The Valley Line

Everything has been heating up around here. We have been basking in early summer-like splendor with temps in the 80s while the East Coast is getting slammed with snow.

The social and benefit season is revving up too.

But before I get too far down the current benefit path, I also want to catch up on a great Las Candelas holiday party.

Bobbi and Sal Gangi generously opened up their lovely hilltop home for a pre- Christmas gathering of members, spouses and guests. On display in the entry was a 14-foot pine tree that was beautifully decorated.

Mary and Don Boger photographed guests as they arrived at the party in front of the Christmas tree. Marilyn Butler, Diane Johnson and Sally Perkins were in charge of planning this joyful gathering.

Hors d’ oeuvres were offered all evening and a soup station along with a carving station of prime rib, turkey and ham were readily available for guests to sample. A delicious selection of desserts on display were devoured by all.

Laughter, conversation and camaraderie continued throughout the evening with members reminiscing about the various philanthropic activities the club did in 2008. They reviewed many philanthropies Las Candelas supports annually for emotionally disturbed children and to promote a better understanding of mental health.

Among those attending the party were Dick and Judy Heyes, Phil and Elizabeth Reynolds, Ralph and Linda Malmquist, Luther and Chris Marr, Jim and Sally Perkins, John and Marcia Lytle, Jerry and Ruth Barrone, John and Sharon Gregg, Bob and Linda Gregg, Carole De Paul, Tom and Kathy Walker, Bette Ryan, Shirley Darling, Bruce and Debbie Hinckley, Don and Diane Johnson, Shirley Johnstone, Jose and Monica Sierra, Karl and Ann Ways, Page and Karen Whyte, Newt and Diane Russell, Stanton and Ann Jones, Cathy Keen, Carlos and Valery Moorhead, Gene and Nancy Stone, Jack and Glady Kabateck, Jeri Benton, Mary Lane, Stan and Judy Ruzicka, Diane Endsley, Pattie McCormick, Marilyn Butler, Roberta Raffaelli, Terry and Fran Buchanan and Don and Mary Boger, along with their guests.

Be sure and mark your calendars, because on March 2 Las Candelas members will be presenting their biannual major fundraising event at the Burbank Marriott Hotel with a spectacular luncheon, elegant fashion show and many fabulous and outstanding opportunity prizes.

Karen Whyte, president of Las Candelas, and Cathy Keen, event chair, promise to present another sell out program in order to raise the funds for their many youth oriented philanthropies.

Last Saturday 50 guys between the ages of 25 and 55 dusted off college jerseys, dug out old football shoes and headed for the historic Rose Bowl field to participate in the fourth Battle of the Bowl, a unique flag football fundraising event that has raised over $100,000 since its inception to benefit Pasadena-headquartered Hathaway-Sycamores Child and Family Services.

LCF residents who joined in the football fun on the gridiron included Kevin Bender, Brendan McCracken, Charlie Smith, John Sabourin, Tom Bohlinger and Patrick Church.

The Battle of the Bowl event was the brain child of Todd Doney in 2004. Todd is vice chairman of CB Richard Ellis. This event brings together area residents, local business executives and friends to benefit Hathaway-Sycamores, where he is on the advisory board of directors.

The flag football competition pit the “Benefactors” (in red jerseys) against the “Patrons” (blue jerseys), with the two teams battling it out to raise over $25,000 for this year’s event.

Several of this year’s players were no strangers to the Rose Bowl field. Headlining this year’s game were former UCLA quarterbacks Cory Paus and Brendan McCracken, CAL and NFL Kansas City Chiefs QB Pat Barnes, and former Duke linebacker Chris Rising.

McCracken was part of the 1986 UCLA team that won the famed Rose Bowl Game against the Iowa Hawkeyes The score was a whopping 45 to 28 — Go Bruins!

On Saturday the teams battled it out in two 45-minute halves, complete with full use of the Rose Bowl football field and scoreboard, home and visitor team locker rooms, and live audio/video feed, with action highlights and instant replays shown real-time on the video scoreboard.

At halftime, over 50 kids who had been watching the game were invited on the field to participate in a spirited game of Capture the Flag.

In the second half, with less than 10 minutes to go, the score was tied at 26-26. With only minutes left on the clock, Paus (playing for the Benefactor team) connected with Mark Sprague on a 15-yard touchdown pass to win the game 34-26.

The price to play on one of the two 25-member teams was $750, with all of the proceeds going to support the 9,000 children and families served by Hathaway-Sycamores.

McCracken, who has participated in all four Battle of the Bowls said, “This is a great event, a very worthy event, although a little painful, but all for a terrific cause.”

At the games end, Doney, the mastermind of the event, thanked his friends and colleagues, for their support of the event. “We had a great time, raised a lot of money, and got to compete for the children served by Hathaway-Sycamores in one of the greatest football stadiums in the country.” He then presented a $25,000 check to Hathaway-Sycamores president Bill Martone.

Martone said, “What a great way to start 2009. We thank Todd Doney and all the players who took to the field today. There are 32 returning players from last year’s event, and we so appreciate the returning players and welcome the newcomers for your enthusiasm and support for this event which truly makes a difference in the lives of so many children.”

JANE NAPIER NEELY has been covering the La Cañada social scene for over 26 years. She can be reached at

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