Archive for May 2009

50 Million Bucks Will Get You This

by Joy Donovan on May 31, 2009

Fifty million bucks. Fifty million greenbacks. Fifty million smackeroos.

No, not a government bailout…it’s the price tag for the Hyatt Regency DFW’s new re-do.

I was lucky enough to be included in Thursday’s big reveal of the ballroom and executive conference areas. It wasn’t a exactly a red carpet the Hyatt people rolled out but a new, very contemporary carpet with some red accents we got to see in the ballroom, which was all dressed up for the big occasion.

While the band Inside Out (heard the group’s already booked to be the Hyatt’s New Year’s Eve entertainment), played, we got to sashay around the decorated ballroom. In one corner, there were very chic banquettes. In another, contemporary bar stools. In the center of the room was a divider, strung with glass crystals I’m told came from the ballroom’s former chandeliers–very clever.

Red was the color of the evening. Hotel employees all wore at least a little, the banquettes were red and the walls were accented with some cool red lights.

Two things to remember, party planners. Rooms don’t seem complete these days without some special lighting, and the seating doesn’t have to be the standard 60-inch round with straight chairs.

We also got to try some tasty food at this cocktail party–everything from baby veggies to lobster polenta to beef tenderloin to a cupcake terrace. But the best part? On the 11th floor–the executive level–the mix of cocktails included a complimentary chair massage. Now, that is how to end the day!

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Miss Thornton, Mr. Furlong Plan October Wedding

by Joy Donovan on May 29, 2009

Lexi Thornton and Brian Furlong

Lexi Thornton and Brian Furlong

Debbi and Tom Schneider of Keller announce the engagement of their daughter, Lexi Thornton, to Brian Furlong, son of Betty Lou and Jack Furlong of Plano.

An Oct. 24 wedding is planned for St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church in Keller.

The future bride graduated from Texas State University and is a member of Chi Omega sorority. She currently teaches second grade in Frisco and is pursuing a master’s degree at the University of North Texas in autism intervention.

Furlong graduated from the University of North Texas and is a member of Sigma Chi fraternity. He is employed as at UHY LLC Public Accounting Firm in Dallas.

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75 and Still Roaring

by Joy Donovan on May 28, 2009

How many clubs do you know that have been around 75 years?

The Grapevine Lions Club has, and the group will host its 75th anniversary celebration Nov. 7 this year at The Gaylord Texan. The group ( was chartered Nov. 25, 1934–making it the oldest service organization in Grapevine.

The Lions allowed Larre and me to speak at their weekly meeting Thursday at the Bessie Mitchell House in Grapevine…and treated us to a tasty Italian lunch, too. Thanks to my eye doc, Dr. Tom Chandler, for the invitation.

Maybe the Grapevine Lions have been around so long because they have a catchy song they sing with a roar at the end…or maybe it’s all the good works they do. It’s a long list ranging from sponsoring children with disabilities to go to camp, providing eye exams for school children, donating large-print books for the Grapevine library, contributing to several charities, promoting Grapevine through the local chamber and on and on.

The group meets at noon every Thursday at 411 Ball St., at Heritage Park in the Grapevine Botanic Gardens. ou might think about checking it out…they even have a “tail twister.”


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Fireworks and Fridays: a Summertime Team

by Joy Donovan on

Every Friday Night through Sept. 4, the city of Grapevine will light up the north Texas skies after dark with a firework show.

An 11-minute firework show will take place over the beautiful Lake Grapevine. The firework festivities are part of the city’s “SummerBlast” campaign encouraging local and regional residents to see other family activities in Grapevine.

Recommended viewing locations are on Lake Grapevine at Rockledge Park, Oak Grove Park, Silver Lake Park, Lakeview Park and Murrell Park, as well as the Gaylord Texan Resort, Great Wolf Lodge, Hilton DFW Lakes or Embassy Suites Outdoor World.

For more information, call 817-410-3185 or visit

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Truly a “Triple Crown” Event!

by Larre Green on

It was defiantly a “You Go, Girl” day during the Triple Crown Affair at Lone Star Park benefiting the Girl Scouts of Texas, Oklahoma Plains, Inc., held Saturday, May 16th. On one hand, this stellar event benefited an outstanding organization molding our young girls for tomorrow and on the other, for the first time in eight five years a filly named Rachel Alexandra won the second leg of the Triple Crown! This couldn’t have been better if it were planned.
Event committee volunteers Leah Rennhack, Patty Williams, Jan Grondahl, Michelle Sager, Peggy Firestone, Jacqueline, Siegel and Janet Smith lead by committee chair Lizann Cundall all ran for the roses and deserve triple crowns for this “winner” off a fundraiser.
This event also included some amazing live auction items such as tickets to the 2009 Emmy’s, an opportunity to cook with renowned Chef Ty Thoren of the Gaylord Texan Resort, a painting titled “Del Mar Thoroughbred Club” by acclaimed artist Trish Bittle, trips to West Point Academy, the Grand Cayman’s, Las Vegas, along with sparkling jewelry and an amazing South African Photo Safari…just to name a few. During the event, guests were treated to delicious offerings and a truly happing band that helped them celebrate the night away!
All this excitement was kept in perfect running order by the events celebrity emcee Rebecca Miller and auctioneer Scott Murray, who made sure that every dollar not bet on a horse made its way to the Girl Scouts.
And speaking of the horses, they, too, captured the attention of the crowd. Just as one race would end, you could immediately see everyone studying their racing forms as if they were preparing for a pop quiz. Then cheers and applause could be heard from those who had picked the right horse to win. As soon as that applause died down, the crowed began cheering again, watching the next race as if their only child was making a run for the winning score at the season’s final game. The excitement was simply amazing!
Who made it to the “Winners Circle?” Forget the horses; it was the Girl Scouts of Texas, Oklahoma Plains, Inc. that left with the horseshoe of roses around their neck!

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The Big Event

by Joy Donovan on May 27, 2009

Date: 2009-05-28

Location: Texas Hall, University of Texas at Arlington

Start Time: 10:30 am
URL: Click here
Description: Free family variety show.

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The Big Event

by Joy Donovan on

Date: 2009-05-27

Location: Texas Hall, University of Texas at Arlington

Start Time: 7:00 pm
URL: Click here
Description: Free, fun variety show for all ages.

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Advancing Pianists Named in Van Cliburn Competition

by Joy Donovan on May 26, 2009

Soyeon Lee performs during the preliminary round of the 13th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in Fort Worth.

Soyeon Lee performs during the preliminary round of the 13th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in Fort Worth.

Twelve young pianists have been selected to advance to the semifinal round of the Thirteenth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition ( being held at the Bass Performance Hall in Fort Worth.

John Giordano, chairman of the jury for the Cliburn 2009, announced the names Tuesday of those advancing from the stage of the performance hall. The twelve competitors, in alphabetical order, are:

Mr. Evgeni Bozhanov, Bulgaria, 25
Mr. Ran Dank, Israel, 27
Mr. Alessandro Deljavan, Italy, 22
Ms. Kyu Yeon Kim, South Korea, 23
Mr. Eduard Kunz, Russia, 28
Ms. Andrea Lam, Australia, 27
Mr. Michail Lifits, Germany, 26
Ms. Yeol Eum Son, South Korea, 23
Mr. Nobuyuki Tsujii, Japan,20
 Ms. Mariangela Vacatello, Italy, 27
Ms Di Wu, China, 24
Mr. Haochen Zhang, China, 19

Twenty-nine pianists representing 14 countries competed in the Thirteenth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition’s preliminary round, which was began May 22. The competitors performed a variety of works by composers including Albeniz, Bach, and Boulez, to Carter, Debussy, and Ginastera, as well as Liszt, Haydn, Mozart and Schumann.

During the second round, each pianist will perform a 60-minute solo recital with music of his or her choice, along with one selected contemporary work from the winning compositions of the third American Composers Invitational. Each competitor will also perform one of the designated piano quintets in a separate concert with the Takács Quartet.
On May 31, Giordano will announce the six pianists advancing to the final competition. Each will choose two concerti to perform with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra under the direction of renowned American conductor James Conlon. Each finalist will also present a separate 50-minute solo recital of works not performed in the preceding rounds. The Final Round is scheduled for  June 3 through 7.

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Tarrant County Heart Association Raises $845,000; Honors Outstanding Supporter

by Joy Donovan on May 25, 2009

Barclay Berdan

Barclay Berdan

More than 500 guests were entertained by the Emerald City Band at Tarrant County’s annual Heart Ball, an event which raised more than $845,000 earlier this month at the Omni Fort Worth Hotel. 

The proceeds will fund the American Heart Association’s research for childhood heart defects, heart disease and stroke in Tarrant County. 

Also at the recent gala, a special award was presented to Barclay Berdan, senior executive vice president of system alignment and performance for Texas Health Resources. Berdan was named the first-ever recipient of the Leader with Heart Award for his advocacy on behalf of the American Heart Association. 

In addition to dancing, the black-tie event featured dinner, a silent auction and a live auction. Acting as honorary chairs were Kay and Ben Fortson, while Lisa and Ben J. Fortson III served as dinner chairs.

 Plans are underway for the 2010 gala. For more information, contact Mary Jane Stephenson at

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The Great Trail Drive

by Joy Donovan on May 24, 2009

Date: 2009-10-10

Location: Fort Worth

URL: Click here
Description: Trail ride benefiting Rocky Top Therapy Center. 817-379-5717.

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