Armenian Relief Society chairwoman honored

What made the Crescenta Valley Chamber monthly mixer a little out of the ordinary this week was its host — the Armenian Relief Society, which is often thought of as more concerned with community outreach and humanitarian issues than business.

Relief society members networked with area business owners as it played host to some 75 chamber members and their guests at the Crescenta Valley Armenian Community Center in Montrose on Wednesday.

Relief Society Chairwoman Aline Habeshian was honored with a certificate of appreciation from two chamber heavy hitters. New President Leslie Lesh and Honorary Mayor Leonard Ghazarian did the honors. From ARS Voice TV, digital cameraman Onig Ghiulezian recorded the brief ceremony for posterity.

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Nobody knows how to party for charity better than Paula and Art Devine. For five consecutive years, the Devines have opened their Glendale home on a hill for worthy causes. Glendale Healthy Kids has been the recipient of the Devines’ generosity for the last two years. This year’s theme, “Popcorn, Pendants & Paltrow,” was carried out in three parts on Feb. 5. A social and boutique shopping was followed by dinner and a film — ”The Talented Mr. Ripley,” starring Gwyneth Paltrow.

Since anything the Devines touch turns to charity gold, there was a waiting list for this event. Only 50 lucky supporters had the privilege of paying $75 for all this fun and, of course, the opportunity to open their wallets wide. Dinner was prepared by Scarantino’s Italian Inn, with desserts compliments of Eagle Rock Bakery and Glendale City Councilwoman Laura Friedman. Husband Guillaume Lemoine is the chef in the family. He prepared and served a luscious Italian cake.

Glendale couples on hand included Debbie and Bruce Hinckley, Sue and Steve Wilder, Glady and Jack Kabateck, Monica and Jose Sierra and Marilyn Gunnell with daughter Ingrid Gunnell. Singles included Melina Sardar, educational director at ARK Family Center in Glendale.

“Glendale Healthy Kids is committed to helping children,” said retired high school teacher Paula Devine.

Boutique vendors agreed. They donated between 20% and 50% of their sales to the charity. Their wares included Valentine chocolates in individually wrapped golden boxes, pendants and hand-crafted, art-covered greeting cards.

According to Glendale Healthy Kids Executive Director Camille Levee, proceeds from the evening should reach $8,000 to $10,000. Much of that money is expected to come from boutique sales.

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The first Go Red For Women Stiletto Strut attracted much media attention at Macy’s in the Glendale Galleria. More than 100 customers signed up to participate on Feb. 3. News trucks with their giant antennas lined the parking lot. TV and radio reporters were bumping into one another to interview organizers and TV stars, including event emcee actress Nia Peebles. Other notables included Univision Radio on-air nutritionist Luz Maria Briseno.

When she was 28 years old, Briseno had a heart attack.

“It was a wake-up call,” said Briseno. “I became a nutritionist because I was in a coma for three days.”

The event was held to raise awareness of heart disease in women.

“Heart disease is the No. 1 killer for women,” said Dr. Vyshali Rao, medical director for the Women’s Heart Program at Pasadena’s Huntington Hospital. Besides the hospital, Go Red sponsors were the American Heart Assn. and Macy’s.

The morning’s highlight was the Stiletto Strut, as women, men and a kid or two wobbled on their high heels down a runway, constructed for the event. Male winner for “Best Strut” was L.A. Kings hockey analyst Daryl Evans. Close on his heels were American Motorcycle Assn. reps Chris Clark and Tommy Aquino, wearing his full-leather suit. Both are racers for Graves Motorsports.

Participants received free blood-pressure screenings, courtesy of Huntington Hospital.

Macy’s will donate $100% of their sales of $2 Red Dress pins. Proceeds will benefit the American Heart Assn.’s Go Red for Women Movement.

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