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Published: Monday, 5/12/2008

On The Town: Philanthropy shines even in hard times

It s a jungle out there, but people here in Toledo continue to step up to the plate for charity. And speaking of stepping, toes were tapping at Toledo Country Club s annual spring dinner dance.

The Toledo Zoo s Nairobi Pavilion was a fittingly exotic setting Friday night for Rainforest Rumba to benefit Maumee Valley Country Day School. The event drummed up a whopping estimated net of $250, 000.

While it didn t rain in the forest or anywhere else in the zoo, the weather was a bit colder than expected for a day in mid-May. But not to worry; heaters took the bite off the outdoor event.


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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=20080512&Kategori=COLUMNIST10&Lopenr=621216799&Ref=PH" target="_blank  "><b>Philanthropy shines even in hard times</b></a> 
<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=20080512&Kategori=COLUMNIST10&Lopenr=621216799&Ref=PH" target="_blank "><b>Philanthropy shines even in hard times</b></a>
JEREMY WADSWORTH Enlarge

So what does one wear at a rainforest rumba? There were a variety of ensembles from the safari look to classic casual to cocktail attire. Guests sipped and supped on spirits, including a special rumba punch, fit for the tropical event. The Upper School Vocal and the Steel Drum ensembles added pep.

The jungle setting was enhanced with black linen covered tables that held candlelight and tillandsia floral centerpieces air plants from California which were sold that night. Edible pansies from Huron, Ohio, garnished the dinner plates for the tasty chicken and beef meal with special touches.

The short and upbeat program included a standing ovation for the faculty. Event Chairman Joanie Barrett was assisted by a vast committee of school staffers, parents, alums, and other folk who donated time and money.

Many guests kept constant check on their favorite items, including student art in the silent auction. Lisa and Dennis Holman bought a carload of items including an oriental rug, a christening gown, and lots of Buckeye candies.

The high stakes bidding was fast and furious, and bids were high as Jeff Keim shouted over the crowd: Do I hear?

Mrs. Barrett and her husband, Mike, bought the Pomeranian female pocket pup and picked it up the next day because no pets are allowed at the zoo. The Barretts already have named their dog Coco Chanel.

Excursions went like hotcakes. Debbie and Leo Deiger won the bid for tickets to the premiere of Camp Rock movie, starring teen pop sensations the Jonas Brothers, plus former MVCDS student Alyson Stoner as Caitlyn.

Craig and Joan Fankhauser won the bid for an all-expenses-paid trip to be an extra in the new I Love You Phillip Morris movie starring Jim Carrey.

Many guests competed in the Heads N Tails raffle for an Orlando, Fla. vacation. A coin was flipped and prospects were eliminated until it got down to the winner: Fred Deichert, a board member, there with his wife, Linda. The Deicherts graciously donated the trip back to be auctioned off, bringing in more money for the school.

MVCDS alum Christine Wolfe Nichols gets credit for the raffle idea for the school.

Robert and Pat Maurer, who have had five children at MVCDS, came and offered upon arrival a vacation condo in Mexico for the auction.

Another fun item on the live-auction block was the chance to drive five different cars in six months, courtesy of the White Family Dealerships.

Seen among the 335 guests were John and Julia Bearss, Patty Wise and Dave Francisco, Becky and Dean Kasperzak, David Joseph, Tom Webb, Barbara and Tim Reed, Angela and Jim Brennan, Kelly and Brian Brooks, Ann Sanford, Jane and Bob Anspach, Joan Bayer, Sonny and Laila Ariss, Julie and Ford Toby Cauffiel, Jr., Hope and Daniel Finch, Larry and Beth Friedman, Omar and Lubna Salem, Meira and David Zucker, Walt and Mary Krueger, Tim and Areka Foster, Tina and Rob Black, Kate and Scott MacPherson, Phil and Debbie Schmidt, Scott Parry, J.B. and Suzanne Rorick, Patrice and Lyman Spitzer, Richard and Clare Hylant, Michael and Robin Flaum, Jeff and Carol Twiman, Joe Chao and Jane Chang, and Carty Finkbeiner, who is an alum as were many of the guests, while others have had children in school or do now.

Parting gifts for all guests were a green tote bag, as a reminder that this is the Year of the Frog, as designated by Amphibian Ark, a worldwide rescue effort for species that cannot be saved in the wild. Zoological parks all over the world are joined in the campaign. On Friday the Toledo Zoo will open a new exhibit, Amazing Amphibians.

The seventh annual Paw Hoorah, presented by Sylvania Veterinary Hospital and Welch Publishing, May 3 at Toledo Country Club, fetched some 250 guests 300 tickets were sold to benefit Planned Pethood Inc.

The guests lapped up a meal inspired by an international theme that included plenty for the vegetarians, but carnivores didn t go hungry either. Rachael Richardson sang jazz tunes.

Then things got howling.

Dr. Bob Esplin of the veterinary hospital offered a challenge during the auction: If someone made a donation, he would double that amount in veterinary care for the rescues at the clinic. So without hesitation, Frank Szymanski of Dunbar Realty donated $1,000, meaning PPI has a $2,000 credit for its animals.

Lisa Barrow of Barrow s Jewelers donated a honey citrine necklace worth $1,200 and the bids kept going. Robin Rayner was disappointed that she did not win, but little did she know her hubby, Sam, came out the victor. He presented it to her yesterday for Mother s Day.

Janna and Randy Lake donated a golf weekend at Catawba Country Club: Dorey Schmidt and fiance Chris Fox won the bid.

Vicky Schramm bid from Florida via her niece Missy Dell, by cell phone. She won the bids for a week at Myrtle Beach, S.C. and four tickets to the sold-out Tigers versus Yankees game donated by PPI foster parent Mike Crumley.

Treasurer Kim Hillyer reports more than $40,000 was netted. Chairmen Jen Frey, Merin Schrinel, and Doy DiNardo are thrilled because that is more than $6,000 more than last year s net.

The Toledo Country Club is in full bloom for the season.

The club s unofficial kickoff to golf, tennis, swimming, patio dining, and more was April 26 at the annual spring dinner dance, Black Tie & Blooms. Champagne, cocktails, and hors d oeuvres were served on the riverfront terrace enhanced with cigar boxes filled with pansies. A divine dinner followed that was nearly too pretty to eat but eat it they did.

The modern, jazzy speakeasy atmosphere was so artful, it was like a Seurat or Monet painting. Plum, turquoise, and cantaloupe tones with metallic silver and bronze undertones covered the tables that were centered with candlelight and low silver bowls that held flowers. Paper parasols floated high above from the ceiling.

Edible flowers garnished all of the food, which included chilled avocado soup, bibb salad, red pepper intermezzo, and a very tasty entree of grilled lobster tail and filet mignon with shrimp and lobster Newberg sauce. A standing ovation was given to the staff for the excellent evening.

The ladies in gowns and gentlemen in tuxedos added to the scene too: Bill and Jean Buckley, Candy and Jim Millon, Don and Brenda Fulkurt, Tom and Judy Sattler, Barbara and Dan Cutillo, and June and Erwin Effler, who like many, were dancing at every chance they had.

In keeping with tradition, new members in attendance were introduced: Patrick and Linda Tansey, Michael and Natalie Jackson, Mike and Angie Henry, David and Christina Krol, Mick and Jo Wagoner, Michael and Leslie Applebaum, David and Charlotte Saunders, and J.P. Ankney.

Hosts of the gala were Tim and Nancy Alter, Tony and Janice Braida, and Lynn and Joyce Olman. Club board president R.L. Berry and his wife, Karen, were there too.

The elegant and fun scene continued all night long as members danced to Detroit s Bridget Grace.

The American Diabetes Association s Celebrity Art Auction Gala was April 26 at Gladieux Meadows. Marcia and Don Siemens, honorary chairmen, are delighted with the approximately $38,000 that was netted.

That s thanks to the nearly 180 tickets sold, the artists, and the sponsors including H Hansen Industries, HCR ManorCare, and Roetzel & Andress.

The decor, programs, invitation and more were based on signature artist Tom Linegman s Towers of Hope, which he donated for the event.

Those who were privy to the VIP reception with the artists and celeb artists got the first peek at the more than 100 silent auction items as they sipped and nibbled to the tune of the Rob Cintron Trio.

They also watched Aaron Bivins create a painting in watercolors that was later auctioned off and purchased by Toledo Fire Chief Mike Wolever.

And, yummy: smoked salmon piped in Belgian endive with caviar, brie on toast, crostini with artichoke pate, and mango and crab on toast were just a few of the treats.

The rest of the group arrived and perused as they nibbled domestic and imported cheeses and fresh fruits. A tasty chicken dinner was followed by a sweet and tart mixture of fruit in a crust with artificial sweetener, which, by the way, met the American Diabetes Association Food Guidelines.

Hot items in the live auction erupted with some bidding wars.

A welded bench created by Chief Wolever and John Sliwinski, Dragonflies in Conversation, was won by Martin Allen of HCR ManorCare. Tommy Anderson of Youth Ambassador and Matt Paskiet s glass blown fish named Spike was bought by Randy Day, Tommy s stepfather. Arlene Wilson and Kathy Glowski s glass blown fountain was won by Patricia Kovacs.

The other teams were: Karl Rundgren, Fox 36 Toledo and Julia Johnston, Face of Toledo; Ms. Johnston is a muralist on the side. Julie Beckert and Kelly Kessler, both of HCR ManorCare, created watercolor paintings with the assistance of Mr. Bivins.

Joe Kunkle of SSOE did a glass sculpture under the direction of Bernie Andrews.

Louito Edje of St. Luke s Hospital created a glass piece with the help of Mr. Paskiet.

Mike Collins of PepsiAmericas of Toledo made pottery with Amy Antoszewski s guidance. Russell Wood of Huntington Bank did pottery with the assistance of Debra Malinvosky.

Volunteers and staff of Read For Literacy met Thursday for final details for the second annual Amazing Race for Literacy.

Event chairman Marilyn Widman, board member, will kick start the event at 4 p.m. on Saturday at the Maumee branch of the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library on River Road.

The race is a scavenger hunt-like road rally to a final party and award destination. The fee is $150 per carload of competitors.

There are also site sponsor opportunities along the route.

So far, 30 firms, unions, and organizations have registered cars.

For information, contact the Read for Literacy office at 419-242-7323.



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