ABC correspondent will be speaker at Crystal Gardens

By Evelyn Cairns
Award-winning ABC senior foreign-affairs correspondent Martha Raddatz will be the speaker in the Downriver Town Hall lecture series at 11 a.m. Jan. 10 at Crystal Gardens in Southgate.

Raddatz, who is well known for her interviewing skills, received high praise when she moderated the only vice presidential debate between U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Vice President Joe Biden before the 2012 election.

She served as White House correspondent during the last term of President George W. Bush’s administration, covering day-to-day foreign and domestic stories from the White House.

Raddatz has traveled to Pakistan and Afghanistan numerous times and to Iraq 21 times. She is the only television reporter allowed to write about a combat mission over Afghanistan in an F15 Fighter jet after spending nearly 10 hours in the air on two separate missions. In addition, she was the first correspondent to report that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of al Qaeda in Iraq, had been killed.

The speaker has received four Emmy awards, the First Amendment Award from the Radio Television Digital News Foundation and the Fred Friendly First Amendment Award, among others.

Raddatz is the author of the best-setter “The Long Road Home — a Story of War and Family,” described by the Washington Post as “a masterpiece of literary non-fiction that rivals any war-related classic that has preceded it.”

Doors for the lecture will open at 10 a.m. Crystal Gardens is located at 16703 Fort St. For information about tickets and a luncheon following the talk, call 734-783-9224.

Party tickets are available
So you haven’t made reservations for New Year’s Eve, and tomorrow is the big night. Worry not — they’re still available at Crystal Gardens in Southgate, which boasts the largest mega New Year’s Eve gala in the Downriver area. (The capacity of the conference/banquet/entertainment center is 1,200.)

The revelry will begin with hors d’oeuvres at 7 p.m., and dinner will be served at 8 p.m. The dinner menu includes roast prime rib of beef flambé, Chicken Cordon Bleu, breaded pork tenderloin, and Shrimp Bowtie Alfredo.

A pastry table will offer irresistibles, and a chocolate fountain will flow. In addition, a pizza buffet will be served at 11:30 p.m., and a continental breakfast at 1 a.m.

Partygoers will watch the traditional New York Times Square ball-drop on big-screen television sets and toast the New Year with champagne. The party package also includes a premium bar and door prizes.

Music for dancing will be provided by a disc jockey. Tickets, $70 per person, are available by calling 734-285-2210. All major credit cards are accepted.

Things to do . . .
Ongoing — Photography exhibit at the Detroit Institute of Arts, “Motor City Muse: Detroit photographs, Then and Now,” featuring the city’s changing landscape, architecture and auto industry; no admission charge for residents of Wayne County.

Jan. 4 — Friday Night Live program, “Sin Hielo,” at the Detroit Institute of Arts; 7 and 8:30 p.m. performances by Latin/jazz/rock trio; featuring electric and acoustic guitar duo Wayne Gerard and Sean Blackman and percussionist Rick Beamon Gerard; no charge for residents of Wayne County; for more information, call 313-833-7900.

Jan. 11, 25 — Southern Great Lakes Symphony Downriver Concerto competition auditions; 7:30 p.m. at the Flat Rock High School Community Auditorium, 25600 Seneca; semifinal auditions on Jan. 11; final-round auditions, Jan. 25; for ticket prices and additional information, call 734-246-2890 or go to