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The Crowd: Hot Havana Nights at Island Hotel

The Palm Garden at The Island Hotel, Newport Beach, welcomed 110 guests this past Saturday evening for “Hot, Hot Havana Nights.” The Big Canyon/ Spyglass Hill Philharmonic Society of Orange County produced the lively affair, which included dinner and dancing, ultimately raising $25,000 for The Philharmonic Society. The honors of the evening, named for the late Kim Grubman, went to Christel Schar for her “unselfish dedication on every committee supporting The Philharmonic Society.”

“Christel Schar is quiet but mighty,” said Margaret Clark, a society member and event coordinator


Flower arraignments were provided courtesy of Newport Beach hairstylist Craig Brown. The evening’s auction helped to bring in additional funds, thanks to the hard work of Barbara Taylor. Spotted in the crowd were Martha and Malcolm Green, Barbara and Paul Penrose, Joan and Richard Stevens, JoAnn Kenton, Ollie Hill and her fiancé John Oxenham, Al and Joyce Dieda, and Al and Margaret Clark.

South Coast Plaza presented the second annual Stars of Santa Barbara, a food and wine event held al fresco at the posh shopping center’s Garden Terrace.


More than 40 wineries from Santa Barbara County were front and center, pouring their wine selections for an enthusiastic crowd of more than several hundred patrons who had paid upwards of $100 per person, all of which will benefit the Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County.

Participating restaurants included AnQi, Marché Moderne, Charlie Palmers, Pizzeria Ortica, Morton’s, Antonello Ristorante, Pinot Provence, Hamamori, Quattro Café, and Signature Kitchen to name a few.

Newport Coast billionaire and Broadcom co-founder Henry T. Nicholas III once again opened his majestic estate to welcome the students and their families from throughout Orange County graduating from The Nicholas Academic Centers in Santa Ana.

The dinner party and graduation ceremony attracted hundreds of jubilant young people from inner-city high schools who are all graduating and college bound.


Speakers included Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido, retired Orange County Judge Jack Mandel, educator Corina Espinoza, and host Henry Nicholas.

The enormous crowd was treated to a buffet supper prior to the graduation ceremony and a presentation of awards and honors for students representing the two Nicholas Academic Centers.

It was the 50th “End of the Rainbow” luncheon thrown by The National Charity League, Newport Chapter.

Chaired by Chris Luebke, a crowd of more than 500 mothers and daughters converged on The Westin South Coast Plaza Hotel to recognize the years of service of young ladies known as “The Ticktockers,” who participate in the league’s charitable pursuits from seventh- through 12th-grades .


A lively fashion show was produced by Bloomingdale’s South Coast Plaza. Models on the runway were all senior class members of the Charity League.

Working to make the Rainbow Luncheon a success were Christy Godber, Angie McCuniff, Kathleen Farmer, Krista Jajonie, Denise Labbe, Dawna Clark, and Lori Fromme.

Also on hand were Angi Evans, vice president of the Ticktockers, who served as master of ceremonies for the party, Stephanie Peleuses recounted all the charitable hours donated by the chapter, and joining League president Mary Fox in thanking the upbeat crowd.

Court Appointed Special Advocates of Orange County (CASA) honored major donors at its 25th anniversary gala, “Celebration of Children,” held at The Irvine Marriott Hotel. An impressive $606,000 was raised through the generosity of some 530 attendees.

The annual evening is CASA’s largest fundraiser of the year. CASA began in 1985 with just 15 volunteers and today has more than 700 volunteers serving abused and neglected children facing the court system as juveniles.

CASA represents children who are entrusted to the foster care system and do not have the support they need from adults when dealing with legal matters.

Honors of the evening went to Fred Port, receiving CASA’s highest award as “Children’s Champion” for 25 years of service.

Additional honors went to Nancy Green, “Advocate of the Year,” Michelle Culbertson, “Outstanding Youth Award,” and South Coast Plaza, which was recognized as the “Corporate Honoree of the Year.”

In the crowd were Colin and Maggie Israel, Jim and Leslie Sullivan, Jen and Tom Blanchfield, Ted and Lourdes Nark, Frances and Richard Gadbois, John and Chau Warner, Kim and Mike Robertson, and LeRoy and Eric Touchard.