Business looking for ugly signs as part of anniversary celebration

Maurice Dussaq is celebrating his crystal anniversary as the owner of Fastsigns sign and graphics center.

The center has come a long way since 1990 when it cut letters out of vinyl to make signs.

"Since then, we have opened a second location in Carson City and we have invested in exciting new technology that allows us to print full color digital graphics with vibrant colors onto a variety of materials," he said. "We also offer Web proofing, which allows customers to review their project online in full color before it's produced."

A 17-year resident of Northern Nevada, Dussaq has served a seven-year term on the Better Business Bureau's Board of Directors; two of those years as chairman of the board. He is a member of the Reno/Sparks, Carson City and Dayton area chambers of commerce and served on the Fastsigns Franchise Advisory Council.

"The Northern Nevada community has been very supportive of our business since we opened and I feel a very strong personal commitment to help the community in return," Dussaq said.

As part of its anniversary celebration, the business is looking for ugly signs to remodel. To submit your nonelectrical sign to the contest, take its picture and include a short description of why the sign is ugly and how you think Fastsigns can give it a facelift.

Send the entry to Fastsigns at 1280-B East Plumb Lane, Reno, Nev. 89502 Attn: Ugly Sign Contest, or drop it by the anniversary open house at 6 p.m. July 11 at the Reno location. The winner will receive a sign makeover package worth up to $500. Deadline for entries is July 29. The winner will be announced on August 8.

For information, call the Carson Quail Park location at 885-8899 or visit it on the Web at

Cynthia Esparza, a University of Nevada, Reno student, is one of 50 college students nationwide participating in a 10-week internship initiative for learning the mortgage industry. She will conduct her internship at Greater Nevada Mortgage Services.

The initiative is part of Fannie Mae's 2005 American Dream Team Program, which is designed to help lenders develop an ethnically diverse pool of professionals to serve the changing population of home buyers in the United States.

Esparza was an intern through Latinos on Fast Track, a collaboration between the Hispanic Heritage Foundation and the Hispanic College Fund. Greater Nevada Mortgage Services was selected to host Esparza so she could learn the basics of the mortgage industry and the importance of community-based outreach in driving minority home ownership.

"Nationwide, and here locally, the minority population is growing," said Robert Taylor, president and chief executive officer of Greater Nevada Mortgage Services. "We believe it's imperative to develop leaders who can help people from diverse backgrounds realize their dreams of living, working and owning a home in America."

Taylor says Esparza's internship will include everything from mortgage lending operations to professional consultations that ensure the right product for each borrower. Community involvement will be another aspect, including working with to Citizens for Affordable Housing.

"I'm really looking forward to learning the mortgage business," says Esparza. "Greater Nevada Mortgage Services helps home buyers throughout Northern Nevada and has been actively serving our Latino population. This will be a great experience for me."

Greater Nevada Mortgage Services is a subsidiary of Greater Nevada Credit Union and has offices throughout Northern Nevada. For information call 888-6999 or (800) 526-8999.

Do you want to promote Nevada on your motor vehicle? Then a new tourism specialty license plate - featuring an emerald green golf course framed by purple mountain peaks - is the thing for you.

This license plate is endorsed by, who else, the Nevada Commission on Tourism.

Granted, I've lived in Nevada most of my life and don't really associate golf courses with our state, but obviously the commission wants to attract tourists who would play at our many splendid gated community golf courses.

Really, I'm told that "Nevada is home to more than 100 golf courses in a variety of settings, ability levels and ranges." Which is almost as many courses as located on Nantucket.

The plate costs $61, of which $25 goes to support tourism-building projects in rural Nevada. It features the NCOT Web site at the bottom of the plate.

Executive Director Bruce Bommarito said the tourism commission selected a golf course theme for the plate because it's a popular recreational activity throughout Nevada and played year-round.

"Road travel is integral to tourism, and a specialty license plate is an innovative way to promote Nevada's No. 1 industry," Bommarito said. "Having our Web site displayed on the plate will direct motorists to a handy source of information about golf and Nevada's many other attractions, adventures and events."

Even though I'm a bit skeptical about advertising green hills in a water-strapped state, I love one other feature of the new license place. The top of the plate says "Nevada" with the symbol for the correct pronunciation of "a" on the second syllable.

Funds received from the plates will be awarded to communities through a rural tourism development grant program. Counties, cities and local and regional organizations receive funds to build projects that develop and improve tourism in the community, such as visitor centers, kiosks, gateway markers and improvements at local parks, arenas and other facilities to attract and accommodate visitors.

After the initial purchase of the plate, it will cost $30 to renew, of which $20 will go toward the rural tourism development program. For information visit or contact DMV Special Plates, 775-684-4750.

Let's tell America how to say Nevada.

n Contact reporter Becky Bosshart at or 881-1212.


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