guarantees education loans totaling $16.5 billion for students and parents throughout the nation and serves as the designated guarantor of federal education loans for eight states: Arizona, Hawaii and the Pacific Islands, Indiana, Kansas, Maryland, Mississippi, Nevada and Wyoming.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

NHRA Stars To Participate In Charity Event

LAS VEGAS – NHRA Funny Car drivers Tony and Frank Pedregon will join NHRA Top Fuel Dragster drivers Rod Fuller, Brandon Bernstein and David Grubnic in the second annual Speedway Children’s Charities Texas Hold’em Poker Tournament on Wednesday, Oct. 19, at the Cannery Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. The charity event will kick off the NHRA ACDelco Las Vegas Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Tournament players will have the opportunity to play No Limit Texas Hold’em Poker against the NHRA drivers. Entry fee (buy-in) is $250 and players receive $1,000 tournament in chips. Players also will receive complimentary hors d’oeuvres and drinks throughout the evening. The evening will conclude with a showdown between the top NHRA driver and the top tournament player for a trophy and bragging rights. This year’s grand prize for tournament players is a trip for two to Honolulu -- including five-day, four-night accommodations and roundtrip airfare.

For entries and information, please contact Janae Melvin at (702) 632-8242 or jmelvin@lvms.com, or download an entry form at www.scclasvegas.org.

Speedway Children's Charities (www.speedwaycharities.org) is a non-profit foundation based in Charlotte, N.C., that distributes funds to charities and foundations providing medical, emotional and social services to children in need. Founded in 1984 by O. Bruton Smith, chief executive officer of Speedway Motorsports, Inc., Speedway Children's Charities has grown into a national foundation with chapters located at each of the six Speedway Motorsports Inc., facilities, including Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif., Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway, Lowe's Motor Speedway in Charlotte, N.C., Texas Motor Speedway in Dallas-Ft. Worth and Atlanta Motor Speedway. Each chapter's objective is to assist as many children as possible.

Last December, The Las Vegas Chapter of Speedway Children’s Charities granted $275,000 to 51 local children’s causes during its annual grant distribution ceremony.

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