The Valley Line: NCL introduces and honors debutantes; Hillsides' Celebration of Art gala

The first weekend of spring just whizzed by. With the heavy early morning cloud cover, the weather people commented that we were experiencing either June gloom or May gray. Absolutely nobody mentioned April showers. Our parched earth would have welcomed that forecast.

Yes, water conservation is ever present in my mind. I have reluctantly given up my long hot showers — I'm singing short songs these days.


The spring social season is in full swing and love is also in the air. The Valley Sun got a note from Debbie Bacino saying that she will be married in April. Debbie is the owner and teacher of La Cañada Preschool. As all brides-to-be are, she is aglow with wedding plans to Hugo Ficarra, who runs a family day-care facility in Glendora. The couple will run La Cañada Preschool together as they share a commitment and background in early childhood development.

"Our partnership is perfect in so many ways," Debbie said.

Congratulations to Debbie and Hugo!


It was an exciting and glittering night when the National Charity League, Glendale Chapter, honored 23 young women in a debutante presentation ball held at the Langham Huntington Hotel in Pasadena.

This was a magical night as their tuxedo-clad fathers presented the white-gowned young women to society. This evening was also a culmination of six years of volunteer work for the young women known as Ticktockers. In the six years of their service the girls have made a significant impact on their community by giving over 5,300 hours to diverse philanthropies.

Special awards went to two La Cañada Flintridge girls. Daisy Beckner, daughter of Michael Beckner and Linda O'Callaghan, was presented with the Golden Oak Leaf Award for her service to Twelve Oaks Lodge, a retirement facility in La Crescenta that was recently closed.

Alexa Rittichier, daughter of Mary Jane Rittichier, served the greatest number of hours at chapter philanthropies.

Rose Chan, president of the local National Charity League chapter, presented the awards and gave the toast to the Class of 2014. She said, "Through National Charity League, each mother endeavors to instill in her daughter the desire to give back to the community and to teach the skills by which to accomplish this desire."

In addition to Daisy Beckner and Alexa Rittichier, other young women presented that night were: Taylor Noor Afshar, daughter of Mozaffar and Vivian Afshar of La Cañada Flintridge; Taline Christina Albarian, daughter of Rafi and Dorine Albarian of La Cañada Flintridge; Tiara Avaness, daughter of Ara and Christina Avaness of La Crescenta; Kelly Christine Berg, daughter of John and Ruth Ann Berg of Glendale; Camaryn Elysa Del Guercio, daughter of Stephen and Elysa Del Guercio of La Cañada Flintridge; Kendall Clark Eberhardt, daughter of Gregory and Camdon Eberhardt of La Cañada Flintridge, Emma Louise Fuller-Monk, daughter of Teresa Fuller of Altadena; Giavonna Antoinette Futia, daughter of Kurt and Patricia Futia of Montrose; Marissa Lenore Glidewell, daughter of Harold and Maylene Glidewell of La Cañada Flintridge; Michelle Emily Grochow, daughter of Tim and Carrie Grochow of La Cañada Flintridge; Elizabeth Ashley Hakes, daughter of Howard and Beth Hakes of La Crescenta; Madeleine Ann Cortes Impert, daughter of Walter and Frances Impert of Los Angeles; Amanda Lynn Johnson, daughter of Gary and Rhonda Johnson of La Cañada Flintridge; Chelsea Nicole Johnson, daughter of John and Davida Johnson of La Cañada Flintridge; Andrea Freda Klein, daughter of Clifford Klein and Linda Reisz of La Cañada Flintridge; Carly Stiles Padilla, daughter of Sara Padilla of Burbank; Alison Lauren Roth, daughter of Fernando and Linda Roth of La Cañada Flintridge; Nora Anne Sagal, daughter of David and McNally Sagal of La Cañada Flintridge; Jenna Isabelle Schwartz, daughter of Bradley and Victoria Schwartz of La Cañada Flintridge; Lauren Widuch Snyder, daughter of David and Melinda Snyder of Pasadena; and Margaret Frances Vischer, daughter of Frans and Jennifer Vischer of Glendale.


It was "A Celebration of Art" for the Hillsides Annual Gala that raised more than $450,000 for children and families in need throughout Los Angeles County.

Nearly 400 formally dressed guests enjoyed an evening of fine dining, entertainment and dancing at the Langham Huntington Hotel in Pasadena.

The evening had two silent auctions and a fast and furious live auction. The charity raised almost $70,000 alone on the live auction. Top items auctioned included a Fender Telecaster guitar autographed by Nancy Wilson, a painting by famed Southern Expressionist Steffen Thomas, a trip to Deer Valley on a private jet, and a Viking River cruise down the Danube. The auctioneer for the evening was NBC4 weatherman Fritz Coleman, who has been a supporter of Hillsides for more than 20 years. NBC colleagues joining him that evening were newscasters Colleen Williams and Chuck Henry.

A talented group of dancers from Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy gave a beautiful performance that evening.

Karen Tanji, a LCF resident and Hillsides board chair, welcomed the guests. She said that the nonprofit is celebrating its 101st anniversary. Also speaking to the crowd was gala chair Susan Pinsky, whose husband, medical doctor and TV therapist Dr. Drew Pinsky, was on her committee.

Hillsides chose the art theme for the gala to acknowledge that at heart, the nonprofit is like an artist as it works to transform children's pain and trauma into hope and healing. The theme also recognized that Hillsides helps children turn their lives around through creative endeavors such as drawing, sculpting, painting, and playing musical instruments.


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

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