Women honored for heart and excellence

For 14 years the YWCA of Glendale has been honoring local women with “Heart & Excellence” Awards at Legacy Luncheons. And each year the honorees appear to become more “excellent.” Each had an opportunity to say a few words when presented with their award. Most touching were the remarks of honoree Lori Hartwell. Hartwell, author of “Chronically Happy-Joyful Living Despite Chronic Illness,” had her fourth kidney transplant just weeks ago. Having spent most of her life on dialysis treatment, the upbeat Hartwell recounted her journey to health. Her audience was all ears.

This year’s luncheon was held on March 31 at Burbank’s Castaway Restaurant in one its largest banquet halls. A reception with dozens of silent-auction baskets to bid on began the afternoon’s events. Word had it that a basket of hand-painted scarves donated by Ilene Blicker was the prize to go for. After the auction, event co-chairwomen Dr. Carol Ann Burton and Marilyn Gunnell welcomed approximately 200 supporters. Michaela Pereira, KTLA “Morning News” anchor, performed mistress of ceremony duties with style. Audience introductions were made by YWCA Board President Valerie Merritt, followed by remarks from the keynote speaker, organic-cooking guru Christina Avaness.

But it was the awardees that everyone came to honor. Besides Hartwell, the other honorees were owner of Re/Max Elite Silva Hameline, longtime elementary school teacher Ann M. Herrmann, Immediate Past President of Glendale Healthy Kids Elizabeth Manasserian and Board President of the Glendale College Foundation Ellyn Semler. Both Manasserian and Semler have served on the YWCA board of directors.

The Jane O’Connor Community Service Volunteer Awards went to Flintridge Prep senior Casey Ann Meurer and John Burroughs High School senior Makhyla Arden Pelayo, both 17. Both students are leaders in youth philanthropy programs.

Expected proceeds of $25,000 will help fund YWCA’s programs, including ENCOREplus, an early-detection program for breast and cervical cancer for medically underserved women.


In spite of the news stories about kids going wrong, there are many youth making a difference in their communities and internationally, as well. A perfect example of the latter is 12-year-old Bindi Irwin, daughter of the late wildlife conservationist Steve Irwin. This poised young lady from Australia spoke and signed her book, “Trouble at the Zoo,” latest in the Bindi Wildlife Adventure series. The book signing took place at the Americana’s Barnes and Noble on March 31.

Bindi, who calls herself a “wildlife warrior,” also answered questions from children in the audience. When asked, “What are your favorite animals”? Bindi said, “Crocodiles and snakes. I think they’re pretty cute.”

Glendale resident Julianne Erikson shuttled her family front and center to be one of the first to have a book signed by the young author. Erikson’s daughter Ashley Erikson and grandson Tyler Gogerty, 2, also had a chance to meet Bindi.

The Adventure series was co-created by Bindi and features her brother and mother, Terri Irwin, who was present at the event.

Steve Irwin Day is celebrated on Nov. 15. According to Bindi, “That’s a day I celebrate my dad’s life and his legacy.”


Ask Glendalians where you can go for a good party and many would answer wherever the Glendale Latino Assn. is. The group’s latest mixer was March 30 at the Wine Cave in Montrose. Members supped, sipped and socialized to their hearts’ content. Plenty of business networking went on, as well. Association President Amy Navarrete welcomed the three dozen members and guests. She reminded all to taste the tamales made by her sister. Immediate Past President Mercy Velazquez immediately set the mood for partying by encouraging everybody to meet each other.

Association Vice President Nancy Guillen and Director Adriana Rebold collected $10 admission fees from attendees. But everyone got their money’s worth. A dinner could be had from the tamales, chips, chicken wings and shrimp. Wine Cave owner Scott Starkey was generous with the wine he poured, all complimentary for mixer guests. Spotted in the crowd were Glendale movers and shakers City Council member Laura Friedman, Educational Foundation’s Susan Hunt and Glendale College Foundation Executive Director Lisa Brooks.

Proceeds from the mixer will help fund Glendale student scholarships. Last year more than $18,000 was awarded. The Glendale Latino Assn. Scholarship Awards Ceremony will be May 25.

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