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The Valley Line: Residents sit down to enjoy ‘Literary Feasts’

2015 LA Library Literary Feasts

From left, Loretta Savery, Alex Black, Francoise Rozzell, Elizabeth Toms, Rob Toms and Val Toms attend one of 48 privately-hosted dinners supporting the Los Angeles Public Library. 

(Courtesy of the Council of Library Foundation of Los Angeles)

Don’t know about you, but I’ve been enjoying our crisp weather and cooler evenings. At last maybe we can believe that winter is on its way.

I am recuperating from heart surgery that took place on Nov. 11. I am considering taking two or three weeks off from the column, then easing back into it. So, in case you notice that the Valley Line is missing next week, please know I expect to be back soon. In the meantime, I invite you to send any information about local social events to our newspaper’s general inbox,, where one of the Valley Sun’s staff members will find it.


La Cañadans were out and about to raise funds to support the Los Angeles Public Library so that all 73 libraries across the city can offer free access to information, books, ideas, technology, educational and cultural programs for millions of children, teens and adults.


The event, “Literary Feasts,” is held every two years by the Council of Library Foundation of Los Angeles. This year there were 48 dinner parties across the greater Los Angeles basin, each with a featured author. The fundraiser garnered more than $1.2 million.

La Cañada Flintridge residents Sharon and Nelson Rising hosted one of the dinners at their beautiful home. Their guest author was L.A. Times columnist Steve Lopez and his wife, Alison Shore.

La Cañadans Loretta Savery, her husband Alex Black, along with Rob and Elizabeth Toms attended a dinner at the home of political consultant Frank Luntz in his Brentwood home. Also joining them at this feast was Val Toms, Rob’s mom, and Francoise Rozzell. Before dinner, Luntz gave guests a tour of his home, giving them the opportunity to see collectibles and treasures from famous moments in history.

Nancy and Mike Harahan went to a literary feast in Pasadena co-hosted by Phyllis and Mike Hennigan and Andrea and John Van de Kamp. Their guest author was Jim Newton, who spoke about his book on President Dwight D. Eisenhower. The menu that night reflected the cuisine that was served at the White House when the Eisenhowers were in residence. Guests left the party wearing buttons that said, “I Still Like Ike.”


La Cañada author and resident Mark Salzman spoke at a home in Pacific Palisades. He spoke on his book, “The Man in the Empty Boat.” An accomplished cellist, before dinner Salzman gave a delightful cello recital for the guests.


The Oakmont League of Glendale, under the presidency of La Cañada resident Nina Ratliff recently honored past presidents at a luncheon and fashion show held at the Oakmont Country Club.

Past presidents attending the event included Marcia Lytle, Joanne Ashton, Joanne Cate, Ann Chadney, Jeri Benton, Barbara McCullough, Julie Budimer, Marlene Hirt, Chloe Ross, Judy Mendicina, Donna Sauer and Chris Halajian.

The retail store My Fair Lady presented a fashion show. Jonathan Rick, owner of the shop, was the commentator. Models included Lydia Trout, Cathy Steel, Ellen Farewell, Sharon Swinford, Fernanda Genthon and Nina Ratliff.


Getting in an autumn mood in décor, the Women’s Council of the USC Verdugo Hills Hospital Foundation hosted its third annual Boutique Wine Tasting.

Nearly 200 people attended the event in the newly renovated Council Rooms at the hospital. The gathering was held to benefit the hospital’s nursery and the planned NICU.


“Our focus is to continue to help renovate the hospital to bring the latest in medical services in the right environment to the community,” said Ruth McNevin, chair of the women’s council.

Jeff Zitti of Rosso Wine Shop selected high quality premium wines for sipping. The hospital caterers prepared a delectable menu featuring a hot and cold buffet and a beautiful array of desserts.

There was an array of silent auction items available for placing the highest bids. It gave guests an opportunity to get some holiday shopping done early.

It was a highly successful evening that built awareness of the hospital and its needs. It was also a way to build new friends for the hospital.


JANE NAPIER NEELY covers the La Cañada Flintridge social scene. Email her at