Boys and Girls Clubs gala raises $375,000 for after-school programs

Event Chair Trent Bryson, Honoree Doug Drummond, and Chief Executive Officer Don Rodriguez. Red Nose Donors Sharing Musical Theatre West’s Footlighters Spring Garden Party under the Bembridge House rose arbors are Peggy Miller, Pam Dingwell, Docent Joan Sasaki, Bembridge House Chairman Chris Hogan, Nancy Eilers, Ginny Pace and Jan Foster. Show Caption of Expand By Shirley Wild | [email protected] | Press-Telegram PUBLISHED: June 25, 2017 at 2:20 am | UPDATED: September 25, 2017 at 8:11 pm A theme of “Oceans of Opportunity” was selected for this year’s Boys & Girls Clubs gala, held on May 20, in honor of Long Beach Harbor Commissioner Doug Drummond. Nearly 450 friends and supporters of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Long Beach gathered under a spectacular 20,000-square-foot tent at Marine Stadium for its annual gala presented by the Port of Long Beach and Tesoro. More than $375,000 was raised for the BGCLB’s after school programs , under the direction of Board and Event Chair Trent Bryson. The over-the-top experience Bryson envisioned was brought to life by Ryan Choura and Choura Events, where guests were greeted with Valet Service, courtesy of Boulevard Buick and then given the red carpet treatment, sponsored by SSA Marine. Chief Executive Officer Don Rodriguez (with Cindy) greeted the guests as they were presented with a glass of champagne, sponsored by Ports America and Joe Prevratil, while photos were captured. The crowd spent the evening bidding on items at an amazing auction led by Auction Chair Masy Bunnell. Jamie Maggio of Spectrum Sportsnet led the evening’s live auction that included playing in the Farmers Pro-Am golf tournament, a private invitation to the “Shark Tank” and riding in the 2018 Toyota Grand Prix Pace Car. The evening’s spotlight was on Doug Drummond (with Linda), who was recognized with the John C. Wallace Dream Maker award in recognition of his many years Continue Reading

UPDATED: Slideshow: Celebrating Region teachers like Sarah Cunningham, William Ickstadt and Heidi Fields

Candy Mues Teacher's Name: Candy MuesSchool: Immanuel Lutheran SchoolSchool District: ValparaisoTell about this teacher and why he/she should be recognized?: She is very compassionate about what she teaches. She tries to keep the learning environment a fun place but still a learning experience.What did he/she do that stands out this year?: Every year around April time she takes the 8th grade class to Washington D.C. She enjoys it a lot. I still remember how much fun my trip was 4 years ago. Sara Hebble Teacher's Name: Sara HebbleSchool: Donald E. Gavit Middle SchoolSchool District: School City of HammondTell about this teacher and why he/she should be recognized?: Sara is an exceptional Specialist Education teacher. She is an incredible support to her colleagues as well as her students. Her students respect her and are willing to put forth effort in her classes.What did he/she do that stands out this year?: Sara has taken on two additional classes this year and is consistently looking for innovative, fun ways to teach them. She is not afraid to be a student herself and seeks new challenges to help her challenge her students. Sarah Cunningham Teacher's Name: Sara CunninghamSchool: Immanuel Lutheran SchoolSchool District: ValparaisoTell about this teacher and why he/she should be recognized?: Mrs. Cunningham, 4th grade teacher at Immanuel Lutheran School in Valparaiso, is a very hands-on educator. With an intense focus on Indiana history, Mrs. Cunningham exposes her students to what life was like for the early settlers. Classroom visitors include a Native American Indian and a French Voyageur who describe life in Indiana in their day. Field trips to Pioneerland and canoeing on the Kankakee River take students back in time. Hands-on activities in the classroom include dissecting owl pellets and observing earthworm behavior.What did he/she do that stands out this year?: Mrs. Cunningham's fourth-graders selected five angels from the Salvation Army angel tree. Students Continue Reading

UPDATED: Slideshow: Celebrating Region teachers like Ellen Prahlow, Angie Karagiannakis and Jessica Uporsky

Ellen Prahlow Teacher's Name: Ellen PrahlowSchool: Immanuel Lutheran SchoolSchool District: ValparaisoTell about this teacher and why he/she should be recognized?: Ellen Prahlow is not only the 7th grade homeroom teacher, she teaches 6th grade language arts, 7th & 8th grade Spanish, and 7th grade social studies. Her passion for teaching extends beyond the classroom by encouraging her students to recognize that the world extends beyond their small corner of it.What did he/she do that stands out this year?: For the second year in a row, Ellen took her home room students to St. Louis for a five day service trip to work with inner-city children and refugee children. Students stayed at a Lutheran church were they cleaned, helped set up security cameras and spread mulch. During the trip, students were encouraged to see beyond their own little world in Valparaiso and to help others. Angie Karagiannakis Teacher's Name: Angie KaragiannakisSchool: Liberty Elementary SchoolSchool District: Duneland School CorporationTell about this teacher and why he/she should be recognized?: Mrs. Karagiannakis is an extremely hard working individual who always has her students’ best interest at the forefront of everything she does. All lessons and assignments are planned and thought out to reach all learners no matter their academic level. The differentiated instruction and techniques that Mrs. Karagiannakis practices in her classroom ensures that her students feel confident and prepares them to be life-long learners and develop a love for learning. Mrs. Karagiannakis is always looking for ways to continue to grow as an educator. She is involved in several committees throughout Liberty Elementary School, as well as the school corporation. My son looks forward to going to school each day and absolutely loves being in Mrs. Karagiannakis’ class. He views school as a fun, exciting and safe place due to Mrs. Karagiannakis enthusiasm to make school an enjoyable place all while Continue Reading

Photos: Riverside County 2017 high school valedictorians

By Daniel Tedford | [email protected] | Daily NewsPUBLISHED: June 6, 2017 at 11:36 am | UPDATED: June 12, 2017 at 7:30 am We asked schools across Riverside County to have their valedictorians submit their photos and some biographical information to celebrate their achievement this year. The following are the high school valedictorians who submitted their information, including their high school activities, after graduation plans and their career goals. Congratulations graduates. Name: Zaneeya Leonardho Age: 17 High School: Rancho Verde High School GPA: 4.6 Activities: RV Scholars, National Honor Society, Key Club, Science Club, Western Science Center Museum, Bravura Youth Symphony Orchestra After Graduation Plans: I will be attending Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. as an undeclared major in the Georgetown College but intending to major in Political Economy and/or International Affairs. I plan on pursuing a Master’s Degree and Judicial Degree afterwards. Career Goal: I want to work either in government for international affairs or in law as a corporate lawyer. Parents: Larry Leonardho and Fenty GondokusumoName: Zachary Wallace Age: 17 High School: Notre Dame High School GPA: 4.56 Activities: ASB, Varsity Water Polo, Spanish Honors Society, Titan Theater Guild After Graduation Plans: Attending UCLA Career Goal: Medical Doctor Parents: Brian and Tiffany WallaceName: Zachary Miller Age: 17 High School: Tahquitz High School GPA: 4.87 Activities: ASB (4 yrs, president), Key Club (4 yrs, president), Water Polo (3 yrs, captain, 1st-team All League), Swim (3 yrs, captain), Academic Decathlon (3 yrs, founding member), CSF, NHS , School Site Council, , 200+ hrs community service, Boys State Delegate After Graduation Plans: Yale University, currently plan on majoring in political science Career Goal: Lawyer or Senator Parents: Nate Miller (father), Mary Ann Miller (mother)Name: Youseff Jahker Age: 17 High School: Santiago High School GPA: 4.86 Activities: Mock Continue Reading

2017 Pet of the Year: After tragedy, Watson the dog helps inspire and heal others

Maybe it’s not so far-fetched that a dog can teach us tricks. That’s a lesson easily learned from Watson, a 4.5-year-old golden retriever and the 2017 Pet Parade pet of the year. To understand, you have to go back to the spring of 2016. With the kids off school, Annamarie Mann was working from home when the doorbell rang repeatedly. "I went down and it was our neighbor from a couple of doors down who said 'Is your golden at home?' And I said 'Yeah, he's downstairs.' “She's like 'Are you sure?' ” Annamarie suddenly wasn’t. "My heart just sank.” Less than a block down the street, she found Watson covered with a sheet. A strong gust of wind had blown the backyard gate open so Watson went exploring. When he bolted across the street, a driver didn’t have enough time to stop. Watson was hurried to a vet where Annamarie and her husband Geoff heard the bad news: their dog’s spine was severed. His back legs were paralyzed. They were ultimately advised to do what no puppy parent wants to hear. After three days of veterinarian care, "almost 100 percent of the people we talked to said to euthanize," Geoff said. "We were crying all week.” They did plenty of soul-searching, including deciding what was best for their two young boys — Jackson, now 13, and Ethan, 11. They called the clinic and said they wanted to end Watson’s suffering. But it still felt wrong. "As soon as I got off the phone with the vet, I called Anna and we just talked and cried some more, and didn't feel right about it at all,” Geoff said. “He had been an amazing dog for us." So Watson’s owners followed their instincts. Still with some hesitation — "We had no idea what his quality of life was going to be," Annamarie said — they opted to give their dog a chance. He hasn’t let them down since. Close 1 of 15 Buy Now Watson plays outside with Geoff Mann. Watson was hit Continue Reading

Slideshow: Your Celebrations: Happy 60th anniversary, Ronald G. and Jacqueline R. Frey!

Happy 60th anniversary, mom and dad Ronald G. and Jacqueline R. Frey will celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary on Dec. 14.Ron and Jackie met at Janc's Drug Store in Hammond, and have made their loving home in the Hessville section of Hammond for the last 60 years.They are proud parents of four children, Ronald (Debra) Frey, Daniel (Diane) Frey, Marsha Frey and Janice Frey. They have two grandchildren, Adam (Jenny) Buchta and Michael Frey, and one great-grandson, Logan Buchta.Ronald served as Maintenance Superintendent at U.S. Steel Supply and Jacqueline was a devoted homemaker.Both enjoy spending time with family. Ronald is a member of Garfield Masonic Lodge and American Legion.Congratulations on your diamond anniversary!Love,Your family Happy birthday to Louise Butler Mom, grandmother, great-grandmother and great-great-grandmother Louise Butler is turning 80 years young!What can I say? We’re all blessed to have a person like you who always brings out the best. I will always be grateful to have you in my life. You’ve done nothing but teach us all wrong from right. I miss the good ole days when we all got together at your place. The joy in my heart when I seen the look on your face. Without you and grandpa this family wouldn’t know what to do. I can honestly say its all cause of you. What kind of woman defines strength and heart? I’ll give you an example: My grandma always has more than enough she can handle. But day in and day out the struggle is tougher. But I will always admire my grandmother for never letting the devil win in any battle and always making sure we all all in gear with her paddle. I love you Louise Weyant Butler. Enjoy this birthday and many more to come, because there only one person who shines as bright as the sun: It is you, no doubt in my mind. And you will always be there for all of us every single time. I wanna thank you for granting us the ability to live this life. And always know that we will always be by your Continue Reading

Dog Gone Problems: Our dog refused to come inside and bit me when I got the leash

Dog Gone Problems is a weekly advice column by David Codr, a dog behaviorist in Omaha. David answers dog behavior questions sent in by our readers. You can reach him at [email protected] * * * Dog Gone Problems,  My 2-year-old shepherd husky mix bit me with zero bite inhibition recently. He had a stomach thing going at the time (which was treated) combined with a thunderstorm and wind event when this happened. He was on the deck sleeping and I attempted to bring him into the house as I was going to bed. He wouldn't get up or come in so I went and got his leash and when I approached him, he went into a zone that scared me to death. He bit my hand and snarled like he was possessed. I retreated and left him out there for the night. I think I get what I did wrong, but now am afraid I've taught him that he is in charge and am afraid he will repeat this another time he doesn’t want to do something I ask him to. What should I do? Please help. He gets walked and goes to the dog park every day for energy burn. Anonymous *** Hello, From what you described, your dog was in a fearful or anxious state when this happened. Dogs often act out in unusual ways if they are feeling that way when confronted. I wouldn't worry about him thinking this resulted in him being in charge after this isolated incident. If it continues, then you should seek the help of a dog behaviorist like myself or an experienced trainer who uses a positive, force-free approach. But this incident does underscore that you need to do some remedial dog training.  As a dog behaviorist, I see many people who only use the recall (come) command in a pseudo-negative way. The dog is having fun at the dog park and you call it to you, then leave the park. Your dog is barking at a squirrel in the backyard for violating your yard, and you call it inside. After a while, the dog starts to think each time he's asked to come the fun stops. I'd recommend you work on a recall as well Continue Reading

Community Listings

Different sections of the Community Planner rotate every Sunday. Email items to [email protected] Venues must include a complete address with street number, street name and city, along with a daytime phone number. Franchised activities, taught on a professional basis, will not be listed. Professional groups • Shoals Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf, quarterly, Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind, Shoals Regional Center, 512 N. Main St., Tuscumbia. Dates and times, 256-383-3503 Social/political • Colbert County Republican Executive Committee, 6 p.m., fourth Thursday, Donna and Friends Restaurant, 1325 Avalon Ave., Muscle Shoals. Fred Joly, 256-710-1440 • Lauderdale Chapter of Alabama Democratic Club, 1 p.m., second Saturday, Florence-Lauderdale Public Library, 350 N. Wood Ave., Florence.  • Lauderdale County Republican executive committee, 7 p.m., fourth Thursday. Meeting locations: Josh Dodd, 256-366-2878. • Republican Women of the Shoals, 5:30 p.m., first Tuesday. For meeting place or speaker, Tracy Andrews, 256-366-5382.  • Shoals Area Citizens for Life, 7:30 p.m., last Tuesday. 256-381-3528 after 5 p.m. • Shoals Democratic Club, 6 p.m. third Monday, alternating meeting locations between Colbert and Lauderdale counties. Email [email protected] • Shoals Republican Club, usually third Wednesday, noon-1 p.m., Ryan’s Family Steakhouse, Cox Creek Parkway, Florence. William Smith, 256-767-4529 or [email protected] • Tea Party Patriots of North Alabama, 6:30 p.m. first and third Thursday, Creekside Church of Christ, 2315 Roberts Lane, Florence. 256-412-1710 • Women in Lifetime Leadership encourages women’s participation in public policy-making. Speakers. Eve Mauldin, 256-764-8878 Patriotic • Alabama Charter Chapter, United Daughters of the War of 1812, 11 a.m. quarterly. 256-764-7040 Continue Reading

Boys & Girls Club in Sherman Park reopens after renovations

Seventeen-year-old E'Zohn Gathings said she wouldn't be the person she is today without the Boys & Girls Club in Sherman Park."I have so many people who have taught me so many things," she said. "They taught me how to hold myself as a young lady, and how to make sure I keep my head up even when things get me down. They've also taught me how to stay out of trouble."Gathings and other children and their families joined community leaders Wednesday for a ceremony celebrating the reopening of the Mary Ryan Boys & Girls Club in Sherman Park. The club closed at the end of August and is reopening after six months of major renovations to the 25-year-old building.The building now has new paint, new floors, new lighting, a new computer lab, new foosball, air hockey, pingpong and pool tables, new furniture and a new heating and air conditioning system. There is also a new career development space, including a teen job center. Each of the spaces for different age groups, ranging from the 5- to 6-year-old "mini-pals" to the 13- to 18-year-olds, was also renovated.Vincent Lyles, president and CEO of the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Milwaukee, said there are plans for a new teen center after the violent unrest in the neighborhood last summer."All of us were aware of what happened last summer, and so part of that is our teens in the community felt very frustrated, so we at the Boys & Girls Club said, 'What are we going to do about that?' '' he said. "As you see this beautiful space, our teens are certainly welcome to come in. We're going to do something more special for them later this year. We've got a teen center planned and spaced out and we're really excited about that."In the wake of the unrest, some criticized the club for the timing of its closure.But Mayor Tom Barrett noted that renovation plans were in place before the unrest, adding that he was happy it would be open for this summer."The Boys & Girls Club is such a powerful and Continue Reading

So long, and God bless you, Britney Spears!

This week marks the two-year anniversary of this column and sadly, its final day ... which means that it has lasted longer than most Hollywood marriages. After reviewing hundreds of tabloid magazine stories about surprising romances, rehab mishaps, hookups, screwups, bar brawls, impromptu weddings, predictable divorces, cute babies, not-so-cute babies, and too many DUIs to count, the time has come to print our final recap. To go out with a bang (I think Paris Hilton would approve, don't you?), I'd like to use this space to remember some of the biggest and best stories from the past two years. Since this is the closest I'll ever come to accepting an award onstage, I'd like to thank a few people along the way. First and foremost, I'd like to thank Britney. Sniff, sniff. Without you Brit, this column simply would not have been. You were its foundation week after week, starting with your surprise wedding to K-Fed. Oh, how we mourned at the time! We were so naïve back then. We tracked your poor parenting decisions, the tragic "Dateline" interview (remember those eyelashes?!), the barefoot gas station bathroom breaks and the cutoff denim shorts. Then came the DIVORCE, and we rejoiced! Except it all went even further downhill from there - the one-day stint in rehab, the shaved head, the violent umbrella outburst, the attempt to hang yourself after writing "666" on your head and telling rehab staffers that you were "the anti-Christ" (did this really happen?), the hand-delivered letter to Mom saying, "You're dead to me," the hookup with the college kid in the pool, the bad boots, the bad hair extensions, the lost custody battle, the dance classes, the ripped tights, Sam Lufti, Adnan Ghalib, the standoff in the bathroom, the hospital stay, Dr. Phil ... and finally, your dad, the hero. We leave you, Britney, with a big thank-you and with good wishes for a safe, healthy future as well as with these words of advice: Don't forget your underwear. Next, I'd like Continue Reading