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02/13/2017 - Welcome to the home of Social Lights. New online reports with photos appear each week on the website and in the monthly print editions for the Birmingham-Bloomfield area and the Rochester-Rochester Hills area at the start of each month. If you want e-mail notification of when new Social Lights columns are posted to this site each Monday, sign up in the Newsletter Sign Up box at the lower right side of this home page.

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Variety's Cook-Off

Variety, the Children's Charity discovered several years ago that Chili, Mac & Comfort Food are a perfect antidote to the January-in-Michigan malaise. This year, 225 supporters ($100, $150 tickets) convened at The Townsend to savor such cuisine prepared and donated by 10 restaurants (see photo gallery). David King chaired the committee that uses straw hats, red bandana-lined baskets of popcorn and boot stomping music by DJ Jamez Fredrick to set the casual party tone. They also set up a Chance Raffle which brought in $6,500. Guests and judges (Annabel Cohen, Steve Pardo and Johnny Prepolec) voted for their favorite offerings in each category, and this year, both groups of voters agreed. The mac'n'cheese title went to The Community House; the chili winner was Four Story Burger; and Green Lantern won the comfort food title. The energetic evening raised $50,000.for Variety's programs that change children's lives.

Motor City Open

The Professional Squash Association 18th annual tour stop at the Birmingham Athletic Club is another January doldrums eliminator. In addition to the fierce competition between internationally-ranked pros, the six-day event chaired by Derrick Glencer, Mike Beauregard and Peter Schmidt, includes socials, clinics and a silent charity auction. This year Racquet Up Detroit was the beneficiary. "It's a tough time to be a kid in Detroit," executive director Derek Aquire told the crowd at the Thursday night Sponsors & Players Party. He added that "...Racquet Up is not (so much about) squash as it is about education, community service and travel." When the MCO concluded, Australian Ryan Cuskelly had taken the winner's title from defending champ Ali Farag and the charity auction had netted $30,000 for the Detroit youth development program.

Angels Place Dinner

The 24th annual Angels' Place fundraising dinner, chaired by Tom and Bridgette MacLean and Gabe and Renee Zawaideh, attracted nearly 600 supporters ($200 - $300 tickets) to The Henry. Sipping, socializing and silent auction bidding dominated the cocktail hour. The post dinner program included a video starring residents of the 20 AP homes for people with developmental disabilities. This was followed by a salute to Rosemary Kelly and Loretta Nagle Ryan, two of the founders in attendance, led by executive director Cheryl Loveday. She also announced that two homes are being renamed the Lopez Family Home and the Maxwell Family Home in honor of two founders (Annemarie Lopez and Margaret Maxwell) who passed away during the year. Guest speaker FOX News chief Washington correspondent James Rosen then greeted the crowd: "It's good to be in God's country...It's humbling to be here (amidst) the self-evident good will." In his speech, he noted that the November election represented "...a rebuke of the political classes...(and) a hunger for wit and civility." The latter was a perfect lead into his latest book, "A Torch Kept Lit: Great Lives of the Twentieth Century" an anthology of 50 of William F. Buckley Jr.'s eulogies which epitomize civility and good humor. The heartening evening raised more than $341,000 to provide lifetime dignity in a Christian family environment of love and compassion.

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