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Amy Yasbeck & Sharon Rocha

at "Our House" event

It was an honor to meet Sharon Rocha, the indomitable Mother of the late Laci Peterson, at the Beverly Hills Hotel. She was presented with the HUG Award (Helping Understand Grief) for her courage and grace, after the death of her daughter, and unborn grandson, Conner. It was Sharon’s first visit to the Southland since former son-in-law Scott Peterson received the death penalty for the killings nearly one year ago.

The event was sponsored by Our House, founded by Jo-Ann Lautman in l993, which provides grief support services for those who experienced the death of a significant person in their lives. They maintain that the healing process is enhanced through the relationships that are developed in its many support groups.

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Conductor John Mauceri with

Merv Griffin at Young Musicians Foundation

Ravishing red-head Amy Yasbeck, widow of John Ritter, is a huge supporter of this organization, as is Greg Berlanti, creator and executive producer of the WB’s highly acclaimed drama, Everwood. This TV series deals with a big city physician (Treat Williams) who loses his wife, and opts to raise his children in a remote Colorado town. Their challenges and healing are typical of what one can experience after the sudden loss of a loved one.

After a fabulous silent auction, including artwork by renewed artist Joseph Litzinger, we heard from two young people who had lost their parents. They both credit Our House for being their savor in dealing with their tragic loss. Bravo to all concerned.

On a lighter score, we experienced an evening of musical magic when the Young Musicians Foundation held their annual gala at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. The theme of this year’s gala was “Everything’s Coming Up Roses, and marked the premiere of the glorious Merv Griffin Rose. Griffin the winner of last year’s Humanitarian Award (and former owner of the Beverly Hilton) stated, “I started life as a young musician at age four, and believe our future audiences depend upon programs initiated by the YMF”.

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Betty & Fred Hayman, Recipients of

Humanitarian Award for YMF

This year’s Humanitarian Award was bestowed on Fred and Betty Hayman for their contributions to the arts and the community. Hayman, founder of the Rodeo Drive committee 25 years ago, still look and acts like the genteel gentleman he was when he owned the famed Giorgio’ in Beverly Hills.

The evening’s entertainment included Soprano Sarah Jane McMahon, who performed an aria from La Boheme; and tenor Gregorio Gonzalez, who sang selections from the Barber of Seville. But the crème de la crème was13 year old violinist Hayato Ishibashi who performed Puccini’s “Nessum Dorma.” That is what the Young Musicians is all about. To foster and encourage aspiring gifted young talent like this on the Hollywood Beat.