Stars and candles shine at MPT's 25th birthday

October 23, 1994|By SYLVIA BADGER

Stars twinkled inside and outside at Maryland Public Television's (MPT) 25th birthday celebration. Stars made out of candles lighted the driveway to the studios, where stars of past and present shows broadcast on MPT -- John Davis, Alex Trebek, Pierre Franey, Justin Wilson, Jean Worthley, Margaret Warner, Marcia Adams and Mitch Miller -- waited to have dinner and their photos taken with guests.

Bidding on silent-auction items and nibbling delicious hors d'oeuvres prepared by Charles Levine Caterers took up the cocktail hour. The room was so crowded, however, that Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, the Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor, stationed herself at the entrance where she could see and be seen for the short time she was there.

Ellen Sauerbrey, the Republican candidate for governor, stayed for dinner. After the intros of the politicos, several people were concerned because someone had forgotten to introduce Sauerbrey. Finally Zelig Robinson, chairman of the Maryland Public Broadcasting Commission, rectified the oversight. A wag at a nearby table suggested that perhaps Gov. William Donald Schaefer's presence had intimidated the powers-that-be into forgetting Sauerbrey.

John Davis of "Motorweek" did an excellent job as emcee. He was joined onstage by the governor, Robinson and Raymond Ho, president of MPT. Others at the party were State Comptroller Louis Goldstein; Speaker of the Maryland House of Delegates Cas Taylor; Rick Breitenfeld Jr., the first MPT president, now president of WHYY, Channel 12 in Philadelphia; Steve Kimatian, MPT's second president, now a partner with World Media; Clarisse Mechanic, MPT trustee; Chuck Thompson, Hall of Fame announcer and narrator of MPT's "Baseball: The Birds on 33rd"; MPT commissioner Bob Douglas and his doctor wife, Candy; MPT personality Rhea Feiken and her husband, Colgate Salisbury; and Sandra and Christian Biernazki, who were celebrating their 21st wedding anniversary. He bought a 14-day trip to the Greek Islands as an anniversary present for his wife.

Linda Robinson, Tere Ho, Libby Rouse, Betty and Don Rothman, Sandy and Gerson Eisenberg, Marion Pines, Susan and Dick Kiefer, and Kathy and Dick Scholl were among the guests singing "Happy Birthday" with Mitch Miller and snapping their fingers with Ethel Ennis, who put on a fabulous show.

After 23 years of running Dici Naz Velleggia's in Towson, Naz Vellegia sold his Towson eatery and went back home to Vellegia's in Little Italy to work and live. During his Towson years, brother Frank ran the Little Italy restaurant, which their father, Enrico, left to them many years ago. Naz really does seem right at home, and he wants all his old friends to stop by.

I had a tour of the restaurant and of Casa Di Pasta, a pasta shop that is owned and operated by Frank and Frank Jr. This is where they make all the homemade pastas and sauces served in the restaurant. Although they sell primarily to commercial establishments, you, too, can buy their sauces, lasagna, pasta and ravioli, either there or at their Belvedere Square shop.

Caesar's Den Restaurant, also in Little Italy, was the scene of a Columbus Day Walters Art Gallery "Artful Dining" dinner for 30 guests. Mr. and Mrs. Anthony Piccinini, Mr. and Mrs. Nicholas Mangione, Mr. and Mrs. Domenic Averza, Mr. and Mrs. Richard Onorato and Judge Francis Valle were among those who enjoyed a tasty dinner prepared by chef Guido DeFranco. This was followed by an interesting slide presentation with remarks by Ellen Reeder, curator of ancient art at the Walters.

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