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Published: Thursday, 9/13/2007

New business, local organizations take time to celebrate

This week started off with celebrations.

The opening of Waterford Bank, N.A., was celebrated with a reception Tuesday night at its North McCord Road offices. Rich cherry wood, soft beiges, and ocean blue accents gave a welcoming feeling to the classy new building, and a few Waterford crystal pieces added a finishing touch. All smiles were the top three principals: Michael R. Miller, chairman and CEO; Michael W. White, president and COO, and Lawrence C. Boyer, executive vice president and senior lending officer.

Among the 300 guests touring the new bank were Duane and Nancy Ankney, John and Bridget Ansberg, Tom and Brenda Geiger, Tom Geiger, Jr., and his wife, Paulette, Pat and Ann Hylant, Sam and Mary Gianino, Mark Ridenour, Marc and Terry Stockwell, Glenn and Lori Paton, Marty and Mary Werner, Craig Mancinotti, Dave Waterman, Raj and Rama Thapar, Dave and Dana White, Jim and Penny Lenardson, Mark and Sandy Luetke, Sarah McHugh and her husband, David Hart, Peter Gerken, Joe Napoli, Mark and Gretchen Zyndorf, Marv and Nancy Robon, and Don Finnegan, Jr.

MONDAY there was a special celebration, too, at the Northwest Ohio Restaurant Association s annual meeting at Heather Downs Country Club with president Roger Parker, vice president of V/Gladieux Enterprises.

The guest of honor was fellow member Labib Hajjar, owner of the Beirut, Byblos, and Poco Piatti restaurants. In addition to proclamations, plaques, and a Glass City goblet complete with a bottle of Wholly Toledo water, Mr. Hajjar was presented with a crisp white restaurant association executive chef s jacket.

Lawrence C. Boyer, left, Michael W. White, and Michael R. Miller celebrate the opening of Waterford Bank. Lawrence C. Boyer, left, Michael W. White, and Michael R. Miller celebrate the opening of Waterford Bank.
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The Ohio Restaurant Association, of which Mr. Hajjar has been a member since 1985, presented him with its Lifetime Achievement Award on June 24 at its annual meeting and president s dinner in Newark, Ohio. But this week it was a special honor by local members of the NWORA; Mr. Hajjar has been a board member for 27 years.

Mr. Hajjar, who grew up in Lebanon, came to the United States in 1970 and earned a degree from Western Michigan University in 1973. In 1980, he became a naturalized U.S. citizen and, while continuing to run his business, he earned his MBA degree from the University of Toledo in 1983.

In 1974 he opened the Beirut Bakery, then the Beirut restaurant in 1975 (it moved to its current location in 1985). In 1989, Byblos, a sister restaurant, opened, followed by two Poco Piatti restaurants. Many a celebrity has visited the Hajjar establishments, from Jordan s Queen Noor to Toledo s own Jamie Farr, a regular visitor when in town, and his M*A*S*H co-star Loretta Swit.

Mr. Hajjar was NWORA president from 2000 through 2002 and coordinated the Northwest 9/11 Eat Out to raise funds for New York City restaurant workers. He serves as a board member of St. George Antiochian Orthodox Cathedral and the Red Cross, and has received numerous awards, from St. Jude s Hospital to Taste of the Nation.

The keynote speaker for the event was Dr. David Grossman, commissioner of the Toledo-Lucas County Health Department, who discussed the new Get Fit Toledo campaign.

A group of friends continued the celebration at Poco Piatti in Levis Commons. Toasting Mr. Hajjar and his wife, Karyn, were Tommy and Annie Pipatjarasgit of Magic Wok, Dan and Carey Ostas of El Matador, Mr. Parker, Jim Cameron of HeidelbergDistributing, Jennifer Sullins of Heidelberg and her husband, Bret, and Royal Barber, treasurer of NWORA.

SEPTEMBER is booming with events, including the Big Brothers Big Sisters 2007 Mentor Awards to be held at 4:30 p.m. Sept. 18 at 20 North Gallery. Among the awardees will be Big Brother Reginald Truss and Little Brother, Redus Thomas, who were matched 16 years ago when Redus was 8 years old.

IF YOU ARE looking for an entertaining evening, Peter Cincotti, singer, pianist, composer, and arranger, is slated as the featured entertainment September 29 for the Valentine Theatre Gala presented by National City. The 22-year-old star will perform with his six-member band. The evening includes a pre-reception and a buffet dinner following the performance and then dancing to Night Breeze.

Bo Diddley was slated to perform that night, but he had a heart attack right after the ambassadors gathered for a training party last spring in the lovely riverfront home of Susan and Tom Palmer. But not to worry Bo Diddley will be booked at a later date after he is fully recovered.

Tickets are $175 each and may be purchased through the Valentine Box Office at 419-242-2787.

NOTE: If you have an event or party, please add me to your invitation list.



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