The Buzz: Bill Cotterell retiring from the Tallahassee Democrat

Tallahassee Magazine’s column created to share who’s where and what they’re doing in the months of July and August.

Welcome to The Buzz, Tallahassee Magazine’s column created to share who’s where and what they’re doing. While we try to flit around with all of Tallahassee’s social butterflies, the Buzz can’t be everywhere. Send the skinny on your next soiree to buzz@rowlandpublishing.com.

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From typewriters to Twitter, longtime Capitol reporter Bill Cotterell covered 44 sessions of the Florida Legislature and 10 of the state’s governors before retiring from the Tallahassee Democrat in April.

The longtime statehouse reporter was feted by Gov. Rick Scott at a governor’s mansion reception and later “roasted” by colleagues and friends during a lunch gathering at Goodwood that also featured a video of the state’s five living governors wishing him well. Former Gov. Reubin Askew called Cotterell the “best of the best” and former Gov. Bob Martinez praised him as the “guardian” of state employees. Cotterell was presented with a proclamation by Scott declaring April 20, 2012, as Bill Cotterell Day in Florida.

Organized by media guru Ron Sachs, the lunch event raised money for an internship at the Democrat and drew many of the town’s notables. Emcee was David Bruns, Cotterell’s former co-worker in the Democrat’s Capitol bureau, and Capitol Press Corps colleague Mike Vasilinda provided the gubernatorial video.

Among those at the event were Ryan Banfill, Mike Bender, Steve Bousquet, Pat Dorsey, Gerald Ensley, Alia Faraj, Tom Feeney, Bob Gabordi, Lisa Hall, John Kennedy, Troy Kinsey, Mary Ellen Klas, Linda Kleindienst, Mary Ann Lindley, Lucy and Dick Morgan, Heidi Otway, Barbara Petersen, Audrey Post, Lilly Rockwell, Mike Sittig, Majorie Turnbull, Michelle and Matt Ubben, Michelle Rehwinkle Vasilinda and Gary Yordon. Groups buying tables included Holland and Knight, TaxWatch and CoreMessage.
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It was a tropical “Paradise Found” at the Spirit of Youth Gala, held April 20 at the University Center Club. WCTV Eyewitness news anchor Julie Montanaro was the evening’s host and sportscaster Gene Deckerhoff, who served as the auctioneer, was not shy about calling, by name, folks in the audience he thought should be bidding.

The event, which supports Boys Town of North Florida, is always superb, but Gala Chair Rhonda Baldock and Development Director

Dena Strickland outdid themselves with the evening’s food, fun and entertainment. A highlight of the evening was the individually designed centerpieces at each table. Their creators included Stacy Chick, Nancy Digisi, Arlene Conklin, Stephanie Jansen, Cecilia Loeb, Jenny Wright and Meredith Wilson.

On hand to enjoy the meal and entertainment, including youngsters who live at Boys Town, were Drs. Michael and Jana Forsthoefel, Dr. Armand and Suzanne Cognetta, Bill and Mary Moor, Vereen and Leslie Smith and Crawford and Teresa Atkins.

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The island theme continued the next evening across town at “A Night in the Tropics,” the annual benefit for 211 Big Bend, held at the Tallahassee Automobile Museum. Guests could use “funny money” to play casino games or participate in the two new attractions added to the event. The wine ring toss was the brainchild of Cory Bauserman, who co-chaired the benefit with Jennifer Rupert. Board member Charlie Belvin built a challenging putting green. Many strokes were taken, but it was Paul Amundsen who won and took home a 42-inch flat-screen television.

Long-time supporter Nolia Brandt donated many antique and collectible items to the ever-popular silent auction. Adding to the atmosphere were décor items donated by Donna Smithey and Felina Martin of Eventions. 211 President Randy Nicklaus shared a table sponsored by his wife, realtor Miriam Nicklaus, with his son, Aubrey, and friends Judy and Paul Kleynen and Lloyd and Rosanne Dunkelberger. Also on hand was 211’s new development director, Sheila Horne and her husband, Derek.

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Bela Fleck and the Flecktones wowed the audience with their amazing musical mastery again this year at the beautiful Ruby Diamond Concert Hall. Awed by the performance were Jerome and Joanne Novey, Steve and Su Ecenia, Anne Jolley Byrd, Calynne Hill, Dr. Ken Kato and Nan Nagy and Dr. Larry and Jo Deeb.

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Cyndie Kottkamp welcomed friends to her North Carolina-style home for one last “Girls’ Night In” before returning with former Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp and their son to their main residence in Ft. Myers.

“Mizz Ladies,” as Mrs. Kottkamp refers to her Tallahassee posse, were feted with wine, jeweled costume tiaras and a sumptuous spread prepared by the hostess. Jackson Kottkamp celebrated the end of first grade with pals Colby, John and Matthew while their moms, Courtney Brogan and Emma Rachel Gray swapped-end-of-school-year stories. The Kottkamp family’s yellow Labrador retrievers, Jeb and Buddy, eyed the buffet table, which included Chancellor Frank Brogan’s homemade chicken salad and Steve Aldredge’s award-winning blueberry cheesecake.

Others sharing champagne toasts and reminiscing about “Cyndie’s Church on the Porch” were AmyLynne Aldredge, Monesia Brown, Jane Chichetti, Roby Bethke, Dr. Helen Itsios, Connie Kendrick and Florence Snyder.

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The Leon County Chapter of The Charmettes, Inc. recently presented 10 young ladies to the Tallahassee community at the FSU University Center Club at the 41st Annual Debutante Presentation and Ball.

The night began with soft music as friends and family watched the debutantes make their entrance. The young ladies, all dressed in formal gowns, pearls and white gloves, are presented by their father to family, friends and society. Pride shone in the eyes of the mothers, who presented their daughters with beautiful bouquets of flowers and offered a loving congratulatory kiss on the cheek.

Akua Yamoah of Lincoln High School was named Miss Debutante 2012. The runners-up were Alriel Gunn and Alexia McKnight of Rickards High School, and Shaakira White of FAMU DRS High School. Other 2012 debutantes include Shenita Anderson, North Florida Christian School; Jessica Bouyer, Chiles High School; Milan Clayton, FAMU DRS High School; Mikalah Harp, Lincoln High School; Marchelle Huff, Lincoln High School; and Daria Leon, Florida High School.

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There are fundraisers, and then there’s the “gold” standard of charitable events, the Tallahassee Memorial Healthcare Foundation’s Golden Gala, which celebrated its 29th year in April.

Ladies’ skirts went from sky-high minis to gowns with trains, but tuxedos were de rigueur for the guys at the black-tie event themed “A Southern Masterpiece.”

Led by co-chairs Debbie Giudice and Melissa Moore, the design and decorations committee’s handiwork was on display even before you entered the Civic Center, with a floral tableau and a white tent where the night’s signature drink, mint juleps, were served.

The background for the evening’s photo op was painted by several local artists, whose work was on display — and for sale — with a portion of the proceeds going to the Foundation. Mayda Williams coordinated this first-time effort, and participating artists included Debra and Randy Brienen, Brian Chamberlain, Dean Gioia, Pattie Maney, Eluster Richardson and the Tallahassee Watercolor Society.

TMH President and CEO Mark O’Bryant, looking natty in a white tux, worked the crowd during cocktail hour and then welcomed the crowd of about 1,440 along with Foundation President and CEO Paula Fortunas.

Tallahassee’s medical establishment is always a huge supporter of the Gala. Spotted in the crowd were Connie and Dr. Larry Harper, Marsha and Dr. Bob Thornberry, Dr. Dan and Bonnie Davis and Dr. Mike and Tami Franklin. Also there were Dr. Mary and Jeff Swain, Kathleen and Dr. David Smith, Dr. Marilyn Cox, Cat and Dr. Jerry Ford, Suzanne and Dr. Armand Cognetta, Mara and Dr. Chris Rumana, Dr. Bob Rowland and his son, Josh, Margie and Dr. David Tedrick and Val and Dr. Dave Draper.

But an abundance of non-medical folks were on hand for the occasion, including Wilson and Brittany Dean, Paul and Mollie Hill, Martha Barnett, Mark Wallheiser and Jeannie Booth, and Erwin and Stefanie Jackson.

Even the mealtime entertainment fit the gala’s theme, as acclaimed entertainer Marvin Goldstein performed on Steinway’s White House “Gold” grand piano, loaned for the occasion by DeVoe and Shirley Moore.

After a delicious dinner featuring Southern roasted veal shank and shrimp with crab stuffing, the crowd adjourned to the Civic Center arena for a concert by country music star Keith Urban. He’s known for his voice and good looks (and his wife, Nicole Kidman, who did not make an appearance), but his high-energy performance also showcased some awesome guitar skills. He rocked the house for more than an hour and had the crowd on their feet and hollering during his encore.

During his spirited rendition of the hit “Kiss the Girl” Urban invited concert-goers onto the stage and later made his way into the delighted crowd, at one point handing over his autographed guitar to a very surprised Brian Blankenship, who was there with fiancé Michelle McCartney.

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April 30th’s Y and Dine to benefit the YMCA was held at the University Center Club. Local restaurants and other food service companies donating a six-course meal with wine pairings included the UCC, Avenue Eat and Drink, Hotel Duval, ARAMARK’s Classic Fare and Catering, Publix’s Aprons Cooking School, 101 Restaurant and Hell’s Kitchen Celebrity Chef participant Joanna Dunn. Spotted enjoying the feast were Natascha Becker, Mel Pope, Kellie and Chris Kraft, Chuck and Katy Urban, Kelly and Marc Reichelderfer, Jim and Jaimi Wacksman, Keith Dean, and Aaron and Elizabeth Boyette.

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A Who’s Who of Tallahassee movers and shakers were on hand for the May 29 groundbreaking of Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare’s new Emergency Center in northeast Tallahassee, located on Thomasville Road near the Interstate 10 interchange. On hand to celebrate were Bill Smith, Sam Lester, Bill Oliver, Gloria and Dean Pugh, Kim Williams, County Commissioner Bryan Desloge, Ray Soloman, Todd Sperry, Mayor John and Jane Marks, Virginia Glass and Martin Proctor.

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In an exercise on how venture capitalism works, five startup companies with ties to Tallahassee’s Innovation Park got the chance to make a pitch to local business luminaries to try and encourage each of them to “invest” $500,000 of “funny” money in their ideas at the inaugural Elevator Pitch Night May 24 at the Governor’s Club. Each company was allowed to make a five-minute presentation and set up a booth. The two businesses with the most support, BioFront Technologies and Specialized Crystal Processing, took home real money — $15,000 each. The “investors” included Karen Moore, Beth Kirkland, Sue Dick, Barney Bishop, Rick Oppenheim, Warren Jones, county commissioners Kristin Dozier and Akin Akinyemi, Mike Sheridan and JT Burnett.

Categories: Society