The Valley Line: Oakmont League celebration attracts many guests; Starduster dance group partners with Pasadena's Alaroma

I love clouds and we hardly ever get them here. Last Thursday we had flotillas of fabulous, puffy white clouds that plied the ocean of bright blue sky. They were propelled by wind gusts that made them appear that they had rockets on them. They were moving so quickly they almost made me dizzy.

Anyway, I did enjoy the cloud show while I made my way about the community running errands.


Also last Thursday, the Oakmont League of Glendale held a pretty exciting fundraising event. The league is celebrating its 75th anniversary of philanthropic service to the foothill communities.

Nearly 300 guests turned out to celebrate this memorable benefit and to enjoy hors d'oeuvres and refreshing beverages out in the hotel patio that was a delightful place to be in the early spring sunshine. This patio gathering was just a prelude to an Italian themed luncheon and dynamic fashions presented by Robert Ellis.

Before guests were seated for lunch, there were opportunities to win 20 eclectic raffle prizes. Special raffle prizes included a 40-inch flat screen television, a case of carefully selected wines, Laker tickets with special seats and a parking pass. The most coveted prize was a weeklong stay at a beachfront condo on the island of Maui. This prize went to La Cañada resident Sandy Sauro, who was absolutely thrilled. She plans to share this vacation get-away with her daughters and two grandsons.

Acting as emcees for the benefit were Michele Gile, Emmy-winning reporter for KCAL9 and CBS2 News, and Stephen Ratliff, owner of Ecco Salon. Ratliff is the son of Nina Ratliff, one of the three event chairs.

Chris Halajian, president of the league, was the first to step to the podium to welcome guests. Gile then introduced and presented awards to longtime members Fran Buchanan, 46 years, Chloe Ross, 30 years and a posthumous award to Linda Malmquist, who was a member for 28 years. Ralph Malmquist accepted the award in his late wife's name. Linda's daughter, Kirstin Mayberry, was also present for this award.

Chairing the event with Ratliff were Judy Mendicina and Barbara McCullough. Nearly $35,000 was raised for scholarships for area youth.

The chair people were quick to thank all of the members of the league who helped in the planning of the fundraiser and also thanked guests for the support of their philanthropies.


With the partnership of the Starduster dance group based here in LCF with a Pasadena dance group called Alaroma, the largest private dining and dancing club in California has been formed.

The two groups celebrated recently by dining and dancing at the famed Jonathan Club in downtown Los Angeles.

Chairpersons for the event were Gloria de Olarte and Art Rothberg. Dance committee members included Barbara and Jack Stocky, Marlene and Robert Evans, and Barbara and Tony Phillips.

Starduster's presidents Virginia and Michael Karsch chose this year's theme, "Together at Last." An evening of dancing to the music by the Murray Middleman Band and fine dining attracted 46 couples.

Many of the guests topped off the evening by stargazing on the rooftop lounge of the exclusive club that has been a fixture on Figueroa and 6th since 1924. The "by invitation only" private club was first founded in 1895. One of its notable members was Nathan Cole Jr., one of the two founders of the Los Angeles Daily Times that became the Los Angeles Times.

Some of the guests dancing the night away were Polly and Brent Allen, Kathleen and John Barrett, Fran and Terry Buchanan, Lisa and Thomas Campbell, Grace and Dave Cashion, Liz and Bob Craven, Francie and Jerry Crichton, Ginny and Bob Doyle, Margaret and Tom Dunn, Heather and Carl Emge, Annette Ermshar and Dan Monahan, Jody and Robert Fischer, Sue and Barry Franzen, Janice and Ricardo Gallo, Dina and Mel Gerstner.

More enjoying the evening were Letty and Mark Green, Marion and Paul Greene, Shirley and David Hickman, Barbara and Jim Hester, Pat and Dennis Heatherington, Jeanne and Bob Jenkins, Linda Donzga and George Kunkle, Hui and Michael Lisano, Jim Mramor and Edie Askew, Betty Bollier and Bob Newhoff, Ginger and Ed O'Hara, Laurie Kovalenko and Mitchio Okumura, Lillian and Roy Olofson, Frank Osmon and Joanne Stebenne, Cathy and Pete Palermo, Marilyn and Willis Petschow, Barbara and Tony Phillips, Nancy and Alvin Reiter, Geraldine Saunders and Jeffrey Kobes, Carolyn and Craig Watson, Maria and Ted Wiersema, Robbie Green and Fred Vaquer, and Mihaela and Clayton Varga.


JANE NAPIER NEELY covers the La Cañada social scene. Email her at with news of your special event.

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