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Published: Thursday, 2/28/2008

Leaping out of February

February, even with an extra day, is wrapping up quickly. Here are just a few tidbits.

SNOW played havoc on many events slated for Tuesday, including the Kidney Foundation of Northwest Ohio's Girls' Night Out Wine Tasting to help kick off National Kidney Month. The event was postponed until next Thursday, same place, same time: 6 p.m. at the foundation office on West Central Avenue.

In the meantime, in spite of the inclement weather, the Northwest Ohio Restaurant Association hosted its 4th Annual Progressive Dinner Tuesday night at The Docks. Most guests said the weather was no problem, but the accidents and closed Martin Luther King, Jr., Bridge made it inconvenient to get to The Docks. Many said the bridge's closure is hurting business.

But 100 people were present for a gourmet feast of incredible edibles starting with champagne, a martini bar, and wine with tasty canapes including shrimp shooters and oysters at Navy Bistro. Then they went to Zia's for appetizers, including ravioli and penne pasta paired with DaVinci red wine. Tango's was the stop for margarita intermezzo before dining at Real Seafood on Maine lobster, clams, mussels, and more. Kahlua, chocolate, and cordials finished the meal as attendees shopped the silent auction. The NWORA is the local chapter of the Ohio Restaurant Association, which is part of the National Restaurant Association. Among the group were Roger Parker, Kris Berger Long; Thomas Coffman, Geoff Hetrick, Richard Mason, and several others, including Labib and Karen Hajjar, Jon Gould, Tom McHugh and Jeannie Hylant, Tom and Eileen Cousino, and Mike Gibbons.

SATURDAY night the Maumee Rotary Service Foundation hosted its annual charity auction "Mardi Gras: An Evening on Bourbon Street" at Gladieux Meadows in honor of the late Chuck Oswald. And the night was enchanting with purple, green, and gold masks, beads, and a parade float, all the work of Bruce and Ann Brodbeck, decoration chairmen. Guests shopped the silent and live auctions and dined.

More than $100,000-plus matching donations was netted, said Julie Oswald, president. That's thanks to the generosity of the guests and the donors, including John Whalen, auctioneer, who was presented with an honorary Rotarian award for his 28 years of service. A bench bearing his name will be installed at the Side Cut Metropark Pavilion. It is only the second bench; the first one honored the late Mr. Oswald. Back at the auction, before Mr. Whalen started belting out "Do I hear?" Ms. Oswald's grandma, Thelma Cyigon, told Mr. Whalen, "No low prices, John boy!" A major part of the proceeds go to Guatemalan aid. Bob Navarro was the event chairman and Tim Muszynski was the emcee.

MUSICIANS jammed and artists and writers shared information during The Art Salon Feb. 17 at the home of Diana and Ron Gosses for about 44 guests ages 18-80. They discussed common problems and brainstormed about area art issues from 1 p.m. until nearly 8 p.m., even though the event was expected to end at about 5 p.m. But the chance to meet and mingle was so great, no one wanted to leave. Among the eclectic group was special guest, James Ravin, author of the book, The Eye of the Artist, which decribes how vision problems affected various artists and their works.

Also present were Robin Ballmer, Perrysburg Area Arts Council, and her husband, Rusty. Laura Emerson, artist and WUPW-TV, Channel 36, anchor, and her husband, Bruce Slusher, and Pat Abair, Gloria Adams, Margarita Beale, Michael Connelly, Sharron Cygnor, Alice Grace, Keith Hasenbalg, Nate Masternak, Jody Russ, Travis Sanderson, Sal Schiciano, Jeshua Schuster, Jim Williams, and Kirsty Wilson. Musicians seen were Al DiMaris of Bowling Green State University, Karen Biscay of Lourdes College, Mike Biscay, Kent Hoiles, and Ralph Spitulski.

"A Knight of the Vine: An Event for the Wine Aficionado" will be March 11 at Real Seafood Co. for St. Francis de Sales High School Endowment Fund. It was announced during a kickoff party Feb. 13 at Real Seafood Co. Last year's inaugural event netted more than $100,000.

THE Toledo Alumnae Panhellenic's event, "A Taste of Things to Come," was Feb. 7 at Sophie's Sister. The first-time event replaced the Heart to Heart event to bring alumnae together to promote the Greek community and philanthropy. As the event grew, it was increasingly difficult to bond with members. So the new event was open to seniors and alumnae only. As in the former event, nonperishable food items were collected for local charity. And it was a success: Ladies sipped, nibbled, and networked. The TAAP began in 1950 for representatives of the National Panhellenic Council to support undergrads. TAAP's primary function is to raise funds for University of Toledo and Bowling Green State University scholarships.

Among those present were Beth Sheets, Sara Martin, Gina Fontana, Clare Gorski, and Sue Cameron. Students from UT and BGSU won prizes and gift certificates from Sophie's Sister.

THE LAST chance to dine at Diva Restaurant is Saturday. No more artfully displayed melt-in-your-mouth edibles at the downtown establishment after that. The doors will be closed.



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