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Amy Scherzer, Times Staff Writer

Amy Scherzer

Amy joined the Times in January 2002 to help launch the weekly City Times edition serving South Tampa and nearby neighborhoods. Her column, Amy Scherzer's Diary, takes readers along as she makes her rounds on the social circuit. Camera in hand, Amy captures the galagoers, wine tasters, Gasparilla kings, debutantes and bay area philanthropists.

Amy earned her bachelor's degree in mass communications and political science at the University of Pittsburgh, and has been a Tampa resident since 1978. She and her husband, Robert, live on Davis Islands, proud parents of two grown children. Any free time is spent people watching, entertaining, boating and reading.

Phone: (813) 226-3332

Fax: (813) 226-3381

Email: ascherzer@tampabay.com

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  1. Jackie Faircloth continues slow recovery after hit and run

    Human Interest

    TAMPA — Three months after being struck by a pickup truck, Plant High senior Jackie Faircloth is making "baby steps" in her recovery, her father said.

    "She's definitely progressing,'' John Faircloth said, ''but it's going to be a long road of baby steps."

    The 18-year-old cheerleader suffered a traumatic brain injury Nov. 29 in Tallahassee after a truck hit her then took off. She was in town to see a Florida State University football game with her brother....

    “Pray for Jackie” signs, like this one at Plant High School in Tampa, support Jackie Faircloth, who was hit by a pickup.
  2. Gasparilla Festival showcases Tampa lawyer's art

    Visual Arts

    TAMPA — Five years ago, Amy Leigh Carstensen left a lucrative career with one of Florida's most prestigious law firms to paint a future on her own terms.

    "I am doing two things I love," said Carstensen, now a full-time artist and part-time lawyer. "With a little bit of luck and a lot of hard work."

    Call her gutsy or call her crazy, but the leap has earned her entry into the Gasparilla Festival of the Arts four times, including this weekend, where she'll exhibit with 235 artists culled from 1,000 fine arts and crafts applicants....

    Amy Leigh Carstensen of Tampa has shown her art, mostly abstract oils, at four Gasparilla festivals. 
  3. Amy Scherzer's Diary: Carson Kressley joins the weekly wrapup of the Tampa social scene

    Human Interest

    Equality Florida Tampa gala

    "Transformational" is how Equality Florida CEO Nadine Smith described the legalization of same-sex marriage in Florida as a handsome crowd of 600-plus celebrated at Saturday's artsy gala. Art lovers helped raise $354,000 with a silent auction of 65 pieces and eight striking artworks auctioned live at TPepin's Hospitality Centre.

    Madge Judge earned the Charlie Hounchell Leadership Award for community service. Hillsborough County Commissioner Kevin Beckner received the Voice for Equality award, for his work advocating a domestic partner registry and updating the county human rights ordinance. Then he raised that voice, auctioning works by Eileen Goldenberg, Duncan McClellan, Kim Burns Cummings, Marsha Hammel and Michaele Vollbracht and others. Top buy: Alberto Murillo's American flag sold for $8,500 to Kyle O'Donnell. ...

    Thomas Lamb, left, artist Alberto Murillo, Johnny Yang and Kyle O’Donnell stand in front of the artwork Murillo donated to the Equality Florida Tampa gala auction Feb. 21. O’Donnell outbid Lamb, who said he already owns three Murillo works.
  4. Amy Scherzer's Diary: Gloria Steinem tops weekly wrapup of Tampa social scene

    Human Interest

    Centre for Women Waves of Change luncheon

    "To have my mother's name mentioned in the same breath as Gloria Steinem is an extraordinary honor," said Karen Davis, as the Centre for Women presented the inaugural Helen Gordon Davis Leadership Award to an icon of the '60s women's movement.

    Stephanie Davis and Gordon Davis joined their sister at the Waves of Change luncheon Feb. 11 representing their mother, who was not well enough to join the 400 guests at the Crowne Plaza Westshore. Said committee member Susan Dellinger, eyeing the mostly female crowd, "the very best women in Tampa are here with the exception of one." Centre executive director Ann Madsen agreed, joking that she'd promised the fire marshal, "No bra burning today." A week later,, her board members proposed and unanimously voted to rename the Tampa facility: the Helen Gordon Davis Centre for Women. ...

    WEDU board member Bronson Thayer, left, congratulates Be More Unstoppable award winners from High Risk Hope: director of operations Kerri Kibbey; founders Bennett and Heather Barrow; and executive coordinator McKenzie Blankenship.
  5. Amy Scherzer's Diary: Weekly wrap-up of the Tampa social scene

    Human Interest

    Opera Tampa 20th anniversary gala

    Baritone Sherrill Milnes earned endless honors in his distinguished career, but receiving the Anton Coppola Excellence in the Arts award from the 97-year-old maestro himself surely scores among the highest. Milnes, the former Opera Tampa artistic adviser, celebrated at the 20th anniversary gala with Straz Center CEO Judy Lisi and many fans on the set of Rigoletto on the Morsani Hall stage Saturday....

    Three maestros: Daniel Lipton, left, Anton Coppola and Sherrill Milnes celebrate a lifetime love affair with opera at the annual Opera Tampa gala.
  6. From This Day: 14-year engagement worth the wait

    Relationships

    TAMPA — Any marriage counselor would opine: Only fools rush in. Take your time, get to know each other.

    Still, Ken Harfenist and Suzanne Scott's engagement seemed like a stretch.

    On Dec. 27, 2014, the newly wedded couple shared their first dance to Etta James' iconic At Last, with more than a subtle hint of humor. "I love Suzanne dearly and I knew it would work out eventually," said Ken, who proposed on Valentine's Day 2001....

    Ken Harfenist and Suzanne Scott’s 14-year engagement happily ended when they wed Dec. 27, 2014, at Avila Golf and Country Club. A health care lawyer, Ken made his case for marriage patiently to Suzanne, a director of volunteer resources, never doubting their time would come.
  7. Amy Scherzer's Diary: Weekly wrapup of the Tampa social scene

    Human Interest

    Gasparilla 2015

    Vast, adoring crowds, selfie-perfect weather, banging invasion. Gasparilla No. 100 lived up its reputation and then some. As per custom, Ye Mystic Krewe Capt. Rex Farrior III and his merry marauders seized the key to the city from Mayor Bob Buckhorn and marched victoriously with dozens of playmate krewes in Saturday's parade. Farrior was psyched to fly the flag his men designed for him with personal symbols in black and red. "Red for my bloodlines," said Farrior, the son of King Rex Farrior Jr. (1973) and brother of King Preston Farrior (2009)....

    Ahoy! Former Gov. Bob Martinez, left, University of Tampa president Ron Vaughn and Don DeFosset on the parade route.
  8. Philanthropic Morsanis named Citizens of the Year

    News

    TAMPA - Retired automotive dealer Frank Morsani let his emotions get the best of him when he and his wife Carol were named 2014 Citizens of the Year at the annual Governor's Day Luncheon at the Florida State Fair.

    Morsani choked back happy sobs Thursday as Gov. Rick Scott and some of Tampa's most influential leaders applauded the philanthropic pair, honored by the Tampa Metro Civitan Club in a tradition that began in 1927....

  9. Travel through time with our '100 doubloons' of Gasparilla in Tampa Bay

    Human Interest

    Who knew a civic prank — businessmen pretending to invade Tampa during the 1904 May Festival — would evolve into the city's signature event, lending its name to festivals, a road race and conjuring the mascot of a pro football team a century later? Since those pirates, Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla, mixed Mardi Gras style and marketing savvy, the "invasion" and parade have grown exponentially, spawning a multimillion-dollar impact, 60 krewes, 9,000 parade participants and 300,000 spectators along Bayshore Boulevard and downtown streets. • With a fledgling start, wars and one infamous cancellation causing the festivities to skip certain years, this is the 100th procession. We honor it with 100 doubloons of history....

    Paul Miller of the New York Fire Department  hands out beads during the 2002 Gasparilla Parade. New York firefighters were invited guests after the 9/11 attacks.
  10. Amy Scherzer's Diary: Weekly wrap-up of Tampa social scene

    Human Interest

    Fusion, Stageworks Theatre gala

    Fusion fit as theme and philosophy for Stageworks Theatre, whose collaborative culture rocked its ninth annual gala. President Simone Barefield's welcome and board member Chris Brown's experiences as an inner-city kid in Jersey City put guests in a giving mood Jan. 17 at Centro Asturiano. Wells Fargo and the Duckwall Foundation led off the Dare to Hope appeal with $5,000 each, followed by 25 other donors, driving gala net proceeds to $67,000....

    Willie and Lyra Logan, from left, C.J. Steadman and fiancee Hailey Feldman support Stageworks Theatre’s ninth annual gala, Fusion, at Centro Asturiano.
  11. Amy Scherzer's Diary: Weekly wrap-up of the Tampa social scene

    Human Interest

    Quintessence

    Access to excess. The multifaceted Quintessence granted just that with look-sees at luxury transportation, fashion, cuisine and entertainment. Guests climbed aboard boats, planes, cars and RVs parked at Davis Islands' Peter O. Knight Airport. Bars surrounded swanky lounge seating and buffets of antipasto, seafood, Steak Diane, Cajun kabobs and more from Cafe L'Europe on a chilly Jan. 16. Dipping fondue and grilling fancy s'mores warmed the crowd, but the party didn't heat up until the 300 guests were inside the hangar, greeted by a violinist, aerial acrobats and a fashion show of J. McLaughlin styles. Sisaundra Lewis, a contestant on NBC's sixth season of The Voice, performed one song before the band Bus Stop tried to draw dancers back outside....

    Judy Green, CEO Premier/Sotheby’s International Realty, left, Kurt Gleeson, Lena White and Tracy Eisnaugle take in the scene at Quintessence on Jan. 16.
  12. 'Quintessence' fundraiser an evening of luxury

    Human Interest

    01.16.15

    Access to excess: that was "Quintessence," a multifaceted fundraiser offering look-sees of luxury transportation, fashion, cuisine and entertainment.

    Guests climbed aboard boats, planes, cars and RVs parked at Peter O. Knight Airport in Tampa.

    Bars edged swanky lounge seating and buffets of antipasto, seafood, steak Diane, cajun kebabs and more from Café L'Europe on a chilly evening....

    Judy Green, CEO of Premier Sotheby’s International Realty, left, Kurt Gleeson, Lena White and Tracy Eisnaugle at “Quintessence” on Jan. 16 at Peter O. Knight Airport.
  13. Couple to recall childhood struggles at Holocaust Remembrance event

    Human Interest

    YBOR CITY — Dr. John Rinde turned 7 in the Lvov ghetto, confined there with all the other Jews from his town of Przemysl, Poland.

    Rinde said unlike most, his family managed to flee to Lublin, Poland, where they forged identity papers and lived as Catholics "with a more Polish-sounding name until the summer of 1944." They chose Lublin because it was a bombed-out city where government birth records were largely destroyed....

    Dr. John Rinde and his wife, Toni, were able to escape the Nazi persecution of Jews by pretending to be Catholic in Poland.
  14. From This Day: Krista Dietrich and Ian Koteles

    Relationships

    TAMPA — She rides, he rocks. Each spending countless hours at the stable and band practice, traveling to competitions and gigs, in addition to managing their day jobs.

    How did an equestrian and a musician pony down the path to matrimony?

    "We care about the same things — our families, friends, and serving our community," Krista Dietrich said.

    "And we make each other laugh every day."...

    Equestrian Krista Dietrich and musician Ian Koteles married at the Chattooga Club in Cashiers, N.C., overlooking the Smoky Mountains.
  15. Amy Scherzer's Diary, a weekly wrap-up of the Tampa social scene

    Human Interest

    Person of Vision

    Rarely, if ever, has the intent and title of Prevent Blindness Florida's annual Person of Vision award been a better fit then when Jeff and Penny Vinik took the honor Jan. 8. Emcee Brendan McLaughlin of WFTS-Ch. 28 was first to thank them for making their home in Tampa Bay, followed by Mayor Bob Buckhorn and USF president Judy Genshaft, both calling Vinik's development plan for Tampa's waterfront district "transformational."...

    Jared, left, Elizabeth, Jim Jr. and Amy Shimberg support Prevent Blindness Florida’s on Jan. 8 at the Marriott Waterside.