The Crowd: A bureau for the boys and girls

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It is one of the longest-standing children’s charities in Southern California. The Children’s Bureau, which was founded in Los Angeles a century ago, celebrated with its Orange County contingent June 14 on the upper Newport Bay with an annual summer clambake spectacular. More than 200 donors arrived on a picture-perfect Saturday evening for the much-anticipated summer soirée, which is expected to raise upwards of $200,000 net for Children’s Bureau child abuse prevention programs in Orange County.

Chaired by three super-dynamic local gals, Sarah Corrigan, Barbara Eidson and Lori Irving, the party paid tribute to business and community leader Neal Aton for his years of service to the bureau. Major sponsors and underwriters of the party included the Island Hotel, catering a scrumptious lobster and filet al fresco dinner served on tables covered in blue and white gingham and centered with overflowing vases of sunflowers in full yellow bloom. Event sponsors deserving recognition included Capital Group Companies, Deliotte, Ingram Micro, QBE, R-T Specialty, Sierra Nevada Investment Group, Windes and the Crean Foundation created by the late John and Donna Crean, major supporters of the Children’s Bureau both in Los Angeles and in Orange County.

It’s hard to believe, but this one charitable organization assists more than 5,500 at-risk children and parents each year in Orange County. The Children’s Bureau offers in-home counseling, parental education classes, home-visiting health care programs and more. Spotted in the bayside crowd were Peggy Goldwater and Bob Clay, Courtney and Andrew Wittkop, Nicole and Steve Joseph, Darby and Bill Manclark and Stancy and John Tomlinson.


A milestone for an icon

Jim Emmi turned 98 this past week, celebrating June 28 surrounded by family and friends, sharing in an eight-course wine dinner at the Bahia Corinthian Yacht Club in Corona del Mar. The lively affair was organized by Jim’s wife, Catherine Emmi, who greeted the full house of guests wearing a smashing fitted floral evening dress flowing to the ground complete with train. It was a night of toasts and roasts as fellow yachtsmen at the club dominated the microphone regaling stories of their sea-going adventures over more than five decades of life aboard the Emmi yacht PELE. Jim Emmi serves the BCYC as Staff Commodore and was joined by present Commodore Dave Janes and his wife Donna Janes and highly regarded award-winning sailor Joe Degenhardt and his wife Verna Degenhardt. Port Captain Mark Silvey was also in attendance with his wife Bobbi Silvey along with fellow BCYC Staff Commodore Jim Ensign and his wife Doretta Ensign.

Very special guests of honor attending the birthday bash were Chapman University President Jim Doti and his wife Lynne Doti. The Emmis recently donated a gift to Chapman in excess of $10 million. The Emmi generosity has touched a number of Orange County institutions, including multimillion-dollar gifts to the Pacific Symphony and, just last month, a $1-million gift to the Hoag Hospital Foundation following nearly 40 years of support beginning with the Emmi’s association with Hoag in 1976. It was also announced last week that Catherine and Jim Emmi will be honored this fall at the October 17 black-tie gala supporting Serving People In Need (SPIN) assisting local individuals and families in need of transitional housing to prevent homelessness. The Emmis will be lauded as “OC Heroes of Philanthropy,” joining other recognized and generous OC citizens including Julia and George Argyros. Spotted in the Emmi birthday crowd were Sandy and David Stone, Caroline Brown, the Honorable Ed Selich and his wife Lynn, Jack and Marina Larson, Larry and Cindy Collins, Kristy Holt, Sue Edelstein with Ross Bumgarner, Kathy and Jerry Thompson and Catherine Emmi’s son Cameron Pearce.


NBC journalist to address the crowd


One of the OC’s most recognized journalists, Vikki Vargas, is set to front a luncheon Aug. 13 at Zov’s Bistro in Tustin. Zov’s will welcome Vargas for what the restaurateur calls her “Lunch and Learn” event, which will benefit Serving People In Need (SPIN). Zov’s concept is a winner, presenting a person of substance and combining her address with a fabulous lunch priced at a reasonable $25 per person, benefiting one of the county’s most worthy nonprofits. With more than 30 years on the OC beat, Vargas has been witness to tremendous change, gathering and covering the region’s major news stories for NBC 4. She will share her career path with the audience. In honor of her appearance, the NBC Universal Charitable Foundation has made a $5,000 contribution to SPIN. To make a reservation for the luncheon, please call Zov’s Bistro at (714) 838-8855, ext. 21.


New pub on the bay

The Balboa Bay Resort debuted the new waterfront gastro pub billed as the A & O Kitchen and Bar. With A & O standing for Anchors and Oceans, the new concept pub, which is part of a multimillion-dollar renovation of the legendary Newport Beach hotel on the bay, features a casually sophisticated ambience offering craft beers, specialty cocktails and a wine list that also includes a partnership with ONEHOPE Wine in association with the Robert Mondovi Jr. wine family that donates half of the profits of every bottle sold to charitable partner causes.

Among the charities supported by the new A & O gastro pub will be the World Food Programme and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Orange County. A & O will also feature a menu created by resort Executive Chef Vincent Lesage, including some stand-out items such as baby back ribs, beef tartar and beer marinated fried chicken. On hand for the opening celebration last week were resort owners Kevin and Devon Martin, Todd and Natalie Pickup, Carole Pickup, Pacific Hospitality Group chairman Tim Busch and the general manager of the Balboa Bay Resort, Sam El-Rabaa, welcoming more than 200 guests to experience a cocktail by the bay.

THE CROWD runs Fridays. B.W. Cook is editor of the Bay Window, the official publication of the Balboa Bay Club in Newport Beach.