The Buzz: GrassLands Brewing Company and Domi Ventures opening

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


More than 200 people got a “taste” of two new enterprises coming to the Railroad Square area at a special reception on a beautiful late April evening. Domi Ventures was the site of an appreciation reception hosted by the new GrassLands Brewing Company. The local brewery poured 10 different offerings,  from Groundation Ambery Rye to This.Is.Tarta! Wild Stout with Bourbon & Oak for the thirsty crew. Grasslands sells its brews to local restaurants and will be opening a tasting room this summer. 

Domi Ventures is an incubator facility that opened May 22 dedicated to supporting local entrepreneurs with workspace, advice and other support to help grow their ideas from concept to market. 

Among those enjoying the gathering were GrassLands Brew Master Gabe and SaraLyn Grass, Domi Ventures co-founder Jack and Michele Kiker, Domi Ventures Executive Director Micah Widen, Daryl Green, Nathan Dimura, Bernie Gandy, Fred Tedio, French Brown, Bill Oliver, Tyler Huston, Scott Hall, Byron Burroughs, Robert Clark, Jamie Hanuka, Brendan and Amy Farrington, Kevin McAlpine, Domi Ventures co-founder David Lawson, Billy Lundsford, Thomas and Melissa Crawford, Corey and Brandy Furbee and Jon and Dottie Hinkle.


The Network of Young Professionals held its annual Golden A.C.E.S. Awards gala Saturday, March 29, at Hotel Duval. The event recognizes individuals under age 40 that both excel in their respective professional fields and engage in community service. Revelers at the black tie event included Meghan Kelly, Gina Pitisci, Audra Price-Pittman and Sean Pittman, Commissioner Andrew Gillum, Dan and Ella Parisi and Sean Donovan.


Four runners-up (and three spouses) in Choose Tallahassee’s “Home Free: Why I Want to Live in Tallahassee” contest received a warm welcome to Florida’s Capital City during a VIP reception at the Doubletree Hotel. The reception served as a starting point for a free weekend (April 24–27) of activities, events and entertainment, all provided by Choose Tallahassee, a group dedicated to bringing retiring baby boomers to the area. 

During a brief ceremony presided over by Ron Sachs of Sachs Media Group, Mayor John Marks joined several other local leaders to officially welcome the runners-up to Tallahassee. Tallahassee City Commissioners Andrew Gillum and Gil Ziffer and several other local community leaders also attended. 

More than 200 retirees from around the country entered the “Home Free” contest. The four runners up are Bill and Mary Sue Wagner of Birmingham, Alabama; Tom and Barbara Meyer of Grand Rapids, Michigan; Robert C. and Carla Hudson of Oak Park, Illinois, and Colleen Hetherington of Laceyville, Pennsylvania. The grand prize winners of the contest, who visited Tallahassee in May, are Catherine and Bill Campbell of New Boston, New Hampshire. They won a yearlong, complimentary stay in a Tallahassee home. 

Reception attendees included Erica Thaler, Rick Oppenheim, Marjorie Turnbull, Ken Boutwell, Dave Bruns and Linda Kleindienst, Rick Minor, Dave Jacobson, Ted Thomas, Steve Lastowski, Yvonne Brown, Neil Ryder, Kathy Lee, Michelle Personette, James Knauff, Heather Mitchell, Sheila Salyer, Bill Day and Lucia Fishburne.


Jimmy and Sherrill Ragans opened their home in April to honor and acknowledge the accomplishments of the Pace Center for Girls throughout its 20-year history.

Executive Director Kelly Otte gave a heartfelt chronology of the resource for more than 75 supporters of the organization. Among those attending were Dr. Jim and Sara Murdaugh, Melanie Lee, Brian and Cherie Rowland, Janet Stoner, Alicia Crew, Nancy Turner, Robin Hassler-Thompson and Dan Thompson, Dot Binger, Wilma Rosenbloom, Marge Masterman, Sheila Costigan, Betty Lou and Jim Joanos, Harry and Susann Anstead, Neil and Madelyn Skene, Darby Kerrigan and Robert Scott, Mary Marx, Sandra Rackley and Nancy Miller.


Alas, you can’t keep the girl in Tallahassee when her heart is in Texas. But before Florida Trend writer Lilly Rockwell headed back to Austin for a reporting job at the Austin American-Statesman, her capital press corps friends and other pals bid her and husband Mark Hollis farewell during happy hour at Level 8. Among those hoisting a glass in their honor were Christie and Nick Orros, Linda Kleindienst, Michael Van Sickler, Gary Fineout, Kathleen McGrory, Brandon Larrabee, Mary Ellen Klas and John Kennedy, Aaron Deslatte, Tia Mitchell, Lloyd and Rosanne Dunkelberger and the soon-to-be-wed Kathleen Haughney and Gray Rohrer.


Tallahassee’s legal community showed up in droves at the University Center Club to honor fellow attorneys at the Law Day Week Celebration on May 6. Attorney General Pam Bondi was the featured guest speaker for the event. Local attorney Sonia Crockett was honored for receiving the 2014 Florida Bar President’s Award, and elder law attorney Twila Sketchley was presented with The Capital City Bar Presidents Council’s Richard W. Ervin Equal Justice Award for lifelong achievement. Stephanie Johnson was given the Joy Aukema Taps 2014 Children’s Advocate of the Year Award and Circuit Judge Jonathan Sjostrom was the Parks & Crump Thurgood Marshall Judicial Excellence awardee.

Also honored were the 750 attorneys and supporters in the 2nd Judicial Circuit who provided free services to more than 7,000 poverty-level citizens in our community — everything from advice to full representation in civil cases — worth more than $1 million, according to Kris Knab, executive director Legal Services of North Florida, which sponsored the event along with the Tallahassee Bar Association and its Legal Aid Foundation.

Venerable attorney and former Florida State University President Sandy D’Alemberte was there, along with Mary Dekle, Lynwood Arnold, Anne Munson, Bill Davis, Will Hall and Col. Washington and Gloria Sanchez. Mixing and mingling were Eric Miles, David Walton, Judge Bob Cohen, Kent Spuhler, Paul Jess, Derek Sims, Ed Gruenewald and Paul Hill. 

Also on hand were Ben Graybar, former Florida Bar President Kelly Overstreet-Johnson, Fred Flowers, Judge Stephanie Ray, Patrick Delaney, Marty Dix, Daniel Thompson, Linda Bond Edwards, Marc Taps, Melanie Ann Hines and Christi Gray.


After another successful season of Seven Days of Opening Nights, organizers of the array of cultural events feted sponsors at a reception held at the Florida State University President’s House. Guests were greeted by Seven Days Director Chris Heacox and wife Claire as well as a bevy of docents offering tours of the Greek Revival house, which has a historical look despite being constructed in the mid 2000s.

Enjoying the evening’s hospitality were Allie Van Landingham, Pat Campbell, Tony Kahl, Heather Peeples, Rep. Alan Williams, Ken Kato, Marjorie Turnbull, Dan Parisi, Don and Carol Wilson, Sammie Dixon, Frank Langston, Cynthia Ti and John Taylor, and Hilda and David Gilchrist.


Pink and blue was the color scheme of the evening on
May 7 as the Capital Area Healthy Start Coalition held its new Baby Shower fundraiser at The Barn at the Old Willis Dairy.  Patrons noshed on hors d’oeuvres and made their bids at the silent auction while being entertained by W2, the young duo of Walker Webb and Will Hollimon. Among those enjoying the beautiful weather under the Willis Dairy oak were Loranne Ausley and her parents, Dubose and Sallie Ausley, County Commissioner Bryan Desloge, Jerri and Randy Hanna, Beverly Frick, Patty Kitchen, Chris DeMaris, Larry and Jo Deeb, Bud and Kitty Chiles, Steve Slepin, Betty Proctor, Jean Sadowski, Courtney Atkins, Molly Shakar, Doug Cook, and Tom and Cathie Herndon.


Glasses of champagne greeted the more than 1,600 guests who turned out on April 30 at the Civic Center to toast the 31st annual TMH Foundation Golden Gala, the group’s major fundraising event, and enjoy a private concert performed by the award-winning Lady Antebellum. Decked out in black ties and sparkling gowns, guests strolled under a rainbow canopy of umbrellas that heralded the evening’s theme — The Sky’s the Limit. Last year TMH raised about $998,000 and this year hoped to top the $1 million mark from the event.

Among those in attendance were TMH CEO and President Mark O’Bryant, TMH Foundation President Paula Fortunas, Crawford and Teresa Atkins, Tom and Jane Barron, McKenzie Burleigh and Steven Lohbeck, Tom and Stephanie Derzypolski, Sue and Bobby Dick, Laurie and Kelly Dozier, Mike and Bobbie Futrell, Bob Gabordi, Brad and Becca Gilbert, Virginia Glass, Karl and Mackey Hempel, Winston and Yvonne Howell, Dr. and Mrs. John Katipodis, Steve and Val Mindlin, Bart Mitchell and Drew Mitchell, Julie Moreno, Heather and Wynn Peeples, Alison Voorhees and Kim and Mayda Williams. 


Boys Town of North Florida rolled out the red carpet, quite literally, to kick of a night of ’40s-era entertainment during the “Swing it for Boys Town”-themed Spirit of Youth Gala on April 25.

Gala Chair Mary Jayne Sokolow, accompanied by husband Kevin Sokolow, and her team created a Lindy Hopping good time at the University Center Club. The evening included dancing, live and silent auctions, a sumptuous dinner and entertainment provided by Boys Town youths, who performed swing dancing courtesy of 15 hours worth of lessons provided by the Fred Astaire Dance Studio and its owners Mike and Dena Dill.

Once again, local designers tapped into their boundless talents to create uniquely themed tables for the festivities. On hand to enjoy the evening were Dr. Armand and Suzanne Cognetta, Chris and Andrea Diamantis, Larry and Beverly Sokolow, Dr. Joe and Marion Camps, Boys Town Board Chair Paul and Cindy Sullivan and Tim and Stephanie Jansen.

The auction was lively and included unique items such as a baseball experience with World Series winner David Ross. Rudy Rowe, who was there with his wife, Kari, won that item — then donated it back so it could be auctioned off again!

Also on hand for the sold-out event were Bobby and Patti Brantley, John and Kelly Pettit, Audra and Sean Pittman, Mayor John and Jane Marks, Dr. Shane and Michele Burkhead, Charley and Leslie Redding, Bill and Mary Moor, Marty and Angie Desloge Sipple, Dr. Tyler and Rhonda Baldock, Joe and Stacy Chick, Zack Gibson and Julie Montanaro, Mart Hill, Dr. Lou and Calynne Hill and Steve and Linda Evans.

Categories: Society