Secret service agents were everywhere and security was extra tight. But it didn't take a "mole" to find out that George Tenet, former director of the Central Intelligence Agency, would be the speaker for The Junior League of Toledo's Toledo After Hours Thursday at the Stranahan Theater and Great Hall.
Mr. Tenet flew in from speaking at a lunch in New York with 10 minutes to change clothes before the private champagne reception and speakers' welcome. Because of the security, that was the only time for photos.
Among those privy to attend were Kirk and Julie Mizerek, Lynette Miller and Harlan Reichle, Michael and Lillian Walsh, Tony and Debbie Knight, John and Sue Hadley, Lynn and Ed McNeal, Howard and Theresa Call, Karen Fraker, and Jay and Susan Hall.
A warm smile took Mr. Tenet through the soirees, then to a sit-down dinner on stage with the bigshots, including the representatives of Key Bank, the premier sponsor.
White-and-black linen-covered tables centered with red roses and candelabras set the elegant scene. Mr. Tenet ate the tasty gourmet dinner, but made time to chat with everyone, including chairman Jenny Mitchell. Mr. Tenet told Mrs. Mitchell how impressed he was with the elegant event.
The classy decor continued with black-covered chairs with white bows, trees, plants, candlelight, and tall urns of red roses atop classic pedestals. Guests at the cocktail buffet enjoyed perusing dining stations overflowing with carved lamb, turkey, roast beef, pastas, Middle Eastern foods, and Asian delights.
Gadders included Barbara and Mike Berebitsky, Mike Williams, Tim and Debbie Jakacki, Holly Metzger, John and Debbie Joslin, Don and Connie Warner, J. and Lorraine Langdon, Bev and Gary McBride, Marv and Nancy Robon, Nancy and Tom Kabat, Marla and Howard Schecht, Peggy and Ben Brown, Henry and Karen DeMain, Kathy Rotte, Joe and Darlene Minnick, Denise and Terry Benton, and area newcomer Joeline Magoto of Ottawa Hills: Her husband, Michael, was not present. Sherry Conyngham looked especially nice in a sexy black cocktail dress. Brad Ansberg, with his wife, Linsey, was celebrating his 30th birthday with family.
The more than 700 guests retired to the theater, where president Terri Braun welcomed everyone, then the program started with the fanfare that was respected with complete silence: a trumpet, posting of the colors by University of Toledo Army ROTC and Pershing Rifles, and the National Anthem, which was sung by Leslie Minger.
Mr. Tenet, escorted by event chairman, Mrs. Mitchell, strolled down the aisle to the stage.
And what a delight. No boring monotone from this spy guy. He began by commending the league on their efforts against child abuse and other projects. The audience warmed up to him as he gave his political views and told a few spy stories with unexpected humor, remarking, "I had the best job in the government."
Mr. Tenet praised the French intelligence system as well as the U.S. military, police, and all sectors of protection. He was upbeat about the Iraq conflict, saying, "We can win this war!"
During the question-and-answer period, Mr. Tenet and Mrs. Mitchell bantered back and forth. He joked, "next question," when he was asked to compare the Clinton and the Bush administrations. He mentioned that while it's important to give back to the community, he's just getting to know his teenage son again after being on the job so long. As a first-generation American, he proclaimed, "We live in the greatest country in the world!"
Dessert followed, and Mr. Tenet was right there, dipping into the chocolate and white chocolate fondue with succulent fresh fruits as he circulated, stopping to visit various tables. He also purchased raffle tickets for the cause. Richard Arnos and Sandy Draheim were especially delighted when they won the raffle to breakfast with Mr. Tenet the next morning at the Toledo Club.
At breakfast, Steve Mitchell, the chairman's husband, offered to buy Mr. Tenet a cigar as a souvenir, but Mr. Tenet kindly declined. However, he then bought Mr. Mitchell one before heading off for dinner with the Rumsfelds.
Proceeds - estimated at more than $70,000 - support the league's community projects for women and children.
One, two, three o'clock, four o'clock rock ... "We're Gonna Rock Around the Y Tonight." And that's precisely what the guests did at The YMCA and JCC Scholarship Campaign kickoff Monday at the Stranahan Great Hall. Gee, it was swell. Participants, clad in leather and poodle skirts did the stroll, the hand jive, and the twist. After the dinner and program, area organizations announced where their campaigns stood so far. Chairman Lee Dunn and co-chairman Mike Fischer said the campaign's estimated net so far is $470,000 plus. The goal is $1.5 million.
The YMCA Fort Meigs Center for Health Promotion in Perrysburg dished up its "Dine for the Y 2005." The Friday event was in Bill and Patti Jo Fantozz's lovely and spacious home. Beer, wine, and a martini bar whet guests appetites for delectable edibles at grazing stations. Those in the know saved room for tidbits at the chocolate fountain. While the lower level offered refreshments too, the main level was where the action was.
Seen were Phil and Amy Kajca, Steve Cotner and Debbie Peters, Tom and Alison Mackin, and Beth and Joe Westmeyer, Wayne and Sara North, Greg and Susan Silloway, and Chris and Vicki Ewald.
The crowd of more than 100, including Tim and Jenni Yoder, Ken and Cathy Cappelletty, Scott and Kathy Prephan, perused the silent-auction items. Business turned serious when the live auction began. Mystery items, including leather and fur jackets, added pizzazz. Dianne Schmitz tried on a white leather coat. After a champagne toast was made, attendeess bid just to make donations.
Chairmen Betty Lazzaro, Annette Gruetter, and Mrs. Fantozz estimate a net of $20,000 from the evening. The goal is $94,000.
Black History Month is celebrated in February, but 20 North Gallery kicked off the month a few days early at its 10th annual show highlighting works by regional African-American artists.
The opening reception was Friday night at the gallery, which is tucked behind Fifth Third Field. Owner Eric Hillenbrand had lots of help to make the event possible: Peggy Grant, artistic director, coordinated all the art; his mom, Rose, made a tempting spread of tasty treats, and his brother Karl, tended bar with his twin sis, Margot, who helped set up. Tom Singleton added just the right background touch on the African drums.
So much talent in one room. Works by watercolorist Aaron Bivins; R.E. "Ronnie" Braziel's photography and poetry; Wil Clay, children's book illustrator who also is a great story teller; Pamela Jean Patterson's paper collages; photos by Ramon R. Tiggs; drawings by Elizabeth Jordan; Thomas Vines'photos, and ceramist Beverly Ramsey-Levert of Cleveland.
The show honors the memories of two influential artists, Marvin Vines and LeMaxie Glover. In tribute, a painting by the late artist Adam Grant - depicting Mr. Glover's sculpture of a torso - was displayed next to the sculpture.
It was a relaxing evening that had a steady stream of guests, including Mayor Jack Ford, who put in a special appearance. The mayor encouraged guests to browse, commenting, "We have great art in our midst."
Seen were Lillian Spaulding, Janet and Rich Schroeder, who tried the drums out for size, and Bill and Mary Beth Maloney. Mr. Maloney is a partner in the law firm Maloney, McHugh & Kolodgy, who bought the building and are scheduled to open their new offices above the gallery in two weeks. Mrs. Maloney said they are excited about staying downtown where the action is.
Portrait artist Leslie Adams, whose studio is on the third floor, took a break from working to visit the exhibit.
February is booking up fast. Here is the first half of the month's social scene.
6:30 p.m. Saturday, Brandywine Country Club.
9:30 p.m.-1a.m., Feb. 12, Toledo Club.