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Life and Arts

Community: Boy Scouts strike big with surprise donation

Programs for Boy Scouts in the Verdugo Hills Council will be stronger than ever, thanks to a generous donation presented during the 38th annual Big Strike Auction Friday night at the Castaway.

Under the theme, “Changing the World One Scout at a Time,” the gala kicked off with a silent auction followed by dinner. Then came a surprise announcement of a major donation. Tom Carnahan presented the Verdugo Hills Council with a check for $150,000 from its Carnahan Charitable Remainder Trust. The gift was from Tom’s father, Joe Carnahan, who died six weeks ago, said Bob Black, who co-chaired the auction with his wife, Dorothy.

“The donation was a secret until Tom made the announcement,” Black said.

The gift neatly meshed with the live auction as Vice President of Finance Sunder Ramani led the bidding, with comic relief provided by master of ceremonies actor Clint Howard, who walked between the tables and interacted with guests.


Howard was born and raised in Burbank and is the brother of director Ron Howard. Clint Howard starred in the 1960s TV series “Gentle Ben,” and played the role of Balok in an episode of the original “Star Trek” series.

In his monologue, Clint Howard said he had always wanted to join Boy Scouts as a youth, but his parents thought he already had too much on his plate with Burbank Parks and Recreation sports and his acting career. He told the more than 300 guests that he believes Scouting “is more important than ever.”

Video tributes were projected upon the big screen, first from actor Gary Sinise and later from director Ron Howard.

Winning coveted live-auction prizes were Robert Rector, who will be spending a day of golf and lunch with Clint Howard at the Wood Ranch Country Club in Simi Valley, and school board member Debbie Kukta, taking home a golden retriever puppy to meet her 10-year-old dog, Cody.


All proceeds help the Verdugo Hills Council provide Scouting programs for more than 3,000 boys who live in Burbank, Glendale, La Crescenta and La Cañada Flintridge.

Eagle Scout Kevin Beebe directed the flag presentation and Homenetmen Scout Evana Grigorian sang “God Bless America.” The Rev. Wayne Walters gave the invocation.

In the final video tribute of the night, Ron Howard reiterated his brother’s sentiments about Boy Scouting and all that participants learn on the road to becoming men.

“God bless the Boy Scouts,” he said adding, “I really mean that.”

Sixteen past presidents and current council president Dennis Barlow were honored at a reception prior to the auction. They were Sheldon Baker, Tye Veden, Keith Swaner, John Reese, Bruce Hinckley, Bob Nellis, Barry Lane, Ken Henisey, Dan Orozco, David King, Jack Wagner, Jim Rabe, Bob Bunker, Bill James, Dennis Fors and Rahla Lindsey.

In other scouting news, Burbank Troop 201 is organizing its first Alumni Fundraising Dinner and Silent Auction beginning at 4:30 p.m. April 1 at the Magnolia Park Methodist Church, 2828 W. Magnolia Blvd., Burbank.

Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children 12 and younger at the door. Dinner will be catered by Miceli’s Italian Restaurant and desserts provided by Porto’s Bakery. Proceeds help boys in the troop attend the Summer Boy Scouts Camp excursion to Emerald Bay. Information:


Busy with Vintage Burbank

Vintage Burbank was a hive of activity as residents and the public were invited to celebrate its second anniversary on Thursday. More than 200 dined and danced throughout the evening at the elegant senior community.

Executive Director Ted Burgess told guests how far the facility has come since opening on March 1, 2010. Jean Wilkinson, age 86, was the first resident, followed a week later by Marion Hendricks, 89. Today, more than 60 seniors are living there in the different levels offered — assisted living, independent living and Recollections Neighborhood, where residents receive memory support services.

There is still room for 40 more residents, and Burgess promised them “if you live here, you won’t have to drive home next time there’s a party.”

Mayor Jess Talamantes toured the first floor and had one word for it: “Incredible!”

“On behalf of the City Council, congratulations on the success you’ve had, and much continued success,” he said.

Welcoming friends from the community was former school board member Audrey Hanson, who lives at the facility and serves as its resident council president.

“I want to tell you that this is really a nice place,” she said to those assembled in the dining room. “The people who work here are warm and friendly.”


Familiar faces there were Betty Penrod and Mary Jane Strickland, from the Burbank Historical Society, Rod Gregson, of the Burbank Sunrise Rotary Club; and Elaine Paonessa, Cathy and John Coyle and Charlotte Fields.

Entertainment was performed by pianist Rich Smith and later Bill Chico and his Trio.

JOYCE RUDOLPH can be reached at