Raising funds for charity with art and books

The gals of the Verdugo Hills Hospital Foundation Women's Council did themselves proud as they rolled out the red carpet for dozens of supporters on a moonlit evening. Women's Council Chairwoman and Event Chairwoman Suzonne Slaughter welcomed members and guests who strolled among 186 oak trees on the 2-acre, La Cañada estate of Sam and Kate Kaneko on Saturday. Kate is a council past president and current fundraising chairwoman. Daughter Erin Kaneko was party flower arranger extraordinaire.

The council scheduled a full slate of activities including wine tasting to start the night with silent and live auctions following. But guests could not get enough of the sweets and savories from Ocean View Catering. The mac-and-cheese tray couldn't be replenished fast enough. Comfort food definitely prevailed during the cool, Indian summer evening.

Colorful Disney character serigraphs were popular silent-auction items. But it was the live auction that got the most play. The clear favorite was a six-course gourmet Italian dinner for six with Chef Len LaBella and wife Lynn at their Pacific Palisades home. For his day job, LaBella is the president and chief executive of Verdugo Hills Hospital. Hospital physician Bill Foran won the dinner for $750.

Council VIPs enjoying the evening included Glendale residents and Council Recording Secretary Sue Wilder and husband Steve Wilder, a hospital board member. The Wilders donated a bottle of wine for the 24-bottle Customized Wine Cellar — another favorite in the live auction.

The Women's Council has raised more than $3 million to support the hospital. Expected proceeds of $15,000 to $20,000 will go toward the addition of an infant warmer. Also earmarked for funds is the 2010 completion of the hospital's electronic medical record initiative, making Verdugo Hills Hospital one of 8% of U.S. hospitals to comply with the government-based initiative.


Books and authors were on the minds of busy members of another hospital charity. Members and guests of the La Cañada Flintridge Orthopaedic Guild played host to three authors at the new Angeles National Golf Club in Sunland on Oct. 19.

Guild President and Glendale resident Mary Lou Morrison welcomed her audience of more than 200. Two tables were filled by a contingent of La Crescenta Woman's Club members including Crescenta Valley Town Council's Danette Erickson, Carol Jones, Sally Benson, Gloria Lee, Tamara Hughes and Ellie Pipes. The Glendale Assistance League was well represented by Margery Welker, Ann Wilson, Claire Collins and Jeanne Long.

The authors who read from and signed their latest books were Cherie Mercer Twohy, Erica Silverman and Hanna Dennison. They were invited to speak by guild member Wendy Nicoll. Popular with the audience was Twohy, who wrote "The I Love Trader Joe's Cookbook." La Cañada resident Twohy had been teaching Trader Joe's cooking classes for 10 years when she was approached by a publisher to write the cookbook.

She collaborated with her son, who took the food photographs. Her second book, "The I Love Trader Joe's Party Cookbook," will be released Nov. 1. Word has it that Trader Joe's eagerly anticipated sheets of puff pastry are now in stock for the holidays.

Benefit chairwoman and La Crescenta resident Joan Cleven introduced the afternoon's financial helpers as "our own husbands who never fail to turn out." They manned the busy tables at which the authors' books were bought.

For 53 years, the La Cañada Flintridge Orthopaedic Guild has been helping to financially support the Los Angeles Orthopaedic Hospital.


The week before Halloween wouldn't be the same without an Abbott and Costello comedy presented by the Alex Film Society at the Alex Theatre. At Saturday's matinee, close to 300 patrons were lined up to enjoy the comedy pair's "Hold that Ghost." Some remembered that the film's 1941 premiere was also held at the Alex. "Hold that Ghost" was Abbott and Costello's third smash hit that year. According to Film Society President Frank Gladstone, the film was popular with audiences and critics.

More Film Society officers worked behind the scenes. Former President Randy Carter manned the membership table. Board member Brian Ellis sold tickets in the theater's old-fashioned ticket booth, while board members Dean Briggs and Larry Travis sold raffle tickets for an overflowing movie-themed basket designed by Carol Louise. Both matinee and evening shows were produced by board member Joe Furey.

Don't miss the Alex Film Society's 13th annual "Three Stooges Big Screen Event" on Nov. 27.

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