The Burbank Chamber of Commerce ushered in the St. Patrick's Day weekend with an Irish-themed fundraiser on Friday evening. Presented as "Monte O'Carlo Night," this annual gala gives participants the opportunity to tip their hats to the chamber's outgoing board of directors and formally welcome in the new board.
Among those mingling at the pre-dinner cocktail party and silent auction were city officials along with community and business leaders including Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Gary Olson, his wife, Sharon, and son Kyle; City Manager Mary Alvord; former Mayor Bill Wiggins and his wife, Marilyn; and former Burbank city manager and now Deputy Los Angeles Mayor Bud Ovrom.
Also attending were former Mayor Michael Hastings and his wife, Kathy, Burbank Unified School District Supt. Greg Bowman, school board member Ted Bunch, Terre Hirsch, Angela Burnett, Tom and Shelley Bruehl, David and Kim Nos, Lisa Rawlins of Warner Bros. and Lucy Burghdorf, Victor Gill and Dios Marrero of the Bob Hope Airport.
The executive committee members installed were Mitchell Thomas as chairman, Scott Rife as chairman-elect, Rich Roche as past chairman, Don St. Clair as vice chair membership, Sunder Ramani as vice chair special events, Tom Smith as vice chair internal operations, Tony Tartaglia as vice chair governmental affairs and Marcia Amoroso as treasurer.
Also installed were the chamber's board of directors that included Charles "Bud" Alleman, Alan Arzoian, Jon Baker, Barry Burnett, Darin Chase, Ray Cruickshanks, Michael Cusumano, Dr. Boyd Flinders, Joan McCarthy, Jack O'Neill, James O'Neil, Whit Prouty, Dr. Keith Sanneman, Scott Scozzola, Atef Taher, Jeanne Vlazny and Yumiko Whitaker.
A highlight was a tribute to T.J. Baptie, who has served as a member of the chamber board for more than two decades. Baptie, who is the vice president of community relations for The Walt Disney Co., is retiring this year. Incoming chairman Mitchell Thomas asked the assemblage to join him in congratulating her on this milestone and recognizing the strong impact she has had on the chamber and the city throughout the past 23 years.
While Saturday may have called for the wearin' o' the green, at John Burroughs High School's Tomahawk Field you would have been hard pressed to find anyone who wasn't sportin' Burroughs' red. Supporters of the school's softball program staged their inaugural "Stars vs. Staff Celebrity Softball Game" that pitted teachers against celebs from film and television.
NBC-4's Fritz Coleman served as master of ceremonies of the game that saw producer, director and actor Garry Marshall take to the mound with his Stars teammates that included Penny Marshall, best known for her role as Laverne on "Laverne & Shirley;" actor Bernie Kopell, who is remembered as Dr. Adam Bricker on "The Love Boat;" Jason Dolley and Maiara Walsh from the Disney Channel's "Cory in the House;" Golden Globe-nominated actor Hector Elizondo; Tony Award-winning actor and Burbank restaurateur Joe Mantegna; and actress Nadine Stenovitch from "Another World."
The home team's roster included Angelica Fitzgerald, Jamie Gibs, Scott Hatch, Adam Hochberg, Keith Knoop, Vickie Oganyan, John Peebles, Richard Piper, Art Sullivan, Jill Tobin, Randy Tobin, Jose Valle and John Benne.
Among the organizers and volunteers who helped stage Saturday's event were Molly Terry, Nick Schepperle, David Cook, Bob, Charlene and Caiti Block, Leslie and Katie Budrick, Paul and Kimberly Ohrt, Beth and John Benne, Rudy Cassilas, Richard and Yvonne Colon, Gail and Irv Peters, Gina Geraci, Tracy Young, Lori Shelton, Billie Terry, Kelly Zubia, Cyndi Mersola, Marissa Smile, Maria Odio, Albert and Mary Lara, Pete Bova and Amanda Collard.
"This has been a wonderful event," said Gail Peters.
"To some extent, girl's softball has been a forgotten part of sports programs in many schools. That is why it is great to see people come out and be so supportive of these girls and their future."
By game's end, staff held on to a slim 18 to 15 victory, although the true winner was John Burroughs High School Softball Program that will benefit from the close to $7,000 raised.