Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Cocktails and Cuisine - An Evening for Foodies

 A night for foodies who care marks a decade Cocktails & Cuisine on Fri., May 19, when Crisis Center North fills The Woodlands in Bradford Woods with fabulous eats prepared on site by top chefs, libations, dancing with DJ Sean, and a silent auction. Guests can graze and sip their way through the region’s best cocktails and cuisine from leading restaurateurs, spirit purveyors, and dessert specialists. Cocktails & Cuisine runs 6-10 pm at the Woodlands Foundation’s outdoor venue with an indoor silent auction room,134 Shenot Rd., Wexford (15090).
“Cocktails and Cuisine is the living depiction of what a community can do when it gathers together to end domestic violence,” states Grace Coleman, Executive Director of Crisis Center North. More than 400 of Pittsburgh’s most influential people are expected to be on hand, including the Master of Ceremonies, Peggy Finnegan, WPXI-TV news anchor. The event chair is Lisa Kennis-Miller.

Tickets for the 21 plus event are $85 per person or a special two-ticket $250 Friend of CCN package, each with tax-deductible portion. All tickets include convenient free parking with shuttle service to the nearby venue. For details on attending are at or call Crisis Center North at 412-364-6728 ext.15.

The Northern Star Awards acknowledge individuals and groups committed to addressing the issue of domestic violence. The 2017 Honorees are: Joe Martonik, Moon Township, Individual Honoree; Karissa’s ARMY, accepted by Paul Kunco, South Hills, Community Honoree; and Ross Township Police Department and K-9 Neeko, System Honoree. Penny, CCN’s canine advocate, will present to Neeko. [See bios/background below]

Awards to be presented to participating chefs honor the Best Savory, Best Dessert and Best Presentation patrons vote on People’s Choice. The event’s celebrity food judges are joined by Finnegan to vote  their favorites:
Christina French, founder, owner and publisher of Table magazine.
​​Rachel Jones, editor-in-chief, Whirl Publishing
​KC Lapiana, culinary expert and entrepreneur who is owner of In the Kitchen, Strip District;
Rick Sebak, award-winning documentary director and producer, WQED Multimedia and PBS.
2017 Showcase Restaurants provide all the delectable treats and beverages, with chefs cooking on site. These generous regional businesses are: Aladdin’s; Atria’s - Richland Township; Blue North; Bruster’s; Ditka’s; Edible Arrangements – McIntyre Square; Emporio : A Meatball Joint; Bonefish Grill; Blue North; Jimmy Wan’s; John Marshall Catering; Melting Pot; Monte Cello’s; Stak Shack;  Tin Man Sweets; Walnut Grill; and Wunderbar.

Beverage Purveyors providing samples and tastings for the 10th C&C event are: Arrowhead Wines and Hard Cider; Beer by Fuhrer Wholesale; Bird Dog Whiskey; D’Andrea Wines; Ugandan Gold Coffee; and USTIANOCHKA Premium Russian Vodka.

The Evening’s Entertainment -- Dancing, Painting and Bidding
Ultimate Entertaining’s DJ Sean provides the evening’s playlist for dancing under the event tent. Patrons can join a Twist dance contest and dance lessons led by Euphoric Ballroom of Butler. New this year, The Smoke Stack will provide cigar sampling with some beverage pairings in a designated area after the meal is served.

Painting with a Twist’s Jaison Schafer creates a painting during the event and the custom canvas added to the silent auction, in addition to:
Trips of a lifetime to France, Greece, Ireland, Spain and Mallorca, Switzerland, Italy and Tuscany, and stateside to San Francisco and Alaska.
Barrel of Booze raffle for a giant container of wine and spirits.
A wide array of silent auction items, including dining packages, entertainment tickets, sports memorabilia, jewelry and art pieces, and more, all donated by businesses, artists, and individuals to support CCN.

The Northern Star Awards
Annually since 2001, Crisis Center North acknowledges important community members with The Northern Star Awards which recognize individuals and groups committed to addressing the issue of domestic violence. The 2017 Honorees are:

Joe Martonik, Individual Honoree
Joe Martonik, a teacher in the Moon School District, has been named Individual Honoree for his work as an active advocate for prevention education alongside his role on the faculty in the Moon Area School District. Through his partnership with CNN, Joe has helped to create community and conversation with hundreds of students, leading young people to better understand how to avoid abusive relationships and how to seek intervention if needed.

Karissa’s ARMY, Community Honoree
Paul Kunco, founder of Karissa’s ARMY, will accept the Community Honoree award on behalf of the organization named in memory of his daughter, Karissa Marie Kunco. Karissa’s ARMY demonstrates an ongoing investment in supporting the work of and advocating for the mission of CCN. Paul’s courage to publicly challenge this behavior of abusers has helped to mobilize individuals to be caring and active citizens through Karissa’s ARMY.

Ross Township Police Department and K-9 Neeko, System Honoree
Chief Joseph A. Ley and K-9 Neeko, of the Ross Township Police Department, will receive the System Northern Star Award from Penny, CCN’s own canine advocate. The honor recognizes the department’s commitment to make a difference in the lives of victims and keeping the community safer for all. The Ross Twp. team is skilled in implementing the Lethality Assessment Program (LAP) and actively aids in training, promoting, and providing suggestions on the continued enhancement of the LAP program and of its partnership with CCN.

Crisis Center North (CCN) aims to empower victims of domestic violence and cultivate community attitudes and behaviors that break the cycle of violence. The non-profit counseling, referral, and educational resource center serves victims of domestic violence (DV), their children, and teens involved in violent dating relationships in the northern and western communities of Allegheny County.

In FY 2016, CCN handled 1,714 Hotline calls, provided Counseling, Advocacy and Case Management services to 2,061 DV victims, delivered Primary Prevention Education programs to 13,106 middle and high school students, and hosted Community Prevention Education programs for 1,348 participants from employer, law enforcement, church, healthcare provider and other community groups.
Crisis Center North marks the 40th anniversary of its founding in 2018. The agency’s 24-hour toll-free hotline may be reached at 866-782-0911. CNN is online at

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