JUST IN: Crystal Charity Ball Sneak Peek Hints Of Saturday Evening’s Galore And Norma Hunt’s Great And Generous Tastebuds

This year’s Crystal Charity Ball theme may have had some scratching their heads how CCB Chair Christie Carter and Event Producer Tom Addis would pull off the theme – “To every thing there is a season.”

But, sneaking a brief gander at the layout in the Hilton Anatole, it’s evident that they gonna pull it off with all four seasons in array.

The silent auction will take place amid the autumn colors; the spring will bust loose with loads of seating against a backdrop of bluebonnet blue and plenty of food; and the gaming operation and goodies will be decked out in summer sojourn.

As for winter, that baby is decked out in the Chantilly Ballroom with rose gold tables surrounding a musical symphony against a backdrop of video snowfall. Gee!

Among the many sussies on hand is one from ever-sweetheart Norma Hunt. In addition to being ageless, Norma has become a world-class vintner. The former schoolteacher’s Perfect Season from Knight Valley wines has achieved accolades from the newbies as well as the true wine aficionados.  

According to Robert Parker, Perfect Season achieved a 95-point rating with the description, “The 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon from the Bidwell Creek Vineyard is 92% Cabernet Sauvignon and 8% Merlot aged 18 months in 75% new French oak. It’s a beauty with lots of blackberry and cassis fruit, licorice, incense and camphor. It is ripe, full-bodied opulent and already showing exceptionally well.”

Norma Hunt's "Perfect Season" wines*

Norma Hunt’s “Perfect Season” wines*

Well, golly! That sounds like the ultimate in date descriptions.

But back to Norma: Blending her love for kiddos and expertise in grape growing, she has donated 300 bottles of wine for purchase due to the event’s theme. Smart girl!

But wait! Don’t go thinking that you’re going to bid against your buds for the trio. The bottles are not part of the silent auction. Instead, they are just for a “go-straight-to-purchase” with the proceeds going to children’s area charities.

For $375, you take home three bottles of the vino as you leave the mega event.

If you have any questions about where and how to get to Norma’s wine, just ask the folks at the check-in and they’ll direct you to the spot in the season for purchasing a trio of Perfect Season.

* Photo provided by Crystal Charity Ball


34th Annual Friends Of The Dallas Police Banquet Paid Tribute To Dallas Finests With Awards And Acclamations From City Leaders

The appreciation for Dallas law enforcement has continued since the devastating tragedy of Thursday, July 7. This show of admiration was showcased at the 34th Annual Friends of the Dallas Police Awards Banquet on Tuesday, November 1, at the Hyatt Regency Hotel. With all the pomp and circumstance it deserved, the occasion had the Dallas Police Department Honor Guard, the Dallas Metro Police Pipes and Drums, the Dallas Police Choir and city and local leadership as more than 150 police officers and employees were honored. Here is a report from the field: 

Coming barely four months after the July 7 attack on Dallas police officers, the Friends of the Dallas Police Awards Banquet on Tuesday, November 1, honored the families of the fallen and injured officers while also recognizing outstanding employees throughout DPD. The 34th-annual banquet paid tribute to approximately 150 distinguished officers and non-sworn employees who have shown strong merit, leadership and courage throughout the past year.

“In what has been one of the most painful and difficult years in our city’s history, the officers and staff of the Dallas Police Department have been a beacon for law enforcement around the nation,” said Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings. “I’m truly grateful to the Friends of the Dallas Police for drawing attention to the daily dedication and sacrifice demonstrated by these superb men and women, who serve and protect on the frontline and behind the scenes.”

Rene Lozano Jr., David Pughes and James. M. Gentry*

Rene Lozano Jr., David Pughes and James. M. Gentry*

Top awards were given to Senior Corporal James Gentry, who was named the John T. McCarthy Officer of the Year, and Rene Lozano, Jr., who was named the James Taylor Non-Sworn Employee of the Year. Gentry works in the South Central Patrol Division, and Lozano is a senior police dispatcher. Also, homicide detective Eric T. Barnes was named the 2016 James R. Leavelle Detective of the Year.

In a somber ceremony, families of the fallen officers received the Police Cross, given in memory of Dallas Police Department Sergeant Michael Smith, Senior Corporal Lorne Ahrens, Officer Michael Krol, Officer Patricio Zamarripa and Dallas Area Rapid Transit Officer Brent Thompson.

The officers who received injuries on July 7 were presented the Friends of Dallas Police Line of Duty Award. They are Dallas Police officers Sergeant Giovanni Wells, Officer Ivan Saldana, Officer Jorge Barrientos and Officer Gretchen Rocha; Dallas Area Rapid Transit officers Jesus Retana, Misty McBride and Lee Cannon; and El Centro Officers Corporal Bryan Shaw and Officer John Abbot.

Additionally, Mayor Rawlings saluted former Dallas Police Chief David O. Brown, who recently retired from the police force. The Friends of the Dallas Police presented a clock in honor of his leadership and passion during his career.

Mike Rawlings, David Pughes, David Brown, Joseph Hannigan and Matt Walling*

Mike Rawlings, David Pughes, David Brown, Joseph Hannigan and Matt Walling*

Presented by Highland Capital Management at the Hyatt Regency Dallas, the dinner attracted one of its biggest crowds ever. In addition to Mayor Rawlings and former Chief Brown, special guests included interim DPD Chief David Pughes, DART Deputy Police Chief Matt Walling, El Centro College Police Chief Joseph Hannigan and elected officials. WFAA’s John McCaa served as emcee.

Including the major awards announced that evening, the Friends of the Dallas Police also recognized sworn officers and non-sworn staff members in a variety of categories: Medal of Valor, Meritorious Conduct, Police Commendation, Life Saving, Police Shield and Bureau awards.   Many awardees know before the banquet that they were winners, but six award winners – including Reserve Officer, Field Training Officer, Supervisor, Departmental Non-Sworn Employee and Departmental Officer of the Year – were announced at the event. The award recipients were chosen from nominations made by DPD supervisors based on an officer and employee’s overall yearly performance.

Founded in 1982 by a group of Dallas business leaders to recognize DPD employees for outstanding performance in the line of duty, the Friends of the Dallas Police Awards Banquet raises money to celebrate the men and women of the Dallas Police Department who risk their lives every day to make Dallas a safer city. Founded in 1982, the Friends organization believes that, no matter their position within the department, each of DPD’s employees has made a commitment to better the city and the quality of life of its citizens.

Other top awards included the Marvin R. Bullard Supervisor of the Year Award, which went to Sergeant Barry W. Ragsdale, and the Field Training Officer of the Year to Senior Corporal Kimberly M. Crawford, who works in the Northwest Patrol Division. The Johnny Sides Rookie of the Year Award – announced at an earlier event hosted by the Dallas Junior Chamber of Commerce – was presented to J. Branden Helms, who works in the Central Patrol Division. The Joe C. Jones Reserve Officer of the Year Award was given to Reserve Lieutenant Vickie Colwell, who has volunteered nearly 3,000 hours and an average of 300 per year.

A number of Bureau Awards also were presented. In the Office of the Chief of Police Bureau, honorees were traffic enforcement specialist Gabriel Aguilar and Senior Corporal Tramese D. Jones. Administrative Bureau awards went to manager Joe Escalona and Senior Corporal Nicole Walton. Investigation Bureau honors were presented to research specialist Bashu Bhatta and detective Eric Barnes. Public service officer Sharon Fletcher and Senior Corporal James Gentry were saluted in the Patrol Bureau. The Strategic Deployment Bureau winners were office assistant Alva Robinson and Senior Corporal Kevin Nickell in the motorcycle unit. The Support Bureau honored senior police dispatcher Rene Lozano Jr. and Senior Corporal Dwight Beaty.

Anu Agrawal and Vanessa Castanon*

Anu Agrawal and Vanessa Castanon*

The 2016 Educational Scholarship Award, which goes to the child of  a Dallas  Police Officer for college use only, was given to Vanessa Castanon, the daughter of Detective Mario Castanon, a 25-year veteran of the DPD’s narcotics unit. Vanessa is currently a senior honors student at Dr. John D. Horn High School and will pursue a major in forensic sciences next fall at Saint Mary’s University in San Antonio.

“Dallas is fortunate to have one of the finest – if not the best – police departments in the nation,” said Mitch Paradise, chairman of the Friends of the Dallas Police. “On behalf of the Friends of the Dallas Police, we hope this evening, in some small way, conveys our gratitude and shines the spotlight on the exceptional work day-in and day-out by the men and women of the DPD.”

John McCaa and Mitch Paradise*

John McCaa and Mitch Paradise*

Sponsors included

  • Chief Sponsor ($10,000)  — Highland Capital Management.
  • Captain Sponsors ($5,000-$9,999) — American Airlines Center, Cigna, Freeman Auto Group, Don Henley Family, Al G. Hill Jr., The Men & Women of Hunt Consolidated Inc., Ellen and John McStay and Sewell.
  • Lieutenant Sponsors ($3,500-$4,999) — Kroger and John McReynolds
  • Sergeant Sponsors ($2,500-$3,499) — Ruth and Ken Altshuler, AG&E Structural Engenuity, The Baldridge Foundation, Holly and Doug Brooks Family Foundation, City Credit Union, Club Corp., Dallas Mavericks, GFF and Lyda Hill
  • Corporal Sponsors ($1,500-$2,499) — Apartment Association of North Texas, Balfour Beatty Construction, Bellatorra Skin Care, Hillwood Development Company LLC, Invesco, Holt Lunsford Commercial, JLT Beverages LP/Julie and Jim Turner, Rita and Steve Millwee, Martha and Doug Morris, Matthews Paradise Office Development, Michelle and Jeff Wheeler, NorthPark Center,  Erle Nye, PGV Pediatrics, Vin & Caren Prothro Foundation, SMU, Stantec and Mary and Mike Terry
* Photo credit: James Edward

MySweetWishList: Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center

According to Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center’s President and CEO Lynn M. Davis,

Lynn Davis (File photo)

Lynn Davis (File photo)

“The Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center (DCAC) works to improve the lives of abused children in Dallas County and to provide national leadership on child abuse issues. Since opening its doors in 1991, DCAC has served more than 40,000 children (and their non-offending family members) who were sexually abused, severely physically abused, or who had witnessed a violent crime. Our average client is a 9 -10 year-old girl who has been sexually abused by someone she knows and trusts.

“I want to tell you a story about a client we recently saw. Isabella* had been holding onto a memory no 10-year-old mind was designed to carry. Isabella’s mother’s new boyfriend had dehumanized her. Years before, Isabella had experienced similar abuse from her own father. Her drug-addicted mother was concerned neither with helping her daughter heal from her past abuse, nor with preventing it from happening again. No grown up had ever protected her.

“But fortunately, Isabella’s grandmother did. She brought her to the Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center, where—for the first time in her decade-long life—she was cherished as the innocent child that she was. Isabella’s forensic interviewer gave her a voice. Her therapist taught her that she had value. Her week in CHAMP Camp alongside other child abuse survivors showed her she was not alone and during the holidays, Isabella received brand new clothing, an art kit, board games, books, and a mini karaoke machine!

Dallas Children's Advocacy Center**

Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center**

“Every year, DCAC brings justice, hope, and healing to thousands of children just like Isabella. But child abuse doesn’t just affect the “Isabella’s” of the world—it affects teachers, sisters, dads, classmates, custodians, CEOs, doctors, roommates, lawyers, accountants, pastors, friends. And because child abuse touches every member of our community, we need every member of our community to help us illuminate the truth and push back the darkness.

“With the holidays right around the corner, our Family Advocate team is organizing the annual Holiday of Hope campaign to help make this holiday season memorable and bright for the families DCAC serves. DCAC’s 2016 Holiday of Hope goal is to raise over $180,000 and serve 1,200 children.  If you’d like DCAC to do the shopping for you, we suggest a $150 donation per child. You can also choose to “adopt” a child (or more!) and shop for items from their wish list. A third option is to host a toy drive through your friends, personal networks, child’s school, company etc. and drop the unwrapped toys off to our Center by Tuesday, December 12th.  More information can be found online at www.dcac.org/holidayofhope and please email [email protected] with any questions. On behalf of the children we serve, thank you for helping us illuminate the truth.”

-By Lynn Davis, Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center president/CEO

* Name has been changed to protect the identity of the child. 
** Graphic provided by Dallas Children's Advocacy Center

JUST IN: Children’s Health’s Holiday Parade Is Canceled, But A Get-Together Breakfast With Santa Is Still On At The Adolphus

There are just times when words have to be eaten and this is one of them. In an earlier post, the declaration was made that this year’s Children’s Health’s Holiday Parade would not be canceled.

Word just arrived from Children’s Scott Summerall, that indeed the parade is canceled.

No, there will be no frigid roads nor frozen tundra. But WFAA’s Colleen Coyle, who has a cot in the backroom at the studio, is warning that Saturday morning is gonna be ugly. With this in mind, wiser minds realized that the conditions just didn’t allow for safer health-conditions for participants and spectators.

Children’s Health Holiday Parade*

Children’s Health Holiday Parade*

The long story made short — the parade is canceled, not postponed.

The official word is, “Despite today’s beaming sunshine, weather forecasts for DFW include a high probability of heavy rain and cold temperatures on Saturday. Due to these impending weather conditions and the fact that many of the acts cannot perform in the rain, we are canceling the Children’s Health Holiday Parade out of concern for the well-being of the patients and families we serve. We sincerely appreciate all of the incredible patients, volunteers, participants, sponsors and attendees who help bring the parade to life each year, especially Santa. You can still tune in to WFAA channel 8 on Saturday morning at 10:00 a.m. to watch last year’s parade!”



However… and you just knew there would be a “however”… the Auxiliary’s breakfast with Santa is still on from 9:30-11:30 at the Adolphus with “traditional photographs with Santa Claus, face painting, balloon artists, breakfast treats and other fun festivities, we have also added special celebrity appearances and costume character visits.”

For those, who bought tickets to attend the parade and want a refund, no problem. But, gee whiz! Tis the season, so why not just let the unused tickets go to support the efforts at Children’s Health.

So snooze in on Saturday and dream that your contributions are helping youngsters at Children’s. Or attend brunch with Santa and make sure that you provide the old codger with a list of your wishes.

* Photos provided by Children's Health

The Boots Were Scootin’ At Eddie Dean’s Ranch For Northwood Woman’s Club’s Annual Gala…

Sharon Pope and Laura Williamson*

When it comes to feeling right comfortable for an evening out on the town, it’s a rare man who will complain about putting on cowboy boots and jeans. So, the Northwood Woman’s Club gals had some very happy fellows in tow for their annual “Boot Scootin’ Ball” at Eddie Dean’s Ranch on Saturday, October 29. […]

Bundle Up For Saturday’s 29th Annual Children’s Health Holiday Parade Through…

Children’s Health Holiday Parade*

 UPDATE: The parade has indeed been canceled, but the sold-out breakfast with Santa is still on! Just imagine. Toddlers, who attended the first-ever Children’s Health Holiday Parade in 1987, are all grown up and have toddlers of their own. For some it’s become a family tradition despite the changes of routes and the weather conditions. […]

With Loads Of Turquoise And Stars Above, Spirit Of Taos Sparkled At The Lot Resulting In…

From the left: Laura Ailshire, Kristen Johnson, Michael Graska, Meredith Dier
s, Kendall Angela, Hunter Heres, Kelli Mansfield, OJ DeSouza, Jenn Dolim, 
Tia Williams, Kay Weir

The night couldn’t have been more perfect for a fundraiser at The Lot in East Dallas, just across the street from White Rock Lake. And as luck would have it, The Wilkinson Center‘s Spirit of Taos took full advantage of the perfect conditions on Friday, October 28. While others were in black tie and diamonds […]

Award-Winning Henry Winkler Served Up Humor, Passion And Inspiration At Each Moment…

Henry Winkler, Lucy Johnson and Barbara Hunt Crow*

Each time Henry Winkler comes to North Texas, he manages to actually make people realize that “The Fonz” was indeed an act. The philanthropist, businessman and family man speaks off the cuff to … not at … his audience, using memories of his past, G-rated rumor and lessons that all can share. That is exactly […]

JUST IN: 2nd Annual Penguin Days Starts Three-Month Run Thursday…

Dallas Zoo penguins (File photo)

While some folks may not cotton to the upcoming drop in temperatures, there are Dallas Zoo residents that are thrilled. Okay, so maybe the reptiles don’t really care. They’re staying comfy in their heated digs in the Herpetarium. But Dallas Zoo’s Lydia Jennings just sent word that the African Penguins are beside themselves. And as […]

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MySweetWishList: ZooProud Bricks…

Dallas Zoo*

According to ZooProud Campaign Co-Chairs Diane Brierley, Jennifer Eagle and Don Glendenning, “Our next big project for the Dallas Zoo is the Simmons Hippo Outpost, scheduled to open in the spring of 2017. This will be the first major animal exhibit to open at the Zoo since the Wilds of Africa premiered in 2010, and […]

The Gingerbread Stroll Nears The End Of The Road, But There’s Still Time To Bid And…

The Gingerbread Stroll*

Thursday may be the first day of December, but, alas, it’s the last day of the 5th Annual Gingerbread Stroll in Highland Park Village. If you haven’t made it yet, stop pussyfooting around and check out the marvelously decorated cookie cottages at Betta Gallery, Bistro 31, Kiehl’s, Leggiadro, Market Highland Park, Robert Talbott, Roberta Roller […]

JUST IN: Marketing Executive Andrea Alcorn To Serve As Honorary Chair For Upcoming…

Andrea Alcorn (File photo)

If you haven’t already got your 2017 calendar, hustle and get it now! Believe it or not, dates are being lined up and even the usual January ho-hums are turning into “Oh, my’s”. Why, Saturday, January 28, is looking like a collision course of fundraising with the 19th Annual Bishop’s Gala (with Huey Lewis and […]

Champion Of Children Award Dinner Guest Speaker Antwone Fisher Strikes A Chord As Dallas…

Kathleen LaValle and Nancy Nasher*

On the evening of Thursday, October 27, the reception area outside the Fairmont Hotel’s International Ballroom was packed. The big ballroom, after all, was about to play host to the 2016 Champion of Children Award Dinner benefiting Dallas CASA, which advocates for abused and neglected children, and nearly 550 guests were expected—more than last year’s […]

2016 Mission Olé Dazzled Chicken Scratch And The Foundry With Over-The-Top Festivities And…

Day of the Dead human statues

The only problem for 17th Annual Mission Olé guests on Thursday, October 27, was the arrival. As the newcomers’ luxury vehicles tried to locate the Trinity River Mission fundraiser at Chicken Scratch and The Foundry, some took a premature left turn and found themselves in an apartment parking lot. Once recovering from the wrong-way turn, […]