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Celebrities, dignitaries play for a worthy cause

October 16, 2004

Joyce Rudolph

Everyone went home a winner following the Celebrity Tennis Tournament

at the Burbank Tennis Center.

The Oct. 9 tournament and companion dinner-dance Oct. 8 raised an

estimated $70,000, officials said, for counseling programs of the

Family Service Agency now known as Families First in Burbank.

The agency provides counseling for victims of domestic violence

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and counseling for students in the Burbank Unified School District.

Several tennis players, including Burbank Mayor Marsha Ramos, took

to the courts in play from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Bruce Horowitz was the men's winner on games with 37.

The Burbank resident said his wife, Dale Waddington Horowitz,

suggested he play in the tournament.

"It was fun and a good cause," he said.

Bruce Horowitz put a lot of time into the sport when he was a

teenager, but admitted he now plays only three or four times a year.

In the women's division, former Burbank High standout and

three-time Foothill League singles champion, Corie Simmons Corley,

was the winner on games with 34.

Corley, a 1994 graduate who now lives in Washington D.C., was in

town for her high school reunion. She plays on a U.S. Tennis Assn.

team in Virginia.

"The theme of the day was to help women and their families," she

said. "I'm glad because the event gave exposure to both the

organization and the tennis center."

Another Burbank alum, Rafi Hovanessian, was a men's finalist, and

Kelley Fox was a women's finalist.

The mixed-up doubles format allowed all the players to play with

everybody in the tournament, said Steve Starleaf, general manager of

the BTC and chairman of the benefit tourney.

"The players were more competitive than I thought they would be,"

he said, "They embraced the tournament and kept asking me throughout

the day 'what place am I in?' "

After lunch, players took time out to watch a celebrity doubles

match between Ramos, KNBC news reporter Conan Nolan, actress Sydney

Penny of "The Bold and the Beautiful" and Carlos Alazraqui of Comedy

Central's "Reno 911."

Ramos presented Starleaf with a mayor's commendation, "recognizing

him for his role in strengthening the community."

Serving on the city's Park, Recreation and Community Services

Board, Ramos had watched Starleaf struggle for 10 years to bring a

tennis center to Burbank, before it became a reality at the

McCambridge Recreation Center on Glenoaks Boulevard.

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