BOO teaches life’s lessons

Make Room For Manika: It’s always nice to hear about a teenager who is smart, personable, talented and who is doing something to help the community. One such teen is 16-year-old Manika Ward, a resident of Henderson, who has written a book called "The Exciting Adventures of BOO," composed of 10 stories about a dog, each ending with an important lesson in life for all of us.

I talked to Manika who told me that she had started writing the book when she was 13. “It took me two years to write it and I had help from my dad (author and publisher Wallace Ward), but only in the areas of suggestions and editing. I did all the writing myself. I wanted to write a book for kids 2 to 12 that would hopefully help them, based on my own upbringing and values, but I also wanted to make it entertaining as well.

“So I decided to write it through the eyes of BOO, a nondescript dog rather than a person because I felt that kids could relate to a dog and get immersed in what BOO was doing — the struggle and victory at the end, which I hoped would make the ending of each story more memorable for them.

“My main purpose as far as plot was to get lessons out to the kids and these were the 10 lessons that would be most helpful to them, based on my own life and what I’d learned from my parents and on my own up to this point.”

Those lessons, she says, include things like: Even if you don’t get caught you still have to make the choices on your own; If you get in trouble, it’s always best to tell the truth; Taking care of pets is a big responsibility but well worth it when you see the love you receive in return; Always give it your best even if you aren’t the best.

Manika, a straight A student, loves to sing and act and has won Outstanding Performance Awards for both singing and acting in New York City’s National Performing Arts Festival. She is also a pet lover, owning two dogs, two birds, three rabbits, five fish and a hamster, and decided to donate 500 of her newly published books to local pet stores.

As well, all proceeds from the book sales will be donated to the Nevada SPCA animal shelter. The book (140 pages) sells for $29.99, which would mean the Nevada SPCA would receive almost $15,000 if all were to be sold — a loving gift of life from this very talented and caring teen.

Manika reads to children in elementary schools throughout the valley and is available for classroom readings and book signings, so if you’re interested in having her come to your school, contact William Garbacz at 702-454-7773. To find out more about Manika and her book, visit

Flamingo Loves Vinnie: Comedian and celebrity roaster Vinnie Favorito has signed on for an additional three years at the Flamingo. Favorito’s edgy, in-your-face style of comedy has made him a favorite with both locals and tourists, but if you’re going to see him for the first time, you better beware: no one and no topic is off limits in his theater. As Don Marrandino, president of Flamingo says, “Vinnie never does the same show twice and audience members will never forget their turn in the hot seat. It’s a wild show.”

Favorito had this to say: “People pay me to insult them and I even get my own parking space! Life is good.”

Favorito performs nightly at 8. Tickets are $49.95 and $39.95 (plus tax and fees). Show tickets can be purchased at the Flamingo box office, by phone at (702) 733-3333 or go to

Watch Out For Those Teeth: If you haven’t been to Shark Reef at Mandalay Bay lately, you might want to know that the aquarium has added two female tiger sharks. These sharks are the only tiger sharks available for viewing in the U.S., so it’s not something you’re going to see back home. The new additions can be identified by their distinct tiger-striped markings as they navigate their way around the 1.6-million-gallon aquarium.

Attributing to the tiger sharks’ impressive reputation are their sharp, serrated teeth, powerful jaw and insatiable, non-discriminating appetite. These sharks have been known to consume unusual items such as license plates, tires, baseballs and other debris – earning them the moniker “garbage cans of the sea.” Needless to say, you don’t want to find a way to get into the water with them.

Currently, the two tiger sharks are more than 6 feet in length, and the species can reach up to 14 feet in length. The scavengers lurk in shallow, coastal waters in tropical and temperate regions such as Hawaii and Australia. None have been sighted in Lake Mead.

Adrienne Rowland, the facility’s director, said, “We are delighted to unveil these powerful predators to our guests of Shark Reef Aquarium. The tiger sharks demonstrate Shark Reef’s goal to raise awareness and appreciation of our world’s fascinating marine life.” If you’ve never been to Shark Reef, put it on your must-see list. It is well worth the visit.

Good luck and I’ll see you on the Strip. And don’t forget to check out eNeon each Thursday by subscribing (free of charge) to the Review-Journal’s weekly newsletter. If you have a question or a Las Vegas experience you would like to share with my readers, please e-mail me at Please include your full name and the city or town where you live.

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