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On the Town: Glendale Latino Assn. helps toy drive, honors local community leaders

On the Town: Glendale Latino Assn. helps toy drive, honors local community leaders
Among those attending the Glendale Latino Assn.'s Cops for Kids toy drive were, from left, Glendale City Councilman Vartan Gharpetian, L.A. County Superior Court Judge Gus Gomez, police officer Nick Orloff and Betty Porto, co-owner of Porto’s and the hostess for the evening. (Ruth Sowby Rands / Glendale News-Press)

It has to be important when Glendale’s finest, Glendale Police Chief Carl Povilaitis, shows up. He gave extra gravitas to the Glendale Latino Assn.’s annual Cops for Kids toy drive.

Members and their guests were encouraged to donate a new unwrapped toy or gift card to the growing pile of toys at Porto’s Bakery and Café in Glendale, scene of the association’s holiday mixer last Wednesday. This year’s toys were an imaginative lot.

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There was plenty of plush like a purple unicorn, spiny porcupine and, of course, anything Star Wars. Not a toy gun to be found in the lot.

Generously willing to pose for photos were Glendale City Councilman Vartan Gharpetian, L.A. County Superior Court Judge Gus Gomez, police officer Nick Orloff and Betty Porto, co-owner of Porto’s and the hostess for the evening.

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“We give these toys to deserving families in Glendale,” Orloff said. “Throughout the year, we help out families in need who our officers come into contact with.”

He also said the police association works with the Glendale Latino Assn. every year.

“It’s a beautiful tradition to work with the Porto family and donate to the needy in our community,” said Amy Navarrete, past president of the Glendale Latino Assn.

The Portos fed the close to 50 supporters a dinner of pulled-pork sandwiches, plantain chips, and “Grandma’s potato salad.” That didn’t include the potato balls and sweets that were offered earlier as appetizers.

Chief Povilaitis made a fashionably late entrance mid-dinner. He thanked the Latino association and all who had a hand in putting the mixer together and donating toys.

Those also attending included Arda Tchakian from state Sen. Anthony Portantino’s office, Glendale City Councilwoman Paula Devine and her husband Art; job coach Rosemary Montana and her husband, Glen Wiener; Glendale Chamber of Commerce president and chief executive Judee Kendall; Glendale Arts chief executive Elyssa Glickman; as well as Camille Levee, owner of Monarch Consulting; and Denise Miller with AltaMed.

David Viar, superintendent/president of Glendale Community College, was recently named the association’s 2019 Man of the Year, and Irene Bourdon, president of the Adventist Health Glendale Foundation as the 2019 Woman of the Year. Age of Learning was named the 2019 Business of the Year.

The Glendale Latino Assn. mixers provide scholarships to local students. The association also promotes activities that improve education and bring together businesses and professionals.

Holiday parties are well underway. The Academic Senate of Glendale Community College held its own on Nov. 27. More than 100 faculty members and administrators filled the Student Center for the annual “Holiday Warm Up Party.”

Sarah McLemore, Glendale Community College English division chair, and Dr. David Viar, college superintendent/president, had no trouble getting into the holiday spirit at the Academic Senate's "Holiday Warm Up Party."
Sarah McLemore, Glendale Community College English division chair, and Dr. David Viar, college superintendent/president, had no trouble getting into the holiday spirit at the Academic Senate's "Holiday Warm Up Party." (Ruth Sowby Rands / Glendale News-Press)

Piper Rooney, president of the Academic Senate, welcomed the crowd and reminded the generous that their donations of toys and gift cards would benefit the Children’s Burn Foundation. A raffle of candy gifts held later rewarded some of the donors.

VIPs present from Glendale included David Viar, the college’s superintendent/president, Ann Ransford, president of the school’s board of trustees, and trustees Armine Hakopian and Yvette Vartanian Davis.

Another person who must be considered a VIP at the party was Andrew Feldman, who is chair of the college’s culinary arts department. He catered the luncheon buffet and directed his student staff to serve the hungry guests.

Not only were his students servers par excellence, they were also chefs on the verge of professionalism.

Their handiwork created a first course of spinach salad with toasted almonds, mandarins and pomegranate. Entrees were sautéed chicken breast and roasted, sliced pork loin with fruit stuffing and fresh sage sauce. Dessert selections were chocolate mousse, cream puffs with a crunchy topping and a “cookie explosion.”

All were available for a mere $10.

Needless to say, party-goers went back to their classes or offices well fed.

Ruth Sowby Rands may be reached at ruthasowby@gmail.com.

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