weather icon Clear

Foundation works toward Nevada school for blind children

Did you know Nevada is the only state in America without a school for blind children? As a state, we trail Mississippi and Alabama in schools for blind kids.

“You can’t even wrap your mind around that, right?” said Amanda Gibson, 2015’s Miss Nevada United States, and an activist for the Nevada Blind Children’s Foundation.

“It’s insane,” said Dr. Helga Pizio, a longtime Las Vegas ophthalmologist and an executive on the board of the foundation.

The Las Vegas Valley has an estimated 400 blind children. Blind students go to schools along with every other child, receiving some help from special teachers.

But that’s not enough, Pizio said.

“The school system is pretty overwhelmed, as we all know,” she noted.

Pizio said the city of Las Vegas has been helpful in identifying potential land for a school. And local eye care professionals, optometrists, opthalmologists and pediatricians have been receptive to the idea that Nevada needs a school.

But state politicians, and the casino owners and CEOs who pull strings around here, somehow haven’t gotten onto the radar for this need.

So the grass-roots Blind Children’s Foundation, which runs on private donations, was started a decade ago by frustrated parents, and it now offers free services to families with blind children, from Braille tutoring in English and Spanish, to computer training, beeping baseball, cooking classes, parties for blind teens and wall-climbing.

On Saturday, the foundation is hosting the Ladybug Ball at 6 p.m. in the Red Rock Resort ballroom. The annual event raises money to support those programs.

The ball has grown because of sponsorships from entertainers such as Terry Fator, eye doctors, and businesses such as Red Rock Resort and the construction company the Ledcor Group. It’s one of those Vegas balls selling tables from $5,000 to $25,000, in addition to $300 tickets.

If you want to help or attend, check out NVBlindChildren.org, or call Executive Director Emily Smith 702-735-6223.


One of the big food trends is for celebrity chefs to launch fast-food restaurants selling high-quality chow. For instance, Bobby Flay put a $10 price point on his Bobby’s Burger Palace in front of the Mandarin Oriental hotel.

Is it possible such fast-food joints someday can replace McDonald’s and serve us broccoli?

Adam Rapoport, editor-in-chief of Bon Appetit magazine, says some chefs are already on it, citing New York’s acclaimed Superiority Burger as a trendsetting vegetarian hot spot.

Rapoport is in Las Vegas this week for Bon Appetit’s foodie fest, Vegas Uncork’d, from Thursday through Sunday ($225-$1,000; VegasUncorked.com).

It’ll feature top chefs headlining master series lunches and dinners, and a $1,000 multicourse with Nobu Matsuhisa.

Rapoport said the biggest event is Thursday’s 500-person Venetian master series “under the stars” in the outdoor Doge’s Palace Piazza with Emeril Lagasse, Daniel Boulud, Olivier Dubreuil, Kim Canteenwalla and David Werly, to celebrate Uncork’d’s 10th anniversary ($325 per person).

Rapoport said Vegas has a leg up on other cities, because “every resort casino has to have big-name chefs now.”

And in Vegas, you don’t need reservations four weeks in advance or to pretend you’re Abe Froman to steal his reservation.


It seems like every golfer has the same strengths and weaknesses, even former Miss America Kira Kazantsev, who will be golfing in Vegas for the first time this weekend during Tiger Jam.

Strength: “My drive,” she said.

Weakness: “My short game.”

However, if you’re Miss America with a 19 handicap, you get tips from pros such as Gary Player.

“He said you have to play with your core, because that’s the strongest part of your body,” she said.

“I’ve been trying to focus more on being like a slingshot, or how you throw a baseball. If you’re right-handed, you transfer all your weight to your left foot as you come through the throw. The same thing can be said with golf. You have to transfer all your weight to get the ball out.”

Her bigger problem is, she worries too much about holding people up behind her, so she rushes her bobbing head up.

“You have to keep your head down, but I want to see if the ball’s going to go in the hole,” she said.

Golf is a metaphor for her life, she said: “Even when things get hard, you still have to commit to it, or it’ll get worse before it gets better.”

Kazantsev will be helping Tiger Jam host auctions while the annual Tiger Woods charity event stages a concert, poker games and golf outings Friday and Saturday at Shadow Creek, the MGM Grand and various other locations (TigerWoodsFoundation.org; $3,000-$25,000 packages).

If you see Kazantsev, just say “hi” and don’t think of her as a Miss America, she said.

“People take it as much more formal than it is. I’m a regular 24-year-old who happens to have been Miss America, and I lead a normal life, compared to everybody else.”


Flo Rida luxuriated in a private cabana with Dom Perignon Rose at Mandalay Bay’s Daylight dayclub on Saturday, then partied Saturday night at Light nightclub.

Band members from Pentatonix were in the crowd to see French Montana perform with Cash Cash Saturday at Marquee nightclub in The Cosmopolitan.

Mike Tice and Donald Penn of the Oakland Raiders, Buffalo Bills’ Stevenson Sylvester, and kickboxing Mark DellaGrotte went to MGM’s Crush before Saturday’s UFC fight.

And UFC fighters Anthony and Sergio Pettis, in gold chains and sunglasses, partied Saturday at Chateau nightclub in the Paris Las Vegas hotel.

The Review-Journal is owned by the family of Sheldon Adelson, chairman and CEO of Las Vegas Sands Corp., which operates The Venetian.

Doug Elfman can be reached at delfman@reviewjournal.com. He blogs at reviewjournal.com/elfman. On Twitter: @VegasAnonymous

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Entertainment Videos
Heavier traffic expected from EDC festival attendees
Electric Daisy Carnival attendees began to vacate the Las Vegas Motor Speedway starting before 5 a.m., the majority heading south on Interstate 15.
What it's like to skip the lines and fly by helicopter to EDC
What it's like to skip the lines and fly by helicopter to EDC. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
DJ Steve Aoki visits Las Vegas comic book store
DJ Steve Aoki visits Torpedo Comics in Las Vegas Friday, May 17, 2019, for a signing for his new comic book series "Neon Future." (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Las Vegas Smith & Wollensky opens at The Venetian
After 18 years, the Smith & Wollensky location on Las Vegas’ south Strip closed in 2017, to be re-born two years later with a rib-cutting — instead of a ribbon-cutting — in The Grand Canal Shoppes at The Venetian. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal)
Colin Cantwell, Creator Of Iconic Star Wars Ships Visits Vegas
Colin Cantwell, who created and designed such "Star Wars" ships as the X-Wing fighter, and Death Star, met fans at Rogue Toys in Las Vegas today. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Beauty & Essex in Las Vegas makes an EDC Wonder Wheel
In honor of the Electric Daisy Carnival, Beauty & Essex at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas makes its Wonder Wheel party-worthy. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Giada talks Vegas Uncork’d
Giada De Laurentiis talks during Aperitivo Hour, a Vegas Uncork'd event, at her Caesars Palace restaurant, Pronto, May 10, 2019. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Scenes from Vegas Uncork’d 2019 on the Las Vegas Strip
The 13th edition of Vegas Uncork’d by Bon Appetit brought four days of food, wine, celebrity chefs and parties to town, May 9-12. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Three ingredients Gordon Ramsay can’t live without
Bon Appetit's Andy Baraghani interviews the "Hell's Kitchen" chef during a Vegas Uncork'd event at Caesars Palace, May 11, 2019. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Vegas Uncork’d launches wiith bubbles and a blade
Dozens of chefs representing some of the Strip’s top restaurants gathered Thursday at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas to launch the 2019 edition of Vegas Uncork’d by Bon Appetit. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bunky the Clown at the clown convention
Bob "Bunky the Clown" Gretton talks about his life as a clown and the Clown Convention which was in Las Vegas at Texas Station this week. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Frying soft-shell crab at Lola’s in Las Vegas
At Lola’s: A Louisiana Kitchen in Las Vegas, soft-shell crab is breaded and fried and served either as an appetizer, po’boy or platter. Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal
The Stove in Henderson makes Pecan Pie Pancakes
At The Stove in Henderson, chef/partner Antonio Nunez stacks buttermilk pancakes with pecans and dulce de leche and tops them pie crust crumbs. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Vinnie Paul remembered at Count's Vamp'd
The late rocker's favorite table at one of his favorite clubs in Las Vegas. (Jason Bracelin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
4DX movie experience at Red Rock
4DX movie experience during a demo reel at Red Rock. (Christopher Lawrence/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
What To Do On May The 4th
There are plenty of events going on May the 4th this year around Las Vegas. Celebrate Star Wars and Comic Book Day all at once. The Rogue Toys, the 501st, Rebel Legion and Millennium Fandom Bar are all hosting fun events to help celebrate your geek-dom. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Las Vegas Water Sports Introduces New Attraction At Lake Las Vegas
Las Vegas Water Sports will debut its new aqua park attraction at Lake Las Vegas Days this weekend. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Making the Space Invader at Greene St. Kitchen in Las Vegas
Lysa Huerta, pastry cook at Greene St. Kitchen at the Palms in Las Vegas, starts with angel food cake, Fruity Pebbles ice cream and strawberry sorbet to create a space creature engulfed in flashing lights and swirling mists. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas Pools
The M, Park MGM and NoMad are just a few great pools in Las Vegas. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Jose Andres explains Iberico pork
(Al Mancini/Las Vega Review-Journal)
Inside Life is Beautiful
Craig Asher Nyman explains how Life is Beautiful festival is booked and talks about this year's line-up. (Jason Bracelin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Tattoo'd America Pops Up In Vegas
Tattoo'd America, a new pop-up attraction on the Linq Promenade, had their grand opening Friday. The attraction is dedicate to the culture of tattoos. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Jose Andres gets key to the Strip
Chef Jose Andres was presented with a Key to the Las Vegas Strip and a proclamation declaring April 26 Jose Andres Day in Clark County by County Commissioner Tick Segerblom on Friday. The ceremony took place at his restaurant Bazaar Meat in the SLS Las Vegas. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Sadelle’s in Las Vegas makes a grilled cheese with an inverted bagel
Michael Vargas, executive sous chef at Sadelle’s at Bellagio in Las Vegas, inverts an everything bagel and grills it with Swiss, cheddar and Muenster cheeses to make the Inverted Bagel Grilled Cheese. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Learn how to make China Poblano's Salt Air Margarita
Learn how to make China Poblano's Salt Air Margarita (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Tattoo'd America invites you to have fun and take pictures
Kassandra Lopez at Tattoo'd America invites you to have fun and take pictures. (Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Prime rib is carved tableside at Lawry’s The Prime Rib in Las Vegas
Dave Simmons, executive chef of Lawry’s The Prime in Las Vegas, which plans special cuts for National Prime Rib Day, demonstrates the restaurant’s service from rolling tableside carving carts. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Making gluten-free pizza at Good Pie in Las Vegas
Good Pie owner/pizzaiola Vincent Rotolo makes his gluten-free pizza.
Rockabilly fans enjoy Las Vegas weather poolside
Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekender runs Thursday, April 18th through Sunday, April 21st with a huge car show on Saturday featuring The Reverend Horton Heat, The Delta Bombers and The Coasters. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Brownie sundae at VegeNation in Las Vegas is completely vegan
Donald Lemperle, chef/owner of VegeNation in Las Vegas and nearby Henderson, NV, makes his sundae with ice cream made with coconut and almond milks, a brownie made with coconut flour and oil and organic sugar and cacao, and fresh fruit. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)