Paws In The City’s Top Hat & Tails Moved Its Dancing Ways To April

With temperatures in the 60’s it’s hard to imagine July with its sweltering heat. But maybe that thought of summer baking was the impetus for the Paws in the City organizers to up and move its annual Top Hat & Tails to April.

Event Chair Tina Fairbanks admitted that in making the move, there was a slight oops! They discovered a Saturday in April that appeared totally open with almost no competing events. Imagine that! April, one of the busiest months in the year, and a Saturday with nothing booked. Immediately they locked down the Frontiers of Flight Museum and Wendy Krispin catering.

Too good to be true? Yup. It was the night before Easter. Seems they’d used a calendar that didn’t have Easter or Passover posted.

But the celebrity dancers weren’t deterred. Well, except for WFAA’s Jason Wheeler, who had been announced as a dancer; but, the night of the Dallas version of Dancing With The Stars, he had been replaced by Albertson’s Carol Roberts. Alas, that meant that commercial Realtor JP Piccinini was the only celeb fella dancer. But he wasn’t complaining. As guests arrived, they were greeted by volunteers with adorably available pooches.

Sophia Davis with Margo and Sara Blewett with Tiger

Sophia Davis with Margo and Sara Blewett with Tiger

Inside, Wendy was preparing a feast for 450. Feeding this herd demanded diplomatic planning. After all, among the crowd there were meat eaters, vegetarians and vegans. To solve the problem, Wendy had large bowls of vegetables, salads and chicken served up Italian style.

Skip Trimble

Skip Trimble

Before the dance competition took place, attorney/animal advocate Skip Trimble was presented with the St. Francis of Assisi Award. Earlier in the evening, Skip addressed the “animal problem,” saying, “I like to say, it’s never going to happen in my lifetime, but, hopefully, I’ll be able to ‘look down’ and see it happen.” But to make it happen there has to be a change of attitude by the public and more legislation, Skip added. He was especially pleased to see that one of the candidates for state office had publicly taken a stand against puppy mills.

And while spay and neuter programs are an important part of the solution, it is necessary to go into the communities, visit with the people there, educate them and make them realize their lives will be better, too: “If we can get them to spay and neuter, the animals won’t be on the streets. You can’t kill your way out of this. They multiply seven times [our rate of multiplying].

But he admitted that the problem is not limited to Dallas. It’s worldwide. Pausing, he said that the answer is not just a no-kill shelter. “It has to be a no-kill community!” On a positive note, Skip reflected over his years of involvement that Dallas has come a long way in bringing the groups together thanks to the creation of the Metroplex Animal Coalition.

Thanks to efforts of the collaboration and the new management at the Dallas Animal Services, there has been a 40% decrease in euthanasia between 2010 and 2013.

George Riba, Claudia Marshall and Drew Pearson

George Riba, Claudia Marshall and Drew Pearson

Before taking his place on stage with fellow judges Claudia Marshall and Drew Pearson, judge George Riba admitted that he wasn’t above being bribed — “I’m accepting $20 bills.” It was just five years ago that the WFAA sportcaster had been one of the celebrity dancers himself.

But before the first celeb’s shoe touched the stage, Host Preston Pearson seemed anxious. He was going to dance himself. Not in the competition but rather with granddaughter Zoe Pearson, who’s in the fifth grade from Marietta, Georgia.

Now it was time for the competition to get underway. For your consideration, video of the dancers is provided below for the following teams:

Brooke Williams, Ian Kelley, Amy Vanderoef, Ryan West, Carol Roberts, Paul Rodriguez, Lindsey Jordan, JP Piccinini, Teresa Frosini, Nicholas Stevens, Jolene DeVito and Justin Brown

Brooke Williams, Ian Kelley, Amy Vanderoef, Ryan West, Carol Roberts, Paul Rodriguez, Lindsey Jordan, JP Piccinini, Teresa Frosini, Nicholas Stevens, Jolene DeVito and Justin Brown

  • Jolene DeVito and Justin Brown dancing the hustle (Sorry no sound on Jolene’s due to copyright of music, so just hum some Michael Jackson)

  • Teresa Frosini and Nicholas Stevens dancing the jitterbug

  • JP Piccinini and Lindsey Jordan dancing a medley

  • Carol Roberts and Paul Rodriguez dancing the rumba

  • Amy Vanderoef and Ryan West dancing the tango/cha-cha

  • Brooke Williamson and Ian Kelley dancing the swing

Amy revealed that just minutes before going on, she had to be sewn into her cat suit that fit like sausage wrap. Her partner Ryan in gentleman fashion reminded the audience that Olivia Newton-John also had to be stitched into her Grease costume.

Martha Powell

Martha Powell

As PITC’s Martha Powell announced that Heidi Button had been named Volunteer of the Year, the audience provided the popular vote for the winning team. After the judges’ and audience’s votes were counted, the winner of the Lucy Trophy was revealed: Brooke and Ian!

Ian Kelley, Brooke Williamson, Ryan West, Carol Roberts and Preston Pearson

Ian Kelley, Brooke Williamson, Ryan West, Carol Roberts and Preston Pearson

But the evening’s competitive spirit was over. When guests had arrived, they had been told to text when they wanted the valets to pull their vehicles up. It worked and it didn’t. George Riba’s Prius appeared quickly. Unfortunately, George’s better half, Maggie, was delayed talking to friends inside. The results? One of the lanes was blocked by the waiting Prius.

Monica Greene and Debbie Alcocer

Monica Greene and Debbie Alcocer

On the other hand, Monica Greene waited for her car … and waited and waited. After inquiring a couple or three times on the status of the wheels, she shook her head and admitted, “I’m old-fashioned. I like to give them a ticket and get a car.”

JUST IN: Equest’s Triple Crown Gala Changes Venues And Heads North

Perfectionists can be a royal pain. They insist on all their paperclips being arranged in order according to value — platinum first, then gold followed by sterling silver. Hmm, a little overkill.

Maggie Kipp and Shay Geyer (File photo)

Maggie Kipp and Shay Geyer (File photo)

But then there are those who really have a reason for their desire to have everything absolutely perfect. That’s the case of the Equest crew led by Maggie Kipp and Shay Geyer. After years of hoping, planning and negotiating their involvement with Texas Horse Park, they just want everything to be spotless and ready to improve the lives of children and vets in the program.

Well, despite non-stop construction, the Park is still in the hard helmet stage and that just doesn’t fit with the upcoming Triple Crown Gala’s “Hats & Horses — A Texas Derby Day Soiree!” on Saturday, May 3. Plus there’s always the issue of prissy Mother Nature, who’s going through her spring period.

Michelle Meadows (File photo)

Michelle Meadows (File photo)

Biting the bullet, so to speak, the organizers decided to move the event to Southfork. Production maven Michelle Meadow is an old hand in orchestrating events at the “Dallas” location. She’s babysat many a Cattle Baron’s Ball there and knows all the nooks and crannies.

Everything else will stay the absolute according to plan. Hats will be the “must of the day” with judgings by local “top experts.” Loads of foods and refreshments will be on hand. Equest equines will be on the premises. And, yes, the Kentucky Derby will be on the screens.

Oh, but there’s more. Alas, that can’t be revealed until the afternoon event. But it involves anyone who attends the spring event just may have a fall surprise for their datebook. Shoot! Were we supposed to let that much out?

Southfork Longhorn (File photo)

Southfork Longhorn (File photo)

So, instead of heading south to Texas Horse Park, turn your horsepower in the other direction to Southfork and remember the speed limits are watched carefully by local officials.

BTW, a tip of the hat to organizers for making this decision this week instead of waiting til the last minute. It must have been a tough call to make, but it allows everyone time to rearrange their GPS-ers and think “Go, north, y’all.”

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: 2014 Junior Cattle Baron’s Ball

Rio and friends

Rio and friends

Wow! This morning has been filled with jewelry. Makes you want to get a new jewel box. But how about some photos of other types of gems? You know the kind that only get bigger and bigger thanks to great health care and fundraising. Have we got a deal for you!

Lisa Ogle

Lisa Ogle

The MySweetCharity Photo Gallery just posted pictures from the Saturday, April 12th Junior Cattle Baron’s Ball that took place at the Studio Movie Grill on Technology with Rio on wing. . . or, rather on hand to welcome the kids of all ages. Even the parents got into the action of face painting, breakfasting and getting to know “Princess.” But more about Princess later.

Round Robin April 10: Thrift Studio Preview Party, Wings Patron Party And Crystal Charity Ball Advisory Board Reception

And the beat went on Thursday, April 10. Starting early in the morning at the Family Gateway announcement breakfast at the Omni and then hopping over to the Dallas Arboretum for the Mad Hatter’s Tea, the day should have ended to rest up for the upcoming weekend. But, no! Dallas fundraising was just warming up for an evening of more activities throughout the area.

Thrift Studio Preview Party

The doors for the Thrift Studio Preview had hardly opened for the Dwell With Dignity month-long pop-up shop when the place was packed.

John Phifer Marrs and James Campbell

John Phifer Marrs and James Campbell

As cars lined up to get into the valet queue, the crowd including Joyce Fox, John Phifer Marrs, James Campbell, Erin Mathews, Richard Graziano, Meredith Hite, Kim Bannister, Jennifer Clark and Matthew Simon) inside was cozy. So cozy that at times it was hard to wander through the vignettes of furnishings available for sale.

But wait! A “Sold” tag here. A “Sold” tag there. So many of the items were already bearing that four-letter word.

Jan Showers

Jan Showers

Not to worry. Founders Lisa Robison and Kim Turner and their team of volunteers had a boundless amount of couches, tables, beds, etc. all ready to replace the purchased things. Among the designers showcasing were last Fall’s Thrift Studio Honorary Chair Jan Showers, Julio Quinones + Culp Associates, Mecox, Sarah Pickard + Robert Allen Design, Swoon and Tompkins Lloyd Interiors + David Sutherland Showroom.

Julie Lloyd, Jane Parker and Clair Tompkins

Julie Lloyd, Jane Parker and Clair Tompkins

The Thrift Studio is open Tuesday through Saturday until May 10. It’s free to visit, but it’s hard to leave without a purchase.

Wings Patron Dinner

Member of the Best collection

Member of the Best collection

If the Perot Museum had a satellite location, it would be Nancy and Randy Best’s Preston Hollow estate. No, there aren’t any interactive sports nor fracking exhibitions. Better than any of that, and Randy proudly showed it all to Wings’ patron dinner guest of honor Sally Field, who was to be the keynote speaker at the next day’s New Friends New Life fundraising luncheon.

Sally Field and Randy Best

Sally Field and Randy Best

On the second floor of the Best mansion was a museum of artifacts that made Harlan Crow’s collectibles look downright contemporary: Rocks, geodes, coins, wall plaques of fossils, life-sized figures of earliest forms of mankind.

As Sally leaned over one of the glass cases, Randy pointed an item out saying, “The Egyptians were just nomads. They collected these things.”

The petite Field wearing glasses could have been mistaken for a high schooler on a field trip.

In addition to taking in every inch of the museum, she chatted with every one of the 50 guests. It was as if she were here to stay and wanted to get to know her new neighbors.

Lee Ann White, Sally Field and Michael Fowler

Lee Ann White, Sally Field and Michael Fowler

Among the folks that Sally met were Laura McClung, Honorary Co-Chairs Lee Ann White and son Michael Fowler, April Box Chamberlain and her husband John, Alan White and Ashlee Kleinert, who had just added a fourth truck to her Ruthie’s Rolling Cafes. Ah, more grilled cheese sandwiches!

Angela Nash

Angela Nash

Luncheon Co-Chair Pat McEvoy and husband Charles reported that their new puppy Santiago (aka Sonny) was away at puppy boot camp. . . Co-Chair Angela Nash looked picture perfect despite having ripped her dress earlier in the day. No problem. She simply sewed it up with time to spare.

After a fabulous dinner in the ground level, it was an early evening. The group had to re-group in time to join the 1000+ for the Wings VIP reception and lunch at the Anatole the next day.

Crystal Charity Ball Advisory Board Reception

Don and Robyn Conlon and Heather and Todd Furniss

Don and Robyn Conlon and Heather and Todd Furniss

The Crystal Charity Ball Advisory Board was honored at Heather and Todd Furniss’s Highland Park Home. It seemed like so many of the guests had had a full night of “must-attend” events, but they saved this one for last to relax and catch up.

Karen Hughes

Karen Hughes

Equest Chairman of the Board Emily Hargrove was juggling Tony Cointreau’s Saturday talk for the Dallas Institute, arrangements for the Equest Triple Crown Gala on May 3 and supporting husband Miles’ movie on The Starck Club premiering at the Dallas International Film Festival. . . Gigi Potter Salley reported that the family home was scheduled to undergo some major renovations. . . Kathy and Richard Holt were asked how they met. It was in college. In what class? Psychology.

Once again Melissa Macatee was called upon by CCB Chair Robyn Conlon to whistle the crowd (Norma Hunt, Karen Hughes, Patti Flowers and Tom Swiley, Alicia Wood, Jan and Fred Hegi, Angie and Kevin Kadesky and Peggy and Dan Meyers) together in the den. Many of the gentlemen were highly impressed by the power of the plucky pucker.

Angie and Kevin Kadesky

Angie and Kevin Kadesky

Robyn thanked the advisory board, the seven 2014 beneficiaries and Kent Eastman, whose Capital One underwrote the evening.

Speaking of banking and big numbers, Robyn reported that the 2014 goal was a whopping $5,127,886 and added, “I am not going to be the first ball chair to not fund them (the beneficiaries).”

March 20 Round Robin: Zoo To Do Announcement Party, Savor At The Arboretum And Nexus Patron Party

Thursday, March 20 wasn’t just the first day of spring. It was also the day that supporters of the Dallas Zoo, the Nexus Recovery Center and the Dallas Arboretum broke out their spring finery and partied for a great cause.

2014 Zoo to Do Announcement Party

Last month, the theme-announcement party for the 2014 Zoo to Do fundraiser had to be abruptly rescheduled due to cold weather. Seems the zoo’s animal ambassadors, who were scheduled to make an appearance, don’t fare well in frigid temperatures. Thanks to the gorgeously moderate temps last Thursday evening, there were no such problems at Lela Rose in Highland Park Village, where about 50 people turned up to party and learn more about the November 1st event benefiting the Dallas Zoological Society.

Bindi and Pam Busbee*

Bindi and Pam Busbee*

Among them: Mike Gruber, Jennifer Clark, Pam Busbee, Katherine and Key Coker, Martha Fordyce, Ellen Winspear, and Katherine Leppert. As some guests nibbled on cute “animal cookies” created by Celebrity Bakery, others perused the store’s offerings with interest. With good reason, as Lela Rose had agreed to donate 20 percent of the evening’s sales to the Dallas zoo.

Zoo cookies*

Zoo cookies*

Ellen Winspear and Katherine Leppert*

Ellen Winspear and Katherine Leppert*

Doug Houser, Rosie and Rosie's assistant

Doug Houser, Rosie and Rosie’s assistant

Just outside, event auction chair Nancy Monning and co-chairs Tiffany and Paul Divis and Jennifer and Doug Houser looked on while zoo employees brought out Rosie, a 35-year-old Great Horned Owl, and Bindi, a 5-year-old alligator, for the guests’ approval. Tiffany told one attendee that the theme for the Nov. 1 fundraiser—under honorary chairs Lynn and Allan McBee—will be “Jewels of the Kalahari.” A few feet away, Billie Leigh Rippey, who was attending with Ramona Jones and Joanna Turner, seemed uncomfortable with all the attention she was getting from Bindi. “He keeps looking at me,” Billie Leigh said, backing away a few steps from the little ’gator. “Do you think it’s my perfume?”

Savor The Arboretum

The evening couldn’t have been more perfect for Savor the Arboretum, which benefited the Dallas Arboretum’s Education Department. At least 800 people flocked to the sprawling grounds, which were resplendent with the colorful flowers of Dallas Blooms.

Savor Dallas at the Arboretum**

Savor Dallas at the Arboretum**

The guests strolled through the property sampling food, wine, beers and spirits from a variety of purveyors. Among them were Lark on the Park, Paciugo, The Meddlesome Moth, Kenwood Vineyards, Skinnygirl, Stella Artois Cidre, and Infuse Vodka.

Jim White and Vicki Briley-White**

Jim White and Vicki Briley-White**

There also was a busy photo booth, a live band playing Sinatra-style music, and a special gift for each guest: their own crystal tasting glass. A good time was had by all, as evidenced by these overheard comments: “The wine was good, and the food was good”; and “Ummm, yum!” Spotted in the crowd: Savor Dallas Co-Founders Jim White and Vicki Briley-White, Regina Bruce, Troy Dungan, Sara and David Martineau, Gary Cogill and Hayley Hamilton and Paula Lambert.

Sara and David Martineau**

Sara and David Martineau**

Gary Cogill and Hayley Hamilton**

Gary Cogill and Hayley Hamilton**

2014 Nexus Luncheon Patron Party

Jane Geisse***

Jane Geisse***

Meantime, over at the Craighead Green Gallery in the Design District, an estimated 125 people showed up for the Nexus Spring Luncheon Patron Party organized by the Women’s Auxiliary of Nexus Recovery Center. The event’s purpose was to honor those supporting the group’s April 22nd luncheon, where addiction expert Dr. Drew Pinsky will be the featured speaker.

Sally and Forrest Hoglund***

Sally and Forrest Hoglund***

Guests including Karen and Dwight Otto, Nancy and Jack Zogg, and Stephanie and Edward Howard checked out the gallery’s wonderful art and nibbled on delicious bites prepared by Nick & Sam’s. Then they listened to brief remarks by Jane Geisse, the luncheon chair, who recognized and thanked Sally and Forrest Hoglund, the luncheon’s honorary chairs.

Ramona Jones, Billie Leigh Rippey and Joanna Turner***

Ramona Jones, Billie Leigh Rippey and Joanna Turner***

Also attending the gallery party—after they’d hit the Lela Rose fete—were the very busy Billie Leigh Rippey and her pals Ramona Jones and Joanna Turner. Guess Billie Leigh got over being spooked by Bindi.

* Photos provided by Zoo To Do
** Photos provided by Savor Dallas
*** Photo credit: Bob Manzano

JUST IN: Top Hat & Tails Moves To April And Returns To Celebrity Dancers

Paws in the City made a change last year. Instead of local celebrities dancing in the Top Hat & Tails fundraiser, they opted to have sponsored volunteers.

Word just arrived that they’ve re-examined their event and have made some more changes for this year’s dance-athon.

Top Hat & Tails teams (File photo)

Top Hat & Tails teams (File photo)

First, they’re not going to hold it in June. That’s a very big deal. Why? Because it had become the summer event that broke up the ho-hums of the heat. They’ve moved it to the spring — Saturday, April 19, to be exact. Thought you would want to know so you could go ahead and make your summer vacation plans accordingly.

Second, they decided to return to a celebrity cast of dancers. It’s a pretty good list, too. Included in the people who are hard at work learning their steps at Arthur Murray Studio are:

Amy Vanderoef (File photo)

Amy Vanderoef (File photo)

  • Jolene DeVito, broadcaster, talent coach and former TXCN anchor
  • Teresa Frostini, CBS 11 anchor/reporter
  • JP Piccinini, real estate mogul
  • Amy Vanderoef, WFAA’s “Good Morning Texas” host
  • Jason Wheeler, WFAA anchor/reporter
  • Brooke Williamson, ESPN sideline reporter

On the other hand, tried-and-true things that haven’t changed are host Preston Pearson and Master of Ceremonies Scott Murray. And the location is still Frontiers of Flight Museum.

The judges will be Drew Pearson, Claudia Marshall and George Riba.

Oh, did we mention that the annual St. Francis of Assisi Award will be presented to Robert “Skip” Trimble, dog’s/cat’s best friend? Good choice.

If you haven’t been to this event because you’ve been out of town, you need to see it to believe it. Not only do you get a delicious meal, check out an extensive silent auction and have a heck of a lot of fun, you’ll be able to sit back and watch local bold facers showing off some fancy. . . and in some cases, funny … moves.

Since the date has been moved up, you’d better lock down your tickets ASAP.

February 22 Round Robin: The Marvelous City, Moonlight Ball And Cowboys And Cowboys

Dallas exploded with fundraising Saturday, February 22. The United Negro College Fund Masked Ball at the Sheraton Dallas, the Resource Center’s Toast to Life at F.I.G. and Bridge Breast Network’s Mardi Gras Party at Million Air Dallas were in high gear. Sure, the temperatures were just brisk enough to require a wrap, but not so miserable as. . . well, what the first of March produced. Here’s just a smattering of what was underway on February 22.

A Night In La Cidade Maravilhosa

The Anatole was filled to near capacity with fundraisers. In addition to the Rotary Club and Greenhill School having their fundraisers, the Junior Leaguers had taken over the Chantilly Ballroom for a two-parter for “Rio Carnival. . . A Night in La Cidade Maravilhosa. . . The Marvelous City,” their 52nd annual ball. Behind the check-in area was a mask that would have fit the Jolly Green Giant perfectly. The poor life-size elephant sculptures on either side looked a little puny compared to the mask.

Mega-mask

Mega-mask

In the lobby was a towering two-story purple and gold glimmering tent with lights and topped off with white ostrich feathers, where the musicians had played during the reception.

One guests commented, “It’s so obvious Tom Addis has been here.”

Amanda Richards and David Pinsel

Amanda Richards and David Pinsel

When the doors opened for dinner, only half of the Chantilly was put into use. The walls were draped in silver lame and in each corner were stages with gold lame backdrops where costumed characters struck poses to the delight of the crowd. Even after the whimsical models had departed, the stages were still put into use by guests like Amanda Richards and David Pinsel striking poses for their friends’ cellphones.

Tables topped with feathers and masks

Tables topped with feathers and masks

The tables surrounding the main stage were gorgeous with silver and gold tablecloths, highlighted by narrow pedestals topped with mammoth bouquets of more ostrich and peacock feathers and masks. Pity the poor naked birds that were shivering somewhere.

Wendy Messmann

Wendy Messmann

At 8 JLD President Laura Johnson and Event Chair Wendy Messmann stepped up on stage and greeted the group. Whether it was the lighting, the surrounding glitz or just the glow of success, the gals dazzled one and all receiving cell-phone salutes. But leave it the ladies to graciously acknowledge the evening’s success to Honorary Co-Chairs Margaret Crow and Katherine LaLonde and the 600 guests. As Wendy put it, “In our estimation, no city soul is as large as Dallas’.”

Chris and Katherine LaLonde

Chris and Katherine LaLonde

Running right on schedule, dinner was served at 8:30 including

  • Main Course — Confit duck leg pozole, grilled filet of beef chimichurri, roasted cucurbita (Brazilian winter squash), creamed chayote with chives and green beans sautéed with tomatoes
  • Dessert — Cinnamon ice cream chocolate sundae with cinnamon-sugar tortilla crisp

Following Bob Schneider’s entertaining the guests, part two of the evening took place in the other half of the Chantilly Ballroom, where Professor D had guests partying past the wee hours of the evening.

But not everybody stayed way late. Just as dinner was being served, Katy Bock was seen hightailing it to a Range Rover driven by husband Lawrence. Seems she had jeans stashed in the car and was headed for a casual date night with her husband.

The only itty-bitty flaw of the evening was found not in the staging, dining, dancing or fundraising. It was on page 12 of the program, where one of the honorary co-chair’s names was misspelled. Told you it was itty-bitty.

Moonlight Ball

Entry hall

Entry hall

The Ronald McDonald House of DallasMoonlight Ball always seems to be cast in moonbeams at Brook Hollow Golf Club. This year, the lighting cast a purple haze around the dining room; the shimmering blue tablecloths topped off with flowers from Junior Villanueva were a perfect setting for the fundraiser. It’s always special when a crowd buys into a black tie occasion with long gowns and dazzling jewelry.

Jan Daulton and Melinda Emmons

Jan Daulton and Melinda Emmons

For this evening of dining and dancing, Co-Chairs Jan Daulton and Melinda Emmons arranged to have Signed, Sealed and Delivered play and MoonPies to be snacked on.

Ah, but before that happened the crowd gathered on the patio overlooking the golf course. Melinda was in Oscar topped off by a deBoulle necklace. Jan was in a black gown, but for the life of her couldn’t recall which designer deserved the credit. However, she was wearing a “vintage, sterling-silver necklace” that was mistaken for diamonds at first glance.

Jill Cumnock and Mike and Sally McWilliams

Jill Cumnock and Mike and Sally McWilliams

Honorary Co-Chairs/longtime Ronald McDonald supporters Sally and Mike McWilliams kidded about their decades of marriage. Mike: We’re just dating. Sally: “It’s a test run.” However, there was no kidding about Sally’s killer gown. Didn’t matter who the designer was. The news was the cost was $99. With a figure like Sally’s you can make a bargain look spectacular, don’t you know?

Dr. Dale and Jean Fuller

Dr. Dale and Jean Fuller

And speaking of long-time newlyweds, Jean and her Dr. Dale Fuller proved that humor is indeed the secret to longevity in marital bliss. Dale described Jean as his “current wife.”

Eventually, all the 150 guests made their way to the ballroom for a seated dinner that included

  • First Course — Brook Hollow Golf Club signature salad (Mesclun greens, caramelized pecans, stilton cheese, dried cherries, granny smith apples, grape tomatoes and balsamic dressing)
  • Duet Entrée — Petite filet of beef with a red wine sauce, crispy seared sea bass served with a lemon herb meuniére sauce, wild mushroom risotto, haricots verts and whole baby Carrots with Caramelized pearl onions
  • Dessert — Bailey’s molten cake with caramel ice cream served with coffee

Cowboys And Cowboys

All types of cowboys — both football (Tony Dorsett, Walt Garrison, Bob Lilly, Tony Lisco, Dan Mcihenny, Nate Newton and Charles Haley) and rodeo types (Dave Appleton, Bob Logue, Scott Mendes, Matt Austin and Pat Yancey) — were partying over at the Omni Hotel for the Cowboys and Cowboys Sky Ranch Gala. Naturally the attire was western. You were expecting kilts?

Michael Irvin, Andrew Alvarado,  Charles Haley, Tony Dorsett and Darren Woodson*

Michael Irvin, Andrew Alvarado, Charles Haley, Tony Dorsett and Darren Woodson*

To add some legs to the event that benefited Sky Ranch, the always adorable Kilgore Rangerettes “marched in with the Color Guard” and former Sky Ranch camper Christian Barham sang the national anthem.

Christian Barham and the Kilgore College Rangerettes*

Christian Barham and the Kilgore College Rangerettes*

Joining Co-Chairs Walt Garrison and Rope Myers was Honorary Celebrity Chair/former Dallas Cowboy/Hall of Famer/ever-natty Michael Irvin, who  “spoke passionately about how Sky Ranch makes such a positive impact on a young person’s life. He urged attendees to really show their support to help send deserving kids to camp. He was also a lively participant in getting folks to bid on the golf outing with him along with a golf pro and travel on a private plane to a course in Colorado. Irvin also got bids going for guests to come to NY for the NFL Experience Show.”

Unfortunately, part of the fundraising included the live auction of a lab puppy. Oops! It’s been illegal for five years to auction off an animal for fundraising purposes in the city of Dallas. While no arrests were made, you want to bet no pooches nor ponies will be up for bid again?

* Photos provided by Cowboys and Cowboys

Crystal Charity Ball Gals Catch A Bus To Get A Firsthand Look At The CCB’s 2014 Beneficiaries

Thursday, February 20th was a glorious day in Dallas. The sun was shining. The temperature nearing the 70’s was like a cute cheerleader flirting with the winning quarterback.

Pam Busbee

Pam Busbee

A bus was parked in Turtle Creek Village acting like a magnet. As cars parked near and far, the drivers headed to the bus. The occasion was the Crystal Charity Ball bus tour, where CCB committee members visit the year’s beneficiaries to get a first-hand look. Tour organizer Pam Busbee had arranged for a stellar opportunity to understand, to learn and to be inspired to raise millions of dollars for the area’s children’s charities at the December 6th fundraiser.

Amy Hegi

Amy Hegi

In between site visits, the CCB-ers learn about the new members. This year’s CCB Chair Robyn Conlon‘s internal-working theme of baseball deemed the new kids on the block (Tiffany Divis, Gail Fischer, Amy Hegi, Leigh Anne Haugh, Angela Nash, Mary Martha Pickens and Lauryn Gayle White) as the “2104 Rookies of the Year.” Each had her own baseball card with photo.

But before even boarding the bus, a chuckle was shared by the CCB’ers by the sign on the windshield reading, “Cristal Charity Ball.” Guess it was created by a champagne-loving non-member.

Bus signage

Bus signage

As the bus motor idled at 9:30 a.m., so did the 60 folks in the bus outside World Market. The first beneficiary on the docket was Café Momentum, the restaurant facility that “provides post-release paid culinary internships for juvenile offenders through which they receive intensive training, mentoring and support to foster successful re-entry into the community.” Instead of visiting CM’s current facility, CM mastermind charming Chad Houser was going to come to the bus to explain the operation. Alas, the ladies waited and waited, but Chad never appeared. Luckily, when the time for departure for the first site visit was nearing, CCB member Patti Flowers subbed in for Chad, explaining that CCB’s $487,640 would be used “to provide pre-and and post-release culinary job and work readiness training for juvenile offenders.”

Patti Flowers

Patti Flowers

After Patti’s talk, the bus headed to South Oak Cliff and the first stop — the construction site for Los Barrios Unidos Community Clinic. Barrios Director of Development and Marketing Joleen Bagwell was right at the curb to greet and hug the CCB-ers as they disembarked the bus. Providing “culturally competent primary health care and supportive assistance to the most at-risk, uninsured and under-insured populations in Dallas,” Los Barrios Unidos has two clinics in West Dallas and Grand Prairies. CCB’s funds ($603,543) will “be used to launch the first two years of pediatric staffing” in the new 21,400-square-foot clinic that is scheduled to open early in 2015.

Future site of Los Barrios

Future site of Los Barrios

Joleen Bagwell

Joleen Bagwell

Walking Los Barrios site

Walking Los Barrios site

Luckily, the CCB-ers are old hands at walking sites and manage to walk the construction site with its bulldozers and equipment to learn how nearly 5,000 children from birth to age 17 will be served thanks to their support.

Next stop on the schedule was Mercy Street in West Dallas. Talk about being organized, thrilled and grateful! As the CCB gals left the bus, they were greeted by a line of greeters who would make Dale Carnegie grads look downright shy. Hands were shook. Smiles were exchanged. Eye contact was without a blink.

Mercy Street welcome committee

Mercy Street welcome committee

Bill Farrell and Annie Roberson

Bill Farrell and Annie Roberson

Bell

Bell

Trey Hill

Trey Hill

With laser efficiency, the visitors were divided into groups and sent to various areas of the facility. There the Mercy representatives talked about various facets of the program. To keep things on schedule, a bell in the hallway would ring at five-minute intervals advising groups to move to their next station. For the Mercy team, every second counted in showcasing their “foundational mentoring program that matches adult Christian mentors with incoming 4th graders in the Pinkston High School feeder pattern.” According to Mercy Street Director Trey Hill, “In the 11.5-square-mile area that comprises West Dallas, less than 50% of residents have a high school diploma. To address the alarming drop-out rate and build a generation of future community leaders, Mercy Street recruits mentors to journey with students through 12th grade, along the path to graduation.”

Thanks to the money provided by CCB, $733,533 will “be used to fully cover the costs of the mentoring program in three current DISD partnering schools and to expand to one additional school. Approximately 400 children in 4th through 12th grade will be served.”

Even as the visitors left, the Mercy team was outside against with handshakes, smiles and thank you’s.

Tire store

Tire store

West Dallas neighborhood

West Dallas neighborhood

West Dallas neighborhood

West Dallas neighborhood

Just a bit down the road, past small neighborhood stores, worn-out houses and dogs wandering the streets, the bus pulled up to 3111 N. Winnetka, where a little cottage stood. There Wesley-Rankin Community Center’s Sarah Squires greeted the CCB-ers in front of the bungalow with its porch. Back in 1935, the area had been known as “Devil’s Doorstep” because of the “gangsters who claimed this neighborhood.” Things took a turn when Hattie Rankin “committed to education and compassion for children who had few choices beyond gangs and poverty.” It was about this time that Ray Hamilton, who was part of the Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker gang, was sentenced to die. Hattie learned of Ray’s grieving mother, who lived in the area. So, she drove her Model A Ford to the mother’s home and “comforted and ministered to the grief-stricken woman. She prayed with the family during the long night of Ray Hamilton’s execution and helped arrange his funeral.”

3111 North Winnetka

3111 North Winnetka

Sarah Squires

Sarah Squires

Wesley Rankin classroom

Wesley Rankin classroom

Wesley Rankin

Wesley Rankin

Hattie even “reached out to Mrs. Henry Barrow,” Clyde’s mother, who lived in the neighborhood.  According to Sarah, the innocent looking bungalow’s porch is where Clyde gunned down Tarrant County Deputy Malcolm Davis in 1933.

Crystal Charity Ball strolling to Wesley-Rankin Community Center

Crystal Charity Ball strolling to Wesley-Rankin Community Center

Sarah then led the group around the block to the Wesley-Rankin Community Center, where the CCB funds will be used “over two years to help establish an early childhood education center in West Dallas in collaboration with East Dallas Community Schools and the Center for Communities and Education at SMU.” Approximately 314 children from birth to age 9 will be served.

Di Johnston

Di Johnston

But no dawdling was allowed and the CCB-ers once again boarded the bus and had box lunches from Cassandra’s as the bus rolled to the under-construction Texas Horse Park for a presentation by Equest. There was a slight hiccup. Seems the CCB bus wasn’t allowed on the property due to the construction, and Equest CEO Patrick Bricker with hardhat on head was waiting for the bus to show up “on the property.” Thanks to cell phones, connections were made resulting in a presentation plus a gift made on board the bus with cows, goats and horses grazing across the road, where a sign read, “To All Children, Don’t Sell Dope. . . Sell Goats!!”

Don't sell dope. . . Sell Goats

Don’t sell dope. . . Sell Goats

Future site of Texas Horse Park

Future site of Texas Horse Park

Construction site of Texas Horse Park

Construction site of Texas Horse Park

Robyn Conlon and Equest gift

Robyn Conlon and Equest gift

The CCB-ers learned about Equest’s new program at the park in South Dallas’ Trinity River Corridor. With the CCB’s $851,500, Equest will be able to “provide traditional equine-assisted therapy, including therapeutic sports riding and Hippotherapy, to the underserved areas of South and West Dallas” for approximately 3,725 children ages 2 to 18 over two years.

Future home of Vogel Alcove

Future home of Vogel Alcove

Bathroom for toddler

Bathroom for toddler

Karen Hughes

Karen Hughes

Next stop was the Vogel Alcove’s facility in South Dallas. Formerly City Park Elementary School, the newly renovated 55,000-square-foot building amazed those who had known it in its previous life. From the red brick to the windows, everything had a polished sheen to it. Ah, but inside was even more startling. Such little things like toddler bathrooms, pint-sized lockers and munchkin-designed tiled walls were all in their final stages of completion for the March move-in. The CCB-ers were once again divided into groups to tour the building. Vogel Alcove President/Director Karen Hughes told her group how when singer Sarah McLaughlin had toured the building, she was so impressed that she donated a piano.

According to Vogel Alcove fans, it will continue its 26 years of providing “free quality child development services for the young victims of poverty: homeless children, who represent 22% of all homeless in Dallas. It is the only comprehensive early childhood education program in Dallas whose primary focus is to provide free childcare and case management for children and their families referred by 21 local organizations serving homeless families.”

With CCB’s $741,380, Vogel Alcove’s The Soar Program will “provide two new service components for children who have transitioned either into permanent housing or into kindergarten and elementary school; extended early childhood education for preschoolers; and enrichment, tutoring and summer camps for school-age children.” The money will also provide the creation of a “trauma-informed classroom for preschoolers which blends mental health and academic services.” As a result, approximately 120 children ages 3 to 11 will be served over a two-year period.

Jim Lozier

Jim Lozier

Keeping to schedule, the bus headed to Dallas CASA’s soon-to-be-opened building near the Wilson Historic District in East Dallas. As spectacular as the 25,000-square-foot facility was, it was the message delivered by volunteer Campaign Chair Jim Lozier that really stood out. Since 1979, Dallas CASA has been on the frontline advocating for “the best interests of abused and neglected children in protective care to help them find safe, permanent homes.” The group learned that “on an average day in Dallas County, more than 2,000 abused and neglected children live in foster care because they cannot live safely at home. Three out of five abused children are waiting for a CASA.”

CASA office space

CASA office space

But to handle this demand required 31 supervisors and 600 CASAs (Court Appointed Special Advocates), and they had simply run out of space in their old digs on Gaston Avenue. Thus a major campaign had been undertaken resulting in the two-story building and enabling Dallas CASA to “double the agency’s capacity, allowing them within five years to serve every abused children who needs a CASA.”

At one point on the tour, the CCB’ers were shown the 3,327-square-foot supervisor’s wing on the second floor of the building that the CCB’s $960,290 helped “cover the capitals costs” for. Thanks to this funding, 3,900 children from birth to age 18 will be served by 2019.

Outside the shiny new CASA headquarters, the gals gathered for the traditional group photo. To accomplish this feat, photographer Holt Haynsworth required a ladder that was quickly provided by the construction team putting the final touches on CASA.

2014 Crystal Charity Ball bus tour group photo

2014 Crystal Charity Ball bus tour group photo

As the group boarded the bus one last time, they knew they had their work cut out for them. While some were disappointed not to have seen one child during their 6-hour tour, all knew that countless children today and in the years to come would benefit from their fundraising.

Despite Heavy Traffic, Equest Ponied Up To Lounge 31 For The Men’s and Women’s Auxiliaries

Amy Green's Precious

Amy Green’s Precious

It would have been easier to have found a house in Volk estate for less than $25,000 than to have found a parking place in Highland Park Village February 12. But the Equest group was determined—or just handed their wheels off to the valets for the joint reception of the Equest Women’s Auxiliary and Men’s Auxiliary reception Lounge 31.

Guests like Tiffany and Paul Divis, Cara FrenchAmy Green with Precious tucked in her purse, Maggie Kipp, Linda Sechrest, Lynn McBee and Angie Kadesky still in their St. Valentine’s Day Luncheon and Fashion Show outfits, Cara French and Lezlie Noble found the patio was just as jammed with the likes of Robert Weatherly, who passed the word that plans were already underway for the 2014 ReUnite with co-chairs just “being locked down.” Stay tuned.

Katherine Coker

Katherine Coker

But the Equest guests were there to hear about the auxiliaries’ news and plans. What did they hear? Well, Women’s Auxiliary President Katherine Coker graciously thanked Alberto Lombardi for hosting the event and Williams Noble Jewels for supporting their activities. She also pitched the two upcoming fundraisers — the October 7th Equest Fashion Show at Brook Hollow and the May 3rd Tri-Crown Gala at Texas Horse Park that will coincide with the Kentucky Derby.

Men’s Auxiliary President Bill Noble told of the opportunities available for members. Bill suggested that joining the auxiliary now was like investing in Microsoft at the IPO stage. $1K buys a lifetime membership. Alberto and a couple of others signed up. KRLD business brain David Johnson had already signed up. Does David ride? No, but his wife Debbie is a longtime horse lover.

Bill Noble and David Johnson

Bill Noble and David Johnson

Equest Board Chair Emily Hargrove teased the group with news that would officially be announced via social media the next day. But you already knew that. Wink, wink! Then she reported that Al Biernat was selling Equest Therapy Cheesecakes starting on Valentine’s Day with proceeds going to Equest.

Louise Griffeth

Louise Griffeth

Luckily, the speakers kept their words brief, because the crowd was in the chatting mood. Louise Griffeth was providing details about the upcoming Texas-History Making event that will honor Ruth Altshuler and Ross Perot in Austin on Saturday, March 1. Don’t worry about getting your check in. It’s too late. The fundraiser is sold-out. . . Tiffany Divis reported that the postponed Zoo-To-Do theme announcement party would take place on Thursday, March 20, at Lela Rose. Isn’t that a tight fit for such a probably large turnout? Nah! They’re going to erect a tent at the entrance for the guests to mingle with the Zoo Ambassadors.

UPDATE: The Stormy Family

Max (aka Sampson)*

Max (aka Sampson)*

Some folks have inquired about the status of the family of dogs that made headlines last year when one of the pups, Stormy, got stuck in a storm drain. Thanks to Dallas Animal Services, the three puppies were adopted. The puppies are all growing, very sociable and evidently quite smart. Stormy and his brother Max (formerly Sampson) even have their own Facebook pages.

DAS then had the challenge of the kids’ parents, who were gypsies of the Dallas streets. Eventually, DAS managed to get Lady and The Scamp to Best Friends Animal Society in Utah for rehabbing. Dallas Animal Services’ Rebecca Poling received the following note from former Dallasite Maggie Dahl who is now working at Best Friends:

Papa Stormy**

Papa Stormy**

“I had the privilege of being able to spend time on Saturday with the two dogs from Dallas… Mama and Papa Stormy (originally Lady and The Scamp)… The mom and pop of the puppies found in the storm drain and rescued by Dallas Animal Services! Papa is doing great. He has 3 pals he runs around with, and he is just sweet as can be. He has a couple of families interested in him already! Mama is still pretty shut down, but has made huge progress with the help of her awesome caretakers, Carissa and Tyson… There was a moment of recognition, but this was as close as she would come. They have her away from the public right now as she continues to learn to trust people… I will continue to make short visits and I am very excited that she will become my office dog when she is ready to make the step to help her continue to progress. Since we’re both new to BF and both Texans, I think we’ll be two peas in a pod. Her caretakers have no doubt that she will rehab just fine and be a wonderful family dog. It was AWESOME to see them again, and know they have been so well taken care of. GREAT JOB DAS!!!”

Mama Stormy**

Mama Stormy**

Nice story for a dreary Monday, huh? If you have a dog, you might want to read it to him/her. If you don’t have a dog, the DAS has a bunch available for adoption.

* Photo provided by
Max's companions
** Photo credit: 
Maggie Dahl

Al Biernat’s Has Your Extra Special Cheesy Valentine’s Sweetheart Gift For You To Pick

Emily Hargrove (File photo)

Emily Hargrove (File photo)

If you’re in need of a last minute, “I wanted something special for you” Valentine’s Day gift, Al Biernat’s has it. He’s offering Equest Therapeutic Cheesecake until they sell out.

No, they don’t have hoof prints embedded on them, though they might just therapeutically massage your taste buds.

According to Equest Chairman of the Board Emily Hargrove, in addition to being “very naughty (calories-wise) but very nice (taste-wise),” they benefit Equest? As if you didn’t already guess the answer to that one.

Why not break with the chocolate and rose tradition and get cheesy? Bet Al, Brad or Audra will even give you a big V-Day hug when you pick it up. Score more than one cake and you just might get a bear hug from all three.

In case you don’t have Al’s number on your speed dial, it’s 214.219.2201.

JUST IN: Zoo-T-Do Reveal Party Postponed Due To Fair-Weather Friends

Rosie (File photo)

Rosie (File photo)

This afternoon’s Zoo-To-Do theme announcement party at Lela Rose has been postponed. But it may not be for the reason you suspect. Co-Chairs Tiffany Divis and Jennifer Houser and their pals were all looking forward to learning the plans for the Dallas Zoo fundraiser on Saturday, November 1.

Then what, pray tell, was the reason?

The real party animals. Seems that the Dallas Zoo ambassadors don’t get to party in frigid weather conditions.

Good for organizers to wait till the sun shines and the critters can come out and play.

The Dogs-On-The-Loose Problem Is A People Problem

Earlier this week a couple was taking an afternoon exercise walk through their neighborhood. Bundled up, their only concern was bracing against the day’s chill. They had no sticks nor pepper spray. No need. Their neighborhood was pretty darn safe. The only dogs in the area were safely behind fences with tales wagging.

Across town just a few minutes away, the scene wasn’t the same. Stray dogs wandered the neighborhoods like gangs on the lookout for prey.

A woman walked to her bus stop and was viciously attacked by three dogs. Thanks to passersby the woman escaped with bites. The dogs took off.

Those three dogs were once puppies in a litter. . . evidently an unwanted litter. As they grew, they became the orphans of the street with one desire – survival.

Dallas is now facing a problem. It’s not a new problem, but it’s a growing problem that makes headlines but not enough to force change.

Its solution is a simple two-step process:

  1. Responsible ownership – If an animal is bought or adopted, the owner must comply with the understanding to “fix” the animal and maintain its vaccinations and control. To enforce such responsibility,  Dallas Animal Services must have the power and resources.
  2. Adopt from shelters – Sure, the pedigreed animals may be la-di-dah, but the mutts are the pets du jour. Human companions proudly introduce their pooches as “rescues.” It’s cool to have one of these vagrants in your family. And rescue groups and shelters are bulging with them. . . four-legged types, not humans. Name a size, age, sex, look and they’ve got them. Only til the shelters and rescue groups become the go-to opportunities for pet adoptions will the mass exterminations of thousands of former puppies and kittens decrease.

The woman who was attacked by the three dogs was not the victim of the animals but rather of the humans who allowed them to wander the streets in search of a victim.

The problem is not, “How are we going to solve the situation?” It’s “When are we going to solve the problem?”

MySweet2014Goals: Jennifer Houser

Jennifer Houser (File photo)

Jennifer Houser (File photo)

According to Zoo To Do Co-Chair Jennifer Houser,

“Happy 2014! As we begin a shiny brand spanking new year, I am looking forward with anticipation to another exciting year at the Dallas Zoo! This year brings the opening of the new Cheetah Run, a second year of Safari Nights, and most exciting for me, the fun of co-chairing Zoo To Do 2014: Jewels of the Kalahari!

 Tiffany Divis and I are already busy at work planning another fabulous evening at the zoo!  Building on the success of last year’s chair, Emily Corrigan, we have set our goal high.  Our goal for 2014 is to raise $1 million!

“They are so deserving of our support as the Dallas Zoo continues to make significant progress on the next phase of expansive growth including a state-of-the art education facility and revisions to some current exhibits with the goal of creating more interactive experiences like the Giants of the Savanna. I hope to see all you animal lovers at the zoo on November 1st for Zoo To Do 2014: Jewels of the Kalahari! Where we will celebrate the true jewels of nature, the animals!”