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Published: Monday, 2/20/2006

Saturday night alive

Saturday night was anything but boring in Toledo. Community movers and shakers stepped out in the name of charity.

TOE-tapping music and jazzy dance was the focus for "We're Steppin Out!" presented by the Toledo School for the Arts at the Toledo Club. The dinner auction was sprinkled with lively talent by TSA's string quartet, jazz and pop combos, and dancers.

Among the crowd of about 140 dinner guests at tables with creative shoe-themed centerpieces were Edith Franklin, Pam Skinner, Stephen Johnston, Laurie and Jeff Jaffe, Karen Merrels, Nasr Khan, Posy Huebner, Anne Trinchero, Keith Burwell, Leslie Taylor, Ann Sanford and Bernie Leiter, and Condessa Croninger.

Table sponsors included Mike and Deb Calabrese, Steve and Kay Foster, Brian Friedman, Country Hearth, TSA Development, Dave Girke, Rob Koenig, TSA Parents, and Anne and Martin Porter, school director.

Guest auctioneer Jerry Anderson of WTOL-TV Channel 11, turned up the heat for shopping at the live auction and even impressed guests as he played a few piano notes in hopes that someone would buy the historic 45-inch Wurlitzer piano. School principal Howard Walker enthusiastically got in on the action and bid for several items. There was plenty from which to choose: Ballroom dance lessons, Mud Hens tickets, dinner and shopping certificates, glass art by Janine Ody, vacation packages, student creations, and more.

Event chairman was Linda Baldwin. The totals are not in yet, but the school expects to net about $20,000.

SWEET HEART: Eileen Walsh poses with a basket of cookies. The basket was a sweet prize for the winner of an auction during the Heart Association gala at Gladieux Meadows. SWEET HEART: Eileen Walsh poses with a basket of cookies. The basket was a sweet prize for the winner of an auction during the Heart Association gala at Gladieux Meadows.
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THE YEAR of the Heart was the theme for The American Heart Association Heart of Toledo Gala presented by Medical University of Ohio at Gladieux Meadows. A sea of red-and-gold lanterns, flowers, and parasols set the elegant candlelit scene. Dinner was delish for the dazzling crowd in formal attire. It was all Chinese cuisine station dining from dim sum to salad wraps to stir fry. Then, just what the doctor ordered: a chocolate fountain for dessert.

Among the well-heeled crowd of 240 were Tom and Gaye Martin, Marv and Nancy Robon, Karen Fraker, and Andrea and Pat Gibbons.

Board chairman is Buzz Hermann of St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center, president is Paul Berlacher of Northwest Ohio Cardiology Consultants, and chairman-elect is Tom Tousley of Wilcox Financial. Emcee Diane Larson of WTVG-TV Channel 13 and a "Toledo Goes Red" ambassador, kept things rolling.

Shopping at auction was exciting. Marianne Ballas, also an ambassador, donated three red Dominic Labino pieces. Michael and Lillian Walsh donated a stay at their Bay Harbor, Mich., condo. Rick Rudnicki donated a whitewater rafting package in West Virginia. Jan Pugh donated a heart-themed plate. A bidding war erupted between friends for an ABC New York City visitor's package with Live with Regis and Kelly tickets, The View, and The Tony Danza Show, so Dan and Kathy Sackett and Mike and Sallee Burns bought the package together. Shannon and Jerry Durham bought a gourmet dinner prepared in their home. The evening rounded out with dancing to the tunes of Slow Burn band.

Event chairmen Joseph and Mary Shapiro were assisted by Jim Smythe, Eileen Walsh, and Ajay and Vijay Mahajan. The expected net is about $130,000, but the counting isn't over.

MOMS' NIGHT: Emily Roman, left, Kelly Scanlon Hampton, and Beth Gongwer are all dressed up for their big night out. MOMS' NIGHT: Emily Roman, left, Kelly Scanlon Hampton, and Beth Gongwer are all dressed up for their big night out.
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THE 13th Annual Mom's Night Out Gala and Auction was at Stranahan Great Hall. This year's theme, "What a Difference a Decade Makes," celebrated Mom's House graduates. The graduates came in as low income student-parents and leave as educated citizens who can support themselves. The first college graduate from the house was Jackie Humphrey. Other stories of success include Deb Koepfer-Williams, Pauline Hernandez, Ebony Tolbert-Claytor, Erin Reed, Amanda Neuser, Kelly Scanlon Hampton, Emily Roman, and Beth Gongwer, chairman of the Alumni Association and Fund. Guest speaker was Ken Rusk of EverDry, there with his wife, Nancy.

Mr. Rusk hired Ms. Roman when she first started at Mom's House - that was seven years ago - and now she has a bachelor's degree, a car, and a home for her 8-year-old son. But it was no free ride, said Mr. Rusk, as the gals, all who faced motherhood at an early age, had to turn things around and make the right choices.

"I was 33 when we had our first child, and that was challenging enough, even though I was already established," Mr. Rusk said. "It's a three-way partnership: employers, students, and the house," that lead these ladies to success.

The graduates, all gussied up in their formal best, along with well-wishers and sponsors, celebrated all night long. White linen-covered tables with candles and red roses set the elegant scene as the Desire band played for listening and dancing. Silent and live auctions sparked interest, especially when auctioneer Michael Murray oversaw the bidding war for the private lunch for 25 with Ohio State Buckeyes coach Jim Tressel: Jim Brazeau, there with wife, Michelle, was the lucky winner. Mary Wilson of the Supremes, who was performing next door with the Toledo Symphony, autographed a bottle of wine for the auction bought by Hal and Kelly Reed. The event netted about $12,000.

Among the 300 guests were board president Bill Sheehan and his wife, Michelle, Susan and Dennis Witherell, Sue and Dave Speiss, Mary Kay and Rex Culver, Cynthia and Jack Ford, Mike and Molly McCarthy, George Baibak, Carol and Larry Baibak, Barbara and Lou Tartaglia, and Cindy and John Green, who graciously donated his talent as photographer. The evening done, dancing was just part of the fun, a conga line wound through the room.

AFTER HOURS: George and Kathy Lathrop soak in the atmosphere of Toledo After Hours at the Stranahan. AFTER HOURS: George and Kathy Lathrop soak in the atmosphere of Toledo After Hours at the Stranahan.
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There's still chatter about the Toledo After Hours with Tom Ridge, the first Secretary of Homeland Security, that was presented by the Junior League of Toledo. The preliminary net from the Feb. 9 event at the Stranahan Theater and Great Hall is estimated at $46,000. That will be added to the more than $1 million raised from the event during the last 16 years, thanks to this year's sponsors, guests, and nearly 150 volunteers guided by general chairman Margaret Telb DiSalle.

Mr. Ridge, former governor of Pennsylvania and the first enlisted Vietnam combat veteran elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, was friendly to all, gladly posing for photos at a private champagne reception. Among the elite were diamond sponsors - $20,000 - Key Bank bigwig Jim Hoffman with wife, Kristine, and Chuck Sulerzyski, regional guru. At $10,000, emerald sponsors were National City bank and Lamar Outdoor Advertising, although not present, was also an emerald sponsor. Sapphire sponsors - $5,000 - included Fifth Third Bank, Hylant Group, Medical Mutual, and Orwig Marketing Strategies. Pearl sponsors - $3,500 - included E.S. Wagner Company, Eastman and Smith, Herbert R. Metzger and Associates, La-Z-Boy Inc., Medical University of Ohio, and Therma-Tru of the Homebuilding Community Foundation. Tickets varied: $50 for the speech and dessert to $250 for the whole evening.

ON THE LIST: Margaret Telb DiSalle, left, and Christine Jonke scan the agenda for the evening. ON THE LIST: Margaret Telb DiSalle, left, and Christine Jonke scan the agenda for the evening.
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Mr. Ridge was too busy to test the tasty hors d'oeuvres, jumbo shrimp cocktail, fruits, and cheeses. Perusing were John and Julie Horns, Dick and Melissa Marcus, Kathy and Doug Andrews, Rich and Margie Heck, John and Laurie Boggs, Bob and Kim LaClair, John and Yolanda Szuch, Kurt and Sue Darrow, Floyd and Barbara Melby, Alice and Ed Weber, and Judy and Gene Pearson.

A privy few were able to enjoy a sit-down dinner on the stage with Mr. Ridge. The scene was magnificent: towering bouquets of green, blue, and white graced white linen-covered tables; wreaths sparkled with tiny white lights to form chandeliers, and salad was served in stemmed goblets.

The main crowd of about 500 gathered in the Great Hall for cocktails and station dining amid crisp linen-covered tables, flowers, and candlelight. Among the movers and shakers: Mike and Kelly Hart, Kathleen Ryan, Ned Hein, Lillian and Michael Walsh, Phyllis and Ford Cauffiel, Judy and Carl Barnard, Linda and Max Hoetzl, Greg Kopan and Jen Stark, and Denise and Terry Benton.

League president Christine Jonke gave a speech about the league, then down the aisle came Mr. Ridge escorted by Mrs. DiSalle. Mr. Ridge nixed the normal formal speech and walked back and forth across the stage. After leaving the Bush Administration in 2004, he said his biggest adjustment to civilian life was was no limousine and having to fly coach.

On the fight against terrorism, which he helped lead when Homeland Security was founded shortly after the 2001 terrorist attacks, he remarked, "It's a global problem and we need a global response. ... Everybody is looking for a political victory instead of common solutions, everybody has a responsibility to help with security, [and] everybody has a role."

After dessert, a drawing was held for a breakfast the next day with Mr. Ridge at the Toledo Club. Wouldn't you know it? Richard and Denise Arnos, who won last year, did it again, along with Pat Hylant, Jr., who took his dad, Pat Hylant, Sr.

LOOKING IT OVER: Bronco McKart and Carie Goins look over the auction items hoping for a win at the Fight for Victory event at The Pinnacle. LOOKING IT OVER: Bronco McKart and Carie Goins look over the auction items hoping for a win at the Fight for Victory event at The Pinnacle.
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It was a knockout evening for the 5th annual Fight For Victory Feb. 9 at The Pinnacle. It was standing room only for the event, attended by about 300, which netted more than $20,000.

The male population dominated with the likes of Mark Goodremont, Don Mewhort, Tony Calamunci, Bill Wolff, Tom McHugh, and event chairman Chuck Mira. Among the handful of women were Sandra Hylant, Laila Waggoner, Sena Mourad, Anne Parker, and Stephanie Harris. Karen Hajjar was with hubby Labib, Weezie Stoddard was with hubby Blake, and her mom, Kay Foster, with son Tim Foster, the board chief.

The night included gourmet grazing, a VIP cigar-martini-cognac tent, ring girls from Hooters, and a live auction of vacation packages, sports memorabilia, a boxer pup, and more. Ringside tables were premium and they looked it, with red linens, champagne, and Rock 'em Sock 'em games. Emcee Brad Fanning of WUPW Fox Toledo, aided by Leah D'Emilio, kept things on target.

Special guests included Carrie Serber, whose late husband, Ryan, an area news anchor, was a Victory Center participant, and boxing legends Buddy Carr and Bronco McKart. Champ, trainer, and Victory Center participant Henry Moore was honored when Jenna Johlin fought in his name. She lost, but she put her heart and soul into it.

Receiving kudos from Yvonne Harper of the NAACP was the Victory Center for its community service.



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