Three honored for reaching their dreams

Three accomplished women well-represented the Glendale Soroptimists’ “Live Your Dream” theme at the 12th annual Accolades Luncheon at the Glendale Hilton.

These “dreamers” were presented with awards, certificates and their tables’ centerpieces of spring flowers on March 17, St. Patrick’s Day, with nary a shamrock or glass of Guinness present. Soroptimist President Liz Mirzaian welcomed her audience of approximately 70 members and guests. Preceding the luncheon, Glendale Mayor Ara Najarian offered greetings from the city.

The awards presentation was deftly handled by Accolades Program Chairwoman Lou Rhodes. Dr. Carol Ann Burton, a mother of four daughters, was awarded the Ruby Award that represents women making an extraordinary difference in the lives of women and girls. Burton is an obstetrician and gynecologist who now devotes her career to teaching. She is a clinical associate professor at USC School of Medicine. Burton is a member of, and the immediate past president of, the YWCA of Glendale’s 2011 board of directors and has numerous other community volunteer titles to her name. Another claim to fame is having delivered Mayor Najarian’s son, Alexander, 16 years ago. Hizzoner was quick to acknowledge Burton for that accomplishment.

The Violet Richardson Award recognizes a high school girl for her volunteer efforts. La Cañada High School senior Estrella Sainberg, 17, was this year’s recipient. Estrella is a tee ball coach for girls at the La Cañada Flintridge Community Center. She is also president of Teens for the Advancement of Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. She was given a $750 cash award and a matching award for her charity, the La Cañada Flintridge Community Center. Parents Robert Sainberg and Isabel Velazquez couldn’t help letting their pride show.

The Women’s Opportunity Award was presented to Pilar E. Fontenla. She is a single mother of a young son and a Glendale Community College student who sports a 4.0 grade-point average. Next spring, Fontenla will transfer to USC with a major in accounting. Eventually, she plans to open her own consulting firm. Fontenla’s mother Blanca Flor Fontenla and aunt Graciela Rojas were there in proud support.

Members of the Glendale Soroptimists are looking forward to their popular “Bras for a Cause” 8th annual fundraiser at the Oakmont Country Club on April 9.


The Glendale Elks Annual Charity Car Show sputtered to a halt as more than 100 car owners were called on a rainy morning and told to stay home. On March 20, the Elks Lodge parking lot was empty of the fancy cars, but filled with family cars as several dozen Elks and their guests took advantage of the breakfast still on tap.

Event Chairman George McCullough has postponed the show for two weeks, rain or shine. The more than 100 cars expected represent an entry fee of $25 per car. That means the Elks had to forfeit some $2,500 to be donated to charities supporting Glendale youth. Although the postponement will mean double the work, “It’s worth it,” said McCullough.

Recently honored Hugh Scanlon, president of the California/Hawaii Elks Assn., was spotted pouring coffee as supporters chowed down on their custom-cooked breakfasts. The favorite was the “special” — chili omelets for $7 with all-you-can-drink coffee. Glendale residents Jenn and Jeff Zimmer took full advantage. One of their sons, 8-year-old Jackson Zimmer, was philosophical about the postponement.

“I’ve seen the cars before,” he said.

The rescheduled car show will shift into gear on April 3. Admission is free.


The first Japanese Tea ceremony was held at Descanso Gardens in La Cañada Flintridge during its first Cherry Blossom Festival. Although the traditional tea ceremony has been held before, it graced the weekend’s festivities for the first time. Free tickets to all three ceremonies in front of the Japanese House were quickly snapped up on March 19, the first day of the two-day festival. Approximately 120 lucky guests were able to watch the ceremony and sip tea at its end.

A Cherry Festival wouldn’t be the same without the sale of cherry trees. Burbank residents Barbara Thorn-Otto and Peter Otto picked out a tree in full bloom for $50. In fact, all 30 cherry trees that the Descanso Gift Shop had for sale were sold before noon on the festival’s first day. Descanso’s Director of Horticulture Brian Sullivan passed out care instructions with each sale. (Hint: Plant the tree in a location that receives at least six hours of sun a day.)

Cherry tree fans could be found in long lines formed before Descanso’s 9 a.m. opening.

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