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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. Tampa Metro Civitans honor Sessums as Citizen of the Year

    News

    TAMPA — T. Terrell Sessums earned a rare honor Thursday during the annual Governor's Day Luncheon at the Florida State Fair.

    Elected officials are not often selected as Tampa Metro Civitan Citizen of the Year, said Joe Garcia, the 1999 honoree, in his presentation to the former Florida House speaker who authored legislation creating the Tampa Sports Authority and the Hillsborough County Environmental Protection Commission....

    Hillsborough Clerk of the Circuit Court Pat Frank congratulates her longtime friend T. Terrell Sessums at Thursday’s luncheon.
  2. Amy Scherzer's Diary: Weekly wrapup of the Tampa social scene

    Human Interest

    Gasparilla 2016

    Gasparilla Day dawned clear and crisp and delivered as promised: awesome armada, banging invasion, adoring crowds, bottomless beers, kindly cops, resolute Bayshore mansion hosts and merely 25 arrests. Capt. Morgan Rum scored best tent decor; Hard Rock Cafe guests rocked to the Charlie Hotel band and Shannon Magrane belted out her original Ye Mystic Krewe theme song in a pickup truck. Some boaters tossed Jell-O shots and marshmallows, saving their beads for the landlubbers. Also practical: Tampa Garden Club reaped $1,100 by selling $10 bathroom passes. Ye Enchanted Krewe of Brigadoon won Best Float, but the Tampa Caribbean Festival's butterfly wings and Bill McIntyre's Philadelphia outrageous Shooting Stars' fairy tale costumes got the most buzz....

    Jan Kelley, left, chats with her daughter, Gasparilla Queen Ann Kelley, at Ye Captain’s Ball.
  3. Gladiator krewe aims to help victims become victorious

    Human Interest

    TAMPA

    Familia de Gladiatores Krewe offers service over swagger.

    Its mission statement practically wrote itself as founding president Tricia Schneller and her friends established the Gasparilla club to help people who have suffered a traumatic experience.

    "We want to help the weak find the courage to get back out there, as a functioning member of society … not on welfare, not in a shelter," said Schneller, 43....

    Familia de Gladiatores Krewe members gather before the annual Gasparilla Children’s Parade last weekend. This was the krewe’s inaugural year.
  4. Amy Scherzer's Diary: Weekly Wrap-up of the Tampa social scene

    Human Interest

    Family Resources Celebrity Karaoke

    For $10, you could tap a friend to sing and for $10 they could buy their way out. Either way worked to the benefit of Family Resources' at its second annual Celebrity Karaoke party. Resourcefully, the runaway and homeless teen counseling and sheltering agency invited Bucs, Rowdies, Rays and 20 "celebs" of varied talent to pick a song and perform Jan. 22 at TPepin's Hospitality Centre. Woody & the WoodTones rocked between karaoke singers....

    AMY SCHERZER | Times photo  Kim Young, left, Kristy Gutierrez and Mariah Martinez enjoy the evening at Celebrity Karoke benefit for Family Resources on Jan. 22 at TPepin?•s Hospiality Centre.
  5. Ye Mystic Krewe rolls out new water-pouring, smoke-spewing float

    Human Interest

    TAMPA — As if he didn't have enough on his plate overseeing one of the nation's largest parades, J. Rex Farrior III, captain of Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla, took on another challenge: designing a water-pouring, smoke-spewing, skull-menacing new float for the men's club annual parades.

    Farrior can't wait to show off the special effects when Skull 'n Treasure makes its debut Saturday at the McDonald's Children's Gasparilla Parade, joining 100-plus units in the lineup....

    Workers add details to the exterior of the Skull ’n Treasure float at Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla’s warehouse on Tuesday.  “It’s certainly the most complex float we’ve ever built,” said J. Rex Farrior III, captain of Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla.
  6. Amy Scherzer's Diary: Weekly Wrap-up of the Tampa social scene

    Human Interest

    Prevent Blindness Florida 2016 Person of Vision

    Video clips of four former mayors described Mayor Bob Buckhorn as hardcharging, tenacious and a whippersnapper when Prevent Blindness Florida named him their 2016 Person of Vision. Board chairman Kevin Bakewell and CEO Joanne Lighter highlighted nearly 60 years of vision health services during the roasts and toasts Jan. 13 at the Marriott Waterside. Entertainment included flute and keyboard duo Vera & Bonnie and Tampa Police detective Sonja Wise's Amazing Grace....

      Geoff Simon and Andrea Graham, from left, admire Sandy Rief and Diane Egner’s “Two wild and crazy guys” costumes at the Stageworks Gala on Jan. 16 at District 3.
  7. Amy Scherzer's Diary: Weekly wrapup of the Tampa social scene

    Human Interest

    TGH Foundation's 25th annual Night at the Circus

    Hundreds of children and adults were treated to a free circus performance through Tampa General Hospital Foundation's ongoing partnership with Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. Hospital sponsors receive tickets to the "Greatest Show on Earth," some in a private suite or the front row — determined by the size of their donation. Many give some seats back to TGH to provide to charities, explained sisters-in-law Mary Taggart and Teale Taggart Smith, co-chairs of this year's event, which brought in $230,000 for TGH Children's Medical Center....

    Mariebelle Abrunzo, 9, left, shows her broken left wrist to Ringling Bros. ringmaster Johnathan Lee Iverson while Ava O’Brien, 10, shows him her broken left arm at the Night of the Circus sponsors party.
  8. Amy Scherzer's Diary: Weekly wrapup of the Tampa social scene

    Human Interest

    Outback Bowl Gridiron Gala

    A Top 5 MTV video countdown, a Ghostbuster, Miss Pacman, Cyndi Lauper look-alike and 20 other '80s pop culture icons set the clock to the Awesome '80s at the Outback Bowl's annual Gridiron Gala. The football fanfare marked the bowl's beginning 30 years ago and the conclusion of Outback Steakhouse's lease of A La Carte Event Pavilion, noted chairwoman Tracie Domino, a bit nostalgic recalling 10 years of galas and benefit dinners at the catering facility....

    Outback Steakhouse co-founder Bob Basham, from left, and wife, Debbie, circulate at the Outback Bowl’s 30th anniversary Gridiron Gala with restaurant co-founder Chris and Sandi Sullivan.
  9. Seminole Hard Rock calendar raises money, branding issues for nonprofits

    Human Interest

    TAMPA — Grandma wasn't top of the list to receive a Seminole Hard Rock Girls Calendar, but bet on seeing the titillating 2016 timeline displayed in many a man cave.

    And maybe in the offices of some of Grandma's favorite charities.

    The casino aims to use the calendar to promote volunteer opportunities for its staff and create awareness for 16 Tampa Bay nonprofits, but the racy photos raise some interesting questions for the organizations that must consider brand and image perceptions....

    “You don’t say no to making several thousand dollars.”
Sherry Silk, executive director of the Humane Society of Tampa Bay
  10. Amy Scherzer's Diary: Weekly wrap-up of the Tampa social scene

    Human Interest

    Thanksmas 2015

    National League manager of the year Joe Maddon literally stopped S Howard Avenue traffic as dozens of fans jammed 717South and Ava restaurants to tell the ex-Tampa Bay Rays coach how much they still love him and to support his Thanksmas program for the homeless. The now-Chicago Cubs manager couldn't go 2 feet without signing an autograph or smiling for someone's selfie. A handful of former players stepped up to be celebrity bartenders, adding all their tips to $75 fixed-price dinners and $25 T-shirts sold for the cause Dec. 11. In past years, Maddon helped prepare the Thanksmas meatballs and perogies, but not so much this time, said restaurateur-partner Michael Stewart shepherding him through the admiring crowd....

    AMY SCHERZER | Times photos  Thanksmas hosts Michael Stewart, left, and Chicago Cubs coach Joe Maddon thank Tampa Bay Rays Starlin Castro and Chris Archer for tending bar at 717 South on Dec. 11.
  11. Amy Scherzer's Diary: Weekly wrapup of the Tampa social scene

    Human Interest

    Jingle Jangle Jam

    Chef Jeff Henderson's not proud of serving 10 years in federal prison for dealing drugs, but Eckerd Youth Alternative's donor audience understands the impact of broken homes and generational poverty as he described at the eighth annual Jingle Jangle Jam. Henderson is very proud of turning his crack street skills into business savvy, coached behind bars by Wall Street criminals on how to dress, eat and what to read. His spoke of his trajectory from prison kitchen to becoming the first black chef at Caesar's Palace and a bestselling author....

    Rowland and Emmett Lee preview H.B. Plant Museum’s Victorian Christmas Stroll.
  12. Amy Scherzer's Diary: Weekly wrapup of the Tampa social scene

    Human Interest

    Georgette's/St. Joseph's Hospitals 27th Holiday Fashion Show

    Holiday glitz and Georgette's Boutique go toe-to-toe every December when the South Tampa shop sponsors its glam-wrapped fashion show for St. Joseph's Women's Hospital, now 27 years running. Red ruled the runway on cocktail and evening dresses modeled by 20 sparkled and Spanxed media and sports celebrities. Event Show Productions' festive dance sequences took over during fast changes....

    LAMPLighters auxiliary Christmas Silver Coffee organizers Stacey Schmidt, left, chairwoman Linda Mills and Jeannie Nicholson raised about $10,000 at the Dec. 4 benefit.
  13. Amy Scherzer's Diary: Weekly wrapup of the Tampa social scene

    Human Interest

    YMKG Debutantes

    Thanksgiving Eve ranks as one of the biggest party nights of the year, especially for female college sophomores returning home to make their debuts before Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla. Of course, the royal debutante ball began as a formal pirate affair Nov. 25, with King James Von Thron, Queen Anne Kelley and the 102nd court enthroned to receive 27 young women, all gowned and gloved in white, at the Tampa Hilton Downtown....

    Children’s Cancer Center executive director Patty O’Leary and Nicholas toast a lively crowd of supporters at Wine, Women & Shoes, a nationally franchised fundraiser.
  14. Amy Scherzer's Diary: Weekly wrapup of the Tampa social scene

    Human Interest

    LifePath Hospice Island Night

    Harbour Island conveniently subbed for the Hawaiian islands when Jackson's Bistro hosted a Big Kahuna luau for LifePath Hospice's 24th annual Island Night. Fire-twirling dancers thrilled and the Landsharks band grooved Nov. 15, but once again, the bountiful buffet stole the show, from roast pig to sushi to gelato and a chocolate fountain. Sipping margaritas and mojitos on the balmy waterfront, guests could play blackjack, roulette and craps, shop a thrift store display and sample gooey s'mores to help send "s'more" kids to Camp Circle of Love. Live auction vacation packages and chef dinners went up for bid two weeks earlier online, but Herman "Steve" Stephenson was right there to score the Holland America cruise. In 24 years, Island Night has raised $2.45 million to help Tampa Bay residents and their caregivers make end-of-life choices....

    Italian Club Ladies Auxiliary president Gilda Capitano, left, thanks her daughter,  Macy’s Miracle on 7th chairwoman Celeste Capitano Lazzara and vice president Sharon Mangione for the successful lunch.
  15. Amy Scherzer's Diary: Weekly wrapup of the Tampa social scene

    Human Interest

    JDRF Dream Gala

    A Friday the 13th Dream Gala sure was lucky for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation's Tampa Bay chapter, which raised $600,000 "to turn Type 1 into Type None," said Night of Hope emcee Jen Holloway, who pointed out youngsters wearing patches that monitor their insulin level via an iPhone app.

    Making life more manageable for those kids while work progresses toward a cure inspired auctioneer Gary Connors. His Fund a Cure appeal collected $400,000 from the 350 guests and he got a bid of $5,100 from Mike and Briley Cienkosz for the Give & Grub Gourmet food truck party for 50, with live music, adult beverages, Wright's Gourmet House desserts, a $50 Costco gift card plus 50 additional meals donated to needy families....

    Tampa Bay Chapter of JDRF honors Pam and Les Muma, from left, for their philanthropy at the annual gala 
co-chaired by Marilyn and John Connelly at the Marriott Waterside on Nov. 13.