Monday, September 10, 2007

Oh to be a pillow on that couch ..

Here's a few observations from the 2007 Sapphire Ball fundraiser held Saturday night at Summa. I enjoyed the opportunity to be the emcee for the event, which supports a new oncology center at City Hospital.

Even with nearly 700 guests mingling, drinking, and laughing during the cocktails portion, I couldn't help but notice the two men sitting and talking quietly off to the side. On one couch, University of Akron President Dr. Luis Proenza. Across from him on the other couch sat developer David Brennan. Sure, they could have been talking about the Zips/Buckeyes or the Browns/Steelers ... but I'm guessing by their demeanor that there was more at play in that lengthy conversation than whether the crab cakes were better than the cheese balls. Oh to be a pillow on that couch ...

I swear I almost fell over when a nice young valet asked me to make an announcement to the crowd. It wasn't that I was unwilling to help, it's just that the information he needed broadcast seemed futile considering we were in a room with hundreds of wealthy doctors. But I did it anyway: "Will the driver of the black BMW please come forward and pick up your valet stub!"

I had a great experience sitting with reporter Shelley Blundell. She was there covering the ball for WAKR and AkronNewsNow. Originally from South Africa, Shelley studies as a grad student at Kent State and moonlights at the radio station and also as a magazine writer. She mentioned a few of her working story ideas that I think are better than some of the stories our local professionals have pursued lately. (Click here to read a strong editorial she wrote for last year.) She's got a great head on her shoulders for a young reporter and will do great if she gets the opportunity to do some on-air work. You'll recognize Shelley as soon as you hear the accent.

It was great planning to hold the ball outside under a huge tent; it was just lousy timing with the humidity Saturday night. Quite a few folks were "sweating to the oldies" on the dance floor.

I also had a nice chat with Akron's Service Director, Rick Merrolla, who returned to city hall earlier this year. Rick is truly one of the nicest guys you'll meet in public service. I mentioned to him that there's probably "a lot of folks at Highland Square who'd like to bend your ear." Rick smiled and said he knew it. He also mentioned that one of HS's strongest community leaders is moving out of the area.

No comments: