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Published: Monday, 5/22/2006

Wealth of fund-raising fun

If you ever wondered what puts the fun in fund-raising, here a few parties that might answer the question.

A HIGH-FALUTIN' crowd nixed their tuxes and gowns for blue jeans, boots, plaid shirts, and ten gallon hats for the Maumee Valley Country Day School Western Roundup Auction 2006. It was May 12 at The Pinnacle.

WAY OUT WEST: Donna and Sam Pesin are dressed in cowboy duds at the Western Roundup. WAY OUT WEST: Donna and Sam Pesin are dressed in cowboy duds at the Western Roundup.
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Western murals around the room, hay bales, wagon wheels, and life-size silhouettes of Tonto, the Lone Ranger, and heigh-ho, Silver, made guests feel home on the range. The Ten Mile Creek band - including Blade employee Tahree Lane - got folks' toes a tappin.'

Gal and guys all gussied up in western duds shopped the silent auction of more than 500 items, all while whetting their whistles with spirits and sating their appetites with hors d'oeuvres. A Dollars for Dialing Challenge was a fun way to pledge bucks for the school's new phone system. The program and live auction sponsored by Gilmore, Jasion, and Mahler, was made fast-paced by auctioneer Lance Walker of Memphis. In four furious minutes, $10,000 was raised for grounds maintenance equipment.

PARDNERS: Mark and Kathleen Frasco have rounded up fun at the Maumee Valley Country Day School benefit. PARDNERS: Mark and Kathleen Frasco have rounded up fun at the Maumee Valley Country Day School benefit.
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Chow time! Beef and chicken and a rum-soaked chocolate cake for dessert was followed by the Drive All Five raffle drawing. Elizabeth Allen-Dachik will have a chance to mosey around in five new cars - a Toyota, Lexus, Acura, Honda, and Chevy - for a year from White Family Dealers, or receive $5,000.

The evening rounded up some 450 guests, including Bill and Kay Foster, Dave Francisco and Patty Wise, Patrice and Lyman Spitzer, Walter and Mary Krueger, Omar and Lubna Salem, Linda and Fred Deichert, and Craig and Michelle Joseph.

The Sawicki gang was there including Jerry and Angie Sawicki and his parents, Lois and Jerry. Mr. Sawicki, Sr., was determined to win the bid on a premium school parking place for granddaughter Alexis Holman, who will be a senior next year. Grandson Michael Bohl, straight out of a four-year tour with the Marines. was also there. Mr. Bohl, who is fluent in Swahili, came home to visit before heading to the University of Wisconsin.

CHAMPAGNE TO BLAME? Kristy and Harold Caldwell snuggle at the Blame the Champagne event. CHAMPAGNE TO BLAME? Kristy and Harold Caldwell snuggle at the Blame the Champagne event.
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Among the volunteers was Larry Anning, superintendent of the school grounds, who was doing the valet parking.

Auction coordinators Mark and Kathleen Frasco report an estimated net of $260,000 and are still counting.

A TANTALIZING evening of sampling and socializing was at The Fifth Annual Blame the Champagne! The Opera Express to benefit the Toledo Opera. The event, in the Grand Lobby of the Martin Luther King, Jr., Plaza above the train station, was a grand affair. Big Band music was provided by Rusty's Jazz Cafe Orchestra, which includes several area big-shot musicians. A wine-and-cheese tasting was delightful, thanks to Walter Berman-Heidelberg Distributing. And guests could dine from an Italian buffet. A silent and live auction run by auctioneer Rick Kigar offered vintage bottles of wine, trips to vineyards, gourmet food baskets, pampering packages, and all kinds of art, including several paintings and sculpture by Carol Block.

PLAYING THEIR SONG: Jerry and Dortha Baum dance to the saxy sounds of Jerry Sawicki, center, during the Toledo Opera's Blame the Champagne event. PLAYING THEIR SONG: Jerry and Dortha Baum dance to the saxy sounds of Jerry Sawicki, center, during the Toledo Opera's Blame the Champagne event.
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The event was presented by the Toledo Opera Primo Divos, a club dedicated to celebrating Toledo Opera productions through social and educational events. Event chairman Ed Hoffman estimates the net at about $20,000. Mr. Hoffman was assisted by Dick Flock, Timothy Reeder, Ann Sanford, Gerald Linares, and Barbara Baker.

Seen were Matt Kinsman and Connie Feldstein, Bob Werner and Diane Miller, Wayne North, Dave Bingham, Richard and Shirley Joseph, Bob Hadley and Roiann Alozaibi, Cynthia and Pete Taylor, Keith and Susan Burwell, and Mary Ellen Pisanelli and Lou Tosi, who won the bid on a Brussels vacation donated by Peter and Valerie Garforth.

Ford and Phyllis Cauffiel were there and donated a party at their private classic car museum.

A FANTASTIC display of local talent filled the stage April 29 during Lourdes College Luminations! at the Franciscan Center.

The Toledo Ballet, Toledo Opera, and the Toledo Symphony were under one roof, along with the Toledo School for the Arts Chorus and Orchestra and Faculty Jass Ensemble. Students from St. Francis de Sales High School also performed.

The fifth annual event started with cocktails and hors d'oeuvres as the Maxx Band played. Guests shopped the silent auction of art, sports, vacations, jewelry, and more.

Gadding about were Bob and Penny O'Brien, Joe and Debbie Nachtrab, Dick and Kathy Koop, Mike and Debbie Bercher, Mark and Lynda Goodremont, Dan and Diane Kazmierczak, and Rick and Jacquey Yokum.

In the theater, emcee Mike Robarge turned up the heat for a live auction. Dick and Darlene Stansley bought "Dinner with the President." Dick and Fran Anderson and Bob and Mary Arquette, followed closely by Dick and Dolly Flasck and Cleves and Kathy Delp, raised their paddles during the live scholarship auction.

Then it was show time!

Also among the more than 350 guests were Fred and Mary Lou Bollin, John and Elaine Bachey, Doreen Danto and Mike Williams, Pat and Jean Johnson, Rick Brunner and Jenny Murtagh, Denny and Mary Kay Assenmacher, Len and Pat Bullard, Joe and Mary Ann Colturi, Charles and Ann Filipiak, Bill and Carol Hanrahan, Bob and Laurie Schoonmaker, and Nick and Suzie Spinazze.

Honorary chairmen John and Ann Meier and Lourdes College president Bob Helmer and his wife, Linda, are all smiles - the event netted about $140,000 to benefit student scholarships.

ORDER IN THE COURT: Judith Lanzinger and Gary Cook look at the merits of the Gridiron preparty. ORDER IN THE COURT: Judith Lanzinger and Gary Cook look at the merits of the Gridiron preparty.
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There was a mother lode of gems just ready to be found for the 73rd Annual Gridiron Show "Full, Frontal, and Funny" presented by the Toledo Junior Bar Association. And true to form, the parody on Toledo and its movers and shakers, last Wednesday in The Valentine Theatre, struck it rich. Even before the show, most everyone joked about all the available material - from McCloskey to Noe to Katie to Carty and more.

At the Connelly, Jackson, and Collier pre-Gridiron Party, which is one of the few if not the only remaining preparties, everyone was yucking it up as they sipped and nibbled. Some were so busy having fun that they didn't make it to the show.

Gadding about the crowd were judges, attorneys, court reporters, and business associates, including Gretchen DeBacker, Joe McNamara, Jodi Spencer, Chuck Mira, Margie and Rich Heck, Dave Waterman, Julia Bates, David Katz, Kim Collins, and Ken Baker, who sported his "guilty, not guilty" cuff links.

Preparty hosts were Tony Turley, Tim Nackowicz, Adam Nightingale, Janine Avila, Steve Smith, Kassie King, Mike Bonfiglio, Bill Connelly, Jason Hill, Reg Jackson, Tammy Lavalette, and Steve Collier.

A cocktail hour-and-a-half preceded the show at the Valentine, then it was curtain call.

LEGAL EAGLES: Steve Smith, left, Janine Avila, and Steve Collier enjoy the party hosted by Connelly, Jackson, and College, one of the few remaining preparties. LEGAL EAGLES: Steve Smith, left, Janine Avila, and Steve Collier enjoy the party hosted by Connelly, Jackson, and College, one of the few remaining preparties.
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As usual, the event was a closed deal. You had to be there: No cameras or reporters on assignment allowed. But one newspaper, The Bar Rag, seemed to be everywhere.

Later - hearsay, mind you, as I did not attend - was that in addition to the continuous laughter, some real talent was displayed: Some lawyers could actually sing! Then again, others should definitely keep their day jobs.

Nine area judges were in the show too. And I heard that some of the gags to tickle everyone's funny bone ran the gamut from local to national, including poking fun at politicians, judges, celebrities, and, well, let's just say, a few interesting court cases.

Among the 725-plus guests who attended the show was Toledo Bar Association President Stuart Cubbon.

The 2005 Order of the Heel award winner, Christopher Parker, gave his speech after his year-long preparation. The 2006 Order of the Heel was presented to John Gustafson, who has his turn next year.

The rarely given Order of the Sole was presented posthumously to the Honorable Roger R. Weiher, for his 49 years in the show. Judge Weiher passed away shortly after his 49th performance in 2005. His wife, Norma, accepted on his behalf. The night still young after the laughter, many went to the after party at Club Eclipse.

The event chairman was Junior Bar Association President Bonnie Rankin assisted by Jenifer Belt and the executive committee including Julia Benziger, Ericka Parker, Megan Bula, Gregg Peppel, Damian Rodgers, Peter Lavalette, Deborah Spychalski, Meredith Mercurio, Mechelle Zarou, and Mr. Hill. Show director was Robert Koenig, who was aided by nearly 100 cast and crew members.

And the winners are The Ohio International Competition presented by BowTech Productions Inc. crowned the 2006 Mrs. Ohio, Miss Ohio International, and Miss Teen Ohio Saturday night at the Franciscan Center.

Just like the big shows, the stage was set for lights, camera, and action. Executive State Director Susan Botek, a past Mrs. Ohio herself, welcomed everyone and talked about the pageant as the "ABC's of Pageantry: Achievement, Beauty, and Community Service."

Set apart from other pageants, aerobic wear competition places a focus on health and fitness rather than on bathing-suit beauty.

Special treats were tenor vocalists Angus Wood and Randall Reid-Smith, who wooed the well-dressed audience with song. Then it was show time!

Delegates from across the state paraded in as they were introduced while in the front row were the judges, including Diane DiLeo Luensmann, David Michaels, Holly Campbell-Bradley, Stephanie Hunt, Ann Galloway, and Cheryl Surgo.

Meanwhile, behind the scenes, to make the well- run event become that, there was a host of nearly 50 comunity volunteers. They handled everything from production to security to set design and photography.

On with the show!

Delegates from all over the state sashayed in tasteful fun fashion wear, classy suits, physical fitness wear, and evening gowns. They also answered questions regarding their platforms from health concerns such as childhood obesity and eating disorders to volunteering.

While all were worthy, only one Mrs., Miss, and Miss Teen could win.

Mrs. Toledo, Cay Stout is the new Mrs. Ohio. Miss Cincinnati Angelique Verbarg is the new Miss Ohio. Miss Teen Defiance Amiee Moser is the new Miss Teen Ohio.



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