Toledo is anything but dull as far as area movers and shakers are concerned. Sunday night's Super Bowl was an excuse for parties all over town. But that was just one of many excuses for fun.
LAST Thursday there was a party that challenges the idea of brain drain here in Toledo as far as this group of young professionals is concerned.
Ben Konop, left, talks with Nicole Tarbet and Kylie Conway at the Focus on Young People gathering at Bar Louie.
Many of them are involved in the EPIC group through the Toledo Area Chamber of Commerce, which is a way for young people to become involved in the community. But the pickings were slim when it came to an avenue for young people to gather just for fun and to meet other young people.
So, Derek Feniger decided to do something about that. He created Focus on Young People, known as FYP, a social group of young professionals whose purpose is to have fun. Mr. Feniger is looking for the group to become part of Toledo's social society and they are off to a good start, meeting twice a month.
Morgan Bayer, foreground, and Reed Lawless, left, Derek Feniger, and Laura Newenschwander meet at Bar Louie for a Focus on Young People event.
Ah, it reminded me of many moons ago, in the early 1980s when some of my friends, including Cindy Bauer Rimmelin, Andrea Putman Reams, Sue Metzger Hadley, Kitty Swartzbaugh Ragan, Kathy Korhumel Dise, started the Summer Committee, a group of yuppies gathering just for fun. Among those who joined us later was Kathy Whitta Miller. The men's group was The Bachelors, about a dozen men who hosted their first party in the gray days of January in the early 1980s at the Toledo Club with 120 cases of champagne. The group including Rich Iott, Dock Treece, Brock Rimmelin, Tim Galdieux, Jeff Foster, Ned Hein, and others. Mr. Treece said the idea was to meet other young professionals in a setting other than a bar.
The ladies' first event was a beach party at Toledo Beach with Lilly Pulitzer tablecloths, pink candelabras, and sweetheart roses, and a dinner of shish kabob, fresh fruit salad, and designer beer. The ladies, all in pink T-shirts with our green alligator logo, were delighted to have the Rev. Bob Kirtland as our "chaperone" and resident gourmet chef, who made chocolate mousse with the help of Paul Smart. We even were in Dorothy Rainie's society column in The Blade!
Akinfemi Afolabi and his wife, Tolani, at the Toledo Club for the Bay Park Community Hospital medical staff dinner.
We went on to have many, many parties over the years, from cocktail parties at the Inverness Club to trips to Put-in-Bay, wine classes at Toledo Country Club with Father Kirtland, who was The Blade's wine columnist, plus road rallies and more. Many people met the love of their life at these parties. All of us still keep in contact, and many will gather today at services for Father Kirtland, who died Sunday, as we reminisce and share fond memories of a priest who was a friend to many.
Back to the FYP: For now, the group is rotating areas of town and days of the week -so far, during happy hour - to meet. The first gathering was at Liquid Ultra Lounge in downtown Toledo with 45 people. Last week, at Bar Louie in Levis Commons, the number grew to 65. Mr. Feniger is hoping the numbers continue to grow each week and invites anyone who is interested to e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org to get on the list. Mr. Feniger has also created a MySpace page at www.myspace.com/fyptoledo.
Julie and Brad Rubini at a Claire s Day reception recently at Barnes & Noble Booksellers.
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Among the young socialites at Bar Louie were Morgan Bayer, Julie Gannon, Mike Mundwiler, Erin Hirschfeld, Reed Lawless, Laura Newenschwander, and Mr. Feniger.
The next gathering is Feb. 15 at Carlita's, 4709 Douglas Rd.
CLAIRE'S Day, the book festival started nearly seven years ago in honor of the late Claire Lynsey Rubini, daughter of Julie and Brad Rubini, as a way to encourage children to become lifelong readers, a favorite pastime of the late Miss Rubini, will be May 17 at the Maumee Branch of the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library.
Claire's Day includes the free family book fest featuring authors and illustrators of children's books. In addition, the organization provides an annual $2,500 grant to the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library Legacy Foundation for the purchase of books by authors participating in Claire's Day.
And, 17 area schools received grants totaling more than $5,000 at a Jan. 31 reception at Barnes & Noble Booksellers on Monroe Street. For more information on the upcoming activities and opportunities surrounding Claire's Day go to Claire's Journal at www.clairesday.org
THE marquee above the entrance to the reading room in the Toledo Club Feb. 1 read "Bay Park Presents the Voice of Sinatra." Unfortunately, the Sinatra songster, Brian Duprey, was not able to be there because his flight was canceled due to weather. But that didn't put a damper on the fun for the 200 guests who gathered for the Bay Park Community Hospital annual medical staff dinner. Sinatra favorites filled the air as guests, mainly physicians, hobnobbed.
Then after dinner it was out with the old and in with the new. Outgoing chief of staff Michael Lorton, there with his wife, Christie, handed the gavel over to incoming chief of staff Akinfemi Afolabi, there with his wife, Tolani.
Bay Park board chairman Bob Chirdon presided over the awards presentation with Dr. Lorton and William Mueller, hospital president.
In keeping with the Sinatra theme, there was a drawing for a New York City weekend, including a Broadway show, and Nasir Ali was the lucky winner.
Also at the Toledo Club that night, several club members gathered in the Red Room where Jim Gottron tickled the ivories accompanied by other musicians. A real treat was when Devon Effler sang a few songs, as did Marianne Ballas.