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Taffer’s call to community answered by Vegas power players

Jon Taffer recognizes the obvious. Whether picking apart a failing tavern on his Spike-TV series “Bar Rescue” or recognizing how to do business in Las Vegas, he knows where to turn.

At UNLVino’s Bubble-Licious party to open the 43rd annual UNLVino, Taffer was joined by his comparatively new friends and partners in philanthropy.

“When I moved here 3 1/2 years ago, from Palm Beach, Fla., I wanted to get involved in this community,” Taffer said as he was presented the event’s prestigious Dom Perignon Award of Excellence. “The obvious people to come to were Michael Severino and Larry Ruvo, the centerpiece of activity in this community.”

Ruvo, of course, is the founder of the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health and Senior Managing Director of Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits of Nevada, an event co-sponsor. Severino is also a top Southern Glazer exec and deeply involved in the organizing and promotion of UNLVino each year.

The event raises scholarship funding for the UNLV William F. Harrah College of Hotel Administration. The event continues through the weekend, capped by The Grand Tasting at Paris Las Vegas honoring David Hoenemeyer, president of that hotel along with Planet Hollywood and Bally’s.

Taffer, who is a member of the board of St. Jude’s Ranch for Children in Boulder City, is hoping to develop a TV series, centered on celebrities and their ideas for restaurants. I am sensing this could be a big danged deal. Check back by the end of April.

Meantime, around the room, UNLV President Len Jessup spoke of participating in St. Baldrick’s Day next year. He had been eyeballing my recently shaved head for the childhood cancer organization. The advice here is to set a donation figure of $10,000, at the minimum, to shave the educator’s head. I believe we could hit that number.

And, an unsolicited endorsement: Ruvo said he hit “The Scintas” show at Plaza Showroom earlier this month. “I thought I was back in Las Vegas, at the old Sahara hotel,” said Ruvo, a Las Vegas native. “It was so good. It reminded me so much of the old days.”

John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section, and Fridays in Neon. Contact him at jkatsilometes@reviewjournal.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

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