When a priest from Ghana gets a doctorate in education from the Claremont Graduate School in two years, ministers at St. Bede's Church at the same time and needs to gather books and computers for the school system he heads in Ghana, people pay attention.

Some 75 supporters gathered Friday at a spacious Glendale home and garden to put their money in the collection plate. That “plate” consisted of silent auctions, opportunity drawings, and the price of cocktails and heavy hors d'oeuvres.

As Father Greg Dongkore prepares to return to Ghana in September, St. Bede parishioners and their guests did him proud. Many thousands of dollars were raised in a few short hours.

Those generous souls from Glendale included Glendale Community College Supt./President Emeritus John Davitt and wife Gael Davitt, one of the event organizers. The hostess with the “mostest,” Eveline Siracuse, opened her home for the party. She was assisted by daughter Jennifer Perez, also a Glendale resident. Monica Sierra, another one of the organizers, was there with her ever lovin' Jose Sierra.

No parish funds were available to ship Father Greg's truck and sea container for his trip back to Ghana. Money had to be raised privately. This festive “Adios” was St. Bede's classy goodbye to the good father. Priest Dongkore will return to Ghana a richer man than when he arrived at St. Bede's. But those “riches” are in the form of a first-class education and his memories of the generous people from Glendale.


The Verdugo-Glen Chapter of the American Business Women's Assn. presented its “Affair to Remember” Boutique, Fashion Show and Luncheon at Burbank's Castaway on Saturday. Indeed, Annie's Scandals fashions were memorable — especially those modeled by Business Women's Assn. member Marcia Mullins. Pushing 70, this moxie model strutted her stuff down the runway. Her turquoise top was a show-stopper.

Glendale residents applauding the member-models included Loys Bonner, Mary Margaret Smith, Anna Rundle, Shirley Darling and Judy Gorham. Glendale Symphony Orchestra Women's Committee honcho Fran Benedict was also present. She was the guest of Business Women's Assn. member for 30 years plus, Evelyn Reichgelt. Hubby Jim Reichgelt was “roped in” to sell opportunity drawing tickets.

Event VIPs were Verdugo-Glen Chapter President Maria Tapang, Event Chairwoman Andrea Manning, Donations Chairwoman Lynn White-Shelby and Mistress of Ceremonies Dr. Kathie Mathis, chief executive of Mathis & Assoc.

The event closed, full of “scandal,” and was appreciated by all present. A lucky opportunity drawing winner who won two prizes was North Hollywood resident Karen Ojeda. She walked home with a fancy shopping bag full of children's items. Her favorite had to have been her second prize, however — a $200 Nordstrom gift certificate.

The afternoon's proceeds will benefit the Verdugo-Glen Chapter's philanthropies.


Glendale Healthy Kids' tastiest event of the year is “Taste of Downtown Glendale.” The eighth annual event was on May 13. Hundreds of hungry residents from Glendale and the surrounding communities took advantage of to-die-for dinner and dessert samples from more than 35 restaurants, including Americana at Brand's finest. Katsuya, Granville Café and Pinkberry were standing room only.

Glendale Chamber of Commerce President Harry Hull and wife Debbie Hull dipped into Pinkberry. Education guru Susan Hunt and mom Betty Crancer couldn't resist sweets from Americana's Beard Papa's dessert cart. Cathy and Bob Keen hit Crumbs.

Glendale Healthy Kids' Executive Director Camille Levee expected proceeds from the close to 1,000 $25 tickets sold to reach about $40,000. Funds will provide children of low-income, underinsured families' access to health services.


The Diamond Awards for Achievement in the Arts for 2009 was presented to three Glendale residents and one arts organization at the Embassy Suites, Glendale, on Thursday.

The four “Diamonds” were presented by the city of Glendale, the Cultural Affairs Section of the Parks, the Recreation and Community Services Department and The Arts and Culture Commission.

Glendale Mayor Frank Quintero gave “Mayor's Commendations” to Hoover High School's music instructor extraordinaire Craig Kupka, artist Samvel Hambardzumyan, the Stepping Stone Players (offering a scene directed by Susan Kussman) and yours truly.

Arts and Culture Commission Chairman and classical pianist Arman Keyvanian was a warm and informative host. Dad George Keyvanian couldn't have been prouder.


The Glendale Community College Retirees, about 70 strong, have a new name.

The Davitt Group was the appropriate label selected at a breakfast buffet at the Oakmont County Club on May 12.

Working at the college for 38 years and superintendent/president for 21 of those years, Davitt is the namesake of the 3-year-old organization.

The organizers of the Davitt Group, meeting once or twice a year since 2006, are Glady Kabateck, retired coordinator-counselor of the Adult Re-entry Program at the college for 23 years, and Pat Skerry, who worked in Davitt's office at the college since 1992 and was his secretary from 2003 through 2006 until both she and her boss retired.

At the time of Davitt's retirement, 68 college employees decided to retire with him. They now get to stay loyal to the college and remember the good times they shared — all in service of the many students who passed through the college for 38 years.

Peter Green, current vocal, music professor at the college for 10 years, presented the college Madrigal Singers. They well-entertained the retirees and their guests.

The College Choir Spring Performance, directed by Jayne Campbell, will be May 30 on the college's auditorium stage at the campus, 1500 Verdugo Road, Glendale. The program will consist of choral works and opera excerpts. Admission is $7, $5 for students and seniors.

RUTH SOWBY may be reached at ruthsowby@msn.com.

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