The Crowd: Locals help ACT for autism care

ACT Today! (Autism Care and Treatment) brought together some 150 locals raising a net amount of $40,000 Saturday in Newport Beach. The funds will be directed to military families with autistic children in need of treatment not available through standard government insurance.

"The goal of this fundraising campaign is to build public awareness of the unique challenges of the military family impacted by autism and to raise funds for the treatments and services these children urgently need today," said commented Vanessa Showalter, president of the ACT Today!

Nancy Alspaugh-Jackson, executive director of ACT Today! added, "Our goal is to raise $1 million to help fund treatment for the 1 in 88 military children who have been diagnosed with autism."


The Interior Design Institute, Newport Beach, held its 2010 Graduation Awards Ceremony on July 24 at the Newport Beach Marriott Hotel. More than 500 guests converged on the grand ballroom for the lively event, which featured noted designer Roger Thomas, executive vice president of Design for Wynn Design and Development.

Thomas was presented with the Institute's highest design honor known as the "Excellence in Design Award." Featured in publications including Architectural Digest, Elle Décor and Hospitality Digest, Thomas is well known for his work in Las Vegas involved in the design of such Wynn properties as Bellagio, Mirage, Treasure Island, Wynn Las Vegas, Encore at Wynn and more. Design students recognized for their excellence included Dana Pariseau-Beach, John Herrington, Ketiya Wright-Pongraphan, Alfredo Martell and Marsha Ferrrall.


This Friday the Great Park launches the "Flights and Sounds Summer Festival." An eight-week program of Friday evening dances and Saturday night concerts will debut this week with "Swingtown," an 11-piece band with horns galore. Their "big band" sound will be set in the backdrop of the historic World War II Hangar 244 on the park grounds.

The big band night will be followed by Mariachi Reyna de Los Angeles on Saturday night, the first all-woman professional mariachi group in the U.S. The festival is being produced by the Orange County Great Park Corp. in partnership with the Irvine Barclay Theatre. Tickets are $10, and parking is free.

For more information, visit


Attention all pet lovers in Newport-Mesa. Local celebrity PR rep Madeline Zuckerman reports that "Paws for Cures," an organization dedicated to finding cures for diseases and illnesses in companion animals is planning a special cocktail party and dinner on Sept. 11 at the estate of Cathy Wills and Andy Plisko in Anaheim Hills.

The evening will feature a special guest appearance by actor Dick Van Patten of "Eight Is Enough" TV fame. Patten, known for his love of animals joins fellow celebrities Ed Harris, Marty Ingels, Shirley Jones Ingels, Amy Madigan and Linda Nunez as honorary chairs of the fundraiser.

Local residents Larry Cowgill, Maryanne Dell, and Jocelyn Mott will be honored at the event for their support of animal welfare. Major support for the cause comes from sponsors Elanco Companion Animal Health, Veterinary Cancer Group, Pfizer, CareCredit, ASG, ACC & IM and platinum sponsor Southern California Veterinary Specialty Hospital. For more information please call Lauren Parsons at (800) 245-9081 or visit

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