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Ticket a Small Price to Pay When Placed in Perspective

September 21, 1989|PAMELA MARIN | Pamela Marin is a regular contributor to Orange County Life.

By local standards it didn't cost a lot to get in the doors of "Casino Laguna," a fund-raiser for the Assistance League of Laguna Beach--$75, a mid-range tariff in this gilded neck of the woods.

But even at that low price, some thought it was too much. To put the price "in perspective," Karen Stevens, event chairwoman, described the party's beneficiary--a program for developmentally handicapped babies.

The league-sponsored program now includes 14 infants from birth to 9 months of age, said Stevens, standing outside the Assistance League Chapter House on Saturday night. For the parents of Down's syndrome and other "special" kids who take part, $75 is about what one of the weekly sessions would cost--if they had to pay. The three-hour physical therapy and counseling sessions, held at the Chapter House, are free.

Stevens said the program is expanding to include children up to 24 months old, and enrollment will probably double by spring. The expansion is due, at least in part, to the $9,000 estimated net proceeds from the party, Stevens said.

Once inside, the 150 guests tried their luck at gambling tables, bought raffle shots at more than 80 prizes and dug into a gourmet spread that included smoked Cajun pork, filet of beef, marinated salmon and chicken terrine. (The feast was prepared by league member Jan Liascos, who said she had studied with chefs in Paris.)

Marguerite and Jerry Dowd listened attentively as the rules of roulette were explained.

"We've never played this game in our lives," said Marguerite, whose mother, Hadie Pollitt, served on the committee.

"We just want to break even," Jerry Dowd said.

Or as guest Clifford Anderson put it, from a perch at a "21" table: "I'm just here trading dollars with the dealer."

Julie Kee, newly elected league president, attended the festivities with her son, Robert Pedders. Also there were Pam Sears, director of the Early Intervention Program, Winnie Lewis, Trudy Pessin, Ellie Schmidt, Bette Scott, Marcee Sullivan, Jan Watts, Betty Williams and Marilyn Winters.

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