Viva Las Loathing

IMG_1125It’s shortly after 9 p.m. Monday when we pull into the Circus Circus parking garage. I’m three beers in and four shots to the wind, glad not to be driving. My girlfriend and I watched the football game at our bar a few blocks away and indulged in a goodly number of adult libations. I figured that for a school assignment, it would likely be deemed inappropriate were I to get into a Raoul Duke state of mind, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to walk in Thompson’s footsteps sober.

We parked on the bottom floor of the abandoned lot, only steps from the door. “This place is dead as disco,” Chrystal said skeptically as she flicked the totally legal, doctor prescribed marijuana cigarette away from the car. “I mean, I know it’s a Monday, but really? This is depressing.”

She was right, there were few people to be seen as we walked through the glass doors into the lobby. “Don’t worry,” I assured her confidently as I held the door like a damn gentleman. “It’ll be great, I just have to find the Carousel bar real fast, that and the American Dream.”

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UNLV Receives $12,000 Scholarship for Culinary Students.

UNLV logo

The Venetian and The Palazzo hotels announce $12,000 in new scholarships for UNLV students.

The Venetian and The Palazzo Culinary Arts Scholarship will provide $4000 for a UNLV hospitality major each of the next three years.

The hotels will work with the James Beard Foundation, which will administer the new award in August. “We are thrilled to share this opportunity with deserving students interested in the culinary arts in our local community,” said John Caparella, president and COO of The Venetian, The Palazzo and Sands Expo.

Founded in 1986, The James Beard Foundation today hosts food industry awards, and is involved in culinary scholarships, educational initiatives and publications. The sister properties claim more James Beard Foundation Award winning chefs than any other hotel in the world.

The merit based scholarship will be open to UNLV students majoring in Hospitality, with a concentration in restaurant management, as well as the final group of students in the recently ended Culinary Arts Management major.

“The hotels’ culinary department and the foundation’s scholarship selection committee will work with the foundation’s president Susan Ungero to determine the who gets the award said Dianne Harris Brown, of the James Beard Foundation. “We recognize Las Vegas as a center of fine dining in the U.S. and we are incredibly grateful for the opportunity to assist students who may not otherwise have the chance for formal education.”

“It is an external scholarship, we aren’t an active participant. We do have great appreciation of all awards that might help our students,” said Dan Abdalla, Director of Development for the College of Hotel Administration at UNLV.

The funds for the scholarship were raised at the benefit and gala held for the announcement of the finalists for last year’s James Beard Foundation Awards, touted as “the Oscars of the food world.” Since beginning their scholarship programs in 1991, the foundation has distributed $4.5 million in awards for culinary studies. This year they will be providing $484,000 in financial aid to deserving students.

“I would think more people would apply than actually do,” said Brown. Students who apply for the scholarship will also be eligible for many of the other awards given by the foundation. According to Brown about 1 out of 10 applicants are selected to receive an award.

Although other casinos in the city have provided scholarship opportunities for UNLV students, and the foundation has held other events in Las Vegas on a yearly basis, this is the first time the James Beard Foundation or these two properties have been involved.

“You cannot overestimate our gratitude to the foundation and the Venetian and The Palazzo, this is a lot of money and it’s really going to help our students,” said Pat Moreo, associate dean of the College of Hotel Administration.

The 2013 James Beard Foundation Awards will be held May3 and May 6 in New York City.

Applicants for the scholarship will be judged on grades, work experience, essays and records with a secondary consideration on need. Interested students may apply at

Nevada System of Higher Education Moves to Streamline Online Education

Digital learning

The NSHE paid $90,000 to Richard N. Katz and Associates for a report reviewing the online education system in Nevada, the resulting recommendation was a drastic overhaul of the Nevada’s e-learning system.

Katz and 5 of his associates labored for over 6 months with a team of faculty, staff and students from various institutions around the state and compiled a 105 page report, detailing the Nevada System of Higher Education’s current e-learning program, its flaws and opportunities for improvement.

The majority of the analysis is directed at the shortcomings in the system, the lack of availability for many students, the lack of central oversight and the resulting lack of cooperation between member schools. “E-learning within NSHE appears to be a collection of disparate and often beautiful fabric patches, not quite ready for quilting,” the report says.

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