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Volume 5 \ Fall 2006

Memories of Manny Latin Chamber of Commerce's \ By Tom Rodriguez

2006 La Oportunidad EXPO

Thank you to all of our sponsors, speakers, exhibitors, members, and of course, the Expo Committee team that made this year's Latin Chamber of Commerce Expo such a great success. Whether it was making a new business contact, or being inspired by our keynote speaker, everyone who participated in the Expo events gained something.

\ By Jennifer Mehner

with our well-received keynote speaker, Javier Loya, President and CEO of CHOICE! Energy in Houston, Texas. Mr. Loya, who is a minority owner of the NFL's Houston Texans, told us the story of his life, from his meager beginnings with immigrant parents that strongly emphasized the value of an education, to his great success. The day was

The late Manuel "Manny" Cortez

Almost everyone who has lived in Las Vegas for more than five years has heard of Manny Cortez, a four-term Clark County Commissioner and President and Chief Executive Officer for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority for 13 years prior to his retirement in May of 2004. It was not surprising, therefore, to see Las Vegas' "movers and shakers" give high praise to Manny in newspaper interviews following the news of his untimely death. He knew them all and called many of them friends. As someone who knew Manny for over twenty years, I too would like to share some of my memories about this remarkable man. My life first intersected with Manny's in April of 1981, the month that I arrived in Las Vegas to become the Director of Planning & Evaluation for the Las Vegas/Clark County Consortium, the federally funded Job Training Program serving Southern Nevada. At the time, Manny was a County Commissioner and was also the Chairman of the Executive Board overseeing the Las Vegas/Clark County Consortium. In that

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Expo attendees sample different products offered at the 4th Annual La Oportunidad EXPO 2006.

Our "Whole Enchilada" Sponsors in this year's Expo included: American Family Insurance, EMBARQ, Harrah's Entertainment, Inc., MGM MIRAGE, and Wells Fargo. Thank you all for your investment in our Hispanic Community. On June 16th, our exciting events kicked off with business development seminars held at Bellagio. The presenters were phenomenal and they shared very practical and valuable information with us. Presentations included: Where's My Money? Getting Your Deal Financed, Using Technology to Increase Your Profits, and Procurement Las Vegas Style. From there, we had a wonderful luncheon

pulled off with only the slightest of technical difficulties. We concluded our events on June 17th with the La Oportunidad Expo at Cashman Center. We had participation on all levels, from large corporations, to small businesses, to consumers and their families. Maggie Petrel, a local consultant for Global Professional Medical Consulting, stated that La Oportunidad brought a lot of opportunities to get clients and businesses together for her and for others, as it was a relaxed setting with an exciting, almost social, business environment. We had a record

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Helping Hispanic entrepreneurs succeed in business.

What are some of the biggest challenges Hispanic business owners will face in the next few years? There are nearly 2 million Hispanicowned businesses in the United States; these businesses are increasing in number at a rate nearly three times the national average. One of the biggest challenges they face is access to capital. The U.S. Hispanic Chamber has partnered with U.S. Bank to form "Capital!," a strategic loan program providing more than $1 billion over a five-year period to support small businesses in high-growth Hispanic markets across the country. Access to useful and affordable technology is important for small businesses. This is especially true for Hispanic-owned businesses, which tend to have less capital to invest in technology and less knowledge about which technologies can best meet their business needs than non-Hispanic-owned businesses. How can technology help minority businesses compete? The production power of Hispanicowned businesses continues to grow, but still lags behind that of non-minority businesses. Businesses should view technology as a long-term investment that will pay for itself by increasing efficiency and growth potential. What can small-business owners do to take advantage of technology solutions? Knowledge is important. Hispanic business owners must take the initiative to educate themselves on best practices and identify the technology applications that will best serve their business needs. The U.S. Hispanic Chamber's 2005 annual convention in Milwaukee hosted several technology workshops that focused on business growth through technology adoption. They also partnered with technology companies such as Avaya, Cisco Systems, Intel, SBC Communications, and Verizon Communications on several educational and outreach efforts to help Hispanic-owned businesses better understand the importance of integrating technology into their business models. Through these and similar partnerships, Hispanic business owners can maximize the potential of their businesses and better position themselves in the global marketplace. Has technology improved your ability to serve your constituents? Technology has created an entirely new way for us to communicate with our members and for chambers of commerce across the country to network and do business. For example, the Hispanic Vendor Directory, run by U.S. Hispanic Chamber's charitable foundation, is an international database that links our chamber members to Hispanic businesses around the world. The directory also serves as an online strategic resource for members seeking financial, educational, and business procurement opportunities. For more information on the U.S. Hispanic Chamber's technology efforts contact our U.S. Hispanic Chamber representative Mrs. Elizabeth Gallagher.

In this Issue

Memories of Manny La Oportunidad EXPO Hispanic Entrepreneurs La Oportunidad EXPO continued Chairman's Corner LCC Awarded USHCC Award A Center to Hone Skills Membership Committee Save the Date Awards Gala Toni DeAztlan Memories of Manny continued Small Business Capacity Program Women Business Enterprises Education Committee Director's Corner Liliam Lujan Hickey School... Chamber's Directors Media 0 A Good Friend Retires Funds for UNLV Dropout Study John Pacheco Green Card Marines Immigrant Elected to Assembly Hearing for Rural Groundwater Fall Water Restrictions From the Back of the Truck Harrah's Diversity Plan Overview Did You Know? Jose Melendrez Joins UNLV Nineteenth Annual Golf Latino Youth Leadership Past Events Gallery New Members 16 & 17 18 & 19 20 15 14 13 10 & 11 12 9 8 6 7 5 4 3 2 1

Latin Chamber of Commerce's 2006 La Oportunidad EXPO \ From Page

breaking number of exhibitors this year. More than 100 companies and organizations came together to make La Oportunidad the excellent event that it turned out to be. Christina Fuentes, Manager of Diversity Relations at MGM MIRAGE, found a new vendor at La Oportunidad that she used for an event soon after, and he was able to make several banners for them in just 48 hours. "He is just getting started trying to get work with the casino industry. I was one of his first customers and I was able to get him into contact with the Nevada Small Business Development Center so that he could register his company as a minority business." This was by far the best Expo we have had and the next one can only be even better. We are in the process of assembling our 2007 Expo Committee. If you are interested in joining the 2007 Expo Committee, feel free to contact the Latin Chamber of Commerce at (702) 385-7367.

The Passing of a Remarkable Lady


Comunicación Newsletter

Chairman's Corner

There have been so many blessings bestowed upon our chamber over the past summer that I am not certain where to begin in writing this message. I guess a good place to start is to tell you the chamber has finally implemented its first Health Insurance Program. In addition, this summer we had our second consecutive sold out golf tournament. It was a wonderful, fun-filled event with beautiful weather and well over 250 participants. We also had our most successful La Oportunidad conference with over 3,000 attendees who visited and sampled the wares of over 130 vendors. It seems the event gets better with each passing year. Another proud milestone that we reached this summer was our 12th Annual Latino Youth Leadership Conference, held on the campuses of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, the Nevada State College and the Community College of Southern Nevada. Also, for the first time ever in the history of any chamber in Las Vegas, the Latin Chamber, in partnership with the Urban Chamber,

Robert Gomez - Chairman of the Board

was successful in creating an economic development corporation that will invest in our respective communities. The program is called the Valley Center Opportunity Zone (VCOZ). I also take pride in mentioning the noteworthy achievements made by many of our members over the past couple of years. Individuals such as Ruben Kihuen, who recently won the Democratic Primary in the

August 24, 2006 Mr. Otto Merida President & CEO Latin Chamber of Commerce 300 North 13th Street Las Vegas, NV 89101 Dear Otto:

race for assembly District 11, and Mo Denis, who served with distinction during his first term as the Assemblyman for District 28 at the State Legislature, In addition, I am especially proud of my fellow Latina board members Elizabeth Gallagher and Irene Bustamante, who were both recognized at the national level, "you go girls." Of course I cannot go on without mentioning the unprecedented and generous donation made by Latin Chamber member, Aner Iglesias, which will surely continue to propel the Chamber's mission to the next level. I consider myself fortunate to serve our organization with so many talented board members. Together, we work in unison to make the chamber stronger every day. To date, I believe that we have accomplished what I envisioned when I took office as Chairman but it could not have been done without the help and support of this great membership and staff. I thank each and every one of you for all you do to make our chamber one of the best in the nation!

"The Latin Chamber of Commerce is awarded the USHCC's Large Hispanic Chamber of the Year Region I Award"

On behalf of the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC), I want to extend my sincerest congratulations for the selection of the Large Hispanic Chamber of the Year - Region I for the USHCC 2006 Hispanic Leadership and Business Excellence Awards. We hope that you can attend the Regional Awards Presentation which will be announced at the "Technology & Procurement Town Hall" at the USHCC 27th Annual National Convention & Business Expo on Thursday, September 21st at 8:30 a.m. in Philadelphia, PA. From this impressive group of regional winners, the National Award Winners will be chosen and announced at the Awards Gala on Saturday, September 23, 2006 at 7:00 p.m. Please register for the convention at The growth and impact of your chamber is a wonderful example of this year's theme "Let's Make a Deal: Hagmos Negocios" and the USHCC Convention is an excellent opportunity for us to showcase your achievements. This year's Convention and Expo is expected to be one of the largest celebrations in the history of the USHCC and is expected to generate millions for the city of Philadelphia. More than 3,500 attendees are expected to participate in a series of workshops and plenary sessions where experts will offer insight on issues that impact Hispanic businesses in the global marketplace. Please contact Gina Manley at (202) 842-1212 to confirm your attendance at our convention. Again, I want to extend my deepest congratulations and look forward to seeing you soon. Sincerely, Michael L. Barrera President & CEO

Fall 2006

Board of Directors 2006

Chairman Robert Gomez | Magic Brite Janitorial Vice Chairwoman Irene Bustamante-Adams | MGM MIRAGE Secretary / Treasurer Dr. Aldo Aguirre | Alianza Consulting Group Assistant Secretary Treasurer Elizabeth Gallagher | SAVI Construction Immediate Past Chairwoman Eloiza B. Martinez | Wells Fargo Bank Directors | One Year Alejandro Alvarez - Don Alejandro's Texan Grill Kelly D. Benavidez - City of Las Vegas Domingo Cambeiro - Domingo Cambeiro Corporation Dr. Rene Cantu - Nevada State College Carlos Collado - Bellagio Resort & Casino Amy R. Cornelison - KB Home Nevada, Inc. Judith Fleischman - Congresswoman Shelley Berkley Nancy Frago - Verizon Wireless Erick Lopez - LYLA Representative Larry Mason - Nevada System of Higher Education Daniel Tafoya - Carlk County School District Sylvia Vasquez - University Medical Center Jorge Viote - Clark County Health District Directors | Two Years Brian Ayala - Ayala's Inc. Maximiliano Couvillier, III - Lionel Sawyer & Collins Peter Guzman - Coldwell Banker Wardley Maria Marinch - Brown & Partners Tony F. Sanchez, III - Jones Vargas Judge Valorie Vega - Eighth Judicial District Court Alma Garcia Vining - University of Nevada, Las Vegas President & Chief Executive Officer Otto Mérida Senior Executive Vice President Victoria Napoles Business Delevopment & Membership Carlos Gomez Business Development Specialist Paul Quiroz Administrative Assistants Beatriz Saenz Ricardo Reyna Michael Tulimero

Latin Chamber: Creating A Center Where Members Can Hone Their Business Skills

The leadership of the Latin Chamber of Commerce has met with college and university leaders from Nevada State College and CCSN to discuss the maximum utilization of the Chamber's learning facilities, which are located directly upstairs from the Chamber Offices. If you have not visited our classroom and computer facilities, you are urged to do so! The goal of the Chamber leadership is to meet the learning needs of the membership and surrounding community. The ambition of current Chair, Robert Gomez, the business committee, and the education committee, is to offer learning opportunities at the chamber that help meet the membership and community's practical learning needs. We want to help our business members with the skills that they need to become stronger businesspersons. Among the points of discussion with college officials are what classes should be offered at the LCC Learning Center, when they should be offered and whether courses should be short or long term commitments. Ideas for classes included Basic Business Skills, Accounting Skills, Interpreter/Interpretation Classes, Basic Computer Skills and ESL classes. The LVLCC wants to offer classes that you can use, and that will help you in your business or career. A survey will be sent to the membership shortly to inquire about what would best serve their needs. We urge you to respond to this survey as it will determine what classes will be offered at the Chamber in the future.

"Coast to San Diego" Vacation Contest

\ By Amy Cornelison The Membership Committee has an exciting offer to make to all LCC members. How would you like to experience warm ocean breezes, enjoy cool evenings, marvel at beautiful scenery and savor excellent dining ALL FOR FREE??? Well, guess what, your ship has come in! The committee is looking for the best of the best. Do you have what it takes? The "Coast to San Diego Contest" will begin September 1st and end December 1st. What's the catch? Be the LCC member to recruit the most members to join the Chamber and you win! It's that easy. Please contact Carlos or Paul at the LCC when referring new members and they will take care of the rest! Whoever wins the contest will receive free roundtrip Southwest Airlines tickets for two to San Diego and a two night stay at a San Diego property. (You're responsible for rental car expenses and meals.) Are you one of the businesses who are offering a discount, benefit, incentive or product exclusively to LCC members through our "Member to Member Benefit Program?" If not, please contact the Membership Committee Chair, Ms. Amy Cornelison via email at [email protected] or you may reach her directly at her office (702) 266-8041. This is a great way to expose your business to new clientele and provide valuable service to your fellow LCC members. You'll also gain valuable exposure on the LCC's website and it is at no cost to you! So come on, sign up today; you have nothing to lose and new business to gain! Are you a new member to the LCC? We'd love to meet you and have you sit at our `New Member Table' at our next luncheon. Please contact the LCC staff to let them know you'll be attending and we'll see you there! It's a great way to meet new friends while exchanging business cards. Looking for another great way to mix and mingle with your fellow LCC members? The Membership Committee is working on upcoming mixers and details will soon follow. Keep checking the website for updates. If you have any questions, concerns or comments about the LCC, don't hesitate to contact me directly at my office. Your feedback is greatly encouraged and I look forward to hearing from everyone. If you would like to volunteer to serve on this committee, please phone or send an e-mail. Thanks for being part of the Latin Chamber of Commerce. Amy R. Cornelison, Director Latin Chamber of Commerce Membership Committee Chair

Published by: Latin Chamber of Commerce, Nevada, Inc. Chairperson / Editor / Writer: Daniel J. Tafoya, Clark County School District Co-Editor / Writer: Tom Rodriguez, Clark County School District Chief Graphic Designer / Photographer: Edward Dorville, Latin Chamber of Commerce LCC Office: 00 North th Street, Las Vegas NV 890 Phone (702) 85-767 Fax (702) 85-26 E-Mail [email protected] Web Page

Comunicación Newsletter

Toni DeAztlan: Harrah's Manager of Diversity Relations

\ By Tom Rodriguez

One of the new and attractive faces on the Las Vegas Strip is Toni DeAztlan, the new Manager of Diversity Relations for Harrah's Entertainment, Inc., the largest provider of casino entertainment in the world. In her new role, Toni works closely with local and national diversity organizations on behalf of Harrah's, and acts as an official representative of the company in identifying opportunities for strategic relationships with key organizations and individuals. Toni is a California girl, who grew up in the desert resort community of Palm Springs, which she says in many ways is a smaller version of Las Vegas, Nevada. Toni's mother was born in Mexico and her father is a fourth generation Mexican from California. Toni told this writer that her mother was and still is very active in California politics and is presently working on a Congressional race. Toni holds a BA Degree in Political Science from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), and a J. D. Degree from DePaul University School of Law. Prior to joining Harrah's Entertainment in 2005, Toni was an associate in a Los Angeles law firm, where she assisted city attorneys in evaluating and drafting city ordinances, codes, and resolutions. Toni also collaborated on city lobbying efforts at the local, state and national levels. Toni is very proud of the fact that she served as the official Spanish language Spokesperson, and as the affiliate television liaison for the 1996 Inauguration of President Bill Clinton. In that role, she organized and coordinated Spanish language television stations covering the inauguration. Later, Toni served on the advance team of then First Lady Hillary Clinton in 1995 and again in 1996, spearheading political rallies and fundraisers, supervising volunteers, and directing media relations. It is our good luck that Toni is now living and working in Las Vegas. Already she has worked closely and generously with the Latin Chamber of Commerce to help our organization with the upcoming Annual Awards Banquet, but more on that and on Toni at a later date.

Fall 2006


Memories of Manny

role, I regularly came in contact with Manny and quickly grew to admire his unique talent for solving problems. In early 1984, I informed Manny that I was in the process of writing several grants to obtain funding for a Bilingual Senior Center targeted to Hispanic persons. Manny told me to notify him when the grants were submitted and that he would lobby for their approval. As things turned out, with Manny's support, and that of Ron Lurie and the late Al Levy, two City of Las Vegas Councilmen, LULAC Council #11081 received $450,000 from the County of Clark, the City of Las Vegas, and the Nevada Division on Aging, to construct the first Bilingual Multi-Purpose Senior Center in the State of Nevada. On May 5, 1984, LULAC Council #11081 held a formal ground breaking ceremony at the future site of the LULAC Multi-Purpose Bilingual Senior Center. Manny, of course, was there and gave an insightful speech about the cooperation that had occurred in order to build the center. Today the Senior Center is operated by the Latin Chamber of Commerce under the name of Manny's good friend, the late architect, Arturo Cambeiro. Later, when I went to work in the County Manager's office as a Senior Management Analyst, I often worked closely with Manny. One example that I still remember fondly was helping to write a speech Manny gave at an international gaming conference held in Shannon, Ireland, in June of 1987. The speech went over so well that when he got back to Las Vegas, Manny came up to my office and thanked me for my assistance. In October of 1989, I left the County for the Clark County School District where I became the first full-time Diversity and Affirmative Action Officer. Manny supported me for that job by writing a wonderful letter and calling my future boss, Dr. Brian Cram. That was the type of stand up guy Manny was. If he liked you there wasn't anything he wouldn't do for you if you asked. A few years later in 1991, I co-wrote a book with Dr. Melvin "Tony" Miranda, titled Hispanic Profiles in Nevada History: 1829 ­ 1991. Manny was one of five individuals that I profiled in Part II of the book titled "Contemporary Hispanic Profiles." In the last paragraph of Manny's profile, I wrote the following which seems very appropriate following his death. It read, "Looking back on Manny Cortez's life and career, one has to be impressed with the scope and breadth of his accomplishments. Without

"Cinco de Mayo" Day: 1986 - Manny Cortez speaking at the dedication of the LULAC Senior Center (now known as the Arturo Cambeiro Senior Center).

a doubt Manny Cortez left his mark on the Clark County we live in today. His name is enshrined on dedication plaques on many buildings constructed by votes of the Clark County Commission. Less visible but much more significant, Manny's impact is felt every day by Clark County residents as they drive on modern highways, drink safe water, flush their toilets, catch a plane at McCarran Airport, pull a slot machine handle, make a bet in a licensed casino, and sleep safely in local hotels protected by the strictest fire safety codes in the world. For all of these reasons, and many more, Manuel "Manny" Cortez has earned his place in Nevada's history books." As much or more than any person in this city's long history, Manny Cortez has left his mark on Las Vegas and for that he will never be forgotten. There was another less public side to Manny, however, one tied to his Latino roots. For Manny, that was a part of his life that held a special place in his heart until the day he died. In fact, on the Saturday before his death, Manny spent the morning attending a meeting of the "Breakfast Club," which was formed in February of 2001 and is comprised of a small group of Hispanic friends that meet once a month on the first Saturday of the month. On that last Saturday morning, Manny was in high spirits and he talked a lot about his daughter Catherine's race for Nevada Attorney General and how good the race was going. He also had fun teasing his old friend, former casino executive, Tony Alamo, about Tony's private jet. Tony, in turn, teased Manny about his "golden parachute" retirement package. We had some fun times at those breakfast meetings, talking about upcoming boxing matches, our favorite football and basketball teams, our vacations,

local and national politics, local Hispanic issues, and always, about our respective families. It was and still is a totally stressfree environment where good friends come together to share a few hours of quality time. Somehow, I don't think it will be the same without Manny. At his viewing services, I spoke to his wife, Joanna, and told her that I was a member of the "Breakfast Club" and she smiled and said "When Manny would go to your breakfast meetings he never called it the Breakfast Club. Instead, he would tell me `I'm going to see the Mexicans `and we would both laugh. I know that he enjoyed going there." Manny also had a long association with the Latin Chamber of Commerce and was a featured speaker at many of the Chamber's famous monthly luncheons and annual banquets. Manny's first speech was at a luncheon held at the Kung Fu Restaurant where his topic was "The Future of Clark County." In 1986, Manny was awarded the "Outstanding Hispanic of the Year" Award by the Latin Chamber of Commerce. Like everyone who knew Manny, I'm going to miss him, and even though he lived a relatively long life, I still cannot shake this feeling that he died far too young. In remembering Manny, I will always remember how much he loved this city. He loved the deserts and the mountains, and the golf courses. He also loved the energy, excitement and creativity of the remarkable city that he helped to build. This was his home for over 60 years and he never wanted to be anywhere else, and now, he will be here forever - in the spring, summer, fall and winter - in the only place he called home. Rest well old friend, it was a true pleasure knowing you! ­ Tom Rodriguez

Comunicación Newsletter


The LCC proposes small business capacity building program \ By Aldo Aguirre, Peter Guzman, and Robert Gomez

Small business owners will soon have an opportunity to expand their business capacity with a new training program proposed by the LCC Business Development Committee and accepted by the Community College of Southern Nevada. The program will provide LCC Members and other small business owners an opportunity to enhance business management skills that will lead to a Certificate in Business Management. According to Dr. Rand W. Key, Vice President for Planning and Development for CCSN, "the LCC's proposal to create this class for small businesses fits right into CCSN's current strategic outreach plans, as we are looking for ways to increase the utilization of our satellite campuses." The idea is to capitalize on the strengths of both institutions. While the LCC has amassed a database of small business owners who have completed training classes, CCSN has a strong reputation for management education. Together the two organizations will be able to provide non-traditional students and small business owners an opportunity to earn a Certificate in Business Management, learn about general management and ethics, finance and accounting, marketing, logistics and human resources. This new program will provide a great opportunity for many small business owners who suffer from inadequate business information. Look in next month's LCC Newsletter for greater details on the LCC-CCSN Certificate of Business Management.

Education Committee Update

Over the last year, the Education Committee has been quite active on a number of fronts. A short summary follows: Latino Youth Leadership Conference: Over the spring and summer, the committee worked actively on improving the Latino Youth Leadership Conference, which took place this past June. About 45 students from across the valley participated in this conference, which is designed to prepare tomorrow's Latino leaders. The Latino Youth Leadership is now in its 12th year. Latin Chamber Scholarships/Career Day: In 2006, the Latin Chamber of Commerce awarded an unprecedented number of scholarships to students attending UNLV, CCSN and Nevada State College. Over 130 scholarships were awarded in 2006 to help recent high school graduates pursue their dream of higher education. Planning is now under way for the 2006-2007 Career Day which takes place this coming November. Policy Recommendations to the NSHE: Although Hispanics are one of the largest populations in Clark County, they are among the most underrepresented in higher education. The Education Committee worked closely with academic and community leaders across the valley to formulate a set of recommendations to improve Hispanic access and success in Nevada colleges. These were presented to the leadership of the Nevada System of Higher Education. The LCC Education Committee was very pleased when Chancellor Jim Rogers reviewed the committee's recommendations and signed a pledge to improve Hispanic and minority success at all NSHE schools. Among the policy recommendations set forth by the education committee were: increased scholarship support, increased Hispanic faculty and staff representation, early college outreach, and changes in teacher preparation to help future teachers better serve our growing Hispanic population.

The Women Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC)

The Women Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) certification for women-owned businesses is one of the most widely recognized and respected certifications in the nation. Accepted by over 700 major corporations across the country and a number of federal and government agencies, your WBENC certification will be an important marketing tool for expanding your company's visibility among decision makers in corporate supplier diversity and procurement. Special programs and initiatives developed by WBENC also provide certified WBEs with added information, training and resources for growing their business opportunities in both the public and private sectors. Moreover, WBENC exclusive initiatives like WBENCLink, WEBuy, the Accelerator Program are designed especially for certified women's business enterprises. Criteria for Certification 1. Fifty-one percent ownership by a woman or women. 2. Proof of effective management and control of the business (operating position, by-laws, hire-fire and other decisionmaking role, signature role on loans and contracts) 3. Contribution of capital and/or expertise 4. Independence

Fall 2006

5. U.S. Citizenship or U.S. Resident Alien Status Certification Process The first step to getting certified is completing the online application. In order to do this, you will need to go to Instructions/Application. Once the online application has been submitted, you will receive an email (within 24 hours) directing you to your Partner Organization. Upon receipt of the notification you need to mail the "Required Attachments", notarized sworn affidavit, printed copy of your application and non-refundable processing fee to your assigned Partner Organization. WBENC has 14 Partner Organizations across the country that handle WBENC certification in all 50 states. There is a non-refundable processing fee that ranges from $300 to $350 depending on where your business is located. There are no other fees for processing, but you will be expected to pay a processing fee annually as your company must undergo a recertification process every year.

The certification process takes 60-90 days from the time your Partner Organization receives your completed application packet. Feel free to contact the Partner Organization at any time to confirm they have received all of the necessary documentation from your company.


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Director's Corner

By Maria Marinch As we mentioned in the last edition of our newsletter, the Latin Chamber of Commerce (LCC) board of directors would like to use this space to answer your questions, listen to your comments and provide you with some information about your LCC leadership. This edition, we are featuring Kelly D. Benavidez, LCC board member and city council liaison for City of Las Vegas Councilman Lawrence Weekly. Here are some of the answers to your questions: Why did you decide to get involved with the Latin Chamber of Commerce? I feel a great sense of gratitude and responsibility to give back to an organization that has given me the opportunity to grow and learn. In your opinion, what is the number one issue facing Hispanics in Nevada today? The lack of political involvement. We are the largest minority, but still do not have the political impact that we should. What inspires you? My inspiration comes from the people around me, my friends and family move me to work harder and strive for better and they never let me give up. Tell us about a defining moment in your life. The night I received the Latin Chamber Community Service Award. It was very powerful to be recognized by an organization that I have so much respect for and to be surrounded by my friends and family. Anything you would like to share with LCC members? No one succeeds on their own, we should never forget the people that helped us get where we are and always look for those that need our help as well. Next edition, we will be featuring Peter Guzman, co-chair of the Business Development Committee. Guzman is a senior sales executive/partner with Coldwell Banker Wardley real estate. Born in Florida, Guzman came to Las Vegas 36 years ago. He has been deeply involved with the LCC and prides himself in helping people achieve the dream of home ownership. He is a dedicated man with a vision for the chamber and the Las Vegas Hispanic community. Please send your questions for Peter Guzman to [email protected] We hope to hear from you.

Liliam Lujan Hickey school dedicated

\ By Tom Rodriguez

On April 19, 2006, the Liliam Lujan Hickey Elementary School was officially dedicated. Its namesake, Liliam Lujan Hickey, has lived in Las Vegas for over 35 years. In those years, she has been a strong advocate for education and for the advancement of all students, especially Hispanic students. In 1985, Liliam founded the Latin Chamber of Commerce's Career Day Scholarship Program. In the 21 years since, the program has awarded over $908,000 in scholarships to local Hispanic students. In addition, Liliam's other step-child, the Las Vegas Classroom on Wheels, aka the COW program, continues to travel to poor neighborhoods offering early education and free medical and dental care to children. Liliam continues to serve as the President of the Classroom on Wheels program. On hand to help Liliam celebrate the dedication of her school were her three daughters, Mrs. Liliam Shell, Mrs. Silvia Walsh, and Ms. Mary Hickey, plus many of Liliam's friends, to include this writer, who attended the event with Victoria Napoles and Eloiza Martinez. Having a school named after her has been a longtime dream of Liliam and the realiza-

tion of her dream caps off a truly remarkable career and life. Her life story reads like an adventure novel starting with her escape from communist Cuba in 1959 with her late first husband, a former Cuban Olympic weight lifting coach. After living for short periods in Florida, Pennsylvania, and California, in 1962, Liliam and her family ended up in Las Vegas. Tragically, not long after they arrived in Las Vegas, Liliam's husband died suddenly of a heart attack and left her with three young children to raise. Being the indomitable fighter that she is, Liliam did what she had to do to survive and care for her children. Despite the many demands on her time, however, Liliam still made time to volunteer in the Cuban Refugee Program and did such an outstanding job in that program that in 1970 she was asked to go to work for the Nevada Welfare Division where she remained for the next 20 years. In the late 1970's, Liliam met and fell in love with Nevada Assemblyman, Tom Hickey, who later became a Nevada State Senator. It was a good match and from the time that they joined forces in marriage, Liliam and Tom have given much to make Nevada a better place to live. In 1988, Liliam was elected to the Nevada State Board of Education, where she became the first Hispanic woman to be elected to a statewide office. Liliam also served on the Governor's Advisory Board for the Division on Aging, the State Health Coordinating Council, the State Job Training Coordinating Council, the Southern Nevada BEST Coalition, the Girls and Boys Scouts of America, the Clark County Fair Advisory Council, and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Commission. Liliam was also selected by the Nevada 125th Anniversary Commission as one of the women who has had a significant role in making Nevada what it is today. For all of those accomplishments, and for all of her outstanding qualities as a caring human being, Liliam Lujan Hickey is definitely a person worthy of having a school named in her honor. Congratulations Amiga!

Comunicación Newsletter

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Chamber directors get 0 on media relations

\ By Judith Fleischman and Maria Marinch The Public Affairs Committee (PAC) hosted a special media-training seminar for Latin Chamber of Commerce (LCC) directors and staff the first week of July. The objective of the training was to provide a quick guide on media relations, interview tips and to share examples of good and bad media relations. The feedback of participants was overwhelmingly positive and the PAC hopes to continue providing support and training on this area as needed. Some of the interview tips shared were: · Know your interviewer and his/her style · Prepare for the interview · Use the skills and knowledge of your public relations professional · Target your message · Adapt to the media outlet · Create a message line and talking points · Mind your body language and tone · Be clear, sincere and precise The PAC may be offering an open session in media training for all LCC members in the upcoming months. We are currently exploring the level of interest for this type of training. If you are interested in participating, please send us an e-mail to [email protected] com and give us your name, title, organization name and current or past experience in public and media relations.

LCC contributes funds to UNLV to study high dropout rate

\ By Gian Galassi (702) 895-02

A good friend of the Latin Chamber retires

\ By Tom Rodriguez it to the Career Day Breakfast, worked with Victoria and the Career Day Committee to match the students to employer-sponsors, and even worked the receiving lines at the annual Career Day Breakfast to give students name tags and assign them to their employer-sponsor tables. On July 1, 2006, Joyce Woodhouse officially retired after working for 40 years with the Clark County School District. Joyce began her career in 1966 as an elementary school teacher at C. C. Ronnow Elemetary School. Along the way, she also taught at Vegas Verdes and Pat Diskin Elementary Schools, worked as an Assistant Principal at Walter Long, Harley Harmon, and Gene Ward Elementary Schools, and was the Principal at J. M. Ullom Elementary School. In 1989, Joyce became the Director of the School-Community Partnership Program where she remained until her retirement this year. Joyce also has a long and distinguished history of community service and served as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Public Employee Retirement System of Nevada for 16 years and was recently elected as a Board Member of the Silver State Schools Credit Union. Joyce recently won the Democratic primary to contest for a seat in Nevada Senate District 5 against incumbent Sandra Tiffany (R). Good luck Joyce and thank you for your many years of service to our Career Day Program. You will be missed!

Joyce Woodhouse

Joyce Woodhouse was there in 1985 for the first Latin Chamber of Commerce Career Day Program and she was there for the next 21 years and for that she deserves to be recognized and honored by our organization. Without exception, every year for the past 21 years, Joyce worked closely with Victoria Napoles and past Career Day Committee Chairpersons, Liliam Lujan Hickey, Tom Rodriguez, Alma Garcia Vining, and the current chairman, Larry Mason, to determine the number of students from each high school who are selected to attend the Career Day Breakfast and the "Day on the Job" work experience. Joyce also met regularly with high school counselors to help them select students from their respective schools, handled all communications with the counselors to make sure students made

Fall 2006

Researchers at UNLV's Center for Business and Economic Research (CBER) have been awarded a grant from the Annie E. Casey Foundation to study the reasons behind the high dropout rate of youth in Clark County. The $10,000 grant was matched by contributions of $5,000 each from James E. Rogers, chancellor of the Nevada System of Higher Education, and the Latin Chamber of Commerce Nevada. The project will be managed through Nevada KIDS COUNT, a program based out of the CBER, and will involve researchers from CBER, the UNLV College of Education's Department of Educational Leadership, the William S. Boyd School of Law, and officials from the Clark County School District. Using census data and focus groups, researchers will develop a set of characteristics common among dropouts and work to increase public awareness about the challenges those students face. Ultimately, the researchers hope their work will help influence policies that will lead to higher retention of that student population. "There is no existing research that addresses the unique factors leading to the high dropout rate of students in Clark County," said Keith Schwer, executive director of Nevada KIDS COUNT. "We need to better understand the challenges these students face so that we can work more efficiently toward improving their future." The research is an extension of a previous study conducted by a multi-disciplinary team of UNLV researchers chaired by Professor Sylvia Lazos of the William S. Boyd School of Law. Completed in Fall 2005, the project examined Clark County's rapidly growing immigrant population and its impact on the educational, social, and economic systems of Southern Nevada. The Nevada KIDS COUNT project is a statewide, collaborative effort that brings together a wide range of organizations and agencies involved with children and families in Nevada. By providing policymakers and citizens with the best available data on the educational, social, economic, and physical well-being of all children in our state, Nevada KIDS COUNT seeks to improve the lives and the futures of all our children.


The ever so colorful John Pacheco

\ By Daniel Tafoya

Among its kaleidoscope of talent, the Chamber has been blessed with many individuals who change the way we think, feel and imagine. One of those individuals, John Pacheco, a long time Chamber member and local art celebrity, has enriched our lives with the portraits he paints. These portraits capture the Latin flavor and passion of our local community. In a visit to John's art studio, which also serves as his home, John informed me that he has lived in the same neighborhood and practically the same house he was born in, for the past 60 years. You can say John is a homeboy in the true sense of the word. I quickly discovered that John does not seek wealth or glory, but freedom to create and to channel what is a seemingly limitless supply of creative energy on to the canvas. In sitting with him during this interview, I noticed that John is continually creating and contemplating his next creative work. About the only thing that pulls John's attention away from his work is the mention of his two lovely daughters, Amber and Ashleigh. I could only imagine the wonderful work of art that John would create if he captured the emotion that he expresses when their names are mentioned. Although I could fill pages upon pages with the portraits John has created, I decided to put my focus on presenting one in particular that seems to be the favorite of many. This painting (pictured on the opposite page) is entitled "Heritage;" an acrylic on canvas that depicts both Pacheco as a baby and Pacheco's father, as well as the church in Guaymas, Mexico in which Pacheco was baptized.

These are John's words concerning this painting: "My father was my hero. I was torn apart when he passed. I did this painting in honor of him. I would see him moving building materials in the yard (image in painting). He built our house himself on 27th street (1942). He made his own cement finishing tools, I can still hear the sound of him pounding metal on his anvil. His tools, the painting and photo of the house was displayed at the Lied Discovery Museum as part of a folk program. Everyone loved my father. Everyone who looks at the painting comments on his gentle smile. The Church steeples in the background are in Guaymas, Mex., where my Mother was born and where I was Baptized. My grandfather Juan Robinson and his brother owned a silver mine in Cooper Canyon but sold it in 1880. They also owned mines in Alamos and my uncle Juan had a ranch outside of Guaymas. He was killed by the Indians. My grandmother was born in El Rancho de Los Angeles (Los Angeles, before Cal. statehood) and my grandfather was born in Hermosillo, Mex." The painting was a finalist in the 1986 National Hispanic Heritage poster design contest for the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute's official exhibit in Washington, D.C. This painting reminds me of my own father. John has done work in a variety of me-

dia over the years. He has created large scale murals for buildings and masterfully created ceramic and bronze sculptures. It is not uncommon to find him involved in projects like airbrushing pieces on cars and vans, and occasionally, abstract art just for his own amusement. Pacheco, while still delving in creating with different forms of artistic media, concentrates more on murals and commissioned works. Pacheco's work can be seen from coast to coast, with creations including a sports mural in Myrtle Beach, S.C., a gambling history mural in San Diego and a 100-foot whimsical mural for Bad-Ass Coffee Company in Salt Lake City. Last year Pacheco left his artistic mark on a Henderson Redevelopment Agency's downtown beautification effort. About 30 trash cans were decorated and placed around downtown Henderson for public use. He also does design work. In addition to the downtown development effort, he designed signs and a new logo for the Little Chapel on the corner in downtown Henderson. Much of Pacheco's work has taken on historical significance in the Las Vegas area. Along with all of this other achievements, Pacheco has also received Presidential recognition for his rendition of former President Ronald Reagan that was placed onstage with President Reagan when he spoke during a visit to Las Vegas. John may not live the jet-set lifestyle that others do. I believe, however, that John's true reward in life is doing what he loves best, regardless of monetary gain. John, I believe I speak not only for myself, but members of the Las Vegas Latin Chamber of Commerce, when I say that we truly appreciate the richness you provide us through your spirit and talent.


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Green Card Marines

In March of 2003, the first official American death in Iraq was reported around the globe. The only error in the report was that the young soldier who was killed was not an American citizen, but a legal resident alien. U.S. Marine Lance Cpl. Jose Gutierrez (Green Card Marine), 18, who was killed March 21, 2003 near the Iraqi port city of Umm Qasr was serving his country as a legal resident alien who, under an executive order, was eligible for accelerated citizenship without the once required mandatory three-year waiting period; this according to the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service. Thus, the term Green Card Marine was coined. A 2002 article in Modern Leatherneck Magazine contained the following quote from President Bush, "the new order will reward those men and women who are born in other countries, but who now spend each day in honorable service to their adopted land."

\ By Daniel Tafoya

authorities detained him. The United States doesn't deport Guatemalan minors who arrive without family. Gutierrez was made a ward of Los Angeles Juvenile Court. He was placed in a series of group homes and foster families. During this time, he learned English and finished high school. When he reached the age of 18, he acquired the needed residency documents to stay in the U.S. According to the LA Times Marcelo Mosquera, a machinist from Ecuador, and his wife Nora, were the last couple that sheltered the tall, thin teenager. They cared for two younger foster children as well, at their home in suburban Lomita as stated by Hector Tobar, a family friend. Neighbors told the Los Angeles Times that Gutierrez acted as the big brother to the neighborhood, often taking younger kids to the nearby McDonald's. Tobar said Gutier-

rez had dreams of becoming an architect, but put college plans on hold to join the Marine Corps to serve a country that he was proud to be a part of and according to one of Jose's family members, "Jose wanted to give the United States what the United States gave to him. He came with nothing. This country gave him everything." There are many other "Green Card Marines" who have paid the ultimate sacrifice during the war in Iraq, not to mention that throughout our history there have been several Hispanic Congressional Medal of Honor recipients who were also resident aliens. I suggest you cut this article out and pin it up some place to keep their memory alive. Let us remember those who so gallantly serve this country, both citizens and non-citizens alike. Remember, freedom is not free, just ask a "Green Card Marine."

Ruben Kihuen: Immigrant Elected to Nevada Assembly

\ By Tom Rodriguez

U.S. Marine Lance Cpl. Jose Gutierrez

I remember the day Jose Gutierrez picture appeared in the Review Journal. His picture and story instantly touched my heart. I highlight his story here in hope that his sacrifice is not quickly forgotten. Born in Guatemala, Gutierrez held permanent U.S. resident status, which he obtained in 1999. At 14, with both his parents dead, Gutierrez followed the path of 700,000 of his countrymen to California. He made the 2,000-mile journey from his Guatemala City neighborhood without entry papers. He hopped 14 freight trains to get through Mexico. Ultimately, the U.S. immigration

When the Nevada Legislature convenes in January of 2007, it will have a new face, a face that looks a lot like me and like hundreds of thousands of other Latinos who live in Nevada. The name on that face is Ruben Kihuen, a young, handsome, intelligent new member of the Nevada Assembly, representing District 11. Ruben will join his colleague, Mo Denis, the Assemblyman from District 28, as part of a new Hispanic tandem in the Nevada Assembly. The only other times in my memory that two Hispanics have served at the same time in the Nevada Legislature was when Senator Bob Coffin and former Assemblyman, Brian Sandoval, served together, and again when Senator Coffin and Dario Herrera served at the same time. None of them, however, was an immigrant. Ruben, a Mexican immigrant who came to this country at nine years of age, is the son of Armando Kihuen, an eastside Hispanic activist and a teacher in the Clark County School District. Ruben is a graduate of Rancho High School and UNLV. Ruben served his political apprenticeship working with Dario Herrera in his run for Congress, and on several local and national Demo-

Assemblyman Ruben Kihuen

cratic campaigns. Ruben won his Assembly race by gathering 992 votes (60.4%) of the 1,642 votes cast in the District 11 primary race. Because Ruben faces no opposition in the November General Election, he automatically becomes the Assemblyman in District 11. Felicidades Ruben!

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Hearings slated for rural groundwater applications

This September, the Nevada State Engineer is scheduled to open hearings on the first group of applications that the Southern Nevada Water Authority has submitted for consideration for unused groundwater in rural and east-central Nevada. While the snow-covered mountains of east-central Nevada are 200 miles away, the rich groundwater basins in the valleys below hold a sustainable, naturally replenished water supply that can help Southern Nevada reduce its dependence on the drought-stricken Colorado River, which provides about 90 percent of our current water supply. By law, unused groundwater in Nevada--no matter where it is located--belongs to the state as a whole and is to be used for the benefit of the public at large. The State Engineer's office will consider that, along with the needs of the counties where the basins are located, environmental issues and more throughout the hearings. The SNWA's development of groundwater in northern Clark, Lincoln and White Pine counties could potentially yield up to 180,000 acre-feet of water for the Las Vegas Valley, providing additional stability and capacity to the valley's water supply. One of the most important water resources available to all Southern Nevadans is water conservation itself. Through innovative programs that promote efficient outdoor water use and decrease water waste, the SNWA encourages the community to be Water Smart and conserve ­ which has a direct impact on the amount of future resources that are needed. To learn more about SNWA in-state resource projects, visit

\ By Daniel Tafoya

Stories from the Back of the Truck

A familiar scene in Las Vegas of Hispanics going to work by riding in the back of a truck.

Fall watering restrictions under way

With fall watering restrictions in effect, it's time to change your irrigation clock. Be sure to set your clock to three days a week (according to your watering group) or, if you have a landscaping service, make sure they are setting it correctly. Drought restrictions limit sprinkler watering to three assigned days per week from

Fall 2006

While navigating the busy streets of Las Vegas, many of us have been witness to immigrant workers, predominately Mexicans, sitting in the back of work trucks; be it landscaping, maintenance or construction. I sometimes find myself stuck in traffic behind a work truck and wonder what are these peoples' stories, what adversities did they overcome to get here and what dreams are they pursuing? I decided one day to follow a truck with about five laborers in the back and ask one of them if they would share their story with me. I met a man who was willing to talk to me; he asked that I not use his real name. For the purpose of this article we will call him Miguel. Miguel came from a small pueblo just outside of Mexico City almost 2 years ago. He said it was not easy getting to America and that it cost him everything he had. He misses his pueblito, his family and friends, but knows that this is the only way to provide for his family. "The money I make here goes back to Mexico to support my family." stated Miguel. He further stated that when Sept. 1 through Oct. 31. Groups A, C and E may sprinkler water only Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Groups B, D and F water Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Watering is prohibited on Sunday. Drip irrigation may be operated any day of the week, but cannot exceed three days per week. Starting Nov. 1, watering will be limited to one assigned day per week. All customers are assigned to a watering group with specific, assigned watering days.

he gets enough he will send for his family and try to obtain his citizenship. I asked him what he is thinking about when he sits in the back of the truck and stares into traffic. He indicated that sometimes he is scared that someone will find him out and send him back to Mexico, but most of the time he thinks about home. He started off as a day laborer and then a friend of his was able to get him started with more permanent work, "The bosses are good people and it encourages me to stay." Sometimes as they are stuck in traffic, he hears people driving by, yelling, "Go back to Mexico wetback." He said he found the Mexican community is helpful, but much of what happens is more of an underground network. In my interview with Miguel, it leads me to question how many of us are here because of someone willing to ride in the back of the truck? The intent of this story is not to place a stamp of right or wrong on illegal immigration, it is an attempt to tell one human being's story that I saw sitting in the "Back of the Truck." Individual watering group assignments may also be looked up by address at Watering on the wrong day of the week or excess watering could lead to a water-waste fine, underscoring the importance of adjusting clocks properly. For fixed spray sprinklers on lawns, the SNWA recommends three, four-minute watering cycles at least one hour apart to prevent runoff. For more information, visit

Harrah's Diversity Plan ­ Overview

Harrah's Code of Commitment is the foundation for our diversity and inclusion initiative. Our Code provides a focused method for acknowledging, valuing and embracing every segment of local, state, and national stakeholders in Harrah's family. The Code, along with Harrah's Diversity and Inclusion vision, helps ensure that we create an environment where everyone is respected and included. We leverage similarities and differences, both visible and non-visible, to enhance our workforce, workplace, and marketplace. Harrah's is focused on diversity and inclusion in the areas of Human Resources, Supplier Diversity, Operations, Construction Contracting Diversity, Community Relations Diversity, and Marketing-Branding. At Harrah's, diversity is a major component of how we operate. Diversity and Inclusion are central to the Code's three tenets; our employees, the communities in which we operate, and our customers. To find out more about our diversity programs, please visit and click on the "Diversity" Link. To register as a minority, woman or disadvantaged supplier, please visit

Jose Luis Melendrez begins new job at UNLV

\ By Tom Rodriguez

Jose Luis Melendrez

Did you know?

Clark County:

the Hispanic Population in...


Clark County School District:


Community College of Southern Nevada: 18.8%


Nevada State College: 16%


As hard as it is for me to believe, almost five years have passed since Jose Luis Melendrez left Las Vegas for Ann Arbor, Michigan, where his wife, Magda, enrolled in her Ph.D. program at the University of Michigan. Prior to leaving Las Vegas, Jose was employed as a Regional Representative for United States Senator Harry Reid. As it turned out, after arriving in Ann Arbor, Jose decided to work on his Masters degree in Social Work, which he received in 2003. With his new Master's Degree, and his BA Degree in Political Science from UNLV, Jose applied for and was hired for the job of Project Coordinator, Research & Community Outreach with the Healthy Lifestyles Project at the University of Michigan. A year later, he applied for and got the job of Project Manager for the REACH Detroit Partnership Program. The original plan was for Jose to continue working while Magda finished her Ph.D. In early 1994, however, Magda and Jose found out that Magda was pregnant and on December 22, 2004, Jose and Magda became the proud parents of Eva Magdalena Melendrez, their first child. The new parents, of course, came home to Las Vegas to show their respective families their beautiful new daughter. While here, they decided that they wanted to raise their daughter close to family. Once that de-

cision was made, Jose began to actively look for a job in Las Vegas. In April of 2006, Jose came to Las Vegas to interview for a position at UNLV. As it turned out, he did not get that job but so impressed the interview panel that they contacted him in Michigan and offered him an opportunity for a better job in a new program UNLV was starting. After several weeks of negotiations, Jose accepted the job offer and on July 1, 2006, Jose began his new job with the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) as the Director of Student Diversity Programs and Services in the Division of Student Life. In his new job, Jose will help to create and foster the development of policies, procedures, programs, and activities which enhance campus diversity and multi-cultural student engagement. By fostering in-class and out-of-class learning in diversity, and promoting a healthy, respectful institutional climate that effectively responds to the needs and concerns of under-represented student constituencies, the contributions of all student populations will be recognized and honored and students will be actively supported in realizing their academic, civic, and personal goals. In addition, in order to enhance the student experience on the UNLV campus, the Office of Student Diversity will also work to build supportive relationships with community leaders and organizations and invites all community members who are interested to get involved by contacting Jose. Jose informed me that his wife, Magda, will complete her Ph.D. dissertation while living in Las Vegas. He said that the focus of Magda's research is on Latinos in higher education and the role that family support plays in their success. Magda will be working with first year Latino college students to document their experiences and tell their stories. The Latin Chamber of Commerce extends a warm "welcome home" to Jose and Magda Melendrez, two native Las Vegans whose education and talents will undoubtedly have a positive impact on our community.

University of Nevada, Las Vegas:


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search for members @

Nineteenth Annual LLC Golf Tournament

\ By Daniel Tafoya to help them win the tournament. The players and volunteers gathered for lunch after the tournament to hear the announcement of winners and to take home one of the many raffled items. Jose Troncoso, of TCCS Limited, was the master of ceremonies for the event and had the pleasure of announcing the winners of the Golf Tournament. Nevada Power Company First Place Golf Tournament 2006 - Jose Troncoso, Richard Stephenson, Curtis Anderson and Hector Morales Ruth's Chris Steak House Second Place Golf Tournament 2006 - Brad Tacich, Frank Tousa, Mark Maniscalco and Jesse Medellin Todd A. Williams Third Place Golf Tournament 2006 - Todd A. Williams, Mike Morgan, John Laikan and Hank Rattz Congratulations to our winners and all who participated in the tournament making it the most successful to date.

Players measure their shot at the Nineteenth Annual Golf Tournament, on July 29, 2006.

This summer, the Latin Chamber held its Nineteenth annual golf tournament at the beautiful Las Vegas Paiute Golf Resort. It was wonderful to see the level of support that Chamber supporters offered to this year's tournament. This year's event was an almost sold out event. The day was spent on the beautiful Snow

Mountain and Wolf courses, where everyone competed for first, second and third place cash prizes and coveted First Place bragging rights. In addition to cash prizes the event included hole-in-one challenges in which golfers competed for many wonderful prizes. It was a fun and eventful day where the teams were counting on the "Best Shot"

Latino Youth Leadership Conference 2006

\ By Ricardo Reyna Sunday July 25th, 2006, was a day many students who attended the Latino Youth Leadership conference will never forget. It was a culmination of a week-long leadership conference, where students are exposed to a wide variety of leadership workshops, speakers and college preparation seminars. On the last day of the conference, students experienced a wide range of emotions. For many it was a feeling of melancholy triggered by the reality that they might never see each other again. For others, however, it was a happy and gratifying moment seeing their parents again for the first time in a week. Over fifty students from various area high schools embarked upon UNLV early on the morning of Wednesday, June 21st. Students were exposed to both UNLV and CCSN campuses. The conference for the first time also visited Nevada State College, where students were introduced to this new and rising higher-education institution. The success of this year's conference once again sparked interest from students in the

Fall 2006

Participants and facilitators form a pyramid on their last day at the Latino Youth Conference.

Latino Youth Leadership Alumni Association, where they will continue to apply their skills and gain new values in leadership and education. The Latino Youth Leadership

Conference was made possible by contributions from UNLV, MGM MIRAGE and the Latin Chamber of Commerce.


Exhibitors and guests walk to the booths at the Joint Chambers Alliance Day

Harrah's Entertainment representatives along with three Chambers of Commerce Presidents

Guests look through the exhibitors' products and services

Steve Schorr explains the rules at the "Using Technology to Increase Your Profits" seminar

Guests look through packets of information provided by Connecting Point

Chairman Robert Gomez, Senior Executive Vice President Victoria Napoles and President Otto Merida watch Fred Keeton from Harrah's Entertainment cut the ribbon at the Joint Chambers Alliance Day

Juergen Barbusca writes notes as he listens to the speakers at the EXPO Seminars

Citibank representatives at their table at the EXPO luncheon

Javier Loya, Minority Owner of NFL's Houston Texans, is the EXPO Luncheon main speaker

Students listen to facilitators introducing the LYLC week's program

Familia Group Picture at the 2006 LYLC

Familia Group Picture at the 2006 LYLC


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Outside the EXPO doors at Cashman Center

Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority at La Oportunidad EXPO 2006

Harrah's Entertainment at La Oportunidad EXPO 2006

Products from Mexico at La Oportunidad EXPO 2006

Ben Lopez, U.S. Bank, surrounded by Mariachi Plata de Las Vegas

The EXPO coordinators gather to take a group picture

Domingo Cambeiro is the master of ceremonies at the Golf Tournament Luncheon

Chairman Robert Gomez (far left) and President, Otto Merida (third from left) pose with MGM MIRAGE representatives at La Oportunidad EXPO 2006

Nevada Power team takes first place at the 19th Annual Golf Tournament

Isabel Pfeifer and Sandy Peltyn present a check to the LCC Career Day Scholarship Fund

Congresswoman Shelley Berkley receives plaque at August Luncheon

Ruth's Chris Steak House team takes second place at the 19th Annual Golf Tournament

Fall 2006


Bienvenidos! Welcome! New Members...

American Casino & Entertainment Properties, LLC Chris McGivern 2000 Las Vegas Blvd. Las Vegas, NV 895 Hotel & Casino PHONE: (702) 8-52 American Casino & Entertainment Properties, LLC Fe Miranda 2000 Las Vegas Blvd. Las Vegas, NV 895 Hotel & Casino PHONE: (702) 80-7777 Artisan Lending Group David Mendez 7575 Vegas Drive Suite 0 Las Vegas, NV 8928 Mortgage PHONE: (702) 07-9907 Beneficial Financial Group Geoffrey Bingham 270 Corporate Circle Suite 250 Henderson, NV 8907 Financial Advisory PHONE: (702) 87-008 x 6 Benson, Bertoldo, Baker & Carter Javier Arguello & John Bertoldo 708 West Sahara Avenue Las Vegas, NV 897 Law Firm PHONE: (702) 92-055 Canada Way Drugs Fabina Kara # 5-70 20 Street Surrey, B.C. VWM8 Pharmacy PHONE: (60) 597-5922 Celebrity Media Entertainment, LLC Aldo Aguirre 98 W. Charleston Blvd Suite 2-80 Las Vegas, NV 897 Entertainment PHONE: (702) 96-270 Century 21 Money World Natalia Guevara 75 North Stephanie Street Bldg. Henderson, NV 890 Real Estate PHONE: (702) 75-78 Chaps Mobile Wash & Detail Michael Chapa 620 Meadow Lark Lane Las Vegas, NV 890 Car Wash Service PHONE: (702) 66-776 City of Las Vegas Lorettta Arrington 00 East Stewart Avenue, 0th Floor Las Vegas, NV 890 Government PHONE: (702) 229-605 Concentra Medical Centers Gerry Ramirez 5 West Brooks Avenue North Las Vegas, NV 8900 Occupational Medicine PHONE: (702) 99-655 Credit Learning Systems Argel Silva 225 East Flamingo Road Suite 00-C Las Vegas, NV 899 Credit Restoration PHONE: (702) 987-5280 De La Vega Construction LLC Ruben De La Vega 80 Fawn Meadow Avenue Las Vegas, NV 896 Construction PHONE: (702) 275-928 Desert PCA of Nevada LLC Katiushka Lozano de Posada W. Oquendo Rd. Suite 5 Las Vegas, NV 898 Personal Care Provider PHONE: (702) 878-676 Embarq William Chavez 8316 Grand Pacific Drive Las Vegas, NV 8928 Telecomunications PHONE: (702) 2-7079 Estrella Insurance Services Darvin Gomez 0 South Valley View Blvd. Las Vegas, NV 8902 Insurance PHONE: (702) 75-8 Farmers Insurance Group Michael Williams 0 East Russell Road # 05 Las Vegas, NV 8920 Insurance & Financial Services PHONE: (702) 27-622 Farmers Insurance Group c/o Travis Twiford Travis Twiford 200 East Flamingo Road Suite 5 Las Vegas, NV 899 Insurance PHONE: (702) 6-7 Flavio Jimenez LTD Flavio Jimenez 87 Coronado Center Drive Suite 200 Henderson, NV 89052 Real Estate & Mortgage PHONE: (702) 952-2889 Frazee Paint & Wallcovering Eleazar Cardenas 5280 South Valley View Las Vegas, NV 898 Paint & Wallcovering PHONE: (702) 29-629 Freedom Financial Mortgage Gilbert Martinez 20 West Horizon Ridge Parkway Suite 0 Henderson, NV 89052 Mortgage Broker PHONE: (702) -28 Gallagher Group / EccoSelect Adriana Martinez, Jeanette Prenger & Kevin Prenger 055 Spencer Street Suite 206 Las Vegas, NV 899 Technology Consulting PHONE: (86) 2-820 Gallagher Group / El Taller Colaborativo Elizabeth Gallagher, Alex Garcia, Francisco Ruela & James Welsh 055 Spencer Street Suite 206 Las Vegas, NV 899 Architecture, Engineering & Landscape PHONE: (702) 75-075


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Bienvenidos! Welcome! New Members...

Greater Vegas Personal Care LLC Fabiana Alfaro 6 South Jones Blvd. Las Vegas, NV 8907 Personal Care PHONE: (702) 75-888 ICI Paints Juan Gonzalez North Rancho Road Las Vegas, NV 890 Paints Manufacture & Distribution PHONE: (702) 65-500 In Business Las Vegas Bruce Spotleson 2290 Corporate Circle Henderson, NV 8907 Publishing PHONE: (702) 990-2 Informecial Sales, Inc. Mauricio Cardona 00 Academy Drive Las Vegas, NV 895 Bookeeping, Income Tax, Consulting, Accounting PHONE: (702) 2-909 La Tortilla Factory Luz Medellin 00 East Lake Mead Blvd. Suite 8 North Las Vegas, NV 8900 Tortilla Factory PHONE: (702) 67-0202 Las Palmas Mariachi Restaurant Francisco Lara 95 East Sahara Avenue Suite A-27 Las Vegas, NV 890 Restaurant PHONE: (702) 72-000 Lee & Associates Commercial Real Estate Services John Bacon 00 Grier Drive Las Vegas, NV 899 Commercial - Real Estate PHONE: (702) 79-6222 Levi Strauss & Co. Yolanda Burroughs 50 Executive Airport Drive Henderson, NV 89052 Distribution & Wholesale PHONE: (702) 269-8889 Lucy's Cleaning Service Maria Guillen 97 North Cir # Las Vegas, NV 899 Janitorial PHONE: (702) -5067 Magna Electric, Inc. Debra McCarthy 585 West Shelbourne Las Vegas, NV 899 Electrical Contractor PHONE: (702) 68-0820 Mary Kajoyan Mary Kajoyan 790 West Sahara Avenue # 200 Las Vegas, NV 897 Financial Planning PHONE: (702) 6-0222 Maximum Meetings Ronald Washington 90 Pont Chartrain Las Vegas, NV 895 Conference, Convention & Meetings Management PHONE: (702) 20-600 Municipal International Anthony Lopez P.O. Box 77786 Henderson, NV 89077 Government PHONE: (702) 58-988 Nevada State Bank Rosa Lucero 5 South Maryland Parkway Las Vegas, NV 8909 Banking PHONE: (702) 77-8798 ¿Que Pasa? Vegas Magazine James Ingram 220 Greens Ave. Las Vegas, NV 892 Publications PHONE: (702) 27-877 Rave Enterprises LLC Ernestina Lutzke 908 Ricky Road Las Vegas, NV 890 Construction PHONE: (702) 95-67 Restrepo Consulting Group LLC John Restrepo 960 Howard Hughes Parkway Suite 0 Las Vegas, NV 8969 Consultants PHONE: (702) 967-88 ext. 0 www. Richmond American Homes Nicolas Tompkins 9970 West Cheyenne Avenue Suite 00 Las Vegas, NV 8929 Home Builder PHONE: (702) 20-5600 RRed Line Strategies Justin Griffin 267 Sandrock Point Lane Henderson, NV 8902 Investment & Mortgage Education PHONE: (702) 6-867 Staffmark Veronica Melton, Lilliam Pagan & Julie Renteria 50 South Rancho Dirve # G5B Las Vegas, NV 8906 Temporary Staffing PHONE: (702) 598-0096 Sullivan Square Dana Limon 960 Howard Hughes Pkwy. Suite 500 Las Vegas, NV 8909 Real Estate PHONE: (702) 265-9682 T C C S Limited Jose Troncoso 52 Spectrum Blvd Las Vegas, NV 890 Physical & Electronics for Institutions PHONE: (702) 5-22 Vegas Valley Personal Care Ema Gomez-Mitchell 506 Alta Drive Las Vegas, NV 8907 Home Health Care Provider PHONE: (702) 870-8855 Washington Mutual Bank Michael Marryat & Sonia Morffi 8975 West Charleston Blvd. Suite 00 Las Vegas, NV 897 Financial Institution PHONE: (702) 82-250

Fall 2006


The Passing of a Remarkable Lady

\ By Tom Rodriguez arrived here, it was to be in Las Vegas, Nevada, that Maria would find her soul mate and her lifelong search for a place to call home would come to an end. In late 1975, Maria met and fell in love with a young, handsome, Cuban, by the name of Otto Merida, who like her had also led a nomadic life since leaving Havana, Cuba. Merida had arrived in Las Vegas in 1974 by way of Miami, Florida, Fitchburg, Massachusetts, and Lawrence, Kansas. On February 28, 1976, Maria and Otto Merida were married and embarked on a wonderful journey and partnership that would last for thirty years, until her death. In thinking about Maria's life, and her death, I am reminded of a saying I once read that said "The pain we feel when someone we love leaves our life, is in direct proportion to the joy they brought us while they were a part of our life." If that was true of anyone, then it was true of Maria ­ a kind and highly intelligent person who found happiness in Las Vegas and created the legacy that she has now left to those of us who knew her well. Shortly after her death, Otto, her husband, told me how Maria believed that as long as someone remembers you, you never really die. Using that as a measurement, Maria will be with us for a long, long time!

The late Maria Merida

To many people in the Hispanic community, particularly those new to Las Vegas, Maria Merida was known only as the wife of Otto Merida, the Executive Director/President of the Latin Chamber of Commerce. In reality, however, Maria was much more than just a devoted and much-loved housewife. In fact, long before she became Mrs. Merida, the former Maria Rodriguez was an adventuresome and accomplished woman. Her story began with her birth in the far away city of Cadiz, Spain. At an early

age, her father and mother divorced and her mother remarried. When she was ten years old, her family moved to La Havana, Cuba. It was there that Maria began to excel in school. After graduating with honors from the prestigious Norel Academy, she attended La Havana University and earned her law degree. Afterwards, she worked as a criminal lawyer litigating homicides and robberies. A few years later, Maria changed jobs and became the chief administrator at Our Lady of Mercy Hospital in Havana where she remained for nine and a half years. In 1969, Maria decided to leave Cuba and returned to her birthplace of Spain where she found a job working for a Spanish importexport company. In 1973, Maria made another momentous decision and left Spain to move to Miami, Florida. Two years later, in 1975, the restless Maria moved again to the City of Las Vegas, Nevada, and quickly found work as a professional interpreter and translator for the Small Business Administration. Always seeking to advance herself, Maria then went to work for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors' Authority as a part-time Registrar and remained there for the next twenty years. Although she did not know it when she


Latin Chamber of Commerce, Nevada, Inc. 300 North 13th Street | Las Vegas, NV 89101 PHONE (702) 385-7367 FAX (702) 385-2614 E-MAIL [email protected] WEB PAGE


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