The Valley Line: Red carpet rendezvous

I almost hate to say this aloud, but we have had lovely spring weather this past week.

Probably just as this column is going into print, the familiar coastal eddy will come visiting our fair valley again.

Yep, I’ve been liking Mother Nature’s nod to spring. However I do have one huge complaint — there is an insomniac mockingbird who is making his roosting place in the big tree in my front yard.

He sings into the wee hours of the morning and then, as soon as the sun comes, up he falls silent. He presents his entire repertoire, trilling from one passage to another. When he comes to the end of the repertoire, he begins it all again.

I was beginning to suffer from sleep deprivation from all his warbling. On the advice of my daughter, I did buy some silicone earplugs and found they gave me some additional hours of blissful sleep. Never did I think that a mockingbird would drive me to the edge of desperation.


The Women’s Council of Verdugo Hills Hospital got into a spring mood on May 20 when the volunteer organization held a fundraising luncheon and fashion show themed “Luncheon and Fashions on the Red Carpet.”

Sue Wilder, chair of the Women’s Council, welcomed guests to a delightful afternoon of winning opportunity prizes, a lovely salad luncheon and beautiful fashions presented by Karla Baer Cohen and Lillian O’Connor of Holiday Hats & Gowns in Montrose.

As soon as guests were seated for lunch, Wendy Alane Smith, a Women’s Council member and accomplished vocalist, entertained by singing — a capella — two jazz songs, “Our Love is Here to Stay” and “Teach Me Tonight.”

Two songs just weren't enough for the crowd, and they begged for more. Smith asked for suggestions and the popular vote was for “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”

Smith is an award-winning songwriter with three hit dance records in Europe with music videos on MTV, BET and VH1. She runs WAW Talent Training and Performance Studios in La Cañada, where she is dedicated to developing ability, talent, confidence and fearlessness in young performers.

Before the models began walking the red carpet, Yulonda Davis-Quarrie, president of the Verdugo Hills Hospital Board and Len LaBella, president and CEO of the hospital stepped to the podium to say hello and thank guests for coming to the event. Jill Haines was the chair of the committee that had created a movie premiere-like ambience. Assisting her in the many details that made this an extra special event were Betty Hurn, Ruth McNevin, Kate Kaneko, Teri Rice and Judy Hurst.

The hospital’s kitchen staff designed and prepared an outstanding menu for the luncheon that included a wonderful chicken salad. The meal was finished by an outstanding dessert buffet that included cupcakes of all kinds, tasty pastries and mountains of fresh strawberries.

The stars of the fashion show were models Jill Haines, Suzonne Slaughter, Kate Kaneko, Betty Hurn, Ruth McNevin, Sue Wilder, Annsley Strong and Ali Woodward.

The fashions ranged from perky and casual afternoon tea dresses to the special occasion dresses, which were so elegant. Sue Wilder beautifully wore a “drop-dead” screen-siren black and hot pink strapless number that would have stopped traffic at an Academy Awards ceremony.

When the fashion show began, Lynne Raggio acted as commentator. She and husband Carl have been big supporters of hospital, and he is on the Board of VHH.

The Women’s Council of Verdugo Hills Hospital formally began on June 20, 1973 with more than 200 members for a garden champagne brunch at the home of Sue Lindstrom.

Since its founding, the Women’s Council has raised more than $3 million for hospital programs and services, making the council a vital part of the Verdugo Hills Hospital Foundation team.

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