Nonprofit pushing to recognize women behind Nevada’s prosperity

In honor of Nevada’s sesquicentennial, a committee is being formed to recognize the women who contributed to the state’s prosperity.

Marlene Adrian, president of the nonprofit organization Women of Diversity Productions Inc., is heading the project. She is asking for the help of other local and statewide women’s organizations to record comprehensive histories. She also is accepting volunteers to help with the project.

The interviews will be posted on a website to coincide with Nevada’s 150th birthday on Oct. 31.

Adrian said some materials could be displayed at museums and libraries, too.

The next committee meeting is scheduled for Aug. 19.

For more information or to help, contact Adrian at 702-655-2146 or, or visit nevada

Adrian has experience with this kind of project. She compiled the histories of more than 250 women for Las Vegas’ centennial celebration in 2005.

“The first thing a person said to me at the reception on opening day was, ‘When are you going to do this again?’ ” Adrian said. “I didn’t think I was going to be around another 100 years to do another centennial. When we heard about the state’s celebration of 150 years, we thought this is a wonderful opportunity.

“Women still aren’t as visible. … It’s important we try to develop a women-appreciative future. … It just seems to me it’s very important we have women being celebrated when we celebrate 150 years of statehood.”

Adrian plans to include the likes of Thalia Dondero, the first woman elected to the Clark County Commission, serving from 1974 to 1994.

She also was the first woman to chair the commission.

Dondero, a Paradise-area resident, was on the commission when it expanded McCarran International Airport.

She also worked to secure Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area as protected land in the 1970s when a developer was looking to build condominiums.

“The whole community was responsive to some of those things,” she said, “especially Red Rock being saved.”

Another Nevadan, Spring Valley resident Patricia Martinelli-Price, has spent her life working with the those less fortunate. She is an advocate for the homeless and poor, veterans, Native Americans and the environment.

Martinelli-Price said she is “excited to work with this,” and she hopes a lot more women come forward to help with the project.

Everyone has a story to tell, she said.

“They’ve all accomplished something in their life,” she said, “whether it’s taking care of their families (or) being a mentor to kids. We’re the teacher, the nurse, the maid and the cook. … They’re important to the whole aspect of the family. That’s what makes it all go around.”

Contact View education reporter Jeff Mosier at or 702-224-5524.

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