On The Scene: Redlands Community Center fundraiser

Larry Beckner (bottom), Winona Beckner (left), Mary Beckner (right) and Brant Westmark

Redlands Community Center board of directors: Dave McIlnay, Denny Buchter, Brad Davenport, Kaye Buchter, Reed Schaeffer and Kimberly Ladentin

Mary Prather, Eileen O’Toole, Susan Steinbach and Robert Dowling

Lloyd and Lora Quesenberry

Todd Sisson, Jana Hoffman, Bill Sisson, Jeane Sisson and Linda Barbour Fine

Rodney and Karen Snyder

Kevin and Rebecca Moran


Businessman and former NBA star Magic Johnson speaks to an audience member at an event in Saginaw, Mich., Tuesday, April 29, 2014. Johnson returned to Saginaw for the third annual “Magic of a Promise” fundraiser for the Saginaw Promise Scholarship. (AP Photo/The Saginaw News, Neil Barris)



The Redlands Community Center has had a spot in my heart for as long as I can remember.

It’s been the venue for a number of weddings I’ve attended, a Boar’s Head feast, Mary Vaughn’s notorious Carmen Miranda Party and my own Grand Junction High School class reunion in 2011. The list goes on.

I jumped at the chance to attend the center’s annual fundraiser Friday night. Hosted by the center’s board of directors, the event was open to the public and the funds raised go toward the upkeep of the building. The event also brought in people who may not normally frequent the historic venue.

I arrived at the same time as sisters Mary Prather and Eileen O’Toole who were born and raised on the Redlands and have vivid memories of its development. Eileen is a writer and historian.

I was greeted at the door by several members of the board, so I grabbed their picture before they got busy bartending and such. They are Denny Buchter, Brad Davenport, Kaye Buchter, Reed Schaeffer and Kimberly Ladentin. They were easy to spot in their red vests, a nice touch.

Redlands Community Center looked awesome, all dressed up and ready for a party. Each table had a luscious smelling bouquet provided by supporters Melinda and Scott Miller of Amber Floral. Wooden Nickel provided lively bluegrass entertainment while guests mingled and swapped stories.

Walstrom’s Catering laid out a tapas bar that was unbelievable, but I had to take my photos first. Not that I didn’t wander by occasionally and grab a roasted veggie or Castelvetrano olive, my favorite.

The guests poured in and I spotted Linda Barbour Fine. She was with Bill and Jeane Sisson and their son, Todd Sisson, owner of Sisson Financial, and his fiancée, Jana Hoffman, who works at Canyon Creek Plastic Surgery in Fruita.

Bill is a former community center board member and told me his parents, Max and Dorothy Sisson, were original members of the Saturday Nighter’s Dance Club, a group that Bill and Jeane have been members of since 1984.

I was excited at the arrival of some very special guests. Susan Steinbach is the granddaughter of Charles H. Rump, one of the original 50 men who started the Redlands Country Club in 1920. Susan and her husband, Robert Dowling spend most of their time in Northern California where Susan teaches at University of California, Davis.

Kimberly Ladentin let me introduce them and the O’Toole girls and brag about their Redlands history.

It is always good to see fellow Grand Junction Lions Club member Lloyd Quesenberry and his wife, Lora. Lloyd’s law firm, Rider & Quesenberry are sponsors of the Center and as Lloyd told me, “It’s important to maintain this place as a community center for friends and family to gather and celebrate while tying into the history of the Redlands.” Lloyd noted that the Mesa County Bar Association meets there now and again.

I spotted a couple that didn’t look familiar to me, so I went up and introduced myself and asked for a photo. It was Ed and Lois Gardner‘s niece, Rebecca Moran and her husband, Kevin Moran. Ed and Lois are owners of Whitewater Building Materials and the company is a generous supporter of the Redlands Community Center.

Larry Beckner arrived with his wife, Winona Beckner, and daughter, Mary Beckner, and her husband, Brant Westmark. Mary and Brant just moved back to the Grand Valley from Seattle. Brant is now working with brother-in-law Mark Beckner at Inotek Consulting Group, and Mary attends The Salon Professional Academy. Larry and Winona are sure glad to have their daughter back in town. Larry is a member of the Grand Junction Kiwanis Club, and he and Winona are Saturday Nighter’s members.

It was time for me to skedaddle, but I wanted to catch Karen and Rodney Snyder, owners of Scotty’s Muffler. They were outside listening to Community Center Board President Brad Davenport, who was telling them about the center’s immediate needs. Karen and Rodney had made a donation that night and were interested in the future of this community treasure.

Brad stressed that the electrical system needs an upgrade and he hopes a contractor in the community will step up and help. The center also needs help with grant-writing and other fundraising efforts, he said, and keeping the grounds in shape is another opportunity for volunteers.

The board has some ambitious plans and we’ll soon be hearing some interesting events on the calendar. The front lawn is a perfect place for “bring your own lawn chair” concerts, and I for one would love to see that happen. See you there.

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■ The first Colorado National Bank Brews and Cruise Festival comes to Palisade on Friday and Saturday with a street dance, music, food, beer sampling, guided road rides and more. The street dance will be from 6–9 p.m. Friday at Third and Main streets, and the festival with 30 breweries and 30 food vendors will go from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday. Info: 464-7458, palisadecoc.com.

■ The US Bank Fine Art Auction is set for Friday at The Art Center, 1803 N. Seventh St. A reception, preview and silent auction begin at 5 p.m. and the live art auction starts at 7 p.m. Live auction tickets cost $20 at the door. Proceeds benefit The Art Center’s programs. Info: 243-7337, gjartcenter.org.


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