Sunday, May 27, 2018     Volume: 19, Issue: 12

Santa Maria Sun / News

The following article was posted on October 4th, 2012, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 13, Issue 30 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 13, Issue 30

Hobnobbing with Helen



Run to your calendar and see if you’re free for any of the remaining performances of Dearly Beloved, now playing at the Santa Maria Civic Theater.

Help us help the animals:
Vonnie Stewart (left) joined with Claire Sheehy, president of the Santa Maria Valley Humane Society, on Thurs., Sept. 27, at the Santa Maria Civic Theater. Stewart was program chairperson for a fundraiser held that evening.

“Wasn’t this a crack-up?” Vonnie Stewart said after a recent Thursday night’s show.

The Humane Society bought out the house and held a fundraiser there. Humane Society supporters laughed themselves silly. The show was an absolute hoot.

Board members set up a pre-show reception: wine, beer, coffee, cheese, fruit, cream puffs, dips, and assorted finger foods. Board member Wanda McDonald, Jim Hopkins, and Lauren Johnston tended bar.

Donna Viadella, Laurie Elliott, Dorothy Duffey, Richard Stewart, board member Jim McGlothlin, and Karen O’Neill were among those buying raffle tickets and enjoying cocktail hour conversation.

Hamming it up at the Civic Theater:
Humane Society board member Wanda McDonald (left) met up with Lauren Johnston.

Humane Society board president Claire Sheehy and Ethel Landers circulated among the crowd. Gary Miller filled me in on doings of the Nighttime Kiwanis (“Nighttime is the Right Time” is their motto.)

After a laughed-filled first act, the audience returned to the reception area for intermission.

When raffle winners were announced, before the second act, board member Pam Goble was delighted that she snagged a champagne breakfast for two at Central City Market restaurant, which was arguably the most popular raffle item.

After the show, it was back to the reception area to meet and greet the cast. What a treat to see glamour girl Roxanne Ventriglia playing Honey Rae Futrelle, one of three sisters at a wedding in Texas. Accustomed to seeing Roxanne as the hostess at the Nighttime Rotary’s annual talent show, I enjoyed her performance immensely.

Minutes before showtime:
Claire Terrill (left) spoke with Bobbi Gilman, director of operations at the Santa Maria Valley Humane Society, before the curtain went up on the Civic Theater's current show, Dearly Beloved. Terrill is president of the Civic Theater and a frequent cast member.

Cast member Will Welsh told me after the show that he has written and published an eBook and to date is the proud recipient of two royalty checks. His wife Jo Grande directed the show. Civic Theater president Claire Terrill and overall mother hen played Nelda Lightfoot, a psychic. She does get some fun parts!

Historical Society Membership Luncheon

The Historical Society wants its members to have the opportunity to connect more than once a year at its annual dinner, so it’s starting Quarterly Membership Luncheons, which are open to the public.

I went to their first such event on Fri., Sept. 27, at the Santa Maria Inn.

Nostalgia reigned supreme in this roomful of history buffs who delight in knowing the Santa Maria’s Valley’s beginnings. At this gathering, there were descendants of settlers from the mid-1800s.

The luncheon was an opportunity for society president Ed Zemaitis to introduce the new executive director, Cindy Ransick, to the membership. Hobnobbers will remember having seen Ransick at the Discovery Museum, where she served as executive director.

I shared a table with Jerry Carey and her husband Dave, who is a docent at the Historical Society Museum, and Joey Wilson, as well as the inimitable Shirley Contreras, local history columnist.

Virginia Souza, Rena Perry, Laura Dias, Margaret Paden, Sue Sword, and Norma di Bernardi were one table over.

Board member Joanne McBride received the President’s Award, a framed certificate commending her for exceptional service.

Zemaitis told the members that the staff and volunteers are carefully going through the society’s collection to determine what needs stepped-up conservation attention.

“We want to make sure that our collection survives far into the future.” Zemaitis said.

If you want to hobnob with Helen, you may contact her at

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