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Amy Scherzer's Diary

Amy Scherzer's Diary: Hands Across the Bay delivers with Dancing With the Stars

Dancing With the Stars Tampa Bay

John Neglio twirled into two categories — People's Choice and Most Online Votes — just months after a double knee replacement. Rhonda Shear earned Best Female; Steve Chamberland won Best Male; and Brian Artze is Grand Champion of the fourth Dancing With the Stars Tampa Bay staged by Hands Across the Bay founder Julie Weintraub and director Kirsten Thomas.

Fred Astaire Studio dancers spent two months teaching their finest moves to 13 local celebs, who kicked it for $10 a vote Oct. 5 at TPepin's Hospitality Centre.

WFTS-Ch. 28's Linda Hurtado and Jamison Uler emceed the $250 gala as WTVT-Ch. 13's Charley Belcher and Ashley Glass interviewed the contestants, all dressed to sparkle by Designs to Shine. TV pitchman Anthony Sullivan "pitch-hitted" with auctioneer Don Germaise, helping to net $250,000 for Hands Across the Bay and six other charities. The crowd of nearly 600 cheered four domestic violence survivors who were aided by Weintraub, especially when Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri pledged $15,000 in matching funds. Beer baron Tom Pepin added another $10,000 and suddenly everyone was dancing.

17th annual Night of the Iguana

Enthusiastic Make-a-Wish Foundation friends, led by David and Allison Singer, came out for drinks and dinner bites at Night of the Iguana, a tasting party named for its founding sponsor, the Green Iguana Bar and Grill. Samples from 30 restaurants fulfilled 400 guests' wishes, including Hula Bay tuna nachos, Oystercatchers' bay scallops ceviche and Mainsail Suites' peanut butter fondue. More than a few wore Afro wigs and bell bottoms for a "Funky Soul 1970s" theme.

Meanwhile, auction bids fulfilled wishes for seriously ill kids, such as $2,000 from Aggie and Manny Fernandez for a Disney visit, and $1,300 from Jennifer Pullara for an itty-bitty Havanese puppy.

That's how Make-a-Wish Central and Northern Florida, Suncoast Region Board chairman David Pearlman and Wish Child Chloe raised $70,000 before the Black Honkeys took over at Mainsail Suites Hotel on Sept. 27.

Island Night for LifePath Hospice

Oh, What a Night, sang Let's Hang On, a local Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons tribute band, setting an infectious beat for LifePath Hospice supporters at Island Night on Sept. 29.

Guests bopped to Sherry, Big Girls Don't Cry, Walk Like a Man and other '60s faves, played casino games and ate a colossal buffet at Jackson's Bistro Harbour Island. Some bought boutique donations from three Life's Treasure thrift stores, and others bought live auction packages, like Andy May, who bid $3,500 for a Holland America cruise plus two Southwest Airline tickets. Cathy and Bob Smith bid $2,500 for a dinner for six prepared by Edison Food + Drink Lab chef Jeannie Pierola and wine expert Michael Rugers. A heartwarming appeal for Camp Circle of Love raised more than $39,000 for grieving children.


Saturday: Italian-American Women of Excellence Awards; 11:30 a.m.; Italian Club; $40; (813) 248-3316.

Saturday: 13th annual National Hispanic Scientist of the Year gala benefits the Museum of Science and Industry; honoree Dr. Raul Cuero; 7 p.m.; 4801 E Fowler Ave.; $80 or $150 per couple; (813) 987-6030 or

Thursday: Lend A Hand luncheon benefits Starting Right, Now; 11:30 a.m.; Higgins Hall; $75 and up;

Oct. 18: Frankie's Friends Unleashed for Hope, a Speakeasy Affair for emergency and specialty pet care; 6:30 p.m.; Centro Asturiano; $100; (813) 549-6978 or

Oct. 18: An Evening with America Idol finalist Scott MacIntyre benefits VSA Florida; 8 p.m. concert; $15; 9:30 p.m. reception, $150, or $250 per couple; USF Marshall Center; (813) 974-0715 or

Oct. 18: Cars & Couture benefits Autism Speaks; 6-11 p.m.; Tampa International Jet Center; $50, advance; $65 at the door; (727) 580-9328 or

Amy Scherzer's Diary: Hands Across the Bay delivers with Dancing With the Stars 10/09/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, October 9, 2013 1:03pm]
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