Now that the Orioles opening day at the new stadium is history, I can relax a little until the Preakness activities begin the week of May 10. It's not too early to decide whether you want to come up with $200 a person to attend the Triple Crown Ball on May 14.
Lynda O'Dea and Harriet Finkelstein are co-chairing the ball, which will be sponsored by the chichi Paolo Gucci. John W. Kluge, self-made billionaire, has agreed to be honorary ball chairman. This year's gala, a benefit for the Baltimore-based Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) Foundation, will feature Tony Orlando and Dawn.
The co-chairs had a small planning luncheon at Pimlico for volunteers Brenda Bottum, B. J. Cowie, Reta Davis, Bob Gray, Mary Ann Gray, Kelly Konopik James, King Leatherbury, Barbara Manekin, Jane Ann Simpson and Frank Sliwka. If you'd like tickets for this black-tie Preakness extravaganza at the downtown Hyatt Regency, call the RP Foundation at (410) 225-9400.
One of the greats in the world of ice skating, Dorothy Hamill, was town last week for a few days sharing her expertise with Nathan Birch and Tim Murphy, the two founding directors of the Next Ice Age benefit performance that was held at the Columbia Ice Rink last week. (Birch is the first skating choreographer to have received a National Endowment for the Arts choreography fellowship. He was also the choreographer for Hamill's "Nutcracker on Ice," an NBC television special.)
The skaters were treated to a lovely dinner after a rehearsal at the Otterbein home of Tom Williams and Robert Hale, owners of Federal Hill Interiors, and avid supporters of the Next Ice Age, an ensemble skating company based in Baltimore.
City Councilman Mike Curran is a real ladies man on his birthday. For years, he has invited yours truly; Joanna Myers of the governor's staff; Joan Brown Dodge, Maryland Injured Worker's Insurance Fund; Joanne Aiello Ditch, Baltimore harbor master; Lorraine Phillips, City Council administrative secretary; and Kathy Keenan, his council secretary, to celebrate his natal day.
This year, everyone was piped on board a pontoon boat festooned with green, white and orange balloons (colors of the Irish flag) by bagpiper Robert Alexander.
Champagne toasts flowed as Ron Morgan, owner of the Harbor Shuttle, whisked Curran et al. across the harbor to the Bay Cafe, where Mike's daughter, Ginny Curran Seward, Paula Hart, a council secretary, and Debbie Richardson, his former campaign
manager, joined the group for lunch. Each lady received a flower from the birthday boy.
Media types in Baltimore may remember when Kenneth Stein was the manager of WBJC-FM and taught communications at XTC Goucher College during the '70s and early '80s. At the same time, his wife, Eileen Rowe-Stein, worked at the News American. The Steins left Baltimore and bought a radio station, WAOC-AM, in St. Augustine, Fla.
Recently their station received national recognition from the Children's Literary Initiative for promoting the first lady's radio series, "Mrs. Bush's Story Time." Imagine the Steins' excitement when they were invited to the White House for a special meeting with Barbara Bush.
This is the last day for the annual Rites of Spring, which has been going on at the Maryland State Fair Grounds at Timonium since Friday. Hours for today are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and I can assure you that nothing will put you more in the mood for spring than this exhibition and sale.
There are perennials, annuals, bulbs, roses, garden tools and accessories from more than 50 boutiques and gardens. Proceeds benefit the Women's Health Center at Union Memorial Hospital. The cost is $5 a person, unless you've reached senior status -- then it's $4. If you're a child under 12, you get in free.
Legal beagle alert: If you're among the 22,000 or so lawyers in the state, you've probably received a letter from Maryland Attorney General Joe Curran asking for donations to the fifth annual Lawyers' Campaign Against Hunger. Curran is the honorary chair of this benefit for the Maryland Food Committee, and Mimi Azrael of the Towson firm of Azrael, Gann and Franz, is general chair. Last year's drive raised the fantastic sum of $98,000, which the group hopes to top this year.* Bob Willis of Tourism, Marketing Associates recently received his Travel Marketing Executive certification and was also elected to a two-year term to the board of directors of the International Food, Wine and Travel Writers Association.