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Published: Monday, 2/18/2008

On The Town: At the heart of it all

The beginning of February is for lovers, and this last week or so, hearts and flowers, mainly red and pink, were everywhere.

ST. VALENTINE'S Day on Thursday was not for sweethearts at Gladieux Meadows. Instead, how sweet it was to see a sea of red made up of more than 400 women who gathered for the inaugural Go Red for Women. The campaign was presented by the American Heart Association: Live and Learn, and sponsored nationally by Macy's and Merck, and locally by St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center with media partners The Blade and WTVG-TV, Channel 13. The station's Diane Larson was the emcee.

Go Red provides women with information on healthy lifestyles, while the association continues research to wipe out heart disease, the No. 1 killer of women, and stroke, the No. 3 killer of women, said Jan Motter, director of the area chapter. The Heart Association, founded in 1924, is among the nation's oldest and largest voluntary health organizations.

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<img src=http://www.toledoblade.com/graphics/icons/photo.gif> <b><font color=red>ON THE TOWN</b></font color=red>: <a href=" /apps/pbcs.dll/gallery?Avis=TO&Dato=20080218&Kategori=COLUMNIST10&Lopenr=619790283&Ref=PH" target="_blank "><b>At the heart of it all</b></a> photo gallery
<br> <img src=http://www.toledoblade.com/graphics/icons/photo.gif> <b><font color=red>ON THE TOWN</b></font color=red>: <a href=" /apps/pbcs.dll/gallery?Avis=TO&Dato=20080218&Kategori=COLUMNIST10&Lopenr=619790283&Ref=PH" target="_blank "><b>At the heart of it all</b></a> photo gallery
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Ladies first perused the health vendors' displays and were delighted to receive heart-shaped necklaces with a note "From our Hearts with Love, Libbey Humanities Students."

While the heart-healthy gourmet lunch was tasty, the real treat was the information from guest speakers. Dr. Ameer Kabour of Toledo Cardiology Consultants talked about factors of heart disease, including weight, diabetes, smoking, hypertension, cholesterol, and exercise. He also suggested that women over 50 years of age take a baby aspirin daily to prevent heart attacks and strokes. He also warned that if you are having a heart attack, don't waste time. Call 911 and go to one of the four area major heart centers: St. Luke's, St. V's, Toledo Hospital, and the University of Toledo Medical Center, formerly the Medical College of Ohio.

Then Dr. Kabour reminded everyone that the Heart of Toledo Gala is March 8 at Inverness.

Dr. Gretchen Tietjen of the University of Toledo Medical Center said ditto to Dr. Kabour's comments and that all applications for the prevention of heart attacks can be applied to the prevention of strokes. She too stressed the importance of immediate help because the first few hours are critical.

If that was not enough to convince the group to pay attention to health, the testimony from Elizabeth Cousino and daughters Mary, a high school student, and Emily, in college, all with Long QT Syndrome, a disorder of the heart's electrical system, did the trick. The disease can be fatal but with the help of automated external defibrillators they live normally.

But it was Diana Jordan, one of Oprah's favorite comedians, who gave the audience exactly what the doctor ordered - lots of laughs - with her happy heart presentation. After all, the saying that laughter is great medicine must be true, she said, because the initials for the American Heart Association are - AHA - is the start of a laugh. She said laughter adds up to eight years to your life and singing adds up to three years, so then she broke into the song "You gotta have heart."

Ms. Motter invited everyone to put their hands on their hearts, close their eyes, and "think about its beat, the power of your life in your hands."

Event chairman Barb Martin, was all smiles over the day that is expected to net roughly $65,000. Among the committee members assisting were Kay Clawson, Sheila Cook, Becky Henderly, Caroline McMann, Shawana Shadoan, and Bonnie Yohn. To learn more about heart disease call 1-800-AHA-USA1 or visit americanheart.org.

BRAVO! "The Last Great Romantic" gala Feb. 9 at the Peristyle, presented by the Toledo Opera and sponsored by Thomas McDonald Partners-Mansour Wealth Management and National City bank, put everyone in the mood for romance. But even sweeter was meeting the sopranos from the performance during the Gala After Party at Diva.

About 150 ladies and gents - max capacity - all dolled up and dapper in evening wear, mingled about as Tim Whalen played piano while Mike Whitty sang tunes.

Guests sipped champagne and other spirits while tasting elegant aphrodisiac edibles, including oysters on the half shell, duck rumaki, smoked scallops, baked figs, Thai salad, dark chocolate fondue, and more.

Spotted among the well-dressed crowd were Marianne Ballas and Jim Maciejko, Rita Mansour, Rollie and Jane Abel, Tim Valko and Jim Moore, Doug and Kathy Andrews, Tim and Dee Janney, Marti Zarkower, Karen and Ralph De Nune, Eldora and Al Brogan, and Elizabeth Bachman, stage director for the upcoming production of Il Trovatore, who said rehearsals started the next day.

Also seen was Laura Fald of New York, who came to Toledo for the weekend to see friends including Baker O'Brien, attend the opera gala, and rejuvenate at the Kerr House in Grand Rapids, Ohio. She said it was the Metropolitan Opera the night before and the Toledo Opera tonight.

Some were privy to the luncheon Jan. 30 in honor of the The Last Great Romantic gala which was hosted by The Toledo Opera Guild at the Toledo Club. Among the ladies who attended were Barbara Baker, Cindy Niggemeyer, Sue Lovett, Peggy Crook, Diane Rusk-Disbrow, Barbara Brown, and Lucy Gorski, a longtime philanthropist of the opera.

THE 24th Annual Perrysburg Rotary Club Charity Auction "Having a Heart for Others; Serving at Home and Abroad" was Feb. 9 at Carranor Hunt and Polo Club.

A tasty buffet dinner, fit for a queen, followed by individual heart-shaped cakes for dessert, gave attendees plenty of time to gad about, shop the silent auction, and peruse the items on the live auction block, per the creative descriptions in the book, before auctioneer Pam Rose started the bidding. There was something for everyone from sports, dining, and entertainment packages to a few unusual items, including a tour of the Wood County Justice Center donated by Sheriff Mark Wasylyshyn.

Jeff Normand, chairman, reports an estimated net of more than $55,000.

Proceeds support a water project at the Brad Reddick School in Haiti and the purchase of four automatic electronic defibrillators for the Perrysburg City and Township police and fire departments, and other foundation projects.

Among the more than 250 reserved were movers and shakers, including Bob and Molly Mack, Karen and Bob Lucas, Dave Wise, Laurie and Jeff Huskisson, Sandy Blackstone Carman, Matt and Lea Skotynsky, Ken and Tara Robinson, Becky Fuhrman and Don Leary, Robin and Scott Libbe, John and Sally Welch, Jack and Cyndi Sculfort, Gail Christie, Mary and Walt Krueger, Tina and Rob Black, Betsy and Reeve Kelsey, and Don and Ann Lieder, who were celebrating their wedding anniversary.

AMID red-and-pink decor, including fresh tulips, it was a Fight For Victory presented by The Victory Center held Feb. 7 at Carranor Hunt and Polo Club. The Victory Center strives to nourish and comfort the body, mind, and spirit during the fight against cancer.

Guest speaker, Jackie Kallen, who is the inspiration for the film, Against the Ropes, inspired the nearly 200 women with her talk about her book, Hit Me With Your Best Shot.

Formerly of Detroit when she was a TV and radio personality, she is known as the first lady of boxing, having managed four champions and more.

In addition, a tasty lunch was followed by a style show by Ragazza and Tootsies shoes.

But it was the testimonial by Victory Center client Leslie Sterling, now a board member, who brought the story of coping with cancer home. Chairman Shelly Conyngham and co-chairman Linda Arent were pleased with the nearly $6,000 netted from the luncheon, as well as getting a chance to tout what the center has to offer cancer patients and their families. Committee members included Diane Pacella, Cynthia Goodman, Lynne Brechin, and Melissa Utterback.

But the day didn't end with lunch.

That night, at The Pinnacle, was the Fight For Victory Boxing Night, which Ms. Kallen attended along with boxing celeb Bronco McKart. More than 100 guests came to wine, dine, and watch boxing bouts by the International Boxing Club, all in the name of charity. The event, chaired by Russ Wood, Mike Henry, and Bob Thompson, netted about $6,000.

THERE were other heart-felt events recently.

•Chocolate angel food cake with raspberry sorbet and berry compote enticed many to ditch diets Feb. 11-13 at all Mainstreet Ventures, including the local Real Seafood Co., Zia's, and Ciao's. After all, it was for charity.

A portion of the sales was donated to the American Heart Association.

•A handmade gift is always extra special. Meredith Wenzel at Glass City Blews with the assistance of her husband, Gary Robinson, assisted people with making their own glass hearts Feb. 14.

FITTING in with the party scene was the Associated Yacht Clubs' weekend Friday and Saturday at the Holiday Inn French Quarter in Perrysburg in honor of outgoing Comm. Gary Weaver and his wife, Lady Deb.

Talk about bringing business to the area, there were some 1,500 party-goers Friday night, and just as many Saturday for the big Commodore's Ball. But the James Bond-themed Friday night was one giant party in the main part of the French Quarter, plus more than 40 hospitality suites by area yacht clubs.

Harbor View had animated Bond characters, a helicopter, and a movie stand bar, run by Jeri Wendt and Jerry O'Kenka. Doug and Jan Martin of Indian River Boat Club, were delighted to be there, especially because they had their wedding reception there 31 years ago. Wayne and MaryAnn Eilers of Perrysburg Boat Club said it combined its suite with IRBC for a Live and Let Die theme. Riverview Yacht Club welcomed guests to 007's License to Kill suite, where Jim Waingrow and Ruth Old tended bar. Ottawa River Yacht Club had a Die Another Day theme with everything looking cold and icy.

Meanwhile, tunes filled the air. The Lazy River Band played favorites - including "Wild Thing" - as the shoulder-to-shoulder crowd on all four levels moved to the beat. Yes, these boaters are ready for warm weather.

Anyone coming to town to rent a room was out of luck because the AYC took over the entire hotel, plus the Express, and four other motels close by. The AYC had shuttle service so no one had to drink and drive.



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