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Life and Arts

On the Town: Boy Scouts strike it big with annual auction

The 42nd annual Big Strike Auction was a big hit. The auction benefits the Boy Scouts of America, Verdugo Hills Council.

On Sept. 16, the council lived up to its reputation. It was just awarded “No. 1 Council in the Nation for Growth in Friends of Scouting Community Support” by the Boy Scouts of America.

For the record:
12:05 PM, Sep. 26, 2017

An earlier version of this story stated that Lew Horne is the CBRE president for Los Angeles and Orange County. His region includes Southern California and Hawaii.

Sam Engel Jr., council president, welcomed some 120 “friends of Scouting” who packed Burbank’s Calamigos Equestrian Center to bid on more than 100 silent auction items and a dozen live auction items. A favorite was seven nights on Kauai.

The gimmick this year was electronic bidding for silent auction items on smartphones. You didn’t even have to be at the event to bid. There were no old-fashioned bid sheets at this auction. The new system was the brainchild of Mark Kraus, the council’s chief executive.


Kraus was also the man to see if you had $100 to spend on a “Golden Ticket.” Seventy-four people did just that for the chance to choose one live auction item before bidding began.

Paul McKenna was the lucky winner. He chose four Disney Park “Hopper” passes for Disneyland and California Adventure, Disney World, Disney Paris or Disney Hong Kong.

After a prime rib dinner with all the trimmings, the live auction began. There were bargains to be had. The auction’s most expensive item at $6,497 for orthodontic treatment from orthodontist Brian Bergh went to Montrose resident Dan Kilgore for a steal at $2,000.

Kilgore will give the prize to his 13-year-old son Nathan, already a patient of Bergh’s.


Moving the live auction action along was master of ceremonies and auctioneer “Shotgun” Tom Kelly of K-Earth 101 radio. No one talks faster.

According to Kraus, the council’s financial goal is $65,000. With over $45,000 raised from the auctions and Golden Ticket sales, let alone the $125 per person ticket price, the council is well on its way to meeting its goal.

Congratulations must be given to Amy Taylor, council district associate, for seemingly to be everywhere at once. She was definitely the go-to gal at the auction.

The evening ended with Glendale Mayor Vartan Gharpetian giving a congratulations certificate to Engel, who said, “There are 76 new Eagle Scouts this year. Scouting is thriving here in the Verdugo Hills Council.”

Event at renovated Masonic Temple supports Ascencia

What if one were to combine a commercial real estate office in the multimillion-dollar remodel of Glendale’s 1929 landmark Masonic Temple with a premier, local charity? That’s just what happened last Wednesday, when the folks at Coldwell Banker Richard Ellis, known as CBRE, played host for a “Friends of Ascencia” mixer.

The evening started with tours of CBRE’s sparkling, open-floor-plan offices on four floors. No cubicles here. In fact, employees choose their own workstation each day, according to Barbara Emmons Perrier, CBRE vice-chairperson .

As tour leader extraordinaire, Perrier also pointed out original, Masonic Temple windows still in place.

In a deal made in heaven — actually over cocktails — Americana developer Rick Caruso made a tenant out of good friend Lew Horne, CBRE president for Southern California and Hawaii.


Caruso said he told Horne, in effect, that he had bought and restored a building with plenty of Americana parking across the street, so why doesn’t CBRE be his primary tenant?

It was an offer Horne and CBRE couldn’t pass up.

When not taking a tour, Ascencia VIPs sipped and supped on appetizers in CBRE’s vaulted, cathedral-trussed penthouse with exposed concrete and structural-steel elements from the original temple.

Debbie Hinckley, Ascencia’s president, welcomed her close to 75 guests. Glendale residents included Hinckley’s hubby Bruce, as well as Sherry Knauf, board member of the Ascencia Inner Circle, Natalie Profant Komuro, Ascencia’s executive director, Jacqueline Hawley, president of Glendale Soroptimists and Yvette Vartanian Davis, a Glendale Community College trustee.

Moving through the penthouse with grace was recently retired Flamenco dancer Jani Quintero. Local politicos present were state Sen. Anthony Portantino (D-La Cañada Flintridge) and state Assemblywoman Laura Friedman (D-Glendale).

According to Komuro, who spoke to the gathering, Ascencia’s newest initiatives are moving the group’s neediest clients from hospital to permanent housing and focusing on client economic stability. Ascencia’s homeless client outreach will now include those in Burbank and West Los Angeles.

Ascencia’s 12th anniversary gala will be held at the Globe Theatre at Universal Studios Hollywood on Jan. 27. Save the date.

RUTH SOWBY RANDS may be reached at