Trips, golf, massages - those are the stuff of auctions at fundraisers. But once in a while, there's an item that
goes on the block that is worth a follow-up story.
Such is the case of Dinner with the Apostles: The Foods that Jesus Ate," which Sister Edith Hauser, principal
of St. Columba School, donated at the school's annual gala and auction in October.
Hauser did quite a bit of research about the ingredients that would have been common during Jesus' life. She handed
those off to St. Columba parent Karen Rowan, whose dear friend Nancy Sickler flew in from Chicago to help
create a memorable meal. The talented chefs did add ingredients available in our modern global markets to the menu, often serving a traditional food paired with a contemporary twist.
The repast began with appetizers of roasted figs with gorgonzola cheese, hummus with roasted garlic served with
flatbread, breaded zucchini with tzatziki and a Mediterranean sampling of olives, grapes and almonds. With Hauser's
approval, the adult guests enjoyed Apostletinis.
Guests then enjoyed potato-leek soup, an arugula-and-pomegranate salad, and an entrée of roasted trout, quinoa with
fennel and feta cheese and pita bread. Dessert was a scrumptious watermelon granita accompanying a
toasted-almond-crusted crème tart with oranges and honey.
Twelve students from the school's seventh- and eighth-grade classes dressed to play the role of the apostles. They
were Sean McLaughlin (Peter); Jacob Branch Boyle (Andrew, Peter's brother); Rex Stowers (James
the Greater, son of Zebedee); David Schwantes (John, brother of James, son of Zebedee, youngest of the
apostles); Thomas Schleeter (Philip); Cole Collins (Bartholomew, also called Nathaniel); Ben
Palmer (Matthew, the tax collector also called Levi); Pam Freitag (doubting Thomas); Kohler McInnis
(James the lesser); Stais Harlan (Simon the Zealot); Clair Margaret Albright (Jude also known as
Thaddeus); and Stephen Miranda (Matthias).
In addition to serving and clearing the meal, they shared short biographies of themselves with the guests and
discussed the origination, history, symbolism and biblical references of the various ingredients being served.
(Hauser never misses a chance for teaching.)
Mike and Lorri Casey purchased the dinner and brought their three children, all students at St. Columba
School, twins Ali and Sydney in sixth grade and son Jake in second grade. They invited
Mike and Renee McAliney and their children, Amanda, Seamus (both St. Columba
alumni who now attend Durango High School), Fiona, a sixth-grader at the school, and Sadie, who is in
fourth grade at St. Columba. Renee McAliney teaches second grade at St. Columba School. The Rev. James
Koenigsfeld and Sister Kevin Clavin also enjoyed the festivities.
Both children and adults delighted in trying new dishes. John Sheehan, owner of Red Snapper, guided the
preparation of the fresh trout, which was served as the whole fish, complete with heads, which the children thought
was particularly neat. One of the Casey twins even tasted one of the fish eyes - a great delicacy in some cultures.
Perhaps Survivor" was the inspiration for that brave act, which was accompanied by squeals from all the other kids.
Call it Bon Appétit, Cath-olic style."
Crocuses are blooming, and birds are singing for the birthdays of Dianne Riddings, Kathy Black, Stephanie Baker, Carla Mulkey, Lance Hamlin, Mia Whistler, Sophia Ottman, Gisele Pansze, Taylor Bray, August Kidd, Cathy Roberts, Judy Johnson, Andrew
Webb, Christopher Blevins, Joan Sippy, Valerie Schwiderski and Meredith Rolfe.
Special birthday greetings go out to Becca Schaldach, who turns 12 on Monday.
Despite some advanced search techniques, I was unable to find out when and which high school had the first yearbook
in the nation, but suffice it to say, Durango High School's Toltec reaching its centennial this year is an
Tammy Schreiner, adviser for Toltec staff, has asked me to get the word out about a special section the
students are planning to include - stories from alumni from throughout the decades of the Toltec's existence.
From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday, they will conduct interviews and shoot photos for the section in the board room of the
Durango School District 9-R Administration Building - known to many of us as the old Durango High School.
From interviewing graduates at class reunions, I know there are some great tales out there, from sledding down east
Eighth Street, sneaking out to go dancing, sneaking into the high school to go swimming and memories of people whose
names have been immortalized, like Miller, Smiley, Needham and the Buckley brothers.
Whether you graduated in the last decade or seven decades ago, please take time to share a yarn or two with these
young people to help commemorate this important occasion. Maybe I'll see you there.
Day in and day out, the Family Centers Coalition of La Plata County helps one of the most important segments of our
community. Indeed, I don't think it can truly be a community without thriving families. The organization has three
sites, Durango, Bayfield/Ignacio and Fort Lewis Mesa.
Among the services the centers offer are parent education, early-childhood education, family support, information and
referral to other resources in the community, youth development, a place for safe exchange and supervised visitation, family-health advocacy and Latino outreach.
In the last year, 4,000 families, or 10 percent of all families in La Plata County, received services from a family
On Feb. 27, the centers held their sixth annual concert, silent and live auction fundraiser at the Community Concert
Hall at Fort Lewis College, with Kelley Hunt as the headline act. It was a great date fundraiser, as the dance floor
was open and hopping at the concert hall, but there were also too many empty seats for a fun event benefiting such an
Guests arrived to find the walls lined with silent auction items and a number of noshing goodies. There were items
for kids and families, to make people more beautiful, clothe them in apparel and jewelry, beautify their homes and
enjoy every bit of the splendid outdoors that surrounds us.
The food was donated by Bread, Cyprus Café, Gazpacho's New Mexican Restaurant, Jean-Pierre Bakery, Norton's Catering
and the Roches-ter Hotel.
Three items were sold at live auction just before the concert. Carver Brewing Co. donated a Happy Hour for 10, complete with appetizers and, of course, plenty of its craft brewed beer. Personal chef Karen Esser will
provide an elegant cocktail party for eight, including specialty cocktails and gourmet, healthy appetizers, at the
lucky high bidder's home. And Guido's Favorite Foods, with personal chef Courtney Schlapfer, created a Ladies'
Night In with wine, 30-minute chair massages, all natural Swiss facials and a gourmet dinner for six. Put me on that
Family Centers of La Plata County Executive Director Gaye Weiss tells me the event raised enough to serve an
addition 400 families and children in La Plata County.
The sponsors for the evening were Peak Energy Resources, the Gay and Lesbian Fund for Colorado and Momentum Energy
Group. Jack and Bev Vaughn and Lynn Gallati also deserve special thanks for their efforts.
To learn more about the organization, visit www.lpfcc.org or call 385-4747. If you would like to support the La Plata
Family Centers Coalition in its vital work, send your check to 489½ Florida Road, Durango, CO 81301.
Is there a Neighbors story that sticks in your mind as one of your favorites? One that particularly inspired you to
volunteer or give? One that still makes you laugh?
In April, I will be celebrating the anniversary of a decade of writing the column and plan to run a retrospective of
some of my favorite pieces. I'd like to hear about some of your favorites. You don't have to know the date it ran -
although it's great if you do - just the topic. It will be a fun walk down memory lane with some great stories about
My contact information is below.
For information about upcoming events and fundraisers, check Local Briefs.
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