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Folks travel 'Around the World in One Night' at benefit gala


The invitations to "Around the World in One Night" resembled passports, and the decor at Bascom's Chop House gave a taste of international travel to guests attending the annual Poetic Justice Gala to benefit Operation PAR.

Karol Bullard led the event committee, which included Kay Aude, Susie Berman, Debi Burns, Kay Dillinger, Patty Sriram and Connie Whitehead. Also assisting was Mary Critchfield, the originator of the fundraiser, which uses seized assets of drug dealers to help pay for prevention and treatment of substance abuse.

Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri and his wife, Lauralee Westine, were among the guests, and the sheriff's offices from Hernando and Hillsborough counties donated jewelry and other items.

Jeweler Owen Sweet, a longtime volunteer with the event, designed offerings for the auction in addition to cleaning and repairing some of the donations.


It's a fashion show and an homage to fashionable community leaders: Each year, the Women's Service League honors volunteerism and style in a fundraiser to benefit local nonprofits.

"Dressed to the Nines," the 62nd annual Fashion Promenade, featured clothing from Alla K and a luncheon in the St. Petersburg Yacht Club. The league organized in 1942 to contribute time and service to improve the community; proceeds from this year's event support the Daystar Life Center.

Named to the 2012 Best Groomed list were: Dimity Carlson, Fern Clayton, Mary Ellen Conte, Roseanna Costa, Bill Emerson, Diane Fair, Bob Johnson, Bill McQueen, Barbara Paonessa, Mary Rainey, Ann Vickstrom and Teresa Wittstruck. Named Best-Groomed Couple were Elise and Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge Tom Minkoff.

Karen and Rick McCollum were inducted into the Best Groomed Hall of Fame.

Fair was chair of the event committee, which included Joann Barger, Betsy Blackwell, Laura Blackwell, Clayton, Costa, Jeancarol Hart, Joyce Larson, Elaine Mikurak, Karen McCollum, Maggi McQueen, Jackie O'Brien, Paonessa, president Nora Pearson, Karen Saron, Edie Spies, Sheila Tempelmann, Mary Wheeler, Diane Winning, Barbara Wiseman and Wittstruck.


The Suncoasters of St. Petersburg civic organization has announced the selection of the 2012 Junior Sungoddess Court from a large group of applicants representing several Pinellas County high schools.

The 20 young women are Margaret Dalessio and Alexandria Jesaitis, St. Petersburg Catholic High School; Kara Delemeester, Ashley Klein and Danielle Price, Osceola High; Rachel Franzek, Diana Gorman, Zoe Green, Alicia Marie Klingensmith, Gabrielle Montes, Noelle Rutland and Morgan Leigh Shettle, St. Petersburg High; Haley Lehmann, Largo High; Julia Lescarbeau and Taylor Scott, Admiral Farragut Academy; Katherine McNees and Hannah Stein, Shorecrest Preparatory School; Jessica Serra, Gibbs High; and Janae Lauren Starling and Carli Walko, Northeast High.

The Junior Sungoddess scholarship program, a tradition in St. Petersburg since 1955, was established to recognize high school girls in Pinellas County who are active in their school and community, maintain good academic standing and demonstrate a commitment to service.

The Junior Sungoddess and two runners-up will be announced on March 2 and will receive more than $5,000 in scholarships and awards provided by the Suncoasters, Franklin Templeton Investments and other sponsors.

Mary Jane Park can be reached at 893-8267 or

Folks travel 'Around the World in One Night' at benefit gala 02/18/12 [Last modified: Saturday, February 18, 2012 3:31am]
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